Infomotions, Inc.The Pocket R.L.S., being favourite passages from the works of Stevenson / Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894



Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
Title: The Pocket R.L.S., being favourite passages from the works of Stevenson
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): james; life; love; passages; stevenson; time; legge; man; robert; pocket; favourite; louis
Contributor(s): Legge, James, 1815-1897 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 47,593 words (really short) Grade range: 12-15 (college) Readability score: 55 (average)
Identifier: etext2537
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

The Project Gutenberg Etext The Pocket R.L.S., by R.L. Stevenson
#39 in our series by Robert Louis Stevenson


Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check
the copyright laws for your country before posting these files!!

Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers.  Do not remove this.


**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below.  We need your donations.


Title:  The Pocket R.L.S.

Author:  by Robert Louis Stevenson

March, 2001  [Etext #2537]


The Project Gutenberg Etext The Pocket R.L.S., by R.L. Stevenson
******This file should be named pkrls10.txt or pkrls10.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, pkrls11.txt
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, pkrls10a.txt


This Etext of The Pocket R. L. S. scanned and proofread
by Sean Hackett (shack@eircom.net)

Project Gutenberg Etexts are usually created from multiple editions,
all of which are in the Public Domain in the United States, unless a
copyright notice is included.  Therefore, we usually do NOT keep any
of these books in compliance with any particular paper edition.


We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance
of the official release dates, leaving time for better editing.

Please note:  neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.  To be sure you have an
up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes
in the first week of the next month.  Since our ftp program has
a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
new copy has at least one byte more or less.


Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
time it takes us, a rather conservative estimate, is fifty hours
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.  This
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour this year as we release thirty-six text
files per month, or 432 more Etexts in 1999 for a total of 2000+
If these reach just 10% of the computerized population, then the
total should reach over 200 billion Etexts given away this year.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by December 31, 2001.  [10,000 x 100,000,000 = 1 Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only ~5% of the present number of computer users.

At our revised rates of production, we will reach only one-third
of that goal by the end of 2001, or about 3,333 Etexts unless we
manage to get some real funding; currently our funding is mostly
from Michael Hart's salary at Carnegie-Mellon University, and an
assortment of sporadic gifts; this salary is only good for a few
more years, so we are looking for something to replace it, as we
don't want Project Gutenberg to be so dependent on one person.

We need your donations more than ever!


All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/CMU": and are
tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.  (CMU = Carnegie-
Mellon University).

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg
P. O. Box  2782
Champaign, IL 61825

When all other email fails. . .try our Executive Director:
Michael S. Hart <hart@pobox.com>
hart@pobox.com forwards to hart@prairienet.org and archive.org
if your mail bounces from archive.org, I will still see it, if
it bounces from prairienet.org, better resend later on. . . .

We would prefer to send you this information by email.

******

To access Project Gutenberg etexts, use any Web browser
to view http://promo.net/pg.  This site lists Etexts by
author and by title, and includes information about how
to get involved with Project Gutenberg.  You could also
download our past Newsletters, or subscribe here.  This
is one of our major sites, please email hart@pobox.com,
for a more complete list of our various sites.

To go directly to the etext collections, use FTP or any
Web browser to visit a Project Gutenberg mirror (mirror
sites are available on 7 continents; mirrors are listed
at http://promo.net/pg).

Mac users, do NOT point and click, typing works better.

Example FTP session:

ftp sunsite.unc.edu
login: anonymous
password: your@login
cd pub/docs/books/gutenberg
cd etext90 through etext99
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
GET GUTINDEX.??  [to get a year's listing of books, e.g., GUTINDEX.99]
GET GUTINDEX.ALL [to get a listing of ALL books]

***

**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**

(Three Pages)


***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here?  You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault.  So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you.  It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT
By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement.  If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from.  If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS
This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-
tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor
Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at
Carnegie-Mellon University (the "Project").  Among other
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works.  Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects".  Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including
legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE
OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from.  If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy.  If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.

THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS".  NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

INDEMNITY
You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect.

DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm"
You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,
or:

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
     cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as
     *EITHER*:

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);
          OR

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
     net profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Association/Carnegie-Mellon
     University" within the 60 days following each
     date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare)
     your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.

WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?
The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty
free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution
you can think of.  Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg
Association / Carnegie-Mellon University".

We are planning on making some changes in our donation structure
in 2000, so you might want to email me, hart@pobox.com beforehand.




*END THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.04.29.93*END*





This Etext of THE POCKET R. L. S. scanned and proofread
by Sean Hackett (shack@eircom.net)





THE POCKET R. L. S.
Being favourite passages from the works of Stevenson.




SELECTED PASSAGES

When you have read, you carry away with you a memory of the
man himself; it is as though you had touched a loyal hand,
looked into brave eyes, and made a noble friend; there is
another bond on you thenceforward, binding you to life and
to the love of virtue.

*

It is to some more specific memory that youth looks forward
in its vigils.  Old kings are sometimes disinterred in all
the emphasis of life, the hands untainted by decay, the
beard that had so often wagged in camp or senate still
spread upon the royal bosom; and in busts and pictures,
some similitude of the great and beautiful of former days
is handed down.  In this way, public curiosity may be
gratified, but hardly any private aspiration after fame.
It is not likely that posterity will fall in love with us,
but not impossible that it may respect or sympathise; and
so a man would rather leave behind him the portrait of his
spirit than a portrait of his face, FIGURA ANIMI MAGIS
QUAM CORPORIS.

*

The pleasure that we take in beautiful nature is
essentially capricious.  It comes sometimes when we least
look for it; and sometimes, when we expect it most
certainly, it leaves us to gape joylessly for days
together, in the very homeland of the beautiful.  We may
have passed a place a thousand times and one; and on the
thousand and second it will be transfigured, and stand
forth in a certain splendour of reality from the dull
circle of surroundings; so that we see it 'with a child's
first pleasure,' as Wordsworth saw the daffodils by the
lake-side.

*

But every one sees the world in his own way.  To some the
glad moment may have arrived on other provocations; and
their recollection may be most vivid of the stately gait of
women carrying burthens on their heads; of tropical effect,
with caves and naked rock and sunlight; of the relief of
cypresses; of the troubled, busy-looking groups of
sea-pines, that seem always as if they were being wielded and
swept together by a whirlwind; of the air coming, laden
with virginal perfumes, over the myrtles and the scented
underwoods; of the empurpled hills standing up, solemn and
sharp, out of the green-gold air of the east at evening.
There go many elements, without doubt, to the making of one
such moment of intense perception; and it is on the happy
agreement of these many elements, on the harmonious
vibration of many nerves, that the whole delight of the
moment must depend.

*

You should have heard him speak of what he loved; of the
tent pitched beside the talking water; of the stars
overhead at night; of the blest return of morning, the peep
of day over the moors, the awaking birds among the birches;
how he abhorred the long winter shut in cities; and with
what delight, at the return of the spring, he once more
pitched his camp in the living out-of-doors.

*

It was one of the best things I got from my education as an
engineer: of which, however, as a way of life, I wish to
speak with sympathy.  It takes a man into the open air; it
keeps him hanging about harbour-sides, which is the richest
form of idling; it carries him to wild islands; it gives
him a taste of the genial dangers of the sea; it supplies
him with dexterities to exercise; it makes demands upon his
ingenuity; it will go far to cure him of any taste (if ever
he had one) for the miserable life of cities.  And when it
has done so, it carries him back and shuts him in an
office!  From the roaring skerry and the wet thwart of the
tossing boat, he passes to the stool and desk; and with a
memory full of ships, and seas, and perilous headlands, and
the shining Pharos, he must apply his long-sighted eyes to
the pretty niceties of drawing, or measure his inaccurate
mind with several pages of consecutive figures.  He is a
wise youth, to be sure, who can balance one part of genuine
life against two parts of drudgery between four walls, and
for the sake of the one, manfully accept the other.

*

No one knows the stars who has not slept, as the French
happily put it, A LA BELLE ETOILE.  He may know all their
names and distances and magnitudes, and yet be ignorant of
what alone concerns mankind,--their serene and gladsome
influence on the mind.  The greater part of poetry is about
the stars; and very justly, for they are themselves the
most classical of poets.

*

He surprised himself by a sudden impulse to write poetry--
he did so sometimes, loose, galloping octosyllabics in the
vein of Scott--and when he had taken his place on a
boulder, near some fairy falls, and shaded by a whip of a
tree that was already radiant with new leaves, it still
more surprised him that he should find nothing to write.
His heart perhaps beat in time to some vast indwelling
rhythm of the universe.

*

No man can find out the world, says Solomon, from beginning
to end, because the world is in his heart; and so it is
impossible for any of us to understand, from beginning to
end, that agreement of harmonious circumstances that
creates in us the highest pleasure of admiration, precisely
because some of these circumstances are hidden from us for
ever in the constitution of our own bodies.  After we have
reckoned up all that we can see or hear or feel, there
still remains to be taken into account some sensibility
more delicate than usual in the nerves affected, or some
exquisite refinement in the architecture of the brain,
which is indeed to the sense of the beautiful as the eye or
the ear to the sense of hearing or sight.  We admire
splendid views and great pictures; and yet what is truly
admirable is rather the mind within us, that gathers
together these scattered details for its delight, and
snakes out of certain colours, certain distributions of
graduated light and darkness, that intelligible whole which
alone we call a picture or a view.  Hazlitt, relating in
one of his essays how he went on foot from one great man's
house to another's in search of works of art, begins
suddenly to triumph over these noble and wealthy owners,
because he was more capable of enjoying their costly
possessions than they were; because they had paid the money
and he had received the pleasure.  And the occasion is a
fair one for self-complacency.  While the one man was
working to be able to buy the picture, the other was
working to be able to enjoy the picture.  An inherited
aptitude will have been diligently improved in either case;
only the one man has made for himself a fortune, and the
other has made for himself a living spirit.  It is a fair
occasion for self-complacency, I repeat, when the event
shows a man to have chosen the better part, and laid out
his life more wisely, in the long-run, than those who have
credit for most wisdom.  And yet even this is not a good
unmixed; and like all other possessions, although in a less
degree, the possession of a brain that has been thus
improved and cultivated, and made into the prime organ of a
man's enjoyment, brings with it certain inevitable cares
and disappointments.  The happiness of such an one comes to
depend greatly upon those fine shades of sensation that
heighten and harmonise the coarser elements of beauty.  And
thus a degree of nervous prostration, that to other men
would be hardly disagreeable, is enough to overthrow for
him the whole fabric of his life, to take, except at rare
moments, the edge off his pleasures, and to meet him
wherever he goes with failure, and the sense of want, and
disenchantment of the world and life.

*

THE VAGABOND

(TO AN AIR OF SCHUBERT)

Give to me the life I love,
     Let the lave go by me,
Give the jolly heaven above
     And the byway nigh me.

Bed in the bush with stars to see,
     Bread I dip in the river--
There's the life for a man like me,
     There's the life for ever.

Let the blow fall soon or late,
     Let what will be o'er me;
Give the face of earth around,
     And the road before me.

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
     Nor a friend to know me;
All I ask, the heaven above
     And the road below me.

*

Every one who has been upon a walking or a boating tour,
living in the open air, with the body in constant exercise
and the mind in fallow, knows true ease and quiet.  The
irritating action of the brain is set at rest; we think in
a plain, unfeverish temper; little things seem big enough,
and great things no longer portentous; and the world is
smilingly accepted as it is.

*

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I
travel for travel's sake.  The great affair is to move; to
feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come
down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the
globe granite under foot and strewn with cutting flints.
Alas, as we get up in life, and are more preoccupied with
our affairs, even a holiday is a thing that must be worked
for.  To hold a pack upon a pack-saddle against a gale
out of the freezing north is no high industry, but it
is one that serves to occupy and compose the mind.
And when the present is so exacting who can annoy himself
about the future?

*

A SONG OF THE ROAD

The gauger walked with willing foot,
And aye the gauger played the flute:
And what should Master Gauger play
But OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY?

Whene'er I buckle on my pack
And foot it gaily in the track,
O pleasant gauger, long since dead,
I hear you fluting on ahead.

You go with me the selfsame way--
The selfsame air for me you play;
For I do think and so do you
It is the tune to travel to.

For who would gravely set his face
To go to this or t'other place?
There's nothing under Heav'n so blue
That's fairly worth the travelling to.

On every hand the roads begin,
And people walk with zeal therein;
But wheresoe'er the highways tend,
Be sure there's nothing at the end.

Then follow you, wherever hie
The travelling mountains of the sky.
Or let the streams in civil mode
Direct your choice upon a road;

For one and all, or high or low,
Will lead you where you wish to go;
And one and all go night and day
OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY!

*

A walking tour should be gone upon alone, because freedom
is of the essence; because you should be able to stop and
go on, and follow this way or that, as the freak takes you;
and because you must have your own pace, and neither trot
alongside a champion walker, nor mince in time with a girl.
And then you must be open to all impressions and let your
thoughts take colour from what you see.  You should be as a
pipe for any wind to play upon.

*

It must not be imagined that a walking tour, as some would
have us fancy, is merely a better or worse way of seeing
the country.  There are many ways of seeing landscape quite
as good; and none more vivid, in spite of canting
dilettantes, than from a railway train.  But landscape on a
walking tour is quite accessory.  He who is indeed of the
brotherhood does not voyage in quest of the picturesque,
but of certain jolly humours--of the hope and spirit with
which the march begins at morning, and the peace and
spiritual repletion of the evening's rest.  He cannot tell
whether he puts his knapsack on, or takes it off, with more
delight.  The excitement of the departure puts him in key
for that of the arrival.  Whatever he does is not only a
reward in itself, but will be further rewarded in the
sequel; and so pleasure leads on to pleasure in an endless
chain.

*

Nor does the scenery any more affect the thoughts than the
thoughts affect the scenery.  We see places through our
humours as through differently-coloured glasses.  We are
ourselves a term in the equation, a note of the chord, and
make discord or harmony almost at will.  There is no fear
for the result, if we can but surrender ourselves
sufficiently to the country that surrounds and follows us,
so that we are ever thinking suitable thoughts or telling
ourselves some suitable sort of story as we go.  We become
thus, in some sense, a centre of beauty; we are provocative
of beauty, much as a gentle and sincere character is
provocative of sincerity and gentleness in others.

*

There is nobody under thirty so dead but his heart will
stir a little at sight of a gypsies' camp.  'We are not
cotton-spinners all;' or, at least, not all through.  There
is some life in humanity yet; and youth will now and again
find a brave word to say in dispraise of riches, and throw
up a situation to go strolling with a knapsack.

*

I began my little pilgrimage in the most enviable of all
humours: that in which a person, with a sufficiency of
money and a knapsack, turns his back on a town and walks
forward into a country of which he knows only by the vague
report of others.  Such an one has not surrendered his will
and contracted for the next hundred miles, like a man on a
railway.  He may change his mind at every finger-post, and,
where ways meet, follow vague preferences freely and go the
low road or the high, choose the shadow or the sunshine,
suffer himself to be tempted by the lane that turns
immediately into the woods, or the broad road that
lies open before him into the distance, and shows him the
far-off spires of some city, or a range of mountain-tops,
or a run of sea, perhaps, along a low horizon.  In short,
he may gratify his every whim and fancy, without a pang
of reposing conscience, or the least jostle of his
self-respect.  It is true, however, that most men do not
possess the faculty of free action, the priceless gift of
being able to live for the moment only; and as they begin to
go forward on their journey, they will find that they have
made for themselves new fetters.  Slight projects they may
have entertained for a moment, half in jest, become iron
laws to them, they know not why.  They will be led by the
nose by these vague reports of which I spoke above; and the
mere fact that their informant mentioned one village and
not another will compel their footsteps with inexplicable
power.  And yet a little while, yet a few days of this
fictitious liberty, and they will begin to hear imperious
voices calling on them to return; and some passion, some
duty, some worthy or unworthy expectation, will set its
hand upon their shoulder and lead them back into the old
paths.  Once and again we have all made the experiment.  We
know the end of it right well.  And yet if we make it for
the hundredth time to-morrow, it will have the same charm
as ever; our hearts will beat and our eyes will be bright,
as we leave the town behind us, and we shall feel once
again (as we have felt so often before) that we are cutting
ourselves loose for ever from our whole past life, with all
its sins and follies and circumscriptions, and go forward
as a new creature into a new world.

*

Herein, I think, lies the chief attraction of railway
travel.  The speed is so easy, and the train disturbs so
little the scenes through which it takes us, that our heart
becomes full of the placidity and stillness of the country;
and while the body is borne forward in the flying chain of
carriages, the thoughts alight, as the humour moves them,
at unfrequented stations; they make haste up the poplar
alley that leads towards town; they are left behind with
the signalman as, shading his eyes with his hand, he
watches the long train sweep away into the golden distance.

*

Now, there is no time when business habits are more
mitigated than on a walking tour.  And so during these
halts, as I say, you will feel almost free.
. . . If the evening be fine and warm, there is nothing
better in life than to lounge before the inn door in the
sunset, or lean over the parapet of the bridge, to watch
the weeds and the quick fishes.  It is then, if ever, that
you taste joviality to the full significance of that
audacious word.  Your muscles are so agreeably slack, you
feel so clean and so strong and so idle, that whether you
move or sit still, whatever you do is done with pride and a
kingly sort of pleasure.  You fall in talk with any one,
wise or foolish, drunk or sober.  And it seems as if a hot
walk purged you, more than of anything else, of all
narrowness and pride, and left curiosity to play its part
freely, as in a child or a man of science.  You lay aside
all your own hobbies to watch provincial humours develop
themselves before you, now as a laughable farce, and now
grave and beautiful like an old tale.

*

It is almost as if the millennium were arrived, when we
shall throw our clocks and watches over the housetops, and
remember time and seasons no more.  Not to keep hours for a
lifetime is, I was going to say, to live for ever.  You
have no idea, unless you have tried it, how endlessly long
is a summer's day that you measure out only by hunger, and
bring to an end only when you are drowsy.

*

I know a village where there are hardly any clocks, where
no one knows more of the days of the week than by a sort of
instinct for the fete on Sundays, and where only one person
can tell you the day of the month, and she is generally
wrong; and if people were aware how slow Time journeyed in
that village, and what armfuls of spare hours he gives,
over and above the bargain, to its wise inhabitants, I
believe there would be a stampede out of London, Liverpool,
Paris, and a variety of large towns, where the clocks lose
their heads, and shake the hours out each one faster than
the other, as though they were all in a wager.  And all
these foolish pilgrims would each bring his own misery
along with him, in a watch-pocket!

*

The bed was made, the room was fit,
     By punctual eve the stars were lit;
The air was still, the water ran;
     No need there was for maid or man,
     When we put us, my ass and I,
At God's green caravanserai.

*

To wash in one of God's rivers in the open air seems to me
a sort of cheerful solemnity or semi-pagan act of worship.
To dabble among dishes in a bedroom may perhaps make
clean the body; but the imagination takes no share in
such a cleansing.

*

I own I like definite form in what my eyes are to rest
upon; and if landscapes were sold, like the sheets of
characters of my boyhood, one penny plain and twopence
coloured, I should go the length of twopence every day of
my life.

*

There should be some myth (but if there is, I know it not)
founded on the shivering of the reeds.  There are not many
things in nature more striking to man's eye.  It is such an
eloquent pantomime of terror; and to see such a number of
terrified creatures taking sanctuary in every nook along
the shore is enough to infect a silly human with alarm.
Perhaps they are only a-cold, and no wonder, standing waist
deep in the stream.  Or, perhaps, they have never got
accustomed to the speed and fury of the river's flux, or
the miracle of its continuous body.  Pan once played upon
their forefathers; and so, by the hands of his river, he
still plays upon these later generations down all the
valley of the Oise; and plays the same air, both sweet
and shrill, to tell us of the beauty and the terror
of the world.

The reeds might nod their heads in warning, and with
tremulous gestures tell how the river was as cruel as it
was strong and cold, and how death lurked in the eddy
underneath the willows.  But the reeds had to stand
where they were; and those who stand still are always
timid advisers.

*

The wholeday was showery, with occasional drenching plumps.
We were soaked to the skin, then partially dried in the
sun, then soaked once more.  But there were some calm
intervals, and one notably, when we were skirting the
forest of Mormal, a sinister name to the ear, but a place
most gratifying to sight and smell.  It looked solemn along
the riverside, drooping its boughs into the water, and
piling them up aloft into a wall of leaves.  What is a
forest but a city of nature's own, full of hardy and
innocuous living things, where there is nothing dead and
nothing made with the hands, but the citizens themselves
are the houses and public monuments?  There is nothing so
much alive and yet so quiet as a woodland; and a pair of
people, swinging past in canoes, feel very small and
bustling by comparison.

I wish our way had always lain among woods.  Trees are the
most civil society.  An old oak that has been growing where
he stands since before the Reformation, taller than many
spires, more stately than the greater part of mountains,
and yet a living thing, liable to sicknesses and death,
like you and me: is not that in itself a speaking lesson in
history?  But acres on acres full of such.  patriarchs
contiguously rooted, their green tops billowing in the
wind, their stalwart younglings pushing up about their
knees; a whole forest, healthy and beautiful, giving colour
to the light, giving perfume to the air; what is this but
the most imposing piece in nature's repertory?

*

But indeed it is not so much for its beauty that the forest
makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle
something, that quality of the air, that emanation from
the old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews
a weary spirit.

*

With all this in mind, I have often been tempted to put
forth the paradox that any place is good enough to live a
life in, while it is only in a few, and those highly
favoured, that we can pass a few hours agreeably.  For, if
we only stay long enough, we become at home in the
neighbourhood.  Reminiscences spring up, like flowers,
about uninteresting corners.  We forget to some degree the
superior loveliness of other places, and fall into a
tolerant and sympathetic spirit which is its own reward and
justification.

*

For when we are put down in some unsightly neighbourhood,
and especially if we have come to be more or less dependent
on what we see, we must set ourselves to hunt out beautiful
things with all the ardour and patience of a botanist after
a rare plant.  Day by day we perfect ourselves in the art
of seeing nature more favourably.  We learn to live with
her, as people learn to live with fretful or violent
spouses: we dwell lovingly on what is good, and shut our
eyes against all that is bleak or inharmonious.  We learn,
also, to come to each place in the right spirit.  The
traveller, as Brantome quaintly tells us, 'fait des
discours en soi pour se soutenir en chemin.'

*

There is no end, indeed, to making books or experiments, or
to travel, or to gathering wealth.  Problem gives rise to
problem.  We may study for ever, and we are never as
learned as we would.  We have never made a statue worthy of
our dreams.  And when we have discovered a continent, or
crossed a chain of mountains, it is only to find another
ocean or another plain upon the farther side.  In the
infinite universe there is room for our swiftest diligence
and to spare.  It is not like the works of Carlyle, which
can be read to an end.  Even in a corner of it, in a
private park, or in the neighbourhood of a single hamlet,
the weather and the seasons keep so deftly changing that
although we walk there for a lifetime there will be always
something to startle and delight us.

*

It is in virtue of his own desires and curiosities that any
man continues to exist with even patience, that he is
charmed by the look of things and people, and that he
wakens every morning with a renewed appetite for work and
pleasure.  Desire and curiosity are the two eyes through
which he sees the world in the most enchanted colours: it
is they that make women beautiful or fossils interesting:
and the man may squander his estate and come to beggary,
but if he keeps these two amulets he is still rich in the
possibilities of pleasure.

*

To look on the happy side of nature is common, in their
hours, to all created things.  Some are vocal under a good
influence, are pleasing whenever they are pleased, and hand
on their happiness to others, as a child who, looking upon
lovely things, looks lovely.  Some leap to the strains with
unapt foot, and make a halting figure in the universal
dance.  And some, like sour spectators at the play, receive
the music into their hearts with an unmoved countenance,
and walk like strangers through the general rejoicing.  But
let him feign never so carefully, there is not a man but
has his pulses shaken when Pan trolls out a stave of
ecstasy and sets the world a-singing.

*

Science writes of the world as if with the cold finger of a
starfish; it is all true; but what is it when compared to
the reality of which it discourses? where hearts beat high
in April, and death strikes, and hills totter in the
earthquake, and there is a glamour over all the objects of
sight, and a thrill in all noises for the ear, and Romance
herself has made her dwelling among men?  So we come back
to the old myth, and hear the goat-footed piper making the
music which is itself the charm and terror of things; and
when a glen invites our visiting footsteps, fancy that Pan
leads us thither with a gracious tremolo; or when our
hearts quail at the thunder of the cataract, tell ourselves
that he has stamped his hoof in the nigh thicket.

*

The Greeks figured Pan, the god of Nature, now terribly
stamping his foot, so that armies were dispersed; now by
the woodside on a summer noon trolling on his pipe until he
charmed the hearts of upland ploughmen.  And the Greeks, in
so figuring, uttered the last word of human experience.  To
certain smoke-dried spirits matter and motion and elastic
ethers, and the hypothesis of this or that other spectacled
professor, tell a speaking story; but for youth and all
ductile and congenial minds, Pan is not dead, but of
all the classic hierarchy alone survives in triumph;
goat-footed, with a gleeful and an angry look, the type of
the shaggy world: and in every wood, if you go with a spirit
properly prepared, you shall hear the note of his pipe.

*

To leave home in early life is to be stunned and quickened
with novelties; but when years have come, it only casts a
more endearing light upon the past.  As in those composite
photographs of Mr. Galton's, the image of each new sitter
brings out but the more clearly the central features of the
race; when once youth has flown, each new impression only
deepens the sense of nationality and the desire of native
places.  So may some cadet of Royal Ecossais or the Albany
Regiment, as he mounted guard about French citadels, so may
some officer marching his company of the Scots-Dutch among
the polders, have felt the soft rains of the Hebrides upon
his brow, or started in the ranks at the remembered aroma
of peat-smoke.  And the rivers of home are dear in
particular to all men.  This is as old as Naaman, who was
jealous for Abana and Pharpar; it is confined to no race
nor country, for I know one of Scottish blood but a child
of Suffolk, whose fancy still lingers about the hued
lowland waters of that shire.

