RESTRICTED TO PROSE
HENRY CABOT LODGE
FRANCIS W. HALSEY
With an Introduction, Biographical and Explanatory Notes, etc.
IN TEN VOLUMES
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
NEW YORK AND LONDON
COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
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The Best of the World's Classics
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Page HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW—(Born in 1807, died in 1882.) Musings in Pere Lachaise. (From "Outre-Mer") 3
EDGAR ALLAN POE—(Born in 1809, died in 1849.) I The Cask of Amontillado. (Published originally in Godey's Magazine in 1846) 11 II Of Hawthorne and the Short Story. (From a review of Hawthorne's "Twice Told Tales" and "Mosses from an Old Manse" published in Godey's Magazine in 1846) 19 III Of Willis, Bryant, Halleck and Macaulay. (Passages selected from articles printed in Volume II of the "Works of Poe") 25
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES—(Born in 1809, died in 1894.) I Of Doctors, Lawyers and Ministers. (From Chapter V of "The Poet at the Breakfast Table") 31 II Of the Genius of Emerson. (From an address before the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1882) 36 III The House in Which the Professor Lived. (From Part X of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table") 42 IV Of Women Who Put on Airs. (From Part XI of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table") 49
MARGARET FULLER—(Born in 1810, lost in a shipwreck off Fire Island in 1850.) I Her Visit to George Sand. (From a letter to Elizabeth Hoar) 52 II Two Glimpses of Carlyle. (From a letter to Emerson) 54
HORACE GREELEY—(Born in 1811, died in 1872.) The Fatality of Self-Seeking in Editors and Authors. (Printed with the "Miscellanies" in the "Recollections of a Busy Life") 58
JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY—(Born in 1814, died in 1877.) I Charles V and Philip II in Brussels. (From Chapter I of "The Rise of the Dutch Republic") 63 II The Arrival of the Spanish Armada. (From Chapter XIX of the "History of the United Netherlands") 74 III "The Spanish Fury." (From Part IV, Chapter V, of "The Rise of the Dutch Republic") 84
RICHARD HENRY DANA, THE YOUNGER—(Born in 1815, died in 1882.) A Fierce Gale under a Clear Sky. (From "Two Years Before the Mast") 93
HENRY DAVID THOREAU—(Born in 1817, died in 1862.) I The Building of His House at Walden Pond. (From Chapter I of "Walden, or, Life in the Woods") 99 II How to Make Two Small Ends Meet. (From Chapters I and II of "Walden") 103 III On Reading the Ancient Classics. (From Chapter III of "Walden") 115 IV Of Society and Solitude. (From Chapter IV of "Walden") 120
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL—(Born in 1819, died in 1891.) I The Poet as Prophet. (From an essay contributed to The Pioneer in 1843) 125 II The First of the Moderns. (From the first essay in the first series, entitled "Among My Books") 129 III Of Faults Found in Shakespeare. (From the essay entitled "Shakespeare Once More," printed in the first series entitled "Among My Books") 133 IV Americans as Successors of the Dutch. (From the essay entitled "On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners," printed in "From My Study Window") 138
CHARLES A. DANA—(Born in 1819, died in 1897.) Greeley as a Man of Genius. (From an article printed in the New York Sun, December 5, 1872) 146
JAMES PARTON—(Born in 1822, died in 1891.) Aaron Burr and Madame Jumel. (From his "Life of Burr") 150
FRANCIS PARKMAN—(Born in 1823, died in 1893.) I Champlain's Battle with the Iroquois. (From Chapter X of "The Pioneers of France in the New World") 157 II The Death of La Salle. (From Chapter XXV of "La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West") 161 III The Coming of Frontenac to Canada. (From Chapters I and II of "Count Frontenac and New France") 167 IV The Death of Isaac Jogues. (From Chapters XVI and XX of "The Jesuits in North America") 171 V Why New France Failed. (From the Introduction to "The Pioneers of France in the New World") 176 VI The Return of the Coureurs-de-Bois. (From Chapter XVIII of "The Old Regime in Canada") 179
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS—(Born in 1824, died in 1892.) Our Cousin the Curate. (From Chapter VII of "Prue and I") 183
ARTEMUS WARD—(Born in 1824, died in 1867.) Forrest as Othello. (From "Artemus Ward, His Book") 191
THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH—(Born in 1836, died in 1908.) I A Sunrise in Stillwater. (From Chapter I of "The Stillwater Tragedy") 195 II The Fight at Slatter's Hill. (From Chapter XIII of "The Story of a Bad Boy") 198 III On Returning from Europe. (From Chapter IX of "From Ponkapog to Pesth") 204
WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS—(Born in 1837.) To Albany by the Night Boat. (From Chapter III of "The Wedding Journey") 207
JOHN HAY—(Born in 1838, died in 1905.) Lincoln's Early Fame. (From Volume X, Chapter XVIII of "Abraham Lincoln, A History") 211
HENRY ADAMS—(Born in 1838.) Jefferson's Retirement. (From the "History of the United States") 219
BRET HARTE—(Born in 1839, died in 1902.) I Peggy Moffat's Inheritance. (From "The Twins of Table Mountain") 224 II John Chinaman. (From "The Luck of Roaring Camp") 236 III M'liss Goes to School. (From "M'liss," one of the stories in "The Luck of Roaring Camp") 240
HENRY JAMES—(Born in 1843.) I Among the Malvern Hills. (From "A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales") 246 II Turgeneff's World. (From "French Poets and Novelists") 252
INDEX TO THE TEN VOLUMES 255
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HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
Born in 1807, died in 1882; graduated from Bowdoin in 1825; traveled in Europe in 1826-29; professor at Bowdoin in 1829-35; again visited Europe in 1835-86; professor at Harvard in 1836-54; published "Voices of the Night" in 1839, "Evangeline" in 1847, "Hiawatha" in 1855, "Miles Standish" in 1858; "Tales of a Wayside Inn" in 1863, a translation of Dante in 1867-70, "The Divine Tragedy" in 1871, and many other volumes of verse; his prose writings include "Outre-Mer," published in 1835, and two novels, "Hyperion," published in 1839, and "Kavanagh," in 1849.
MUSINGS IN PERE LACHAISE
The cemetery of Pere Lachaise is the Westminster Abbey of Paris. Both are the dwellings of the dead; but in one they repose in green alleys and beneath the open sky—in the other their resting place is in the shadowy aisle and beneath the dim arches of an ancient abbey. One is a temple of nature; the other a temple of art. In one the soft melancholy of the scene is rendered still more touching by the warble of birds and the shade of trees, and the grave receives the gentle visit of the sunshine and the shower: in the other no sound but the passing footfall breaks the silence of the place; the twilight steals in through high and dusky windows; and the damps of the gloomy vault lie heavy on the heart, and leave their stain upon the moldering tracery of the tomb.
[Footnote 1: From "Outre-Mer."]
Pere Lachaise stands just beyond the Barriere d'Aulney, on a hillside looking toward the city. Numerous gravel walks, winding through shady avenues and between marble monuments, lead up from the principal entrance to a chapel on the summit. There is hardly a grave that has not its little enclosure planted with shrubbery, and a thick mass of foliage half conceals each funeral stone. The sighing of the wind, as the branches rise and fall upon it—the occasional note of a bird among the trees, and the shifting of light and shade upon the tombs beneath have a soothing effect upon the mind; and I doubt whether any one can enter that enclosure, where repose the dust and ashes of so many great and good men, without feeling the religion of the place steal over him, and seeing something of the dark and gloomy expression pass off from the stern countenance of Death.
It was near the close of a bright summer afternoon that I visited this celebrated spot for the first time. The first object that arrested my attention on entering was a monument in the form of a small Gothic chapel which stands near the entrance, in the avenue leading to the right hand. On the marble couch within are stretched two figures, carved in stone and drest in the antique garb of the Middle Ages. It is the tomb of Abelard and Heloise. The history of these two unfortunate lovers is too well known to need recapitulation; but perhaps it is not so well known how often their ashes were disturbed in the slumber of the grave. Abelard died in the monastery of St. Marcel, and was buried in the vaults of the church. His body was afterward removed to the convent of the Paraclete, at the request of Heloise, and at her death her body was deposited in the same tomb. Three centuries they reposed together; after which they were separated to different sides of the church, to calm the delicate scruples of the lady abbess of the convent. More than a century afterward they were again united in the same tomb; and when at length the Paraclete was destroyed, their moldering remains were transported to the church of Nogent-sur-Seine. They were next deposited in an ancient cloister at Paris, and now repose near the gateway of the cemetery of Pere Lachaise. What a singular destiny was theirs! that, after a life of such passionate and disastrous love—such sorrows, and tears, and penitence—their very dust should not be suffered to rest quietly in the grave!—that their death should so much resemble their life in its changes and vicissitudes, its partings and its meetings, its inquietudes and its persecutions!—that mistaken zeal should follow them down to the very tomb—as if earthly passion could glimmer, like a funeral lamp, amid the damps of the charnel house, and "even in their ashes burn their wonted fires"!
