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regard to athleticism of all descriptions at the present time, is the continued surpassing of former achieve

old tutor, except possibly in infancy: for he was only six years old when Law buried himself in his cloistered life at King's Cliffe, and twenty-ments, or, as it is technically called, three when Law died there. But the family tradition in some degree made up for the lack of personal acquaintance; and as it interested him sufficiently in Law to induce him to peruse several of his works, and to regard them with less of antipathy than he must otherwise have felt for writings so alien from his own cast of mind, his judgment has a real weight and it may, as Dean Milman says, be pronounced on the whole a fair one. The following extracts give the substance of it:

"In our family he left the character of a worthy and pious man, who believed all that he professed, and practiced all that he enjoined. His last compositions are darkly tinctured by the incomprehen

sible visions of Jacob Behmen; and his discourse on the absolute unlawfulness of stage-entertainments is sometimes quoted for a ridiculous intemperance of sentiment and language.

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But these sallies of religious phrensy must not extinguish the praise which is due to Mr. William Law as a wit and a scholar. His argument on topics of less absurdity is specious and acute, his manner is lively, his style forcible and clear; and had not his vigor ous mind been clouded with enthusiasm, he might be ranked with the most agree. able and ingenious writers of the times. Mr. Law's masterwork, the 'Serious Call,' is still read as a popular and powerful book of devotion. His precepts are rigid, but they are founded on the Gospel; his satire is sharp, but it is drawn from the knowledge of human life; and many of his portraits are not unworthy of La Bruyère."-Quarterly Review.

"the cutting of records." A "record" is doing the very best that has ever been known to be done in anything; and although the term is more often applied to matters connected with sport than to other subjects, it is not necessarily confined to them, and a "record" may be made in every line of life. A man who runs a mile in faster time than, so far as is known, it has ever been run in before, is said to "establish a record" of that time. The ancients did not possess watches, and no accounts whatever are preserved of whether, or how, they reckoned the time taken in running the various foot or chariot races that took place at the Olympic Games, or on other occasions. And long after watches were in constant use, it would have been impossible to register the minute fractions which are now daily noted by the aid of the modern chronographs.

Since "records" have been registered with methodical exactitude, it has been found, as was only likely, that every now and again some athlete has been able to surpass what has been done before in the various branches of sport. Particularly has this been the case in recent years, but the last one has been most remarkable for the numerous "records" which have been "cut." Week after week some fresh-achievement has been accomplished, and there is scarcely a single branch of athletics in which one or more have not been registered. This has been so in every description of contest, The most remarkable thing with and has caused astonishment to the




older generation of athletes, who have seen the performances, which they had been in the habit of thinking approached the marvelous, exceeded again and again.

Does this indicate that the men of the present day are vastly superior in physical power to those of the past? Taking the modern past first into consideration, I should say that in the majority of cases it certainly does not; the increased result of their exertions being in a great measure due to the improvements of the machines they use. This, however, is not always so: for, although in rowing, shooting, bicycling, etc., it may be, it can hardly be altogether so in running, cricket, jumping, etc.; though even in these cases to a certain extent it is, as the improvement in the condition of the ground where the contests take place has something to do with the greater performances now accomplished.

With reference to the ancients, we know very little of the real performances of their athletes. It is only very occasionally that any of the classical historians relate details, and some of those are obviously incorrect. For instance, it is recorded that the Grecian Phayllos, with the aid of halteeres (rūpes), leaped a distance of 55 ft. Halteeres were something similar to our dumbbells, which the Greeks held in their hands when leaping. They put their arms back, and, swinging them forward with a sudden motion, took the leap. There is no doubt their use enabled them to jump farther than they could have done without them. This has been proved by experience, 29 ft. 7 in. having been covered in 1854 by an athlete with weights in his hands, whereas the "record" for

the long jump at the annual InterUniversity sports is only 22 ft. 10 in., which was made in 1874; and the longest distance ever known to have been jumped without the aid of weights is the "record" of 23 ft. 2 in., made in 1883. But, after allowing everything for the superior skill which the ancient Greeks probably possessed in the application of the power of these halteeres, they being in the habit of constantly using them, it is incredible that they could have succeeded in jumping with them nearly double the distance that it has been possible to cover in modern times.

