I read this piece in a chapter called, "The Art of Keeping Well," and thought it was interesting. and I like his humble way giving credit where credit is due.
"General Neal Dow, when ninety years old, rose daily at five o'clock, and took three-mile walk every morning "to keep the bloom of youth upon his cheeks."
Not lone before his death, General Dow wrote the author the following letter: --
Yours of the 12th inst. asking me to give you the secret of a long and happy life, is at hand, and I have only time for a few words. I came of strong stock on my father's side. He was hardly sick a day in his life of nearly ninety-five years. His father died at eighty-five, his grandfather at a very advanced age, and his grandmother at on hundred and two, in full possession of all her mental powers, and physically active up to the day before she died, as I have been told.
Industry, frugality, and temperance, through several generations, distinctly impressed their effect upon the physical characteristics of the family. I inherited a good constitution, robust health, bodily activity, a fondness for all athletic exercises, in which I was generally equal to my schoolfellows, and afterwards to the young men of my acquaintance. This inherited tendency to long life has undoubtedly been strengthened by my own regular and temperate habits, and perhaps more yet by my keeping myself constantly employed. When not otherwise engaged, reading has been my chief delight, so that I have never known an idle moment, and time, therefore, has never hung heavy on my hands. Nature has no room for uselessness; and, all other things being equal, a life conscious of usefulness is likely to be long, as it is sure to be happy." Neal Dow.
Orison Swett Marden, The Secret of Achievement; picture from the internet.
Neal Dow (1804-1897)
Neal Dow was a Union soldier and an ardent temperance reformer. Before the Civil War, as Mayor of Portland, he drafted the "Maine Law" to drive the illegal liquor trade from the city. During the Civil War he was Colonel of the 13th Maine and then promoted to Brigadier General, Volunteers. He was twice wounded at the Battle of Port Hudson and while recovering, he was captured and spent eight months in Libby Prison.