As I gazed on the sculptured forms before me, and the little chapel whose Gothic roof seemed to protect their marble sleep, my busy memory swung back the dark portals of the past, and the picture of their sad and eventful lives came up before me in the gloomy distance. What a lesson for those who are endowed with the fatal gift of genius! It would seem, indeed, that He who "tempers the wind to the shorn lamb" tempers also His chastisements to the errors and infirmities of a weak and simple mind—while the transgressions of him upon whose nature are more strongly marked the intellectual attributes of the Deity are followed, even upon earth, by severer tokens of the Divine displeasure. He who sins in the darkness of a benighted intellect sees not so clearly, through the shadows that surround him, the countenance of an offended God; but he who sins in the broad noonday of a clear and radiant mind, when at length the delirium of sensual passion has subsided and the cloud flits away from before the sun, trembles beneath the searching eye of that accusing Power which is strong in the strength of a godlike intellect. Thus the mind and the heart are closely linked together, and the errors of genius bear with them their own chastisement, even upon earth. The history of Abelard and Heloise is an illustration of this truth. But at length they sleep well. Their lives are like a tale that is told; their errors are "folded up like a book"; and what mortal hand shall break the seal that death has set upon them?
Leaving this interesting tomb behind me, I took a pathway to the left, which conducted me up the hillside. I soon found myself in the deep shade of heavy foliage, where the branches of the yew and willow mingled, interwoven with the tendrils and blossoms of the honeysuckle. I now stood in the most populous part of this city of tombs. Every step awakened a new train of thrilling recollections, for at every step my eye caught the name of some one whose glory had exalted the character of his native land and resounded across the waters of the Atlantic. Philosophers, historians, musicians, warriors, and poets slept side by side around me; some beneath the gorgeous monument, and some beneath the simple headstone. But the political intrigue, the dream of science, the historical research, the ravishing harmony of sound, the tried courage, the inspiration of the lyre—where are they? With the living, and not with the dead! The right hand has lost its cunning in the grave; but the soul, whose high volitions it obeyed, still lives to reproduce itself in ages yet to come.
Amid these graves of genius I observed here and there a splendid monument, which had been raised by the pride of family over the dust of men who could lay no claim either to the gratitude or remembrance of posterity. Their presence seemed like an intrusion into the sanctuary of genius. What had wealth to do there? Why should it crowd the dust of the great? That was no thoroughfare of business—no mart of gain! There were no costly banquets there; no silken garments, nor gaudy liveries, nor obsequious attendants! "What servants," says Jeremy Taylor, "shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? what friends to visit us? what officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funerals?" Material wealth gives a factitious superiority to the living, but the treasures of intellect give a real superiority to the dead; and the rich man, who would not deign to walk the street with the starving and penniless man of genius, deems it an honor, when death has redeemed the fame of the neglected, to have his ashes laid beside him, and to claim with him the silent companionship of the grave.
I continued my walk through the numerous winding paths, as chance or curiosity directed me. Now I was lost in a little green hollow overhung with thick-leaved shrubbery, and then came out upon an elevation, from which, through an opening in the trees, the eye caught glimpses of the city, and the little esplanade at the foot of the hill where the poor lie buried. There poverty hires its grave and takes but a short lease of the narrow house. At the end of a few months, or at most of a few years, the tenant is dislodged to give place to another, and he in turn to a third. "Who," says Sir Thomas Browne, "knows the fate of his bones, or how often he is to be buried? Who hath the oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be scattered?"
Yet even in that neglected corner the hand of affection had been busy in decorating the hired house. Most of the graves were surrounded with a slight wooden paling, to secure them from the passing footstep; there was hardly one so deserted as not to be marked with its little wooden cross and decorated with a garland of flowers; and here and there I could perceive a solitary mourner, clothed in black, stooping to plant a shrub on the grave, or sitting in motionless sorrow beside it.
As I passed on amid the shadowy avenues of the cemetery, I could not help comparing my own impressions with those which others have felt when walking alone among the dwellings of the dead. Are, then, the sculptured urn and storied monument nothing more than symbols of family pride? Is all I see around me a memorial of the living more than of the dead, an empty show of sorrow, which thus vaunts itself in mournful pageant and funeral parade? Is it indeed true, as some have said, that the simple wild flower which springs spontaneously upon the grave, and the rose which the hand of affection plants there, are fitter objects wherewith to adorn the narrow house? No! I feel that it is not so! Let the good and the great be honored even in the grave. Let the sculptured marble direct our footsteps to the scene of their long sleep; let the chiseled epitaph repeat their names, and tell us where repose the nobly good and wise! It is not true that all are equal in the grave. There is no equality even there. The mere handful of dust and ashes, the mere distinction of prince and beggar, of a rich winding sheet and a shroudless burial, of a solitary grave and a family vault—were this all, then, indeed it would be true that death is a common leveler. Such paltry distinctions as those of wealth and poverty are soon leveled by the spade and mattock; the damp breath of the grave blots them out forever. But there are other distinctions which even the mace of death can not level or obliterate. Can it break down the distinction of virtue and vice? Can it confound the good with the bad? the noble with the base? all that is truly great, and pure, and godlike, with all that is scorned, and sinful, and degraded? No! Then death is not a common leveler!...
Before I left the graveyard the shades of evening had fallen, and the objects around me grown dim and indistinct. As I passed the gateway, I turned to take a parting look. I could distinguish only the chapel on the summit of the hill, and here and there a lofty obelisk of snow-white marble, rising from the black and heavy mass of foliage around, and pointing upward to the gleam of the departed sun, that still lingered in the sky, and mingled with the soft starlight of a summer evening.
EDGAR ALLAN POE
Born in 1809, died in 1849; his father and mother actors; adopted by John Allan of Richmond after his mother's death; educated in Richmond, in England, at the University of Virginia, and at West Point; published "Tamerlane" in 1827; settled in Baltimore and devoted himself to literature; editor of several magazines 1835-44; published "The Raven" in 1845, "Al Aaraaf" in 1829, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque" in 1840.
THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.
[Footnote 2: Published in Godey's Magazine in 1846.]
I said to him: "My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkable well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."
"How?" said he. "Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!"
"I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."
"I have my doubts—"
"And I must satisfy them."
"As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me—"
"Luchesi can not tell Amontillado from Sherry."
"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own."
"Come, let us go."
"To your vaults."
"My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi—"
"I have no engagement; come."
"My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with niter."
"Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he can not distinguish Sherry from Amontillado."
Thus speaking, Fortunato possest himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaure closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.
There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.
I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.
The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.
"The pipe," said he.
"It is farther on," said I; "but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls."
He turned toward me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication.
"Niter?" he asked, at length.
"Niter," I replied. "How long have you had that cough?"
"Ugh! ugh! ugh—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!"
My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.
"It is nothing," he said, at last.
"Come," I said, with decision, "we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I can not be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—"
"Enough," he said; "the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die."
"True—true," I replied; "and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily—but you should use all proper caution. A draft of this Medoc will defend us from the damps."
Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mold.
"Drink," I said, presenting him the wine.
He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.
"I drink," he said, "to the buried that repose around us."
"And I to your long life."
He again took my arm, and we proceeded.
"These vaults," he said, "are extensive."
"The Montresors," I replied, "were a great and numerous family."
"I forget your arms."
"A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel."
"And the motto?"
"Nemo me impune lacessit."
"Good!" he said.
The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.
"The niter!" I said; "see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough—"
"It is nothing," he said; "let us go on. But first, another draft of the Medoc."
I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upward with a gesticulation I did not understand.
I looked at him in surprize. He repeated the movement—a grotesque one.
"You do not comprehend!" he said.
"Not I," I replied.
"Then you are not of the brotherhood."
"You are not of the masons."
"Yes, yes," I said, "yes, yes."
"You? Impossible! A mason?"
"A mason," I replied.
"A sign," he said.
"It is this," I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaure.
"You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. "But let us proceed to the Amontillado."
"Be it so," I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak, and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the walls thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no special use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavored to pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.
"Proceed," I said, "herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi—"
"He is an ignoramus," interrupted my friend, as he stept unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stept back from the recess.
"Pass your hand," I said, "over the wall; you can not help feeling the niter. Indeed it is very damp. Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power."
"The Amontillado!" ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.
"True," I replied; "the Amontillado."
As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.
