The Professor at the Breakfast-Table


BACK again !—A turtle—which means a tortoise—is fond of his shell ; but if you put a live coal on his back, he crawls out of it. So the boys say.

It is a libel on the turtle. He grows to his shell, and his shell is in his body as much as his body is in his shell.—I don’t think there is one of our boarders quite so testudinous as I am. Nothing but a combination of motives, more peremptory than the coal on the turtle’s back, could have got me to leave the shelter of my carapace ; and after memorable interviews, and kindest hospitalities, and grand sights, and huge influx of patriotic pride, — for every American owns all America,—

“ Creation’s heir,—the world, the world is ”

his, if anybody’s,—I come back with the feeling which a boned turkey might experience, if, retaining his consciousness, he were allowed to resume his skeleton.

Welcome, O Fighting Gladiator, and Recumbent Cleopatra, and Dying Warrior, whose classic outlines (reproduced in the calcined mineral of Lutetia) crown my loaded shelves ! Welcome, ye triumphs of pictorial art (repeated by the magic graver) that look down upon me from the walls of my sacred cell ! Vesalins, as Titian drew him, high-fronted, stilleyed, thick-bearded, with signet-ring, as beseems a gentleman, with book and carelessly-held eyeglass, marking him a scholar ; thou, too, Jan Kuyper, commonly called Jan Praktiseer, old man of a century and seven years besides, father of twenty sons and two daughters, cut in copper by Houbraken, bought from a portfolio on one of the Paris quais ; and ye Three Trees of Rembrandt, black in shadow against the blaze of sunlight ; and thou Rosy Cottager of Sir Joshua,- thy roses hinted by the peppery burin of Bartolozzi ; ye, too, of lower grades in nature, yet not unlovely nor unrenowned, Young Bull of Paulus Potter, and Sleeping Cat of Cornelius Visscher ; welcome once more to my eyes ! The old books look out from the shelves, and I seem to read on their backs something besides their titles, - a kind of solemn greeting. The crimson carpet flushes warm under my feet. The arm-chair hugs me ; the swivel-chair spins round with me, as if it were giddy with pleasure; the vast recumbent fauteuil stretches itself out under my weight, as one joyous with food and wine stretches in afterdinner laughter.

The boarders were pleased to say that they were glad to get me back. One of them ventured a compliment, namely,- that I talked as if I believed what I said. -This was apparently considered something unusual, by its being mentioned.

One who means to talk with entire sincerity,-I said,-always feels himself in danger of two things, namely,-an affectation of bluntness, like that of which Cornwall accuses Kent in “ Lear, ” and actual rudeness. What a man wants to do, in talking with a stranger, is to get and to give as much of the best and most real life that belongs to the two talkers as the time will let him. Life is short, and conversation apt to run to mere words. Mr. Hue I think it is, who tells us some very good stories about the way in which two Chinese gentlemen contrive to keep up a long talk without saying a word which has any meaning in it. Something like this is occasionally heard on this side of the Great Wall. The best Chinese talkers I know are some pretty women whom I meet from time to time. Pleasant, airy, complimentary, the little flakes of flattery glimmering in their talk like the bits of gold-leaf in eau-de-vie de Dantzic ; their accents flowing on in a soft ripple,-never a wave, and never a calm ; words nicely fitted, but never a colored phrase or a high-flavored epithet ; they turn air into syllables so gracefully, that we find meaning for the music they make as we find faces in the coals and fairy palaces in the clouds. There is something very odd, though, about this mechanical talk.

You have sometimes been in a train on the railroad when the engine was detached a long way from the station you were approaching ? Well, you have noticed how quietly and rapidly the cars kept on, just as if the locomotive were drawing them ? Indeed, you would not have suspected that you were travelling on the strength of a dead fact, if you had not seen the engine running away from you on a side-track. Upon my conscience, I believe some of these pretty women detach their minds entirely, sometimes, from their talk,-and, what is more, that we never know the difference. Their lips let off the fluty syllables just as their fingers would sprinkle the music-drops from their pianos ; unconscious habit turns the phrase of thought into words just as it does that of music into notes.-Well, they govern the world, for all that,—these sweetlipped women,-because beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.

—The Bombazine wanted an explanation.

