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was never insulted in his life: but this man must be stung. A rich man was never in danger from cold, or hunger, or war, or ruffians, and you can see he was not; from the moderation of his ideas. 'Tis a fatal disadvantage to be cockered, and to eat too much cake. What tests of manhood could he stand'Take him out of his protections. He is a good book-keeper; or he is a shrewd adviser in the insurance office: perhaps he could pass a college examination, and take his degrees: perhaps he can give wise counsel in a court of law. Now plant him down among farmers, firemen, Indians, and emigrants. Set a dog on him: set a highwayman on him: try him with a course of 'mobs, send him to Kansas, to Pike's Peak, to Oregon: and, if he have true faculty, this may be the element he wants, and he will come out of it with broader wisdom and manly power JEsov, Saadi, Cervantes, Regnard, have been taken by corsairs, left for dead, sold for slaves, and know the realities of human life.
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions s good learner would not miss. As we go gladly to Faneui! Hall, to be played upon by the stormy winds and strong fingers of enraged patriotism, so is a fanatical persecution. civil war, national bankruptcy, or revolution, more rich in the central tones than languid years of prosperity. What had been, ever since our memory, solid continent, yawns apart, and discloses its composition and genesis. We learn geology tk morning after the earthquake, on ghastly diagrams of cloven: mountains, upheaved plains, and the dry bed of the sea.
In our life and culture, everything is worked up, and come in use,—passion, war, revolt, bankruptcy, and not less, folk and blunders, insult, ennui, and bad company. Nature is > rag merchant, who works up every shred and ort and end hit" new creations; like a good chemist, whom I found, the otha day, in his laboratory, converting his old shirts into pure whit< sugar. Life is a boundless privilege, and when you pay fa your ticket, and get into the car, you have no guess what goo company you shall find there. You buy much that is not ret dered in the bill. Men achieve a certain greatness unawares* when working to another aim.
If now in this connection of discourse, we should venture so laying down the first obvious rules of life, I will not ha repeat the first rule of economy, already propounded once an again, that every man shall maintain himself,—but I will say get health. No labour, pains, temperance, poverty, nor exercise that can gain it, must be grudged. For sickness is a cannib which eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of, _ absorbs its own sons and daughters. I figure it as a pi wailing, distracted phantom, absolutely selfish, heedless of wk is good and great, attentive to its sensations, losing its soul, and afflicting other souls with meanness and moldings, and with ministration to its voracity of trifles. Dr. Johnson said severely, " Every man is a rascal as soon as he is sick." Drop the cant, and treat it sanely. In dealing with the drunken, we do not affect to be drunk. We must treat the sick with the same firmness, giving them, of course, every aid,—but withholding ourselves. I once asked a clergyman in a retired town who were his companions? what men of ability he saw? He replied, that he spent his time with the sick and the dying. I said, he seemed to me to need quite other company, and all the more that he had this: for if people were sick and dying to any purpose, we would leave all and go to them, but, as far as I had observed, they were as frivolous as the rest, and sometimes much more frivolous. Let us engage our companions not to spare us. I knew a wise woman who said to her friends, "When I am old, rule me." And the best part of health is fine disposition. It is more essential than talent, even in the works of talent. Nothing will supply the want of sunshine to peaches, and, to make knowledge valuable, you must have the cheerfulness of wisdom. Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished. The joy of the spirit indicates its strength. All healthy things are sweet-tempered. Genius works in sport, and goodness smiles to the last; and for the reason, that whoever sees the law which distributes things does not despond, but is animated to great desires and endeavours. He who desponds betrays that he has not seen it.
'Tis a Dutch proverb, that " paint costs nothing," such are its preserving qualities in damp climates. Well, sunshine costs less, yet is finer pigment. And so of cheerfulness, or a good temper—the more it is spent, the more of it remains. The latent heat of an ounce of wood or stone is inexhaustible. You may rub the same chip of pine to the point of kindling, a hundred times; and the power of happiness of any soul is not to be computed or drained. It is observed that a depression of spirits develops the germs of a plague in individuals and nations.
It is an old commendation of right behaviour, " Aliis hatus, sapiens sibi," which our English proverb translates, "Be merry and wise." I know how easy it is to men of the world to look grave and sneer at your sanguine youth, and its glittering Dreams. But I find the gayest castles in the air that were ever ailed far better, for comfort and for use, than the dungeons in ,he air that are daily dug and caverned out by grumbling, [iscontented people. I know those miserable fellows, and I rate them, who see a black star always riding through the ight and coloured clouds in the sky overhead: waves of light pass over and hide it for a moment, but the black star keeps fast in the zenith. But power dwells with cheerfulness; hope puts us in a working mood, whilst despair is no muse, and untunes the active powers. A man should make life and nature happier to us, or he had better never been born. "When the political economist reckons up the unproductive classes, he should put at the head this class of pitiers of themselves, cravers of sympathy, bewailing imaginary disasters. An old French verse runs, in my translation:—
"Some of your griefs you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived;
There are three wants which never can be satisfied : that or the rich, who wants something more; that of the sick, who wants something different; and that of the traveller, who says. "Anywhere but here." The Turkish cadi said to ILayard "After the fashion of thy people, thou hast wandered from one place to another, until thou art happy and content in none." My countrymen are not less infatuated with the rococo toy of Italy. All America seems on the point of embarking for Europe. But we shall not always traverse seas and lands with light purposes, and for pleasure, as we say. One day we shall cast out the passion for Europe, by the passion for America. Culture will give gravity and domestic rest to those who now travel only as not knowing how else to spend money. Already who provoke pity like that excellent family party just axrivini1 in their well-appointed carriage, as far from home and any honest end as ever? Each nation has asked successively. "What are they here for?" until at last the party are shamefaced, and anticipate the question at the gates of each town.