I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might harken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labors and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.
A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated—I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamored. I reechoed—I aided—I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamorer grew still.
It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said:
"Ha! ha! ha!—he! he!—a very good joke—indeed—an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo—he! he! he!—over our wine—he! he! he!"
"The Amontillado!" I said.
"He! he! he!—he! he! he!—yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will they not be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone."
"Yes," I said, "let us be gone."
"For the love of God, Montresor!"
"Yes," I said, "for the love of God!"
But to these words I harkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud: "Fortunato!"
No answer. I called again: "Fortunato!"
No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick—on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labor. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!
OF HAWTHORNE AND THE SHORT STORY
The reputation of the author of "Twice-Told Tales" has been confined, until very lately, to literary society; and I have not been wrong, perhaps, in citing him as the example, par excellence, in this country, of the privately admired and publicly-unappreciated man of genius. Within the last year or two, it is true, an occasional critic has been urged, by honest indignation, into very warm approval. Mr. Webber, for instance (than whom no one has a keener relish for that kind of writing which Mr. Hawthorne has best illustrated), gave us, in a late number of The American Review, a cordial and certainly a full tribute to his talents; and since the issue of the "Mosses from an Old Manse" criticisms of similar tone have been by no means infrequent in our more authoritative journals. I can call to mind few reviews of Hawthorne published before the "Mosses." One I remember in Arcturus (edited by Matthews and Duyckinck) for May, 1841; another in the American Monthly (edited by Hoffman and Herbert) for March, 1838; a third in the ninety-sixth number of The North American Review. These criticisms, however, seemed to have little effect on the popular taste—at least, if we are to form any idea of the popular taste by reference to its expression in the newspapers, or by the sale of the author's book. It was never the fashion (until lately) to speak of him in any summary of our best authors....
[Footnote 3: From a review of Hawthorne's "Twice Told Tales" and "Mosses from an Old Manse," published in Godey's Magazine in 1846. Except for an earlier notice by Longfellow in The North American Review, this was the first notable recognition Hawthorne's stories received from a contemporary critic.]
[Footnote 4: Charles Wilkens Webber, magazine writer and author of a dozen books now forgotten, was a native of Kentucky who settled in New York. In 1855 he joined William Walker in his filibustering expedition to Central America, and was killed in the battle of Rivas.]
[Footnote 5: Evert A. Duyckinck, joint editor with his brother of the "Cyclopedia of American Literature."]
[Footnote 6: Charles Fenno Hoffman, poet, novelist, and critic, was related to Mathilda Hoffman, the sweetheart of Washington Irving.]
Beyond doubt, this inappreciation of him on the part of the public arose chiefly from the two causes to which I have referred—from the facts that he is neither a man of wealth nor a quack; but these are insufficient to account for the whole effect. No small portion of it is attributable to the very marked idiosyncrasy of Mr. Hawthorne himself. In one sense, and in great measure, to be peculiar is to be original, and than the true originality there is no higher literary virtue. This true or commendable originality, however, implies not the uniform, but the continuous peculiarity—a peculiarity springing from ever-active vigor of fancy—better still if from ever-present force of imagination, giving its own hue, its own character to everything it touches, and, especially, self-impelled to touch everything....
The pieces in the volumes entitled "Twice-Told Tales" are now in their third republication, and, of course, are thrice-told. Moreover, they are by no means all tales, either in the ordinary or in the legitimate understanding of the term. Many of them are pure essays. Of the Essays I must be content to speak in brief. They are each and all beautiful, without being characterized by the polish and adaptation so visible in the tales proper. A painter would at once note their leading or predominant feature, and style it repose. There is no attempt at effect. All is quiet, thoughtful, subdued. Yet this repose may exist simultaneously with high originality of thought; and Mr. Hawthorne has demonstrated the fact. At every turn we meet with novel combinations; yet these combinations never surpass the limits of the quiet. We are soothed as we read; and withal is a calm astonishment that ideas so apparently obvious have never occurred or been presented to us before. Herein our author differs materially from Lamb or Hunt or Hazlitt—who, with vivid originality of manner and expression, have less of the true novelty of thought than is generally supposed, and whose originality, at best, has an uneasy and meretricious quaintness, replete with startling effects unfounded in nature, and inducing trains of reflection which lead to no satisfactory result. The essays of Hawthorne have much of the character of Irving, with more of originality, and less of finish; while, compared with the Spectator, they have a vast superiority at all points. The Spectator, Mr. Irving and Hawthorne have in common that tranquil and subdued manner which I have chosen to denominate repose; but, in the ease of the two former, this repose is attained rather by the absence of novel combination, or of originality, than otherwise, and consists chiefly in the calm, quiet, unostentatious expression of commonplace thoughts, in an unambitious, unadulterated Saxon. In them, by strong effort, we are made to conceive the absence of all. In the essays before me the absence of effort is too obvious to be mistaken, and a strong undercurrent of suggestion runs continuously beneath the upper stream of the tranquil thesis. In short, these effusions of Mr. Hawthorne are the product of a truly imaginative intellect, restrained, and in some measure represt by fastidiousness of taste, by constitutional melancholy, and by indolence.
But it is of his tales that I desire principally to speak. The tale proper, in my opinion, affords unquestionably the fairest field for the exercise of the loftiest talent which can be afforded by the wide domains of mere prose. Were I bidden to say how the highest genius could be most advantageously employed for the best display of its own powers, I should answer, without hesitation—in the composition of a rimed poem, not to exceed in length what might be perused in an hour. Within this limit alone can the highest order of true poetry exist. I need only here say, upon this topic, that, in almost all classes of composition, the unity of effect or impression is a point of the greatest importance. It is clear, moreover, that this unity can not be thoroughly preserved in productions whose perusal can not be completed at one sitting. We may continue the reading of a prose composition, from the very nature of prose itself, much longer than we can persevere, to any good purpose, in the perusal of a poem. This latter, if truly fulfilling the demands of the poetic sentiment, induces an exaltation of the soul which can not be long sustained. All high excitements are necessarily transient. Thus a long poem is a paradox. And, without unity of impression, the deepest effects can not be brought about. Epics were the offspring of an imperfect sense of art, and their reign is no more. A poem too brief may produce a vivid, but never an intense or enduring impression. Without a certain continuity of effort—without a certain duration or repetition of purpose—the soul is never deeply moved. There must be the dropping of the water upon the rock. De Beranger has wrought brilliant things—pungent and spirit-stirring—but, like all impassive bodies, they lack momentum, and thus fail to satisfy the poetic sentiment. They sparkle and excite, but, from want of continuity, fail deeply to impress. Extreme brevity will degenerate into epigrammatism; but the sin of extreme length is even more unpardonable. In medio tutissimus ibis. Were I called upon, however, to designate that class of composition which, next to such a poem as I have suggested, should best fulfil the demands of high genius—should offer it the most advantageous field of exertion—I should unhesitatingly speak of the prose tale, as Mr. Hawthorne has here exemplified it. I allude to the short prose narrative, requiring from a half-hour to one or two hours in its perusal.
Of Mr. Hawthorne's "Tales" we would say, emphatically that they belong to the highest region of art—an art subservient to genius of a very lofty order.... We know of few compositions which the critic can more honestly commend than these "Twice-Told Tales." As Americans, we feel proud of the book.
Mr. Hawthorne's distinctive trait is invention, creation, imagination, originality—a trait which, in the literature of fiction, is positively worth all the rest. But the nature of the originality, so far as regards its manifestation in letters, is but imperfectly understood. The inventive or original mind as frequently displays itself in novelty of tone as in novelty of matter. Mr. Hawthorne is original in all points. It would be a matter of some difficulty to designate the best of these tales; we repeat that, without exception, they are beautiful.
He has the purest style, the finest taste, the most available scholarship, the most delicate humor, the most touching pathos, the most radiant imagination, the most consummate ingenuity; and with these varied good qualities he has done well as a mystic. But is there any one of these qualities which should prevent his doing doubly as well in a career of honest, upright, sensible, prehensible and comprehensible things? Let him mend his pen, get a bottle of visible ink, come out from the "Old Manse," cut Mr. Alcott, hang (if possible) the editor of The Dial, and throw out of the window to the pigs all his odd numbers of The North American Review.