Madam,—said I,—wisdom is the ab stract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.

—All this, however, is not what I was going to say. Here am I, suppose, seated - we will say at a dinner-table - alongside of an intelligent Englishman. We look in each other’s faces, - we exchange a dozen words. One thing is settled : we mean not to offend each other,-to be perfectly courteous,- more than courteous ; for we are the entertainer and the entertained, and cherish particularly amiable feelings to each other. The claret is good ; and if our blood reddens a little with its warm crimson, we are none the less kind for it.

—I don’t think people that talk over their victuals are like to say anything very great, especially if they get their heads muddled with strong drink before they begin jabberin’.

The Bombazine uttered this with a sugary sourness, as if the words had been steeped in a solution of acetate of lead.-The boys of my time used to call a hit like this a “ side-winder.”

—I must finish this woman.—

Madam,-I said,-the Great Teacher seems to have been fond of talking as he sat at meat. Because this was a good while ago, in a far-off place, you forget what the true fact of it was,-that those were real dinners, where people were hungry and thirsty, and where you met a very miscellaneous company. Probably there was a great deal of loose talk among the guests ; at any rate, there was always wine, we may believe.

Whatever may be the hygienic advantages or disadvantages of wine,-and I for one, except for certain particular ends, believe in water, and, I blush to say it, in black tea,-there is no doubt about its being the grand specific against dull dinners. A score of people come, together in all moods of mind and body. The problem is, in the space of one hour, more or less, to bring them all into the same condition of slightly exalted life. Food alone is enough for one person, perhaps,-talk, alone, for another ; but the grand equalizer and fraternizer, which works up the radiators to their maximum radiation, and the absorbents to their maximum receptivity, is now just where it was when

“ The conscious water saw its Lord and blushed,”

—when six great vessels containing water, which seems to have been carefully purified, so as to be ready for the marriagefeast, were changed into the best of wine. I once wrote a song about wine, in which I spoke so warmly of it, that I was afraid some would think it was written inter pocula ; whereas it was composed in the bosom of my family, under the most tranquillizing domestic influences.

—The divinity-student turned towards me, looking mischievous. - Can you tell me,-he said,-who wrote a song for a temperance celebration once, of which the following is a verse ?-

Alas for the loved one, too gentle and fair The joys of the banquet to chasten and share! Her eye lost its light that his goblet might shine,

And the rose of her cheek was dissolved in his wine !

I did,-I answered.-What are you going to do about it ?-I will tell you another line I wrote long ago :-

Don’t be “ consistent,”-but be simply true.

The longer I live, the more I am satisfied of two things : first, that the truest lives are those that are cut rose-diamond-fashion, with many facets answering to the many-planed aspects of the world about them ; secondly, that society is always trying in some way or other to grind us down to a single flat surface. It is hard work to resist this grinding-down action.-Now give me a chance. Better eternal and universal abstinence than the brutalities of those days that made wives and mothers and daughters and sisters blush for those whom they should have honored, as they came reeling home from their debauches ! Yet better even excess than lying and hypocrisy ; and if wine is upon all our tables, let us praise it for its color and fragrance and social tendency, so far as it deserves, and not hug a bottle in the closet and pretend not to know the use of a wine-glass at a public dinner! I think you will find that people who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be “ consistent.” But a great many things we say can be made to appear contradictory, simply because they are partial views of a truth, and may often look unlike at first, as a front view of a face and its profile often do.

Here is a distinguished divine, for whom I have great respect, for I owe him a charming hour at one of our literary anniversaries, and he has often spoken noble words ; but he holds up a remark of my friend the “ Autocrat,”-which I grieve to say he twice misquotes, by omitting the very word which gives it its significance,- the word fluid, intended to typify the mobility of the restricted will, -holds it up, I say, as if it attacked the reality of the self-determining principle, instead of illustrating its limitations by an image. Now I will not explain any farther, still less defend, and least of all attack, but simply quote a few lines from one of my friend’s poems, printed more than ten years ago, and ask the distinguished gentleman where he has ever asserted more strongly or absolutely the independent will of the “ subcreative centre,” as my heretical friend has elsewhere called man.

—Thought, conscience, will, to make them all thy own

He rent a pillar from the eternal throne !

