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Summer in a Garden

Backlog Studies


In the Wilderness

Spring in New England          

Captain John Smith



Being a Boy

On Horseback

For whom Shakespeare Wrote

Novel and School


Their Pilgrimage

Mr. Froude's Progress

Modern Fiction

Your Culture to Me


Literature and Life

Literary Copyright

Indeterminate Sentence

Education of the Negro

Causes of Discontent

Pilgrim and American

Diversities of American Life          

American Newspaper

Fashions in Literature

Washington Irving

Nine Short Essays


    Night in Tuilleries


    Pursuit of Happiness

    Literature and the Stage

    Life Prolonging Art

    H.H. in S. California


    English Volunteers

    Nathan Hale

As We Go

As We Were Saying

That Fortune

The Golden House

Little Journey in the World




"Some persons, in looking upon life, view it as they would view a

picture, with a stern and criticising eye.  He also looks upon life as a

picture, but to catch its beauties, its lights,--not its defects and

shadows.  On the former he loves to dwell.  He has a wonderful knack at

shutting his eyes to the sinister side of anything.  Never beat a more

kindly heart than his; alive to the sorrows, but not to the faults, of

his friends, but doubly alive to their virtues and goodness.  Indeed,

people seemed to grow more good with one so unselfish and so gentle."

--Emily Foster.

....authors are particularly candid in admitting the faults of their


The governor, from the stern of his schooner, gave a short but truly

patriarchal address to his citizens, wherein he recommended them to

comport like loyal and peaceable subjects,--to go to church regularly on

Sundays, and to mind their business all the week besides.  That the women

should be dutiful and affectionate to their husbands,--looking after

nobody's concerns but their own,--eschewing all gossipings and morning

gaddings,--and carrying short tongues and long petticoats.  That the men

should abstain from intermeddling in public concerns, intrusting the

cares of government to the officers appointed to support them, staying at

home, like good citizens, making money for themselves, and getting

children for the benefit of their country.

It happens to the princes of literature to encounter periods of varying

duration when their names are revered and their books are not read.  The

growth, not to say the fluctuation, of Shakespeare's popularity is one of

the curiosities of literary history.  Worshiped by his contemporaries,

apostrophized by Milton only fourteen pears after his death as the "dear

son of memory, great heir to fame,"--"So sepulchred in such pomp dost

lie, That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die,"--he was neglected

by the succeeding age, the subject of violent extremes of opinion in the

eighteenth century, and so lightly esteemed by some that Hume could doubt

if he were a poet "capable of furnishing a proper entertainment to a

refined and intelligent audience," and attribute to the rudeness of his

"disproportioned and misshapen" genius the "reproach of barbarism" which

the English nation had suffered from all its neighbors.

I have lost confidence in the favorable disposition of my countrymen, and

look forward to cold scrutiny and stern criticism, and this is a line of

writing in which I have not hitherto ascertained my own powers.  Could I

afford it, I should like to write, and to lay my writings aside when

finished.  There is an independent delight in study and in the creative

exercise of the pen; we live in a world of dreams, but publication lets

in the noisy rabble of the world, and there is an end of our dreaming.


Act of eating is apt to be disenchanting

Air of endurance that fathers of families put on

Anxiously asked at every turn how he likes it

As much by what they did not say as by what they did say

Asked Mr King if this was his first visit

Beautifully regular and more satisfactorily monotonous

Best part of a conversation is the things not said

Comfort of leaving same things to the imagination

Common attitude of the wholesale to the retail dealer

Confident opinions about everything

Couldn't stand this sort of thing much longer

Designed by a carpenter, and executed by a stone-mason

Facetious humor that is more dangerous than grumbling

Fat men/women were never intended for this sort of exhibition

Feeding together in a large room must be a little humiliating

Fish, they seemed to say, are not so easily caught as men

Florid man, who "swelled" in, patronizing the entire room

Hated a fellow that was always in high spirits

Irresponsibility of hotel life

It is a kind of information I have learned to dispense with

It's an occupation for a man to keep up a cottage

Let me be unhappy now and then, and not say anything about it

Live, in short, rather more for one's self than for society

Loftily condescending

Lunch was dinner and that dinner was supper

Man in love is poor company for himself and for everybody else

Nearsighted, you know, about seeing people that are not

Not to care about anything you do care about

Notion of duty has to account for much of the misery in life

People who haven't so many corners as our people have

People who leave home on purpose to grumble

Pet dogs of all degrees of ugliness

Satisfy the average taste without the least aid from art

Seemed only a poor imitation of pleasure

Shrinking little man, whose whole appearance was an apology

Small frame houses hopelessly decorated with scroll-work

So many swearing colors

Thinking of themselves and the effect they are producing

Vanishing shades of an attractive and consolable grief

Women are cruelest when they set out to be kind

Wore their visible exclusiveness like a garment

Young ones who know what is best for the elders


Absurd to be so interested in fictitious trouble

And in this way I crawled out of the discussion, as usual

Anything can be borne if he knows that he shall see her tomorrow

Clubs and circles

Democracy is intolerant of variations from the general level

Do you think so?

Eagerness to acquire the money of other people, not to make it

Easier to be charitable than to be just

Everybody has read it

Great deal of mind, it takes him so long to make it up

How much good do you suppose condescending charity does?

In youth, as at the opera, everything seems possible

It is so easy to turn life into a comedy!

It is so painful to shrink, and so delightful to grow!