OF WILLIS, BRYANT, HALLECK, AND MACAULAY
Whatever may be thought of Mr. Willis's talents, there can be no doubt about the fact that, both as an author and as a man, he has made a good deal of noise in the world—at least for an American. His literary life, in especial, has been one continual emeute; but then his literary character is modified or impelled in a very remarkable degree by his personal one. His success (for in point of fame, if of nothing else, he has certainly been successful) is to be attributed one-third to his mental ability and two-thirds to his physical temperament—the latter goading him into the accomplishment of what the former merely gave him the means of accomplishing.... At a very early age, Mr. Willis seems to have arrived at an understanding that, in a republic such as ours, the mere man of letters must ever be a cipher, and endeavored, accordingly, to unite the eclat of the litterateur with that of the man of fashion or of society. He "pushed himself," went much into the world, made friends with the gentler sex, "delivered" poetical addresses, wrote "scriptural" poems, traveled, sought the intimacy of noted women, and got into quarrels with notorious men. All these things served his purpose—if, indeed, I am right in supposing that he had any purpose at all. It is quite probable that, as before hinted, he acted only in accordance with his physical temperament; but, be this as it may, his personal greatly advanced, if it did not altogether establish his literary fame. I have often carefully considered whether, without the physique of which I speak, there is that in the absolute morale of Mr. Willis which would have earned him reputation as a man of letters, and my conclusion is that he could not have failed to become noted in some degree under almost any circumstances, but that about two-thirds (as above stated) of his appreciation by the public should be attributed to those adventures which grew immediately out of his animal constitution.
[Footnote 7: Passages selected from articles now printed in Volume II of the "Works of Poe," as published in New York in 1876.]
Mr. Bryant's position in the poetical world is, perhaps, better settled than that of any American. There is less difference of opinion about his rank; but, as usual, the agreement is more decided in private literary circles than in what appears to be the public expression of sentiment as gleaned from the press. I may as well observe here, too, that this coincidence of opinion in private circles is in all cases very noticeable when compared with the discrepancy of the apparent public opinion. In private it is quite a rare thing to find any strongly-marked disagreement—I mean, of course, about mere authorial merit.... It will never do to claim for Bryant a genius of the loftiest order, but there has been latterly, since the days of Mr. Longfellow and Mr. Lowell, a growing disposition to deny him genius in any respect. He is now commonly spoken of as "a man of high poetical talent, very 'correct,' with a warm appreciation of the beauty of nature and great descriptive powers, but rather too much of the old-school manner of Cowper, Goldsmith and Young." This is the truth, but not the whole truth. Mr. Bryant has genius, and that of a marked character, but it has been overlooked by modern schools, because deficient in those externals which have become in a measure symbolical of those schools.
The name of Halleck is at least as well established in the poetical world as that of any American. Our principal poets are, perhaps, most frequently named in this order—Bryant, Halleck, Dana, Sprague, Longfellow, Willis, and so on—Halleck coming second in the series, but holding, in fact, a rank in the public opinion quite equal to that of Bryant. The accuracy of the arrangement as above made may, indeed, be questioned. For my own part, I should have it thus—Longfellow, Bryant, Halleck, Willis, Sprague, Dana; and, estimating rather the poetic capacity than the poems actually accomplished, there are three or four comparatively unknown writers whom I would place in the series between Bryant and Halleck, while there are about a dozen whom I should assign a position between Willis and Sprague. Two dozen at least might find room between Sprague and Dana—this latter, I fear, owing a very large portion of his reputation to his quondam editorial connection with The North American Review. One or two poets, now in my mind's eye, I should have no hesitation in posting above even Mr. Longfellow—still not intending this as very extravagant praise.... Mr. Halleck, in the apparent public estimate, maintains a somewhat better position than that to which, on absolute grounds, he is entitled. There is something, too, in the bonhomie of certain of his compositions—something altogether distinct from poetic merit—which has aided to establish him; and much also must be admitted on the score of his personal popularity, which is deservedly great. With all these allowances, however, there will still be found a large amount of poetical fame to which he is fairly entitled.... Personally he is a man to be admired, respected, but more especially beloved. His address has all the captivating bonhomie which is the leading feature of his poetry, and, indeed, of his whole moral nature. With his friends he is all ardor, enthusiasm and cordiality, but to the world at large he is reserved, shunning society, into which he is seduced only with difficulty, and upon rare occasions. The love of solitude seems to have become with him a passion.
[Footnote 8: Charles Sprague, born in Boston in 1791, was known in his own day as "the American Pope."]
Macaulay has obtained a reputation which, altho deservedly great, is yet in a remarkable measure undeserved. The few who regard him merely as a terse, forcible and logical writer, full of thought, and abounding in original views, often sagacious and never otherwise than admirably exprest—appear to us precisely in the right. The many who look upon him as not only all this, but as a comprehensive and profound thinker, little prone to error, err essentially themselves. The source of the general mistake lies in a very singular consideration—yet in one upon which we do not remember ever to have heard a word of comment. We allude to a tendency in the public mind toward logic for logic's sake—a liability to confound the vehicle with the conveyed—an aptitude to be so dazzled by the luminousness with which an idea is set forth as to mistake it for the luminousness of the idea itself. The error is one exactly analogous with that which leads the immature poet to think himself sublime wherever he is obscure, because obscurity is a source of the sublime—thus confounding obscurity of expression with the expression of obscurity. In the case of Macaulay—and we may say, en passant, of our own Channing—we assent to what he says too often because we so very clearly understand what it is that he intends to say. Comprehending vividly the points and the sequence of his argument, we fancy that we are concurring in the argument itself. It is not every mind which is at once able to analyze the satisfaction it receives from such essays as we see here. If it were merely beauty of style for which they were distinguished—if they were remarkable only for rhetorical flourishes—we would not be apt to estimate these flourishes at more than their due value. We would not agree with the doctrines of the essayist on account of the elegance with which they were urged. On the contrary, we would be inclined to disbelief. But when all ornament save that of simplicity is disclaimed—when we are attacked by precision of language, by perfect accuracy of expression, by directness and singleness of thought, and above all by a logic the most rigorously close and consequential—it is hardly a matter for wonder that nine of us out of ten are content to rest in the gratification thus received as in the gratification of absolute truth.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Born in 1809, died in 1894; professor in the Medical School of Harvard in 1847-82; wrote for the Atlantic Monthly "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" in 1857-58, "The Professor at the Breakfast Table" in 1859, "The Poet at the Breakfast Table" in 1872; published "Elsie Venner" in 1861, "The Guardian Angel" in 1868, "A Mortal Antipathy" in 1885; a collection of verse entitled "Songs in Many Keys" in 1861, "Humorous Poems" in 1865, "Songs of Many Seasons," in 1874, "Before the Curfew" in 1888; also wrote volumes of essays and memoirs of Emerson and Motley.
OF DOCTORS, LAWYERS, AND MINISTERS
"What is your general estimate of doctors, lawyers, and ministers?" said I.
"Wait a minute, till I have got through with your first question," said the Master. "One thing at a time. You asked me about the young doctors, and about our young doctors, they come home tres bien chausses, as a Frenchman would say, mighty well shod with professional knowledge. But when they begin walking round among their poor patients—they don't commonly start with millionaires—they find that their new shoes of scientific acquirements have got to be broken in just like a pair of boots or brogans. I don't know that I have put it quite strong enough. Let me try again. You've seen those fellows at the circus that get up on horseback, so big that you wonder how they could climb into the saddle. But pretty soon they throw off their outside coat, and the next minute another one, and then the one under that, and so they keep peeling off one garment after another till people begin to look queer and think they are going too far for strict propriety. Well, that is the way a fellow with a real practical turn serves a good many of his scientific wrappers—flings 'em off for other people to pick up, and goes right at the work of curing stomach-aches and all the other little mean unscientific complaints that make up the larger part of every doctor's business. I think our Dr. Benjamin is a worthy young man, and if you are in need of a doctor at any time I hope you will go to him; and if you come off without harm, I will—recommend some other friend to try him."
[Footnote 9: From Chapter V of "The Poet at the Breakfast Table." Copyright, 1872, 1891, by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Published by Houghton, Mifflin Company.]
I thought he was going to say he would try him in his own person; but the Master is not fond of committing himself.
"Now I will answer your other question," he said. "The lawyers are the cleverest men, the ministers are the most learned, and the doctors are the most sensible."
"The lawyers are a picked lot, 'first scholars,' and the like, but their business is as unsympathetic as Jack Ketch's. There is nothing humanizing in their relations with their fellow creatures. They go for the side that retains them. They defend the man they know to be a rogue, and not very rarely throw suspicion on the man they know to be innocent. Mind you, I am not finding fault with them—every side of a case has a right to the best statement it admits of; but I say it does not tend to make them sympathetic. Suppose in a case of Fever vs. Patient, the doctor should side with either party according to whether the old miser or his expectant heir was his employer. Suppose the minister should side with the Lord or the devil, according to the salary offered, and other incidental advantages, where the soul of a sinner was in question. You can see what a piece of work it would make of their sympathies. But the lawyers are quicker witted than either of the other professions, and abler men generally. They are good-natured, or if they quarrel, their quarrels are above-board. I don't think they are as accomplished as the ministers; but they have a way of cramming with special knowledge for a case, which leaves a certain shallow sediment of intelligence in their memories about a good many things. They are apt to talk law in mixt company; and they have a way of looking round when they make a point, as if they were addressing a jury, that is mighty aggravating—as I once had occasion to see when one of 'em, and a pretty famous one, put me on the witness stand at a dinner party once.
