Read PART II - CHAPTER II.  NOT CURATE. of The Life of John Sterling, free online book, by Thomas Carlyle, on ReadCentral.com.

Thus it went on for some months at Herstmonceux; but thus it could not last.  We said there were already misgivings as to health, &c. in September:  that was but the fourth month, for it had begun only in June.  The like clouds of misgiving, flights of dark vapor, chequering more and more the bright sky of this promised land, rose heavier and rifer month after month; till in February following, that is in the eighth month from starting, the sky had grown quite overshaded; and poor Sterling had to think practically of departure from his promised land again, finding that the goal of his pilgrimage was not there.  Not there, wherever it may be!  March again, therefore; the abiding city, and post at which we can live and die, is still ahead of us, it would appear!

“Ill-health” was the external cause; and, to all parties concerned, to Sterling himself I have no doubt as completely as to any, the one determining cause.  Nor was the ill-health wanting; it was there in too sad reality.  And yet properly it was not there as the burden; it was there as the last ounce which broke the camel’s back.  I take it, in this as in other cases known to me, ill-health was not the primary cause but rather the ultimate one, the summing-up of innumerable far deeper conscious and unconscious causes, ­the cause which could boldly show itself on the surface, and give the casting vote.  Such was often Sterling’s way, as one could observe in such cases:  though the most guileless, undeceptive and transparent of men, he had a noticeable, almost childlike faculty of self-deception, and usually substituted for the primary determining motive and set of motives, some ultimate ostensible one, and gave that out to himself and others as the ruling impulse for important changes in life.  As is the way with much more ponderous and deliberate men; ­as is the way, in a degree, with all men!

Enough, in February, 1835, Sterling came up to London, to consult with his physicians, ­and in fact in all ways to consider with himself and friends, ­what was to be done in regard to this Herstmonceux business.  The oracle of the physicians, like that of Delphi, was not exceedingly determinate:  but it did bear, what was a sufficiently undeniable fact, that Sterling’s constitution, with a tendency to pulmonary ailments, was ill-suited for the office of a preacher; that total abstinence from preaching for a year or two would clearly be the safer course.  To which effect he writes to Mr. Hare with a tone of sorrowful agitation; gives up his clerical duties at Herstmonceux; ­and never resumed them there or elsewhere.  He had been in the Church eight months in all:  a brief section of his life, but an important one, which colored several of his subsequent years, and now strangely colors all his years in the memory of some.

This we may account the second grand crisis of his History.  Radicalism, not long since, had come to its consummation, and vanished from him in a tragic manner.  “Not by Radicalism is the path to Human Nobleness for me!” And here now had English Priesthood risen like a sun, over the waste ruins and extinct volcanoes of his dead Radical world, with promise of new blessedness and healing under its Wings; and this too has soon found itself an illusion:  “Not by Priesthood either lies the way, then.  Once more, where does the way lie!” ­To follow illusions till they burst and vanish is the lot of all new souls who, luckily or lucklessly, are left to their own choice in starting on this Earth.  The roads are many; the authentic finger-posts are few, ­never fewer than in this era, when in so many senses the waters are out.  Sterling of all men had the quickest sense for nobleness, heroism and the human summum bonum; the liveliest headlong spirit of adventure and audacity; few gifted living men less stubbornness of perseverance.  Illusions, in his chase of the summum bonum, were not likely to be wanting; aberrations, and wasteful changes of course, were likely to be many!  It is in the history of such vehement, trenchant, far-shining and yet intrinsically light and volatile souls, missioned into this epoch to seek their way there, that we best see what a confused epoch it is.

This clerical aberration, ­for such it undoubtedly was in Sterling, ­we have ascribed to Coleridge; and do clearly think that had there been no Coleridge, neither had this been, ­nor had English Puseyism or some other strange enough universal portents been.  Nevertheless, let us say farther that it lay partly in the general bearing of the world for such a man.  This battle, universal in our sad epoch of “all old things passing away” against “all things becoming new,” has its summary and animating heart in that of Radicalism against Church; there, as in its flaming core, and point of focal splendor, does the heroic worth that lies in each side of the quarrel most clearly disclose itself; and Sterling was the man, above many, to recognize such worth on both sides.  Natural enough, in such a one, that the light of Radicalism having gone out in darkness for him, the opposite splendor should next rise as the chief, and invite his loyalty till it also failed.  In one form or the other, such an aberration was not unlikely for him.  But an aberration, especially in this form, we may certainly call it.  No man of Sterling’s veracity, had he clearly consulted his own heart, or had his own heart been capable of clearly responding, and not been dazzled and bewildered by transient fantasies and theosophic moonshine, could have undertaken this function.  His heart would have answered:  “No, thou canst not.  What is incredible to thee, thou shalt not, at thy soul’s peril, attempt to believe! ­Elsewhither for a refuge, or die here.  Go to Perdition if thou must, ­but not with a lie in thy mouth; by the Eternal Maker, no!”