Knew how roughly life handles all youthful enthusiasms

Liberty to indulge in republican simplicity

Much easier to forgive a failure than a success

Not the use of money, but of the use money makes of you

One thing to entertain and another to be entertaining

Possessory act of readjusting my necktie

Process which is called weighing a thing in the mind

Simple enjoyment being considered an unworthy motive

Society that exists mainly to pay its debts gets stupid

Talk is always tame if no one dares anything

Tastes and culture were of the past age

Unhappy are they whose desires are all ratified

World has become so tolerant that it doesn't care


Absolutely necessary that the world should be amused

Affectation of familiarity

Air of determined enjoyment

Always did what he said he would do

Desire to do something rather than the desire to make something

Don't know what it's all for--I doubt if there is much in it

Easier to make art fashionable than to make fashion artistic

Emanation of aggressive prosperity

Everybody is superficially educated

Grateful for her forbearance of verbal expression

Happy life: an income left, not earned by toil

Her very virtues are enemies of her peace

How little a thing can make a woman happy

Human vanity will feed on anything within its reach

If one man wins, somebody else has got to lose

Knew how to be confidential without disclosing anything

Long-established habits of aversion or forbearance

Moral hazard bravely incurred in the duty of knowing life

Nature is such a beautiful painter of wood

No confidences are possible outside of that relation

No one expected anything, and no one was disappointed

No such thing as a cheap yacht

Ordering and eating the right sort of lunch

Pitiful about habitual hypocrisy is that it never deceives anybody

"Squares," where the poor children get their idea of forests

To be commanded with such gentleness was a sort of luxury

Was getting to be the fashion; but now it's fashionable

Whatever he disclosed was always in confidence

World requires a great variety of people to keep it going


Artist who cannot paint a rail-fence cannot paint a pyramid

Best things for us in this world are the things we don't get

Big subject does not make a big writer

Bud will never come to flower if you pull it in pieces

Do you know what it is to want what you don't want?

Few people can resist doing what is universally expected of them

Freedom to excel in nothing

Had gained everything he wanted in life except happiness

Indefeasible right of the public to have news

Intellectual poverty

Known something if I hadn't been kept at school

Longing is one thing and reason another

Making himself instead of in making money

Mediocrity of the amazing art product

Never go fishing without both fly and bait

Nothing like it certainly had happened to anybody

Object was to win a case rather than to do justice in a case

Public that gets tired of anything in about three days

Remaining enjoyment is the indulgence of frank speech

Sell your manuscripts, but don't sell your soul

Success is often a misfortune

Summer days that come but to go

There isn't much to feel here except what you see

Things that are self-evident nobody seems to see

Vanity at the bottom of even a reasonable ambition

We confound events with causes

What is society for?


Absorption in self

American pronunciation of the letter 'a' a reproach to the Republic

Annual good intentions

Art of listening and the art of talking both being lost

Attempt to fill up our minds as if they were jars

Barbarians of civilization

Blessed are those that expect nothing

But is it true that a woman is ever really naturalized?

Ceased to relish the act of studying

Content with the superficial

Could play anybody else's hand better than his own

Culture is certain to mock itself in time

Disease of conformity

Disposition of people to shift labor on to others' shoulders

Do not like to be insulted with originality

Eve trusted the serpent, and Adam trusted Eve

Fit for nothing else, they can at least write

Good form to be enthusiastic and not disgraceful to be surprised

Housecleaning, that riot of cleanliness which men fear

Idle desire to be busy without doing anything

Imagining that the more noise there is in the room the better

Imitativeness of the race

Insist that he shall admire at the point of the social bayonet

It is beautiful to witness our reliance upon others

Lady intending suicide always throw on a waterproof

Let it be common, and what distinction will there be in it?

Man's inability to "match " anything is notorious

Needs no reason if fashion or authority condemns it

Nothing is so easy to bear as the troubles of other people

Passion for display is implanted in human nature

Platitudinous is to be happy?

Reader, who has enough bad weather in his private experience

Seldom that in her own house a lady gets a chance to scream

Taste usually implies a sort of selection

To read anything or study anything we resort to a club

Vast flocks of sheep over the satisfying plain of mediocrity

Vitality of a fallacy is incalculable

Want our literature (or what passes for that) in light array

We move in spirals, if not in circles


Agreeable people are pretty evenly distributed over the country

As wealth is attained the capacity of enjoying it departs

Assertive sort of smartness that was very disagreeable

Attention to his personal appearance is only spasmodic

Boy who is a man before he is an infant

Bringing a man to her feet, where he belongs

Chief object in life is to "get there" quickly

Climate which is rather worse now than before the scientists

Content: not wanting that we can get

Excuse is found for nearly every moral delinquency

Frivolous old woman fighting to keep the skin-deep beauty

Granted that woman is the superior being

Held to strict responsibility for her attractiveness

History is strewn with the wreck of popular delusions

Hot arguments are usually the bane of conversation

Idleness seems to be the last accomplishment of civilization

Insists upon applying everywhere the yardstick of his own local

It is not enough to tell the truth (that has been told before)

Knows more than he will ever know again

Land where things are so much estimated by what they cost

Listen appreciatingly even if deceivingly

Man and wife are one, and that one is the husband

Mean more by its suggestions and allusions than is said

Must we be always either vapid or serious?

Newspaper-made person

No power on earth that can prevent the return of the long skirt

No room for a leisure class that is not useful

Persistence of privilege is an unexplained thing in human affairs

Poor inhabitants living along only from habit

Repose in activity

Responsibility of attractiveness

Responsible for all the mischief her attractiveness produces

Rights cannot all be on one side and the duties on the other

Servile imitation of nature degrades art

They have worn off the angular corners of existence

They who build without woman build in vain

Those who use their time merely to kill it

Trying to escape winter when we are not trying to escape summer

Use their time merely to kill it

Want of toleration of sectional peculiarities

Wantonly sincere

We are already too near most people

Woman can usually quote accurately


     A Night in the Garden of the Tuilleries


     The Pursuit of Happiness

     Literature and the Stage

     The Life-saving and Life Prolonging Art

     "H.H." in Southern California


     The English Volunteers During the Late Invasion

     Nathan Hale

Affection for the old-fashioned, all-round country doctor

Applauds what would have blushed at a few years ago

Architectural measles in this country

Avoid comparisons, similes, and even too much use of metaphor

Book a window, through which I am to see life

Cannot be truthfulness about life without knowledge

Contemporary play instead of character we have "characters,"