"The ministers come next in point of talent. They are far more curious and widely interested outside of their own calling than either of the other professions. I like to talk with 'em. They are interesting men: full of good feelings, hard workers, always foremost in good deeds, and on the whole the most efficient civilizing class—working downward from knowledge to ignorance, that is; not so much upward, perhaps—that we have. The trouble is that so many of 'em work in harness, and it is pretty sure to chafe somewhere. They feed us on canned meats mostly. They cripple our instincts and reason, and give us a crutch of doctrine. I have talked with a great many of 'em, of all sorts of belief; and I don't think they are quite so easy in their minds, the greater number of them, nor so clear in their convictions as one would think to hear 'em lay down the law in the pulpit. They used to lead the intelligence of their parishes; now they do pretty well if they keep up with it, and they are very apt to lag behind it. Then they must have a colleague. The old minister thinks he can hold to his old course, sailing right into the wind's eye of human nature, as straight as that famous old skipper John Bunyan; the young minister falls off three or four points, and catches the breeze that left the old man's sails all shivering. By-and-by the congregation will get ahead of him, and then it must have another new skipper. The priest holds his own pretty well; the minister is coming down every generation nearer and nearer to the common level of the useful citizen—no oracle at all, but a man of more than average moral instincts, who, if he knows anything, knows how little he knows. The ministers are good talkers, only the struggle between nature and grace makes some of 'em a little awkward occasionally. The women do their best to spoil 'em, as they do the poets. You find it pleasant to be spoiled, no doubt; so do they. Now and then one of 'em goes over the dam; no wonder—they're always in the rapids."
By this time our three ladies had their faces all turned toward the speaker, like the weathercocks in a northeaster, and I thought it best to switch off the talk on to another rail.
"How about the doctors?" I said.
"Theirs is the least learned of the professions, in this country at least. They have not half the general culture of the lawyers, nor a quarter of that of the ministers. I rather think, tho, they are more agreeable to the common run of people than the men with the black coats or the men with green bags. People can swear before 'em if they want to, and they can't very well before ministers. I don't care whether they want to swear or not, they don't want to be on their good behavior. Besides, the minister has a little smack of the sexton about him; he comes when people are in extremis, but they don't send for him every time they make a slight moral slip—tell a lie, for instance, or smuggle a silk dress through the custom-house: but they call in the doctor when the child is cutting a tooth or gets a splinter in its finger. So it doesn't mean much to send for him, only a pleasant chat about the news of the day; for putting the baby to rights doesn't take long. Besides, everybody doesn't like to talk about the next world; people are modest in their desires, and find this world as good as they deserve: but everybody loves to talk physic. Everybody loves to hear of strange cases; people are eager to tell the doctor of the wonderful cures they have heard of; they want to know what is the matter with somebody or other who is said to be suffering from "a complication of diseases," and above all to get a hard name, Greek or Latin, for some complaint which sounds altogether too commonplace in plain English. If you will only call a headache a Cephalalgia, it acquires dignity at once, and a patient becomes rather proud of it. So I think doctors are generally welcome in most companies."
OF THE GENIUS OF EMERSON
Emerson's was an Asiatic mind, drawing its sustenance partly from the hard soil of our New England, partly, too, from the air that has known Himalaya and the Ganges. So imprest with this character of his mind was Mr. Burlingame, as I saw him, after his return from his mission, that he said to me, in a freshet of hyperbole, which was the overflow of a channel with a thread of truth running in it, "There are twenty thousand Ralph Waldo Emersons in China."
[Footnote 10: From an address before the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1862. Published by Houghton, Mifflin Company.]
[Footnote 11: Anson Burlingame, famous in his time for treaties negotiated between China and the United States, England, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and Prussia. His son, E. I. Burlingame, has long been the editor of Scribner's Magazine.]
What could we do with this unexpected, unprovided for, unclassified, half-unwelcome new-comer, who had been for a while potted, as it were, in our Unitarian cold green-house, but had taken to growing so fast that he was lifting off its glass roof and letting in the hailstorms? Here was a protest that outflanked the extreme left of liberalism, yet so calm and serene that its radicalism had the accents of the gospel of peace. Here was an iconoclast without a hammer, who took down our idols from their pedestals so tenderly that it seemed like an act of worship.
The scribes and pharisees made light of his oracular sayings. The lawyers could not find the witnesses to subpoena and the documents to refer to when his case came before them, and turned him over to their wives and daughters. The ministers denounced his heresies, and handled his writings as if they were packages of dynamite, and the grandmothers were as much afraid of his new teachings as old Mrs. Piozzi was of geology. We had had revolutionary orators, reformers, martyrs; it was but a few years since Abner Kneeland had been sent to jail for expressing an opinion about the great First Cause; but we had had nothing like this man, with his seraphic voice and countenance, his choice vocabulary, his refined utterance, his gentle courage, which, with a different manner, might have been called audacity, his temperate statement of opinions which threatened to shake the existing order of thought like an earthquake.
[Footnote 12: Hester Lynch Salisbury, who married first Henry Thrale, the English brewer, and second an Italian musician named Piozzi; but her fame rests on her friendship of twenty years with Doctor Samuel Johnson, of whom she wrote reminiscences, described by Carlyle as "Piozzi's ginger beer."]
His peculiarities of style and of thinking became fertile parents of mannerisms, which were fair game for ridicule as they appeared in his imitators. For one who talks like Emerson or like Carlyle soon finds himself surrounded by a crowd of walking phonographs, who mechanically reproduce his mental and vocal accents. Emerson was before long talking in the midst of a babbling Simonetta of echoes, and not unnaturally was now and then himself a mark for the small-shot of criticism. He had soon reached that height in the "cold thin atmosphere" of thought where
"Vainly the fowler's eye Might mark his distant flight to do him wrong."
I shall add a few words, of necessity almost epigrammatic, upon his work and character. He dealt with life, and life with him was not merely this particular air-breathing phase of being, but the spiritual existence which included it like a parenthesis between the two infinities. He wanted his daily drafts of oxygen like his neighbors, and was as thoroughly human as the plain people he mentions who had successively owned or thought they owned the house-lot on which he planted his hearthstone. But he was at home no less in the interstellar spaces outside of all the atmospheres. The semi-materialistic idealism of Milton was a gross and clumsy medium compared to the imponderable ether of "The Over-soul" and the unimaginable vacuum of "Brahma." He followed in the shining and daring track of the Graius homo of Lucretius:
"Vivida vis animi pervicit, et extra Processit longe flammantia moenia mundi."
It always seemed to me as if he looked at this earth very much as a visitor from another planet would look upon it. He was interested, and to some extent curious about it, but it was not the first spheroid he had been acquainted with, by any means. I have amused myself with comparing his descriptions of natural objects with those of the Angel Raphael in the seventh book of Paradise Lost. Emerson talks of his titmouse as Raphael talks of his emmet. Angels and poets never deal with nature after the manner of those whom we call naturalists.
To judge of him as a thinker, Emerson should have been heard as a lecturer, for his manner was an illustration of his way of thinking. He would lose his place just as his mind would drop its thought and pick up another, twentieth cousin or no relation at all to it. This went so far at times that one could hardly tell whether he was putting together a mosaic of colored fragments, or only turning a kaleidoscope where the pieces tumbled about as they best might. It was as if he had been looking in at a cosmic peep-show, and turning from it at brief intervals to tell us what he saw. But what fragments these colored sentences were, and what pictures they often placed before us, as if we too saw them! Never has this city known such audiences as he gathered; never was such an Olympian entertainment as that which he gave them.
It is very hard to speak of Mr. Emerson's poetry; not to do it injustice, still more to do it justice. It seems to me like the robe of a monarch patched by a New England housewife. The royal tint and stuff are unmistakable, but here and there the gray worsted from the darning-needle crosses and ekes out the Tyrian purple. Few poets who have written so little in verse have dropped so many of those "jewels five words long" which fall from their setting only to be more choicely treasured. E pluribus unum is scarcely more familiar to our ears than "He builded better than he knew," and Keats's "thing of beauty" is little better known than Emerson's "beauty is its own excuse for being." One may not like to read Emerson's poetry because it is sometimes careless, almost as if carefully so, tho never undignified even when slipshod; spotted with quaint archaisms and strange expressions that sound like the affectation of negligence, or with plain, homely phrases such as the self-made scholar is always afraid of. But if one likes Emerson's poetry he will be sure to love it; if he loves it, its phrases will cling to him as hardly any others do. It may not be for the multitude, but it finds its place like pollen-dust and penetrates to the consciousness it is to fertilize and bring to flower and fruit.