Genial manners are good, and power of accommodation to any circumstance, but the high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment and happiness,—whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs. I doubt not this was the meaning of Socrates, when he pronounced artists the only truly wise, as being actually, not apparently so.
In childhood, we fancied ourselves walled in by the horizon, as by a glass bell, and doubted not, by distant travel, we should reach the baths of the descending sun and stars. On experiment, the horizon flies before us, and leaves us on an endless common, sheltered by no glass bell. Yet 'tis strange hos tenaciously we cling to that bell-astronomy of a protecting domestic horizon. I find the same illusion in the search after happiness, which I observe, every summer, recommenced in this neighbourhood, soon after the pairing of the birds. The young people do not like the town, do not like the sea-shore, they will go inland; find a dear cottage deep in the mountains, secret as their hearts. They set forth on their travels in search of a home: they reach Berkshire; they reach Vermont; they look at the farms's--- good farms, high mountain-sides: but where is the seclusion? The farm is near this; 'tis near that; they have got far from Boston, but 'tis near Albany, or near Burlington, or near Montreal. They explore a farm, but the house is small, old, thin; discontented people lived there, and are gone:—there's too much sky, too much out-doors; too public. The youth aches for solitude. When he comes to the house, he passes through the house. That does not make the deep recess he sought. "Ah! now, I perceive," he says, "it must be deep with persons; friends only can give depth. Yes, but there is a great dearth, this year, of friends; hard to find, and hard to have when found: they are just going away: they too are in the whirl of the flitting world, and have engagements and necessities. They are just starting for Wisconsin; have letters from Bremen :—see you again, soon. Slow, slow to learn the lesson, that there is but one depth, but one interior, and that is—his purpose. When joy or calamity or genius shall show him it, then woods, then farms, then city shopmen and cab-drivers, indifferently with prophet or friend, will mirror back to him its unfathomable heaven, its populous solitude.
The uses of travel are occasional, and short; but the best fruit it finds, when it finds it, is conversation; and this is a main function of life. What a difference in the hospitality of minds! Inestimable is he to whom we can say what we cannot say to ourselves. Others are involuntarily hurtful to us, and bereave us of the power of thought, impound and imprison us. As, when there is sympathy, there needs but one wise man in a company, and all are wise,—so, a blockhead makes a blockhead of his companion. Wonderful power to benumb possesses this brother. When he comes into the office or public room, the society dissolves; one after another slips out, and the apartment is at his disposal. What is incurable but a frivolous habit? A fly is as untamable as a hyena. Tet folly in the sense of fun, fooling, or dawdling, can easily be borne; as Talleyrand said, "I find nonsense singularly refreshing;" but a virulent, aggressive fool taints the reason of a household. I have seen a whole family of quiet, sensible people unhinged and beside themselves, victims of such a rogue. For the steady wrongheadedness of one perverse person irritates the best; since we must withstand absurdity. But resistance only exasperates the acrid fool, who believes that nature and gravitation are quite wrong, and he only is right. Hence all the dozen inmates are soon perverted, with whatever virtues and industries they have, into contradictors, accusers, explainers, and repairers of this one malefactor; like a boat about to be overset, or a carriage run away with,—not only the foolish pilot or driver, but everybody on board, is forced to assume strange and ridiculous attitudes, to balance the vehicle and prevent the upsetting. For remedy, whilst the case is yet mild, I recommend phlegm and truth: let all the truth that is spoken or done be at the zero of indifferency, or truth itself will be folly. But, when the case is seated and malignant, the only safety is in amputation; as seamen say, you shall cut and run. How to live with unfit companions ?—for, with such, life is for the most part spent: and experience teaches little better than our earliest instinct of self-defence, namely, not to engage, not to mix yourself in any manner with them; but let their madness spend itself unopposed;—you are you, and I am I.
Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which all are practising every day while they live. Our habit of thought,—take men as they rise,—is not satisfying; in the common experience, I fear, it is poor and squalid. The success which will content them is a bargain, a lucrative employment, an advantage gained over a competitor, a marriage, a patrimony, a legacy, and the like. With these objects, their conversation deals with surfaces: politics, trade, personal defects, exaggerated bad news, and the rain. This is forlorn, and they feel sore and sensitive. Now, if one comes who can illuminate this dark house with thoughts, show them their native riches, what gifts they have, how indispensable each is, what magical powers over nature and men; what access to poetry, religion, and the powers which constitute character: he wakes in them the feeling of worth; his suggestions require new ways of living, new books, new men, new arts and sciences,—then we come out of our egg-shell existence into the great dome, and see the zenith over and the nadir under us. Instead of the tanks and buckets of knowledge to which we are daily confined, we come down to the shore of the sea, and dip our hands in its miraculous waves. 'Tie wonderful the effect on the company. They are not the men they were. They have all been to California, and all have come back millionaires. There is no book and no pleasure in life comparable to it. Ask what is best in our experience, and we shall say, a few pieces of plain dealing with wise people. Our conversation once and again has apprised us that we belong to better circles than we have yet beheld; that a mental power invites us, whose generalizations are more worth for joy and