—Made in His image, thou must nobly dare The thorny crown of sovereignty to share.

—Think not too meanly of thy low estate; Thou hast a choice ; to choose is to create !

If he will look a little closely, he will see that the profile and the full-face views of the will are both true and perfectly consistent.

Now let us come back, after this long digression, to the conversation with the intelligent Englishman. We begin skirmishing with a few light ideas,-testing for thoughts,- as our electro-chemical friend, De Sauty, if there were such a person, would test for his current ; trying a little litmus-paper for acids, and then a slip of turmeric-paper for alkalies, as chemists do with unknown compounds ; flinging the lead, and looking at the shells and sands it brings up to find out whether we are like to keep in shallow water, or shall have to drop the deep-sea line ; -in short, seeing what we have to deal with. If the Englishman gets his Hs pretty well placed, he comes from one of the higher grades of the British social order, and we shall find him a good companion.

But, after all, here is a great fact between us. We belong to two different civilizations, and, until we recognize what separates us, we are talking like Pyramus and Thisbe, without any hole in the wall to talk through. Therefore, on the whole, if he were a superior fellow, incapable of mistaking it for personal conceit, I think I would let out the fact of the real American feeling about Old-World folks. They are children to us in certain points of view. They are playing with toys we have done with for whole generations. That silly little drum they are always beating on, and the trumpet and the feather they make so much noise and cut such a figure with, we have not quite outgrown, but play with much less seriously and constantly than they do. Then there is a whole museum of wigs, and masks, and lace-coats, and goldsticks, and grimaces, and phrases, which we laugh at, honestly, without affectation, that are still used in the Old-World puppet-shows. I don't think we on our part ever understand the Englishman's concentrated loyalty and specialized reverence. But then we do think more of a man, as such, (barring some little difficulties about race and Complexion which the Englishman will touch us on presently,) than any people that ever lived did think of him. Our reverence is a great deal wider, if it is less intense. We have caste among us, to some extent, it is true ; but there is never a collar on the American wolf-dog such as you often see on the English mastiff, notwithstanding his robust, hearty individuality.

This confronting of two civilizations is always a grand sensation to me ; it is like cutting through the isthmus and letting the two oceans swim into each other’s laps. The trouble is, it is so difficult to let out the whole American nature without its self-assertion seeming to take a personal character. But I never enjoy the Englishman so much as when he talks of church and king like Manco Capac among the Peruvians. Then yon get the real British flavor, which the cosmopolite Englishman loses. The best conversation I have had with one of them for a long time, lively, fluent, courteous, delightful, was a variation and illustrative development in elegant phrases of the following short sentences.

Englishman.-Sir, your New-World civilization is barbarism.

American.- Sir, your Old-World development is infancy.

How much better this thorough interpenetration of ideas than a barren interchange of courtesies, or a bush-fighting argument, in which each man tries to cover as much of himself and expose as much of his opponent as the tangled thicket of the disputed ground will let him !

—My thoughts flow in layers or strata, at least three deep. I follow a slow person’s talk, and keep a perfectly clear under-current of my own beneath it. My friend the Autocrat has already made a similar remark. Under both runs obscurely a consciousness belonging to a third train of reflections, independent of the two others. I will try to write out a mental movement in three parts.

A.—First part, or Mental Soprano,— thought follows a woman talking.

B.—Second part, or Mental Barytone,-my running accompaniment.

C.—Third part, or Mental Basso,- low grumble of an importunate self-repeating idea.

A.—White lace, three skirts, looped with flowers, wreath of apple-blossoms, gold bracelets, diamond pin and earrings, the most delicious berthe you ever saw, white satin slippers —

B.—Deuse take her ! What a fool she is ! Hear her chatter ! (Look out of window just here.-Two pages and a half of description, if it were all written out, in one tenth of a second.)-Go ahead, old lady ! (Eye catches picture over fireplace.) There’s that infernal family nose ! Came over in the “ May-flower" on the first old fool’s face. Why don’t they wear a ring in it?

C.—You’ll be late at lecture,-late at lecture,-late,-late,-late—

I observe that a deep layer of thought sometimes makes itself felt through the superincumbent strata, thus :-The usual single or double currents shall flow on, but there shall be an influence blending with them, disturbing them in an obscure way, until all at once I say,-Oh, there !

