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´╗┐Title: Fragments from the Journal of a Solitary Man - (From: "The Doliver Romance and Other Pieces: Tales and Sketches")
Author: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Language: English
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                         TALES AND SKETCHES

                       By Nathaniel Hawthorne



My poor friend "Oberon"--[See the sketch or story entitled "The Devil in
Manuscript," in "The Snow-Image, and other Twice-Told Tales."]--for let
me be allowed to distinguish him by so quaint a name--sleeps with the
silent ages.  He died calmly. Though his disease was pulmonary, his life
did not flicker out like a wasted lamp, sometimes shooting up into a
strange temporary brightness; but the tide of being ebbed away, and the
noon of his existence waned till, in the simple phraseology of
Scripture, "he was not."  The last words he said to me were, "Burn my
papers,--all that you can find in yonder escritoire; for I fear there
are some there which you may be betrayed into publishing.  I have
published enough; as for the old disconnected journal in your
possession--"  But here my poor friend was checked in his utterance by
that same hollow cough which would never let him alone.  So he coughed
himself tired, and sank to slumber.  I watched from that midnight hour
till high noon on the morrow for his waking.  The chamber was dark;
till, longing for light, I opened the window-shutter, and the broad day
looked in on the marble features of the dead.

I religiously obeyed his instructions with regard to the papers in the
escritoire, and burned them in a heap without looking into one, though
sorely tempted.  But the old journal I kept.  Perhaps in strict
conscience I ought also to have burned that; but casting my eye over
some half-torn leaves the other day, I could not resist an impulse to
give some fragments of it to the public.  To do this satisfactorily,
I am obliged to twist this thread, so as to string together into a
semblance of order my Oberon's "random pearls."

If anybody that holds any commerce with his fellowmen can be called
solitary, Oberon was a "solitary man."  He lived in a small village at
some distance from the metropolis, and never came up to the city except
once in three months for the purpose of looking into a bookstore, and of
spending two hours and a half with me.  In that space of time I would
tell him all that I could remember of interest which had occurred in the
interim of his visits.  He would join very heartily in the conversation;
but as soon as the time of his usual tarrying had elapsed, he would take
up his hat and depart.  He was unequivocally the most original person I
ever knew.  His style of composition was very charming.  No tales that
have ever appeared in our popular journals have been so generally
admired as his.  But a sadness was on his spirit; and this, added to the
shrinking sensitiveness of his nature, rendered him not misanthropic,
but singularly averse to social intercourse.  Of the disease, which was
slowly sapping the springs of his life, he first became fully conscious
after one of those long abstractions in which lie was wont to indulge.
It is remarkable, however, that his first idea of this sort, instead of
deepening his spirit with a more melancholy hue, restored him to a more
natural state of mind.

He had evidently cherished a secret hope that some impulse would at
length be given him, or that he would muster sufficient energy of will
to return into the world, and act a wiser and happier part than his
former one.  But life never called the dreamer forth; it was Death that
whispered him.  It is to be regretted that this portion of his old
journal contains so few passages relative to this interesting period;
since the little which he has recorded, though melancholy enough,
breathes the gentleness of a spirit newly restored to communion with its
kind.  If there be anything bitter in the following reflections, its
source is in human sympathy, and its sole object is himself.

"It is hard to die without one's happiness; to none more so than myself,
whose early resolution it had been to partake largely of the joys of
life, but never to be burdened with its cares.  Vain philosophy!  The
very hardships of the poorest laborer, whose whole existence seems one
long toil, has something preferable to my best pleasures.

"Merely skimming the surface of life, I know nothing, by my own
experience, of its deep and warm realities.  I have achieved none of
those objects which the instinct of mankind especially prompts them to
pursue, and the accomplishment of which must therefore beget a native
satisfaction.  The truly wise, after all their speculations, will be led
into the common path, and, in homage to the human nature that pervades
them, will gather gold, and till the earth, and set out trees, and build
a house.  But I have scorned such wisdom.  I have rejected, also, the
settled, sober, careful gladness of a man by his own fireside, with
those around him whose welfare is committed to his trust and all their
guidance to his fond authority.  Without influence among serious
affairs, my footsteps were not imprinted on the earth, but lost in air;
and I shall leave no son to inherit my share of life, with a better
sense of its privileges and duties, when his father should vanish like a
bubble; so that few mortals, even the humblest and the weakest, have
been such ineffectual shadows in the world, or die so utterly as I must.
Even a young man's bliss has not been mine.  With a thousand vagrant
fantasies, I have never truly loved, and perhaps shall be doomed to
loneliness throughout the eternal future, because, here on earth, my
soul has never married itself to the soul of woman.