*

THE COUNTRY OF THE CAMISARDS

We travelled in the print of olden wars;
     Yet all the land was green;
     And love we found, and peace,
     Where fire and war had been.
They pass and smile, the children of the sword--
     No more the sword they wield;
     And O, how deep the corn
     Along the battlefield!

*

To reckon dangers too curiously, to hearken too intently
for the threat that runs through all the winning music of
the world, to hold back the hand from the rose because of
the thorn, and from life because of death: this it is to be
afraid of Pan.  Highly respectable citizens who flee life's
pleasures and responsibilities and keep, with upright hat,
upon the midway of custom, avoiding the right hand and the
left, the ecstasies and the agonies, how surprised they
would be if they could hear their attitude mythologically
expressed, and knew themselves as tooth-chattering ones,
who flee from Nature because they fear the hand of
Nature's God!

*

The spice of life is battle; the friendliest relations are
still a kind of contest; and if we would not forego all
that is valuable in our lot, we must continually face some
other person, eye to eye, and wrestle a fall whether in
love or enmity.  It is still by force of body, or power of
character or intellect, that we attain to worthy pleasures.

*

Extreme BUSYNESS, whether at school or college, kirk or
market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty
for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense
of personal identity.  There is a sort of dead-alive,
hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of
living except in the exercise of some conventional
occupation.  Bring these fellows into the country, or set
them aboard ship, and you will see how they pine for their
desk or their study.  They have no curiosity; they cannot
give themselves over to random provocations; they do not
take pleasure in the exercise of their faculties for its
own sake; and unless Necessity lays about them with a
stick, they will even stand still.  It is no good speaking
to such folk: they CANNOT be idle, their nature is not
generous enough; and they pass those hours in a sort of
coma, which are not dedicated to furious moiling in the
gold-mill.

*

If a person cannot be happy without remaining idle, idle he
should remain.  It is a revolutionary precept; but thanks
to hunger and the workhouse, one not easily to be abused;
and within practical limits, it is one of the most
incontestable truths in the whole Body of Morality.  Look
at one of your industrious fellows for a moment, I beseech
you.  He sows hurry and reaps indigestion; he puts a vast
deal of activity out to interest, and receives a large
measure of nervous derangement in return.  Either he
absents himself entirely from all fellowship, and lives a
recluse in a garret, with carpet slippers and a leaden
inkpot; or he comes among people swiftly and bitterly,
in a contraction of his whole nervous system, to discharge
some temper before he returns to work.  I do not care
how much or how well he works, this fellow is an evil
feature in other people's lives.  They would be happier
if he were dead.

*

'We are all employed in commerce during the day; but in the
evening, VOYEZ-VOUS, NOUS SOMMES SERIEUX.'
These were the words.  They were all employed over the
frivolous mercantile concerns of Belgium during the day;
but in the evening they found some hours for the serious
concerns of life.  I may have a wrong idea of wisdom, but I
think that was a very wise remark.  People connected with
literature and philosophy are busy all their days in
getting rid of second-hand notions and false standards.  It
is their profession, in the sweat of their brows, by dogged
thinking, to recover their old fresh view of life, and
distinguish what they really and originally like from what
they have only learned to tolerate perforce.  And these
Royal Nautical Sportsmen had the distinction still quite
legible in their hearts.  They had still those clean
perceptions of what is nice and nasty, what is interesting
and what is dull, which envious old gentlemen refer to as
illusions.  The nightmare illusion of middle age, the
bear's hug of custom gradually squeezing the life out of a
man's soul, had not yet begun for these happy-starr'd young
Belgians.  They still knew that the interest they took in
their business was a trifling affair compared to their
spontaneous, long-suffering affection for nautical sports.
To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to
what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have
kept your soul alive.  Such a man may be generous; he may
be honest in something more than the commercial sense; he
may love his friends with an elective, personal sympathy,
and not accept them as an adjunct of the station to which
he has been called.  He may be a man, in short, acting on
his own instincts, keeping in his own shape that God made
him in; and not a mere crank in the social engine-house,
welded on principles that he does not understand, and for
purposes that he does not care for.

*

I suppose none of us recognise the great part that is
played in life by eating and drinking.  The appetite is so
imperious that we can stomach the least interesting viands,
and pass off a dinner hour thankfully enough on bread and
water; just as there are men who must read something, if it
were only 'Bradshaw's Guide.' But there is a romance about
the matter, after all.  Probably the table has more
devotees than love; and I am sure that food is much more
generally entertaining than scenery.  Do you give in, as
Walt Whitman would say, that you are any the less immortal
for that?  The true materialism is to be ashamed of what we
are.  To detect the flavour of an olive is no less a piece
of human perfection than to find beauty in the colours of
the sunset.

*

For the country people to see Edinburgh on her hill-tops,
is one thing; it is another for the citizen, from the thick
of his affairs, to overlook the country.  It should be a
genial and ameliorating influence in life; it should prompt
good thoughts and remind him of Nature's unconcern: that he
can watch from day to day, as he trots officeward, how the
spring green brightens in the wood, or the field grows
black under a moving ploughshare.  I have been tempted, in
this connection, to deplore the slender faculties of the
human race, with its penny-whistle of a voice, its dull
ears, and its narrow range of sight.  If you could see as
people are to see in heaven, if you had eyes such as you
can fancy for a superior race, if you could take clear note
of the objects of vision, not only a few yards, but a few
miles from where you stand:--think how agreeably your sight
would be entertained, how pleasantly your thoughts would be
diversified, as you walk the Edinburgh streets!  For you
might pause, in some business perplexity, in the midst of
the city traffic, and perhaps catch the eye of a shepherd
as he sat down to breathe upon a heathery shoulder of the
Pentlands; or perhaps some urchin, clambering in a country
elm, would put aside the leaves and show you his flushed
and rustic visage; or as a fisher racing seaward, with
the tiller under his elbow, and the sail sounding in
the wind, would fling you a salutation from between
Anst'er and the May.

*

So you sit, like Jupiter on Olympus, and look down from
afar upon men's life.  The city is as silent as a city of
the dead: from all its humming thoroughfares, not a voice,
not a footfall, reaches you upon the hill.  The sea-surf,
the cries of plough-men, the streams and the mill-wheels,
the birds and the wind, keep up an animated concert through
the plain; from farm to farm, dogs and crowing cocks
contend together in defiance; and yet from this Olympian
station, except for the whispering rumour of a train, the
world has fallen into a dead silence, and the business of
town and country grown voiceless in your ears.  A crying
hill-bird, the bleat of a sheep, a wind singing in the dry
grass, seem not so much to interrupt, as to accompany, the
stillness; but to the spiritual ear, the whole scene makes
a music at once human and rural, and discourses pleasant
reflections on the destiny of man.  The spiry habitable
city, ships, the divided fields, and browsing herds, and
the straight highways, tell visibly of man's active and
comfortable ways; and you may be never so laggard and never
so unimpressionable, but there is something in the view
that spirits up your blood and puts you in the vein for
cheerful labour.

*

The night, though we were so little past midsummer, was as
dark as January.  Intervals of a groping twilight
alternated with spells of utter blackness; and it was
impossible to trace the reason of these changes in the
flying horror of the sky.  The wind blew the breath out of
a man's nostrils; all heaven seemed to thunder overhead
like one huge sail; and when there fell a momentary lull on
Aros, we could hear the gusts dismally sweeping in the
distance.  Over all the lowlands of the Ross the wind must
have blown as fierce as on the open sea; and God only knows
the uproar that was raging around the head of Ben Kyaw.
Sheets of mingled spray and rain were driven in our faces.
All round the isle of Aros, the surf, with an incessant,
hammering thunder, beat upon the reefs and beaches.  Now
louder in one place, now lower in another, like the
combinations of orchestral music, the constant mass of
sound was hardly varied for a moment.  And loud above all
this hurly-burly I could hear the changeful voices of the
Roost and the intermittent roaring of the Merry Men.  At
that hour there flashed into my mind the reason of the name
that they were called.  For the noise of them seemed almost
mirthful, as it out-topped the other noises of the night;
or if not mirthful, yet instinct with a portentous
joviality.  Nay, and it seemed even human.  As when savage
men have drunk away their reason, and, discarding speech
bawl together in their madness by the hour; so, to my ears,
these deadly breakers shouted by Aros in the night.

*

I was walking one night in the verandah of a small house in
which I lived, outside the hamlet of Saranac.  It was
winter; the night was very dark; the air extraordinary
clear and cold, and sweet with the purity of forests.  From
a good way below, the river was to be heard contending with
ice and boulders; a few lights, scattered unevenly among
the darkness, but so far away as not to lessen the sense of
isolation.  For the making of a story here were fine
conditions.

*

On all this part of the coast, and especially near Aros,
these great granite rocks that I have spoken of go down
together in troops into the sea, like cattle on a summer's
day.  There they stand, for all the world like their
neighbours ashore; only the salt water sobbing between them
instead of the quiet earth, and clots of sea-pink blooming
on their sides instead of heather; and the great sea-conger
to wreathe about the base of them instead of the poisonous
viper of the land.  On calm days you can go wandering
between them in a boat for hours, echoes following you
about the labyrinth; but when the sea is up, Heaven help
the man that hears that caldron boiling.

*

It had snowed overnight.  The fields were all sheeted up;
they were tucked in among the snow, and their shape was
modelled through the pliant counterpane, like children
tucked in by a fond mother.  The wind had made ripples and
folds upon the surface, like what the sea, in quiet
weather, leaves upon the sand.  There was a frosty stifle
in the air.  An effusion of coppery light on the summit of
Brown Carrick showed where the sun was trying to look
through; but along the horizon clouds of cold fog had
settled down, so that there was no distinction of sky and
sea.  Over the white shoulders of the headlands, or in
the opening of bays, there was nothing but a great vacancy
and blackness; and the road as it drew near the edge of
the cliff, seemed to skirt the shores of creation and
void space.

*

When we are looking at a landscape we think ourselves
pleased; but it is only when it comes back upon us by the
fire o' nights that we can disentangle the main charm from
the thick of particulars.  It is just so with what is
lately past.  It is too much loaded with detail to be
distinct; and the canvas is too large for the eye to
encompass.  But this is no more the case when our
recollections have been strained long enough through the
hour-glass of time; when they have been the burthen of so
much thought, the charm and comfort of so many a vigil.
All that is worthless has been sieved and sifted out of
them.  Nothing remains but the brightest lights and the
darkest shadows.

*

Burns,  too proud and honest not to work, continued through
all reverses to sing of poverty with a light, defiant note.
Beranger waited till he was himself beyond the reach of
want before writing the OLD VAGABOND or JACQUES.  Samuel
Johnson, although he was very sorry to be poor, 'was a
great arguer for the advantages of poverty' in his ill
days.  Thus it is that brave men carry their crosses, and
smile with the fox burrowing in their vitals.

*

Now, what I like so much in France is the clear,
unflinching recognition by everybody of his own luck.  They
all know on which side their bread is buttered, and take a
pleasure in showing it to others, which is surely the
better part of religion.  And they scorn to make a poor
mouth over their poverty, which I take to be the better
part of manliness.

*

If people knew what an inspiriting thing it is to hear a
man boasting, so long as he boasts of what he really has,
I believe they would do it more freely and with a
better grace.

*

A girl at school in France began to describe one of our
regiments on parade to her French school-mates, and as she
went on she told me the recollection grew so vivid, she
became so proud to be the countrywoman of such soldiers,
and so sorry to be in another country, that her voice
failed her and she burst into tears.  I have never
forgotten that girl, and I think she very nearly deserves a
statue.  To call her a young lady, with all its niminy
associations, would be to offer her an insult.  She may
rest assured of one thing, although she never should marry
a heroic general, never see any great or immediate result
of her life, she will not have lived in vain for her
native land.

*

As I went, I was thinking of Smethurst with admiration; a
look into that man's mind was like a retrospect over the
smiling champaign of his past life, and very different from
the Sinai-gorges up which one looks for a terrified moment
into the dark souls of many good, many wise, and many
prudent men.  I cannot be very grateful to such men for
their excellence, and wisdom, and prudence.  I find myself
facing as stoutly as I can a hard, combative existence,
full of doubt, difficulties, defeats, disappointments, and
dangers, quite a hard enough life without their dark
countenances at my elbow, so that what I want is a
happy-minded Smethurst placed here and there at ugly
corners of my life's wayside, preaching his gospel of
quiet and contentment.

*

There is a certain critic, not indeed of execution but of
matter, whom I dare be known to set before the best: a
certain low-browed, hairy gentleman, at first a percher in
the fork of trees, next (as they relate) a dweller in
caves, and whom I think I see squatting in cave-mouths, of
a pleasant afternoon, to munch his berries--his wife, that
accomplished lady, squatting by his side: his name I never
heard, but he is often described as Probably Arboreal,
which may serve for recognition.  Each has his own tree of
ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal;
in all our veins there run some minims of his old, wild,
tree-top blood; our civilised nerves still tingle with his
rude terrors and pleasures; and to that which would have
moved our common ancestors, all must obediently thrill.

*

This is an age when genealogy has taken a new lease of
life, and become for the first time a human science; so
that we no longer study it in quest of the Guaith Voeths,
but to trace out some of the secrets of descent and
destiny; and as we study, we think less of Sir Bernard
Burke and more of Mr. Galton.  Not only do our character
and talents lie upon the anvil and receive their temper
during generations; but the very plot of our life's story
unfolds itself on a scale of centuries, and the biography
of the man is only an episode in the epic of the family.

*

But our ancestral adventures are beyond even the arithmetic
of fancy; and it is the chief recommendation of long
pedigrees, that we can follow backward the careers of our
HOMUNCULUS and be reminded of our antenatal lives.  Our
conscious years are but a moment in the history of the
elements that build us.

*

What is mine, then, and what am I?  If not a curve in this
poor body of mine (which you love, and for the sake of
which you dotingly dream that you love me), not a gesture
that I can frame, not a tone of my voice, not a look from
my eyes, no, not even now when I speak to him I love, but
has belonged to others?  Others, ages dead, have wooed
other men with my eyes; other men have heard the pleadings
of the same voice that now sounds in your ears.  The hands
of the dead are in my bosom; they move me, they pluck me,
they guide me; I am a puppet at their command; and I but
re-inform features and attributes that have long been laid
aside from evil in the quiet of the grave.  Is it me you
love, friend? or the race that made me?  The girl who does
not know and cannot answer for the least portion of
herself? or the stream of which she is a transitory eddy,
the tree of which she is the passing fruit?  The race
exists; it is old, it is ever young, it carries its eternal
destiny in its bosom; upon it, like waves upon the sea,
individual succeeds individual, mocked with a semblance of
self-control, but they are nothing.  We speak of the soul,
but the soul is in the race.

*

The future is nothing; but the past is myself, my own
history, the seed of my present thoughts, the mould of my
present disposition.  It is not in vain that I return to
the nothings of my childhood; for every one of them has
left some stamp upon me or put some fetter on my boasted
free-will.  In the past is my present fate; and in the past
also is my real life.

*

For as the race of man, after centuries of civilisation,
still keeps some traits of their barbarian fathers, so man
the individual is not altogether quit of youth, when he is
already old and honoured, and Lord Chancellor of England.
We advance in years somewhat in the manner of an invading
army in a barren land; the age that we have reached, as the
phrase goes, we but hold with an outpost, and still keep
open our communications with the extreme rear and first
beginnings of the march.  There is our true base; that is
not only the beginning, but the perennial spring of our
faculties; and grandfather William can retire upon occasion
into the green enchanted forest of his boyhood.

*

The regret we have for our childhood is not wholly
justifiable: so much a man may lay down without fear of
public ribaldry; for although we shake our heads over the
change, we are not unconscious of the manifold advantages
of our new state.  What we lose in generous impulse we more
than gain in the habit of generously watching others; and
the capacity to enjoy Shakespeare may balance a lost
appetite for playing at soldiers.

*

If a man lives to any considerable age, it cannot be denied
that he laments his imprudences, but I notice he often
laments his youth a deal more bitterly and with a more
genuine intonation.

*

There is something irreverent in the speculation, but
perhaps the want of power has more to do with wise
resolutions of age than we are always willing to admit.

*

People may lay down their lives with cheerfulness in the
sure expectation of a blessed immortality; but that is a
different affair from giving up youth, with all its
admirable pleasures, in the hope of a better quality of
gruel in a more than problematical, nay, more than
improbable, old age.

*

Childhood must pass away, and then youth, as surely as, age
approaches.  The true wisdom is to be always seasonable,
and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances.
To love playthings well as a child, to lead an adventurous
and honourable youth, and to settle when the time arrives,
into a green and smiling age, is to be a good artist in
life and deserve well of yourself and your neighbour.

*

Age asks with timidity to be spared intolerable pain;
youth, taking fortune by the beard, demands joy like a
right.

*

It is not possible to keep the mind in a state of accurate
balance and blank; and even if you could do so, instead of
coming ultimately to the right conclusion, you would be
very apt to remain in a state of balance and blank to
perpetuity.  Even in quite intermediate stages, a dash of
enthusiasm is not a thing to be ashamed of in the
retrospect: if St. Paul had not been a very zealous
Pharisee, he would have been a colder Christian.  For my
part, I look back to the time when I was a Socialist with
something like regret.  I have convinced myself (for the
moment) that we had better leave these great changes to
what we call blind forces; their blindness being so much
more perspicacious than the little, peering, partial
eyesight of men.  I seem to see that my own scheme would
not answer; and all the other schemes I ever heard
propounded would depress some elements of goodness just as
much as they encouraged others.  Now I know that in thus
turning Conservative with years, I am going through the
normal cycle of change and travelling in the common orbit
of men's opinions.

Those who go the devil in youth, with anything like a fair
chance, were probably little worth saving from the first;
they must have been feeble fellows--creatures made of putty
and pack-thread, without steel or fire, anger or true
joyfulness, in their composition; we may sympathise with
their parents, but there is not much cause to go into
mourning for themselves; for to be quite honest, the weak
brother is the worst of mankind.

*

The follies of youth have a basis in sound reason, just as
much as the embarrassing questions put by babes and
sucklings.  Their most anti-social acts indicate the
defects of our society.  When the torrent sweeps the man
against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you
need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory.
. . . But it is better to be a fool than to be dead.  It is
better to emit a scream in the shape of a theory than to be
entirely insensible to the jars and incongruities of life
and take everything as it comes in a forlorn stupidity.
Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel
on through the world, like smiling images pushed from
behind.  For God's sake give me the young man who has
brains enough to make a fool of himself!  As for the
others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their
hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the
farce be over.  There shall be such a mopping and a mowing
at the last day, and such blushing and confusion of
countenance for all those who have been wise in their own
esteem, and have not learnt the rough lessons that youth
hands on to age.  If we are indeed here to perfect and
complete our own natures, and grow larger, stronger, and
more sympathetic against some nobler career in the future,
we had all best bestir ourselves to the utmost while we
have the time.  To equip a dull, respectable person with
wings would be but to make a parody of an angel.

*

Had he but talked--talked freely--let himself gush out in
words (the way youth loves to do, and should) there might
have been no tale to write upon the Weirs of Hermiston.

*

A young man feels himself one too many in the world; his is
a painful situation; he has no calling; no obvious utility;
no ties but to his parents, and these he is sure to
disregard.  I do not think that a proper allowance has been
made for this true cause of suffering in youth; but by the
mere fact of a prolonged existence, we outgrow either the
fact or else the feeling.  Either we become so callously
accustomed to our own useless figure in the world, or
else--and this, thank God, in the majority of cases--we so
collect about us the interest or the love of our fellows,
so multiply our effective part in the affairs of life,
that we need to entertain no longer the question of our
right to be.

*

It had been long his practice to prophesy for his second
son a career of ruin and disgrace.  There is an advantage
in this artless parental habit.  Doubtless the father is
interested in his son; but doubtless also the prophet grows
to be interested in his prophecies.  If the one goes wrong
the others come true.

*

When the old man waggles his head and says, 'Ah, so I
thought when I was your age,' he has proved the youth's
case.  Doubtless, whether from growth of experience or
decline of animal heat, he thinks so no longer; but he
thought so while he was young; and all men have thought so
while they were young, since there was dew in the morning
or hawthorn in May; and here is another young man adding
his vote to those of previous generations and riveting
another link to the chain of testimony.  It is as natural
and as right for a young man to be imprudent and
exaggerated, to live in swoops and circles, and beat about
his cage like any other wild thing newly captured, as it is
for old men to turn grey, or mothers to love their
offspring, or heroes to die for something worthier
than their lives.

*

Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world
to the other both in mind and body; to try the manners of
different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see
sunrise in town and country; to be converted at a revival;
to circumnavigate the metaphysics, write halting verses,
run a mile to see a fire, and wait all day long in the
theatre to applaud HERNANI.  There is some meaning in the
old theory about wild oats; and a man who has not had his
green-sickness and got done with it for good is as little
to be depended on as an unvaccinated infant.

*

When we grow elderly, how the room brightens and begins to
look as it ought to look, on the entrance of youth, grace,
health and comeliness!  You do not want them for yourself,
perhaps not even for your son, but you look on smiling; and
when you recall their images--again it is with a smile.  I
defy you to see or think of them and not smile with an
infinite and intimate but quite impersonal pleasure.

*

To speak truth there must be moral equality or else no
respect; and hence between parent and child intercourse is
apt to degenerate into a verbal fencing-bout, and
misapprehensions to become engrained.  And there is another
side to this, for the parent begins with an imperfect
notion of the child's character, formed in early years or
during the equinoctial gales of youth; to this he adheres,
noting only the facts which suit with his pre-conception;
and wherever a person fancies himself unjustly judged, he
at once and finally gives up the effort to speak truth.

*

So, as we grow old, a sort of equable jog-trot of feeling
is substituted for the violent ups and downs of passion and
disgust; the same influence that restrains our hopes quiets
our apprehensions; if the pleasures are less intense, the
troubles are milder and more tolerable; and in a word, this
period for which we are asked to hoard up everything as for
a time of famine, is, in its own right, the richest,
easiest, and happiest of life.  Nay, by managing its own
work and following its own happy inspiration, youth is
doing the best it can to endow the leisure of age.  A full,
busy youth is your only prelude to a self-contained
and independent age; and the muff inevitably develops
into a bore.

*

To know what you like is the beginning of wisdom and of old
age.  Youth is wholly experimental.  The essence and charm
of that unquiet and delightful epoch is ignorance of self
as well as ignorance of life.

*

The schoolboy has a keen sense of humour.  Heroes he learns
to understand and to admire in books; but he is not forward
to recognise the heroic under the traits of any
contemporary.

*

Discredited as they are in practice, the cowardly proverbs
hold their own in theory; and it is another instance of the
same spirit, that the opinions of old men about life have
been accepted as final.  All sorts of allowances are made
for the illusions of youth; and none, or almost none, for
the disenchantments of age.  It is held to be a good taunt,
and somehow or other to clinch the question logically, when
an old gentleman waggles his head and says: 'Ah, so I
thought when I was your age.' It is not thought an answer
at all, if the young man retorts: My venerable sir, so I
shall most probably think when I am yours.'  And yet the
one is as good as the other: pass for pass, tit for tat, a
Roland for an Oliver.

*

What shall we be when we grow really old?  Of yore, a man
was thought to lay on restrictions and acquire new
deadweight of mournful experience with every year, till
he looked back on his youth as the very summer of impulse
and freedom.

*

And it may be worth while to add that these clouds rolled
away in their season, and that all clouds roll away at
last, and the troubles of youth in particular are things
but of a moment.

*

Through what little channels, by what hints and
premonitions, the consciousness of the man's art dawns
first upon the child, it should be not only interesting but
instructive to inquire.  A matter of curiosity to-day, it
will become the ground of science to-morrow.  From the mind
of childhood there is more history and more philosophy to
be fished up than from all the printed volumes in a
library.

*

I could not finish THE PIRATE when I was a child, I have
never finished it yet; PEVERIL OF THE PEAK dropped half way
through from my schoolboy hands, and though I have since
waded to an end in a kind of wager with myself, the
exercise was quite without enjoyment.  There is something
disquieting in the considerations.  I still think the visit
to Ponto's the best part of the BOOK OF SNOBS: does that
mean that I was right when I was a child, or does it mean
that I have never grown since then, that the child is not
the man's father, but the man? and that I came into the
world with all my faculties complete, and have only learned
sinsyne to be more tolerant of boredom?

*

The child thinks much in images, words are very live
to him, phrases that imply a picture eloquent beyond
their value.

*

Somehow my playmate had vanished, or is out of the story,
as the sagas say, but I was sent into the village on an
errand; and, taking a book of fairy tales, went down alone
through a fir-wood, reading as I walked.  How often since
then has it befallen me to be happy even so; but that was
the first time: the shock of that pleasure I have never
since forgot, and if my mind serves me to the last, I never
shall; for it was then I knew I loved reading.

*

The remainder of my childish recollections are all of the
matter that was read to me, and not of any manner in the
words.  If these pleased me, it was unconsciously; I
listened for news of the great vacant world upon whose
edge I stood; I listened for delightful plots that I might
re-enact in play, and romantic scenes and circumstances
that I might call up before me, with closed eyes, when I
was tired of Scotland, and home, and that weary prison of
the sick-chamber in which I lay so long in durance.