I have known something of Emerson as a talker, not nearly so much as many others who can speak and write of him. It is unsafe to tell how a great thinker talks, for perhaps, like a city dealer with a village customer, he has not shown his best goods to the innocent reporter of his sayings. However that may be in this case, let me contrast in a single glance the momentary effect in conversation of the two neighbors, Hawthorne and Emerson. Speech seemed like a kind of travail to Hawthorne. One must harpoon him like a cetacean with questions to make him talk at all. Then the words came from him at last, with bashful manifestations, like those of a young girl, almost—words that gasped themselves forth, seeming to leave a great deal more behind them than they told, and died out discontented with themselves, like the monologue of thunder in the sky, which always goes off mumbling and grumbling as if it had not said half it wanted to, and ought to say....
To sum up briefly what would, as it seems to me, be the text to be unfolded in his biography, he was a man of excellent common sense, with a genius so uncommon that he seemed like an exotic transplanted from some angelic nursery. His character was so blameless, so beautiful, that it was rather a standard to judge others by than to find a place for on the scale of comparison. Looking at life with the profoundest sense of its infinite significance, he was yet a cheerful optimist, almost too hopeful, peeping into every cradle to see if it did not hold a babe with the halo of a new Messiah about it. He enriched the treasure-house of literature, but, what was far more, he enlarged the boundaries of thought for the few that followed him, and the many who never knew, and do not know to-day, what hand it was which took down their prison walls. He was a preacher who taught that the religion of humanity included both those of Palestine, nor those alone, and taught it with such consecrated lips that the narrowest bigot was ashamed to pray for him, as from a footstool nearer to the throne. "Hitch your wagon to a star": this was his version of the divine lesson taught by that holy George Herbert whose words he loved. Give him whatever place belongs to him in our literature, in the literature of our language, of the world, but remember this: the end and aim of his being was to make truth lovely and manhood valorous, and to bring our daily life nearer and nearer to the eternal, immortal, invisible.
THE HOUSE IN WHICH THE PROFESSOR LIVED
"This is the shortest way," she said, as we came to a corner.
"Then we won't take it," said I. The schoolmistress laughed a little, and said she was ten minutes early, so she could go around.
[Footnote 13: From Part X of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Company.]
We walked around Mr. Paddock's row of English elms. The gray squirrels were out looking for their breakfasts, and one of them came toward us in light, soft, intermittent leaps, until he was close to the rail of the burial ground. He was on a grave with a broad blue slate-stone at its head, and a shrub growing on it. The stone said this was the grave of a young man who was the son of an honorable gentleman, and who died a hundred years ago and more. Oh, yes, died—with a small triangular mark in one breast, and another smaller opposite, in his back, where another young man's rapier had slid through his body; and so he lay down out there on the Common, and was found cold the next morning, with the night dews and the death dews mingled on his forehead.
"Let us have one look at poor Benjamin's grave," said I. "His bones lie where his body was laid so long ago, and where the stone says they lie—which is more than can be said of most of the tenants of this and several other burial grounds....
"Stop before we turn away, and breathe a woman's sigh over poor Benjamin's dust. Love killed him, I think. Twenty years old, and out there fighting another young fellow on the common, in the cool of that old July evening; yes, there must have been love at the bottom of it."
The schoolmistress dropt a rosebud she had in her hand through the rails, upon the grave of Benjamin Woolbridge. That was all her comment upon what I told her. "How women love Love!" said I; but she did not speak.
We came opposite the head of a place or court running eastward from the main street. "Look down there," I said; "my friend, the Professor, lived in that house, at the left hand, next the further corner, for years and years. He died out of it, the other day." "Died?" said the schoolmistress. "Certainly," said I. "We die out of houses, just as we die out of our bodies. A commercial smash kills a hundred men's homes for them, as a railroad crash kills their mortal frames and drives out the immortal tenants. Men sicken of houses until at last they quit them, as the soul leaves its body when it is tired of its infirmities. The body has been called 'the house we live in'; the house is quite as much the body we live in. Shall I tell you some things the Professor said the other day?" "Do!" said the schoolmistress.
"'A man's body,' said the Professor, 'is whatever is occupied by his will and his sensibility. The small room down there, where I wrote those papers you remember reading, was much more a part of my body than a paralytic's senseless and motionless arm or leg is of his.
"'The soul of a man has a series of concentric envelopes around it, like the core of an onion, or the innermost of a nest of boxes. First, he has his natural garment of flesh and blood. Then his artificial integuments, with their true skin of solid stuffs, their cuticle of lighter tissues, and their variously tinted pigments. Third, his domicile, be it a single chamber or a stately mansion. And then, the whole visible world, in which Time buttons him up as in a loose outside wrapper.
"'You shall observe,' the Professor said, for like Mr. John Hunter and other great men, he brings in that 'shall' with great effect sometimes, 'you shall observe that a man's clothing or series of envelopes after a certain time mold themselves upon his individual nature. We know this of our hats, and are always reminded of it when we happen to put them on wrong side foremost. We soon find that the beaver is a hollow cast of the skull, with all its irregular bumps and depressions. Just so all that clothes a man, even to the blue sky which caps his head—a little loosely—shapes itself to fit each particular being beneath it. Farmers, sailors, astronomers, poets, lovers, condemned criminals, all find it different, according to the eyes with which they severally look.
"'But our houses shape themselves palpably on our inner and outer natures. See a householder breaking up and you will be sure of it. There is a shellfish which builds all manner of smaller shells into the walls of its own. A house is never a home until we have crusted it with the spoils of a hundred lives besides those of our own past. See what these are, and you can tell what the occupant is.
"'I had no idea,' said the Professor, 'until I pulled up my domestic establishment the other day, what an enormous quantity of roots I had been making the years I was planted there. Why, there wasn't a nook or a corner that some fiber had not worked its way into; and when I gave the last wrench, each of them seemed to shriek like a mandrake, as it broke its hold and came away.
"'There is nothing that happens, you know, which must not inevitably, and which does not actually, photograph itself in every conceivable aspect and in all dimensions. The infinite galleries of the Past await but one brief process, and all their pictures will be called out and fixt forever. We had a curious illustration of the great fact on a very humble scale. When a certain bookcase, long standing in one place, for which it was built, was removed, there was the exact image on the wall of the whole, and of many of its portions. But in the midst of this picture was another—the precise outline of a map which hung on the wall before the bookcase was built. We had all forgotten everything about the map until we saw its photograph on the wall. Then we remembered it, as some day or other we may remember a sin which has been built over and covered up, when this lower universe is pulled away from the wall of Infinity, where the wrongdoing stands, self-recorded.'
"The Professor lived in that house a long time—not twenty years, but pretty near it. When he entered that door, two shadows glided over the threshold; five lingered in the doorway when he passed through it for the last time—and one of the shadows was claimed by its owner to be longer than his own. What changes he saw in that quiet place! Death rained through every roof but his; children came into life, grew to maturity; wedded, faded away, threw themselves away; the whole drama of life was played in that stock company's theater of a dozen houses, one of which was his, and no deep sorrow or severe calamity ever entered his dwelling. 'Peace be to those walls forever,' the Professor said, for the many pleasant years he has passed within them.
"The Professor has a friend, now living at a distance, who has been with him in many of his changes of place, and who follows him in imagination with tender interest wherever he goes. In that little court, where he lived in gay loneliness so long—in his autumnal sojourn by the Connecticut, where it comes loitering down from its mountain fastnesses like a great lord, swallowing up the small proprietary rivulets very quietly as it goes, until it gets proud and swollen and wantons in huge luxurious oxbows about the fair Northampton meadows, and at last overflows the oldest inhabitant's memory in profligate freshets at Hartford and all along its lower shores—up in that caravansary on the banks of the stream where Ledyard launched his log canoe, and the jovial old Colonel used to lead the commencement processions—where blue Ascutney looked down from the far distance, and the hills of Beulah, as the Professor always called them, rolled up the opposite horizon in soft climbing masses, so suggestive of the Pilgrim's Heavenward Path that he used to look through his old 'Dollond' to see if the Shining Ones were not within range of sight—sweet visions, sweetest in those Sunday walks that carried them by the peaceful common, through the solemn village lying in cataleptic stillness under the shadows of the rod of Moses, to the terminus of their harmless stroll—the 'patulous fage,' in the Professor's classic dialect—the spreading beech, in more familiar phrase—[stop and breathe here a moment, for the sentence is not done yet, and We have another long journey before us.]
