Our Sprightly Greybeards
W. A. CRAICK
THERE are two spectacles at the opposite extremes of human endeavor that invariably attract public attention. One is the sight of a young man at the top of the ladder. The other that of an old man still engaged cheerfully and contentedly at his day’s work. It is a question which is the more arresting picture. Perhaps there may be something disquieting and disconcerting about the first. It is an achievement of a few; it is accomplished by a quick stroke; the opportunity is a fleeting one. The other also belongs to the few, but there is a note of patient, long-continued, slow-moving progress about it, that is encouraging to all men.
In a young country like Canada with its abundant opportunities, there are numerous examples of early success. The young man triumphs in law, in politics, in finance, in industry, and full many a tale could be told of the boy who has climbed to wealth and influence before his fortieth year. All of which is an incentive to other youths but not of much practical help to the man of middle-age who has still his fortune to make. Luckily, Canada has also its octogenarians, and even a few nonagenarians to point the way to a more contented and placid contemplation of the vagaries of fortune. True it is that the number of men who reach the fourscore years in sound working trim is small, but the lesson of steady-going endeavor which they teach, is none the less impressive.
T AST summer there traveled from Ontario to the Pacific coast, alone and unattended, an old gentleman of ninetyone, who is probably the most active nonagenarian of the day in Canada. Sir
Mackenzie Bowell, of Belleville, once Premier of the Dominion, is still doing his share of the world’s work. In private life Sir Mackenzie is a journalist. The tense, it will be noted, is present, for he is still, in spite of his many years, a worker. Every week-day morning he walks from his home in the residential section of Belleville to the office of the Intelligencer Publishing Co., where he zealously pens
fighting editorials for the afternoon edition. Considering that he has now been associated with the same newspaper for nearly eighty years, his record as a working journalist is absolutely unique and justifies his possession of the title of “The Grandfather of Canadian Journalism”—a term which his fellow newspapermen applied to him for the first time some years ago.
Many stories are current in Belleville to illustrate the astonishing virility of the aged statesman. On his eighty-ninth birthday, a friend called up his house in order to extend congratulations.
“What do you think father is doing now?” said Sir Mackenzie’s daughter, who happened to answer the telephone. “A carter left half a cord of wood here this morning and he is busy carrying it-into the basement himself. He is absolutely incorrigible and insists that he must have exercise.”
The old gentleman actually spent part of his birthday in performing a task which many a younger man would have declined to attempt and, all unaided, brought the whole load of wood into the house.
He still takes a great deal of pleasure in pottering about his garden, which is one of the most beautiful in a city famed for its fine estates. One morning a year or so ago, his old crony, Harry Corby, was walking past the place and noticed the Senator busy directing a gardener at some piece of work.
“There you are, at it again, Sir Mackenzie,” exclaimed Mr. Corby. “You doing all the work and letting the man look on.”
The robustness of Sir Mackenzie’s constitution was well shown by his rapid re-
covery from the serious injuries received by a fall down stairs in the Albany Club, Toronto, two years ago. It was fully expected that he could not survive the shock but in spite of all prognostications to the contrary he pulled through and is now almost as strong as he was before the accident. Doubtless, one secret of his powerful hold on life is the keen interest which he takes in everything that is going on around him. He is young in spirit if not in body, and friends need only suggest that some meeting or entertainment is to take place, no matter if it is miles away from Belleville, but he is eager to go and take part. Only last fall he joined a hunting party and roughed it in the northern part of Hastings county.' Indeed, no event of any importance can take place in Belleville or its vicinity that he does not endeavor to attend. Still, in spite of these exceptional displays of virility, one likes best to think of him as starting out, morning after morning, for the Intelligencer office. There is something particularly heartening about the spectacle.