*

I rose and lifted a corner of the blind.  Over the black
belt of the garden I saw the long line of Queen Street,
with here and there a lighted window.  How often before had
my nurse lifted me out of bed and pointed them out to me,
while we wondered together if, there also, there were
children that could not sleep, and if these lighted oblongs
were signs of those that waited like us for the morning.

*

There never was a child but has hunted gold, and been a
pirate, and a military commander, and a bandit of the
mountains; but has fought, and suffered shipwreck and
prison, and imbrued its little hands in gore, and gallantly
retrieved the lost battle, and triumphantly protected
innocence and beauty.

*

None more than children are concerned for beauty, and,
above all, for beauty in the old.

*

So in youth, like Moses from the mountain, we have sights
of that House Beautiful of art which we shall never enter.
They are dreams and unsubstantial; visions of style that
repose upon no base of human meaning; the last heart-throb
of that excited amateur who has to die in all of us before
the artist can be born.  But they come in such a rainbow of
glory that all subsequent achievement appears dull and
earthly in comparison.  We are all artists; almost all in
the age of illusion, cultivating an imaginary genius, and
walking to the strains of some deceiving Ariel; small
wonder, indeed, if we were happy!  But art, of whatever
nature, is a kind of mistress; and though these dreams of
youth fall by their own baselessness, others succeed, grave
and more substantial; the symptoms change, the amiable
malady endures; and still at an equal distance, the House
Beautiful shines upon its hill-top.

*

Children, for instance, are able enough to see, but they
have no great faculty for looking; they do not use their
eyes for the pleasure of using them, but for by-ends of
their own; and the things I call to mind seeing most
vividly were not beautiful in themselves, but merely
interesting or enviable to me, as I thought they might be
turned to practical account in play.

*

The true parallel for play is not to be found, of course,
in conscious art, which, though it be derived from play, is
itself an abstract, impersonal thing, and depends largely
upon philosophical interests beyond the scope of childhood.
It is when we make castles in the air and personate the
leading character in our own romances, that we return to
the spirit of our first years.  Only, there are several
reasons why the spirit is no longer so agreeable to
indulge.  Nowadays, when we admit this personal element
into our divagations, we are apt to stir up uncomfortable
and sorrowful memories, and remind ourselves sharply of old
wounds.  .Alas! when we betake ourselves to our
intellectual form of play, sitting quietly by the fire or
lying prone in bed, we rouse many hot feelings for which we
can find no outlet.  Substitutes are not acceptable to the
mature mind, which desires the thing itself; and even to
rehearse a triumphant dialogue with one's enemy, although
it is perhaps the most satisfactory piece of play still
left within our reach, is not entirely satisfying, and is
even apt to lead to a visit and an interview which may be
the reverse of triumphant after all.

Whatever we are to expect at the hands of children, it
should not be any peddling exactitude about matters of
fact.  They walk in a vain show, and among mists and
rainbows; they are passionate after dreams and unconcerned
about realities; speech is a difficult art not wholly
learned; and there is nothing in their own tastes or
purposes to teach them what we mean by abstract
truthfulness.  When a bad writer is inexact, even if he can
look back on half a century of years, we charge him with
incompetence and not, with dishonesty.  And why not extend
the same allowance to imperfect speakers?  Let a
stockbroker be dead stupid about poetry, or a poet inexact
in the details of business, and we excuse them heartily
from blame.  But show us a miserable, unbreeched, human
entity, whose whole profession it is to take a tub for a
fortified town and a shaving-brush for the deadly stiletto,
and who passes three-fourths of his time in a dream and the
rest in open self-deception, and we expect him to be as
nice upon a matter of fact as a scientific expert bearing
evidence.  Upon my heart, I think it less than decent: you
do not consider how little the child sees, or how swift he
is to weave what he has seen into bewildering fiction; and
that he cares no more for what you call truth, than you for
a gingerbread dragoon.
It would be easy to leave them in their native cloudland,
where they figure so prettily--pretty like flowers and
innocent like dogs.  They will come out of their gardens
soon enough, and have to go into offices and the
witness-box.  Spare them yet a while, O conscientious parent!
Let them doze among their playthings yet a little! for who
knows what a rough, warfaring existence lies before them
in the future?

*

'You are a friend of Archie Weir's?' said one to Frank  Innes;
and Innes replied, with his usual flippancy and more than his
usual insight: 'I know Weir, but I never met Archie.' No one
had met Archie, a malady most incident to only sons.  He flew
his private signal, and none heeded it;  It seemed he was abroad
in a world from which the very hope of intimacy was banished;
and he looked round about him on the concourse of his
fellow-students, and forward to the trivial days and acquaintances
that were to come, without hope or interest.

*

'My poor, dear boy!' observed Glenalmond.  'My poor, dear
and, if you will allow me to say so, very foolish boy!  You
are only discovering where you are; to one of your
temperament, or of mine, a painful discovery.  The world
was not made for us; it was made for ten hundred millions
of me, all different from each other and from us; there's
no royal road, we just have to sclamber and tumble.'

*

Alas and alas! you may take it how you will, but the
services of no single individual are indispensable.  Atlas
was just a gentleman with a protracted nightmare!  And yet
you see merchants who go and labour themselves into a great
fortune and thence into the bankruptcy court; scribblers
who keep scribbling at little articles until their temper
is a cross to all who come about them, as though Pharaoh
should set the Israelites to make a pin instead of a
pyramid; and fine young men who work themselves into a
decline, and are driven off in a hearse with white plumes
upon it.  Would you not suppose these persons had been
whispered, by the Master of the Ceremonies the promise of
some momentous destiny? and that this Lukewarm bullet on
which they play their farces was the bull's-eye and
centrepoint of all the universe?  And yet it is not so.
The ends for which they give away their priceless youth,
for all they know, may be chimerical, or hurtful; the glory
and riches they expect may never come, or may find them
indifferent; and they and the world they inhabit are so
inconsiderable that the mind freezes at the thought.

*

As we go catching and catching at this or that corner of
knowledge, now getting a foresight of generous
possibilities, now chilled with a glimpse of prudence, we
may compare the headlong course of our years to a swift
torrent in which a man is carried away; now he is dashed
against a boulder, now he grapples for a moment to a
trailing spray; at the end, he is hurled out and
overwhelmed in a dark and bottomless ocean.  We have no
more than glimpses and touches; we are torn away from our
theories; we are spun round and round and shown this or the
other view of life, until only fools or knaves can hold to
their opinions.... All our attributes are modified or changed;
and it will be a poor account of us if our views do not
modify and change in a proportion.  To hold the same views
at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for
a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as
an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.  It
is as if a ship captain should sail to India from the Port
of London; and having brought a chart of the Thames on deck
at his first setting out, should obstinately use no other
for the whole voyage.

*

It is good to have been young in youth and, as years go on,
to grow older.  Many are already old before they are
through their teens; but to travel deliberately through
one's ages is to get the heart out of a liberal education.
Times change, opinions vary to their opposite, and still
this world appears a brave gymnasium, full of sea-bathing,
and horse exercise, and bracing, manly virtues; and what
can be more encouraging than to find the friend who was
welcome at one age, still welcome at another?  Our
affections and beliefs are wiser than we; the best that is
in us is better than we can understand; for it is grounded
beyond experience, and guides us, blindfold but safe, from
one age on to another.

*

But faces have a trick of growing more and more
spiritualised and abstract in the memory, until nothing
remains of them but a look, a haunting expression; just
that secret quality in a face that is apt to slip out
somehow under the cunningest painter's touch, and leave the
portrait dead for the lack of it.

*

Pitiful is the case of the blind, who cannot read the face;
pitiful that of the deaf who cannot follow the changes of
the voice.  And there are others also to be pitied; for
there are some of an inert, uneloquent nature, who have
been denied all the symbols of communication, who have
neither a lively play of facial expression, nor speaking
gestures, nor a responsive voice, nor yet the gift of
frank, explanatory speech: people truly made of clay,
people tied for life into a bag which no one can undo.
They are poorer than the gipsy, for their heart can speak
no language under heaven.

*

For my part, I can see few things more desirable, after the
possession of such radical qualities as honour and humour
and pathos, than to have a lively and not a stolid
countenance; to have looks to correspond with every
feeling; to be elegant arid delightful in person, so that
we shall please even in the intervals of active pleasing,
and may never discredit speech with uncouth manners or
become unconsciously our own burlesques.  But of all
unfortunates there is one creature (for I will not call him
man) conspicuous in misfortune.  This is he who has
forfeited his birthright of expression, who has cultivated
artful intonations, who has taught his face tricks, like a
pet monkey, and on every side perverted or cut off his
means of communication with his fellow-men.  The body is a
house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves
and crying on the passersby to come and love us.  But this
fellow has filled his windows with opaque glass, elegantly
coloured.  His house may be admired for its design, the
crowd may pause before the stained windows, but meanwhile
the poor proprietor must lie languishing within,
uncomforted, unchangeably alone.

*

The lads go forth pricked with the spirit of adventure and
the desire to rise in Life, and leave their homespun elders
grumbling and wondering over the event.  Once, at a village
called Lausanne, I met one of these disappointed parents: a
drake who had fathered a wild swan and seen it take wing
and disappear.  The wild swan in question was now an
apothecary in Brazil.  He had flown by way of Bordeaux, and
first landed in America, bare-headed and bare-footed, and
with a single halfpenny in his pocket.  And now he was an
apothecary!  Such a wonderful thing is an adventurous life!
I thought he might as well have stayed at home; but you
never can tell wherein a man's life consists, nor in what
he sets his pleasure: one to drink, another to marry, a
third to write scurrilous articles and be repeatedly caned
in public, and now this fourth, perhaps, to be an
apothecary in Brazil.  As for his old father, he could
conceive no reason for the lad's behaviour.  'I had always
bread for him,' he said; 'he ran away to annoy me.  He
loved to annoy me.  He had no gratitude.'  But at heart he
was swelling with pride over his travelled offspring, and
he produced a letter out of his pocket, where, as he said,
it was rotting, a mere lump of paper rags, and waved it
gloriously in the air.  'This comes from America,' he
cried, 'six thousand leagues away!'  And the wine-shop
audience looked upon it with a certain thrill.

*

The fame of other lands had reached them; the name of the
eternal city rang in their ears; they were not colonists,
but pilgrims; they travelled towards wine and gold and
sunshine, but their hearts were set on something higher.
That divine unrest, that old stinging trouble of humanity
that makes all high achievements and all miserable
failures, the same that spread wings with Icarus, the same
that sent Columbus into the desolate Atlantic, inspired and
supported these barbarians on their perilous march.

*

There is more adventure in the life of the working man who
descends as a common soldier into the battle of life, than
in that of the millionaire who sits apart in an office,
like Von Moltke, and only directs the manoeuvres by
telegraph.  Give me to hear about the career of him who is
in the thick of the business; to whom one change of market
means an empty belly, and another a copious and savoury
meal.  This is not the philosophical, but the human side of
economics; it interests like a story; and the life of all
who are thus situated partakes in a small way of the charm
of Robinson Crusoe; for every step is critical, and human
life is presented to you naked and verging to its
lowest terms.

*

An aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a
landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and
which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasurable
activity.  To have many of these is to be spiritually rich.

*

To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to
have succeeded in life; and perhaps only in law and the
higher mathematics may this devotion be maintained, suffice
to itself without reaction, and find continual rewards
without excitement.

*

Study and experiment, to some rare natures, is the unbroken
pastime of a life.  These are enviable natures; people shut
in the house by sickness often bitterly envy them; but the
commoner man cannot continue to exist upon such altitudes:
his feet itch for physical adventure; his blood boils for
physical dangers, pleasures, and triumphs; his fancy, the
looker after new things, cannot continue to look for them
in books and crucibles, but must seek them on the breathing
stage of life.

*

Life goes before us, infinite in complication; attended by
the most various and surprising meteors; appealing at once
to the eye, to the ear, to the mind--the seat of wonder, to
the touch--so thrillingly delicate, and to the belly--so
imperious when starved.  It combines and employs in its
manifestation the method and material, not of one art only,
but of all the arts.  Music is but an arbitrary trifling
with a few of life's majestic chords; painting is but a
shadow of its pageantry of light and colour; literature
does but drily indicate that wealth of incident, of moral
obligation, of virtue, vice, action, rapture and agony,
with which it teems.  To 'compete with life,' whose sun we
cannot look upon, whose passions and diseases waste and
slay us--to compete with the flavour of wine, the beauty of
the dawn, the scorching of fire, the bitterness of death
and separation here is, indeed, a projected escalade of
heaven; here are, indeed, labours for a Hercules in a dress
coat, armed with a pen and a dictionary to depict the
passions, armed with a tube of superior flake-white to
paint the portrait of the insufferable sun.  No art is true
in this sense: none can 'compete with life': not even
history, built indeed of indisputable facts, but these
facts robbed of their vivacity and sting; so that even when
we read of the sack of a city or the fall of an empire, we
are surprised, and justly commend the author's talent, if
our pulse be quickened.  And mark, for a last differentia,
that this quickening of the pulse is, in almost every case,
purely agreeable; that these phantom reproductions of
experience, even at their most acute, convey decided
pleasure; while experience itself, in the cockpit of life,
can torture and slay.

*

Into how many houses would not the note of the monastery
bell, dividing the day into manageable portions, bring
peace of mind and healthful activity of body! We speak of
hardships, but the true hardship is to be a dull fool, and
permitted to mismanage life in our own dull and foolish
manner.

*

But struggle as you please, a man has to work in this
world.  He must be an honest man or a thief, Loudon.

*

Industry is, in itself and when properly chosen, delightful
and profitable to the worker; and when your toil has been a
pleasure, you have not earned money merely, but money,
health, delight, and moral profit, all in one.

*

'The cost of a thing,' says he, 'is the amount OF WHAT I
WILL CALL LIFE which is required to be exchanged for it,
immediately or in the long-run.'  I have been accustomed to
put it to myself, perhaps more clearly, that the price we
have to pay for money is paid in liberty.  Between these
two ways of it, at least, the reader will probably not fail
to find a third definition of his own; and it follows, on
one or other, that a man may pay too dearly for his
livelihood, by giving, in Thoreau's terms, his whole life
for it, or, in mine, bartering for it the whole of his
available liberty, and becoming a slave till death.  There
are two questions to be considered--the quality of what we
buy, and the price we have to pay for it.  Do you want a
thousand a year, a two thousand a year, or a ten thousand a
year livelihood? and can you afford the one you want?  It
is a matter of taste; it is not in the least degree a
question of duty, though commonly supposed so.  But there
is no authority for that view anywhere.  It is nowhere in
the Bible.  It is true that we might do a vast amount of
good if we were wealthy, but it is also highly improbable;
not many do; and the art of growing rich is not only quite
distinct from that of doing good, hut the practice of the
one does not at all train a man for practising the other.

*

We may escape uncongenial toil, only to devote ourselves to
that which is congenial.  It is only to transact some
higher business that even Apollo dare play the truant
from Admetus.  We must all work for the sake of work;
we must all work, as Thoreau says again, in any 'absorbing
pursuit--it does not much matter what, so it be honest';
but the most profitable work is that which combines into one
continued effort the largest proportion of the powers and
desires of a man's nature; that into which he will plunge
with ardour, and from which he will desist with reluctance;
in which he will know the weariness of fatigue, but not
that of satiety; and which will be ever fresh, pleasing and
stimulating to his taste.  Such work holds a man together,
braced at all points; it does not suffer him to doze or
wander; it keeps him actively conscious of himself, yet
raised among superior interests; it gives him the profit of
industry with the pleasures of a pastime.  This is what his
art should be to the true artist, and that to a degree
unknown in other and less intimate pursuits.  For other
professions stand apart from the human business of life;
but an art has the seat at the centre of the artist's
doings and sufferings, deals directly with his experiences,
teaches him the lessons of his own fortunes and mishaps,
and becomes a part of his biography.

*

Farewell fair day and fading light!
The clay-born here, with westward sight,
Marks the huge sun now downward soar.
Farewell.  We twain shall meet no more.

Farewell.  I watch with bursting sigh
My late contemned occasion die.
I linger useless in my tent:
Farewell, fair day, so foully spent!

Farewell, fair day.  If any God
At all consider this poor clod,
He who the fair occasion sent
Prepared and placed the impediment.

Let him diviner vengeance take--
Give me to sleep, give me to wake
Girded and shod, and bid me play
The hero in the coming day!

*

Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is
only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other
things.  And it is not by any means certain that a man's
business is the most important thing he has to do.  To an
impartial estimate it will seem clear that many of the
wisest, most virtuous, and most beneficent parts that are
to be played upon the Theatre of Life are filled by
gratuitous performers, and pass, among the world at large,
as phases of idleness.  For in that Theatre, not only the
walking gentlemen, singing chambermaids, and diligent
fiddlers in the orchestra, but those who look on and clap
their hands from the benches, do really play a part and
fulfil important offices towards the general result.

*

The fact is, fame may be a forethought and an afterthought,
but it is too abstract an idea to move people greatly in
moments of swift and momentous decision.  It is from
something more immediate, some determination of blood to
the head, some trick of the fancy, that the breach is
stormed or the bold word spoken.  I am sure a fellow
shooting an ugly weir in a canoe has exactly as much
thought about fame as most commanders going into battle;
and yet the action, fall out how it will, is not one of
those the muse delights to celebrate.  Indeed, it is
difficult to see why the fellow does a thing so nameless
and yet so formidable to look at, unless on the theory that
he likes it.

*

It is but a lying cant that would represent the merchant
and the banker as people disinterestedly toiling for
mankind, and then most useful when absorbed in their
transactions; for the man is more important than
his services.

*

It was my custom, as the hours dragged on, to repeat the
question, 'When will the carts come in?' and repeat it
again and again until at last those sounds arose in the
street that I have heard once more this morning.  The road
before our house is a great thoroughfare for early carts.
I know not, and I never have known, what they carry, whence
they come, or whither they go.  But I know that, long ere
dawn, and for hours together, they stream continuously
past, with the same rolling and jerking of wheels, and the
same clink of horses' feet.  It was not for nothing that
they made the burthen of my wishes all night through.  They
are really the first throbbings of life, the harbingers of
day; and it pleases you as much to hear them as it must
please a shipwrecked seaman once again to grasp a hand of
flesh and blood after years of miserable solitude.  They
have the freshness of the daylight life about them.  You
can hear the carters cracking their whips and crying
hoarsely to their horses or to one another; and sometimes
even a peal of healthy, harsh horse-laughter comes up to
you through the darkness.  There is now an end to mystery
and fear.  Like the knocking at the door in MACBETH, or the
cry of the watchman in the TOUR DE NESLE, they show that
the horrible caesura is over, and the nightmares have fled
away, because the day is breaking and the ordinary life of
men is beginning to bestir itself among the streets.

*

She was as dead an old woman as ever I saw; no more than
bone and parchment, curiously put together.  Her eyes, with
which she interrogated mine, were vacant of sense.  It
depends on what you call seeing, whether you might not call
her blind.  Perhaps she had known love; perhaps borne
children, suckled them, and given them pet names.  But now
that was all gone by, and had left her neither happier nor
wiser; and the best she could do with her mornings was to
come up here into the cold church and juggle for a slice of
heaven.  It was not without a gulp that I escaped into the
streets and the keen morning air.  Morning? why, how tired
of it she would be before night! and if she did not sleep,
how then?  It is fortunate that not many of us are brought
up publicly to justify our lives at the bar of threescore
years and ten; fortunate that such a number are knocked
opportunely on the head in what they call the flower of
their years, and go away to suffer for their follies in
private somewhere else.  Otherwise, between sick children
and discontented old folk, we might be put out of all
conceit of life.

*

When I was going, up got my old stroller, and off with his
hat.  'I am afraid,' said he, 'that monsieur will think me
altogether a beggar; but I have another demand to make upon
him.'  I began to hate him on the spot.  'We play again
to-night,' he went on.  'Of course I shall refuse to accept
any more money from monsieur and his friends, who have been
already so liberal.  But our programme of to-night is
something truly creditable; and I cling to the idea that
monsieur will honour us with his presence.  And then, with
a shrug and a smile: 'Monsieur understands--the vanity of
an artist!'  Save the mark!  The vanity of an artist!
That is the kind of thing that reconciles me to life:
a ragged, tippling, incompetent old rogue, with the
manners of a gentleman and the vanity of an artist,
to keep up his self-respect!

*

Time went on, and the boy's health still slowly declined.
The Doctor blamed the weather, which was cold and
boisterous.  He called in his CONFRERE from Burron, took a
fancy for him, magnified his capacity, and was pretty soon
under treatment himself--it scarcely appeared for what
complaint.  He and Jean-Marie had each medicine to take at
different periods of the day.  The Doctor used to lie in
wait for the exact moment, watch in hand.  'There is
nothing like regularity,' he would say, fill out the doses,
and dilate on the virtues of the draught; and if the boy
seemed none the better, the Doctor was not at all the
worse.

*

'I lead you,' he would say, 'by the green pastures.  My
system, my beliefs, my medicines, are resumed in one
phrase--to avoid excess.  Blessed nature, healthy,
temperate nature, abhors and exterminates excess.  Human
law in this matter imitates at a great distance her
provisions; and we must strive to supplement the efforts of
the law.  Yes, boy, we must be a law to ourselves and for
our neighbours--LEX ARMATA--armed, emphatic, tyrannous law.
If you see a crapulous human ruin snuffing, dash from him
his box!  The judge, though in a way an admission of
disease, is less offensive to me than either the doctor or
the priest.  Above all, the doctor--the doctor and the
purulent trash and garbage of his pharmacopoeia!  Pure
air--from the neighbourhood of a pinetum for the sake of the
turpentine--unadulterated wine, and the reflections of an
unsophisticated spirit in the presence of the works of
nature--these, my boy, are the best medical appliances and
the best religious comforts.  Devote yourself to these.
Hark! there are the bells of Bourron (the wind is in the
North, it will be fair).  How clear and airy is the sound!
The nerves are harmonised and quieted; the mind attuned to
silence; and observe how easily and regularly beats the
heart!  Your unenlightened doctor would see nothing in
these sensations; and yet you yourself perceive they are a
part of health.  Did you remember your cinchona this
morning?  Good.  Cinchona also is a work of nature; it is,
after all, only the bark of a tree which we might gather
for, ourselves if we lived in the locality.'

*

The accepted novelist may take his novel up and put it
down, spend days upon it in vain, and write not any more
than he makes haste to blot.  Not so the Beginner.  Human
nature has certain rights ; instinct--the instinct of
self-preservation--forbids that any man (cheered and supported
by the consciousness of no previous victory) should endure
the miseries of unsuccessful literary toil beyond a period
to be measured in weeks.  There must be something for hope
to feed upon.  The beginner must have a slant of wind, a
lucky vein must be running, he must be in one of those
hours when the words come and the phrases balance
themselves--EVEN TO BEGIN.  And having begun, what a dread
looking forward is that until the book shall he
accomplished!  For so long a time the slant is to continue
unchanged, the vein to keep running, for so long a time you
must keep at command the same quality of style: for so long
a time your puppets are to be always vital, always
consistent, always vigorous!

*

What is this fortunate circumstance, my friend? inquired
Anastasie, not heeding his protest, which was of daily
recurrence.

'That we have no children, my beautiful,' replied the
Doctor.  'I think of it more and more as the years go on,
and with more and more gratitude towards the Power that
dispenses such afflictions.  Your health, my darling, my
studious quiet, our little kitchen delicacies, how they
would all have suffered, how they would all have been
sacrificed!  And for what?  Children are the last word of
human imperfection.  Health flees before their face.  They
cry, my dear; they put vexatious questions; they demand to
be fed, to be washed, to be educated, to have their noses
blowed; and then, when the time comes, they break our
hearts, as I break this piece of sugar.  A pair of
professed egoists, like you and me, should avoid offspring,
like an infidelity.'

'Indeed!' said she; and she laughed.  'Now, that is like
you--to take credit for the thing you could not help.'

*


I have been made to learn that the doom and burthen of our
life is bound for ever on man s shoulders, and when the
attempt is made to cast it off, it but returns upon us with
more unfamiliar and more awful pressure.

*


Forth from the casement, on the plain
Where honour has the world to gain,
Pour forth and bravely do your part,
O knights of the unshielded heart!
'Forth and for ever forward! --out
From prudent turret and redoubt,
And in the mellay charge amain,
To fall, but yet to rise again!
Captive?  Ah, still, to honour bright,
A captive soldier of the right!
Or free and fighting, good with ill?
Unconquering but unconquered still!

O to be up and doing, O
Unfearing and unshamed to go
In all the uproar and the press
About my human business!
My undissuaded heart I hear
Whisper courage in my ear.
With voiceless calls, the ancient earth
Summons me to a daily birth.

*

Yet it is to this very responsibility that the rich are
born.  They can shuffle off the duty on no other; they are
their own paymasters on parole; and must pay themselves
fair wages and no more.  For I suppose that in the course
of ages, and through reform and civil war and invasion,
mankind was pursuing some other and more general design
than to set one or two Englishmen of the nineteenth century
beyond the reach of needs and duties.  Society was scarce
put together, and defended with so much eloquence and
blood, for the convenience of two or three millionaires and
a few hundred other persons of wealth and position.  It is
plain that if mankind thus acted and suffered during all
these generations, they hoped some benefit, some ease, some
wellbeing, for themselves and their descendants; that if
they supported law and order, it was to secure fair-play
for all; that if they denied themselves in the present,
they must have had some designs on the future.  Now a great
hereditary fortune is a miracle of man's wisdom and
mankind's forbearance; it has not only been amassed and
handed down, it has been suffered to be amassed and handed
down; and surely in such consideration as this, its
possessor should find only a new spur to activity and
honour, that with all this power of service he should not
prove unserviceable, and that this mass of treasure should
return in benefits upon the race.  If he bad twenty, or
thirty, or a hundred thousand at his banker's, or if all
Yorkshire or all California were his to manage or to sell,
he would still be morally penniless, and have the world to
begin like Whittington, until he had found some way of
serving mankind.  His wage is physically in his own hand;
but, in honour, that wage must still be earned.  He is only
steward on parole of what is called his fortune.  He must
honourably perform his stewardship.  He must estimate his
own services and allow himself a salary in proportion, for
that will be one among his functions.  And while he will
then be free to spend that salary, great or little, on his
own private pleasures, the rest of his fortune he but holds
and disposes under trust for mankind; it is not his,
because he has not earned it; it cannot be his, because his
services have already been paid; but year by year it is his
to distribute, whether to help individuals whose birthright
and outfit has been swallowed up in his, or to further
public works and institutions.