I knew there was something troubling me, -and the thought which had been working through comes up to the surface clear, definite, and articulates itself, - a disagreeable duty, perhaps, or an unpleasant recollection.

The inner world of thought and the outer world of events are alike in this, that they are both brimful. There is no space between consecutive thoughts, or between the never-ending series of actions. All pack tight, and mould their surfaces against each other, so that in the long run there is a wonderful average uniformity in the forms of both thoughts and actions,-just as you find that cylinders crowded all become hexagonal prisms, and spheres pressed together are formed into regular polybedra.

Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped by him. So, to carry out, with another comparison, my remark about the layers of thought, we may consider the mind, as it moves among thoughts or events, like a circusrider whirling round with a great troop of horses. He can mount a fact or an idea, and guide it more or less completely, but he cannot stop it. So, as I said in another way at the beginning, he can stride two or three thoughts at once, but not break their steady walk, trot, or gallop. He can only take his foot from the saddle of one thought and put it on that of another.

—What is the saddle of a thought ? Why, a word, of course.-Twenty years after you have dismissed a thought, it suddenly wedges up to you through the press, as if it had been steadily galloping round and round all that time without a rider.

The will does not act in the interspaces of thought, for there are no such interspaces, but simply steps from the back of one moving thought upon that of another.

—I should like to ask,-said the divinity-student,-since we are getting into metaphysics, how you can admit space, if all things are in contact, and how you can admit time, if it is always now to something.

—I will thank you for the dry toast,- was my answer.

—I wonder if you know this class of philosophers in books or elsewhere. One of them makes his bow to the public, and exhibits an unfortunate truth bandaged up so that it cannot stir hand or foot,- as helpless, apparently, and unable to take care of itself, as an Egyptian mummy. He then proceeds, with the air and method of a master, to take off the bandages. Nothing can be neater than the way in which he does it. But as he takes off layer after layer, the truth seems to grow smaller and smaller, and some of its outlines begin to look like something we have seen before. At last, when he has got them all off, and the truth struts out naked, we recognize it as a diminutive and familiar acquaintance whom we have known in the streets all our lives. The fact is, the philosopher has coaxed the truth into his study and put all those bandages on ; of course it is not very hard for him to take them off. Still, a great many people like to watch the process,-he does it; so neatly ! Dear! dear ! I am ashamed to write and talk, sometimes, when I see how those functions of the large-brained, thumbopposing plantigrade are abused by my fellow-vertebrates,- perhaps by myself. How they spar for wind, instead of hitting from the shoulder !

—The young fellow called John arose and placed himself in a neat fighting attitude.-Fetch on the fellah that makes them long words !-he said,-and planted a straight hit with the right fist in the concave palm of the left hand with a click like a cup and ball.-You small boy there, hurry up that “ Webster’s Unabridged ! ”

The little gentleman with the malformation, before described, shocked the propriety of the breakfast-table by a loud utterance of three words, of which the two last were “ Webster’s Unabridged,” and the first was an emphatic monosyllable.-Beg pardon,-he added.-forgot myself. But let us have an English dictionary, if we are to have any. I don’t believe in clipping the coin of the realm, Sir ! If I put a weathercock on my house, Sir, I want it to tell which way the wind blows up aloft,-off from the prairies to the ocean, or off from the ocean to the prairies, or any way it wants to blow ! I don’t want a weather-

cock with a winch in an old gentleman’s study that he can take hold of and turn, so that the vane shall point west when the great wind overhead is blowing east with all its might, Sir ! Wait till we give you a dictionary. Sir ! It takes Boston to do that thing, Sir !

—Some folks think water can’t run down-hill anywhere out of Boston,-remarked the Koh-i-noor.