HOWEVER, Sir Mackenzie, veteran though he is, is by no means the only distinguished Canadian of advanced age to join the matutinal procession of workers into the business centres of the country. The city of Hamilton boasts the possession of a worthy citizen, who on the verge of ninety is still playing his part efficiently in the world of affairs. The reference is to Adam Brown, postmaster of the Ambitious City. Whether he is the oldest postmaster in the Dominion, one would not like to assert with any great degree of assurance. In some remote village or hamlet an older than he might possibly be found. But it is surely safe to say that no town or city of any importance in Canada is served by so venerable, and withal so vigorous, an official. Nor is his occupancy of the position a mere formality. He is, even at eighty-nine, the real administrator of the post-office system of
Hamilton. His word is law in the little army of post-office employees. His authority among them is unquestioned.
And what a cheering thing it is to see the veteran at his desk in the Post-Office Building! He is still a big, strong-looking man, quite John Bull-like in appearance, with the round, ruddy, clean-shaven face and the well-filled figure usually associated with the famous English gentleman. The years weigh lightly on him. Sight and hearing are almost perfect and the brain is as nimble as ever it was in the days when he planned big things for his adopted city. For Adam Brown has been a power in Hamilton these many years. He has probably done more for its welfare and advancement than any other citizen; and that in the most public-spirited and disinterested way.
Coming to the city away back in 1850, when a young man of twenty-four, he took up one project after another for the good of the community. First there was the installation of the water works system, which still exists as the central portion of the present system. Then there was the building of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway, of which he was the first president and principal promoter. Its purpose was to open up fresh territory for Hamilton’s wholesale merchants. Then came the effort for the iron duties made while he was member of Parliament during the eighties and which laid the foundation for Hamilton’s greatness as a manufacturing centre. And so the story goes—Adam Brown always in the forefront of any movement for the benefit of the city. After a lengthy career as a wholesale grocer, he gave up business in 1891 to accept the office of postmaster.
To-day you will find him at his desk in the Post-Office at nine o’clock in the morning, carefully, almost showily, dressed, a nosegay in his buttonhole, the whitest of white spats on his feet. On an ordinary day, when other demands do not take him away, he is in his office, except for the lunch-hour, until after four in the afternoon. This is his day’s work and he performs it with conscientious exactitude. He really delights in it. To him the post-office system is a marvelous organization and it is both a pleasure and a satisfaction for him to be doing his share in maintaining its efficiency.
To love for his work, interest in his fellowman and regularity of habits, Mr. Brown attributes his continued good health. He is a believer in the old adage, “Early to bed and early to rise.” Unless it is a matter of great importance, when his presence is urgently needed, he never goes out in the evening. Instead, he retires early, gets a good night’s rest and rises by seven in the morning. Then his first duty is to read the papers and see how the world progressed overnight. Nowadays, he is usually motored down to his office, but he can still.walk the distance if need be.
Adam Brown’s figure is not an unfamiliar one in the financial section of Toronto. Once every two weeks, he traverses the forty miles that separate the two cities, in order to attend the board meetings of the Canada Life Assurance Co., of which he has been a director for nearly forty years. Then you may perhaps see^
his tall form moving briskly along King street—a figure which once seen is not soon forgotten. His only other financial interest of importance is in the Great North-Western Telegraph Co., of which he is vice-president, but in the direction of the affairs of both these companies, he has always taken a prominent part.
ADAM BROWN was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 3, 1826. Two days thereafter in the village of Sheford, P.Q., there first saw the light of day another octogenarian of equal virility and fame—John R. Booth, of Ottawa. The veteran lumberman, now almost on the threshold of his ninety-first year, is in many respects a remarkable personality. Nurtured in the rough school of experience, engaged most of his life in the hard and strenuous work of felling vast forests and turning their trees into lumber, he has become almost as tough and seasoned as the product of his industry. There is a saying that you can’t kill Booth, and if one may judge by the number of hazardous experiences he, has gone through, there may be some truth in the assertion. He has been in many tight places, has faced all kinds of dangers, has had more than one man’s share of accidents—and yet he has lived through it all, and at eighty-nine is still doing his day’s work with all his old-time vigor.