*

'Tis a fine thing to smart for one's duty; even in the
pangs of it there is contentment.

*

We all suffer ourselves to be too much concerned about a
little poverty; but such considerations should not move us
in the choice of that which is to be the business and
justification of so great a portion of our lives and like
the missionary, the patriot, or the philosopher, we should
all choose that poor and brave career in which we can do
the most and best for mankind.

*

The salary in any business under heaven is not the only,
nor indeed the first, question.  That you should continue
to exist is a matter for your own consideration; but that
your business should be first honest, and second useful,
are points in which honour and morality are concerned.

*

There is only one wish realisable on the earth; only one
thing that can be perfectly attained: Death.  And from a
variety of circumstances we have no one to tell us whether
it be worth attaining.

A strange picture we make on our way to our chimaeras,
ceaselessly marching, grudging ourselves the time for rest;
indefatigable, adventurous pioneers.  It is true that we
shall never reach the goal; it is even more than probable
that there is no such place; and if we lived for centuries
and were endowed with the powers of a god, we should find
ourselves not much nearer what we wanted at the end.  O
toiling hands of mortals! O unwearied feet, travelling ye
know not whither! Soon, soon, it seems to you,' you must
come forth on some conspicuous hilltop, and but a little
way further, against the setting sun, descry the spires of
El Dorado.  Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to
travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the
true success is to labour.

*

A man who must separate himself from his neighbours' habits
in order to be happy, is in much the same case with one who
requires to take opium for the same purpose.  What we want
to see is one who can breast into the world, do a man's
work, and still preserve his first and pure enjoyment
of existence.

There is apt to be something unmanly, something almost
dastardly, in a life that does not move with dash and
freedom, and that fears the bracing contact of the world.

*

You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time
fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and
where you stand?

*

Life as a matter of fact, partakes largely of the nature of
tragedy.  The gospel according to Whitman, even if it be
not so logical, has this advantage over the gospel
according to Pangloss, that it does not utterly disregard
the existence of temporal evil.  Whitman accepts the fact
of disease and wretchedness like an honest man; and instead
of trying to qualify it in the interest of his optimism,
sets himself to spur people up to be helpful.

*

Indeed, I believe this is the lesson; if it is for fame
that men do brave actions, they are only silly fellows
after all.

*

To avoid an occasion for our virtues is a worse degree of
failure than to push forward pluckily and make a fall.  It
is lawful to pray God that we be not led into temptation;
but not lawful to skulk from those that come to us.

*

To be honest, to be kind--to earn a little and to spend a
little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for
his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and
not to be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these
without capitulation--above all, on the same grim
conditions, to keep friends with himself--here is a task
for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy.

*

As we dwell, we living things, in our isle of terror and
under the imminent hand of death, God forbid it should
be man the erected, the reasoner, the wise in his own
eyes'--God forbid it should be man that wearies in welldoing,
that despairs of unrewarded effort, or utters the language
of complaint.  Let it be enough for faith, that the whole
creation groans in mortal frailty, strives with
unconquerable constancy: surely not all in vain.

*

I find I never weary of great churches.  It is my favourite
kind of mountain scenery.  Mankind was never so happily
inspired as when it made a cathedral: a thing as single and
specious as a statue to the first glance, and yet, on
examination, as lively and interesting as a forest in
detail.  The height of spires cannot be taken by
trigonometry; they measure absurdly short, but how tall
they are to the admiring eye!  And where we have so many
elegant proportions, growing one out of the other, and all
together into one, it seems as if proportion transcended
itself and became something different and more imposing.  I
could never fathom how a man dares to lift up his voice to
preach in a cathedral.  What is he to say that will not be
an anti-climax?  For though I have heard a considerable
variety of sermons, I never yet heard one that was so
expressive as a cathedral.  'Tis the best preacher itself,
and preaches day and night; not only telling you of man's
art and aspirations in the past, but convicting your own
soul of ardent sympathies; or rather, like all good
preachers, it sets you preaching to yourself--and every man
is his own doctor of divinity in the last resort.

*

As the business man comes to love the toil, which he only
looked upon at first as a ladder towards other desires and
less unnatural gratifications, so the dumb man has felt the
charm of his trade and fallen captivated before the eyes of
sin.  It is a mistake when preachers tell us that vice is
hideous and loathsome; for even vice has her Horsel and her
devotees, who love her' for her own sake.

Between these two, I now felt I had to choose.  My two
natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were
most unequally shared between them.  Jekyll (who was
composite) now with the most sensitive apprehensions, now
with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures
and adventures of Hyde; but Hyde was indifferent to Jekyll,
or but remembered him as the mountain bandit remembers the
cavern in which he conceals himself from pursuit.  Jekyll
had more than a father's interest; Hyde had more than a
son's indifference.  To cast in my lot with Jekyll was to
die to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged,
and had of late begun to pamper.  To cast it in with Hyde
was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to
become, at a blow and for ever, despised and friendless.
The bargain might appear unequal; but there was still
another consideration in the scale ; for while Jekyll would
suffer smartingly in the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be
not even conscious of all that he had lost.  Strange as my
circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as old and
commonplace as man; much the same inducements and alarms
cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it
fell out with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my
fellows, that I chose the better part, and was found
wanting in the strength to keep to it.

*

Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as
I was guilty of; but from the high views that I had set
before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid
sense of shame.  It was thus rather the exacting nature of
my aspirations than any particular degradation in my faults
that made me what I was, and, with even a deeper trench
than in the majority of men, severed in me those provinces
of good and ill which divide and compound man's dual
nature.  In this case I was driven to reflect deeply and
inveterately on that hard law of life, which lies at the
root of religion and is one of the most plentiful springs
of distress.  Though so profound a double dealer, I was in
no sense a hypocrite; both sides of me were in dead
earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint
and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of
day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of
sorrow and suffering.  And it chanced that the direction of
my scientific studies, which led wholly towards the mystic
and the transcendental, reacted and shed a strong light on
this consciousness of the perennial war among my members.
With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the
moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to
that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed
to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one,
but truly two.

*

It may be argued again that dissatisfaction with our life's
endeavour springs in some degree from dulness.  We require
higher tasks because we do not recognise the height of
those we have.  Trying to be kind and honest seems an
affair too simple and too inconsequential for gentlemen of
our heroic mould; we had rather set ourselves something
bold, arduous, and conclusive; we had rather found a schism
or suppress a heresy, cut off a hand or mortify an
appetite.  But the task before us, which is to co-endure
with our existence, is rather one of microscopic fineness,
and the heroism required is that of patience.  There is no
cutting of the Gordian knots of life; each must be
smilingly unravelled.

*

It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for
collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.  Although
neither is to be despised, it is always better policy to
learn an interest than to make a thousand pounds; for the
money will soon be spent, or perhaps you may feel no joy in
spending it; but the interest remains imperishable and ever
new.  To become a botanist, a geologist, a social
philosopher, an antiquary, or an artist, is to enlarge
one's possessions in the universe by an incalculably higher
degree, and by a far surer sort of property, than to
purchase a farm of many acres.

*

He who has learned to love an art or science has wisely
laid up riches against the day of riches; if prosperity
come, he will not enter poor into his inheritance; he will
not slumber and forget himself in the lap of money, or
spend his hours in counting idle treasures, but be up and
briskly doing; he will have the true alchemic touch, which
is not that of Midas, but which transmutes dead money into
living delight and satisfaction.  ETRE ET PAS AVOIR--to be,
not to possess--that is the problem of life.  To be
wealthy, a rich nature is the first requisite and money but
the second.  To be of a quick and healthy blood, to share
in all honourable curiosities, to be rich in admiration and
free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others,
to love with such generosity of heart that your love is
still a dear possession in absence or unkindness--these are
the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy, and without
which money can buy nothing.

*

An aim in life is the only fortune worth the finding;
and it is not to be found in foreign lands, but in the
heart itself.

*

'Mr. Archer was telling me in some strange land they used
to run races each with a lighted candle, and the art was to
keep the candle burning.  Well, now, I thought that was
like life; a man's good conscience is the flame he gets to
carry, and if he comes to the winning-post with that still
burning, why, take it how you will, the man is a hero--even
if he was low-born like you and me.'

*

Hope, they say, deserts us at no period of our existence.
From first .to last, and in the face of smarting
disillusions, we continue to expect good fortune, better
health, and better conduct; and that so confidently, that
we judge it needless to deserve them.

*

'Do I, indeed, lack courage?' inquired Mr. Archer of
himself.  'Courage, the footstool of the virtues, upon
which they stand?  Courage, that a poor private carrying a
musket has to spare of; that does not fail a weasel or a
rat; that is a brutish faculty?  I to fail there, I wonder?
But what is courage?  The constancy to endure oneself or to
see others suffer?  The itch of ill-advised activity: mere
shuttle-wittedness, or to be still and patient?  To inquire
of the significance of words is to rob ourselves of what we
seem to know, and yet, of all things, certainly to stand
still is the least heroic.'

*

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of
becoming, is the only end of life.

*

But let the man learn to love a woman as far as he is
capable of love; and for this random affection of the body
there is substituted a steady determination, a consent of
all his powers and faculties, which supersedes, adopts, and
commands the others.  The desire survives, strengthened,
perhaps, but taught obedience, and changed in scope and
character.  Life is no longer a tale of betrayals and
regrets; for the man now lives as a whole; his
consciousness now moves on uninterrupted like a river;
through all the extremes and ups and downs of passion, he
remains approvingly conscious of himself.

Now to me, this seems a type of that righteousness which
the soul demands.  It demands that we shall not live
alternately with our opposing tendencies in continual
see-saw of passion and disgust, but seek some path on which
the tendencies shall no longer oppose, but serve each other
to a common end.  It demands that we shall not pursue broken
ends, but great and comprehensive purposes, in which soul
and body may unite, like notes in a harmonious chord.  That
were indeed a way of peace and pleasure, that were indeed a
heaven upon earth.  It does not demand, however, or, to
speak in measure, it does not demand of me, that I should
starve my appetites for no purpose under heaven but as a
purpose in itself; or, if in a weak despair, pluck out the
eye that I have not learned to guide and enjoy with wisdom.
The soul demands unity of purpose, not the dismemberment of
man; it seeks to roll up all his strength and sweetness,
all his passion and wisdom, into one, and make of him a
perfect man exulting in perfection.  To conclude
ascetically is to give up, and not to solve, the problem.

*

The best teachers are the aged.  To the old our mouths are
always partly closed; we must swallow our obvious retorts
and listen.  They sit above our heads, on life's raised
dais, and appeal at once to our respect and pity.  A
flavour of the old school, a touch of something different
in their manner--which is freer and rounder, if they come
of what is called a good family, and often more timid and
precise if they are of the middle class--serves, in these
days, to accentuate the difference of age and, add a
distinction to grey hairs.  But their superiority is
founded more deeply than by outward marks or gestures.
They are before us in the march of man; they have more or
less solved the irking problem; they have battled through
the equinox of life; in good and evil they have held their
course; and now, without open shame, they near the crown
and harbour.  It may be we have been struck with one of
fortune's darts; we can scarce be civil, so cruelly is our
spirit tossed.  Yet long before we were so much as thought
upon, the like calamity befel the old man or woman that
now, with pleasant humour, rallies us upon our inattention,
sitting composed in the holy evening of man's life, in the
clear shining after rain.  We grow ashamed of our
distresses, new and hot and coarse, like villainous
roadside brandy; we see life in aerial perspective, under
the heavens of faith; and out of the worst, in the mere
presence of contented elders, look forward and take
patience.  Fear shrinks before them 'like a thing
reproved,' not the flitting and ineffectual fear of death,
but the instant, dwelling terror of the responsibilities
and revenges of life.  Their speech, indeed, is timid; they
report lions in the path; they counsel a meticulous
footing; but their serene, marred faces are more eloquent
and tell another story.  'Where they have gone, we will go
also, not very greatly fearing; what they have endured
unbroken, we also, God helping us, will make a shift
to bear.

*

If you teach a man to keep his eyes upon what others think
of him, unthinkingly to lead the life and hold the
principles of the majority of his contemporaries, you must
discredit in his eyes the authoritative voice of his own
soul.  He may be a docile citizen; he will never be a man.
It is ours, on the other hand, to disregard this babble and
chattering of other men better and worse than we are, and
to walk straight before us by what light we have.  They may
be right; but so, before heaven, are we.  They may know;
but we know also, and by that knowledge we must stand or
fall.  There is such a thing as loyalty to a man's own
better self; and from those who have not that, God help me,
how am I to look for loyalty to others? The most dull, the
most imbecile, at a certain moment turn round, at a certain
point will hear no further argument, but stand unflinching
by their own dumb, irrational sense of right.  It is not
only by steel or fire, but through contempt and blame, that
the martyr fulfils the calling of his dear soul.  Be glad
if you are not tried by such extremities.  But although all
the world ranged themselves in one line to tell 'This is
wrong,' be you your own faithful vassal and the ambassador
of God--throw down the glove and answer, 'This is right.'
Do you think you are only declaring yourself? Perhaps in
some dim way, like a child who delivers a message not fully
understood, you are opening wider the straits of prejudice
and preparing mankind for some truer and more spiritual
grasp of truth; perhaps, as you stand forth for your own
judgment, you are covering a thousand weak ones with your
body; perhaps, by this declaration alone, you have avoided
the guilt of false witness against humanity and the little
ones unborn.  It is good, I believe, to be respectable, but
much nobler to respect oneself and utter the voice of God.

I think it worth noting how this optimist was acquainted
with pain.  It will seem strange only to the superficial.
The disease of pessimism springs never from real troubles,
which it braces men to bear, which it delights men to bear
well.  Nor does it readily spring at all, in minds that
have conceived of life as a field of ordered duties, not as
a chase in which to hunt for gratifications.

*

But the race of man, like that iudomitable nature whence it
sprang, has medicating virtues of its own; the years and
seasons bring various harvests; the sun returns after the
rain; and mankind outlives secular animosities, as a single
man awakens from the passions of a day.  We judge our
ancestors from a more divine position; and the dust
being a little laid with several centuries, we can see
both sides adorned with human virtues and fighting with
a show of right.

*

It is a commonplace that we cannot answer for ourselves
before we have been tried.  But it is not so common a
reflection, and surely more consoling, that we usually find
ourselves a great deal braver and better than we thought.
I believe this is every one's experience; but an
apprehension that they may belie themselves in the future
prevents mankind from trumpeting this cheerful sentiment
abroad.  I wish sincerely, for it would have saved me much
trouble, there had been some one to put me in a good heart
about life when I was younger; to tell sue how dangers are
most portentous on a distant sight; and how the good in a
man's spirit will not suffer itself to be overlaid, and
rarely or never deserts him in the hour of need.  But we
are all for tootling on the sentimental flute in
literature; and not a man among us will go to the head of
the march to sound the heady drums.

*

It is a poor heart, and a poorer age, that cannot accept
the conditions of life with some heroic readiness.

*

I told him I was not much afraid of such accidents; and at
any rate judged it unwise to dwell upon alarms or consider
small perils in the arrangement of life.  Life itself I
submitted, was a far too risky business as a whole to make
each additional particular of danger worth regard.

*

There is nothing but tit for tat in this world, though
sometimes it be a little difficult to trace; for the scores
are older than we ourselves, and there has never yet been a
settling day since things were.  You get entertainment
pretty much in proportion as you give.  As long as we were
a sort of odd wanderers, to be stared at and followed like
a quack doctor or a caravan, we had no want of amusement in
return; but as soon as we sunk into commonplace ourselves,
all whom we met were similarly disenchanted.  And here is
one reason of a dozen why the world is dull to dull
persons.

*

All literature, from Job and Omar Khayam to Thomas Carlyle
or Walt Whitman, is but an attempt to look upon the human
state with such largeness of view as shall enable us to
rise from the consideration of living to the Definition of
Life.  And our sages give us about the best satisfaction in
their power when they say that it is a vapour, or a show,
or made out of the same stuff with dreams.  Philosophy, in
its more rigid sense, has been at the same work for ages;
and after a myriad bald heads have wagged over the problem,
and piles of words have been heaped one upon another into
dry and cloudy volumes without end, philosophy has the
honour of laying before us, with modest pride, her
contribution towards the subject: that life is a Permanent
Possibility of Sensation.  Truly a fine result! A man may
very well love beef, or hunting, or a woman; but surely,
surely, not a Permanent Possibility of Sensation!  He may
be afraid of a precipice, or a dentist, or a large enemy
with a club, or even an undertaker's man; but not certainly
of abstract death.  We may trick with the word life in its
dozen senses until we are weary of tricking; we may argue
in terms of all the philosophies on earth, but one fact
remains true throughout--that we do not love life in the
sense that we are greatly preoccupied about its
conservation; that we do not, properly speaking, love life
at all, but living.

*

Whether we regard life as a lane leading to a dead wall--a
mere bag's end, as the French say--or whether we think of
it as a vestibule or gymnasium, where we wait our turn and
prepare our faculties for some more noble destiny; whether
we thunder in a pulpit, or pule in little atheistic poetry-
books, about its vanity and brevity; whether we look justly
for years of health and vigour, or are about to mount into
a bath-chair, as a step towards the hearse; in each and all
of these views and situations there is but one conclusion
possible: that a man should stop his ears against
paralysing terror, and run the race that is set before him
with a single mind.

As courage and intelligence are the two qualities best
worth a good man's cultivation, so it is the first part of
intelligence to recognise our precarious estate in life,
and the first part of courage to be not at all abashed
before the fact.  A frank and somewhat headlong carriage,
not looking too anxiously before, not dallying in maudlin
regret over the past, stamps the man who is well armoured
for this world.

*

It is not over the virtues of a curate-and-tea-party novel
that people are abashed into high resolutions.  It may be
because their hearts are crass, but to stir them properly
they must have men entering into glory with sonic pomp
and circumstance.  And that is why these stories of our
sea-captains, printed, so to speak, in capitals, and full of
bracing moral influence, are more valuable to England than
any material benefit in all the books of political economy
between Westminster and Birmingham.  Greenville chewing
wine-glasses at table makes no very pleasant figure, any
more than a thousand other artists when they are viewed in
the body, or met in private life; but his work of art, his
finished tragedy, is an elegant performance; and I contend
it ought not only to enliven men of the sword as they go
into battle, but send back merchant-clerks with more heart
and spirit to their book-keeping by double entry.

*

It is said that a poet has died young in the breast of the
most stolid.  'It may be contended, rather, that this
(somewhat minor) bard in almost every case survives, and is
the spice of life to his possessor.  Justice is not done to
the versatility and the unplumbed childishness of man's
imagination.  His life from without may seem but a rude
mound of mud; there will be some golden chamber at the
heart of it, in which he dwells delighted; and for as dark
as his pathway seems to the observer, he will have some
kind of a bull's-eye at his belt.

*

For, to repeat, the ground of a man's joy is often hard to
hit.  It may hinge at times upon a mere accessory, like the
lantern; it may reside, like Dancer's in the mysterious
inwards of psychology.  It may consist with perpetual
failure, and find exercise in the continued chase.  It has
so little bond with externals (such as the observer
scribbles in his notebook) that it may even touch them not;
and the man's true life, for which he consents to live, lie
altogether in the field of fancy.  The clergyman in his
spare hours may be winning battles, the farmer sailing
ships, the banker reaping triumph in the arts: all leading
another life, plying another trade from that they chose;
like the poet's house-builder, who, after all, is
cased in stone,
  'By his fireside, as impotent fancy prompts,
   Rebuilds it to his liking.'

In such a case the poetry runs underground.  The observer
(poor soul, with his documents!) is all abroad.  For to
look at the man is but to court deception.  We shall see
the trunk from which he draws his nourishment; but he
himself is above and abroad in the green dome of foliage,
hummed through by winds and nested in by nightingales.  And
the true realism were that of the poets, to climb up after
him like a squirrel, and catch some glimpse of the heaven
for which he lives.  And the true realism, always and
everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy
resides, and give it voice beyond singing.

*

He who shall pass judgment on the records of our life is
the same that formed us in frailty.

*

We are all so busy, and have so many far-off projects to
realise, and castles in the fire to turn into solid
habitable mansions on a gravel soil, that we can find no
time for pleasure trips into the Land of Thought and among
the Hills of Vanity.  Changed times, indeed, when we must
sit all night, beside the fire, with folded hands; and a
changed world for most of us, when we find we can pass the
hours without discontent, and be happy thinking.  We are in
such haste to be doing, to be writing, to be gathering
gear, to make our voice audible a moment in the derisive
silence of eternity, that we forget that one thing, of
which these are but the parts--namely, to live.  We fall in
love, we drink hard, we run to and fro upon the earth like
frightened sheep.  And now you are to ask yourself if, when
all is done, you would not have been better to sit by the
fire at home, and be happy thinking.  To sit still and
contemplate--to remember the faces of women without desire,
to be pleased by the great deeds of men without envy, to be
everything and everywhere in sympathy, and yet content to
remain where and what you are--is not this to know both
wisdom and virtue, and to dwell with happiness?

*

Of those who fail, I do not speak--despair should be
sacred; but to those who even modestly succeed, the changes
of their life bring interest: a job found, a shilling
saved, a dainty earned, all these are wells of pleasure
springing afresh for the successful poor; and it is not
from these, but from the villa-dweller, that we hear
complaints of the unworthiness of life.

*

I shall be reminded what a tragedy of misconception and
misconduct man at large presents: of organised injustice,
cowardly violence and treacherous crime; and of the damning
imperfections of the best.  They cannot be too darkly
drawn.  Man is indeed marked for failure in his efforts to
do right.  But where the best consistently miscarry, how
tenfold more remarkable that all should continue to strive;
and surely we should find it both touching and inspiriting,
that in a field from which success is banished, our race
should not cease to labour.

*

Poor soul, here for so little, cast among so many
hardships, filled with desires so incommensurate and so
inconsistent, savagely surrounded, savagely descended,
irremediably condemned to prey upon his fellow lives: who
should have blamed him had he been of a piece with his
destiny and a being merely barbarous?  And we look and
behold him instead filled with imperfect virtues:
infinitely childish, often admirably valiant, often
touchingly kind; sitting down amidst his momentary life, to
debate of right and wrong and the attributes of the deity;
rising up to do battle for an egg or die for an idea;
singling out his friends and his mate with cordial
affection; bringing forth in pain, rearing, with
long-suffering solicitude, his young.  To touch the heart
of his mystery, we find in him one thought, strange to the
point of lunacy: the thought of duty, the thought of
something owing to himself, to his neighbour, to his God:
an ideal of decency, to which he would rise if it were
possible; a limit of shame, below which, if it be possible,
he will not stoop.
       
*

There are two just reasons for the choice any way of life:
the first is inbred taste in the chooser; the second some
high utility in the industry selected.

*

There is an idea abroad among moral people that they
should make their neighbours good.  One person I have to
make good: myself.  But my duty to my neighbour is much
more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him
happy--if I may.

*

In his own life, then, a man is not to expect happiness,
only to profit by it gladly when it shall arise; he is on
duty here; he knows not how or why, and does not need to
know; he knows not for what hire, and must not ask.
Somehow or other, though he does not know what goodness
is, he must try to be good; somehow or other, though he
cannot tell what will do it, he must try to give happiness
to others.

*

Of this one thing I am sure: that every one thawed and
became more humanised and conversible as soon as these
innocent people appeared upon the scene.  I would not
readily trust the travelling merchant with any extravagant
sum of money, but I am sure his heart was in the
right place.

In this mixed world, if you can find one or two sensible
places in a man; above all, if you should find a whole
family living together on such pleasant terms, you may
surely he satisfied, and take the rest for granted; or,
what is a great deal better, boldly make up your mind that
you can do perfectly well without the rest, and that ten
thousand bad traits cannot make a single good one any the
less good.

*

His was, indeed, a good influence in life while he was
still among us; he had a fresh laugh; it did you good to
see him; and, however sad he may have been at heart, he
always bore a bold and cheerful countenance and took
fortune's worst as it were the showers of spring.

*

Pleasures are more beneficial than duties because, like the
quality of mercy, they are not strained, and they are twice
blest.  There must always be two in a kiss, and there may
be a score in a jest; but wherever there is an element of
sacrifice, the favour is conferred with pain, and, among
generous people, received with confusion.

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being
happy.  By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the
world, which remain unknown even to ourselves, or when they
are disclosed, surprise nobody so much as the benefactor.

*

A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a
five-pound note.  He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill;
and their entrance into a room is as though another candle
had been lighted.  We need not care whether they could
prove the forty-seventh proposition; they do a better thing
than that, they practically demonstrate the great Theorem
of the Liveableness of Life.

*

Mme. Bazin came out after a while; she was tired with her
day's work, I suppose; and she nestled up to her husband
and laid her head upon his breast.  He had his arm about
her and kept gently patting her on the shoulder.  I think
Bazin was right, and he was really married.  Of how few
people can the same be said!

