THERE is an old story, with which everybody is familiar, of a man who said that the proper way to construct a house was to build a piazza first and then tack the house on to it. That was not the way our piazza came into being. The house itself had been built many years before it became our house. When we entered into possession it was already memory-haunted, full of delightful traditional shadows which we have never wished to displace, although I do bethink me now of one bad quarter of an hour which was inflicted on me by an estimable old lady, one of my earliest callers in the days of my young housekeeping.
“ My dear,” she inquired placidly, “ would it trouble you to know that somebody has died in every room in your house ? ”
I repeated this question to my husband, who at once took the sting out of it.
“ Well, what more do you want ? ” he asked. “ Don’t you see that they have n’t left us any room to die in ? ”
It was owing to this cheerful view of the matter that when we built the piazza, and so annexed a new joy, we made the ghosts as free of it as ourselves, and it is perhaps through their presence and influence that it became at once a place for dreaming dreams and seeing visions.
It is, as to architecture, a ColonialGrecian piazza. I know it is colonial because the man who designed it was especially bidden to make it so, and I am equally sure that it is Grecian because a college professor referred to it in an art lecture as a “ Grecian portico.”
It is a long and wide piazza, with airy spaces and groups of slender columns, and if it seems to my fancy both ampler and more romantic than it really is, it is because since it grew up into the world of piazzas it has taken in (in the mind of one woman at least) the whole material universe, — the green earth and blue vault of heaven, sun, moon, and stars, — and has added thereto the Garden of Eden, the Age of Pericles, all the stateliest features of our own colonial era, and some very satisfactory bits of the present century, with here and there a background borrowed from Chaos and Old Night. I hardly know what more one need ask of a mere sublunary nineteenth-century piazza ! I could give the actual dimensions, but I am not one of those commonplace beings who measure everything by feet and inches ; it is wider than a church door, and not so deep as a well, — that is, a very deep well, — and that suffices.
On this piazza I have entertained many a wonderful guest. Indeed at the very first, just after the art lecture in which the piazza began to masquerade as a Grecian portico, there came — on one of the fairest of summer mornings, I remember — a certain squat, snubnosed, barefooted philosopher, whom I recognized at a glance. He was a man whose silver tongue had in the old days made many an Athenian youth forget the lapse of time, but I did not encourage him to speak, because I did not know whether it would be one of his good or bad days. He might, indeed, discourse of immortality in language of serene and noble beauty, or he might spend hours on end splitting hairs.
“ Come, Parmenides,” I seemed to hear him say, “ let us go to the Ilissus, and sit down in some quiet spot, and discuss freely as to whether things begin at both ends, or in the middle, or upside down, or inside out. And if a part is equal to the whole, as we have sometimes argued that it might be, why is not a quarter of a dollar just as good as a whole one and a little better ? ”
And Parmenides might reply, even as of old,—
“ But if one is to remain one, it will not be a whole, and will not have parts.”
It is patent to the feeblest imagination that this sort of conversation, though it may be Greek, is not in the least colonial and, therefore, not suited to a Colonial-Grecian piazza; but on that moonlight night when the young Alcibiades, wine-flushed, rose-wreathed, beautiful as a god, sat just where the great elm tree casts its moving shadow between the twin groups of slender pillars, the words which fell from his lips were neither Grecian nor colonial, but spoke the innermost language of the hearts of men in all times. What the message of Socrates could be when he chose, I learned from this imperishably beautiful young drunkard.
If I were not afraid that you would think me drunk I would have sworn as well as spoken to the influence which they [the words of Socrates] have always had and still have over me. For my heart leaps within me more than that of any Corybantian reveler, and my eyes rain tears when I hear them. . . . This man has often brought me to such a pass that I have felt that I could hardly endure the life which I am leading. ... For he makes me confess that I ought not to live as I do, neglecting the wants of my own soul and busying myself with the concerns of the Athenians, therefore I hold my ears and tear myself away from him. He is the only person who ever made me feel ashamed, which you might think not to be in my nature, and there is no one else who does the same. . . .
“ For, although I forgot to mention this before, his words are ridiculous when you first hear them, — he clothes himself in language that is as the skin of the wanton satyr, — but he who pierces the mask, and sees what is within, will find that they are the only words that have a meaning in them, and also the most divine, abounding in fair examples of virtue and of the largest discourse, or rather extending to the whole duty of a good and honorable man.”