I don’t know what some folks think so well as I know what some fools say,- rejoined Little Boston.- If importing most dry goods made the best scholars, I dare say you would know where to look for ’em. - Mr. Webster couldn’t spell, Sir, or wouldn’t spell, Sir,-at any rate, he didn’t spell ; and the end of it was a fight between the owners of some copyrights and the dignity of this noble language which we have inherited from our English fathers, - language ! - the blood of the soul, Sir ! into which our thoughts run and out of which they grow ! We know what a word is worth here in Boston. Young Sam Adams got up on the stage at Commencement, out at Cambridge there, with his gown on, the Governor and Council looking on in the name of his Majesty, King George the Second, and the girls looking down out of the galleries, and taught people how to spell a word that wasn’t in the Colonial dictionaries! R-e, re, s-i-s, sis, t-a-n-c-e, tance, Resistance ! That was in ’43, and it was a good many years before the Boston boys began spelling it with their muskets ;-but when they did begin, they spelt it so loud that the old bedridden women in the English almshouses heard every syllable! Yes, yes, yes,- it was a good while before those other two Boston boys got the class so far along that it could spell those two hard words, Independence and Union ! I tell you what, there are a thousand lives, aye, sometimes a million, go to get a new word into a language that is worth speaking. We know what language means too well here in Boston to play tricks with it. We never make a new word till we have made a new thing or a new thought, Sir! When we shaped the new mould of this continent, we had to make a few. When, by God’s permission, we abrogated the primal curse of maternity, we had to make a word or two. The cutwater of this great Leviathan clipper, the OCCIDENTAL,&EMDASH; this thirty-masted wind-and-steam wave-crusher,- must throw a little spray over the human vocabulary as it splits the waters of a new world’s destiny !

He rose as he spoke, until his stature seemed to swell into the fair human proportions. His feet must have been on the upper round of his high chair;-that was the only way I could account for it.

Puts her through fust-rate,-said the young fellow whom the boarders call John.

The venerable and kind-looking old gentleman who sits opposite said he remembered Sam Adams as Governor. An old man in a brown coat. Saw him take the Chair on Boston Common. Was a boy then, and remembers sitting on the fence in front of the old Hancock house. Recollects he had a glazed ’lection-bun, and sat eating it and looking down on to the Common. Lalocks flowered late that year, and he got a great bunch off from the bushes in the Hancock front-yard.

Them ’lection buns are no go,-said the young man John, so called.-I know the trick. Give a fellah a fo’penny bun in the mornin’, an’ he downs the whole of it. In about an hour it swells up in his stomach as big as a football, and his feedin’s sp’ilt for that day. That’s the way to stop off a young one from eatin’ up all the ’lection dinner.

Salem ! Salem ! not Boston,-shouted the little man.

But the Koh-i-noor laughed a great rasping laugh, and the boy Benjamin Franklin looked sharp at his mother, as if he remembered the bun-experiment as a part of his past personal history.

Little Boston was holding a fork in his left hand. He stabbed a boukler of homemade bread with it, mechanically, and looked at it as if it ought to shriek. It did not,-but he sat as if watching it.

—Language is a solemn thing,-I said.-It grows out of life,-out of its agonies and ecstasies, its wants and its weariness. Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined. Because time softens its outlines and rounds the sharp angles of its cornices, shall a fellow take a pickaxe to help time ? Let me tell you what comes of meddling with things that can take care of themselves.-A friend of mine had a watch given him, when he was a boy,-a “ bull’s eye,” with a loose silver ease that came off like an oyster-shell from its contents ; you know them,-the cases that you hang on your thumb, while the core or the real watch lies in your hand as naked as a peeled apple. Well, he began with taking off the ease, and so on from one liberty to another, until he got it fairly open, and there were the works, as good as if they were alive,- crown-wheel, balance-wheel, and all the rest. All right except one thing,-there was a confounded little hair had got tangled round the balance-wheel. So my Young Solomon got a pair of tweezers, and caught hold of the hair very nicely, and pulled it right out, without touching any of the wheels,-when,-buzzzZZZ! and the watch had done up twenty-four hours in double magnetic-telegraph time ! -The English language was wound up to run some thousands of years, I trust ; but if everybody is to be pulling at everything he thinks is a hair, our grandchildren will have to make the discovery that it is a hair-spring, and the old Anglo-Norman soul’s-timekeeper will run down, as so many other dialects have done before it. I can’t stand this meddling any better than you, Sir. But we have a great deal to be proud of in the lifelong labors of that old lexicographer, and we mustn’t he ungrateful. Besides, don’t let us deceive ourselves,-the war of the dictionaries is only a disguised rivalry of cities, colleges, and especially of publishers. After all, the language will shape itself by larger forces than phonography and dictionary-making. You may spade up the ocean as much as you like, and harrow it afterwards, if you can,-but the moon will still lead the tides, and the winds will form their surface.

