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ficial integument. I learned this in early boyhood. I was once equipped in a hat of Leghorn straw, having a brim of much wider dimensions than were usual at that time, and sent to school in that portion of my
native town which lies nearest to this metropolis. On my way I was met by a “Port-chuck," as we used to call the young gentlemen of that .ocality, and the following dialogue ensued.
The Port-chuck. Hullo, You-sir, joo know th' wuz gön-to be a race to-morrah?
Myself. No. Who's gon-to run, 'n' wher's't gonto be ?
The Port-chuck. Squire Mico ’n’ Doctor Wil. iams, round the brim o' your hat.
These two much-respected gentlemen being the oldest inhabitants at that time, and the alleged racecourse being out of the question, the Port-chuck also winking and thrusting his tongue into his cheek, I perceived that I had been trifled with, and the effect has been to make me sensitive and observant respecting this article of dress ever since. Here is an axiom or two relating to it.
A hat which has been popped, or exploded by being sat down upon, is never itself again afterwards.
It is a favorite illusion of sanguine natures to be lieve the "ontrary.
Shabby gentility has nothing so characteristic as its hat. There is always an unnatural calmness about its nap, and an unwholesome gloss, suggestive of a wet brush.
The last effort of decayed fortune is expended in smoothing its dilapidated castor. The hat is the ultimum moriens of “respectability.”
- The old gentleman took all these remarks and maxims very pleasantly, saying, however, that he had forgotten most of his French except the word for potatoes,-pummies de tare.— Ultimum moriens, I told him, is old Italian, and signifies last thing to die. With this explanation he was well contented, and looked quite calm when I saw him afterwards in the entry with a black hat on his head and the white one in his hand.
-I think myself fortunate in having the Poet and the Professor for my intimates. We are so much together, that we no doubt think and talk a good deal alike; yet our points of view are in many respects individual and peculiar. You know me well enough by this time. I have not talked with you so long for nothing and therefore I don't think it necessary to draw my own portrait. But let me say a word or two about my friends.
The Professor considers himself, and I consider him, a very useful and worthy kind of drudge. I think he has a pride in his small technicalities. I know that he has a great idea of fidelity; and though I suspect he laughs a little inwardly at times at the grand airs“ Science " puts on, as she stands marking time, but not getting on, while the trumpets are blowing and the big drums beating,—yet I am sure he has a liking for his specialty, and a respect for its cultivators.
But I'll tell you what the Professor said to the Poet the other day.—My boy, said he, I can work a great deal cheaper than you, because I keep all my goods in the lower story. You have to hoist yours into the upper chambers of the brain, and let themu down again to your customers. I take mine in at the level of the ground, and send them off from my doorstep almost without lifting. I tell you, the higher a man has to carry the raw material of thought before he works it up, the more it costs him in blood, nerve, and muscle. Coleridge knew all this very well when he advised every literary man to have a profession.
Sometimes I like to talk with one of them, and sometimes with the other. After a while I get tired of both. When a fit of intellectual disgust comes over me, I will tell you what I have found admirable as a diversion, in addition to boating and other amusements which I have spoken of,—that is, working at my carpenter's-bench. Some mechanical employment is the greatest possible relief, after the purely intellectual faculties begin to tire. When I was quarantined once at Marseilles, I got to work immediately at carving a wooden wonder of loose rings on a stick, and got so interested in it, that, when we were set loose, I “regained my freedom with a sigh,” because my toy was unfinished.
There are long seasons when I talk only with the Professor, and others when I give myself wholly up to the Poet. Now that my winter's work is over and spring is with us, I feel naturally drawn to the Poet's company. I don't know anybody more alive to life than he is. The passion of poetry seizes ou him every spring, he says-yet oftentimes he complains, that, when he feels most, he can sing least.
Then a fit of despondency comes over him.-I feel ashamed, sometimes,—said he, the other day, to think how far my worst songs fall below my best. It sometimes seems to me, as I know it does to others who have told me so, that they ought to be all best,-if not in actual execution, at least in plan and motive. I am grateful-he continued—for all such criticisms. A man is always pleased to have his most serious efforts praised, and the highest aspect of his nature get the most sunshine.
Yet I am sure, that, in the nature of things, many minds must change their key now and then, on penalty of getting out of tune or losing their voices. You know, I suppose,—he said, -what is meant by complementary colors ? You know the effect, too, which the prolonged impression of any one color has on the retina. If you close your eyes after looking steadily at a red object, you see a green image.
It is so with many minds, I will not say with all. After looking at one aspect of external nature, or of any form of beauty or truth, when they turn away, the complementary aspect of the same object stamps itself irresistibly and automatically upon the mind. Shall they give expression to this secondary mental state, or not?
When I contemplate—said my friend, the Poetthe infinite largeness of comprehension belonging to the Central Intelligence, how remote the creative conception is from all scholastic and ethical formulæ, I am led to think that a healthy mind ought to change its mood from time to time, and come down from its noblest condition,-never, of course, to degrade itself by dwelling upon what is itself debasing, but to let its lower faculties have a chance to air and exercise themselves. After the first and second floor have been out in the bright street dressed in all their splendors, shall not our humble friends in the basement have their holiday, and the cotton velvet and the thin-skinned jewelry-simple adornments, but befitting the station of those who wear them—show themselves to the crowd, who think them beautiful, as they ought to, though the people up stairs know that they are cheap and perishable ?
- I don't know that I may not bring the Poet here, some day or other, and let him speak for him. Helf. Still I think I can tell you what he says quite as well as he coulil do it.-Oh,- he said to me, oue