I told the story of this vision to a real young man who sat on the piazza the next morning, — a nineteenth - century young man with all the modern improvements, — and I went on to remark to him — very reprehensibly, no doubt — that it would be a good thing for every young man to get drunk once if he could receive such an accession of divine common sense in the process as Alcibiades seems to have done.
He answered me soberly enough, looking vaguely at my daimon, which had just then lighted on the arm of his chair, “ Oh, well! I suppose there are times in every fellow’s life when he hears the Voices — don’t you ? ”
So I knew that the miracle performed for Alcibiades was not a solitary one.
Socrates had a daimon and so have I. I do not know whether the Grecian portico had anything to do with the appearance of my familiar, or if the fact of Socrates’s possession bears any relation to my own. I know that his daimon was a divinity within his own breast, and that mine —differentiated perhaps by his semi-colonial environment — is an outward and visible devil’s darning-needle. He is not a painted dragon-fly, but a long, angular, loose-jointed, interfering, meddlesome devil’s darning-needle, and, so far as I have any reason to know, he was built simultaneously with the piazza. At any rate, he appeared soon after we took possession of our new territory, and has reappeared there with each succeeding summer.
I know nothing about the average length of days which is granted to creatures of his kind ; it matters not in his case, because he is a supernatural insect, one of the few, the immortal devil’s darning-needles, who were not born to die. In the early days of his sojourn with us, I had an instinctive habit of jumping whenever he came near in that swooping, waggle-tailed manner which characterizes his methods of approach, but the wisdom of the poet has been verified in this case as in many another, — I first endured, then pitied, then embraced. Gradually he became my guide, philosopher, and friend. He has taught me a good deal and I have taught him a good deal, and that means, as it generally does when such is the case, that first and last there has been an appreciable amount of disagreeableness between us. He is an insect of violent prejudices, and I can usually tell at once whether or not he approves of the callers who frequent the piazza. He has, I am sadly aware, two settled antipathies, — tramps and nervous women.
How well I remember the first tramp who made my daimon’s acquaintance! He was a care-free, happy-go-lucky fellow, who had seen better days which he was contented to forget. With a deferential “ Allow me,” he sank into a piazza chair, removed his shabby hat, wiped the perspiration from his brow, and from that moment, despite the wildest efforts to dislodge him, the darning-needle sat like black care on the bald spot on that hobo’s crown. I had not supposed that a professional wanderer, used to living near to Nature’s heart and resting his head upon the lap of earth, would have minded a trivial creature like a devil’s darning-needle so much, but I confess that I have never personally been in a position to judge just how ticklish a thing a long and active insect nestling on one’s bald spot can make itself.
He paused — my hobo guest — in the midst of an eloquent and lucid exposition of the duty of every human being to help every other human being, passing good deeds on from one to another, apropos of the fact that the world, in my person, owed him a dinner, to remark suddenly and with violence, “ Oh, the Dev—il’s darning-needle, I mean ! ” And just at that moment his tormentor soared into the air and thus — apparently— preserved himself from battle, murder, and sudden death. When my visitor was about to go, after a square meal, eaten under cover and far from the haunts of harassing insects, I asked him, —
“ To whom are you going to pass this good deed on ? — if it is a good deed, of which I am not sure.”
He replied airily : “ Oh, I may find a chance to help some other poor devil. But, madam, if I don’t, it’s all one. When I took to the road, I freed myself from all my previous responsibilities.”
The darning-needle flew down and perched on the arm of my chair, and I said to him, as I watched the departing figure of the wanderer, “ I begin to wish I was a tramp myself. My responsibilities are always hanging like a millstone around my neck. How absolutely delightful it would be to shed them all and be free! ”
“ Somebody,” remarked my ungrateful daimon, “ said on this very piazza the other day, ' The people who talk most about their responsibilities are the ones who feel them least.’ ”
Since I have allowed myself to keep a daimon I know how politicians feel when the newspapers begin to look up their records. I live constantly under the shadow of a hereafter. Why, prithee, should a mere, ignorant devil’s darningneedle be continually hoisting me with my own petard ? Must I, forsooth, live up to all my smart sayings?
I never knew by just what underhand — or perhaps I should say underfoot — method my daimon insinuated himself into the pocket of the female book agent, the black and yawning pocket under her dress skirt wherein she carried the book which she intended to spring upon the unwary.