Alas, once more!  How are poor mortals whirled hither and thither in the tumultuous chaos of our era; and, under the thick smoke-canopy which has eclipsed all stars, how do they fly now after this poor meteor, now after that! ­Sterling abandoned his clerical office in February, 1835; having held it, and ardently followed it, so long as we say, ­eight calendar months in all.

It was on this his February expedition to London that I first saw Sterling, ­at the India House incidentally, one afternoon, where I found him in company with John Mill, whom I happened like himself to be visiting for a few minutes.  The sight of one whose fine qualities I had often heard of lately, was interesting enough; and, on the whole, proved not disappointing, though it was the translation of dream into fact, that is of poetry into prose, and showed its unrhymed side withal.  A loose, careless-looking, thin figure, in careless dim costume, sat, in a lounging posture, carelessly and copiously talking.  I was struck with the kindly but restless swift-glancing eyes, which looked as if the spirits were all out coursing like a pack of merry eager beagles, beating every bush.  The brow, rather sloping in form, was not of imposing character, though again the head was longish, which is always the best sign of intellect; the physiognomy in general indicated animation rather than strength.

We talked rapidly of various unmemorable things:  I remember coming on the Negroes, and noticing that Sterling’s notion on the Slavery Question had not advanced into the stage of mine.  In reference to the question whether an “engagement for life,” on just terms, between parties who are fixed in the character of master and servant, as the Whites and the Negroes are, is not really better than one from day to day, ­he said with a kindly jeer, “I would have the Negroes themselves consulted as to that!” ­and would not in the least believe that the Negroes were by no means final or perfect judges of it. ­His address, I perceived, was abrupt, unceremonious; probably not at all disinclined to logic, and capable of dashing in upon you like a charge of Cossacks, on occasion:  but it was also eminently ingenious, social, guileless.  We did all very well together:  and Sterling and I walked westward in company, choosing whatever lanes or quietest streets there were, as far as Knightsbridge where our roads parted; talking on moralities, theological philosophies; arguing copiously, but except in opinion not disagreeing

In his notions on such subjects, the expected Coleridge cast of thought was very visible; and he seemed to express it even with exaggeration, and in a fearless dogmatic manner.  Identity of sentiment, difference of opinion:  these are the known elements of a pleasant dialogue.  We parted with the mutual wish to meet again; ­which accordingly, at his Father’s house and at mine, we soon repeatedly did; and already, in the few days before his return to Herstmonceux, had laid the foundations of a frank intercourse, pointing towards pleasant intimacies both with himself and with his circle, which in the future were abundantly fulfilled.  His Mother, essentially and even professedly “Scotch,” took to my Wife gradually with a most kind maternal relation; his Father, a gallant showy stirring gentleman, the Magus of the Times, had talk and argument ever ready, was an interesting figure, and more and more took interest in us.  We had unconsciously made an acquisition, which grew richer and wholesomer with every new year; and ranks now, seen in the pale moonlight of memory, and must ever rank, among the precious possessions of life.

Sterling’s bright ingenuity, and also his audacity, velocity and alacrity, struck me more and more.  It was, I think, on the occasion of a party given one of these evenings at his Father’s, where I remember John Mill, John Crawford, Mrs. Crawford, and a number of young and elderly figures of distinction, ­that a group having formed on the younger side of the room, and transcendentalisms and theologies forming the topic, a number of deep things were said in abrupt conversational style, Sterling in the thick of it.  For example, one sceptical figure praised the Church of England, in Hume’s phrase, “as a Church tending to keep down fanaticism,” and recommendable for its very indifferency; whereupon a transcendental figure urges him:  “You are afraid of the horse’s kicking:  but will you sacrifice all qualities to being safe from that?  Then get a dead horse.  None comparable to that for not kicking in your stable!” Upon which, a laugh; with new laughs on other the like occasions; ­and at last, in the fire of some discussion, Sterling, who was unusually eloquent and animated, broke out with this wild phrase, “I could plunge into the bottom of Hell, if I were sure of finding the Devil there and getting him strangled!” Which produced the loudest laugh of all; and had to be repeated, on Mrs. Crawford’s inquiry, to the house at large; and, creating among the elders a kind of silent shudder, ­though we urged that the feat would really be a good investment of human industry, ­checked or stopt these theologic thunders for the evening.  I still remember Sterling as in one of his most animated moods that evening.  He probably returned to Herstmonceux next day, where he proposed yet to reside for some indefinite time.