Disposition to make the best of whatever comes to us

Do not habitually postpone that season of happiness

Dwelling here.  And here content to dwell

Explainable, if not justifiable

Eye demands simple lines, proportion, harmony in mass, dignity

Happiness is an inner condition, not to be raced after

Instead of simply being happy in the condition where we are

Lawyers will divide the oyster between them

Make a newspaper to suit the public

Making the journey of this life with just baggage enough

Moral specialist, who has only one hobby

Name an age that has cherished more delusions than ours

No amount of failure seems to lessen this belief

No man can count himself happy while in this life

No satisfaction in gaining more than we personally want

Not the thing itself, but the pursuit, that is an illusion

Profession which demands so much self-sacrifice

Proprietary medicine business is popular ignorance and credulity

"Purely vegetable" seem most suitable to the wooden-heads

Relapsing into the tawdry and the over-ornamented

Secrecy or low origin of the remedy that is its attraction

Simplicity:  This is the stamp of all enduring work

Thinks he may be exempt from the general rules

Treated the patient, as the phrase is, for all he was worth

Unrelieved realism is apt to give a false impression

Warm up to the doctor when the judgment Day heaves in view

Yankee ingenuity,--he "could do anything but spin,"


Discrimination between the manifold shadings of insincerity

Great deal of the reading done is mere contagion

His own tastes and prejudices the standard of his judgment

Inability to keep up with current literature

Main object of life is not to keep up with the printing-press

Man who is past the period of business activity

Never to read a book until it is from one to five years old

Quietly putting himself on common ground with his reader


Slovenly literature, unrebuked and uncorrected

Suggestion rather than by commandment

Unenlightened popular preference for a book

Waste precious time in chasing meteoric appearances


American newspaper is susceptible of some improvement

Borderland between literature and common sense

Casualties as the chief news

Continue to turn round when there is no grist to grind

Elevates the trivial in life above the essential

If it does not pay its owner, it is valueless to the public

Looking for something spicy and sensational

Most newspapers cost more than they sell for

Newspaper's object is to make money for its owner

Power, the opportunity, the duty, the "mission," of the press

Public craves eagerly for only one thing at a time

Quotations of opinions as news

Should be a sharp line drawn between the report and the editorial


It appears, therefore, that speed,--the ability to move rapidly from

place to place,--a disproportionate reward of physical over intellectual

science, an intense desire to be rich, which is strong enough to compel

even education to grind in the mill of the Philistines, and an inordinate

elevation in public consideration of rich men simply because they are

rich, are characteristics of this little point of time on which we stand.

They are not the only characteristics; in a reasonably optimistic view,

the age is distinguished for unexampled achievements, and for

opportunities for the well-being of humanity never before in all history

attainable.  But these characteristics are so prominent as to beget the

fear that we are losing the sense of the relative value of things in this



What republics have most to fear is the rule of the boss, who is a tyrant

without responsibility.  He makes the nominations, he dickers and trades

for the elections, and at the end he divides the spoils.  The operation

is more uncertain than a horse race, which is not decided by the speed of

the horses, but by the state of the wagers and the manipulation of the

jockeys.  We strike directly at his power for mischief when we organize

the entire civil service of the nation and of the States on capacity,

integrity, experience, and not on political power.

And if we look further, considering the danger of concentration of power

in irresponsible hands, we see a new cause for alarm in undue federal

mastery and interference.

Poverty is not commonly a nurse of virtue, long continued, it is a

degeneration.  It is almost as difficult for the very poor man to be

virtuous as for the very rich man; and very good and very rich at the

same time, says Socrates, a man cannot be.  It is a great people that can

withstand great prosperity

We are in no vain chase of an equality which would eliminate all

individual initiative, and check all progress, by ignoring differences of

capacity and strength, and rating muscles equal to brains.  But we are in

pursuit of equal laws, and a fairer chance of leading happy lives than

humanity in general ever had yet.


Now, content does not depend so much upon a man's actual as his relative

condition.  Often it is not so much what I need, as what others have that

disturbs me.  I should be content to walk from Boston to New York, and be

a fortnight on the way, if everybody else was obliged to walk who made

that journey.  It becomes a hardship when my neighbor is whisked over the

route in six hours and I have to walk.  It would still be a hardship if

he attained the ability to go in an hour, when I was only able to

accomplish the distance in six hours.

It ought to be said, as to the United States, that a very considerable

part of the discontent is imported, it is not native, nor based on any

actual state of things existing here.  Agitation has become a business.

A great many men and some women, to whom work of any sort is distasteful,

live by it.

Compared with the freedom of action in such a government as ours, any

form of communism is an iniquitous and meddlesome despotism.

Doubtless men might have been created equal to each other in every

respect, with the same mental capacity, the same physical ability, with

like inheritances of good or bad qualities, and born into exactly similar

conditions, and not dependent on each other.  But men never were so

created and born, so far as we have any record of them, and by analogy we

have no reason to suppose that they ever will be.  Inequality is the most

striking fact in life.  Absolute equality might be better, but so far as

we can see, the law of the universe is infinite diversity in unity; and

variety in condition is the essential of what we call progress--it is, in

fact, life.

It sometimes seems as if half the American people were losing the power

to apply logical processes to the ordinary affairs of life.

It is human nature, it is the lesson of history, that real wrongs,

unredressed, grow into preposterous demands.  Men are much like nature in

action; a little disturbance of atmospheric equilibrium becomes a

cyclone, a slight break in the levee a crevasse with immense destructive



But slavery brought about one result, and that the most difficult in the

development of a race from savagery, and especially a tropical race, a

race that has always been idle in the luxuriance of a nature that

supplied its physical needs with little labor.  It taught the negro to

work, it transformed him, by compulsion it is true, into an industrial

being, and held him in the habit of industry for several generations.

