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*How glorious ! how magnificent ! ejaculated a pale, middle-aged man, extending his right hand toward the Jersey shore. Yon purple cloud, so chastely tipped with glowing silver, sails slowly and gracefully along; and lo! the topmost leaves of all yonder forest seem gilded and burnished o’er, a thousand times.'
• That 'ere chap is eyther crazy, or he's a poet,' said a loafer to a very disreputable-looking individual, who accompanied him.
'I guess he's a poet, Sam,' said the other, in reply : 'them 'ere fellers is always crazy
• The bay,' resumed the pale, middle-aged man, “looks like a purple mirror, and yon fairy islands so many emerald spots upon
its surface. The monuments of man's industry, too, serve to glorify the scene; and Nature and Art stand hand-in-hand, smiling complacently upon their splendid representatives.'
Interested by the poetry of this description, I looked forth upon all this space of beauty, but saw nothing, except a dim conglomeration of hazy coloring. Never before had I experienced so painful a sense of
misfortune. I grew dizzy and sick at heart, and wheeling about, sought my way homeward, full of the bitterest reflections. An omnibus was just on the eve of departure; and mistaking the inscription of Bowery and the Battery' for Broadway and BleeckerStreet,' I jumped in, and was whirled some two miles and a half out of my proper way, before I was made acquainted with my error.
I now resolved to adopt a new course. * Am I not,' asked I of myself, 'the author of many of my own misfortunes ? Surely, my errors are chiefly caused by my impatience and impetuosity. I am too hasty. I will endeavor to be more moderate. I will examine before I proceed, and remove the difficulties that may occur in my way. In a word, I will be more discreet in all things.'
On the following day, I dined with a friend at one of the most fashionable hotels of the city, and was for a while, as I thought, extremely lucky, having as yet made but one faux pas, which was merely the drinking of a glass of brandy for as much wine take, by the way, which might have occurred to almost any one. А tremendously-stout gentleman from Mississippi was seated on my left. This individual had just cleared his plate of a large quantity of roast beef, and was engaged in gazing ominously at a lobster, his shut right hand, in the mean time, resting upon the table. Unfortunately for myself, at this particular juncture, I happened to stand in need of a piece of bread; and raising my eyes in search of the necessary article, I mistook his clenched fist for a loaf. Taking up my fork very deliberately, I hitched up the sleeve of my coat, and plunged the sharp steel instrument into the fleshy part of the man's hand. With a noise between a roar and a growl, the victim jumped upon his feet, knocking down the gentleman who sat next him, and upsetting a waiter who was hurrying along with a large supply of custards. I, of course, jumped up too, frightened, as may well be supposed, almost to death, and attempted to explain matters; but scarcely had I opened my mouth for the purpose, when I was floored by a tremendous blow from the wounded limb, directly in my face. No sooner had the avenger knocked me down, than he unsheathed a huge glittering Bowie knife, and advanced to annihilate me altogether. VOL. IX.
Words cannot portray the horror of my emotions. I had seen the fellow carve a pig a few moments before, and had myself admired his dexterity in the proceeding.
The company, however, interfered between the Mississipian and my destruction. My friends made known the imperfection of my vision, and the man of the far west became satisfied. I was borne to bed, nearly senseless, and have not yet recovered from the effects of that adventure, although my physician is one of the most learned and efficient in the city. He is an Englishman; and when I related to him the occurrence, he shook his head, saying :
· Terrible chaps, those fellows from Mississippi; 'orrible beings! Wonder he did'nt cut your 'ed off, haltogether!
In olden time, when Greece had lost her sway,
'Life! 't is a cheat!
But its splendor is fleet;
Life! 't is a cheat!
'Hope! thou art vain !
But sorrow and pain
Hope! thou art vain !
Love! what art thou ?
Yet the altered brow,
Love! 'what art thou ?'
Friendship deceives !
And while it believes,
"Death! thou art blest!
Do joyfully rest,
Death! thou art blest!'
December 31, 1836.
c. W. E.
BEFORE entering upon my college life, it is necessary to despatch all my childish education, the more easily to trace the causes of future character.
To a kind and sympathetic heart, the feeling of love — sexual love —comes early. A mind of ordinary tenderness must always love something; the object is indefinite, for the sentiment is vague. The natural affinity of the sexes is in the bud, and the love of which I speak is a natural impulse. It is a rare occurrence that we find little boys misusing little girls. Nature teaches the male that the female is under his protection. We call this instinct in animals, and why is it not instinct in ourselves ?
This early fondness is a modification of the same passion which governs men. That only is called love, which ends in matrimony or madness, though it is quite clear that any man might have married quite differently from what he has, and yet felt that his destiny was fulfilled. Love is of all passions the least understood; and there is more faith in it than in any thing else. We believe in miracles in love, though not in religion. We let run the whole length of our imaginations upon the subject, and think we are mighty reasonable all the time. Every man, to the lookers-on, appears very silly; he commits extravagancies with all the sincerity in the world; he laughs at others, too, in the same situation with himself, and prides himself upon his consistency. It is lucky, after all that is said in favor of self-knowledge, that we cannot see ourselves as others see us: if we could, I fear the whole wheel of human society would stop; we should move so timidly, as hardly to move at all; or else we should become perfect at once, and this planet no longer be earth, but heaven; which, by the by, would turn very many great projects and projectors topsy-turvy. Mr. Owen would no longer esteem himself a martyr, nor Mrs. Fry a philanthropist.