It is not so long ago that in superintending the demolition of a partially burned mill, the old man reecived a blow from a piece of timber that broke his leg, bruised his shoulders and gashed his head. The story goes that he was hurried to the hospital to have the leg set. A doctor was about to apply the usual anæsthetic in order to relieve the pain of the operation, when the grizzled veteran, who had remained perfectly conscious, demanded what he was about. On being told, he motioned him away, exclaiming, “I don’t want to be put to sleep : I want to see this thing done myself.” And he actually went
through the agony of the setting without a murmur.
“I want to see this thing done myself,” is characteristic of the man. He has always wanted to see things done. They say that if you go to his office in Ottawa, the chances are you will be told that “he is out in the yards somewhere.” He is rarely under cover. From the time he arrives in the morning until he leaves at night this short, sturdy, grey-bearded man, in his plain, serviceable clothes, is flitting about here, there and everywhere, among the various yards and buildings that constitute the immense Booth industries. To locate him is almost as difficult as to find a needle in a haystack and the pursuit is not unlike the game of hide-and-go-seek. Nor is this a something of by-gone years. It is the same to-day as it was yesterday.
Here is a description of the man, as he sets out from his residence on Sparks street at an early hour in the morning. He drives to and from the mills in an open buggy, for he religiously avoids the use of street cars. “Never given to extravagance in dress, he invariably wears in cool weather a short double-breasted coat, a dark fur cap pulled well down over the head, woolen mittens with buckskin palms, and a pair of warm overshoes, and at the mill he usually slips on a pair of rusty overalls. To tell the plain truth, his driver is often more expensively clad than Mr. Booth, who is the last man in Ottawa, from his apparel or appearance, to ever be taken for a millionaire.”
There are many stories told about J. R. Booth and a book could easily be filled with anecdotes gleaned from the records of a life of uninterrupted activity, but one little incident will be sufficient to illustrate his habits of mind and of life.
Not many years ago the old gentleman was persuaded by members of his family to take a holiday and after much argument, he was prevailed on to go to Atlantic City. It was the first holiday, they say, he had ever taken. On the morning after his arrival at the famous resort, he
was up as usual at six o’clock and, before the rest of the party had risen, had made a lonely tour of the board walk. The first question leveled at him by the others was, had he had breakfast. His reply is thus recorded :
“Yes. I tried to get into the diningroom half a dozen times, and they wouldn’t let me in until eight o’clock. I’ve been up and down and met thousands of people and not one has even nodded at me. There is nothing to see or do here and I am going home. This is no place for a busy man. Why, if I had been around my yards as long as I have here, hundreds of workmen would have bade me ‘Good morning.’ As for this boardwalk, I saw enough lumber every day at home to build a dozen or more such promenades.” And home he went, sure enough.
XT OT unlike J. R. Booth in his love ^ ^ for watching the wheels of industry revolve is John McClary, the octogenarian stove manufacturer of London, who will be eighty-seven on the second day of the new year. Any business day in the year one may see this sturdy, well-preserved old gentleman drive up to the door of the McClary Manufacturing Company’s office in a big automobile and, alighting from it, climb the stairs to his private room with astonishing agility for a person of his years. He invariably make a personal inspection of the city plant each morning, walking through all the departments, examining the machinery, exchanging a few words here and there with the workmen and otherwise taking a keen interest in what is going on. His connection with the McClary Co. is by no means perfunctory. He is still its president in a very real sense and exercises all the prerogatives of the office.
A strict adherence to a prescribed routine of life is one of John McClary’s outstanding characteristics. He comes and goes with the precision of a clock and, indeed, some would have it that certain members of the office staff have a way of setting their time-pieces by the movements of the president. He does not now work long hours but he is always on hand from nine to eleven in the morning and from one-thirty to three in the afternoon. For the rest, he is to be found at home for the most part, where he eats, sleeps, and indulges in a few harmless pastimes, such as reading newspapers and playing whist. For newspapers he has a great predilection and he subscribes to daily papers from all parts of the country, so that he may inform himself on what is afoot from coast to coast.
TT is easy to gain access to John McI Clary. It is not hard to get him to talk on such a favorite theme, say, as transportation. But to draw from him information about himself is a much more difficult undertaking. He is averse to that sort of publicity. In this he is not unlike his famous Montreal contemporary, Sir William Macdonald. Sir William is not as old as Mr. McClary by two years, but he is even more reticent. He not only dislikes publicity but he takes all possible steps to prevent it. What the public knows about him, and it really amounts to very
little, has only been got by a species of detective work.
