Gateway to the Classics: American History Stories, Volume III by Mara L. Pratt
American History Stories, Volume III by  Mara L. Pratt

Evils of Early Rising

I am sure you will be glad to hear that there was one "great man" who enjoyed a morning nap as much as you and I do; and that he enjoyed a good joke at the expense of a certain other "great man" who was as fond of "rising with the lark" as the first man was of sleeping soundly.

John Quincy Adams was an enthusiastic advocate of early rising. He practiced it from boyhood, and attributed to it his good health, and physical vigor in old age. Judge Story, who was an intimate friend, loved dearly a good morning nap, and their opposite opinions often gave rise to sharp and witty discussions.

On one occasion, the judge invited the ex-President to talk to the students of his Law School, and Mr. Adams made interesting remarks, touching, among other topics, on his favorite theme of early rising. The Judge then delivered his usual lecture.

The afternoon was hot, and the lecture-room close. Towards the close of the lecture, he noticed that the class were nodding to each other and smiling. Looking first on his right hand and then on his left, he discovered the secret of their merriment. The distinguished visitor was asleep and nodding! He could not resist the temptation to add a postscript to his lecture. "Young gentlemen, I call your attention to the visible proof of the evils of early rising."

The loud laugh that followed awoke the gentleman, but he did not understand the joke that caused it.

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