In running, it would seem that our modern athletes are able to accomplish more than those of Ancient Greece. The foot-races at the Olympic Games were of three lengths-namely, once over the course, or "stadion" (rádior), as was called, and which became the unit of the Greek road measure, being 600 Greek feet, equal to about 606 feet 9 inches English; twice over it—that is, from one end to the other and back again; and the third 12, 20, or 24 times over. for the various reports are not clear as to which it was. Taking the longest distance, this would only be 14,562 English feet, or just over two and three-quarter miles; and yet, when the Spartan Ladas dropped down dead on completing this course, apparently it was not considered a matter of great surprise, for it was evidently thought a wonderful performance for an athlete to be able to run so far. Now our runners would make light of such a distance, and races for twenty miles and more continually take place: It is only reasonable to suppose that a Grecian athlete would con

sider the distance he had to run, and regulate his pace accordingly, and would not attempt to "sprint"that is, to run at the highest possible speed-for the whole way; and I am rather disposed to the view that the men of the present day have greater physical power than the ancients.

matches in their galleys and various other descriptions of craft, although we have no definite particulars of them; but when we come to modern times, there is scarcely more difference between the warships of the Grecians and our ironclads than between the racing boats of fifty years ago and those of to-day. A reference to statistics, however, shows the curious fact that in 1845, the first time that the Oxford and Cam

To return to the moderns: In running at nearly every distance have "records" been recently "cut;" the same with rowing, swimming, crick-bridge Universities rowed their race et, etc. How is this to be accounted between Putney and Mortlake, which for? Training, no doubt, has some- course they have adopted ever since, thing to do with it. The system of the time occupied was only 23 min. diet and work which tends most to 30 sec., the boats rowed in being develop a man's muscular powers is inrigged skiffs. This time has been far better understood now than it exceeded since boats of the present was in the past, and the quite recent pattern have been used, with outpast too; but there is a great deal riggers, sliding seats, absence of keel, yet to be learned, and there is too and every other improvement, and much tendency, even now, to respect would not be considered so very bad traditional ideas that have nothing even now, with the "record" standbut their age to recommend them. ing at 19 min. 35 sec. But this is Then, again, even if the men of possibly one of those times which the present are not so much physi- are not reliable, and, even if it is cally superior to their modern pre- correct, the crew may have been an decessors, they may, and probably exceptionally good one; and besides, do, use their powers to greater ad- so much more depends on the state vantage, for they have the benefit of the elements in rowing than in of better instruction than those any other sport, that, unless one received who have gone before. knows every circumstance, mere More particularly is this the case in "times" are often deceptive. With rowing, where the "coaching." as cricket, where phenomenal scores it is called, is much more efficient have recently been made, it can than that in force not many years hardly be said that the machinery ago. Year after year distances are employed is the principal cause. covered more quickly than previous- Bats, balls, and stumps are practily. In this case it is without doubt cally what they have been for many the boats, as well as the improved years, and I do not think that on "coaching," that are to a very great the whole there has been much alextent the cause. Besides which, teration in the grounds. They may the whole system of boat-racing has be sometimes a little smoother and undergone a change during the better kept, but that is as much, or present century. more, to the advantage of the bowler as to the batsman, and which of

We know that the ancients had

them has the mastery depends a great deal on the state of the weather. On what are called "bowlers' days," when rain has made the ground suitable for them to make the most of their powers, they have been as phenomenally successful with the ball as the batsmen have with the bat when the weather has been in their favor. The real reason is to be found in the more scientific practice of the game, and in the very keen competition that exists in it, causing all to use their utmost to excel. It may be objected that many of its followers have no knowledge of science as applied to cricket, and this is no doubt true; but, although they have none themselves, they see what is done by those that have, and learn to make use of its principles without thoroughly un derstanding them.