Arrived at Herstmonceux, he had not forgotten us.  One of his Letters written there soon after was the following, which much entertained me, in various ways.  It turns on a poor Book of mine, called Sartor Resartus; which was not then even a Book, but was still hanging desolately under bibliopolic difficulties, now in its fourth or fifth year, on the wrong side of the river, as a mere aggregate of Magazine Articles; having at last been slit into that form, and lately completed so, and put together into legibility.  I suppose Sterling had borrowed it of me.  The adventurous hunter spirit which had started such a bemired Auerochs, or Urus of the German woods, and decided on chasing that as game, struck me not a little; ­and the poor Wood-Ox, so bemired in the forests, took it as a compliment rather: ­

To Thomas Carlyle, Esq., Chelsea, London
“HERSTMONCEUX near BATTLE, 29th May, 1835.

“MY DEAR CARLYLE, ­I have now read twice, with care, the wondrous account of Teufelsdrockh and his Opinions; and I need not say that it has given me much to think of.  It falls in with the feelings and tastes which were, for years, the ruling ones of my life; but which you will not be angry with me when I say that I am infinitely and hourly thankful for having escaped from.  Not that I think of this state of mind as one with which I have no longer any concern.  The sense of a oneness of life and power in all existence; and of a boundless exuberance of beauty around us, to which most men are well-nigh dead, is a possession which no one that has ever enjoyed it would wish to lose.  When to this we add the deep feeling of the difference between the actual and the ideal in Nature, and still more in Man; and bring in, to explain this, the principle of duty, as that which connects us with a possible Higher State, and sets us in progress towards it, ­we have a cycle of thoughts which was the whole spiritual empire of the wisest Pagans, and which might well supply food for the wide speculations and richly creative fancy of Teufelsdrockh, or his prototype Jean Paul.

“How then comes it, we cannot but ask, that these ideas, displayed assuredly with no want of eloquence, vivacity or earnestness, have found, unless I am much mistaken, so little acceptance among the best and most energetic minds in this country?  In a country where millions read the Bible, and thousands Shakspeare; where Wordsworth circulates through book-clubs and drawing-rooms; where there are innumerable admirers of your favorite Burns; and where Coleridge, by sending from his solitude the voice of earnest spiritual instruction, came to be beloved, studied and mourned for, by no small or careless school of disciples? ­To answer this question would, of course, require more thought and knowledge than I can pretend to bring to it.  But there are some points on which I will venture to say a few words.

“In the first place, as to the form of composition, ­which may be called, I think, the Rhapsodico-Reflective.  In this the Sartor Resartus resembles some of the master-works of human invention, which have been acknowledged as such by many generations; and especially the works of Rabelais, Montaigne, Sterne and Swift.  There is nothing I know of in Antiquity like it.  That which comes nearest is perhaps the Platonic Dialogue.  But of this, although there is something of the playful and fanciful on the surface, there is in reality neither in the language (which is austerely determined to its end), nor in the method and progression of the work, any of that headlong self-asserting capriciousness, which, if not discernible in the plan of Teufelsdrockh’s Memoirs, is yet plainly to be seen in the structure of the sentences, the lawless oddity, and strange heterogeneous combination and allusion.  The principle of this difference, observable often elsewhere in modern literature (for the same thing is to be found, more or less, in many of our most genial works of imagination, ­Don Quixote, for instance, and the writings of Jeremy Taylor), seems to be that well-known one of the predominant objectivity of the Pagan mind; while among us the subjective has risen into superiority, and brought with it in each individual a multitude of peculiar associations and relations.  These, as not explicable from any one external principle assumed as a premise by the ancient philosopher, were rejected from the sphere of his aesthetic creation:  but to us they all have a value and meaning; being connected by the bond of our own personality and all alike existing in that infinity which is its arena.