Little did the Bazins know how much they served us.  We
were charged for candles, for food and drink, and for the
beds we slept in.  But there was nothing in the bill for
the husband's pleasant talk; nor for the pretty spectacle
of their married life.  And there was yet another item
uncharged.  For these people's, politeness really set us up
again in our own esteem.  We had a thirst for
consideration; the sense of insult was still hot in our
spirits; and civil usage seemed to restore us to our
position in the world.

How little we pay our way in life! Although we have our
purses continually in our hand, the better part of service
goes still unrewarded.  But I like to fancy that a grateful
spirit gives as good as it gets.  Perhaps the Bazins knew
how much I liked them? perhaps they, also, were healed of
some slights by the thanks that I gave them in my manner?

*

No art, it may be said, was ever perfect, and not many
noble, that has not been mirthfully conceived.  And no man,
it may be added, was ever anything but a wet blanket and a
cross to his companions who boasted not a copious spirit of
enjoyment.

*

There is yet another class who do not depend on corporal
advantages, but support the winter in virtue of a brave and
merry heart.  One shivering evening, cold enough for frost,
but with too high a wind, and a little past sundown, when
the Lamps were beginning to enlarge their circles in the
growing dusk, a brace of barefooted lassies were seen
coming eastward in the teeth of the wind.  If the one was
as much as nine, the other was certainly not more than
seven.  They were miserably clad; and the pavement was so
cold, you would have thought no one could lay a naked foot
on it unflinching.  Yet they came along waltzing, if you
please, while the elder sang a tune to give them music.
The person who saw this, and whose heart was full of
bitterness at the moment, pocketed a reproof which has been
of use to him ever since, and which he now hands on, with
his good wishes, to the reader.

*

Happiness, at least, is not solitary; it joys to
communicate; it loves others, for it depends on them for
its existence; it sanctions and encourages to all delights
that are not unkind in themselves; if it lived to a
thousand, it would not make excision of a single humorous
passage; and while the self-improver dwindles toward the
prig, and, if he be not of an excellent constitution, may
even grow deformed into an Obermann, the very name and
appearance of a happy man breathe of good-nature, and help
the rest of us to live.

*

It is never a thankful office to offer advice; and advice
is the more unpalatable, not only from the difficulty of
the service recommended, but often from its very
obviousness.  We are fired with anger against those who
make themselves the spokesmen of plain obligations; for
they seem to insult us as they advise.

*

We are not all patient Grizzels, by good fortune, but
the most of us human beings with feelings and tempers
of our own.

*

Men, whether lay or clerical, suffer better the flame of
the stake than a daily inconvenience or a pointed sneer,
and will not readily be martyred without some external
circumstance and a concourse looking on.

*

An imperturbable demeanour comes from perfect patience.
Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in
fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a
clock during a thunderstorm.

*

The ways of men seem always very trivial to us when we find
ourselves alone on a church top, with the blue sky and a
few tall pinnacles, and see far below us the steep roofs
and foreshortened buttresses, and the silent activity of
the city streets.

*

Nevertheless, there is a certain frame of mind to which a
cemetery is, if not an antidote, at least an alleviation.
If you are in a fit of the blues, go nowhere else.

*

Honour can survive a wound; it can live and thrive without
member.  The man rebounds from his disgrace; he begins
fresh foundations on the ruins of the old; and when his
sword is broken, he will do valiantly with his dagger.

*

It is easy to be virtuous when one's own convenience is not
affected; and it is no shame to any man to follow the
advice of an outsider who owns that, while he sees which is
the better part, he might not have the courage to profit
himself by this opinion.

*

As soon as prudence has begun to grow up in the brain, like
a dismal fungus, it finds its expression in a paralysis of
generous acts.

*

The man who cannot forgive any mortal thing is a green
hand in life.

*

It is a useful accomplishment to be able to say NO, but
surely it is the essence of amiability to prefer to say YES
where it is possible.  There is something wanting in the
man who does not hate himself whenever he is constrained to
say no.  And there was a great deal wanting in this born
dissenter.  He was almost shockingly devoid of weaknesses;
he had not enough of them to be truly polar with humanity;
whether you call him demi-god or demi-man, he was at least
not altogether one of us, for he was not touched with a
feeling of our infirmities.  The world's heroes have room
for all positive qualities, even those which are
disreputable, in the capacious theatre of their
dispositions.  Such can live many lives; while a Thoreau
can live but one, and that only with perpetual foresight.

*

We can all be angry with our neighbour; what we want is to
be shown, not his defects, of which we are too conscious,
but his merits, to which we are too blind.

*

And methought that beauty and terror are only one, not two;
And the world has room for love, and death, and thunder,
and dew;
And all the sinews of hell slumber in summer air;
And the face of God is a rock, but the face of the rock
is fair.
Beneficent streams of tears flow at the finger of pain;
And out of the cloud that smites, beneficent rivers
of rain.

*

'The longest and most abstruse flight of a philosopher
becomes clear and shallow, in the flash of a moment, when
we suddenly perceive the aspect and drift of his intention.
The longest argument is but a finger pointed; once we get
our own finger rightly parallel, and we.  see what the man
meant, whether it be a new Star or an old street-lamp.  And
briefly, if a saying is hard to understand, it is because
we are thinking of something else.

*

I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both;
and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the
fools first.

*

Whether people's gratitude for the good gifts that come to
them be wisely conceived or dutifully expressed is a
secondary matter, after all, so long as they feel
gratitude.  The true ignorance is when a man does not know
that he has received a good gift, or begins to imagine that
he has got it for himself.  The self-made man is the
funniest windbag after all! There is a marked difference
between decreeing light in chaos, and lighting the gas in a
metropolitan back parlour with a box of patent matches;
and, do what we will, there is always something made to our
hand, if it were only our fingers.

*

Benjamin Franklin went through life an altered man, because
he once paid too dearly for a penny whistle.  My concern
springs usually from a deeper source, to wit, from having
bought a whistle when I did not want one.

*

I believe in a better state of things, that there will be
no more nurses, and that every mother will nurse her own
offspring; for what can be more hardening and demoralising
than to call forth the tenderest feelings of a woman's
heart and cherish them yourself as long as you need them,
as long as your children require a nurse to love them, and
then to blight and thwart and destroy them, whenever your
own use for them is at an end.

*

We had needs invent heaven if it had not been revealed
to us; there are some things that fall so bitterly ill on
this side time!

*

To write with authority about another man, we must have
fellow-feeling and some common ground of experience with
our subject.  We may praise or blame according as we find
him related to us by the best or worst in ourselves; but it
is only in virtue of some relationship that we can be his
judges, even to condemn.  Feelings which we share and
understand enter for us into the tissue of the man's
character; those to which we are strangers in our own
experience we are inclined to regard as blots, exceptions,
inconsistencies, and excursions of the diabolic; we
conceive them with repugnance, explain them with
difficulty, and raise our hands to heaven in wonder when we
find them in conjunction with talents that we respect or
virtues that we admire.

*

To the best of my belief, Mr. Shandy is the first who
fairly pointed out the incalculable influence of
nomenclature upon the whole life--who seems first to have
recognised the one child, happy in an heroic appellation,
soaring upwards on the wings of fortune, and the other,
like the dead sailor in his shotted hammock, haled down by
sheer weight of name into the abysses of social failure.

*

It would be well if nations and races could communicate
their qualities; but in practice when they look upon each
other, they have an eye to nothing but defects.

*

Many a man's destiny has been settled by nothing apparently
more grave than a pretty face on the opposite side of the
street and a couple of bad companions round the corner.

*

So kindly is the world arranged, such great profit may
arise from a small degree of human reliance on oneself, and
such, in particular, is the happy star of this trade of
writing, that it should combine pleasure and profit to both
parties, and be at once agreeable, like fiddling, and
useful, like good preaching.

*

In all garrison towns, guard-calls, and reveilles, and such
like, make a fine, romantic interlude in civic business.
Bugles, and drums, and fifes are of themselves most
excellent things in nature, and when they carry the mind to
marching armies and the picturesque vicissitudes of war
they stir up something proud in the heart.

*

To pass from hearing literature to reading it is to take a
great and dangerous step.  With not a few, I think a large
proportion of their pleasure then comes to an end; 'the
malady of not marking' overtakes them; they read
thenceforward by the eye alone and hear never again the
chime of fair words or the march of the stately period.
NON RAGIONIAM of these.  But to all the step is dangerous;
it involves coming of age; it is even a kind of second
weaning.  In the past all was at the choice of others; they
chose, they digested, they read aloud for us and sang to
their own tune the books of childhood.  In the future we
are to approach the silent, inexpressive type alone, like
pioneers; and the choice of what we are to read is in our
own hands thenceforward.

*

It remains to .be seen whether you can prove yourselves as
generous as you have been wise and patient.

*

'If folk dinna ken what ye're doing, Davie, they're
terrible taken up with it; but if they think they ken, they
care nae mair for it than what I do for pease porridge.'

*

And perhaps if you could read in my soul, or I could
read in yours, our own composure might seem little
less surprising.

*

For charity begins blindfold; and only through a series of
misapprehensions rises at length into a settled principle
of love and patience, and a firm belief in all our
fellow-men.

*

There is no doubt that the poorer classes in our country
are much more charitably disposed than their superiors in
wealth.  And I fancy it must arise a great deal from the
comparative indistinction of the easy and the not so easy
in these ranks.  A workman or a pedlar cannot shutter
himself off from his less comfortable neighbours.  If he
treats himself to a luxury, he must do it in the face of a
dozen who cannot.  And what should more directly lead to
charitable thoughts?  Thus the poor man, camping out in
life, sees it as it is, and knows that every mouthful he
puts in his belly has been wrenched out of the fingers of
the hungry.

But at a certain stage of prosperity, as in a balloon
ascent, the fortunate person passes through a zone of
clouds, and sublunary matters are thenceforward hidden from
his view.  He sees nothing but the heavenly bodies, all in
admirable order, and positively as good as new.  He finds
himself surrounded in the most touching manner by the
attentions of Providence, and compares himself
involuntarily with the lilies and the skylarks.  He does
not precisely sing, of course; but then he looks so
unassuming in his open laudau!  If all the world dined
at one table, this philosophy would meet with some
rude knocks.

*

Forgive me, if I seem to teach, who am as ignorant as the
trees of the mountain; but those who learn much do but skim
the face of knowledge; they seize the laws, they conceive
the dignity of the design--the horror of the living fact
fades from the memory.  It is we who sit at home with evil
who remember, I think, and are warned and pity.

*

Look back now, for a moment, on your own brief experience
of life; and although you lived it feelingly in your own
person, and had every step of conduct burned in by pains
and joys upon your memory, tell me what definite lesson
does experience hand on from youth to manhood, or from both
to age?  The settled tenor which first strikes the eye is
but the shadow of a delusion.  This is gone; that never
truly was; and you yourself are altered beyond recognition.
Times and men and circumstances change about your changing
character, with a speed of which no earthly hurricane
affords an image.  What was the best yesterday, is it still
the best in this changed theatre of a to-morrow?  Will your
own Past truly guide you in your own violent and unexpected
Future?  And if this be questionable, with what humble,
with what hopeless eyes, should we not watch other men
driving beside us on their unknown careers, seeing with
unlike eyes, impelled by different gales, doing and
suffering in another sphere of things?

*

The problem of education is twofold: first to know, and
then to utter.  Every one who lives any semblance of an
inner life thinks more nobly and profoundly than he speaks;
and the best teachers can impart only broken images of the
truth which they perceive.  Speech which goes from one to
another between two natures, and, what is worse, between
two experiences, is doubly relative.  The speaker buries
his meaning; it is for the hearer to dig it up again; and
all speech, written or spoken, is in a dead language until
it finds a willing and prepared hearer.

*

Culture is not measured by the greatness of the field which
is covered by our knowledge, but by the nicety with which
we can perceive relations in that field, whether great
or small.

*

We are accustomed nowadays to a great deal of puling over
the circumstances in which we are placed.  The great
refinement of many poetical gentlemen has rendered them
practically unfit for the jostling and ugliness of life,
and they record their unfitness at considerable length.
The bold and awful poetry of Job's complaint produces too
many flimsy imitators; for there is always something
consolatory in grandeur, but the symphony transposed for
the piano becomes hysterically sad.  This literature of
woe, as Whitman calls it, this MALADIE DE RENE, as we like
to call it in Europe, is in many ways a most humiliating
and sickly phenomenon.  Young gentlemen with three or four
hundred a year of private means look down from a pinnacle
of doleful experience on all the grown and hearty men who
have dared to say a good word for life since the beginning
of the world.  There is no prophet but the melancholy
Jacques, and the blue devils dance on all our literary
wires.

It would be a poor service to spread culture, if this be
its result, among the comparatively innocent and cheerful
ranks of men.  When our little poets have to be sent to
look at the ploughman and learn wisdom, we must be careful
how we tamper with our ploughmen.  Where a man in not the
best of circumstances preserves composure of mind, and
relishes ale and tobacco, and his wife and children, in the
intervals of dull and unremunerative labour; where a man in
this predicament can afford a lesson by the way to what are
called his intellectual superiors, there is plainly
something to be lost, as well as something to be gained, by
teaching him to think differently.  It is better to leave
him as he is than to teach him whining.  It is better that
he should go without the cheerful lights of culture, if
cheerless doubt and paralysing sentimentalism are to be the
consequence.  Let us, by all means, fight against that
hide-bound stolidity of sensation and sluggishness of mind
which blurs and decolorises for poor natures the wonderful
pageant of consciousness; let us teach people, as much as
we can, to enjoy, and they will learn for themselves to
sympathise; but let us see to it, above all, that we give
these lessons in a brave, vivacious note, and build the man
up in courage while we demolish its substitute,
indifference.

*

All opinions, properly so called, are stages on the road to
truth.  It does not follow that a man will travel any
further; but if he has really considered the world and
drawn a conclusion, he has travelled so far.  This does not
apply to formulae got by rote, which are stages on the road
to nowhere but second childhood and the grave.  To have a
catchword in your mouth is not the same thing as to hold an
opinion; still less is it the same thing as to have made
one for yourself.

*

It is surely beyond a doubt that people should be a good
deal idle in youth.  For though here and there a Lord
Macaulay may escape from school honours with all his wits
about him, most boys pay so dear for their medals that they
never afterwards have a shot in their locker, and begin the
world bankrupt.  And the same holds true during all the
time a lad is educating himself, or suffering others to
educate him.... Books are good enough in their own way, but
they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.  It seems
a pity to sit, like the Lady of Shalott, peering into a
mirror, with your back turned on all the bustle and glamour
of reality.  And if a man reads very hard, as the old
anecdote reminds us, he will have little time for thought.

*

It is supposed that all knowledge is at the bottom of a
well, or the far end of a telescope.  As a matter of fact,
an intelligent person, looking out of his eyes and
hearkening in his ears, with a smile on his face all the
time, will get more true education than many another in a
life of heroic vigils.  There is certainly some chill and
arid knowledge to be found upon the summits of formal and
laborious science; but it is all round about you, and for
the trouble of looking, that you will acquire the warm and
palpitating facts of life.  While others are filling their
memory with a lumber of words, one-half of which they will
forget before the week is out, your truant may learn some
really useful art: to play the fiddle, or to speak with
ease and opportunity to all varieties of men.  Many who
have 'plied their book diligently,' and know all about some
one branch or another of accepted lore, come out of the
study with an ancient and owl-like demeanour, and prove
dry, stockish, and dyspeptic in all the better and brighter
parts of life.  Many make a large fortune who remain
underbred and pathetically stupid to the last.  And
meantime there goes the idler, who began life along with
them--by your leave, a different picture.  He has had time
to take care of his health and his spirits; he has been a
great deal in the open air, which is the most salutary of
all things for both body and mind; and if he has never read
the great Book in very recondite places, he has dipped into
it and skimmed it over to excellent purpose.  Might not the
student afford some Hebrew roots, and the business man some
of his half-crowns, for a share of the idler's knowledge of
life at large, and Art of Living?

*

Nay, and the idler has another and more important quality
than these.  I mean his wisdom.  He who has much looked on
at the childish satisfaction of other people in their
hobbies, will regard his own with only a very ironical
indulgence.  He will not be heard among the dogmatists.
He will have a great and cool allowance for all sorts of
people and opinions.  If he finds no out-of-the-way truths,
he will identify himself with no very burning falsehood.
His way takes him along a by-road, not much frequented, but
very even and pleasant, which is called Commonplace Lane,
and leads to the Belvedere of Commonsense.  Thence he shall
command an agreeable, if no very noble prospect; and while
others behold the East and West, the Devil and the sunrise,
he will be contentedly aware of a sort of morning hour upon
all sublunary things, with an army of shadows running
speedily and in many different directions into the great
daylight of Eternity.

*

I begin to perceive that it is necessary to know some one
thing to the bottom-- were it only literature.  And yet,
sir, the man of the world is a great feature of this age;
he is possessed of an extraordinary mass and variety of
knowledge; he is everywhere at home; he has seen life in
all its phases ; and it is impossible but that this great
habit of existence should bear fruit.

*

I am sorry indeed that I have no Greek, but I should be
sorrier still if I were dead; nor do I know the name of
that branch of knowledge which is worth acquiring at the
price of a brain fever.  There are many sordid tragedies in
the life of the student, above all if he be poor, or
drunken, or both; but nothing more moves a wise man s pity
than the case of the lad who is in too much hurry to be
learned.

*

'My friend,' said I, 'it is not easy to say who know the
Lord; and it is none of our business.  Protestants and
Catholics, and even those who worship stones, may know Him
and be known by Him; for He has made all.'

*

Cheylard scrapes together halfpence or the darkened souls
in Edinburgh; while Balquhidder and Dunrossness bemoans the
ignorance of Rome.  Thus, to the high entertainment of the
angels, do we pelt each other with evangelists, like
schoolboys bickering in the snow.

*

For courage respects courage; but where a faith has been
trodden out, we may look for a mean and narrow population.

*

Its not only a great flight of confidence for a man to
change his creed and go out of his family for heaven's
sake; but the odds are--nay, and the hope is--that, with
all this great transition in the eyes of man, he has not
changed himself a hairbreadth to the eyes of God.  Honour
to those who do so, for the wrench is sore.  But it argues
something narrow, whether of strength or weakness, whether
of the prophet or the fool, in those who can take a
sufficient interest in such infinitesimal and human
operations, or who can quit a friendship for a doubtful
operation of the mind.  And I think I should not leave my
old creed for another, changing only words for words; but
by some brave reading, embrace it in spirit and truth, and
find wrong as wrong for me as for the best of other
communions.

*

It is not a basketful of law-papers, nor the hoofs and
pistol-butts of a regiment of horse, that can change one
tittle of a ploughman's thoughts.  Outdoor rustic people
have not many ideas, but such as they have are hardy
plants, and thrive flourishingly in persecution.  One who
has grown a long while in the sweat of laborious noons, and
under the stars at night, a frequenter of hills and
forests, an old honest countryman, has, in the end, a sense
of communion with the powers of the universe, and amicable
relations towards his God.  Like my mountain Plymouth
Brother, he knows the Lord.  His religion does not repose
upon a choice of logic; it is the poetry of the man's
existence, the philosophy of the history of his life.  God,
like a great power, like a great shining sun, has appeared
to this simple fellow in the course of years, and become
the ground and essence of his least reflections; and you
may change creeds and dogmas by authority, or proclaim, a
new religion with the sound of trumpets, if you will; but
here is a man who has his own thoughts, and will stubbornly
adhere to them in good and evil.  He is a Catholic, a
Protestant, or a Plymouth Brother, in the same indefeasible
sense that a man is not a woman, or a woman is not a man.
For he could not vary from his faith, unless he could
eradicate all memory of the past, and, in a strict and not
conventional meaning, change his mind.

*

For still the Lord is Lord of might;
In deeds, in deeds, he takes delight;
The plough, the spear, the laden barks,
The field, the founded city, marks;
He marks the smiler of the streets,
The singer upon garden seats;
He sees the climber in the rocks:
To him, the shepherd folds his flocks.
For those he loves that underprop
With daily virtues Heaven's top,
And bear the falling sky with ease,
Unfrowning caryatides.
Those he approves that ply the trade,
That rock the child, that wed the maid,
That with weak virtues, weaker hands,
Sow gladness on the peopled lands,
And still with laughter, song and shout,
Spin the great wheel of earth about.

*

The shadow of a great oak lies abroad upon the ground at
noon, perfect, clear, and stable like the earth.  But let a
man set himself to mark out the boundary with cords and
pegs, and were he never so nimble and never so exact, what
with the multiplicity of the leaves and the progression of
the shadow as it flees before the travelling sun, long ere
he has made the circuit the whole figure will have changed.
Life may be compared, not to a single tree, but to a great
and complicated forest; circumstance is more swiftly
changing than a shadow, language much more inexact than the
tools of a surveyor; from day to day the trees fall and are
renewed; the very essences are fleeting as we look; and the
whole world of leaves is swinging tempest-tossed among the
winds of time.  Look now for your shadows.  O man of
formulae, is this a place for you?  Have you fitted the
spirit to a single case?  Alas, in the cycle of the ages
when shall such another be proposed for the judgment of
man?  Now when the sun shines and the winds blow, the wood
is filled with an innumerable multitude of shadows,
tumultuously tossed and changing; and at every gust the
whole carpet leaps and becomes new.  Can you or your heart
say more?

*

Indeed, I can see no dishonesty in not avowing a
difference; and especially in these high matters, where we
have all a sufficient assurance that, whoever may be in the
wrong, we ourselves are not completely right....  I know
right well that we are all embarked upon a troublesome
world, the children of one Father, striving in many
essential points to do and to become the same.

*

The word 'facts' is, in some ways, crucial.  I have spoken
with Jesuits and Plymouth Brethren, mathematicians and
poets, dogmatic republicans and dear old gentlemen in
bird's-eye neckcloths; and each understood the word 'facts'
in an occult sense of his own.  Try as I might, I could get
no nearer the principle of their division.  What was
essential to them, seemed to me trivial or untrue.  We
could come to no compromise as to what was, or what was
not, important in the life of man.  Turn as we pleased, we
all stood back to back in a big ring, and saw another
quarter of the heavens, with different mountain-tops along
the sky-line and different constellations overhead.  We had
each of us some whimsy in the brain, which we believed more
than anything else, and which discoloured all experience to
its own shade.  How would you have people agree, when one
is deaf and the other blind?

*

The average man lives, and must live, so wholly in
convention, that gunpowder charges of the truth are more
apt to discompose than to invigorate his creed.  Either
he cries out upon blasphemy and indecency, and crouches
the closer round that little idol of part-truth and
part-conveniences which is the contemporary deity, or
he is convinced by what is new, forgets what is old,
and becomes truly blasphemous and indecent himself.  New
truth is only wanted to expand, not to destroy, our civil
and often elegant conventions.  He who cannot judge had
better stick to fiction and the daily papers. There he
will get little harm, and, in the first at least, some good.
       
*

The human race is a thing more ancient than the ten
commandments; and the bones and the revolutions of the
Kosmos in whose joints we are but moss and fungus, more
ancient still.

*

The canting moralist tells us of right and wrong; and we
look abroad, even on the face of our small earth, and find
them change with every climate, and no country where some
action is not honoured for a virtue and none where it is
not branded for a vice; and we look into our experience,
and find no vital congruity in the wisest rules, but at the
best a municipal fitness.  It is not strange if we are
tempted to despair of good.  We ask too much.  Our
religions and moralities have been trimmed to flatter us,
till they are all emasculate and sentimentalised, and only
please and weaken.  Truth is of a rougher strain.  In the
harsh face of life, faith can read a bracing gospel.

*

Gentleness and cheerfulness, these come before all
morality; they are the perfect duties.... If your morals
make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong.  I do not
say 'give them up,' for they may be all you have; but
conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives
of better and simpler people.

*

There is no quite good book without a good morality; but
the world is wide, and so are morals.  Out of two people
who have dipped into Sir Richard Burton's Thousand and One
Nights, one shall have been offended by the animal details;
another to whom these were harmless, perhaps even pleasing,
shall yet have been shocked in his turn by the rascality
and cruelty of all the characters.  Of two readers, again,
one shall have been pained by the morality of a religious
memoir, one by that of the VICOMTE DE BRAGELONNE.  And the
point is that neither need be wrong.  We shall always shock
each other both in life and art; we cannot get the sun into
our pictures, nor the abstract right (if there be such a
thing) into our books; enough if, in the one, there glimmer
some hint of the great light that blinds us from heaven;
enough if, in the other, there shine, even upon foul
details, a spirit of magnanimity.

*

For to do anything because others do it, and not because
the thing is good, or kind, or honest in its own right, is
to resign all moral control and captaincy upon yourself,
and go post-haste to the devil with the greater number.
The respectable are not led so much by any desire of
applause as by a positive need for countenance.  The weaker
and the tamer the man, the more will he require this
support; and any positive quality relieves him, by just so
much, of this dependence.

*

Happiness and goodness, according to canting moralists,
stand in the relation of effect and cause.  There was never
anything less proved or less probable: our happiness is
never in our own hands; we inherit our constitutions; we
stand buffet among friends and enemies; we may be so built
as to feel a sneer or an aspersion with unusual keenness,
and so circumstanced as to be unusually exposed to them; we
may have nerves very sensitive to pain, and be afflicted
with a disease more painful.  Virtue will not help us, and
it is not meant to help us.  It is not even its own reward,
except for the self-centred and--I had almost said--the
unamiable.

*

Noble disappointment, noble self-denial, are not to be
admired, not even to be pardoned, if they bring bitterness.
It is one thing to enter the kingdom of heaven maim;
another to maim yourself and stay without.

*

To make our idea of morality centre on forbidden acts is to
defile the imagination and to introduce into our judgments
of our fellow-men a secret element of gusto.  If a thing is
wrong for us, we should not dwell upon the thought of it;
or we shall soon dwell upon it with inverted pleasure.