Perhaps only force could do this, for it was a radical transformation.

I am glad to see that this result of slavery is recognized by Mr. Booker

Washington, the ablest and most clear-sighted leader the Negro race has

ever had.

Conceit of gentility of which the world has already enough.

It is this character, quality, habit, the result of a slow educational

process, which distinguishes one race from another.  It is this that the

race transmits, and not the more or less accidental education of a decade

or an era.  The Brahmins carry this idea into the next life, and say that

the departing spirit carries with him nothing except this individual

character, no acquirements or information or extraneous culture.  It was

perhaps in the same spirit that the sad preacher in Ecclesiastes said

there is no "knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest."  It

is by this character that we classify civilized and even semi-civilized

races; by this slowly developed fibre, this slow accumulation of inherent

quality in the evolution of the human being from lower to higher, that

continues to exist notwithstanding the powerful influence of governments

and religions.


The proposed method is the indeterminate sentence.  This strikes directly

at the criminal class.  It puts that class beyond the power of continuing

its depredations upon society.  It is truly deterrent, because it is a

notification to any one intending to enter upon that method of living

that his career ends with his first felony.  As to the general effects of

the indeterminate sentence, I will repeat here what I recently wrote for

the Yale Law Journal.

It happens, therefore, that there is great sympathy with the career of

the lawbreakers, many people are hanging on them for support, and among

them the so-called criminal lawyers.  Any legislation likely to interfere

seriously with the occupation of the criminal class or with its increase

is certain to meet with the opposition of a large body of voters.  With

this active opposition of those interested, and the astonishing

indifference of the general public, it is easy to see why so little is

done to relieve us of this intolerable burden.  The fact is, we go on

increasing our expenses for police, for criminal procedure, for jails and

prisons, and we go on increasing the criminal class and those affiliated

with it.

I will suggest that the convict should, for his own sake, have the

indeterminate sentence applied to him upon conviction of his first penal

offense.  He is much more likely to reform then than he would be after he

had had a term in the State prison and was again convicted, and the

chance of his reformation would be lessened by each subsequent experience

of this kind.  The great object of the indeterminate sentence, so far as

the security of society is concerned, is to diminish the number of the

criminal class, and this will be done when it is seen that the first

felony a man commits is likely to be his last, and that for a young

criminal contemplating this career there is in this direction:

"No Thoroughfare."

It is very significant that the criminal class adapted itself readily to

the parole system with its sliding scale.  It was natural that this

should be so, for it fits in perfectly well with their scheme of life.

This is to them a sort of business career, interrupted now and then only

by occasional limited periods of seclusion.  Any device that shall

shorten those periods is welcome to them.  As a matter of fact, we see in

the State prisons that the men most likely to shorten their time by good

behavior, and to get released on parole before the expiration of their

sentence, are the men who make crime their career.  They accept this

discipline as a part of their lot in life, and it does not interfere with

their business any more than the occasional bankruptcy of a merchant

interferes with his pursuits.

No tribunal is able with justice to mete out punishment in any individual

case, for probably the same degree of guilt does not attach to two men in

the violation of the same statute.

It is purely an economic and educational problem, and must rest upon the

same principles that govern in any successful industry, or in education,

and that we recognize in the conduct of life.  That little progress has

been made is due to public indifference to a vital question and to the

action of sentimentalists, who, in their philanthropic zeal; fancy that a

radical reform can come without radical discipline.  We are largely

wasting our energies in petty contrivances instead of striking at the

root of the evil.


It is the habit of some publishing houses, not of all, let me distinctly

say, to seek always notoriety, not to nurse and keep before the public

mind the best that has been evolved from time to time, but to offer

always something new.  The year's flooring is threshed off and the floor

swept to make room for a fresh batch.  Effort eventually ceases for the

old and approved, and is concentrated on experiments.  This is like the

conduct of a newspaper.  It is assumed that the public must be startled

all the time.

Consider first the author, and I mean the author, and not the mere

craftsman who manufactures books for a recognized market.  His sole

capital is his talent.  His brain may be likened to a mine, gold, silver,

copper, iron, or tin, which looks like silver when new.  Whatever it is,

the vein of valuable ore is limited, in most cases it is slight.  When it

is worked out, the man is at the end of his resources.

It is generally conceded that what literature in America needs at this

moment is honest, competent, sound criticism.  This is not likely to be

attained by sporadic efforts, especially in a democracy of letters where

the critics are not always superior to the criticised, where the man in

front of the book is not always a better marksman than the man behind the


The fashion of the day is rarely the judgment of posterity.  You will

recall what Byron wrote to Coleridge: "I trust you do not permit yourself

to be depressed by the temporary partiality of what is called 'the

public' for the favorites of the moment; all experience is against the

permanency of such impressions.  You must have lived to see many of these

pass away, and will survive many more."


All the world is diseased and in need of remedies

Arrive at the meaning by the definition of exclusion

Care of riches should have the last place in our thoughts

Each in turn contends that his art produces the greatest good

Impress and reduce to obsequious deference the hotel clerk

Opinions inherited, not formed

Prejudice working upon ignorance

Pursuit of office--which is sometimes called politics

Rab and his Friends

Refuge of the aged in failing activity

Riches and rich men are honored in the state

Set aside as literature that which is original

To the lawyer everybody is or ought to be a litigant

Touching hopefulness

Very rich and very good at the same time he cannot be

Want of the human mind which is higher than the want of knowledge

What we call life is divided into occupations and interest

Without Plato there would be no Socrates


In accordance with the advice of Diogenes of Apollonia in the beginning

of his treatise on Natural Philosophy--"It appears to me to be well for

every one who commences any sort of philosophical treatise to lay down

some undeniable principle to start with"--we offer this: "All men are

created unequal."  It would be a most interesting study to trace the

growth in the world of the doctrine of "equality."