"Such are the repinings of one who feels, too late, that the sympathies
of his nature have avenged themselves upon him.  They have prostrated,
with a joyless life and the prospect of a reluctant death, my selfish
purpose to keep aloof from mortal disquietudes, and be a pleasant idler
among care-stricken and laborious men.  I have other regrets, too,
savoring more of my old spirit.  The time has been when I meant to visit
every region of the earth, except the poles and Central Africa.  I had a
strange longing to see the Pyramids.  To Persia and Arabia, and all the
gorgeous East, I owed a pilgrimage for the sake of their magic tales.
And England, the land of my ancestors!  Once I had fancied that my sleep
would not be quiet in the grave unless I should return, as it were, to
my home of past ages, and see the very cities, and castles, and
battle-fields of history, and stand within the holy gloom of its
cathedrals, and kneel at the shrines of its immortal poets, there
asserting myself their hereditary countryman.  This feeling lay among the
deepest in my heart.  Yet, with this homesickness for the father-land, and
all these plans of remote travel,--which I yet believe that my peculiar
instinct impelled me to form, and upbraided me for not accomplishing,--the
utmost limit of my wanderings has been little more than six hundred miles
from my native village.  Thus, in whatever way I consider my life, or what
must be termed such, I cannot feel as if I had lived at all.

"I am possessed, also, with the thought that I have never yet discovered
the real secret of my powers; that there has been a mighty treasure
within my reach, a mine of gold beneath my feet, worthless because I
have never known how to seek for it; and for want of perhaps one
fortunate idea, I am to die

          'Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.'

"Once, amid the troubled and tumultuous enjoyment of my life, there was
a dreamy thought that haunted me, the terrible necessity imposed on
mortals to grow old, or die.  I could not bear the idea of losing one
youthful grace.  True, I saw other men, who had once been young and now
were old, enduring their age with equanimity, because each year
reconciled them to its own added weight.  But for myself, I felt that
age would be not less miserable, creeping upon me slowly, than if it
fell at once.  I sometimes looked in the glass, and endeavored to fancy
my cheeks yellow and interlaced with furrows, my forehead wrinkled
deeply across, the top of my head bald and polished, my eyebrows and
side-locks iron gray, and a grisly beard sprouting on my chin.
Shuddering at the picture, I changed it for the dead face of a young
mail, with dark locks clustering heavily round its pale beauty, which
would decay, indeed, but not with years, nor in the sight of men.  The
latter visage shocked me least.

"Such a repugnance to the hard conditions of long life is common to all
sensitive and thoughtful men, who minister to the luxury, the
refinements, the gayety and lightsomeness, to anything, in short, but
the real necessities of their fellow-creatures.  He who has a part in
the serious business of life, though it be only as a shoemaker, feels
himself equally respectable in youth and in age, and therefore is
content to live and look forward to wrinkles and decrepitude in their
due season.  It is far otherwise with the busy idlers of the world.  I
was particularly liable to this torment, being a meditative person in
spite of my levity.  The truth could not be concealed, nor the
contemplation of it avoided.  With deep inquietude I became aware that
what was graceful now, and seemed appropriate enough to my age of
flowers, would be ridiculous in middle life; and that the world, so
indulgent to the fantastic youth, would scorn the bearded than, still
telling love-tales, loftily ambitious of a maiden's tears, and squeezing
out, as it were, with his brawny strength, the essence of roses.  And in
his old age the sweet lyrics of Anacreon made the girls laugh at his
white hairs the more.  With such sentiments, conscious that my part in
the drama of life was fit only for a youthful performer, I nourished a
regretful desire to be summoned early from the scene.  I set a limit to
myself, the age of twenty-five, few years indeed, but too many to be
thrown away.  Scarcely had I thus fixed the term of my mortal
pilgrimage, than the thought grew into a presentiment that, when the
space should be completed, the world would have one butterfly the less,
by my far flight.