Yet Sir William Macdonald, for these very reasons, is probably the most interesting of all Canadian octogenarians. He has not only immense wealth to give him a claim on popular attention, but his appearance, his habits and his peculiar benefactions are such as to awaken curiosity. As is generally known, Sir William has made a gigantic fortune out of the manufacture of tobacco, a business in which he first embarked during the civil war in the United States. Up to a few years ago he conducted this business in what may almost be described as the most primitive way. That is to say, he adhered to oldfashioned methods, abjured telephones and typewriters and transacted business in a dingy, ill-furnished office, up a steep and narrow flight of stairs. To this office he was accustomed to drive in an old-fashioned, one-horse coupé, with absolutely no pretensions to knightly style.
More recently, however, Sir William has made some concessions to the proprieties. He has relinquished the old offices and has moved into much finer premises in one of the newer office buildings in the city. He has at last succumbed to the telephone and typewriter. He has spruced up his equipage. But for himself, he adheres to his former simple and unpretentious garb. He is still the same small, frail, bent figure that used to mount the stairs to the old offices in the olden days.
There are two things for which Sir William is famous. One is his immense holdings of bank stocks, the other his oNncely benefactions to McGill University and those other educational institutions with which his name is connected. He has been importuned many times to contribute to other organizations but so far as is known he has confined his munificence to these bodies. How or why he first became interested in the university, nobody knows. His other educational gifts were made very largely at the instance of Prof. J. W.
Robertson, who seems to have been able to exercise a good deal of influence over him. Apart from this, Sir William has no hobbies and no social ties. He has never married and he lives very largely the life of a recluse.
IN somewhat striking contrast to Sir William Macdonald may be placed another octogenarian knight, Sir James Grant, of Ottawa, who, it happens, was born in the very same year as the famous tobacco manufacturer. Sir James is quite the reverse of Sir William in that he has no objections to being interviewed and rather delights in expressing his views on public questions and relating his reminiscences to sympathetic auditors. For Sir James has had an unusually interesting career. Himself a physician and the son of a physician, he became, during the régime of Lord Monck, the official medical attendant on the viceregal household, a position which he filled until 1905, when he was named honorary physician. Having lived in Ottawa for over sixty years and having been in such intimate touch with successive Governors-General, not to speak of a long succession of public men, his mind is stored with an abundance of highly interesting anecdotal material.
Readers of the daily press may possibly recall certain despatches last summer
from Algonquin Park which referred to Sir James’ activities. He was reported to be indulging in all manner of outdoor
sports with the sprightliness of a youth and to have expressed his belief that by adopting proper habits of health, a man could easily reach the century mark. Just what his views on the subject really are, is to be found summed up in the following code of health which is certainly not out of place in an article on the activities of Canadian octogenarians.
“To live long,” advises Sir James,, “one should avoid alcohol and tobacco and live lightly on food. Take a moderate degree of exercise, chiefly in walking daily. Pay special attention to the skin, keeping up perfect reflex action by brushing the entire body, each morning, for five minutes, with a flesh brush soaked in ordinary water, which sends a current of skin nerve power, reflex action, to the entire interior of the system, connecting the outside and inside nerve structure. Take a rest of half an hour each day after lunch to relieve the heart of the exhaustion resulting from pumping blood uphill for hours, on active duty. The brain, like the stomach, requires a change of diet from heavy tolight literature to promote the highest degree of mental activity and the duration of such into a good old age. Rest to the nerve centres is a source of power truly remarkable. Avoid too much riding in motors which tends to lessen and not in( Continued on page 78.)
Continued on Page 44.
crease normal muscular power and shorten life. Avoid late hours and have a window open at night for a supply of fresh air. Take meat as an article of diet, once daily and avoid mustard, pepper, and pickles. Water should be taken before or after meals, so as not to lessen vigorous digestive power. Never overtax digestion by hurried meals.”