This work, whose merits she was advocating to a needy world, was one of those compiled with the purpose of enabling the unlearned to appear wise without the trouble of being so, and as she restored the volume to its mysterious receptacle she remarked pleasantly to me, —
“Of course you are aware, madam, that no matter what your other advantages may be, unless you are able to appear cultured you can never expect to enter the best society.”
It is a disheartening thing to know that one’s lack of culture is such as to be apparent at a moment’s glance to the meanest observer, and it was while I was watching with saddened vision the yawning pocket, into whose depths all my hopes of good society were disappearing, that my friend, the devil’s darningneedle, flew suddenly forth and dashed himself against the prophetic forehead of Cassandra. At that moment, too, he and Cassandra rose simultaneously into the air and flapped their wings.
When peace had been restored within our borders and I saw my daimon gleefully gyrating to and fro in the sun, I said to him with some asperity, —
“ May I ask what that devil’s dance is intended to indicate ? ”
“ I am rejoicing,” he answered, “ because I am only a plain devil’s darningneedle ” —
“Plain enough, if that is what you want,” I interrupted maliciously.
“ I heard you telling somebody the other day that I was not so black as I had been painted. However, that’s neither here nor there; I was rejoicing that, as a mere insect without brains, I am not called upon to pretend to know what I don’t know. I would rather be a sincere devil’s darning-needle than a foolish virgin shining in the best society on the strength of borrowed oil.”
“ You ’re always giving thanks for doubtful mercies,” I suggested spitefully. There is something so exasperating in the appearance of a devil’s darning-needle putting on airs. “ The other day you were jubilating because you had no soul, and yet, to the ordinary judgment, there is nothing so very enviable in the lot of a creature with neither mind nor soul.”
“ I said,” he remarked loftily, “ and I stand to it, that if I were unfortunate enough to possess a soul I should have to spend my whole time ‘ saving ’ it. As it is, I am at liberty to do something more useful.” With the words he swung himself airily away, passing with apparent heedlessness as he did so through the meshes of a cobweb in which a struggling fly had just been entangled, and restoring the poor insect to life and liberty.
Generally speaking, my daimon does not put himself very strongly in evidence when I have callers of my own sex. He knows their tricks and their manners, their constitutional tendency to scream at the approach of a harmless insect, as if he were a midnight invader with a dark lantern instead of an innocent devil’s darning-needle clad in his customary suit of solemn black.
Frequently, however, I am grieved to know that he is perched on some point of vantage near by, looking at the weary countenance of my visitor, and listening while she explains that she has been waiting for weeks to snatch an opportunity to pay this call, but one duty follows another so rapidly in modern life that one never gets time to do what one most desires.
“ What are these duties that they all wear themselves out with ? ” my officious daimon inquires when the caller has departed. “ Why is every one of them afflicted with ‘ that tired feeling ’ ? Did n’t you tell me that the woman who just went away had a small family and a comfortable income, and did n’t ‘ do her own work,’ as the phrase is ? ”
“ Well,” I explained, “ when she does n’t do her own work she does some other person’s. They all do. There are the demands of housekeeping, the demands of the family, the social demands, entertainments to get up for the support of all kinds of benevolences, for the current expenses of the church ” —
“ Then,” this troublesome insect interrupted rudely, “the home is really an incubus and not a joy, and all the stuff I have heard you read aloud on this piazza about the larger life and conscientious giving is impractical nonsense. One really eats and drinks one’s way into the kingdom of heaven at twenty-five or fifty cents a ticket, as the case may be. Do you suppose,” he went on with increasing flippancy, “ that when you get there, you will find the angels giving a pink tea for the support of the heavenly choir, or will it be only a musicale ‘ with local talent ’ ? ”
“ If you were a human being instead of an irresponsible devil’s darning-needle,” I assured him severely, “ you would know that it is often a serious problem to decide whether it is best to adapt one’s work to the world as it is, or the world as it should be. Ideal work belongs to an ideal world.”
This sentiment sounded well, and had a practical ring to it, so why should this irritating daimon go on to remark musingly, —
“ Of course one can hardly be expected to know the result of experiments which one has never tried ! ”
How can he be so sure that I have never essayed the ideal life ? And even if I have not, — which, of course, is a libel, — how does it concern him ? If I were going to maintain an embodied conscience, do you suppose I would paint it black ?
I asked him this latter question. “ Perhaps you wouldn’t need to,” quoth he.