“But however this may be, and comparing the Teufelsdrockhean Épopée only with those other modern works, ­it is noticeable that Rabelais, Montaigne and Sterne have trusted for the currency of their writings, in a great degree, to the use of obscene and sensual stimulants.  Rabelais, besides, was full of contemporary and personal satire; and seems to have been a champion in the great cause of his time, ­as was Montaigne also, ­that of the right of thought in all competent minds, unrestrained by any outward authority.  Montaigne, moreover, contains more pleasant and lively gossip, and more distinct good-humored painting of his own character and daily habits, than any other writer I know.  Sterne is never obscure, and never moral; and the costume of his subjects is drawn from the familiar experience of his own time and country:  and Swift, again, has the same merit of the clearest perspicuity, joined to that of the most homely, unaffected, forcible English.  These points of difference seem to me the chief ones which bear against the success of the Sartor.  On the other hand, there is in Teufelsdrockh a depth and fervor of feeling, and a power of serious eloquence, far beyond that of any of these four writers; and to which indeed there is nothing at all comparable in any of them, except perhaps now and then, and very imperfectly, in Montaigne.

“Of the other points of comparison there are two which I would chiefly dwell on:  and first as to the language.  A good deal of this is positively barbarous.  ‘Environment,’ ‘vestural,’ ‘stertorous,’ ‘visualized,’ ‘complected,’ and others to be found I think in the first twenty pages, ­are words, so far as I know, without any authority; some of them contrary to analogy:  and none repaying by their value the disadvantage of novelty.  To these must be added new and erroneous locutions; ‘whole other tissues’ for all the other, and similar uses of the word whole; ‘orients’ for pearls; ‘lucid’ and ‘lucent’ employed as if they were different in meaning; ‘hulls’ perpetually for coverings, it being a word hardly used, and then only for the husk of a nut; ‘to insure a man of misapprehension;’ ‘talented,’ a mere newspaper and hustings word, invented, I believe, by O’Connell.

“I must also mention the constant recurrence of some words in a quaint and queer connection, which gives a grotesque and somewhat repulsive mannerism to many sentences.  Of these the commonest offender is ‘quite;’ which appears in almost every page, and gives at first a droll kind of emphasis; but soon becomes wearisome.  ‘Nay,’ ‘manifold,’ ’cunning enough significance,’ ‘faculty’ (meaning a man’s rational or moral power), ‘special,’ ‘not without,’ haunt the reader as if in some uneasy dream which does not rise to the dignity of nightmare.  Some of these strange mannerisms fall under the general head of a singularity peculiar, so far as I know, to Teufelsdrockh.  For instance, that of the incessant use of a sort of odd superfluous qualification of his assertions; which seems to give the character of deliberateness and caution to the style, but in time sounds like mere trick or involuntary habit.  ‘Almost’ does more than yeoman’s, almost slave’s service in this way.  Something similar may be remarked of the use of the double negative by way of affirmation.

“Under this head, of language, may be mentioned, though not with strict grammatical accuracy, two standing characteristics of the Professor’s style, ­at least as rendered into English:  First, the composition of words, such as ‘snow-and-rosebloom maiden:’  an attractive damsel doubtless in Germany, but, with all her charms, somewhat uncouth here.  ‘Life-vision’ is another example; and many more might be found.  To say nothing of the innumerable cases in which the words are only intelligible as a compound term, though not distinguished by hyphens.  Of course the composition of words is sometimes allowable even in English:  but the habit of dealing with German seems to have produced, in the pages before us, a prodigious superabundance of this form of expression; which gives harshness and strangeness, where the matter would at all events have been surprising enough. Secondly, I object, with the same qualification, to the frequent use of inversion; which generally appears as a transposition of the two members of a clause, in a way which would not have been practiced in conversation.  It certainly gives emphasis and force, and often serves to point the meaning.  But a style may be fatiguing and faulty precisely by being too emphatic, forcible and pointed; and so straining the attention to find its meaning, or the admiration to appreciate its beauty.

“Another class of considerations connects itself with the heightened and plethoric fulness of the style:  its accumulation and contrast of imagery; its occasional jerking and almost spasmodic violence; ­and above all, the painful subjective excitement, which seems the element and groundwork even of every description of Nature; often taking the shape of sarcasm or broad jest, but never subsiding into calm.  There is also a point which I should think worth attending to, were I planning any similar book:  I mean the importance, in a work of imagination, of not too much disturbing in the reader’s mind the balance of the New and Old.  The former addresses itself to his active, the latter to his passive faculty; and these are mutually dependent, and must coexist in certain proportion, if you wish to combine his sympathy and progressive exertion with willingness and ease of attention.  This should be taken into account in forming a style; for of course it cannot be consciously thought of in composing each sentence.