"O, how fond I was of life, even while allotting, as my proper destiny,
an early death!  I loved the world, its cities, its villages, its grassy
roadsides, its wild forests, its quiet scenes, its gay, warm, enlivening
bustle; in every aspect, I loved the world so long as I could behold it
with young eyes and dance through it with a young heart.  The earth had
been made so beautiful, that I longed for no brighter sphere, but only
an ever-youthful eternity in this.  I clung to earth as if my beginning
and ending were to be there, unable to imagine any but an earthly
happiness, and choosing such, with all its imperfections, rather than
perfect bliss which might be alien from it.  Alas!  I had not wet known
that weariness by which the soul proves itself ethereal."

Turning over the old journal, I open, by chance, upon a passage which
affords a signal instance of the morbid fancies to which Oberon
frequently yielded himself.  Dreams like the following were probably
engendered by the deep gloom sometimes thrown over his mind by his
reflections on death.

"I dreamed that one bright forenoon I was walking through Broadway, and
seeking to cheer myself with the warm and busy life of that far-famed
promenade.  Here a coach thundered over the pavement, and there an
unwieldy omnibus, with spruce gigs rattling past, and horsemen prancing
through all the bustle.  On the sidewalk people were looking at the rich
display of goods, the plate and jewelry, or the latest caricature ill
the bookseller's windows; while fair ladies and whiskered gentlemen
tripped gayly along, nodding mutual recognitions, or shrinking from some
rough countryman or sturdy laborer whose contact might have ruffled
their finery.  I found myself in this animated scene, with a dim and
misty idea that it was not my proper place, or that I had ventured into
the crowd with some singularity of dress or aspect which made me
ridiculous.  Walking in the sunshine, I was yet cold as death.  By
degrees, too, I perceived myself the object of universal attention, and,
as it seemed, of horror and affright.  Every face grew pale; the laugh
was hushed, and the voices died away in broken syllables; the people in
the shops crowded to the doors with a ghastly stare, and the passengers
oil all sides fled as from an embodied pestilence.  The horses reared
and snorted.  An old beggar-woman sat before St. Paul's Church, with her
withered palm stretched out to all, but drew it back from me, and
pointed to the graves and monuments in that populous churchyard.  Three
lovely girls whom I had formerly known, ran shrieking across the street.
A personage in black, whom I was about to overtake, suddenly turned his
head and showed the features of a long-lost friend.  He gave me a look
of horror and was gone.

"I passed not one step farther, but threw my eyes on a looking-glass
which stood deep within the nearest shop.  At first glimpse of my own
figure I awoke, with a horrible sensation of self-terror and
self-loathing.  No wonder that the affrighted city fled!  I had been
promenading Broadway in my shroud!"

I should be doing injustice to my friend's memory, were I to publish
other extracts even nearer to insanity than this, front the scarcely
legible papers before me.  I gather from them--for I do not remember
that he ever related to me the circumstances--that he once made a
journey, chiefly on foot, to Niagara.  Some conduct of the friends among
whom he resided in his native village was constructed by him into
oppression.  These were the friends to whose care he had been committed
by his parents, who died when Oberon was about twelve years of age.
Though he had always been treated by them with the most uniform
kindness, and though a favorite among the people of the village rather
on account of the sympathy which they felt in his situation than from
any merit of his own, such was the waywardness of his temper, that on
a slight provocation he ran away from the home that sheltered him,
expressing openly his determination to die sooner than return to the
detested spot.  A severe illness overtook him after he had been absent
about four months.  While ill, he felt how unsoothing were the kindest
looks and tones of strangers.  He rose from his sick-bed a better man,
and determined upon a speedy self-atonement by returning to his native
town.  There he lived, solitary and sad, but forgiven and cherished by
his friends, till the day he died.  That part of the journal which
contained a description of this journey is mostly destroyed.  Here and
there is a fragment.  I cannot select, for the pages are very scanty;
but I do not withhold the following fragments, because they indicate a
better and more cheerful frame of mind than the foregoing.