—Do you know Richardson’s Dictionary?-I said to my neighbor the divinity-student.

Haöw ?-said the divinity-student.- He colored, as he noticed on my face a twitch in one of the muscles which tuck up the corner of the mouth, (zygomaticus major,) and which I could not hold back from making a little movement on its own account.

It was too late.-A country-boy, lassoed when he was a half-grown colt, Just as good as a city-boy, and in some ways, perhaps, better,-but caught a little too old not to carry some marks of his earlier ways of life. Foreigners, who have talked a strange tongue half their lives, return to the language of their childhood in their dying hours. Gentlemen in fine linen, and scholars in large libraries, taken by surprise, or in a careless moment, will sometimes let slip a word they knew as boys in homespun and have not spoken since that time,-but it lay there under all their culture. That is one way you may know the countryboys after they have grown rich or celebrated ; another is by the odd old family names, particularly those of the Hebrew prophets, which the good old people have saddled them with.

—Boston has enough of England about it to make a good English dictionary, - said that fresh-looking youth whom I have mentioned as sitting at the right upper corner of the table.

I turned and looked him full in the face,-for the pure, manly intonations arrested me. The voice was youthful, but full of character. - I suppose some persons have a peculiar susceptibility in the matter of voice.-Hear this.

Not long after the American Revolution, a young lady was sitting in her father’s chaise in a street of this town of Boston. She overheard a little girl talking or singing, and was mightily taken with the tones of her voice. Nothing would satisfy her but she must have that little girl come and live in her father’s house. So the child came, being then nine years old. Until her marriage she remained under the same roof with the young lady. Her children became successively inmates of the lady’s dwelling; and now, seventy years, or thereabouts, since the young lady heard the child singing, one of that child’s children and one of her grandchildren are with her in that home, where she, no longer young, except in heart, passes her peaceful days. -Three generations linked together by so light a breath of accident!

I liked the sound of this youth’s voice, I said, and his look when I came to observe him a little, more closely, His complexion had something better than the bloom and freshness which had first attracted me ; - it had that diffused lone which is a sure index of wholesome lusty life. A fine liberal style of nature it seemed to be : hair crisped, moustache springing thick and dark, head firmly planted, lips finished, as one commonly sees them in gentlemen’s families, a pupil well contracted, and a mouth that opened frankly with a white flash of teeth that looked as if they could serve him as they say Ethan Allen’s used to serve their owner, - to draw nails with. This is the kind of fellow to walk a frigate’s deck and bowl his broadsides into the " Gadlant Thudnderbomb," or any forty-portholed adventurer who would like to exchange a few tons of iron compliments.-I don’t know what put this into my head, for it was not till some time afterward I learned the young fellow had been in the naval school at Annapolis. Something had happened to change his plan of life, and he was now studying engineering and architecture in Boston.

When the youth made the short remark which drew my attention to him, the little deformed gentleman turned round and took a long look at him.

Good for the Boston boy!-he said.

I am not a Boston boy, - said the youth, smiling,-I am a Marylander.

I don’t care where you come from, -we’ll make a Boston man of you,- said the little gentleman. - Pray, what part of Maryland did you come from, and how shall I call you ?

The poor youth had to speak pretty loud, as he was at the right upper corner of the table, and Little Boston next the lower left-hand corner. His face flushed a little, but he answered pleasantly,- telling who he was, as if the little man’s infirmity gave him a right to ask any questions he wanted to.

Here is the place for you to sit,-said the little gentleman, pointing to the vacant chair next his own, at the corner.

You’re go’n’ to have a young lady next you, if you wait till to-morrow, - said the landlady to Little Boston.

He did not reply, but I had a fancy that he changed color. It can’t be that he has susceptibilities with reference to a contingent young lady ! It can’t be that he has had experiences which make him sensitive ! Nature could not be quite so cruel as to set a heart throbbing in that poor little cage of ribs ! There is no use in wasting notes of admiration. I must ask the landlady about him.

