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me five dollars a line for every thing I write in its columns.
Madam,” said I, (she and the century were in their teens together,) "all men are bores, except when we want them. There never was but one man whom I would trust with my latch-key." " Who might that favored person be?" « Zimmermann."
-The men of genius that I fancy most have erectile heads like the cobra-di-capello. You remember what they tell of William Pirkney, the great pleader; how in his eloquent paroxysms the veins of his neck would swell and his face flush and his eyes glitter, until he seemed on the verge of apoplexy. The hydraulic arrangements for supplying the brain with blood are only second in importance to its own organization. The bulbous-headed fellows that steam well when they are at work are the men that draw big audiences and give us marrowy books and pictures. It is a good sign to have one's feet grow cold when he is writing. A great writer and speaker once told me that he often wrote with his feet in hot water; but for this, all his blood would have run into his head, as the mercury sometimes withdraws into the ball of a thermometer.
You don't suppose that my remarks made at this table are like so many postage-stamps, do you,each to be only once uttered? If you do, you are mistaken. He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself. Imagine the author of the er cellent piece of advice, “ Know thyself,” never allud. ing to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted existence! Why, the truths a man carries about with him are his tools; and do you think a carpenter is bound to use the same plane but once to smooth a knotty board with, or to hang up his hammer after it has driven its first nail ? I shall never repeat a conversation, but an idea often. ] shall use the same types when I like, but not commonly the same stereotypes. A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times. It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of associations.
Sometimes, but rarely, one may be caught making the same speech twice over, and yet be held blameless. Thus, a certain lecturer, after performing in an inland city, where dwells a Littératrice of note, was invited to meet her and others over the social teacup. She pleasantly referred to his many wanderings in his new occupation. “Yes," he replied, “ I am like the Huma, the bird that never lights, being always in the cars, as he is always on the wing."-Years elapsed. The lecturer visited the same place once more for the same purpose. Another social cup
after the lecture, and a second meeting with the distin guished lady. “ You are constantly going from place to place,” she said.—“ Yes,” he answered, “ I am like the Huma,"—and finished the sentence as before.
What horrors, when it flashed over him that he bad made this fine speech, word for word, twice over! Yet it was not true, as the lady might perhaps have fairly inferred, that he had embellished his conversa. tion with the Huma daily during that whole interval of years. On the contrary, he had never once thought of the odious fowl until the recurrence of precisely the same circumstances brought up precisely the same idea. He ought to have been proud of the accuracy of his mental adjustments. Given certain factors, and a sound brain should always evolve the same fixed product with the certainty of Babbage's calculating machine.
What a satire, by the way, is that machine on the mere mathematician! A Frankenstein-monster, a thing without brains and without heart, too stupid to make a blunder; that turns out results like a cornsheller, and never grows any wiser or better, though it grind a thousand bushels of them!
I have an immense respect for a man of talents plus “ the mathematics.” But the calculating power alone should seem to be the least human of qualities, and to have the smallest amount of reason in it; since a machine can be made to do the work of three or four calculators, and better than any one of them. Sometimes I have been troubled that I had not a deeper intuitive apprehension of the relations of num. bers. But the triumph of the ciphering hand-organ bas consolert me. I always fancy I can hear the wheels clicking in a calculator's brain. The power of dealing with numbers is a kind of “ detached lever" arrangement, which may be put into a mighty poor watch. I
it is about as common as the power of moving the ears voluntarily, which is a moderately rare endowment.
Little localized powers, and little narrow streaks of specialized knowledge, are things men are very apt to be conceited about. Nature is very wise; but for this encouraging principle how many small talents and little accomplishments would be neg. lected! Talk about conceit as much as you like, it is to human character what salt is to the ocean; it keeps it sweet, and renders it endurable. Say rather it is like the natural unguent of the sea-fowl's plumage, which enables him to shed the rain that falls on him and the wave in which he dips. When one has had all his conceit taken out of him, when he has lost all his illusions, his feathers will soon soak through, and he will fly no more.
“So you admire conceited people, do you !” said the young lady who has come to the city to be fin ished off for the duties of life. I am afraid you do not study logic at your school,
It does not follow that I wish to be pickled in brine because I like a salt-water plunge at Nahant. I say that conceit is just as natural a thing to human minds as a centre is to a circle. But little-minded people's thc ughts move in such smal.
circles that five minutes' conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve. An arc in the movement of a large intellect does not sensibly differ from a straight line. Even if it have the third vowel as its centre, it does not soon betray it. The highest thought, that is, is the most seem. ingly impersonal; it does not obviously imply any individual centre.
Audacious self-esteem, with good ground for it, is always imposing. What resplendent beauty that must have been which could have authorized Phryne to peel” in the way she did! What fine speeches are those two: “Non omnis moriar," and "I have taken all knowledge to be my province"! Even in common people, conceit has the virtue of making them cheerful; the man who thinks his wife, his baby, his house, his horse, his dog, and himself severally unequalled, is almost sure to be a goodhumored person, though liable to be tedious at times.
What are the great faults of conversation ? Want of ideas, want of words, want of manners, are the principal ones, I suppose you think. I don't doubt it, but I will tell you what I have found spoil more good talks than anything else ; —long arguments on special points between people who differ on the fundamental principles upon which these points depend. No men can have satisfactory relations with each other until they have agreed op