"—and again once more up among those other hills that shut in the amber-flowing Housatonic—dark stream, but clear, like the lucid orbs that shine beneath the lids of auburn-haired, sherry-wine-eyed demiblondes—in the home overlooking the winding stream and the smooth, flat meadow; looked down upon by wild hills, where the tracks of bears and catamounts may yet sometimes be seen upon the winter snow; facing the twin summits which rise in the far North, the highest waves of the great land storm in this billowy region—suggestive to mad fancies of the breasts of a half-buried Titaness, stretched out by a stray thunderbolt, and hastily hidden away beneath the leaves of the forest—in that home where seven blest summers were passed, which stand in memory like the seven golden candlesticks in the beatific vision of the holy dreamer—
"—in that modest dwelling we were just looking at, not glorious, yet not unlovely in the youth of its drab and mahogany—full of great and little boys' playthings from top to bottom—in all these summer or winter nests he was always at home and always welcome.
"This long articulated sigh of reminiscences—this calenture which shows me the maple-shadowed plains of Berkshire and the mountain-circled green of Grafton beneath the salt waves that come feeling their way along the wall at my feet, restless and soft-touching as blind men's busy fingers—is for that friend of mine who looks into the waters of the Patapsco and sees beneath them the same visions that paint themselves for me in the green depths of the Charles."
Did I talk all this off to the schoolmistress? Why, no—of course not. I have been talking with you, the reader, for the last ten minutes. You don't think I should expect any woman to listen to such a sentence as that long one, without giving her a chance to put in a word?
What did I say to the schoolmistress? Permit me one moment. I don't doubt your delicacy and good-breeding; but in this particular case, as I was allowed the privilege of walking alone with a very interesting young woman, you must allow me to remark, in the classic version of a familiar phrase, used by our Master Benjamin Franklin, it is nullum tui negotii.
When the schoolmistress and I reached the schoolroom door, the damask roses I spoke of were so much heightened in color by exercise that I felt sure it would be useful to her to take a stroll like this every morning, and made up my mind I would ask her to let me join her again.
OF WOMEN WHO PUT ON AIRS
I can't say just how many walks she (the schoolmistress) and I had taken together before this one. I found the effect of going out every morning was decidedly favorable on her health. Two pleasing dimples, the places for which were just marked when she came, played, shadowy, in her freshening cheeks when she smiled and nodded good-morning to me from the schoolhouse steps.
[Footnote 14: From Part XI of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Company.]
I am afraid I did the greater part of the talking. At any rate, if I should try to report all that I said during the first half-dozen walks we took together, I fear that I might receive a gentle hint from my friends the publishers that a separate volume, at my own risk and expense, would be the proper method of bringing them before the public.
I would have a woman as true as death. At the first real lie which works from the heart outward she should be tenderly chloroformed into a better world, where she can have an angel for a governess, and feed on strange fruits which will make her all over again, even to her bones and marrow. Whether gifted with the accident of beauty or not, she should have been molded in the rose-red clay of love before the breath of life made a moving mortal of her. Love capacity is a congenital endowment; and I think, after a while, one gets to know the warm-hued natures it belongs to from the pretty pipe-clay counterfeits of it. Proud she may be, in the sense of respecting herself; but pride, in the sense of contemning others less gifted than herself, deserves the two lowest circles of a vulgar woman's Inferno, where the punishments are smallpox and bankruptcy. She who nips off the end of a brittle courtesy, as one breaks the tip of an icicle, to bestow upon those whom she ought cordially and kindly to recognize, proclaims the fact that she comes not merely of low blood, but of bad blood. Consciousness of unquestioned position makes people gracious in proper measure to all; but if a woman puts on airs with her real equals, she has something about herself or her family she is ashamed of, or ought to be. Middle, and more than middle-aged people, who know family histories, generally see through it. An official of standing was rude to me once. "Oh, that is the maternal grandfather," said a wise old friend to me, "he was a boor." Better too few words, from the woman we love, than too many: while she is silent, Nature is working for her; while she talks, she is working for herself. Love is sparingly soluble in the words of men; therefore they speak much of it; but one syllable of woman's speech can dissolve more of it than a man's heart can hold.
Whether I said any or all of these things to the schoolmistress or not—whether I stole them put of Lord Bacon—whether I cribbed them from Balzac—whether I dipt them from the ocean of Tupperian wisdom—or whether I have just found them in my head (laid there by that solemn fowl, Experience, who, according to my observation, cackles oftener than she drops real, live eggs), I can not say. Wise men have said more foolish things—and foolish men, I don't doubt, have said as wise things. Anyhow, the schoolmistress and I had pleasant walks and long talks, all of which I do not feel bound to report.
You are a stranger to me, Ma'am.—I don't doubt you would like to know all I said to the schoolmistress.—I shan't do it; I had rather get the publishers to return the money you have invested in this. Besides, I have forgotten a good deal of it. I shall tell only what I like of what I remember.
Born in Massachusetts in 1810; lost in a shipwreck off Fire Island in 1850; edited The Dial in 1840-42; literary critic for the New York Tribune in 1844-46; went to Europe in 1846; married the Marquis d'Ossoli in 1847; in Rome during the Revolution of 1848-49; published "A Summer on the Lakes" in 1843, "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" in 1845, "Papers on Art and Literature" in 1846.
HER VISIT TO GEORGE SAND
It is the custom to go and call on those to whom you bring letters, and push yourself upon their notice; thus you must go quite ignorant whether they are disposed to be cordial. My name is always murdered by the foreign servants who announce me. I speak very bad French; only lately have I had sufficient command of it to infuse some of my natural spirit in my discourse. This has been a great trial to me, who am eloquent and free in my own tongue, to be forced to feel my thoughts struggling in vain for utterance.
[Footnote 15: From a letter to Elizabeth Hoar, written in 1847 and printed in the "Memoirs."]
The servant who admitted me was in the picturesque costume of a peasant, and as Madame Sand afterward told me, her goddaughter, whom she had brought from her province. She announced me as "Madame Salere," and returned into the anteroom to tell me, "Madame says she does not know you." I began to think I was doomed to rebuff among the crowd who deserve it. However, to make assurance sure, I said, "Ask if she has received a letter from me." As I spoke Madame Sand opened the door, and stood looking at me an instant. Our eyes met.
I never shall forget her look at that moment. The doorway made a frame for her figure; she is large but well formed. She was drest in a robe of dark-violet silk, with a black mantle on her shoulders, her beautiful hair drest with the greatest taste; her whole appearance and attitude, in its simple and ladylike dignity, presented an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar caricature idea of George Sand. Her face is a very little like the portraits, but much finer; the upper part of the forehead and eyes are beautiful, the lower strong and masculine, expressive of a hardy temperament and strong passions, but not in the least coarse; the complexion olive, and the air of the whole head Spanish (as, indeed, she was born at Madrid, and is only on one side of French blood).
All these I saw at a glance; but what fixt my attention was the expression of goodness, nobleness, and power that pervaded the whole—the truly human heart and nature that shone in the eyes. As our eyes met, she said, "C'est vous," and held out her hand. I took it, and went into her little study; we sat down a moment; then I said, "Il me fait de bien de vous voir," and I am sure I said it with my whole heart, for it made me very happy to see such a woman, so large and so developed in character, and everything that is good in it so really good. I loved, shall always love her.
She looked away, and said, "Ah! vous m'avez ecrit une lettre charmante." This was all the preliminary of our talk, which then went on as if we had always known one another.... Her way of talking is just like her writing—lively, picturesque, with an undertone of deep feeling, and the same happiness in striking the nail on the head every now and then with a blow.... I heartily enjoyed the sense of so rich, so prolific, so ardent a genius. I liked the woman in her, too, very much; I never liked a woman better.... For the rest, she holds her place in the literary and social world of France like a man, and seems full of energy and courage in it. I suppose she has suffered much, but she has also enjoyed and done much.
TWO GLIMPSES OF CARLYLE
Of the people I saw in London you will wish me to speak first of the Carlyles. Mr. Carlyle came to see me at once, and appointed an evening to be passed at their house. That first time I was delighted with him. He was in a very sweet humor—full of wit and pathos, without being overbearing or oppressive. I was quite carried away with the rich flow of his discourse; and the hearty, noble earnestness of his personal being brought back the charm which once was upon his writing, before I wearied of it. I admired his Scotch, his way of singing his great full sentences, so that each one was like the stanza of a narrative ballad. He let me talk, now and then, enough to free my lungs and change my position, so that I did not get tired. That evening he talked of the present state of things in England, giving light, witty sketches of the men of the day, fanatics and others, and some sweet, homely stories he told of things he had known of the Scotch peasantry. Of you he spoke with hearty kindness; and he told with beautiful feeling a story of some poor farmer or artizan in the country, who on Sunday lays aside the cark and care of that dirty English world, and sits reading the "Essays" and looking upon the sea....