Every one talked of "the state of nature" as if he knew all about it.

"The conditions of primitive man," says Mr. Morley, "were discussed by

very incompetent ladies and gentlemen at convivial supper-parties, and

settled with complete assurance."  That was the age when solitary

Frenchmen plunged into the wilderness of North America, confidently

expecting to recover the golden age under the shelter of a wigwam and in

the society of a squaw.

It is to be noticed that rights are mentioned, but not duties, and that

if political rights only are meant, political duties are not inculcated

as of equal moment.  It is not announced that political power is a

function to be discharged for the good of the whole body, and not a mere

right to be enjoyed for the advantage of the possessor; and it is to be

noted also that this idea did not enter into the conception of Rousseau.

We are attempting the regeneration of society with a misleading phrase;

we are wasting our time with a theory that does not fit the facts.


It is not an unreasonable demand of the majority that the few who have

the advantages of the training of college and university should exhibit

the breadth and sweetness of a generous culture, and should shed

everywhere that light which ennobles common things, and without which

life is like one of the old landscapes in which the artist forgot to put

sunlight.  One of the reasons why the college-bred man does not meet this

reasonable expectation is that his training, too often, has not been

thorough and conscientious, it has not been of himself; he has acquired,

but he is not educated.  Another is that, if he is educated, he is not

impressed with the intimacy of his relation to that which is below him as

well as that which is above him, and his culture is out of sympathy with

the great mass that needs it, and must have it, or it will remain a blind

force in the world, the lever of demagogues who preach social anarchy and

misname it progress.

Let him not be discouraged at his apparent little influence, even though

every sally of every young life may seem like a forlorn hope.  No man can

see the whole of the battle.

To suggest remedies is much more difficult than to see evils; but the

comprehension of dangers is the first step towards mastering them.


One of the worst characteristics of modern fiction is its so-called truth

to nature.  For fiction is an art, as painting is, as sculpture is, as

acting is.  A photograph of a natural object is not art; nor is the

plaster cast of a man's face, nor is the bare setting on the stage of an

actual occurrence.  Art requires an idealization of nature.  The amateur,

though she may be a lady, who attempts to represent upon the stage the

lady of the drawing-room, usually fails to convey to the spectators the

impression of a lady.  She lacks the art by which the trained actress,

who may not be a lady, succeeds.  The actual transfer to the stage of the

drawing-room and its occupants, with the behavior common in well-bred

society, would no doubt fail of the intended dramatic effect, and the

spectators would declare the representation unnatural.

Tragedy and the pathos of failure have their places in literature as well

as in life.  I only say that, artistically, a good ending is as proper as

a bad ending.

Perhaps the most inane thing ever put forth in the name of literature is

the so-called domestic novel, an indigestible, culinary sort of product,

that might be named the doughnut of fiction.  The usual apology for it is

that it depicts family life with fidelity.  Its characters are supposed

to act and talk as people act and talk at home and in society.  I trust

this is a libel, but, for the sake of the argument, suppose they do.  Was

ever produced so insipid a result?

The characteristics which are prominent, when we think of our recent

fiction, are a wholly unidealized view of human society, which has got

the name of realism; a delight in representing the worst phases of social

life; an extreme analysis of persons and motives; the sacrifice of action

to psychological study; the substitution of studies of character for

anything like a story; a notion that it is not artistic, and that it is

untrue to nature, to bring any novel to a definite consummation, and

especially to end it happily; and a despondent tone about society,

politics, and the whole drift of modern life.  Judged by our fiction, we

are in an irredeemably bad way.

The vulgar realism in pictorial art, which holds ugliness and beauty in

equal esteem; or against aestheticism gone to seed in languid

affectations; or against the enthusiasm of a social life which wreaks its

religion on the color of a vestment, or sighs out its divine soul over an

ancient pewter mug.


For, as skepticism is in one sense the handmaid of truth, discontent is

the mother of progress.  The man is comparatively of little use in the

world who is contented.

Education of the modern sort unsettles the peasant, renders him unfit for

labor, and gives us a half-educated idler in place of a conscientious


Education must go forward; the man must not be half but wholly educated.

It is only half-knowledge like half-training in a trade that is


Mr. Froude runs lightly over a list of subjects upon which the believer

in progress relies for his belief, and then says of them that the world

calls this progress--he calls it only change.

There are some select souls who sit apart in calm endurance, waiting to

be translated out of a world they are almost tired of patronizing, to

whom the whole thing seems, doubtless, like a cheap performance.  They

sit on the fence of criticism, and cannot for the life of them see what

the vulgar crowd make such a toil and sweat about.


Both parties, however, like parties elsewhere, propose and oppose

measures and movements, and accept or reject policies, simply to get

office or keep office.

In the judgment of many good observers, a dissolution of the empire, so

far as the Western colonies are concerned, is inevitable, unless Great

Britain, adopting the plan urged by Franklin, becomes an imperial

federation, with parliaments distinct and independent, the crown the only

bond of union--the crown, and not the English parliament, being the

titular and actual sovereign.  Sovereign power over America in the

parliament Franklin never would admit.

It is safe, we think, to say that if the British Empire is to be

dissolved, disintegration cannot be permitted to begin at home.  Ireland

has always been a thorn in the side of England.  And the policy towards

it could not have been much worse, either to impress it with a respect

for authority or to win it by conciliation; it has been a strange mixture

of untimely concession and untimely cruelty.  The problem, in fact, has

physical and race elements that make it almost insolvable.  A water-

logged country, of which nothing can surely be predicted but the

uncertainty of its harvests, inhabited by a people of most peculiar

mental constitution, alien in race, temperament, and religion, having

scarcely one point of sympathy with the English.