“But chiefly it seems important in determining the plan of a work.  If the tone of feeling, the line of speculation are out of the common way, and sure to present some difficulty to the average reader, then it would probably be desirable to select, for the circumstances, drapery and accessories of all kinds, those most familiar, or at least most attractive.  A fable of the homeliest purport, and commonest every-day application, derives an interest and charm from its turning on the characters and acts of gods and genii, lions and foxes, Arabs and Affghauns.  On the contrary, for philosophic inquiry and truths of awful preciousness, I would select as my personages and interlocutors beings with whose language and ‘whereabouts’ my readers would be familiar.  Thus did Plato in his Dialogues, Christ in his Parables.  Therefore it seems doubtful whether it was judicious to make a German Professor the hero of Sartor.  Berkeley began his Siris with tar-water; but what can English readers be expected to make of Gukguk by way of prelibation to your nectar and tokay?  The circumstances and details do not flash with living reality on the minds of your readers, but, on the contrary, themselves require some of that attention and minute speculation, the whole original stock of which, in the minds of most of them, would not be too much to enable them to follow your views of Man and Nature.  In short, there is not a sufficient basis of the common to justify the amount of peculiarity in the work.  In a book of science, these considerations would of course be inapplicable; but then the whole shape and coloring of the book must be altered to make it such; and a man who wishes merely to get at the philosophical result, or summary of the whole, will regard the details and illustrations as so much unprofitable surplusage.

“The sense of strangeness is also awakened by the marvellous combinations, in which the work abounds to a degree that the common reader must find perfectly bewildering.  This can hardly, however, be treated as a consequence of the style; for the style in this respect coheres with, and springs from, the whole turn and tendency of thought.  The noblest images are objects of a humorous smile, in a mind which sees itself above all Nature and throned in the arms of an Almighty Necessity; while the meanest have a dignity, inasmuch as they are trivial symbols of the same one life to which the great whole belongs.  And hence, as I divine, the startling whirl of incongruous juxtaposition, which of a truth must to many readers seem as amazing as if the Pythia on the tripod should have struck up a drinking-song, or Thersites had caught the prophetic strain of Cassandra.

“All this, of course, appears to me true and relevant; but I cannot help feeling that it is, after all, but a poor piece of quackery to comment on a multitude of phenomena without adverting to the principle which lies at the root, and gives the true meaning to them all.  Now this principle I seem to myself to find in the state of mind which is attributed to Teufelsdrockh; in his state of mind, I say, not in his opinions, though these are, in him as in all men, most important, ­being one of the best indices to his state of mind.  Now what distinguishes him, not merely from the greatest and best men who have been on earth for eighteen hundred years, but from the whole body of those who have been working forwards towards the good, and have been the salt and light of the world, is this:  That he does not believe in a God.  Do not be indignant, I am blaming no one; ­but if I write my thoughts, I must write them honestly.

“Teufelsdrockh does not belong to the herd of sensual and thoughtless men; because he does perceive in all Existence a unity of power; because he does believe that this is a real power external to him and dominant to a certain extent over him, and does not think that he is himself a shadow in a world of shadows.  He had a deep feeling of the beautiful, the good and the true; and a faith in their final victory.

“At the same time, how evident is the strong inward unrest, the Titanic heaving of mountain on mountain; the storm-like rushing over land and sea in search of peace.  He writhes and roars under his consciousness of the difference in himself between the possible and the actual, the hoped-for and the existent.  He feels that duty is the highest law of his own being; and knowing how it bids the waves be stilled into an icy fixedness and grandeur, he trusts (but with a boundless inward misgiving) that there is a principle of order which will reduce all confusion to shape and clearness.  But wanting peace himself, his fierce dissatisfaction fixes on all that is weak, corrupt and imperfect around him; and instead of a calm and steady co-operation with all those who are endeavoring to apply the highest ideas as remedies for the worst evils, he holds himself aloof in savage isolation; and cherishes (though he dare not own) a stern joy at the prospect of that Catastrophe which is to turn loose again the elements of man’s social life, and give for a time the victory to evil; ­in hopes that each new convulsion of the world must bring us nearer to the ultimate restoration of all things; fancying that each may be the last.  Wanting the calm and cheerful reliance, which would be the spring of active exertion, he flatters his own distemper by persuading himself that his own age and generation are peculiarly feeble and decayed; and would even perhaps be willing to exchange the restless immaturity of our self-consciousness, and the promise of its long throe-pangs, for the unawakened undoubting simplicity of the world’s childhood; of the times in which there was all the evil and horror of our day, only with the difference that conscience had not arisen to try and condemn it.  In these longings, if they are Teufelsdrockh’s, he seems to forget that, could we go back five thousand years, we should only have the prospect of travelling them again, and arriving at last at the same point at which we stand now.