Sir James Grant at eighty-four is still a splendid specimen of prolonged vitality and a good example of the application of his own theories of health. He continues to practise his profession with vigor and enthusiasm. More than that he retains his interest in public affairs, an interest which began when he entered Parliament in 1867 and which reached its zenith when he was called upon by Sir John Macdonald to introduce the legislation that brought the Canadian Pacific Railway into existence. Even yet he is a constant attendant, as an onlooker, at debates in the House and he is ever ready to give public men the benefit of his advice and suggestions on questions of current interest.
THE capital would evidently seem to be a city conducive to longevity, for in addition to Sir James Grant and J. R. Booth, it is the home of at least two other octogenarians of more than local celebrity. One is Sir Henry Bate, chairman of the Ottawa Improvement Commission; the other Collingwood Schreiber, general consulting engineer to the Government. Sir Henry, who was born in Cornwall, England, eighty-six years ago, and who has been a resident of Ottawa for sixty-two years, is quite as vigorous an old gentleman as any of his octogenarian contemporaries. He continues to take an active interest in the wholesale grocery business, with which his name has been associated for many years, and, while the management has of late devolved largely on his
sons, he is still to be reckoned with as a guiding force in its affairs. More than that his work on the Government Commission, which has in charge the beautification of the capital, absorbs much of his attention and to this most praiseworthy object he is devoting his best energies.
Sir Henry is reputedly a very wealthy man and according to public report, he has made most of his money in real estate. Buying vacant land years ago when Ottawa was a small town, he has seen his property increase in value many times over, until to-day he is probably the most extensive landlord in the city, with immensely valuable real estate holdings.
' I ' HE fourth of the Ottawa octogen-.
arians, Collingwood Schreiber, is also an Englishman by birth, though he is two years younger than Sir Henry. He, too, came to this country about the middle of last century and immediately entered upon that long association with railroad construction, which has lasted without a break to the present day. He began work on the railway between Toronto and Hamilton. He helped build several of the lines now included in the Grand Trunk System. He had charge of the engineering work on the Intercolonial. He superintended the construction of the Canadian Pacific. As chief engineer of the Department of Railways and Canals he supervised the plans for the building of sections of what is now the Canadian Northern System. Since 1905 he has devoted his energies to inspecting the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific. In short, for over sixty years, Collingwood Schreiber has been actively in touch with the railway development of the Dominion.
Only the other day the daily press announced that this veteran engineer was about to start out once more on his annual inspection trip over the line of the Grand Trunk Pacific to Prince Rupert. With the
practical completion of the road, the journey offered fewer hardships than would have had to be endured in by-gone years. It was made in marked contrast to earlier experiences when there was much tramping over rough ground, fording icy streams and camping out in all kinds of weather. But even so, a trip to the coast and back for one of his years is an achievement not to be lightly dismissed.
During the rest of the year, Mr. Schreiber is to be found every day at his office in the Department of Railways, both morning and afternoon. He customarily walks both ways between his home and the buildings, his step light, his motion rapid, his body upright. His has been an iron physique and in his prime he was capable of enduring great strain. Much of this strength he still retains and, by living a simple and abstemious life, is conserving it well.
His great delight, apart from his office work, is in his garden, where he spends all his spare time in summer. Here he cultivates flowers and vegetables with his own hand, taking keen pleasure in seeing that his friends are well supplied with both. He is also a good shot and enjoys duck shooting when occasion offers. There is absolutely nothing of the faddist about him, however. He has no pet rules of health and believes in living a commonsense sort of life.
SO far in the record, it would seem as if all the octogenarians of prominence in the country were men of business affairs. Seeing, however, that the judiciary is customarily associated with grey hairs, one might naturally suppose that among the country’s judges several venerable figures would be found. Oddly enough such is not the case. There is presumably only one judge in Canada, still on the bench, who is over eighty years of age. He is Mr. Justice Britton of the King’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of Ontario, who is now in his eighty-third year.