Note the seeming anomaly of a scientific age peculiarly credulous; the

ease with which any charlatan finds followers; the common readiness to

fall in with any theory of progress which appeals to the sympathies, and

to accept the wildest notions of social reorganization.  We should be

obliged to note also, among scientific men themselves, a disposition to

come to conclusions on inadequate evidence--a disposition usually due to

one-sided education which lacks metaphysical training and the philosophic


Often children have only one book even of this sort, at which they are

kept until they learn it through by heart, and they have been heard to

"read" it with the book bottom side up or shut!  All these books

cultivate inattention and intellectual vacancy.  They are--the best of

them--only reading exercises; and reading is not perceived to have any

sort of value.  The child is not taught to think, and not a step is taken

in informing him of his relation to the world about him.  His education

is not begun.

The lower-grade books are commonly inane (I will not say childish, for

that is a libel on the open minds of children) beyond description.

The novel, mediocre, banal, merely sensational, and worthless for any

purpose of intellectual stimulus or elevation of the ideal, is thus

encouraged in this age as it never was before.  The making of novels has

become a process of manufacture.  Usually, after the fashion of the silk-

weavers of Lyons, they are made for the central establishment on

individual looms at home.

An honest acceptance of the law of gravitation would banish many popular

delusions; a comprehension that something cannot be made out of nothing

would dispose of others; and the application of the ordinary principles

of evidence, such as men require to establish a title to property, would

end most of the remaining.

When the trash does not sell, the trash will not be produced, and those

who are only capable of supplying the present demand will perhaps find a

more useful occupation.  It will be again evident that literature is not

a trade, but an art requiring peculiar powers and patient training.  When

people know how to read, authors will need to know how to write.


Any parish which let a thief escape was fined

Beer making

Capable of weeping like children, and of dying like men

Complaint then, as now, that in many trades men scamped their work

Courageous gentlemen wore in their ears rings of gold and stones

Credulity and superstition of the age

Devil's liquor, I mean starch

Down a peg

Dramas which they considered as crude as they were coarse

Eve will be Eve, though Adam would say nay

Italy generally a curious custom of using a little fork for meat

Landlord let no one depart dissatisfied with his bill

Mistake ribaldry and loquacity for wit and wisdom

Pillows were thought meet only for sick women

Portuguese receipts

Prepare bills of fare (a trick lately taken up)

Sir Francis Bacon

So much cost upon the body, so little upon souls


Teeth black--a defect the English seem subject to


Anxious to reach it, we were glad to leave it

Establishment had the air of taking care of itself

Fond of lawsuits seems a characteristic of an isolated people

It is not much use to try to run a jail without liquor

Man's success in court depended upon the length of his purse

Married?  No, she hoped not

Monument of procrastination

Not much inclination to change his clothes or his cabin

One has to dodge this sort of question

Ornamentation is apt to precede comfort in our civilization

What a price to pay for mere life!


Appear to be very active, and yet not do much

As they forgot they were a party, they began to enjoy themselves

As you get used to being a boy, you have to be something else

Boys have a great power of helping each other to do nothing

Conversation ran aground again

Expected nothing that he did not earn

Fed the poor boy's vanity, the weakness by which women govern

Felt wronged, and worked himself up to pass a wretched evening

Girls have a great deal more good sense in such matters than boys

Gladly do all the work if somebody else would do the chores

He is, like a barrel of beer, always on draft

Law will not permit men to shoot each other in plain clothes

Natural genius for combining pleasure with business

Not very disagreeable, or would not be if it were play

People hardly ever do know where to be born until it is too late

Spider-web is stronger than a cable

Undemonstrative affection

Very busy about nothing

Wearisome part is the waiting on the people who do the work

Why did n't the people who were sleepy go to bed?

Willing to do any amount of work if it is called play

Willing to repent if he could think of anything to repent of


Bane of travel is the destruction of illusions

Discontent of those who travel to enjoy themselves

Excellent but somewhat scattered woman

Inability to stand still for one second is the plague of it

Leaves it with mingled feelings about Columbus

One ought not to subject his faith to too great a strain


According to the long-accepted story of Pocahontas, she did something

more than interfere to save from barbarous torture and death a stranger

and a captive, who had forfeited his life by shooting those who opposed

his invasion.  In all times, among the most savage tribes and in

civilized society, women have been moved to heavenly pity by the sight of

a prisoner, and risked life to save him--the impulse was as natural to a

Highland lass as to an African maid.  Pocahontas went further than

efforts to make peace between the superior race and her own.  When the

whites forced the Indians to contribute from their scanty stores to the

support of the invaders, and burned their dwellings and shot them on

sight if they refused, the Indian maid sympathized with the exposed

whites and warned them of stratagems against them; captured herself by a

base violation of the laws of hospitality, she was easily reconciled to

her situation, adopted the habits of the foreigners, married one of her

captors, and in peace and in war cast in her lot with the strangers.

History has not preserved for us the Indian view of her conduct.

This savage was the Tomocomo spoken of above, who had been sent by

Powhatan to take a census of the people of England, and report what they

and their state were.  At Plymouth he got a long stick and began to make

notches in it for the people he saw.  But he was quickly weary of that

task.  He told Smith that Powhatan bade him seek him out, and get him to

show him his God, and the King, Queen, and Prince, of whom Smith had told

so much.  Smith put him off about showing his God, but said he had heard

that he had seen the King.  This the Indian denied, James probably not

coming up to his idea of a king, till by circumstances he was convinced

he had seen him.  Then he replied very sadly: "You gave Powhatan a white

dog, which Powhatan fed as himself, but your king gave me nothing, and I

am better than your white dog."

Sir Thomas Dale was on the whole the most efficient and discreet Governor

the colony had had.  One element of his success was no doubt the change

in the charter.  By the first charter everything had been held in common

by the company, and there had been no division of property or allotment

of land among the colonists.  Under the new regime land was held in

severalty, and the spur of individual interest began at once to improve

the condition of the settlement.  The character of the colonists was also

gradually improving.  They had not been of a sort to fulfill the earnest

desire of the London promoter's to spread vital piety in the New World.