These are some of the facts she furnished.-Has not been long with her. Brought a sight of furniture,-couldn’t hardly get some of it up-stairs. Hasn't seemed particularly attentive to the ladies. The Bombazine (whom she calls Cousin something or other) has tried to enter into conversation with him, but retired with the impression that he was indifferent to ladies’ society. Paid his bill the other day without saying a word about it. Paid it in gold,-had a great heap of twenly-dollar pieces. Hires her best room, thinks he is a very nice little man, but lives dreadful lonely up in his chamber. Wants the care of some capable nuss. Never pitied anybody more in her life,-never see a more interestin' person.

—My intention was, when I began making these notes, to let them consist principally of conversations between myself and the other boarders. So they will, very probably ; but my curiosity is excited about this little boarder of ours, and my reader must not be disappointed, if I sometimes interrupt a discussion to give an account of whatever fact or traits I may discover about him. It so happens that his room is next to mine, and I have the opportunity of observing many of his ways without any active movements of curiosity. That his room contains heavy furniture, that he is a restless little body and is apt to be up late, that he talks to himself, and keeps mainly to himself, is nearly all I have found out.

One curious circumstance happened lately, which I mention without drawing an absolute inference.- Being at the studio of a sculptor with whom I am acquainted, the ot her day, I saw a remarkable cast of a left arm. On my asking where the model came from, he said it was taken direct from the arm of a deformed person, who had employed one of the Italian moulders to make the cast. It was a curious case, it should seem, of one beautiful limb upon a frame otherwise singularly imperfect.-I have repeatedly noticed this little gentleman’s use of his left arm. Can lie have furnished the model I saw at the sculptors ?

—So we are to have a new boarder to-morrow. I hope there will be something pretty and pleasant about her. A woman with a creamy voice, and finished in alto rilievo, would be a variety in the boarding-house, - a little more marrow and a little less sinew than our landlady and her daughter and the bombazineclad female, all of whom are of the turkey-drumstick style of organization. I don’t mean that these are our only female companions; but the rest being conversational non-combatants, mostly still, sad feeders, who take in their food as locomotives take in wood and water, and then wither away from the table like blossoms that never come to fruit, I have not yet referred to them as individuals.

I wonder what kind of a young person we shall see in that empty chair to-morrow !

—I read this song to the boarders after breakfast the other morning. It was written for our fellows;-you know who they are, of course.


HAS there any old fellow got mixed with the hoys?
If there has, take him out, without making a noise!
Hang the Almanac’s cheat and the Catalogue’s spite!
Old Time is a liar! We’re twenty to-night!

We’re twenty! We’re twenty! Who says we are more ?
He’s tipsy,-young jackanapes!-show him the door!-
“Gray temples at twenty?”-Yes! white, if we please;
Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there’s nothing can freeze!

Was it snowing I spoke of ? Excuse the mistake !
Look close, - you will see not a sign of a flake ;
We want some new garlands for those we have shed,-
And these are white roses in place of the red !

We’ve a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told,
Of talking (in public) as if we were old;-
That boy we call “ Doctor,” and this we call “Judge ”;-
It's a neat little fiction,-of course it's all fudge.

That fellow's the “ Speaker,”-the one on the right ;
" Mr. Mayor,” my young one, how are vou to-night ?
That's our “ Member of Congress,” we say when we chaff;
There's the “ Reverend ” What's his name ?- don’t make me laugh!

That boy with the grave mathematical look
Made believe he had written a wonderful book,
And the ROYAL ACADEMY thought it was true !
So they chose him right in ; a good joke it was, too !

There’s a boy,-we pretend,- with a threedecker-brain,
That could harness a team with a logical chain ;
When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire,
We called him “ The Justice,”-hut. now he’s “ The Squire.”

And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith,-
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith,-
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,-
-Just read on his medal,-“My country,”- “ of thee! ”

You hear that boy laughing?-You think he's all fun,-
But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done ;
The children laugh loud as they troop to his call,
And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all !

Yes, we’re boys,-always playing with tongue or with pen,-
And I sometimes have asked,-Shall we ever be men ?
Shall we always be youthful and laughing and gay,
Till the last dear companion drops smiling away ?

Then here’s to our boyhood, its gold and its gray !
The stars of its Winter, the dews of its May !
And when we have done with our life-lasting toys,
Dear Father, take care of thy children, the Boys !