"On reaching the ferry-house, a rude structure of boards at the foot of
the cliff, I found several of those wretches devoid of poetry, and lost
some of my own poetry by contact with them.  The hut was crowded by a
party of provincials,--a simple and merry set, who had spent the
afternoon fishing near the Falls, and were bartering black and white
bass and eels for the ferryman's whiskey.  A greyhound and three
spaniels, brutes of much more grace and decorous demeanor than their
masters, sat at the door.  A few yards off, yet wholly unnoticed by the
dogs, was a beautiful fox, whose countenance betokened all the sagacity
attributed to him in ancient fable.  He had a comfortable bed of straw
in an old barrel, whither he retreated, flourishing his bushy tail as I
made a step towards him, but soon came forth and surveyed me with a keen
and intelligent eye.  The Canadians bartered their fish and drank their
whiskey, and were loquacious on trifling subjects, and merry at simple
jests, with as little regard to the scenery as they could have to the
flattest part of the Grand Canal.  Nor was I entitled to despise them;
for I amused myself with all those foolish matters of fishermen, and
dogs, and fox, just as if Sublimity and Beauty were not married at that
place and moment; as if their nuptial band were not the brightest of all
rainbows on the opposite shore; as if the gray precipice were not
frowning above my head and Niagara thundering around me.

"The grim ferryman, a black-whiskered giant, half drunk withal, now
thrust the Canadians by main force out of his door, launched a boat, and
bade me sit in the stern-sheets.  Where we crossed the river was white
with foam, yet did not offer much resistance to a straight passage,
which brought us close to the outer edge of the American falls.  The
rainbow vanished as we neared its misty base, and when I leaped ashore,
the sun had left all Niagara in shadow."

"A sound of merriment, sweet voices and girlish laughter, came dancing
through the solemn roar of waters.  In old times, when the French, and
afterwards the English, held garrisons near Niagara, it used to be
deemed a feat worthy of a soldier, a frontier man, or an Indian, to
cross the rapids to Goat Island.  As the country became less rude and
warlike, a long space intervened, in which it was but half believed, by
a faint and doubtful tradition, that mortal foot bad never trod this
wild spot of precipice and forest clinging between two cataracts.  The
island is no longer a tangled forest, but a grove of stately trees, with
grassy intervals about their roots and woodland paths among their

"There was neither soldier nor Indian here now, but a vision of three
lovely girls, running brief races through the broken sunshine of the
grove, hiding behind the trees, and pelting each other with the cones of
the pine.  When their sport had brought them near me, it so happened
that one of the party ran up and shook me by the band,--a greeting which
I heartily returned, and would have done the same had it been tenderer.
I had known this wild little black-eyed lass in my youth and her
childhood, before I had commenced my rambles.

"We met on terms of freedom and kindness, which elder ladies might have
thought unsuitable with a gentleman of my description.  When I alluded
to the two fair strangers, she shouted after them by their Christian
names, at which summons, with grave dignity, they drew near, and honored
me with a distant courtesy.  They were from the upper part of Vermont.
Whether sisters, or cousins, or at all related to each other, I cannot
tell; but they are planted in my memory like 'two twin roses on one
stem,' with the fresh dew in both their bosoms; and when I would have
pure and pleasant thoughts, I think of them.  Neither of them could have
seen seventeen years.  They both were of a height, and that a moderate
one.  The rose-bloom of their cheeks could hardly be called bright in
her who was the rosiest, nor faint, though a shade less deep, in her
companion.  Both had delicate eyebrows, not strongly defined, yet
somewhat darker than their hair; both had small sweet mouths, maiden
mouths, of not so warns and deep a tint as ruby, but only red as the
reddest rose; each had those gems, the rarest, the most precious, a pair
of clear, soft bright blue eyes.  Their style of dress was similar; one
had on a black silk gown, with a stomacher of velvet, and scalloped
cuffs of the same from the wrist to the elbow; the other wore cuffs and
stomacher of the like pattern and material, over a gown of crimson silk.
The dress was rather heavy for their slight figures, but suited to
September.  They and the darker beauty all carried their straw bonnets
in their hands."

I cannot better conclude these fragments than with poor Oberon's
description of his return to his native village after his slow recovery
from his illness.  How beautifully does lie express his penitential
emotions!  A beautiful moral may be indeed drawn from the early death of
a sensitive recluse, who had shunned the ordinary avenues of
distinction, and with splendid abilities sank to rest into an early
grave, almost unknown to mankind, and without any record save what my
pen hastily leaves upon these tear-blotted pages.