Judge Britton, who has been on the bench for fourteen years, was before that member of Parliament for the city of Kingston, and a figure of some importance in the Liberal party. He had been prominent as a criminal lawyer and had had a place on various governmental commissions, so that his name was tolerably well known throughout Canada. Since becoming a judge he has resided in Toronto, where he lives very quietly, devoting himself assiduously to the work of the court and to the administration of his own property.
He is reputedly a millionaire and is certainly the largest private investor in municipal bonds in Toronto, if not in Canada. Gifted with great shrewdness, extremely cautious, he buys only the best that offer and these at the most favorable prices. He is really a specialist in bond investments and studies the affairs of the cities and towns making the issues with a minuteness of detail that constitutes him an authority on their values. A purchase by Judge Britton always means a mark in favor of the municipality he patronizes.
As a judge, lawyers are always glad to have him try cases in which questions of business or finance enter. They know j that he will bring to bear on them a mind
trained in business affairs. In commercial law, he is reputedly extremely well versed. His judicial work, of course, necessitates his going on circuit and he travels about from county town to county town with quite as much energy and enthusiasm as any of his younger colleagues. Altogether he is a very good example of the active octogenarian.
\T ET another interesting instance of JL continued activity in a man well over the four-score mark is afforded by a gentleman known in wholesale grocery and provision circles from coast to coast as the Grand Old Man of the canning industry—W. P. Innes, of Simcoe, Ontario, Canada’s first successful canner and today an active member of the board of the Dominion Canners, Limited. To describe him as an exceedingly well preserved man for his years might be to lay oneself open to an accusation of punning, but the statement can be made just the same in all seriousness. For a man who will never see his eighty-second birthday again, Mr. Innes is a remarkably young-looking man. He is still a worker, and a steady worker at that, and his journeyings to and fro between the head office of the company in Hamilton and his home in Simcoe, would be enough to take it out of many a younger person.
Like a good many others who have survived the strain of middle life in this country and have reached a hale and hearty old age, Mr. Innes is of Scottish birth. Somehow there seems to be a something in the constitution and habits of the Scotsman to conduce to longevity and in men of the Innes type, the truth of the statement is well illustrated. He came to Canada from Scotland in 1857 and, after engaging in a wide variety of pursuits, began experimenting with the canning industry, then a novelty, in 1881. Nearly ever since he has made it his principal interest. In a very real sense he has been the pioneer of the industry in the Dominion and he was the first man to make a success of what has never been other than a most uncertain and capricious undertaking. When he joined a number of his competitors in 1903 in the formation of the Canadian Canners’ Limited, he was by far the largest operator in the country with widespread interests and heavy responsibilities.
Mr. Innes was asked recently to disclose the secret of his vigorous health.
“There are two rules of life, to the observance of which I attribute such health and strength as I enjoy to-day.” said he. “You will have observed how the farmer thinks the only way to spend old age happily is to sell out and go and live in the city. The city man on the other hand has as his ideal a place in the country to which he can retire after he has made his pile. Both have the wrong idea. To keep well and strong, we must continue to busy ourselves at the work for which we are best fitted. That’s my first rule. Though I’m no longer actively engaged in the management of the canning factory in Simcoe, I’m there every day, ready to give advice and assistance when needed. Besides that I have numerous private interests to look after which keeps me busy. (Note all my farms are rented).
“My second rule of health is to obliterate business entirely from the seventh day of the week and make it absolutely a day of rest. A man can’t keep on working Seven days a week with impunity. I must admit that sometimes I’ve found it hard to drive out thoughts of business from my mind on Sunday, but I’ve set myself rigidly to do it and I’ve succeeded. For as long as I’ve been in business, though I’ve often had occasion to work right up to the Sabbath day, I’ve never gone into my office on Sunday even to write a letter. I know for certain that observance of this rule has been of great physical benefit.”
Naturally in his line of business Mr. Innes has spent a good deal of time in the open. He has always been fond of walking and in his time has covered long distances on foot. Apart from that he has not had an opportunity to participate in sports or exercise. “I’ve taken my enjoyment out of my business,” says he. “My work has been my hobby.”