But whatever may be the foundation of the passion of love, it seems not altogether to arise from our physical nature, for we feel it very young. Perhaps the strongest passion I ever felt was for a pretty little girl of my own age- about seven.
lived neighbors and friends, and were accustomed to meet and walk much together in the public resorts. The idea of a little wife was given to me, and I was made to take this little Miss by the hand, and taught to show her trifling attentions. I have since thought that our parents had some idea of having the wealth of the families united in our persons. We know such contrivances do take place every day; and it is quite amusing to observe the plans of poor but aspiring mothers to bring tbeir children into notice with the children of the rich; to get them to forming little intimacies and friendships, and sometimes plighting troths unbeknown to the wealthy parents. Such plans, too, are sometimes successful; and as in this country a young man may marry any woman, and if he be rich, her pedigree is never inquired into the only evil resulting from them is, that it brings many vulgarly-educated women into an influence in society, which they are apt to misuse.
I loved my little embryo wife, very much. Nothing gave me so much pleasure as to walk with her, hand-in-hand, behind our parents. My passion had all the coyness which is said to characterize the true passion, I never dared to go and see her, at her father's, alone; I would have died first. When her name was mentioned, a blush suffused
my cheek. I never offered her any familiarity; to touch her hand, was ecstacy. To have kissed her, in boyish sport, would have dissolved the charm – we should immediately have become playing children, and have romped together. But as it was, we were ' bona fide' under the spell of Cupid. I as much believed she would be my wife in a few years, as I now believe she is not, and our parents kept up this impression, by placing us next to each other in riding, or at the theatre, where children were accustomed to be taken once or twice in a season. During the day, I rarely saw her, but in summer, we met, as lovers always meet, by twilight. We ran to each other as soon as it was brown enough to hide our burning cheeks clasped hands, and in silence proceeded. We rarely spoke - we were as happy as our hearts could bear.
I have felt much of what is called love, and which I believed to be so myself, but never have I felt happiness like to those evening walks. The charm has never faded entirely. She still lives, and is a happy wife and mother. She has forgotten the blushing boy that gave
her choice flowers, after he became too old to play the child longer. She has forgotten our twilight walks, our throbbing partings. She has forgotten all, but never can I forget her. I now meet her with more interest than an
I see her, when she recognises I have loved many had violent and strong attachments but it seems to me now that I wish we were friends, and I could clasp her hand and walk with her once more. I mention this, to show the enduring nature of early impressions upon the mind. Once some coldness took place between us.
We maintained for weeks a cold distance. She, in maiden coquetry, walked with other boys. I was in an agony of jealousy. My sufferings at this time were indescribable. It seemed that my heart would break. After some time spent in mutual suffering — for so she confessed to me I happened to get possession of a beautiful damask rose. evening, and I saw her standing at her father's door. I walked slowly toward her, and put the rose into her hands. She blushed and gave me her hand - said she was sorry we had been estranged; and that evening we walked together. This little affair continued for four years, and the reader will allow some credit to our constancy.
My intimacy with this young lady continued until I was ten years of age, when I left my home for Mr. Surface's school. This love affair gave me the habit of loving. I have always been in love, since, with some one; not a day of my existence has passed, without a pang or an ecstacy of love.
We rarely meet with people who have not strong preferences. A warm heart must have them. An eye that loves the beautiful, must love some female. We only call that love which assumes the outward form of it. Could we but fathom the hearts about us, what violent and enduring passions should we discover ? There is a necessity in our nature for loving. Every man and every woman loves
-yes! would be willing to sacrifice very much for some one. According as the sensibilities and the generous emotions are awakened in childhood, is the extent of this.
Children, who have had kind mothers and sisters, whom they loved, are already, from an early habit of bestowing their affections, more prone to form strong attachments than others. Such persons bring upon themselves the character of fickle, because, wherever they are, they have some peculiar object of interest. The disposition exists in the heart, not in the attractions of the objects around them. Some are called sure and firm, because they love so few, or are so indifferent to all, that they escape the charge of inconsistency, by loving chiefly themselves.
But society makes a choice necessary. We generally choose the woman for a wife, who happens to fill the eye at the time we are ready to enter into matrimony. We think, full surely, good easy men, that our greatness has ripened; we feel that our hopes of happiness are fulfilled. Intercourse and habit cement the bond of chance, and we, in time, get to regard that as the strongest and only love we ever felt, because it has ended according to the laws of nature, and conformably to the usages of society. Byron says: Few
- find what they love or could have loved,
Whose touch turns Hope to Dust the Dust we all have trod. He was too cynical by half: his own domestic misfortunes had embittered his life, and filled his mind with prejudices toward women and matrimony. He wrote the above sentiment for poetry's sake; though, as is always the case with him, he mixes much truth with falsity. He gives enough of truth to attract the attention; gives you the shell of a feeling or circumstance, and then fills up
the body of it with the bitter mixtures of his own unhappy mind.
Ar school, every boy looks to his college life — to getting admitted to college — as the ultimatum of his wishes. To the poor shut-up being, who has no will of his own, who is tasked and whipped, scolded and cuffed about, as if he had no right to have an opinion, the wild freedom of collegians, as they dash past the dull school house in gigs, on horseback, or in coaches their city, rakish air, (in my day,) their gallantry, their long-tailed coats, with ornamented sleeves, present a contrast with his situation, which makes him long to be any thing but what he is.
On Saturdays might be seen, any where in the streets of C-, groups of them, all dressed with the utmost precision and neatness, as they met from the perambulations, which were their usual pastime