When the stage-coach had gained the summit of the hill, I alighted to
perform the small remainder of my journey on foot.  There had not been
a more delicious afternoon than this in all the train of summer, the air
being a sunny perfume, made up of balm and warmth, and gentle
brightness.  The oak and walnut trees over my head retained their deep
masses of foliage, and the grass, though for months the pasturage of
stray cattle, had been revived with the freshness of early June by the
autumnal rains of the preceding week.  The garb of autumn, indeed,
resembled that of spring.  Dandelions and butterflies were sprinkled
along the roadside like drops of brightest gold in greenest grass, and a
star-shaped little flower of blue, with a golden centre.  In a rocky
spot, and rooted under the stone walk, there was one wild rose-bush
bearing three roses very faintly tinted, but blessed with a spicy
fragrance.  The same tokens would have announced that the year was
brightening into the glow of summer.  There were violets too, though few
and pale ones.  But the breath of September was diffused through the
mild air, and became perceptible, too thrillingly for my enfeebled
frame, whenever a little breeze shook out the latent coolness.

"I was standing on the hill at the entrance of my native village, whence
I had looked back to bid farewell, and forward to the pale mist-bow that
overarched my path, and was the omen of my fortunes.  How I had
misinterpreted that augury, the ghost of hope, with none of hope's
bright hues!  Nor could I deem that all its portents were yet
accomplished, though from the same western sky the declining sun shone
brightly in my face.  But I was calm and not depressed.  Turning to the
village, so dim and dream-like at my last view, I saw the white houses
and brick stores, the intermingled trees, the footpaths with their wide
borders of grass, and the dusty road between; all a picture of peaceful
gladness in the sunshine.

"'Why have I never loved my home before?' thought I, as my spirit
reposed itself on the quiet beauty of the scene.

"On the side of the opposite hill was the graveyard, sloping towards the
farther extremity of the village.  The sun shone as cheerfully there as
on the abodes of the living, and showed all the little hillocks and the
burial-stones, white marble or slate, and here and there a tomb, with
the pleasant grass about them all.  A single tree was tinged with glory
from the west, and threw a pensive shade behind.  Not far from where it
fell was the tomb of my parents, whom I had hardly thought of in bidding
adieu to the village, but had remembered them more faithfully among the
feelings that drew me homeward.  At my departure their tomb had been
hidden in the morning mist.  Beholding it in the sunshine now, I felt a
sensation through my frame as if a breeze had thrown the coolness of
September over me, though not a leaf was stirred, nor did the thistle-down
take flight.  Was I to roam no more through this beautiful world,
but only to the other end of the village?  Then let me lie down near my
parents, but not with them, because I love a green grave better than a

"Moving slowly forward, I heard shouts and laughter, and perceived a
considerable throng of people, who came from behind the meeting-house
and made a stand in front of it.  Thither all the idlers in the village
were congregated to witness the exercises of the engine company, this
being the afternoon of their monthly practice.  They deluged the roof of
the meeting-house, till the water fell from the eaves in a broad
cascade; then the stream beat against the dusty windows like a
thunder-storm;  and sometimes they flung it up beside the steeple,
sparkling in an ascending shower about the weathercock.  For variety's
sake the engineer made it undulate horizontally, like a great serpent
flying over the earth.  As his last effort, being roguishly inclined, he
seemed to take aim at the sky, falling short rather of which, down came
the fluid, transformed to drops of silver, on the thickest crowd of the
spectators.  Then ensued a prodigious rout and mirthful uproar, with no
little wrath of the surly ones, whom this is an infallible method of
distinguishing. The joke afforded infinite amusement to the ladies at the
windows and some old people under the hay-scales.  I also laughed at a
distance, and was glad to find myself susceptible, as of old, to the
simple mirth of such a scene.

"But the thoughts that it excited were not all mirthful.  I had
witnessed hundreds of such spectacles in my youth, and one precisely
similar only a few days before my departure.  And now, the aspect of the
village being the same, and the crowd composed of my old acquaintances,
I could hardly realize that years had passed, or even months, or that
the very drops of water were not falling at this moment, which had been
flung up then.  But I pressed the conviction home, that, brief as the
time appeared, it had been long enough for me to wander away and return
again, with my fate accomplished, and little more hope in this world.
The last throb of an adventurous and wayward spirit kept me from
repining.  I felt as if it were better, or not worse, to have compressed
my enjoyments and sufferings into a few wild years, and then to rest
myself in an early grave, than to have chosen the untroubled and
ungladdened course of the crowd before me, whose days were all alike,
and a long lifetime like each day.  But the sentiment startled me.  For
a moment I doubted whether my dear-bought wisdom were anything but the
incapacity to pursue fresh follies, and whether, if health and strength
could be restored that night, I should be found in the village after
to-morrow's dawn.