For an insect who professes such joy in the knowledge that he is soulless, my daimon displays a remarkable degree of interest in everything pertaining to theology. It was only his overweening curiosity on this subject which induced him to linger around the piazza on the day when the Foolish Woman was talking with the Contrary Young Man. Ordinarily he would have disappeared at the first hint of the Foolish Woman’s approach, but when I saw him perch on the window cornice and settle down without even a flip of the tail, I knew the topic of conversation must be one of those which command his serious attention. The Man of the World was there, too, I remember, sitting a little apart, alternately reading the newspaper and looking critically at the creases in his trousers. When the Man of the World indulges himself in any ethical theories, I feel sure that they have reference to the moral necessity of having one’s trousers creased properly, and always wearing the right clothes at the right time of day. If the sun ever was darkened at noonday, — which the Man of the World does not in the least credit, — it was because some vandal had been paying a morning call with the wrong coat on, or dining at an hour when he should have just begun to think about lunch. On this occasion he was, apparently, paying no attention to the conversation between the Foolish Woman and the Contrary Young Man, which happened to be on the subject of amusements. His soul was like a star, and dwelt apart in a world where the thought of correct neckwear assumes its proper importance.
“I am so glad,” the Foolish Woman was saying with that pretty smile which is, according to Emerson, her excuse for being, “ that nowadays nothing is wrong.”
The Contrary Young Man raised his eyebrows inquiringly ; it is one of the disagreeable ways he has.
The Foolish Woman fell into a charming confusion, — and confusion punctuated with a dimple can be very charming. “ Oh,” she explained, “ of course I didn’t exactly mean that — that — nothing is wrong. I meant, don’t you see, that I’m so glad that everything is right. It’s so different, you know, from what it used to be when one had to give up all sorts of things if one was religious,”
“ ‘ Renouncing the world, the flesh, and the devil,’ they used to call it, I believe,” the Contrary Young Man suggested politely.
The Foolish Woman pouted, — a pout is becoming to her. “ Oh, well, you know well enough what I mean, only you want to be horrid, as usual. When I was a child people used to have all sorts of gloomy notions, about hell, you know, and endless damnation, — really, it seems like swearing just to talk about such things ! — and I used to be frightened to death when I was left alone a minute in the dark. I’m sure I don’t see how anybody can help feeling glad that they’ve discovered a nice, cheerful religion instead of those frightful old creeds, and that we don’t have to go moping round all the time thinking about our souls. I should think,” the speaker added virtuously, throwing grammar to the winds, “ that every unselfish person would be glad that everybody’s going to heaven when they die.”
“ There used to be something said in the Good Book about excluding ‘ dogs and sorcerers and ’ ” —
The Foolish Woman raised her finger beseechingly. “ Please don’t! ” she pleaded. “ I think some of those quotations are just as improper as they can be.”
“ I’ve wiped it off the slate,” the Young Man assented cheerfully. “ I just wanted to say, mum, if there’s nothing unspeakable about doing so, that I suppose under the present dispensation all those old categories have been called in.”
“ Well, are n’t you glad of it ? ” the Foolish Woman inquired intelligently. “ Do you want to go to the bad place ? ”
There was at this point a murmur, scarcely intelligible, from that part of the piazza where the Man of the World sat, still, to all intents and purposes, absorbed in the contemplation of his nether garments. “ To the eye of vulgar Logic, what is man ? An omnivorous Biped that wears Breeches,” — that is what one would have expected him to say. What he really did say — with a wink at the Contrary Young Man — was this, —
“ Is thy servant a dog, that you should ask him such questions ? ”
The Foolish Woman looked innocently puzzled. “ I don’t see what that’s got to do with it.”
“ Nothing at all,” the Contrary Young Man assured her. “ He was simply putting me in my own category. As for wanting to go to the bad place, I don’t know that I am especially anxious for that privilege. What I do want, if anything, is the same freedom of choice in the matter that my forefathers had. I think there ought from the foundation of the world to have been some stability of arrangement about this business; and after all the preceding generations have been allowed a degree of choice about their final destination, I call it a little rough on us, that all property qualifications, educational clauses, and civil service examinations should be abolished in our day, and we poor chaps just swooped into heaven without even having had the benefit of trial by jury.”