[Footnote 16: From a letter to Emerson, written in 1846, and printed in the "Memoirs."]
The second time Mr. Carlyle had a dinner party, at which was a witty, French, flippant sort of a man, named Lewes, author of a "History of Philosophy," and now writing a life of Goethe, a task for which he must be as unfit as irreligion and sparkling shallowness can make him. But he told stories admirably, and was allowed sometimes to interrupt Carlyle a little—of which one was glad, for that night he was in his acrid mood; and tho much more brilliant than on the former evening, grew wearisome to me, who disclaimed and rejected almost everything he said....
[Footnote 17: George Henry Lewes, whose relations to George Eliot began after Margaret Fuller's visit. Lewes was not a Frenchman, but of Welsh descent, born in London, and a grandson of Charles Lee Lewes, the actor.]
Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings, his talk is still an amazement and a splendor scarcely to be faced with steady eyes. He does not converse, only harangues. It is the usual misfortune of such marked men—happily not one invariable or inevitable—that they can not allow other minds room to breathe, and show themselves in their atmosphere, and thus miss the refreshment and instruction which the greatest never cease to need from the experience of the humblest. Carlyle allows no one a chance, but bears down all opposition, not only by his wit and onset of words, resistless in their sharpness as so many bayonets, but by actual physical superiority—raising his voice and rushing on his opponent with a torrent of sound. This is not in the least from unwillingness to allow freedom to others. On the contrary, no man would more enjoy a manly resistance in his thoughts. But it is the impulse of a mind accustomed to follow out its own impulse, as the hawk its prey, and which knows not how to stop in the chase.
Carlyle indeed is arrogant and overbearing; but in his arrogance there is no littleness, no self-love. It is the heroic arrogance of some old Scandinavian conqueror; it is his nature, and the untamable impulse that has given him power to crush the dragons. He sings rather than talks. He pours upon you a kind of satirical, heroical, critical poem, with regular cadences, and generally catching up, near the beginning, some singular epithet which serves as a refrain when his song is full, or with which, as with a knitting-needle, he catches up the stitches, if he has chanced now and then to let fall a row. For the higher kinds of poetry he has no sense, and his talk on that subject is delightfully and gorgeously absurd. He sometimes stops a minute to laugh at it himself, then begins anew with fresh vigor; for all the spirits he is driving before him as Fata Morgana, ugly masks, in fact, if he can but make them turn about; but he laughs that they seem to others such dainty Ariels. His talk, like his books, is full of pictures; his critical strokes masterly. Allow for his point of view, and his survey is admirable. He is a large subject. I can not speak more or wiselier of him now, nor needs it; his works are true, to blame and praise him—the Siegfried of England, great and powerful, if not quite invulnerable, and of a might rather to destroy evil than legislate for good.
[Footnote 18: Fata (a fairy) Morgana, sister of King Arthur, is a leading figure in the "Morte d'Arthur" and other romances, including Italian.]
Born in New Hampshire in 1811, died in 1872; came to New York in 1831, where he edited the Log Cabin during the Harrison-Tyler campaign; in 1841 founded The Tribune; member of Congress in 1848-49; prominent as an anti-slavery leader and supporter of the Union cause; nominated for president by the Liberal-Republican and Democratic parties in 1872, but defeated by Gen. Grant; published "Recollections of a Busy Life" in 1868, and "The American Conflict" in 1864-66.
THE FATALITY OF SELF-SEEKING IN EDITORS AND AUTHORS
It only remains to me to speak more especially of my own vocation—the editor's—which bears much the same relation to the author's that the bellows-blower's bears to the organist's, the player's to the dramatist's, Julian or Liszt to Weber or Beethoven. The editor, from the absolute necessity of the case, can not speak deliberately; he must write to-day of to-day's incidents and aspects, tho these may be completely overlaid and transformed by the incidents and aspects of to-morrow. He must write and strive in the full consciousness that whatever honor or distinction he may acquire must perish with the generation that bestowed them—with the thunders of applause that greeted Kemble or Jenny Lind, with the ruffianism that expelled Macready, or the cheerful laugh that erewhile rewarded the sallies of Burton or Placide.
[Footnote 19: Printed with the "Miscellanies" In the "Recollections of a Busy Life."]
[Footnote 20: Henry Placide, an American actor born in Charleston, who excelled in the parts of Sir Peter Teazle and Sir Anthony Absolute.]
No other public teacher lives so wholly in the present as the editor; and the noblest affirmations of unpopular truth—the most self-sacrificing defiance of a base and selfish public sentiment that regards only the most sordid ends, and values every utterance solely as it tends to preserve quiet and contentment, while the dollars fall jingling into the merchant's drawer, the land-jobber's vault, and the miser's bag—can but be noted in their day, and with their day forgotten. It is his cue to utter silken and smooth sayings—to condemn vice so as not to interfere with the pleasures or alarm the conscience of the vicious—to praise and champion liberty so as not to give annoyance or offense to slavery, and to commend and glorify labor without attempting to expose or repress any of the gainful contrivances by which labor is plundered and degraded. Thus sidling dextrously between somewhere and nowhere, the able editor of the nineteenth century may glide through life respectable and in good ease, and lie down to his long rest with the non-achievements of his life emblazoned on the very whitest marble, surmounting and glorifying his dust.
There is a different and sterner path—I know not whether there be any now qualified to tread it—I am not sure that even one has ever followed it implicitly, in view of the certain meagerness of its temporal rewards and the haste wherewith any fame acquired in a sphere so thoroughly ephemeral as the editor's must be shrouded by the dark waters of oblivion. This path demands an ear ever open to the plaints of the wronged and the suffering, tho they can never repay advocacy, and those who mainly support newspapers will be annoyed and often exposed by it; a heart as sensitive to oppression and degradation in the next street as if they were practised in Brazil or Japan; a pen as ready to expose and reprove the crimes whereby wealth is amassed and luxury enjoyed in our own country at this hour as if they had only been committed by Turks or pagans in Asia some centuries ago.
Such an editor, could one be found or trained, need not expect to lead an easy, indolent, or wholly joyous life—to be blest by archbishops or followed by the approving shouts of ascendent majorities; but he might find some recompense for their loss in the calm verdict of an approving conscience; and the tears of the despised and the friendless, preserved from utter despair by his efforts and remonstrances, might freshen for a season the daisies that bloomed above his grave.
Literature is a noble calling, but only when the call obeyed by the aspirant issues from a world to be enlightened and blest, not from a void stomach clamoring to be gratified and filled. Authorship is a royal priesthood; but wo to him who rashly lays unhallowed hands on the ark or the altar, professing a zeal for the welfare of the race only that he may secure the confidence and sympathies of others, and use them for his own selfish ends! If a man have no heroism in his soul—no animating purpose beyond living easily and faring sumptuously—I can imagine no greater mistake on his part than that of resorting to authorship as a vocation. That such a one may achieve what he regards as success I do not deny; but, if so, he does it at greater risk and by greater exertion than would have been required to win it in any other pursuit. No; it can not be wise in a selfish, or sordid, or sensual man to devote himself to literature; the fearful self-exposure incident to this way of life—the dire necessity which constrains the author to stamp his own essential portrait on every volume of his works, no matter how carefully he may fancy he has erased, or how artfully he may suppose he has concealed it—this should repel from the vestibule of the temple of fame the foot of every profane or mocking worshiper.
But if you are sure that your impulse is not personal nor sinister, but a desire to serve and ennoble your race, rather than to dazzle and be served by it; that you are ready joyfully to "scorn delights, and live laborious days," so that thereby the well-being of mankind may be promoted—then I pray you not to believe that the world is too wise to need further enlightenment, nor that it would be impossible for one so humble as yourself to say aught whereby error may be dispelled or good be diffused. Sell not your integrity; barter not your independence; beg of no man the privilege of earning a livelihood by authorship; since that is to degrade your faculty, and very probably to corrupt it; but seeing through your own clear eyes, and uttering the impulses of your own honest heart, speak or write as truth and love shall dictate, asking no material recompense, but living by the labor of your hands, until recompense shall be voluntarily tendered to secure your service, and you may frankly accept it without a compromise of your integrity or a peril to your freedom. Soldier in the long warfare for man's rescue from darkness and evil, choose not your place on the battle-field, but joyfully accept that assigned you; asking not whether there be higher or lower, but only whether it is here that you can most surely do your proper work, and meet your full share of the responsibility and the danger.