Let us turn to another branch of athletics, in which certainly those who follow it have no better means for its use than their predecessors. I allude to walking, more particularly to walking on the open roads; for, of course, as regards doing so on tracks there is the same advantage on them that there now is for runners. For many years past, the favorite course for road walking, when an athlete wished to try his powers, has been from London to Brighton, and for a long time the "record" was 10 h. 52 min. A year . or two back this was "cut," and stood at 9 h. 48 min., and last year it was again reduced, and now stands at 9 h. 25 min. 8 sec. It must also be remarked that this last was made under exceptionally disadvantageous circumstances, the weather being of the very roughest description-so bad that several of the competitors

were obliged to retire from the contest. If the elements had not been so unpropitious, probably faster time would have been made.

What was done many years ago we have no means of knowing, as history does not tell us; but this increase in pace in the last few years is very remarkable. And it is not only in long-distance walking that there is this increase. Twenty years ago, a man who could walk a mile in eight minutes was considered to be able to do a very fair performance; but now, unless he could cover the distance in considerably under seven minutes, he would have no chance whatever of winning any prize at an athletic meeting.

When we come to consider feats of strength and agility, and to compare as far as possible those performed now and in earlier times, the advantage appears to lie with the moderns. There are really no definite accounts of what the ancient Greeks and Romans were able to do. There are many mythical ones, and even when there are any that may possibly be statements of facts, there is nothing to gauge what they may be really worth. We have a little more knowledge of what was done in the middle ages, but not much. For instance, King Teutobach of the Teutons is said to have vaulted over six horses standing side by side; and another king, Olaf Tryggesson of Norway, according to an old chronicle of that country, was—

"Stronger and more nimble than any man in his dominion. He could climb up the rock Smalserhorn, and fix his shield upon the top of it; he could walk round the outside of a boat upon oars, while the three darts, alternately throwing them in men were rowing; he could play with the air, and always kept two of them up,

while he held the third in one of his hands; he was ambidexter, and could cast two darts at once, and he excelled all men of

the country; whereas in ancient times it was a serious business, and

his time in shooting with the bow, and he the archers were a most important had no equal in swimming."

What amount of skill and exertion might be required to place his shield on Smalserhorn it is impossible to say; and as we do not know the powers of shooting with the bow, or of swimming, that the men of his time had, we cannot judge of his ability from the fact that he excelled them; but there is nothing extraordinary in his being able to keep three darts alternately in the air. Hundreds, probably thousands, of people at the present time could do that, and many professors of sleight-of-hand would play with a much larger number. The walking outside the boat on the oars while the men were rowing certainly shows that he was possessed of a good deal more than an average amount of agility, and it must have required a considerable amount of practice and power of balancing, but scarcely more than every rider of a bicycle must attain before he can work his machine. With regard With regard to King Teutobach's vaulting feat, it is not stated in what manner it was performed, and therefore we can hardly judge of it. But the mere vaulting over six horses, if placed on convenient ground, is nothing, and similar feats are daily exhibited by acrobats at almost every circus.

Archery is one branch of athletics in the practice of which the moderns are decidedly inferior to their predecessors. This is now entirely followed as an amusement, principally by ladies, who so far back as the seventeenth century are said to have been fond of it, and by gentlemen of

portion of the armies of those days. The discovery of gunpowder and the introduction of firearms are of course the causes of its decline. Now 100 or 120 yards is usually the extreme distance at which shooting takes place, 60 or 80 yards being more general; but 240 to 400 yards

were once no uncommon ranges.

As early as the sixteenth century an inclination was shown on the part of the people to discontinue shooting at the longer ranges, and before then, in the reign of Edward the Third, complaint was made that the practice of archery was much neglected; that monarch and succeeding ones making various regulations insisting on its being followed. As the distances at which the shooting takes place are less than formerly, so also has the accuracy of the aim decreased, if we are to believe the stories that are told of the deeds of the archers of former times.. There has always been a halo of romance around them, and it is impossible to separate with certainty the truth from the fable. Robin Hood and William Tell are heroes of our childhood, but there are skeptics who assert that neither ever really existed. Certainly the story of the latter's adventure is told of several others; as by Saxo Grammaticus of a Danish king named Harold, and also of one Toko, and in the Wilkima Saga a similar one is mentioned.

There are many games and athletic exercises that are practiced now, which, although considered modern inventions, were in a different form in use among the ancients.

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