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flowers, then one with the divine streak; or, if you prefer it, like the coming up in old Jacob's gard-n of that most gentlemanly little fruit, the seckel pear, which I have sometimes seen in shop-windows. It is a surprise,—there is nothing to account for it. All at once we find that twice two make five. Nature is fond of what are called “gift-enterprises.” This little book of life which she has given into the hands of its joint possessors is commonly one of the old story-books bound over again. Only once in a great while there is a stately poem in it, or its leaves are illuminated with the glories of art, or they enfold a draft for untold values signed by the million-fold millionnaire old mother herself. But strangers are commonly the first to find the “gift” that came with the little book.
It may be questioned whether anything can be conscious of its own flavor. Whether the muskdeer, or the civet-cat, or even a still more eloquently silent animal that might be mentioned, is aware of any personal peculiarity, may well be doubted. No man knows his own voice; many men do not know their own profiles. Every one remembers Carlyle's famous “ Characteristics” article; allow for exaggerations, and there is a great deal in his doctrine of the self-unconsciousness of genius. It comes under the great law just stated. This incapacity of knowing its own traits is often found in the family as well as in the individual. So never mind what your
cousins, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and the rest, say about that fine poem you have written, but send it (postage-paid) to the editors, if there are any, of the “ Atlantic,”—which, by the way, is not so called because it is a notion, as some dull wits wish they had said, but are too late.
- Scientific knowledge, even in the most modest persons, bas mingled with it a something which partakes of insolence. Absolute, peremptory facts are bullies, and those who keep company with them are apt to get a bullying habit of mind;- not of manners, perhaps; they may be soft and smooth, but the stuile they carry has a quiet assertion in it, such as the Champion of the Heavy Weights, commonly the best-natured, but not the most diffident of men, wears upon what he very inelegantly calls his “ mag.” Take the man, for instance, who deals in the mathematical sciences. There is no elasticity in a mathematical fact; if you bring up against it, it never yields a hair's breadth ; everything must go to pieces that comes in collision with it. What the mathematician knows being absolute, unconditional, incapable of suffering question, it should tead, in the nature of things, to breed a despotic way of thinking. So of those who deal with the palpable and often unmistakable facts of external nature; only in a less degree. Every probability—and most of our common, working beliefs are probabilities is provided with buffers at both ends, which break the
force of opposite opinions clashing against it; but scientific certainty has no spring in it, no courtesy, no possibility of yielding. All this must react on the minds which handle these forms of truth.
- Oh, you need not tell me that Messrs. A. and B. are the most gracious, unassuming people in the world, and yet prečminent in the ranges of science I an referring to. I know that as well as you. But mark this which I am going to say once for all: If I had not force enough to project a principle full in the face of the half dozen most obvious facts which seem to contradict it, I would think only in single file from this day forward. A rash man, once visiting a certain noted institution at South . Boston, ventured to express the sentiment, that man is a rational being. An old woman who was an attendant in the Idiot School contradicted the statement, and appealed to the facts before the speaker to disprove it. The rash man stuck to his hasty generalization, notwithstanding.
[- It is my desire to be useful to those with whom I am associated in my daily relations. I not unfrequently practise the divine art of music in com. pany with our landlady's daughter, who, as I men. tioned before, is the owner of an accordion. Having myself a well-marked barytone voice of more than half an octave in compass, I sometimes add my vocal powers to her execution of
“ Thou, thou reign'st in this bosom,"
not, bowever, unless her mother or some other dumme
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