*

There is a certain class, professors of that low morality
so greatly more distressing than the better sort of vice,
to whom you must never represent an act that was virtuous
in itself, as attended by any other consequences than a
large family and fortune.

*

All have some fault.  The fault of each grinds down
the hearts of those about him, and--let us not blink the
truth--hurries both him and them into the grave.  And when
we find a man persevering indeed, in his fault, as all of
us do, and openly overtaken, as not all of us are, by its
consequences, to gloss the matte over, with too polite
biographers, is to do the work of the wrecker disfiguring
beacons on a perilous seaboard; but to call him bad, with a
self-righteous chuckle, is to be talking in one's sleep
with Heedless and Too-bold in the arbour.

*

The most influential books, and the truest in their
influence, are works of fiction.  They do not pin the
reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be
inexact; they do not teach a lesson, which he must
afterwards unlearn.  They repeat, they rearrange, they
clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from
ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others;
and they show us the web of experience, not as we can see
it for ourselves, but with a singular change--that
monstrous, consuming ego of ours being, for the nonce,
struck out.  To be so, they must be reasonably true to the
human comedy; and any work that is so serves the turn of
instruction.

*

Nature is a good guide through life, and the love of simple
pleasures next, if not superior, to virtue.

*

The soul asks honour and not fame; to be upright, not to be
successful; to be good, not prosperous; to be essentially,
not outwardly, respectable.

*

Practice is a more intricate and desperate business than
the toughest theorising; life is an affair of cavalry,
where rapid judgment and prompt action are alone possible
and right.

*

Each man should learn what is within him, that he may
strive to mend; he must be taught what is without him, that
he may be kind to others.  It can never be wrong to tell
him the truth; for, in his disputable state, weaving as he
goes his theory of life, steering himself, cheering or
reproving others, all facts are of the first importance to
his conduct; and even if a fact shall discourage or corrupt
him, it is still best that he should know it; for it is in
this world as it is, and not in a world made easy by
educational suppression, that he must win his way to shame
or glory.

*

A generous prayer is never presented in vain; the petition
may be refused, but the petitioner is always, I believe,
rewarded by some gracious visitation.

*

EVENSONG

The embers of the day are red
Beyond the murky hill.
The kitchen smokes: the bed
In the darkling house is spread:
The great sky darkens overhead,
And the great woods are shrill.
So far have I been led,
Lord, by Thy will:
So far I have followed, Lord, and wondered still.

The breeze from the enbalmed land
Blows sudden toward the shore,
And claps my cottage door.
I hear the signal, Lord--I understand.
The night at Thy command
Comes.  I will eat and sleep and will not question more.

*

It is not at all a strong thing to put one's reliance upon
logic.; and our own logic particularly, for it is generally
wrong.  We never know where we are to end if once we begin
following words or doctors.  There is an upright stock in a
man's own heart that is trustier than any syllogism; and
the eyes, and the sympathies, and appetites know a thing or
two that have never yet been stated in controversy.
Reasons are as plentiful as blackberries; and, like
fisticuffs, they serve impartially with all sides.
Doctrines do not stand or fall by their proofs, and are
only logical in so far as they are cleverly put.  An able
controversialist no more than an able general demonstrates
the justice of his cause.

*

To any man there may come at times a consciousness that
there blows, through all the articulations of his body, the
wind of a spirit not wholly his; that his mind rebels; that
another girds him and carries him whither he would not.

*

The child, the seed, the grain of corn,
The acorn on the hill,
Each for some separate end is born
In season fit, and still
Each must in strength arise to work the almighty will.

So from the hearth the children flee,
By that almighty hand
Austerely led; so one by sea
Goes forth, and one by land;
Nor aught of all man's sons escapes from that command.

So from the sally each obeys
The unseen almighty nod;
So till the ending all their ways
Blindfolded loth have trod:
Nor knew their task at all, but were the tools of God.

*

A few restrictions, indeed, remain to influence the
followers of individual branches of study.  The DIVINITY,
for example, must be an avowed believer; and as this, in
the present day, is unhappily considered by many as a
confession of weakness, he is fain to choose one of two
ways of gilding the distasteful orthodox bolus.  Some
swallow it in a thin jelly of metaphysics; for it is even a
credit to believe in God on the evidence of some crack-jaw
philosopher, although it is a decided slur to believe in
Him on His own authority.  Others again (and this we think
the worst method), finding German grammar a somewhat dry
morsel, run their own little heresy as a proof of
independence; and deny one of the cardinal doctrines that
they may hold the others without being laughed at.

*

In particular, I heard of clergymen who were employing
their time in explaining to a delighted audience the
physics of the Second Coming.  It is not very likely any of
us will be asked to help.  If we were, it is likely we
should receive instructions for the occasion, and that on
more reliable authority.  And so I can only figure to
myself a congregation truly curious in such flights of
theological fancy, as one of veteran and accomplished
saints, who have fought the good fight to an end and
outlived all worldly passion, and are to be regarded rather
as a part of the Church Triumphant than the poor, imperfect
company on earth.

*

The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together.  It is
the common and the god-like law of life.  The browsers, the
biters, the barkers, the hairy coats of field and forest,
the squirrel in the oak, the thousand-footed creeper in the
dust, as they share with us the gift of life, share with us
the love of an ideal; strive like us--like us are tempted
to grow weary of the struggle--to do well; like us receive
at times unmerited refreshment, visitings of support,
returns of courage; and are condemned like us to be
crucified between that double law of the members and the
will.  Are they like us, I wonder, in the timid hope of
some reward, some sugar with the drug?  Do they, too, stand
aghast at unrewarded virtues, at the sufferings of those
whom, in our partiality, we take to be just, and the
prosperity of such as in our blindness we call wicked?

*

But to be a true disciple is to think of the same things as
our prophet, and to think of different things in the same
order.  To be of the same mind with another is to see all
things in the same perspective; it is not to agree in a few
indifferent matters near at hand and not much debated; it
is to follow him in his farthest flights, to see the force
of his hyperboles, to stand so exactly in the centre of his
vision that whatever he may express, your eyes will light
at once on the original, that whatever he may see to
declare, your mind will at once accept....

Now, every now and then, and indeed surprisingly often,
Christ finds a word that transcends all commonplace
morality; every now and then He quits the beaten track to
pioneer the unexpressed, and throws out a pregnant and
magnanimous hyperbole; for it is only by some bold poetry
of thought that men can be strung up above the level of
everyday conceptions to take a broader look upon experience
or accept some higher principle of conduct.  To a man who
is of the same mind that was in Christ, who stand at some
centre not too far from His, and looks at the world and
conduct from some not dissimilar or, at least, not opposing
attitude--or, shortly, to a man who is of Christ's
philosophy--every such saying should come home with a
thrill of joy and corroboration; he should feel each one
below his feet as another sure foundation in the flux of
time and chance; each should be another proof that in the
torrent of the years and generations, where doctrines and
great armaments and empires are swept away and swallowed,
he stands immovable, holding by the eternal stars.

*

Those who play by rule will never be more than tolerable
players; and you and I would like to play our game in life
to the noblest and the most divine advantage....For no
definite precept can be more than an illustration, though
its truth were resplendent like the sun, and it was
announced from heaven by the voice of God.  And life is so
intricate and changing, that perhaps not twenty times, or
perhaps not twice in the ages, shall we find that nice
consent of circumstances to which alone it can apply....

It is to keep a man awake, to keep him alive to his own
soul and its fixed design of righteousness, that the better
part of moral and religious education is directed; not only
that of words and doctors, but the sharp ferule of calamity
under which we are all God's scholars till we die.  If, as
teachers, we are to say anything to the purpose, we must
say what will remind the pupil of his soul; we must speak
that soul's dialect; we must talk of life and conduct as
his soul would have him think of them.  If, from some
conformity between us and the pupil, or perhaps among all
men, we do in truth speak in such a dialect and express
such views, beyond question we shall touch in him a spring;
beyond question he will recognise the dialect as one that
he himself has spoken in his better hours; beyond question
he will cry, 'I had forgotten, but now I remember; I too
have eyes, and I had forgot to use them!  I too have a soul
of my own, arrogantly upright, and to that I will listen
and conform.' In short, say to him anything that he has
once thought, or been upon the point of thinking, or show
him any view of life that he has once clearly seen, or been
on the point of clearly seeing; and you have done your part
and may leave him to complete the education for himself.

*

God, if there be any God, speaks daily in a new language,
by the tongues of men; the thoughts and habits of each
fresh generation and each new-coined spirit throw another
light upon the universe, and contain another commentary on
the printed Bibles; every scruple, every true dissent,
every glimpse of something new, is a letter of God's
alphabet; and though there is a grave responsibility for
all who speak, is there none for those who unrighteously
keep silent and conform?  Is not that also to conceal and
cloak God's counsel?

*

Mankind is not only the whole in general, but every one in
particular.  Every man or woman is one of mankind's dear
possessions; to his or her just brain, and kind heart, and
active hands, mankind intrusts some of its hopes for the
future; he or she is a possible wellspring of good acts and
source of blessings to the race.

*

Morals are a personal affair; in the war of righteousness
every man fights for his own hand; all the six hundred
precepts of the Mishna cannot shake my private judgment; my
magistracy of myself is an indefeasible charge, and my
decisions absolute for the time and case.  The moralist is
not a judge of appeal, but an advocate who pleads at my
tribunal.  He has to show not the law, but that the law
applies.  Can he convince me? then he gains the cause.  And
thus you find Christ giving various counsels to varying
people, and often jealously careful to avoid definite
precept.  Is He asked, for example, to divide a heritage?
He refuses; and the best advice that He will offer is but a
paraphrase of the tenth commandment which figures so
strangely among the rest.  Take heed, and beware of
covetousness.  If you complain that this is vague, I have
failed to carry you along with me in my argument.  For no
definite precept can be more than an illustration, though
its truth were resplendent like the sun, and it was
announced from heaven by the voice of God.  And life is so
intricate and changing, that perhaps not twenty times, or
perhaps not twice in the ages, shall we find that nice
consent of circumstances to which alone it can apply.

*

But if it is righteousness thus to fuse together our
divisive impulses and march with one mind through life,
there is plainly one thing more unrighteous than all
others, and one declension which is irretrievable and draws
on the rest.  And this is to lose consciousness of oneself.
In the best of times, it is but by flashes, when our whole
nature is clear, strong, and conscious, and events conspire
to leave us free, that we enjoy communion with our soul.
At the worst we are so fallen and passive that we may say
shortly we have none.  An arctic torpor seizes upon men.
Although built of nerves, and set adrift in a stimulating
world, they develop a tendency to go bodily to sleep;
consciousness becomes engrossed among the reflex and
mechanical parts of life; and soon loses both the will and
power to look higher considerations in the face.  This is
ruin; this is the last failure in life; this is temporal
damnation, damnation on the spot and without the form of
judgment: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole
world and LOSE HIMSELF?'

*

To ask to see some fruit of our endeavour is but a
transcendental way of serving for reward; and what we take
to be contempt of self is only greed of hire.

*

We are are all such as He was--the inheritors of sin; we
must all bear and expiate a past which was not ours; there
is in all of us--ay, even in me--a sparkle of the divine.
Like Him, we must endure for a little while, until morning
returns, bringing peace.

*

A human truth, which is always very much a lie, hides as
much of life as it displays.  It is men who hold another
truth, or, as it seems to us, perhaps, a dangerous lie, who
can extend our restricted field of knowledge, and rouse our
drowsy consciences.

*

Truth of intercourse is something more difficult than to
refrain from open lies.  It is possible to avoid falsehood
and yet not tell the truth.  It is not enough to answer
formal questions.  To.  reach the truth by yea and nay
communications implies a questioner with a share of
inspiration, such as is often found in mutual love.  YEA
and NAY mean nothing; the meaning must have been related in
the question.  Many Words are often necessary to convey a
very simple statement; for in this sort of exercise we
never hit the gold; the most that we can hope is by many
arrows, more or less far off on different sides, to
indicate, in the course of time, for what target we are
aiming, and after an hour's talk, back and forward, to
convey the purport of a single principle or a single
thought.

*

The cruellist lies are often told in silence.  A man may
have sat in a room for hours and not opened his teeth, and
yet come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile
calumniator.  And how many loves have perished because,
from pride, or spite, or diffidence, or that unmanly shame
which withholds a man from daring to betray emotion, a
lover, at the critical point of the relation, has but hung
his head and held his tongue?  And, again, a lie may be
told by a truth, or a truth conveyed through a lie.  Truth
to facts is not always truth to sentiment; and part of the
truth, as often happens in answer to a question, may be the
foulest calumny.  A fact may be an exception; but the
feeling is the law, and it is that which you must neither
garble nor belie.  The whole tenor of a conversation is a
part of the meaning of each separate statement; the
beginning and the end define and travesty the intermediate
conversation.  You never speak to God; you address a
fellow-man, full of his own tempers: and to tell truth,
rightly understood, is not to state the true facts, but to
convey a true impression ; truth in spirit, not truth to
letter, is the true veracity.

*

He talked for the pleasure of airing himself.  He was
essentially glib, as becomes the young advocate, and
essentially careless of the truth, which is the mark of the
young ass; and so he talked at random.  There was no
particular bias, but that one which is indigenous and
universal, to flatter himself, and to please and interest
the present friend.

*

How wholly we all lie at the mercy of a single prater, not
needfully with any malign purpose!  And if a man but talk
of himself in the right spirit, refers to his virtuous
actions by the way, and never applies to them the name of
virtues, how easily his evidence is accepted in the court
of public opinion!

*

In one word, it must always be foul to tell what is false;
and it can never be safe to suppress what is true.

*

Conclusions, indeed, are not often reached by talk any more
than by private thinking.  That is not the profit.  The
profit is in the exercise, and above all in the experience;
for when we reason at large on any subject, we review our
state and history in life.  From time to time, however, and
specially, I think, in talking art, talk becomes effective,
conquering like war, widening the boundaries of knowledge
like an exploration.

*

Natural talk, like ploughing, should turn up a large
surface of life, rather than dig mines into geological
strata.  Masses of experience, anecdote, incident,
cross-lights, quotation, historical instances, the whole
flotsam and jetsam of two minds forced in and in upon the
matter in hand from every point of the compass, and from
every degree of mental elevation and abasement--these are
the material with which talk is fortified, the food on which
the talkers thrive.  Such argument as is proper to the exercise
should still be brief and seizing.  Talk should proceed by
instances; by the apposite, not the expository.  It should
keep close along the lines of humanity, near the bosoms and
businesses of men, at the level where history, fiction, and
experience intersect and illuminate each other.

*

There can be no fairer ambition than to excel in talk; to
be affable, gay, ready, clear and welcome; to have a fact,
a thought, or an illustration, pat to every subject; and
not only to cheer the flight of time among our intimates,
but bear our part in that great international congress,
always sitting, where public wrongs are first declared,
public errors first corrected, and the course of public
opinion shaped, day by day, a little nearer to the right.
No measure comes before Parliament but it has been long ago
prepared by the grand jury of the talkers; no book is
written that has not been largely composed by their
assistance.  Literature in many of its branches is no other
than the shadow of good talk; but the imitation falls far
short of the original in life, freedom, and effect.  There
are always two to a talk, giving and taking, comparing
experience and according conclusions.  Talk is fluid,
tentative, continually 'in further search and progress';
while written words remain fixed, become idols even to the
writer, found wooden dogmatisms, and preserve flies of
obvious error in the amber of the truth.  Last and chief,
while literature, gagged with linsey-woolsey, can only deal
with a fraction of the life of man, talk goes fancy free
and may call a spade a spade.  Talk has none of the
freezing immunities of the pulpit.  It cannot, even if it
would, become merely aesthetic or merely classical like
literature.  A jest intervenes, the solemn humbug is
dissolved in laughter, and speech runs forth out of the
contemporary groove into the open fields of nature, cheery
and cheering, like schoolboys out of school.  And it is in
talk alone that we can learn our period and ourselves.  In
short, the first duty of a man is to speak; that is his
chief business in this world; and talk, which is the
harmonious speech of two or more, is by far the most
accessible of pleasures.  It costs nothing in money; it is
all profit; it completes our education, founds and fosters
our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in
almost any state of health.

*

And it happens that literature is, in some ways, but an
indifferent means to such an end.  Language is but a poor
bull's-eye lantern wherewith to show off the vast cathedral
of the world; and yet a particular thing once said in words
is so definite and memorable, that it makes us forget the
absence of.  the many which remain unexpressed; like a
bright window in a distant view, which dazzles and confuses
our sight of its surroundings.  There are not words enough
in all Shakespeare to express the merest fraction of a
man's experience in an hour.  The speed of the eyesight and
the hearing, and the continual industry of the mind,
produce; in ten minutes, what it would require a laborious
volume to shadow forth by comparisons and roundabout
approaches.  If verbal logic were sufficient, life would be
as plain sailing as a piece of Euclid.  But, as a matter of
fact, we make a travesty of the simplest process of thought
when we put it into words; for the words are all coloured
and forsworn, apply inaccurately, and bring with them, from
former uses, ideas of praise and blame that have nothing to
do with the question in hand.  So we must always see to it
nearly, that we judge by the realities of life and not by
the partial terms that represent them in man's speech; and
at times of choice, we must leave words upon one side, and
act upon those brute convictions, unexpressed and perhaps
inexpressible, which cannot be flourished in an argument,
but which are truly the sum and fruit of our experience.
Words are for communication, not for judgment.  This is
what every thoughtful man knows for himself, for only fools
and silly schoolmasters push definitions over far into the
domain of conduct; and the majority of women, not learned
in these scholastic refinements, live all-of-a-piece and
unconsciously, as a tree grows, without caring to put a
name upon their acts or motives.

*

The correction of silence is what kills; when you know you
have transgressed, and your friend says nothing and avoids
your eye.  If a man were made of gutta-percha, his heart
would quail at such a moment.  But when the word is out,
the worst is over; and a fellow with any good-humour at all
may pass through a perfect hail of witty criticism, every
bare place on his soul hit to the quick with a shrewd
missile, and reappear, as if after a dive, tingling with a
fine moral reaction, and ready, with a shrinking readiness,
one-third loath, for a repetition of the discipline.

*

All natural talk is a festival of ostentation; and by the
laws of the game each accepts and fans the vanity of the
other.  It is from that reason that we venture to lay
ourselves so open, that we dare to be so warmly eloquent,
and that we swell in each other's eyes to such a vast
proportion.  For talkers, once launched, begin to overflow
the limits of their ordinary selves, tower up to the height
of their secret pretensions, and give themselves out for
the heroes, brave, pious, musical, and wise, that in their
most shining moments they aspire to be.  So they weave for
themselves with words and for a while inhabit a palace of
delights, temple at once and theatre, where they fill the
round of the world's dignities, and feast with the gods,
exulting in Kudos.  And when the talk is over, each goes
his way, still flushed with vanity and admiration, still
trailing clouds of glory; each declines from the height of
his ideal orgie, not in a moment, but by slow declension.

*

No man was ever so poor that he could express all he has in
him by words, looks, or actions; his true knowledge is
eternally incommunicable, for it is a knowledge of himself;
and his best wisdom comes to him by no process of the mind,
but in a supreme self-dictation, which keeps varying from
hour to hour in its dictates with the variation of events
and circumstances.

*

Overmastering pain--the most deadly and tragical element in
life--alas! pain has its own way with all of us; it breaks
in, a rude visitant, upon the fairy garden where the child
wanders in a dream, no less surely than it rules upon the
field of battle, or sends the immortal war-god whimpering
to his father; and innocence, no more than philosophy, can
protect us from this sting.

*

Where did you hear that it was easy to be honest?  Do you
find that in your Bible?  Easy?  It is easy to be an ass
and follow the multitude like a blind, besotted bull in a
stampede; and that, I am well aware, is what you and Mrs.
Grundy mean by being honest.  But it will not bear the
stress of time nor the scrutiny of conscience.

*

Though I have all my life been eager for legitimate
distinction, I can lay my hand upon my heart, at the end of
my career, and declare there is not one--no, nor yet life
itself--which is worth acquiring or preserving at the
slightest cost of dignity.

*

For surely, at this time of the day in the nineteenth
century, there is nothing that an honest man should fear
more timorously than getting and spending more than he
deserves.

*

It remains to be seen, by each man who would live a true
life to himself and not a merely specious life to society,
how many luxuries he truly wants and to how many he merely
submits as to a social propriety; and all these last he
will immediately forswear.  Let him do this, and he will be
surprised to find how little money it requires to keep him
in complete contentment and activity of mind and senses.
Life at any level among the easy classes is conceived upon
a principle of rivalry, where each man and each household
must ape the tastes and emulate the display of others.
One is delicate in eating, another in wine, a third in
furniture or works of art or dress; and I, who care
nothing for any of these refinements, who am perhaps a
plain athletic creature and love exercise, beef, beer,
flannel-shirts, and a camp bed, am yet called upon to
assimilate all these other tastes and make these foreign
occasions of expenditure my own.  It may be cynical; I am
sure I will be told it is selfish; but I will spend my money
as I please and for my own intimate personal gratification,
and should count myself a nincompoop indeed to lay out the
colour of a halfpenny on any fancied social decency or duty.
I shall not wear gloves unless my hands are cold, or unless
I am born with a delight in them.  Dress is my own affair,
and that of one other in the world; that, in fact, and for
an obvious reason, of any woman who shall chance to be in
love with me.  I shall lodge where I have a mind.  If I
do not ask society to live with me, they must be silent;
and even if I do, they have no further right but to
refuse the invitation.

*

To a gentleman is to be one all the world over, and in
every relation and grade of society.  It is a high calling,
to which a man must first be born, and then devote himself
for life.  And, unhappily, the manners of a certain
so-called upper grade have a kind of currency, and meet
with a certain external acceptation throughout all the
others, and this tends to keep us well satisfied with
slight acquirements and the amateurish accomplishments
of a clique.  But manners, like art, should be human
and central.

*

Respectability is a very thing in its way, but it does not
rise superior to all considerations.  I would not for a
moment venture to hint that it was a matter of taste; but I
think I will go as far as this: that if a position is
admittedly unkind, uncomfortable, unnecessary, and
superfluously useless, although it were as respectable as
the Church of England, the sooner a man is out of it, the
better for himself and all concerned.

*

After all, I thought, our satirist has just gone far enough
into his neighbours to find that the outside is false,
without caring to go farther and discover what is really
true.  He is content to find that things are not what they
seem, and broadly generalises from it that they do not
exist at all.  He sees our virtues are not what they
pretend they are; and, on the strength of that, he denies
us the possession of virtue altogether.  He has learned the
first lesson, that no man is wholly good; but he has not
even suspected that there is another equally true, to wit,
that no man is wholly bad.

*

Or take the case of men of letters.  Every piece of work
which is not as good as you can make it, which you have
palmed off imperfect, meagrely thought, niggardly in
execution, upon mankind, who is your paymaster on parole,
and in a sense your pupil, every hasty or slovenly or
untrue performance, should rise up against you in the court
of your own heart and condemn you for a thief.

*

Sympathy is a thing to be encouraged, apart from humane
considerations, because it supplies us with the materials
for wisdom.  It is probably more instructive to entertain a
sneaking kindness for any unpopular person.... than to give
way to perfect raptures of moral indignation against his
abstract vices.

*

In the best fabric of duplicity there is some weak point,
if you can strike it, which will loosen all.

*

It is at best but a pettifogging, pickthank business to
decompose actions into little personal motives, and explain
heroism away.  The Abstract Bagman will grow like an
Admiral at heart, not by ungrateful carping, but in a heat
of admiration.

*

After an hospital, what uglier piece is there in
civilisation than a court of law?  Hither come envy,
malice, and all uncharitableness to wrestle it out in
public tourney; crimes, broken fortunes, severed
households, the knave and his victim, gravitate to this low
building with the arcade.  To how many has not St.  Giles's
bell told the first hour after ruin?  I think I see them
pause to count the strokes and wander on again into the
moving High Street, stunned and sick at heart.

*

There are two things that men should never weary of--
goodness and humility.

*

It is not enough to have earned our livelihood.  Either the
earning itself should have been serviceable to mankind, or
something else must follow.  To live is sometimes very
difficult, but it is never meritorious in itself; and we
must have a reason to allege to our own conscience why we
should continue to exist upon this crowded earth.  If
Thoreau had simply dwelt in his house at Walden, a lover of
trees, birds, and fishes, and the open air and virtue, a
reader of wise books, an idle, selfish self-improver, he
would have managed to cheat Admetus, but, to cling to
metaphor, the devil would have had him in the end.  Those
who can avoid toil altogether and dwell in the Arcadia of
private means, and even those who can, by abstinence,
reduce the necessary amount of it to some six weeks a year,
having the more liberty, have only the higher moral
obligation to be up and doing in the interest of man.

*

A man may have done well for years, and then he may fail;
he will hear of his failure.  Or he may have done well for
years, and still do well, but the critic may have tired of
praising him, or there may have sprung up some new idol of
the instant, some 'dust a little gilt,' to whom they now
prefer to offer sacrifice.  Here is the obverse and the
reverse of that empty and ugly thing called popularity.
Will any man suppose it worth gaining?

*

Among sayings that have a currency in spite of being wholly
false upon the face of them for the sake of a half-truth
upon another subject which is accidentally combined with
the error, one of the grossest and broadest conveys the
monstrous proposition that it is easy to tell the truth and
hard to tell a lie.  I wish heartily it were.  But the
truth is one; it has first to be discovered, then justly
and exactly uttered.

*

For such things as honour and love and faith are not only
nobler than food and drink, but indeed I think that we
desire them more, and suffer more sharply for their
absence.