Fellow directors in the Dominion Canners, who are very proud of their colleague, sometimes tell how at meetings which are protracted to a late hour at night, Mr. Innes will shame them all by his display of energy. When others begin yawning and suggest it is time to retire, he invariably becomes more wide-awake and urges them on to continued application to the business in hand.
r I ' HOUGH not yet quite eighty, Dr.
Briggs, the book steward of the Methodist Church, is so near the fourscore mark that he might not inappropriately be included in the list of active octogenarians. The doctor is still in such vigorous health and is so devoted to his work, that he actually hates to have any reference made to his age, for fear that some people might think him too old for the position. And yet he need surely have no apprehension on that score. There is no abler business man in Canada than Dr. Briggs and the way he is managing the big establishment placed under his control is abundant testimony to his genius for administration.
During the past summer the Methodist Book and Publishing Co. have moved into a palatial new building, which was erected very largely under the inspiration of this all-but-octogenarian clerical business man. In the new building, there is much furniture and decoration in keeping with the splendor of the new quarters, but it is characteristic of the man that Dr. Briggs’ room contains the same plain old furnishings that he used before. He has insisted on sticking to the antiquated desk at which his predecessor worked in the sixties and seventies of last century.
Dr. Briggs possesses a strong constitution. He has known very little ill-health. If he has any rules for keeping himself in condition, he never parades them. Indeed, he pooh-poohs most of the panaceas that the present generation are constantly recommending. When, in the days of his greatest activity, he heard ministers complaining about their Monday exhaustion and saying that they were good for nothing after their Sunday labors, he would rally them on their effeminacy and tell them how he had traveled so many miles and preached so many sermons on Sunday
and was ready for his week’s work again bright and early Monday morning.
If anything has contributed to the doctor’s sound state of health, it is the orderliness of his habits and the steadiness of his application. He almost always walks to his office, a distance of about a mile. He invariably takes a rest after lunch. In his office he has a lounge on which he can recline when he feels tired. At night he gets in a good long sleep. So much for his regimen. In his work, his mind acts deliberately. He does not pride himself on quick decisions but tackles a problem slowly and thoughtfully. In this way the nerve tension is relaxed and he conserves his strength.
It is said that Dr. Briggs has only had one holiday. Folowing a period of illhealth he was voted an honorarium of $500, so that he could indulge in a visit to his native sod. He took the trip, but not contriving to spend the whole sum, returned the balance to the treasury on his arrival home. A year ago, he was persuaded to take an afternoon off in order to witness a bowling tournament. As he was leaving his office, he called out in his jesting way, to the staff, “Good-by, I’m off on my holidays; will be back—in the morning.” So, here again, we have a man whose work is his hobby and whose remarkable health and strength are obviously, in part at least, attributable to his deep immersion in his business.
'T'HERE are at least two octogenarians in Halifax, who are affording their fellow-citizens encouraging examples of continued application to the day’s work. Sir Malachy Daly, who was long a member of the House of Commons and thereafter for two terms Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, is to-day senior partner of the insurance firm of Daly & Corbett. He continues to walk to his office every day, when the weather permits, and takes a very active interest in supervising the transaction of the firm’s business. A kindly and lovable old gentleman is Sir Malachy, polished in manner, gentle and unassuming in bearing. He has had a long and honored career and is very highly respected in the community.
Sir Malachy is well on in his eightieth year. A few months his senior is Wiley Smith, head of the wholesale grocery firm of A. & W. Smith & Co.; president of the Acadia Sugar Refining Co., and a director of the Royal Bank. Mr. Smith is one of the wealthiest citizens of Halifax and is still intensely active. Not a day passes but he is at the general offices of the refinery, digging into the accounts, attending to correspondence and otherwise keeping a hand and eye on every item of business.
But the list narrows down. There are several other octogenarians in Canada, who might be mentioned, but either because their fame is merely local or they have retired either in part or altogether from active affairs, they are hardly to be classed with the veterans already referred to. Enough, however has been said to show that the country possesses a surprising number of men of eighty years and upwards, who are still engaged vigorously in doing the day’s work.