“ I don’t feel sure that I understand what you mean,” the Foolish Woman remarked, with a reproving air, “ but I’m sure it sounds wicked. You can’t possibly want all those awfully frightful old doctrines back, —foreordination, and free will, and those old things that nobody ever dreamed of understanding ? ”
“They ’re simple enough,” the Young Man assured her, “ if they are only presented in the right light. It’s just like this; did you ever see a man fishing for pickerel ? Well, you know he baits his hook with a live minnow and throws him into the water. The little minnow seems to be swimming gayly about at his own free will, but just the moment he attempts to move out of his appointed course, he begins to realize that there is a hook in his back. That’s just what we find out, you see, when we try to swim against the stream of destiny. We all have hooks in our backs. You can call it by whatever name you like, but that’s the whole business in a nutshell.”
“ I won’t listen to you another minute,” the Foolish Woman protested, rising as she spoke. “ You grow positively irreligious. Now there’s Mr. Blank, sitting there so quietly all the while. I’ve no doubt he’s thinking of something really worth speaking of.”
“ I am, indeed,” the Man of the World said seriously. “ I ’m thinking that I won’t keep these trousers. This is the first time I’ve had them on, don’t you see, and the longer I look at them the more I think there’s something crude about the color. I don’t see how a woman ever selects her clothes without going crazy. A man has certain definite rules which guide him to an extent, but a woman has to choose from such a wilderness of styles. My heart aches for you.”
“ And well it may,” the Foolish Woman was saying as the two walked away from the piazza together. “ If it was n’t an absolute duty to look as well as one can, I should simply give up the struggle. Sometimes, I’m positively wild with it! ”
The daimon flew down from his perch when the pair had disappeared, and lighted on the window sill beside which I sat.
“ It is entirely beyond my comprehension,— this attitude of you human creatures toward life ! ” he exclaimed.
“ Yes ? ” I said tentatively.
“ Either you are immortal beings,” he went on, “ or you are not.”
“ If you are not, nothing matters, and if you are, everything matters.”
“And instead of settling the question, or even thinking about it, it would seem, you go on discussing the color of your clothes and wondering what you would better have for dinner ! ” Overcome by his emotions, with a tremendous swoop of the tail, the darning-needle wildly circled into the air.
The Contrary Young Man drew his chair nearer to the open window where I was sitting.
“Was it Mr. Weller who said that women were ‘ rum creeters ’ ? ” he inquired. “ I don’t remember the authority, but I can vouch for the truth of the statement. If a woman must be a fool, though, it is just as well that she should be a pretty fool. I thought I heard you talking to somebody just now.”
“ I thank you in the name of my sex for the complimentary tone of your remarks,” I said, ignoring his last statement. “ If it is the lady who has just gone away to whom you are so gracefully referring, I am not at all sure that she did n’t appear quite as well as you did in the conversation which I overheard. I wonder sometimes in which religions denomination you class yourself.”
“ In no religious denomination at all; I belong to the biggest denomination on earth, — the denomination of civilized heathen. We ’re not all just alike, but we are all in the same fold. Some of us really want to know what we ’re here for, and some of us don’t care. Some of us are interested in our souls, and some in our trousers ” —
“ Speaking well of the absent does n’t seem to be any part of your creed,” I suggested at this point.
The Young Man received this criticism cheerfully. “ Good work ! ” he commented. “ I ’ll tell you what church I would really like to join if I could do so with the same cheerful confidence in its efficacy which I have seen some of its members display. I took a spin into the country on my wheel the other day and stopped at a farmhouse at noon, as I often do, for a bowl of bread and milk. While I ate, the farmer gave me the benefit of his conversation, and he could talk the bark off a log. He was n’t exactly my ideal of a perfect man, and the things in his life he seemed to be proudest of struck me as rather shady transactions, but I found that he considered he had a sure thing as far as religion was concerned. He spoke of heaven as if he had paid for a corner lot.
“ ' You seem pretty sure about your standing in the next world, ’ I said to him.
“‘Well, I don’t know why not,’he said. ‘ I was converted way back in ’69.'
“ Now that is just what would suit me, — to get converted once and for all, and then stay so, no matter what little vagaries I might be betrayed into afterwards.”
“ And yet, if I remember aright, I heard you a few minutes ago regretting that you were liable to be swooped into heaven, whether you wanted to or not.”
“ You did,” the Young Man acknowledged ; “ but there are moments in a man’s history when he realizes that it might make a difference — in his own self-respect, at least — whether he entered the next world with a clean conscience or a dirty one.”