*

There is a strong feeling in favour of cowardly and
prudential proverbs.  The sentiments of a man while he is
full of ardour and hope are to be received, it is supposed,
with some qualification.  But when the same person has
ignominiously failed and begins to eat up his words, he
should be listened to like an oracle.  Most of our pocket
wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to
discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally
console them in their mediocrity.  And since mediocre
people constitute the bulk of humanity, this is no doubt
very properly so.  But it does not follow that the one sort
of proposition is any less true than the other, or that
Icarus is not to be more praised, and perhaps more envied,
than Mr. Samuel Budgett the successful merchant.

*

'You know it very well, it cannot in any way help that you
should brood upon it, and I sometimes wonder whether you
and I--who are a pair of sentimentalists--are quite good
judges of plain men.'

*

For, after all, we are vessels of a very limited content.
Not all men can read all books; it is only in a chosen few
that any man will find his appointed food; and the fittest
lessons are the most, palatable, and make themselves
welcome to the mind.

*

It is all very fine to talk about tramps and morality.  Six
hours of police surveillance (such as I have had) or one
brutal rejection from an inn-door change your views upon
the subject like a course of lectures.  As long as you keep
in the upper regions, with all the world bowing to you as
you go, social arrangements have a very handsome air; but
once get under the wheels and you wish society were at the
devil.  I will give most respectable men a fortnight of
such a life, and then I will offer them twopence for what
remains of their morality.

*

I hate cynicism a great deal worse than I do the devil;
unless, perhaps, the two were the same thing?  And yet 'tis
a good tonic; the cold tub and bath-towel of the
sentiments; and positively necessary to life in cases of
advanced sensibility.

*

Most men, finding themselves the authors of their own
disgrace, rail the louder against God or destiny.  Most
men, when they repent, oblige their friends to share the
bitterness of that repentance.

*

Delay, they say, begetteth peril; but it is rather this
itch of doing that undoes men.

*

Every man has a sane spot somewhere.

*

That is never a bad wind that blows where we want to go.

*

It is a great thing if you can persuade people that they
are somehow or other partakers in a mystery.  It makes them
feel bigger.

*

But it is an evil age for the gypsily inclined among men.
He who can sit squarest on a three-legged stool, he it is
who has the wealth and glory.

*

For truth that is suppressed by friends is the
readiest weapon of the enemy.

*

But O, what a cruel thing is a farce to those
engaged in it!

*

It is not always the most faithful believer who
makes the cunningest apostle.

*

Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases
it outlives the man.

*

A man may live in dreams, and yet be unprepared
for their realisation.

*

'Be soople, Davie, in things immaterial.'

*

No class of man is altogether bad; but each
has its own faults and virtues.

*

But it is odd enough, the very women who profess
most contempt for mankind as a sex seem to find even
its ugliest particulars rather lively and high-minded
in their own sons.

*

To cling to what is left of any damaged quality
is virtue in the man.

*

But we have no bravery nowadays, and, even in books,
must all pretend to be as dull and foolish
as our neighbours.

*

It always warms a man to see a woman brave.

*

Condescension is an excellent thing, but it is strange
how one-sided the pleasure of it is!

*

Some strand of our own misdoing is involved
in every quarrel.

*

There was never an ill thing made better by meddling.

*

Let any man speak long enough, he will get believers.

*

Every one lives by selling something, whatever
be his right to it.

*

A man dissatisfied with endeavour is a man
tempted to sadness.

*

Drama is the poetry of conduct, romance the
poetry of circumstance.

*

It is one of the most common forms of depreciation to throw
cold water on the whole by adroit over-commendation of a
part, since everything worth judging, whether it be a man,
a work of art, or only a fine city, must be judged upon its
merits as a whole.

*

I wonder, would a negative be found enticing? for, from the
negative point of view, I flatter myself this volume has a
certain stamp.  Although it runs to considerably over a
hundred pages, it contains not a single reference to the
imbecility of God's universe, nor so much as a single hint
that I could have made a better one myself--I really do not
know where my head can have been.

*

It's deadly commonplace, but, after all, the commonplaces
are the great poetic truths.

*

Those who try to be artists use, time after time, the
matter of their recollections, setting and resetting little
coloured memories of men and scenes, rigging up (it may be)
some especial friend in the attire of a buccaneer, and
decreeing armies to manoeuvre, or murder to be done, on the
playground of their youth.  But the memories are a fairy
gift which cannot be worn out in using.  After a dozen
services in various tales, the little sunbright pictures of
the past still shine in the mind's eye with not a lineament
defaced, not a tint impaired.  GLUCK UND UNGLUCK WIRD
GESANG, if Goethe pleases; yet only by endless avatars, the
original re-embodying after each.  So that a writer, in
time, begins to wonder at the perdurable life of these
impressions; begins, perhaps, to fancy that he wrongs them
when he weaves them in with fiction; and looking back on
them with ever-growing kindness, puts them at last,
substantive jewels, in a setting of their own.

*

Place them in a hospital, put them in a jail in
yellow overalls, do what you will, young Jessamy
finds young Jenny.

*

'You fret against the common law,' I said.  'You rebel
against the voice of God, which He has made so winning to
convince, so imperious to command.  Hear it, and how it
speaks between us!  Your hand clings to mine, your heart
leaps at my touch, the unknown elements of which we are
compounded awake and run together at a look; the clay of
the earth remembers its independent life, and yearns to
join us; we are drawn together as the stars are turned
about in space, or as the tides ebb and flow; by things
older and greater than we ourselves.'

*

'Olalla,' I said, 'the soul and the body are one, and
mostly so in love.  What the body chooses, the soul loves;
where the body clings, the soul cleaves; body for body,
soul to soul, they come together at God's signal; and the
lower part (if we can call aught low) is only the footstool
and foundation of the highest.'

*

She sent me away, and yet I had but to call upon her name
and she came to me.  These were but the weaknesses of
girls, from which even she, the strangest of her sex, was
not exempted.

*

For even in love there are unlovely humours; ambiguous
acts, unpardonable words, may yet have sprung from a kind
sentiment.  If the injured one could read your heart,
you may be sure that he would understand and pardon;
but, alas! the heart cannot be shown--it has to be
demonstrated in words.

*

There is no greater wonder than the way the face of a
young woman fits in a man's mind, and stays there, and
he could never tell you why; it just seems it was the
thing he wanted.

*

There are many matters in which you may waylay Destiny, and
bid him stand and deliver.  Hard work, high thinking,
adventurous excitement, and a great deal more that forms a
part of this or the other person's spiritual bill of fare,
are within the reach of almost any one who can dare a
little and be patient.  But it is by no means in the way of
every one to fall in love....A wet rag goes safely by the
fire; and if a man is blind, he cannot expect to be much
impressed by romantic scenery.  Apart from all this, many
lovable people miss each other in the world, or meet under
some unfavourable star.

*

To deal plainly, if they only married when they fell in
love, most people would die unwed; and among the others,
there would be not a few tumultuous households.  The Lion
is the King of Beasts, but he is scarcely suitable for a
domestic pet.  In the same way, I suspect love is rather
too violent a passion to make, in all cases, a good
domestic sentiment.  Like other violent excitements, it
throws up not only what is best, but what is worst and
smallest, in men's characters.  Just as some people are
malicious in drink, or brawling and virulent under the
influence of religious feeling, some are moody, jealous,
and exacting when they are in love, who are honest,
downright, good-hearted fellows enough in the everyday
affairs and humours of the world.

*

There is only one event in life which really astonishes a
man and startles him out of his prepared opinions.
Everything else befalls him very much as he expected.
Event succeeds to event, with an agreeable variety indeed,
but with little that is either startling or intense; they
form together no more than a sort of background, or running
accompaniment to the man's own reflections; and he falls
naturally into a cool, curious, and smiling habit of mind,
and builds himself up in a conception of life which expects
to-morrow to be after the pattern of to-day and yesterday.
He may be accustomed to the vagaries of his friend and
acquaintances under the influence of love.  He may sometime
look forward to it for himself with an incomprehensible
expectation.  But it is a subject in which neither
intuition nor the behaviour of others will help the
philosopher to the truth.  There is probably nothing
rightly thought or rightly written on this matter of love
that is not a piece of the person's experience.

*

It is the property of things seen for the first time, or
for the first time after long, like the flowers in spring,
to re-awaken in us the sharp edge of sense, and that
impression of mystic strangeness which otherwise passes out
of life with the coming years; but the sight of a loved
face is what renews a man's character from the fountain
upwards.

*

Nothing is given for nothing in this world; there can be no
true love, even on your own side, without devotion;
devotion is the exercise of love, by which it grows; but if
you will give enough of that, if you will pay the price in
a sufficient 'amount of what you call life,' why then,
indeed, whether with wife or comrade, you may have months
and even years of such easy, natural, pleasurable, and yet
improving intercourse as shall make time a moment and
kindness a delight.

*

Love is not blind, nor yet forgiving.  'O yes, believe me,'
as the song says, 'Love has eyes!'  The nearer the
intimacy, the more cuttingly do we feel the unworthiness of
those we love; and because you love one, and would die for
that love to-morrow, you have not forgiven, and you never
will forgive that friend's misconduct.  If you want a
person's faults, go to those who love him.  They will
not tell you, but they know.  And herein lies the
magnanimous courage of love, that it endures this
knowledge without change.

*

Certainly, whatever it may be with regard to the world at
large, this idea of beneficent pleasure is true as between
the sweethearts.  To do good and communicate is the lover's
grand intention.  It is the happiness of the other that
makes his own most intense gratification.  It is not
possible to disentangle the different emotions, the pride,
humility, pity, and passion, which are excited by a look of
happy love or an unexpected caress.  To make one's self
beautiful, to dress the hair, to excel in talk, to do
anything and all things that puff out the character and
attributes and make them imposing in the eyes of others,
is not only to magnify one's self, but to offer the most
delicate homage at the same time.  And it is in this latter
intention that they are done by lovers, for the essence of
love is kindness; and, indeed, it may be best defined as
passionate kindness; kindness, so to speak, run mad and
become importunate and violent.

*

What sound is so full of music as one's own name uttered
for the first time in the voice of her we love!

*

We make love, and thereby ourselves fall the deeper in it.
It is with the heart only that one captures a heart.

*

O, have it your own way; I am too old a hand to argue with
young gentlemen who choose to fancy themselves in love;
I have too much experience, thank you.

*

And love, considered as a spectacle, must have attractions
for many who are not of the confraternity.  The sentimental
old maid is a commonplace of the novelists; and he must be
rather a poor sort of human being, to be sure, who can look
on at this pretty madness without indulgence and sympathy.
For nature commends itself to people with a most
insinuating art; the busiest is now and again arrested
by a great sunset; and you may be as pacific or as
cold-blooded as you will, but you cannot help some emotion
when you read of well-disputed battles, or meet a pair of
lovers in the lane.

*

Jealousy, at any rate, is one of the consequences of love;
you may like it or not, at pleasure; but there it is.

*

With our chosen friends, on the other hand, and still more
between lovers (for mutual understanding is love's
essence), the truth is easily indicated by the one and
aptly comprehended by the other.  A hint taken, a look
understood, conveys the gist of long and delicate
explanations; and where the life is known even YEA and NAY
become luminous.  In the closest of all relations--that of
a love well founded and equally shared-speech is half
discarded, like a roundabout, infantile process or a
ceremony of formal etiquette; and the two communicate
directly by their presences, and with few looks and fewer
words contrive to share their good and evil and uphold each
other's hearts in joy.

*

And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became
aware of a strange lack.  I wished a companion to lie near
me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within
touch.  For there is a fellowship more quiet even than
solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made
perfect.  And to live out of doors with the woman a man
loves is of all lives the most complete and free.

*

The flower of the hedgerow and the star of heaven satisfy
and delight us: how much more the look of the exquisite
being who was created to bear and rear, to madden and
rejoice mankind!

*

So strangely are we built: so much more strong is the love
of woman than the mere love of life.

*

You think that pity--and the kindred sentiments-have the
greatest power upon the heart.  I think more nobly of
women.  To my view, the man they love will first of all
command their respect; he will be steadfast-proud, if you
please; dry-possibly-but of all things steadfast.  They
will look at him in doubt; at last they will see that stern
face which he presents to all of the rest of the world
soften to them alone.  First, trust, I say.  It is so that
a woman loves who is worthy of heroes.

*

The sex likes to pick up knowledge and yet preserve its
superiority.  It is good policy, and almost necessary in
the circumstances.  If a man finds a woman admires him,
were it only for his acquaintance with geography, he will
begin at once to build upon the admiration.  It is only by
unintermittent snubbing that the pretty ones can keep us in
our place.  Men, as Miss Howe or Miss Harlowe would have
said, 'are such encroachers.' For my part, I am body and
soul with the women; and after a well-married couple, there
is nothing so beautiful in the world as the myth of the
divine huntress.  It is no use for a man to take to the
woods; we know him; Anthony tried the same thing long ago,
and had a pitiful time of it by all accounts.  But there is
this about some women, which overtops the best gymnosophist
among men, that they suffice themselves, and can walk in a
high and cold zone without the countenance of any trousered
being.  I declare, although the reverse of a professed
ascetic, I am more obliged to women for this ideal than I
should be to the majority of them, or indeed to any but
one, for a spontaneous kiss.  There is nothing so
encouraging as the spectacle of self-sufficiency.  And when
I think of the slim and lovely maidens, running the woods
all night to the note of Diana's horn; moving among the old
oaks, as fancy-free as they; things of the forest and the
starlight, not touched by the commotion of man's hot and
turbid life-although there are plenty other ideals that I
should prefer--I find my heart beat at the thought of this
one.  'Tis to fail in life, but to fail with what a grace!
That is not lost which is not regretted.  And where--here
slips out the male--where would be much of the glory of
inspiring love, if there were no contempt to overcome?

*

The drawing-room is, indeed, an artificial place; it is so
by our choice and for our sins.  The subjection of women;
the ideal imposed upon them from the cradle, and worn, like
a hair-shirt, with so much constancy; their motherly,
superior tenderness to man's vanity and self-importance;
their managing arts-the arts of a civilised slave among
good-natured barbarians-are all painful ingredients and all
help to falsify relations.  It is not till we get clear of
that amusing artificial scene that genuine relations are
founded, or ideas honestly compared.  In the garden, on the
road or the hillside, or TETE-A-TETE and apart from
interruptions, occasions arise when we may learn much from
any single woman; and nowhere more often than in married
life.  Marriage is one long conversation, chequered by
disputes.  The disputes are valueless; they but ingrain the
difference; the heroic heart of woman prompting her at once
to nail her colours to the mast.  But in the intervals,
almost unconsciously and with no desire to shine, the whole
material of life is turned over and over, ideas are struck
out and shared, the two persons more and more adapt their
notions one to suit the other, and in process of time,
without sound of trumpet, they conduct each other into new
worlds of thought.

*

Kirstie was now over fifty, and might have sat to a
sculptor.  Long of limb, and still light of foot,
deep-breasted, robust-loined, her golden hair not yet mingled
with any trace of silver, the years had but caressed and
embellished her.  By the lines of a rich and vigorous
maternity, she seemed destined to be the bride of heroes
and the mother of their children.

*

And lastly, he was dark and she fair, and he was male and
she female, the everlasting fountain of interest.

*

The effervescency of her passionate and irritable nature
rose within her at times to bursting point.  This is the
price paid by age for unseasonable ardours of feeling.

*

Weir must have supposed his bride to be somewhat suitable;
perhaps he belonged to that class of men who think a weak
head the ornament of women--an opinion invariably punished
in this life.

*

Never ask women folk.  They're bound to answer 'No.' God
never made the lass that could resist the temptation.

*

It is an odd thing how happily two people, if there are
two, can live in a place where they have no acquaintance.
I think the spectacle of a whole life in which you have no
part paralyses personal desire.  You are content to become
a mere spectator.  The baker stands in his door; the
colonel with his three medals goes by to the CAFE at night;
the troops drum and trumpet and man the ramparts as bold as
so many lions.  It would task language to say how placidly
you behold all this.  In a place where you have taken some
root you are provoked out of your indifference; you have a
hand in the game--your friends are fighting with the army.
But in a strange town, not small enough to grow too soon
familiar, nor so large as to have laid itself out for
travellers, you stand so far apart from the business that
you positively forget it would be possible to go nearer;
you have so little human interest around you that you do
not remember yourself to be a man.

*

Pity was her weapon and her weakness.  To accept the loved
one's faults, although it has an air of freedom, is to kiss
the chain.

*

Marriage is a step so grave and decisive that it attracts
light-headed, variable men by its very awfulness.  They
have been so tried among the inconstant squalls and
currents, so often sailed for islands in the air or lain
becalmed with burning heart, that they will risk all for
solid ground below their feet.  Desperate pilots, they run
their sea-sick, weary bark upon the dashing rocks.  It
seems as if marriage were the royal road through life, and
realised, on the instant, what we have all dreamed on
summer Sundays when the bells ring, or at night when we
cannot sleep for the desire of living.  They think it will
sober and change them.  Like those who join a brotherhood,
they fancy it needs but an act to be out of the coil and
clamour for ever.  But this is a wile of the devil's.  To
the end, spring winds will sow disquietude, passing faces
leave a regret behind them, and the whole world keep
calling and calling in their ears.  For marriage is like
life in this-that it is a field of battle, and not a bed of
roses.

*

For there is something in marriage so natural and inviting,
that the step has an air of great simplicity and ease; it
offers to bury for ever many aching preoccupations; it is
to afford us unfailing and familiar company through life;
it opens up a smiling prospect of the blest and passive
kind of love, rather than the blessing and active; it is
approached not only through the delights of courtship, but
by a public performance and repeated legal signatures.  A
man naturally thinks it will go hard within such august
circumvallations.
And yet there is probably no other act in a man's life so
hot-headed and foolhardy as this one of marriage.

*

Again, when you have married your wife, you would think you
were got upon a hilltop, and might begin to go downward by
an easy slope.  But you have only ended courting to begin
marriage.  Falling in love and winning love are often
difficult tasks to overbearing and rebellious spirits; but
to keep in love is also a business of some importance, to
which both man and wife must bring kindness and goodwill.
The true love story commences at the altar, when there lies
before the married pair a most beautiful contest of wisdom
and generosity, and a life-long struggle towards an
unattainable ideal.  Unattainable? Ay, surely unattainable,
from the very fact that they are two instead of one.

*

When the generation is gone, when the play is over, when
the thirty years' panorama has been withdrawn in tatters
from the stage of the world, we may ask what has become of
these great, weighty, and undying loves and the sweethearts
who despised mortal conditions in a fine credulity; and
they can only show us a few songs in a bygone taste, a few
actions worth remembering, and a few children who have
retained some happy stamp from the disposition of their
parents.

*

Hope looks for unqualified success; but Faith counts
certainly on failure, and takes honourable defeat to be a
form of victory.  In the first, he expects an angel for a
wife; in the last, he knows that she is like himself-
erring, thoughtless, and untrue; but like himself also,
filled with a struggling radiancy of better things, and
adorned with ineffective qualities.  You may safely go to
school with hope; but, ere you marry, should have learned
the mingled lesson of the world: that dolls are stuffed
with sawdust, and yet are excellent playthings; that hope
and love address themselves to a perfection never realised,
and yet, firmly held, become the salt and staff of life;
that you yourself are compacted of infirmities, perfect,
you might say, in imperfections, and yet you have a
something in you lovable and worth preserving; and that,
while the mass of mankind lies under this scurvy
condemnation, you will scarce find one but, by some
generous reading, will become to you a lesson, a model, and
a noble spouse through life.  So thinking, you will
constantly support your own unworthiness, and easily
forgive the failings of your friend.  Nay, you will be
wisely glad that you retain the sense of blemishes; for the
faults of married people continually spur up each of them,
hour by hour, to do better and to meet and love upon a
higher ground.  And ever, between the failures, there will
come glimpses of kind virtues to encourage and console.

*

But it is the object of a liberal education not only to
obscure the knowledge of one sex by another, but to magnify
the natural differences between the two.  Man is a creature
who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by
catchwords; and the little rift between the sexes is
astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of
catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.  To the
first, there is shown but a very small field of experience,
and taught a very trenchant principle for judgment and
action; to the other, the world of life is more largely
displayed, and their rule of conduct is proportionally
widened.  They are taught to follow different virtues, to
hate different vices, to place their ideal, even for each
other, in different achievements.  What should be the
result of such a course?  When a horse has run away, and
the two flustered people in the gig have each possessed
themselves of a rein, we know the end of that conveyance
will be in the ditch.  So, when I see a raw youth and a
green girl, fluted and fiddled in a dancing measure into
that most serious contract, and setting out upon life's
journey with ideas so monstrously divergent, I am not
surprised that some make shipwreck, but that any
come to port.

*

Those who have a few intimates are to be avoided; while
those who swim loose, who have their hat in their hand all
along the street, who can number an infinity of
acquaintances, and are not chargeable with any one friend,
promise an easy disposition and no rival to the wife's
influence.  I will not say they are the best of men, but
they are the stuff out of which adroit and capable women
manufacture the best husbands.

*

A ship captain is a good man to marry if it is a marriage
of love, for absences are a good influence in love, and
keep it bright and delicate; but he is just the worst man
if the feeling is more pedestrian, as habit is too
frequently torn open and the solder has never time to set.

*

A certain sort of talent is almost indispensable for people
who would spend years together and not bore themselves to
death.  But the talent, like the agreement, must be for and
about life.  To dwell happily together,.  they should be
versed in the niceties of the heart, and born with a
faculty for willing compromise.  The woman must be talented
as a woman, and it will not much matter although she is
talented in nothing else.  She must know HER METIER DE
FEMME, and have a fine touch for the affections.  And it is
more important that a person should be a good gossip, and
talk pleasantly and smartly of common friends and the
thousand and one nothings of the day and hour, than that
she should speak with the tongues of men and angels; for a
while together by the fire happens more frequently in
marriage than the presence of a distinguished foreigner to
dinner....  You could read Kant by yourself, if you wanted;
but you must share a joke with some one else.  You can
forgive people who do not follow you through a
philosophical disquisition; but to find your wife laughing
when you had tears in your eyes, or staring when you
were in a fit of laughter, would go some way towards a
dissolution of the marriage.

*

Now this is where there should be community between man and
wife.  They should be agreed on their catchword in FACTS OF
RELIGION, OR FACTS OF SCIENCE, OR SOCIETY, MY DEAR; for
without such an agreement all intercourse is a painful
strain upon the mind....
For there are differences which no habit nor affection can
reconcile, and the Bohemian must not intermarry with the
Pharisee.  Imagine Consuelo as Mrs. Samuel Budgett, the
wife of the successful merchant!  The best of men and the
best of women may sometimes live together all their lives,
and, for want of some consent on fundamental questions,
hold each other lost spirits to the end.

*

Marriage is of so much use to women, opens out to her so
much more of life, and puts her in the way of so much more
freedom and usefulness, that, whether she marry ill or
well, she can hardly miss some benefit.  It is true,
however, that some of the merriest and most genuine of
women are old maids; and that those old maids, and wives
who are unhappily married, have often most of the true
motherly touch.

*

The fact is, we are much more afraid of life than our
ancestors, and cannot find it in our hearts either to marry
or not to marry.  Marriage is terrifying, but so is a cold
and forlorn old age.  People who share a cell in the
Bastile, or are thrown together on an uninhabited isle, if
they do not immediately fall to fisticuffs, will find some
possible ground of compromise.  They will learn each
other's ways and humours, so as to know where they must go
warily, and where they may lean their whole weight.  The
discretion of the first years becomes the settled habit of
the last; and so, with wisdom and patience, two lives may
grow indissolubly into one.

*

'Well, an ye like maids so little, y'are true natural man;
for God made them twain by intention, and brought true love
into the world, to be man's hope and woman's comfort.'

*

There are no persons so far away as those who are both
married and estranged, so that they seem out of earshot, or
to have no common tongue.

*

My idea of man's chief end was to enrich the world with
things of beauty, and have a fairly good time myself while
doing so.

*

But the gymnast is not my favourite; he has little or no
tincture of the artist in his composition; his soul is
small and pedestrian, for the most part, since his
profession makes no call upon it, and does not accustom him
to high ideas.  But if a man is only so much of an actor
that he can stumble through a farce, he is made free of a
new order of thoughts.  He has something else to think
about beside the money-box.  He has a pride of his own,
and, what is of far more importance, he has an aim before
him that he can never quite attain.  He has gone upon a
pilgrimage that will last him his life long, because there
is no end to it short of perfection.  He will better
himself a little day by day; or, even if he has given up
the attempt, he will always remember that once upon a time
he had conceived this high ideal, that once upon a time he
fell in love with a star.  'Tis better to have loved and
lost.' Although the moon should have nothing to say to
Endymion, although he should settle down with Audrey and
feed pigs, do you not think he would move with a better
grace and cherish higher thoughts to the end?  The louts he
meets at church never had a fancy above Audrey's snood; but
there is a reminiscence in Endymion's heart that, like a
spice, keeps it fresh and haughty.

People do things, and suffer martyrdom, because they have
an inclination that way.  The best artist is not the man
who fixes his eye on posterity, but the one who loves the
practice of his art.  And instead of having a taste for
being successful merchants and retiring at thirty, some
people have a taste for high and what we call heroic forms
of excitement.

*

These are predestined; if a man love the labour of any
trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods
have called him.

*

The incommunicable thrill of things, that is the tuning-
fork by which we test the flatness of our art.  Here it is
that Nature teaches and condemns, and still spurs us up to
further effort and new failure.

*

To please is to serve; and so far from its being difficult
to instruct while you amuse, it is difficult to do the one
thoroughly without the other.

*

We shall never learn the affinities of beauty, for they lie
too deep in nature and too far back in the mysterious
history of man.