A zealous defense of Virginia and Maryland, against "scandalous

imputation," entitled "Leah and Rachel; or, The Two Fruitful Sisters," by

Mr John Hammond, London, considers the charges that Virginia "is an

unhealthy place, a nest of rogues, abandoned women, dissolut and rookery

persons; a place of intolerable labour, bad usage and hard diet"; and

admits that "at the first settling, and for many years after, it deserved

most of these aspersions, nor were they then aspersions but truths.

There were jails supplied, youth seduced, infamous women drilled in, the

provision all brought out of England, and that embezzled by the



After fifteen years Smith is able to remember more details

Assertion in an insecure position

Cheaper credited than confuted

Entertaining if one did not see too much of him

Knew not the secret of having his own way

Long stick and began to make notches in it for the people he saw

Making religion their color

Peculiarly subject to such coincidences

Prince's mind imprisoned in a poor man's purse

Progressive memory

Somewhat damaging to an estimate of his originality

Thames had no bridges

Those that did not work should not eat


Wanted advancement but were unwilling to adventure their ease

Would if he could

Writ too much, and done too little


Then follows a day of bright sun and blue sky.  The birds open the

morning with a lively chorus.  In spite of Auster, Euroclydon, low

pressure, and the government bureau, things have gone forward.  By the

roadside, where the snow has just melted, the grass is of the color of

emerald.  The heart leaps to see it.  On the lawn there are twenty

robins, lively, noisy, worm-seeking.  Their yellow breasts contrast with

the tender green of the newly-springing clover and herd's-grass.  If they

would only stand still, we might think the dandelions had blossomed.  On

an evergreen-bough, looking at them, sits a graceful bird, whose back is

bluer than the sky.  There is a red tint on the tips of the boughs of the

hard maple.  With Nature, color is life.  See, already, green, yellow,

blue, red!  In a few days--is it not so?--through the green masses of the

trees will flash the orange of the oriole, the scarlet of the tanager;

perhaps tomorrow.

But, in fact, the next day opens a little sourly.  It is almost clear

overhead: but the clouds thicken on the horizon; they look leaden; they

threaten rain.  It certainly will rain: the air feels like rain, or snow.

By noon it begins to snow, and you hear the desolate cry of the phoebe-

bird.  It is a fine snow, gentle at first; but it soon drives in swerving

lines, for the wind is from the southwest, from the west, from the

northeast, from the zenith (one of the ordinary winds of New England),

from all points of the compass.  The fine snow becomes rain; it becomes

large snow; it melts as it falls; it freezes as it falls.  At last a

storm sets in, and night shuts down upon the bleak scene.

During the night there is a change.  It thunders and lightens.  Toward

morning there is a brilliant display of aurora borealis.  This is a sign

of colder weather.

The gardener is in despair; so is the sportsman. The trout take no

pleasure in biting in such weather.

Paragraphs appear in the newspapers, copied from the paper of last year,

saying that this is the most severe spring in thirty years.  Every one,

in fact, believes that it is, and also that next year the spring will be

early.  Man is the most gullible of creatures.

And with reason: he trusts his eyes, and not his instinct.  During this

most sour weather of the year, the anemone blossoms; and, almost

immediately after, the fairy pencil, the spring beauty, the dog-tooth

violet, and the true violet.  In clouds and fog, and rain and snow, and

all discouragement, Nature pushes on her forces with progressive haste

and rapidity.  Before one is aware, all the lawns and meadows are deeply

green, the trees are opening their tender leaves.  In a burst of sunshine

the cherry-trees are white, the Judas-tree is pink, the hawthorns give a

sweet smell.  The air is full of sweetness; the world, of color.

In the midst of a chilling northeast storm the ground is strewed with the

white-and-pink blossoms from the apple-trees.  The next day the mercury

stands at eighty degrees.  Summer has come.

There was no Spring.

The winter is over.  You think so?  Robespierre thought the Revolution

was over in the beginning of his last Thermidor.  He lost his head after


When the first buds are set, and the corn is up, and the cucumbers have

four leaves, a malicious frost steals down from the north and kills them

in a night.

That is the last effort of spring.  The mercury then mounts to ninety

degrees.  The season has been long, but, on the whole, successful.  Many

people survive it.


According to the compass, the Lord only knew where I was

Business of civilization to tame or kill

Canopy of mosquitoes

Caricature of a road

Compass, which was made near Greenwich, was wrong

Democrats became as scarce as moose in the Adirondacks

Everlasting dress-parade of our civilization

Grand intentions and weak vocabulary

How lightly past hardship sits upon us!

I hain't no business here; but here I be!

Kept its distance, as only a mountain can

Man's noblest faculty, his imagination, or credulity.

Marriage is mostly for discipline

Misery, unheroic and humiliating

Near-sighted man, whose glasses the rain rendered useless

No conceit like that of isolation

No nervousness, but simply a reasonable desire to get there

Not lost, but gone before

Posthumous fear

Procession of unattainable meals stretched before me

Sense to shun the doctor; to lie down in some safe place

Solitude and every desirable discomfort

Stumbled against an ill-placed tree

Suffering when unaccompanied by resignation

Ten times harder to unlearn anything than it is to learn it

There is an impassive, stolid brutality about the woods


Best part of going to sea is keeping close to the shore

Can leave it without regret

Dependent upon imagination and memory

Great part of the enjoyment of life

Luxury of his romantic grief

Picturesque sort of dilapidation

Rest is never complete--unless he can see somebody else at work

Won't see Mt. Desert till midnight, and then you won't


A good many things have gone out with the fire on the hearth

Abatement of a snow-storm that grows to exceptional magnitude

Anywhere a happier home than ours? I am glad of it!

Associate ourselves to make everybody else behave as we do.