The daimon — who had, as usual, been listening — was all ready to put in his comment before the Young Man was fairly out of hearing. “ There, but for the grace of God, goes this darning-needle ! ” he exclaimed, jerking his tail toward the visitor’s departing form. “ When I die, that is the end of me, but if I had been afflicted with a soul ” —
“ ‘ To lie in cold obstruction and to rot,’ ” I quoted. “ That does n’t sound so tempting.”
“ I shan’t care how cold it is, so long as I don’t know it. Might be more comfortable than a seat too near the fire ! ”
I left the piazza in disgust — a mere flippant devil’s darning-needle, whom I could crush with one movement of my foot! Why should I bear so much impertinence from him ?
I was even more sadly impressed with the assurance of this mindless insect when he began to criticise man and his place in the universe.
“ I gather from what I have heard on this piazza,” he remarked, with his usual thirst for information, “ that man vaunts himself as belonging to the highest order of beings, the very top-notch, the flower of evolution and civilization and all the rest.”
“ Certainly,” I answered coldly, with the air of one who inquires, “ What affair is this of yours ? ”
“ And it is because he alone, thus far, has developed moral faculties that he spends so much of his time in fighting with the various tribes of his order, each superior moral creature endeavoring to exterminate as many other superior moral creatures as possible ? When one member of the brute creation preys upon another, it is, as I understand it, simply the following out of a barbarous natural instinct ; when man preys upon his fellow man it is, on the contrary, a revelation of supreme morality.”
“ Many of the wars to which you allude have been wars of principle,” I replied severely. “ Our Philippine campaign is a notable example of this. But one can hardly expect you to comprehend principles, since it is impossible for you to possess them,”
“ Much better not to have principles,” the darning-needle commented pensively. “ So far as my observation goes, it is almost invariably the people with principles who get into mischief. Look at Russia, now. She could n’t live another second without a Peace Congress, and all the time she was getting one of the biggest armies on the globe ready for mobilization.”
“ Certainly; she wanted to be in a position to enforce her peace principles.”
“ Oh,” the darning-needle went on in a few minutes, “ Man ’s a great creature ! He comes both to destroy and to fulfill, and he usually accomplishes his fulfillment by destroying. That story of the little boy which somebody told here the other day is a good illustration of the whole subject, it seems to me.”
Now the story of the little boy, which the darning-needle seized so maliciously with which to point his moral, was this: A gentle lady was trying to lead to higher things a dear, little, round-faced boy of hopelessly destructive instincts, so she pointed out to him the great golden moon swimming through the summer heavens, and descanted to him on its beauty and the goodness of God in creating it to light the earth. The little vandal listened unmoved to her most eloquent periods, and when she had finished announced, —
“ I’m goin’ to bweak that down ! I’m goin’ to take my big tick and bweak that all down out o’ the sky ! ” A moment later, attacked by doubts of his own prowess, he added, “If I can’t bweak that down, I’m goin’ to get my faver to bweak it down for me ! ”
When I went into the house and slammed the door after me, it was not because I really desired to leave my daimon in the undisturbed contemplation of man in his alleged favorite occupation of breaking down all the golden moons in the universe, but because I recognized the impossibility of explaining to an insect without reasoning powers that every great question contains within itself such possibilities of expansion that in following it to its bitter end sense frequently becomes nonsense, immorality becomes morality, and everything becomes everything else.
It was the very morning after this annoying conversation that the housemaid came to me. She had been cleansing the piazza floor, actively, as her manner is.
“ Honest to goodness, mum,”she announced, “ I come jist within one o’ troddin’ on that ould dar’-needle you make sich a toime about. He don’t very often be puttin’ himself round under feet, but he 'd got a-thinkin’ this mornin’ so har-rd that he did n’t wanst notice that I was in it — an’ there he was, jist timptin’ me to shtep on him. ’T would served him right, too — the ould divil!”
I asked myself whether I was most glad or sorry that my daimon had thus been preserved to me, and I did not know. Was I not happier before I began to see myself so constantly as others see me ? Whether, I queried within myself, ’t is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous darning-needles, or to take arms — or feet — against impertinent insects, and by opposing, end them ?
Meanwhile, he is sitting on the arm of a piazza chair at this moment, winking his tail and inviting me to mortal combat. My spirit rises to the challenge. Come,
Martha Baker Dunn.