“Something of this state of mind I may say that I understand; for I have myself experienced it.  And the root of the matter appears to me:  A want of sympathy with the great body of those who are now endeavoring to guide and help onward their fellow-men.  And in what is this alienation grounded?  It is, as I believe, simply in the difference on that point:  viz. the clear, deep, habitual recognition of a one Living Personal God, essentially good, wise, true and holy, the Author of all that exists; and a reunion with whom is the only end of all rational beings.  This belief... [There follow now several pages on “Personal God,” and other abstruse or indeed properly unspeakable matters; these, and a general Postscript of qualifying purport, I will suppress; extracting only the following fractions, as luminous or slightly significant to us:]

“Now see the difference of Teufelsdrockh’s feelings.  At the end of book iii. cha, I find these words:  ’But whence?  O Heaven, whither?  Sense knows not; Faith knows not; only that it is through mystery to mystery, from God to God.

                    ’We are such stuff
     As dreams are made of, and our little life
     Is rounded with a sleep.’

And this tallies with the whole strain of his character.  What we find everywhere, with an abundant use of the name of God, is the conception of a formless Infinite whether in time or space; of a high inscrutable Necessity, which it is the chief wisdom and virtue to submit to, which is the mysterious impersonal base of all Existence, ­shows itself in the laws of every separate being’s nature; and for man in the shape of duty.  On the other hand, I affirm, we do know whence we come and whither we go! ­

...  “And in this state of mind, as there is no true sympathy with others, just as little is there any true peace for ourselves.  There is indeed possible the unsympathizing factitious calm of Art, which we find in Goethe.  But at what expense is it bought?  Simply, by abandoning altogether the idea of duty, which is the great witness of our personality.  And he attains his inhuman ghastly calmness by reducing the Universe to a heap of material for the idea of beauty to work on! ­

...  “The sum of all I have been writing as to the connection of our faith in God with our feeling towards men and our mode of action, may of course be quite erroneous:  but granting its truth, it would supply the one principle which I have been seeking for, in order to explain the peculiarities of style in your account of Teufelsdrockh and his writings....  The life and works of Luther are the best comment I know of on this doctrine of mine.

“Reading over what I have written, I find I have not nearly done justice to my own sense of the genius and moral energy of the book; but this is what you will best excuse. ­Believe me most sincerely and faithfully yours,

“JOHN STERLING.”

Here are sufficient points of “discrepancy with agreement,” here is material for talk and argument enough; and an expanse of free discussion open, which requires rather to be speedily restricted for convenience’ sake, than allowed to widen itself into the boundless, as it tends to do! ­

In all Sterling’s Letters to myself and others, a large collection of which now lies before me, duly copied and indexed, there is, to one that knew his speech as well, a perhaps unusual likeness between the speech and the Letters; and yet, for most part, with a great inferiority on the part of these.  These, thrown off, one and all of them, without premeditation, and with most rapid-flowing pen, are naturally as like his speech as writing can well be; this is their grand merit to us:  but on the other hand, the want of the living tones, swift looks and motions, and manifold dramatic accompaniments, tells heavily, more heavily than common.  What can be done with champagne itself, much more with soda-water, when the gaseous spirit is fled!  The reader, in any specimens he may see, must bear this in mind.

Meanwhile these Letters do excel in honesty, in candor and transparency; their very carelessness secures their excellence in this respect.  And in another much deeper and more essential respect I must likewise call them excellent, ­in their childlike goodness, in the purity of heart, the noble affection and fidelity they everywhere manifest in the writer.  This often touchingly strikes a familiar friend in reading them; and will awaken reminiscences (when you have the commentary in your own memory) which are sad and beautiful, and not without reproach to you on occasion.  To all friends, and all good causes, this man is true; behind their back as before their face, the same man! ­Such traits of the autobiographic sort, from these Letters, as can serve to paint him or his life, and promise not to weary the reader, I must endeavor to select, in the sequel.