Chilly drafts and sarcasms on what we call the temperate zone

Criticism by comparison is the refuge of incapables

Crowning human virtue in a man is to let his wife poke the fire

Don't know what success is

Each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance

Enjoyed poor health

Enthusiasm is a sign of inexperience, of ignorance

Fallen into the days of conformity

Few people know how to make a wood-fire

Finding the world disagreeable to themselves

Have almost succeeded in excluding pure air

Just as good as the real

Lived himself out of the world

Long score of personal flattery to pay off

Not half so reasonable as my prejudices

Pathos overcomes one's sense of the absurdity of such people

Permit the freedom of silence

Poetical reputation of the North American Indian

Point of breeding never to speak of anything in your house

Reformers manage to look out for themselves tolerably well

Refuge of mediocrity

Rest beyond the grave will not be much change for him

Said, or if I have not, I say it again

Severe attack of spiritism

Shares none of their uneasiness about getting on in life

Silence is unnoticed when people sit before a fire

Some men you always prefer to have on your left hand

Sort of busy idleness among men

There are no impossibilities to youth and inexperience

Things are apt to remain pretty much the same

Think the world they live in is the central one

To-day is like yesterday,

Usual effect of an anecdote on conversation

Women know how to win by losing

World owes them a living because they are philanthropists


But I found him, one Sunday morning,--a day when it would not do to get

angry, tying his cow at the foot of the hill; the beast all the time

going on in that abominable voice.  I told the man that I could not have

the cow in the grounds.  He said, "All right, boss;" but he did not go

away.  I asked him to clear out.  The man, who is a French sympathizer

from the Republic of Ireland, kept his temper perfectly.  He said he

wasn't doing anything, just feeding his cow a bit: he wouldn't make me

the least trouble in the world.  I reminded him that he had been told

again and again not to come here; that he might have all the grass, but

he should not bring his cow upon the premises.  The imperturbable man

assented to everything that I said, and kept on feeding his cow.  Before

I got him to go to fresh scenes and pastures new, the Sabbath was almost

broken; but it was saved by one thing: it is difficult to be emphatic

when no one is emphatic on the other side.  The man and his cow have

taught me a great lesson, which I shall recall when I keep a cow.  I can

recommend this cow, if anybody wants one, as a steady boarder, whose

keeping will cost the owner little; but, if her milk is at all like her

voice, those who drink it are on the straight road to lunacy.

Moral Truth. --I have no doubt that grapes taste best in other people's

mouths.  It is an old notion that it is easier to be generous than to be

stingy.  I am convinced that the majority of people would be generous

from selfish motives, if they had the opportunity.

Philosophical Observation. --Nothing shows one who his friends are like

prosperity and ripe fruit.  I had a good friend in the country, whom I

almost never visited except in cherry-time.  By your fruits you shall

know them.

Pretending to reflect upon these things, but in reality watching the

blue-jays, who are pecking at the purple berries of the woodbine on the

south gable, I approach the house.  Polly is picking up chestnuts on the

sward, regardless of the high wind which rattles them about her head and

upon the glass roof of her winter-garden.  The garden, I see, is filled

with thrifty plants, which will make it always summer there.  The callas

about the fountain will be in flower by Christmas: the plant appears to

keep that holiday in her secret heart all summer.  I close the outer

windows as we go along, and congratulate myself that we are ready for

winter.  For the winter-garden I have no responsibility: Polly has entire

charge of it.  I am only required to keep it heated, and not too hot

either; to smoke it often for the death of the bugs; to water it once a

day; to move this and that into the sun and out of the sun pretty

constantly: but she does all the work.  We never relinquish that theory.

I have been digging my potatoes, if anybody cares to know it.  I planted

them in what are called "Early Rose," --the rows a little less than three

feet apart; but the vines came to an early close in the drought.  Digging

potatoes is a pleasant, soothing occupation, but not poetical.  It is

good for the mind, unless they are too small (as many of mine are), when

it begets a want of gratitude to the bountiful earth.  What small

potatoes we all are, compared with what we might be!  We don't plow deep

enough, any of us, for one thing.  I shall put in the plow next year, and

give the tubers room enough.  I think they felt the lack of it this year:

many of them seemed ashamed to come out so small.  There is great

pleasure in turning out the brown-jacketed fellows into the sunshine of a

royal September day, and seeing them glisten as they lie thickly strewn

on the warm soil.  Life has few such moments.  But then they must be

picked up.  The picking-up, in this world, is always the unpleasant part

of it.

Nature is "awful smart."  I intend to be complimentary in saying so.  She

shows it in little things.  I have mentioned my attempt to put in a few

modest turnips, near the close of the season.  I sowed the seeds, by the

way, in the most liberal manner.  Into three or four short rows I presume

I put enough to sow an acre; and they all came up,--came up as thick as

grass, as crowded and useless as babies in a Chinese village.  Of course,

they had to be thinned out; that is, pretty much all pulled up; and it

took me a long time; for it takes a conscientious man some time to decide

which are the best and healthiest plants to spare.  After all, I spared

too many.  That is the great danger everywhere in this world (it may not

be in the next): things are too thick; we lose all in grasping for too

much.  The Scotch say, that no man ought to thin out his own turnips,

because he will not sacrifice enough to leave room for the remainder to

grow: he should get his neighbor, who does not care for the plants, to do

it.  But this is mere talk, and aside from the point: if there is

anything I desire to avoid in these agricultural papers, it is

digression.  I did think that putting in these turnips so late in the

season, when general activity has ceased, and in a remote part of the

garden, they would pass unnoticed.  But Nature never even winks, as I can

see.  The tender blades were scarcely out of the ground when she sent a

small black fly, which seemed to have been born and held in reserve for

this purpose,--to cut the leaves.  They speedily made lace-work of the

whole bed.  Thus everything appears to have its special enemy,--except,

perhaps, p----y: nothing ever troubles that.

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