*

Mirth, lyric mirth, and a vivacious contentment are of the
very essence of the better kind of art.

*

This is the particular crown and triumph of the artist--not
to be true merely, but to be lovable; not simply to
convince, but to enchant.

*

Life is hard enough for poor mortals, without having it
indefinitely embittered for them by bad art.

*

So that the first duty of any man who is to write is
intellectual.  Designedly or not, he has so far set himself
up for a leader in the minds of men; and he must see that
his own mind is kept supple, charitable, and bright.
Everything but prejudice should find a voice through him;
he should see the good in all things; where he has even a
fear that he does not wholly understand, there he should be
wholly silent; and he should recognise from the first that
he has only one tool in his workshop, and that tool
is sympathy.

*

Through no art beside the art of words can the kindness of
a man's affections be expressed.  In the cuts you shall
find faithfully paraded the quaintness and the power, the
triviality and the surprising freshness of the author's
fancy; there you shall find him outstripped in ready
symbolism and the art of bringing things essentially
invisible before the eyes: but to feel the contact of
essential goodness, to be made in love with piety, the book
must be read and not the prints examined.

*

And then I had an idea for John Silver from which I
promised myself funds of entertainment: to take an admired
friend of mine (whom the reader very likely knows and
admires as much as I do), to deprive him of all his finer
qualities and higher graces of temperament, to leave him
with nothing but his strength, his courage, his quickness,
and his magnificent geniality, and to try to express these
in terms of the culture of a raw tarpaulin, such physical
surgery is, I think, a common way of 'making character';
perhaps it is, indeed, the only way.  We can put in the
quaint figure that spoke a hundred words with us yesterday
by the wayside; but do we know him?  Our friend with his
infinite variety and flexibility, we know-but can we put
him in?  Upon the first, we must engraft secondary and
imaginary qualities, possibly all wrong; from the second,
knife in hand, we must cut away and deduct the needless
arborescence of his nature, but the trunk and the few
branches that remain we may at least be fairly sure of.

*

In anything fit to be called by the name of reading, the
process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we
should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves,
and rise from the perusal, our mind filled with the
busiest, kaleidoscopic dance of images, incapable of sleep
or of continuous thought.  The words, if the book be
eloquent, should run thenceforward in our ears like the
noise of breakers, and the story, if it be a story, repeat
itself in a thousand coloured pictures to the eye.

*

The obvious is not of necessity the normal; fashion rules
and deforms; the majority fall tamely into the contemporary
shape, and thus attain, in the eyes of the true observer,
only a higher power of insignificance; and the danger is
lest, in seeking to draw the normal, a man should draw the
null, and write the novel of society instead of the romance
of man.

*

There is a kind of gaping admiration that would fain roll
Shakespeare and Bacon into one, to have a bigger thing to
gape at; and a class of men who cannot edit one author
without disparaging all others.

*

Style is the invariable mark of any master; and for the
student who does not aspire so high as to be numbered with
the giants, it is still the one quality in which he may
improve himself at will.  Passion, wisdom, creative force,
the power of mystery or colour, are allotted in the hour of
birth, and can be neither learned nor stimulated.  But the
just and dexterous use of what qualities we have, the
proportion of one part to another and to the whole, the
elision of the useless, the accentuation of the important,
and the preservation of a uniform character end to end--
these, which taken together constitute technical
perfection, are to some degree within the reach of industry
and intellectual courage.

*

The love of words and not a desire to publish new
discoveries, the love, of form and not a novel reading of
historical events, mark the vocation of the writer and the
painter.

*

The life of the apprentice to any art is both unstrained
and pleasing; it is strewn with small successes in the
midst of a career of failure, patiently supported; the
heaviest scholar is conscious of a certain progress; and if
he come not appreciably nearer to the art of Shakespeare,
grows letter-perfect in the domain of A-B, ab.

*

The fortune of a tale lies not alone in the skill of him
that writes, but as much, perhaps, in the inherited
experience of him who reads; and when I hear with a
particular thrill of things that I have never done or seen,
it is one of that innumerable army of my ancestors
rejoicing in past deeds.  Thus novels begin to touch not
the fine DILETTANTI but the gross mass of mankind, when
they leave off to speak of parlours and shades of manner
and still-born niceties of motive, and begin to deal with
fighting, sailoring, adventure, death or childbirth; and
thus ancient outdoor crafts and occupations, whether Mr.
Hardy wields the shepherd's crook or Count Tolstoi swings
the scythe, lift romance into a near neighbourhood with
epic.  These aged things have on them the dew of man's
morning; they lie near, not so much to us, the semi-
artificial flowerets, as to the trunk and aboriginal
taproot of the race.  A thousand interests spring up in the
process of the ages, and a thousand perish; that is now an
eccentricity or a lost art which was once the fashion of an
empire; and those only are perennial matters that rouse us
to-day, and that roused men in all epochs of the past.

*

L'ART DE BIEN DIRE is but a drawing-room accomplishment
unless it be pressed into the service of the truth.  The
difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what
you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him
precisely as you wish.  This is commonly understood in the
case of books or set orations; even in making your will, or
writing an explicit letter, some difficulty is admitted by
the world.  But one thing you can never make Philistine
natures understand; one thing, which yet lies on the
surface, remains as unseizable to their wits as a high
flight of metaphysics-namely, that the business of life is
mainly carried on by means of this difficult art of
literature, and according to a man's proficiency in that
art shall be the freedom and fulness of his intercourse
with other men.  Anybody, it is supposed, can say what he
means; and, in spite of their notorious experience to the
contrary, people so continue to suppose.

*

Even women, who understand men so well for practical
purposes, do not know them well enough for the purposes of
art.  Take even the very best of their male creations, take
Tito Melema, for instance, and you will find he has an
equivocal air, and every now and again remembers he has a
comb in the back of his head.  Of course, no woman will
believe this, and many men will be so polite as to humour
their incredulity.

*

A dogma learned is only a new error--the old one was
perhaps as good; but a spirit communicated is a perpetual
possession.  These best teachers climb beyond teaching to
the plane of art; it is themselves, and what is best in
themselves, that they communicate.

*

In this world of imperfections we gladly welcome even
partial intimacies.  And if we find but one to whom we can
speak out our heart freely, with whom we can walk in love
and simplicity without dissimulation, we have no ground of
quarrel with the world or God.

*

But we are all travellers in what John Bunyan calls the
wilderness of this world-all, too, travellers with a
donkey; and the best that we find in our travels is an
honest friend.  He is a fortunate voyager who finds many.
We travel, indeed, to find them.  They are the end and the
reward of life.  They keep us worthy of.  ourselves; and
when we are alone, we are only nearer to the absent.

*

We are all INCOMPRIS, only more or less concerned for the
mischance; all trying wrongly to do right; all fawning at
each other's feet like dumb, neglected lap-dogs.  Sometimes
we catch an eye-this is our opportunity in the ages-and we
wag our tail with a poor smile.  'IS THAT ALL?'  All?  If
you only knew!  But how can they know?  They do not love
us; the more fools we to squander life on the indifferent.
But the morality of the thing, you will be glad to hear,
is excellent; for it is only by trying to understand
others that we can get our own hearts understood; and
in matters of human feeling the clement judge is the
most successful pleader.

*

There is no friendship so noble, but it is the product of
the time; and a world of little finical observances, and
little frail proprieties and fashions of the hour, go to
make or to mar, to stint or to perfect, the union of
spirits the most loving and the most intolerant of such
interference.  The trick of the country and the age steps
in even between the mother and her child, counts out their
caresses upon niggardly fingers, and says, in the voice of
authority, that this one thing shall be a matter of
confidence between them, and this other thing shall not.

*

There is not anything more bitter than to lose a
fancied friend.

*

The habitual liar may be a very honest fellow, and live
truly with his wife and friends; while another man who
never told a formal falsehood in his life may yet be
himself one lie-heart and face, from top to bottom.  This
is the kind of lie which poisons intimacy.  And, vice
versa, veracity to sentiment, truth in a relation, truth to
your own heart and your friends, never to feign or falsify
emotion -that is the truth which makes love possible and
mankind happy.

*

But surely it is no very extravagant opinion that it is
better to give than to receive, to serve than to use our
companions; and, above all, where there is no question of
service upon either side, that it is good to enjoy their
company like a natural man.

*

A man who has a few friends, or one who has a dozen (if
there be any one so wealthy on this earth), cannot forget
on how precarious a base his happiness reposes; and how by
a stroke or two of fate--a death, a few light words, a
piece of stamped paper, or a woman's bright eyes--he may be
left in a month destitute of all.

*

In these near intimacies, we are ninety-nine times
disappointed in our beggarly selves for once that we are
disappointed in our friend; that it is we who seem most
frequently undeserving of the love that unites us; and that
it is by our friend's conduct that we are continually
rebuked and yet strengthened for a fresh endeavour.

*

'There are some pains,' said he, 'too acute for
consolation, or I would bring them to my kind consoler.'

*

But there are duties which come before gratitude and
offences which justly divide friends, far more
acquaintances.

*

Life, though largely, is not entirely carried on by
literature.  We are subject to physical passions and
contortions; the voice breaks and changes, and speaks by
unconscious and winning inflections; we have legible
countenances, like an open book; things that cannot be said
look eloquently through the eyes; and the soul, not locked
into the body as a dungeon, dwells ever on the threshold
with appealing signals.  Groans and tears, looks and
gestures, a flush or a paleness, are often the most clear
reporters of the heart, and speak more directly to the
hearts of others.

*

We are different with different friends; yet if we look
closely we shall find that every such relation reposes on
some particular apotheosis of oneself; with each friend,
although we could not distinguish it in words from any
other, we have at least one special reputation to preserve:
and it is thus that we run, when mortified, to our friend
or the woman that we love, not to hear ourselves called
better, but to be better men in point of fact.  We seek
this society to flatter ourselves with our own good
conduct.  And hence any falsehood in the relation, any
incomplete or perverted understanding, will spoil even the
pleasure of these visits.

But it follows that since they are neither of them so good
as the other hopes, and each is, in a very honest manner,
playing a part above his powers, such an intercourse must
often be disappointing to both.

*

It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly
circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity; and that
was the lawyer's way.  His friends were those of his own
blood, or those whom he had known the longest; his
affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied
no aptness in the object.

*

Of those who are to act influentially on their fellows, we
should expect always something large and public in their
way of life, something more or less urbane and
comprehensive in their sentiment for others.  We should not
expect to see them spend their sympathy in idyls, however
beautiful.  We should not seek them among those who, if
they have but a wife to their bosom, ask no more of
womankind, just as they ask no more of their own sex, if
they can find a friend or two for their immediate need.
They will be quick to feel all the pleasures of our
association-not the great ones alone, but all.  They will
know not love only, but all those other ways in which man
and woman mutually make each other happy-by sympathy, by
admiration, by the atmosphere they bear about them-down to
the mere impersonal pleasure of passing happy faces in the
street.  For, through all this gradation, the difference of
sex makes itself pleasurably felt.  Down to the most
lukewarm courtesies of life, there is a special chivalry
due and a special pleasure received, when the two sexes are
brought ever so lightly into contact.  We love our mothers
otherwise than we love our fathers; a sister is not as a
brother to us; and friendship between man and woman, be it
never so unalloyed and innocent, is not the same as
friendship between man and man.  Such friendship is not
even possible for all.  To conjoin tenderness for a woman
that is not far short of passionate with such
disinterestedness and beautiful gratuity of affection as
there is between friends of the same sex, requires no
ordinary disposition in the man.  For either it would
presuppose quite womanly delicacy of perception, and, as it
were, a curiosity in shades of differing sentiment; or it
would mean that he had accepted the large, simple divisions
of society: a strong and positive spirit robustly virtuous,
who has chosen a better part coarsely, and holds to it
steadfastly, with all its consequences of pain to himself
and others; as one who should go straight before him on a
journey, neither tempted by wayside flowers nor very
scrupulous of small lives under foot.

*

I could have thought he had been eaves-dropping at the
doors of my heart, so entire was the coincidence between
his writing and my thought.

*

A knowledge that another has felt as we have felt, and seen
things, even as they are little things, not much otherwise
than we have seen them, will continue to the end to be one
of life's choicest pleasures.

*

The morning drum-call on my eager ear
Thrills unforgotten yet; the morning dew
Lies yet undried along my field of noon.
But now I pause at whiles in what I do,
And count the bell, and tremble lest I hear
(My work untrimmed) the sunset gun too soon.

*

The ground of all youth's suffering, solitude, hysteria,
and haunting of the grave, is nothing else than naked,
ignorant selfishness.  It is himself that he sees dead;
those are his virtues that are forgotten; his is the vague
epitaph.  Pity him but the more, if pity be your cue; for
where a man is all pride, vanity, and personal aspiration,
he goes through fire unshielded.  In every part and corner
of our life, to lose oneself is to be gainer; to forget
oneself is to be happy; and this poor, laughable, and
tragic fool has not yet learned the rudiments; himself,
giant Prometheus, is still ironed on the peaks of Caucasus.
But by and by his truant interests will leave that tortured
body, slip abroad and gather flowers.  Then shall death
appear before him in an altered guise; no longer as a doom
peculiar to himself, whether fate's crowning injustice or
his own last vengeance upon those who fail to value him;
but now as a power that wounds him far more tenderly, not
without solemn compensations, taking and giving, bereaving
and yet storing up.

*

The interests of youth are rarely frank; his passions, like
Noah's dove, come home to roost.  The fire, sensibility,
and volume of his own nature, that is all that he has
learned to recognise.  The tumultuary and gray tide of
life, the empire of routine, the unrejoicing faces of his
elders, fill him with contemptuous surprise; there also he
seems to walk among the tombs of spirits; and it is only in
the course of years, and after much rubbing with his
fellow-men, that he begins by glimpses to see himself from
without and his fellows from within: to know his own for
one among the thousand undenoted countenances of the city
street, and to divine in others the throb of human agony
and hope.  In the meantime he will avoid the hospital
doors, the pale faces, the cripple, the sweet whiff of
chloroform-for there, on the most thoughtless, the pains of
others are burned home; but he will continue to walk, in a
divine self-pity, the aisles of the forgotten graveyard.
The length of man's life, which is endless to the brave and
busy, is scorned by his ambitious thought.  He cannot bear
to have come for so little, and to go again so wholly.  He
cannot bear, above all, in that brief scene, to be still
idle, and by way of cure, neglects the little that he has
to do.  The parable of the talent is the brief, epitome of
youth.  To believe in immortality is one thing, but it is
first needful to believe in life.  Denunciatory preachers
seem not to suspect that they may be taken gravely and in
evil part; that young men may come to think of time as of a
moment, and with the pride of Satan wave back the
inadequate gift.  Yet here is a true peril; this it is that
sets them to pace the graveyard alleys and to read, with
strange extremes of pity and derision, the memorials
of the dead.

Books were the proper remedy: books of vivid human import,
forcing upon their minds the issues, pleasures, busyness,
importance, and immediacy of that life in which they stand;
books of smiling or heroic temper, to excite or to console;
books of a large design, shadowing the complexity of that
game of consequences to which we all sit down, the hanger-
back not least.  But the average sermon flees the point,
disporting itself in that eternity of which we know, and
need to know, so little; avoiding the bright, crowded, and
momentous fields of life where destiny awaits us.

*

And so in the majority of cases, a man who fancies himself
dying will get cold comfort from the very youthful view
expressed in this essay.  He, as a living man, has some to
help, some to love, some to correct; it may be some to
punish.  These duties cling, not upon humanity, but upon
the man himself.  It is he, not another, who is one woman's
son and a second woman's husband, and a third woman's
father.  That life which began so small has now grown, with
a myriad filaments, into the lives of others.  It is not
indispensable; another will take the place and shoulder the
discharged responsibilities; but the better the man and the
nobler his purposes, the more will he be tempted to regret
the extinction of his powers and the deletion of his
personality.  To have lived a generation is not only to
have grown at home in that perplexing medium, but to have
assumed innumerable duties.  To die at such an age has,
for all but the entirely base, something of the air
of a betrayal.

*

Even if death catch people, like an open pitfall, and in
mid-career, laying out vast projects, and planning
monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths
full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped
up and silenced: is there not something brave and spirited
in such a termination? and does not life go down with a
better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than
miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas?  When the
Greeks made their fine saying that those whom the gods love
die young, I cannot help believing they had this sort of
death also in their eye.  For, surely, at whatever age it
overtake the man, this is to die young.

*

And so they were at last in 'their resting graves.' So long
as men do their duty, even if it be greatly in a
misapprehension, they will be leading pattern lives; and
whether or not they come to lie beside a martyrs' monument,
we may be sure they will find a safe haven somewhere in the
providence of God.  It is not well to think of death,
unless we temper the thought with that of heroes who
despised it.  Upon what ground, is of small account; if it
be only the bishop who was burned for his faith in the
antipodes, his memory lightens the heart and makes us walk
undisturbed among graves.  And so the martyrs' monument is
a wholesome spot in the field of the dead; and as we look
upon it, a brave influence comes to us from the land of
those who have won their discharge, and in another phrase
of Patrick Walker's, got 'cleanly off the stage.'

*

It is not only our enemies, those desperate characters-it
is we ourselves who know not what we do;-thence springs the
glimmering hope that perhaps we do better than we think:
that to scramble through this random business with hands
reasonably clean, to have played the part of a man or woman
with some reasonable fulness, to have often resisted the
diabolic, and at the end to be still resisting it, is for
the poor human soldier to have done right well.

*

We are not content to pass away entirely from the scenes of
our delight; we would leave, if but in gratitude, a pillar
and a legend.

*

There are many spiritual eyes that seem to spy upon our
actions-eyes of the dead and the absent, whom we imagine to
behold us in our most private hours, and whom we fear and
scruple to offend: our witnesses and judges.

*

How unsubstantial is this projection of a man s existence,
which can lie in abeyance for centuries and then be brushed
up again and set forth for the consideration of posterity
by a few dips in an antiquary's ink-pot!  This precarious
tenure of fame goes a long way to justify those (and they
are not few) who prefer cakes and cream in the immediate
present.

*

But I beard the voice of a woman singing some sad, old
endless ballad not far off.  It seemed to be about love and
a BEL AMOUREUX, her handsome sweetheart; and I wished I
could have taken up the strain and answered her, as I went
on upon my invisible woodland way, weaving, like Pippa in
the poem, my own thoughts with hers.  What could I have
told her?  Little enough; and yet all the heart requires.
How the world gives and takes away, and brings sweethearts
near only to separate them again into distant and strange
lands; but to love is the great amulet which makes the
world a garden; and 'hope, which comes to all,' outwears
the accidents of life, and reaches with tremulous hand
beyond the grave and death.  Easy to say: yea, but also, by
God's mercy, both easy and grateful to believe!

*

As a matter of fact, although few things are spoken of with
more fearful whisperings than this prospect of death, few
have less influence on conduct under healthy
circumstances....  If we clung as devotedly as some
philosophers pretend we do to the abstract idea of life, or
were half as frightened as they make out we are, for the
subversive accident that ends it all, the trumpets might
sound by the hour and no one would follow them into battle--
the blue-peter might fly at the truck, but who would climb
into a sea-going ship?  Think (if these philosophers were
right) with what a preparation of spirit we should affront
the daily peril of the dinner-table: a deadlier spot than
any battle-field in history, where the far greater
proportion of our ancestors have miserably left their
bones!  What woman would ever be lured into marriage, so
much more dangerous than the wildest sea?  And what would
it be to grow old?

*

If a man knows he will sooner or later be robbed upon a
journey, he will have a bottle of the best in every inn,
and look upon all his extravagances as so much gained upon
the thieves.  And, above all, where, instead of simply
spending, he makes a profitable investment for some of his
money when it will be out of risk of loss.  So every bit of
brisk living, and, above all, when it is healthful, is just
so much gained upon the wholesale filcher, death.  We shall
have the less in our pockets, the more in our stomachs,
when he cries, 'Stand and deliver.'

*

It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to
waste it like a miser.  It is better to live and be done
with it, than to die daily in the sickroom.  By all means
begin your folio; even if the doctor does not give you a
year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave
push and see what can be accomplished in a week.  It is not
only in finished undertakings that we ought to honour
useful labour.  A spirit goes out of the man who means
execution, which outlives the most untimely ending.  All
who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done
good work, although they may die before they have the time
to sign it.  Every heart that has beat strong and
cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the
world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.

*

Now the man who has his heart on his sleeve, and a good
whirling weathercock of a brain, who reckons his life as a
thing to be dashingly used and cheerfully hazarded, makes a
very different acquaintance of the world, keeps all his
pulses going true and fast, and gathers impetus as he runs,
until, if he be running towards anything better than
wildfire, he may shoot up and become a constellation in the
end.

*

When the time comes that he should go, there need be few
illusions left about himself.  Here lies one who meant
well, tried a little, failed much:-surely that may be his
epitaph, of which he need not be ashamed, nor will he
complain at the summons which calls a defeated soldier from
the field; defeated, ay, if he were Paul or Marcus
Aurelius!--but if there is still one inch of fight in his
old spirit, undishonoured.  The faith which sustained him
in his lifelong blindness and lifelong disappointment will
scarce even be required in this last formality of laying
down his arms.  Give him a march with his old bones;
there, out of the glorious sun-coloured earth, out
of the day and the dust and the ecstasy-there goes
another Faithful Failure.

*

We are apt to make so much of the tragedy of the tragedyof
death, and think so little of the enduring tragedy of some
men's lives, that we see more to lament for in a life cut
off in the midst of usefulness and love, than in one that
miserably survives all love and usefulness, and goes about
the world the phantom of itself, without hope, or joy, or
any consolation.

*

'You are a strange physician,' said Will, looking
steadfastly upon his guest.
'I am a natural law,' he replied, 'and people call
me Death.'
'Why did you not tell me so at first?' cried Will.
'I have been waiting for you these many years.
Give me your hand, and welcome.'

*

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live, and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

*

But the girls picked up their skirts, as if they were sure
they had good ankles, and followed until their breath was
out.  The last to weary were the three graces and a couple
of companions; and just as they, too, had had enough, the
foremost of the three leaped upon a tree-stump and kissed
her hand to the canoeists.  Not Diana herself, although
this was more of a Venus, after all, could have done a
graceful thing more gracefully.  'Come back again!' she
cried; and all the others echoed her; and the hills about
Origny repeated the words, 'Come back.' But the river had
us round an angle in a twinkling, and we were alone with
the green trees and running water.

Come back?  There is no coming back, young ladies, on the
impetuous stream of life.

      'The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
      The plowman from the sun his season takes.'

And we must all set our pocket watches by the clock of
fate.  There is a headlong, forthright tide, that bears
away man with his fancies like straw, and runs fast in time
and space.  It is full of curves like this, your winding
river of the Oise; and lingers and returns in pleasant
pastorals; and yet, rightly thought upon, never returns at
all.  For though it should revisit the same acre of meadow
in the same hour, it will have made an ample sweep between-
whiles; many little streams will have fallen in; many
exhalations risen toward the sun; and even although it were
the same acre, it will not be the same river Oise.  And
thus, oh graces of Origny, although the wandering fortune
of my life should carry me back again to where you await
death's whistle by the river, that will not be the old I
who walks the streets; and those wives and mothers, say,
will those be you?

*

          THE CELESTIAL SURGEON

        If I have faltered more or less
        In my great task of happiness;
        If I have moved among my race
        And shown no glorious morning face;
        If beams from happy human eyes
        Have moved me not; if morning skies,
        Books, and my food, and summer rain
        Knocked on my sullen heart in vain
        Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
        And stab my spirit broad awake;
        Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
        Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
        A piercing pain, a killing sin,
        And to my dead heart run them in!

*

Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge.  Give us grace
and strength to forbear and to persevere.  Offenders, give
us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders.  Forgetful
ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of
others.  Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare us to our friends, soften us to our enemies.  Bless
us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours.  If it
may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to
come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down
to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.

*

PRAYER AT MORNING

The day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating
concerns and duties.  Help us to play the man, help us to
perform then with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness
abound with industry.  Give us to go blithely on our
business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary
and content and undishonoured, and grant us in the end the
gift of sleep.

*

PRAYER AT EVENING

Our guard is relieved, the service of the day is over, and
the hour come to rest.  We resign into Thy hands our
sleeping bodies, our cold hearths and open doors.  Give us
to awake with smiles, give us to labour smiling.  As the
sun returns in the east, so let our patience be renewed
with dawn; as the sun lightens the world, so let our
loving-kindness make bright this house of our habitations.

*

Blind us to the offences of our beloved, cleanse them from
our memories, take them out of our mouths for ever.  Let
all here before Thee carry and measure with the false
balances of love, and be in their own eyes and in all
conjunctures the most guilty.  Help us at the same time
with the grace of courage, that we be none of us cast down
when we sit lamenting amid the ruins of our happiness or
our integrity; touch us with fire from the altar, that we
may be up and doing to rebuild our city.

*

We beseech Thee, Lord, to behold us with favour, folk of
many families and nations gathered together in the peace of
this roof, weak men and women subsisting under the covert
of Thy patience.  Be patient still; suffer us yet a while
longer;-with our broken purposes of good, with our idle
endeavours against evil, suffer us a while longer to
endure, and (if it may be) help us to do better.  Bless to
us our extraordinary mercies; if the day come when these
must be taken, brace us to play the man under affliction.
Be with our friends, be with ourselves.  Go with each of us
to rest; if any awake, temper to them the dark hours of
watching; and when the day returns, return to us, our sun
and comforter, and call us up with morning faces and with
morning hearts-eager to labour--eager to he happy, if
happiness shall be our portion--and if the day be marked
for sorrow, strong to endure it.





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext The Pocket R.L.S., by R.L. Stevenson


Colophon

This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext2537, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext2537



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."