"Among other novelties, I had noticed that the tavern was now designated
as a Temperance House, in letters extending across the whole front, with
a smaller sign promising Hot Coffee at all hours, and Spruce Beer to
lodgers gratis.  There were few new buildings, except a Methodist chapel
and a printing-office, with a bookstore in the lower story.  The golden
mortar still ornamented the apothecary's door, nor had the Indian Chief,
with his gilded tobacco stalk, been relieved from doing sentinel's duty
before Dominicus Pike's grocery.  The gorgeous silks, though of later
patterns, were still flaunting like a banner in front of Mr.
Nightingale's dry-goods store.  Some of the signs introduced me to
strangers, whose predecessors had failed, or emigrated to the West, or
removed merely to the other end of the village, transferring their names
from the sign-boards to slabs of marble or slate.  But, on the whole,
death and vicissitude had done very little.  There were old men,
scattered about the street, who had been old in my earliest
reminiscences; and, as if their venerable forms were permanent parts of
the creation, they appeared to be hale and hearty old men yet.  The less
elderly were more altered, having generally contracted a stoop, with
hair wofully thinned and whitened.  Some I could hardly recognize; at my
last glance they had been boys and girls, but were young men and women
when I looked again; and there were happy little things too, rolling
about on the grass, whom God had made since my departure.

"But now, in my lingering course I had descended the bill, and began to
consider, painfully enough, how I should meet my townspeople, and what
reception they would give me.  Of many an evil prophecy, doubtless, had
I been the subject.  And would they salute me with a roar of triumph or
a low hiss of scorn, on beholding their worst anticipations more than

"'No,' said I, 'they will not triumph over me.  And should they ask the
cause of my return, I will tell f hem that a man may go far and tarry
long away, if his health be good and his hopes high; but that when flesh
and spirit begin to fail, he remembers his birthplace and the old
burial-ground, and hears a voice calling him to cone home to his father
and mother.  They will know, by my wasted frame and feeble step, that I
have heard the summons and obeyed.  And, the first greetings over, they
will let me walk among them unnoticed, and linger in the sunshine while
I may, and steal into my grave in peace.'

"With these reflections I looked kindly at the crowd, and drew off my
glove, ready to give my hand to the first that should put forth his.  It
occurred to me, also, that some youth among them, now at the crisis of
his fate, might have felt his bosom thrill at my example, and be emulous
of my wild life and worthless fame.  But I would save him.

"'He shall be taught,' said I, 'by my life, and by my death, that the
world is a sad one for him who shrinks from its sober duties.  My
experience shall warn him to adopt some great and serious aim, such as
manhood will cling to, that he may not feel himself, too late, a
cumberer of this overladen earth, but a man among men.  I will beseech
him not to follow an eccentric path, nor, by stepping aside from the
highway of human affairs, to relinquish his claim upon human sympathy.
And often, as a text of deep and varied meaning, I will remind him that
he is an American.'

"By this time I had drawn near the meeting-house, and perceived that the
crowd were beginning to recognize me."

These are the last words traced by his hand.  Has not so chastened a
spirit found true communion with the pure in Heaven?  "Until of late, I
never could believe that I was seriously ill: the past, I thought, could
not extend its misery beyond itself; life was restored to me, and should
not be missed again.  I had day-dreams even of wedded happiness.  Still,
as the days wear on, a faintness creeps through my frame and spirit,
recalling the consciousness that a very old man might as well nourish
hope and young desire as I at twenty-four.  Yet the consciousness of my
situation does not always make me sad.  Sometimes I look upon the world
with a quiet interest, because it cannot, concern me personally, and a
loving one for the same reason, because nothing selfish can interfere
with the sense of brotherhood.  Soon to be all spirit, I have already a
spiritual sense of human nature, and see deeply into the hearts of
mankind, discovering what is hidden from the wisest.  The loves of young
men and virgins are known to me, before the first kiss, before the
whispered word, with the birth of the first sigh.  My glance comprehends
the crowd, and penetrates the breast of the solitary man.  I think
better of the world than formerly, more generously of its virtues, more
mercifully of its faults, with a higher estimate of its present
happiness, and brighter hopes of its destiny.  My mind has put forth a
second crop of blossoms, as the trees do in the Indian summer.  No
winter will destroy their beauty, for they are fanned by the breeze and
freshened by the shower that breathes and falls in the gardens of

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