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If nature or accident has put one of these keys into the hands of a person who has the torturing instinct, I can only solemnly pronounce the words that Justice utters over its doomed victim,—The Lord kave mercy on your soul! You will probably go mad within a reasonable time,-or, if you are a man, run off and die with your head on a curb-stone, in Melbourne or San Francisco, - or, if you are a woman, quarrel and break your heart, or turn into a pale, jointed petrifaction that moves about as if it were alive, or play some real life-tragedy or other.
Be very careful to whom you trust one of these keys of the side-door. The fact of possessing one renders those even who are dear to you very terrible at times. You can keep the world out from your front-door, or receive visitors only when you are ready for them; but those of your own Aesh and blood, or of certain grades of intimacy, can come in at the side-door, if they will, at any hour and in any mood. Some of them have a scale of your whole nervous system, and can play all the gamut of your sensibilities in semitones,-touching the naked nervepulps as a pianist strikes the keys of his instrument. I am satisfied that there are as great masters of this nerve-playing as Vieuxtemps or Thalberg in their lines of performance. Married life is the school in which the most accomplished artists in this department are found. A delicate woman is the best instrument; she has such a magnificent compass of sensibilities! From the deep inward moan which follows pressure on the great nerves of right, to the sharp cry as the filaments of taste are struck with a crashing sweep, is a range which no other instrument possesses. A few exercises on it daily at home fit a man wonderfully for his habitual labors, and refresh him immensely as he returns from them. No stranger can get a great many notes of torture out of a human soul; it takes one that knows it well,-parent, child, brother, sister, intimate. Be very careful to whom you give a side-door key ; too many have them already.
- You remember the old story of the tenderhearted man, who placed a frozen viper in his bosom, and was stung by it when it became thawed? If we take a cold-blooded creature into our bosom, better that it should sting us and we should die than that its chill should slowly steal into our hearts ; warm it we never can! I have seen faces of women that were fair to look upon, yet one could see that the icicles were forming round these women's hearts. I knew what freezing image lay on the white breasts beneath the laces !
A very simple intellectual mechanism answers the necessities of friendship, and even of the most intimate relations of life. If a watch tells us the hour and the minute, we can be content to carry it about with us for a life-time, though it has no second-hand and is not a repeater, nor a musical watch,-though
it is not enamelled nor jewelled,-in short, though it has little beyond the wheels required for a truste worthy instrument, added to a good face and a pair of useful bands. The more wheels there are in a watch or a brain, the more trouble they are to take care of. The movements of exaltation which belong to genius are egotistic by their very nature. A calm, clear mind, not subject to the spasms and crises which are so often met with in creative or intensely perceptive natures, is the best basis for love or friend. ship.- Observe, I am talking about minds. I won't say, the more intellect, the less capacity for loving; for that would do wrong to the understanding and reason ;-but, on the other hand, that the brain often runs away with the heart's best blood, which gives the world a few pages of wisdom or sentiment or poetry, instead of making one other heart happy, I have no question.
If one's intimate in love or friendship cannot or does not share all one's intellectual tastes or pursuits, that is a small matter. Intellectual companions can be found easily in men and books. After all, if we think of it, most of the world's loves and friendship’s bave been between people that could not read nor spell.
But to radiate the heat of the affections into a clov., which absorbs all that is poured into it, but never warms beneath the sunshine of smiles or the pressure of hand or lip, - this is the great martyrdom of sen. sitive beings, -most of all in that perpetual auto da fé where young womanhood is the sacrifice.
- You noticed, perhaps, what I just said about the loves and friendships of illiterate persons,—that is, of the human race, with a few exceptions here and there. I like books, I was born and bred among them, and have the easy feeling, when I get into their presence, that a stable-boy has among horses. I don't think I undervalue them either as companions or as instructors. But I can't help remembering that the world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men. The Hebrew patriarchs had small libraries, I think, if any; yet they represent to our image inations a very complete idea of manhood, and, I think, if we could ask in Abraham to dine with us men of letters next Saturday, we should feel honored by his company.
What I wanted to say about books is this: that there are times in which every active mind feels itself above any and all human books.
- I think a man must have a good opinion of himself, Sir,—said the divinity-student-who should feel himself above Shakspeare at any time.
My young friend, - I replied, - the man who is never conscious of a state of feeling or of intellectual effort entirely beyond expression by any form of words whatsoever is a mere creature of language. I can hardly believe there are any such men. Why, think
for a moment of the power of music. The nerves that make us alive to it spread out (so the Professor tells me) in the most sensitive region of the marrow just where it is widening to run upwards into the hemispheres. It has its seat in the region of sense rather than of thought. Yet it produces a continu. ous and, as it were, logical sequence of emotional and intellectual changes; but bow different from trains of thought proper! how entirely beyond the reach of symbols! - Think of human passions as compared with all phrases! Did you ever hear of a man's growing lean by the reading of “ Romeo and Juliet,” or blowing his brains out because Desdemona was maligned? There are a good many symbols, even, that are nuore expressive than words. I remember a young wife who had to part with her husband for a time. She did not write a mournful poem; indeed, she was a silent person, and perhaps bardly said a word about it; but she quietly turned of a dcep orange color with jaundice. A great many people in this world have but one form of rhetoric for their profoundest experiences,-namely, to wasio away and die. When a man can read, his paroxysm of feeling is passing. When he can read, his thought has slackened its hold.—You talk about reading Shakspeare, using him as an expression for the highest intellect, and you wonder that any common person should be so presumptuous as to suppose his thought can rise above the text which lies before