S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction, convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable.
This portable quality of good-humour seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with, in such a manner that there are no moments lost, but they all pass with so much satisfaction that the heaviest of loads (when it is a load), that of time, is never felt by us. Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and communicates it whenever he appears. The sad, the merry, the severe, the melancholy, show a new cheerfulness when he comes among them. At the same time, no one can repeat anything that Varilas has ever said that deserves repetition; but the man has that innate goodness of temper that he is welcome to everybody; because every man thinks he is so to him. He does not seem to contribute anything to the mirth of the company; and yet upon reflection you find it all happened by his being there.
People are not aware of the very great force which pleasantry in company has upon all those with whom a man of that talent converses. His faults are generally overlooked by all his acquaintance; and a certain carelessness that constantly attends all his actions carries him on with greater success than diligence and assiduity does others who have no share of this endowment.
The words good-humour, bad-humour, humorous, and the like, rest altogether on a now exploded, but very old and widely-extended, theory of medicine, according to which there were four principal moistures or humours in the natural body, on the due proportion and combination of which the disposition alike of body and of mind depended.