Advice On Low Spirits.

By Alison September 5, 2007 20 Comments 2 Min Read


“1st. Live as well as you dare.
2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75 or 80 degrees.
3rd. Amusing books.
4th. Short views of human life—not further than dinner or tea.
5th. Be as busy as you can.
6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8th. Make no secret of low spirits to you friends, but talk of them freely—they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.
10th. Compare your lot with that of other people.
11th. Don’t expect too much from human life—a sorry business at the best.
12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.
13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.
14th Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.
15th. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.
16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness.
17th. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.
18th. Keep good blazing fires.
19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.
20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana.”

So said Sydney smith to one Lady Morpeth back in 1820. How astonishing then, that modern day cures for misery, minor heartbreak or "low spirits"  are so very similar, almost 200 years later.

Last night Mr Bangers and Mash  declared our two month old relationship kaput (I’m not very good at this game am I?), issuing an exit speech that made me laugh and made me cry and eventually found us drinking coffee together two and a half hours later, holding hands and trying to ignore the fact that begging him (He is lovely, gentle and funny, with more morality in his little finger than I’ve got in my whole body. And he has a very desirable roll-top bath and understands html. Whats not to like?) not to abandon me, complete with obligatory snotty nose, probably wasn’t my finest hour…

So today please forgive me for over-indulging in centuries old advice and a big tub of Bohemian Raspberry Ben and Jerries. Should you find me stalking the streets of this green and pleasant land, bear in mind that I am doing my best to be in "the open air without fatigue" before returning to my humble abode to make the room where I "commonly sit" gay and pleasant…

I don’t know what was troubling  Sydneys friend Lady Morpeth,  but better advice she could not have receieved.


  1. Ali says:

    Oh chicka…don't know what to say except, keep your heart open to love and it will find you. Eventually.
    Ali x

  2. Sue says:

    Ah, so sorry to hear of your heart ache. Your post is perfectly timed for your situation. I wish you all the best for love and happiness in the future.

  3. Gena says:

    Oh! what a shame! but I have to say….its his loss! roll top bath or not, the man must be insane to let you

  4. Naomi Dunford says:

    I just wanted to write and say that Brocante Home Chronicles has gotten me out of many a low spirit. Wishing you tubs full of Ben & Jerry's and a heart that heals soon.
    Oh, and I second Gena's opinion. Although you're right – the html thing will be a loss.

  5. Jeanne says:

    I'd offer you condolences but, according to number 12 you're not allowed to communicate with me right now.
    (Anyway – I do hope you see your way through this with the least amount of misery…I'm not qualified to advise since I'd be just as moist about the matter.)

  6. Rachael says:

    I'm sorry. Take Care – Rachaelxo

  7. La Chouette says:

    Pauvre petite (poor little one). So sorry your heart is broken. I admire you: you manage to write very nice things about this man… His loss, his loss.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Sorry, Alison. I hope you feel better soon and that the next lucky man has an even better bath.

  9. a gud blog with lots of colours and pics . i think you are atrue artist.

  10. karen hoida says:

    What a fun time I had looking at all of your blog goodies!! You are a keeper!!
    Thanks for the smiles and inspiration.

  11. Rhian Dennis says:

    So sorry Alison, definately his loss though. Keep smiling hun, xxx

  12. Lynda says:

    Hon, there's no such thing as being "good at relationships". It's all learning…
    Number 16 is a good one. Big hugs!

  13. Oh Alison I am sorry. However, I feel there is a very nice chappy out there for you…perhaps with a double roll top bath and fully up and running web design business? Hang on in there me dear, you are very gracious in your heart ache.

  14. Heather T. says:

    Poop! Well as I always say – you aren't living if you aren't risking your heart.

  15. Sharon S says:

    Thank you Alison for finding this treasure of a letter then sharing with us. I certainly need this now, too. Thank you, sweet friend that I've never met.

  16. gardengoose says:

    ahh so very sorry Alison. keep your chin up. always love visiting your blog.

  17. If you look at it as a years worth of perspective, it's amazing how you've changed, grown, know more about yourself… You are so darling to read. Isn't maddening that we can't inspire ourselves?? Blessings… Polly

  18. Jennifer says:

    Sorry to hear that Alison, but alas, love can be fickle… and you are more than deserving of that pint of Ben & Jerry's… I love your blog and you INSPIRE me everytime you write…

  19. Andie says:

    Oh, Allison, you dear sweet poppet! As Lynda said, NO one's really very good at relationships…but YOU my dear, ARE very good period! In my book that trumps EVERYTHING! :o) Go on luv, enjoy your Ben and Jerry's….even truncate it with warm, gooey fudge brownies if you must. But please do know that this too shall pass….likely eased on ever-so-graciously by the juciest hunk of man-beast known to woman! ;o)

  20. farmlife4014 says:

    I am sorry about the fella. But he wasn't THE ONE. Hold on…I'm sure the right man is on his way!
    I liked the "low spirits" advice so much I copied it and put it on my blog site…giving credit to you for finding it and to Sydney Smith for writing it. I hope you don't mind. Good advice is getting harder to come by these days and I thought this was VERY good advice.
    Thank you, Allison for finding gems like this to share..
    God bless.

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