The soul-consuming and friction-wearing tendency of this burring,
grasping, competing age is the excuse for this booklet. Is it not an absolute
necessity to get rid of all irritants, of everything which worries and frets,
and which brings discord into so many lives? Cheerfulness has a wonderful
lubricating power. It lengthens the life of human machinery, as lubricants
lengthen the life of inert machinery. Life's delicate bearings should not be
carelessly ground away for mere lack of oil. What is needed is a habit of
cheerfulness, to enjoy every day as we go along; not to fret and stew all the
week, and then expect to make up for it Sunday or on some holiday. It is not a
question of mirth so much as of cheerfulness; not alone that which accompanies
laughter, but serenity, - a calm, sweet soul-contentment and inward peace. Are
there not multitudes of people, who have the "blues," who yet wish
well to their neighbours? They would say kind words and make the world happier -
but they have not the time." To lead them to look on the sunny side of
things, and to take a little time every day to speak pleasant words, is the
message of the hour.
[I got this small booklet from a burmese friend. It was already fallen apart and darkened from the Asien clima and I decided to digitalise it and keep it before it was completely lost. Unfortunately the first and last pages have been missing and the name of the Publisher and Author could not be found. WG]
William K. Vanderbilt, when he
visited Constantinople, one day invited Coquelin the elder, so celebrated for
his powers as a mimic, who happened to be in the city at the time, to give a
private recital on board his yacht, lying in the Bosphorus. Coquelin spoke three
of his monologues. A few days afterwards Coquelin received the following
memorandum from the Millionaire:
"You have brought tears to our eyes and laughter to our hearts.
Since all philosophers are agreed that laughing is preferable to weeping, your
account with me stands thus:
"For tears, six times
"For laughter, twelve times ...
"Kindly acknowledge receipt of enclosed check."
"I find nonsense singularly refreshing," said Talleyrand. There
is good philosophy in the saying' "Laugh and grow fat." If everybody
knew the power of laughter as a health tonic and life prolonged the tinge of
sadness which now clouds the American face would largely disappear, and many
physicians would find their occupation gone.
The power of laughter was given us to serve a wise purpose in our
economy. It is Nature's device for exercising the internal organs and giving us
pleasure at the same time.
Laughter begins in the lungs and diaphragm setting the liver, stomach,
and other internal organs into a quick, jelly-like vibration, which gives a
pleasant sensation and exercise, almost equal to that of horseback riding.
During digestion, the movements of the stomach are similar to churning. Every
time you take a full breath, or when you laugh well, the diaphragm descend and
gives the stomach an extra squeeze and shakes it. Frequent laughing sets the
stomach to dancing, hurrying up the digestive process. The heart beats faster,
and sends the blood bounding through the body. "There is not," says
Dr. Green, "one remotest corner or little inlet of the minute blood-vessels
of the human body that does not feel some vibration from the convulsions
occasioned by a good hearty laugh." In medical terms, it stimulates the
vasomotor centres, and the spasmodic contraction of the blood vessels causes the
blood to flow quickly. Laughter accelerates the respiration, and gives warmth
and glow to the whole system. It brightens the eye, increases the perspiration,
expands the chest, forces the poisoned air from the least used lung cells, and
tends to restore that exquisite poise or balance which we call health, which
results from the harmonious action of all the functions of the body. This
delicate poise, which may be destroyed by a sleepless night, a piece of bad
news, by grief or anxiety, is often wholly restored by a good hearty laugh.
"There is, therefore, sound sense in the caption, -
"Cheerfulness as a Life Power," - relating as it does to the physical
life, as well as the mental and moral; and what we may call