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people who abuse me most heartily, if I think they do it honestly. You remember the Arcadian Club, (Atlantic ;) I think I could have belonged to it without losing my angelic temper; that is, as far as the candor is concerned — the diet would certainly have set me into ecstacies of wrath.
But do n't you like to talk best, after all? I have always so much to say that I have n't the patience to write it, but it would amaze you to have me talk to you if you were here to-night; not that I should say any thing particularly alarming; your wonder would be caused by the quantity, not the quality of my remarks. You know there is something sublime in mere bulk, when it once gets into the regions of the extraordinary. Not that I am what people call a 'great talker.' Far from it. I do n't like to talk except upon occasions. But this is one of the occasions. Let me tell you how I wish we were situated. Here is my sanctum sanctorum, as cozy as a little room can well be. A bright fire burns in the grate. (It is one of those nights when 'the owl, for all his feathers, is a cold.") Heavy curtains droop over the window, the colors of the carpet are rich and warm, (what so splendid as deep colors ?) and my little table, and 0-so-easychair are drawn close to the blazing fire. Beside me a huge volume of CARLYLE, another of EMERSON, while Tennyson, LONGFELLOW, and PoE occupy one quiet corner. EMERSON you would find here every evening; CARLYLE mostly; but the poets change quite frequently. I would put you at the opposite side of the table, look at you, and judge what you would like to talk about — and then for the glories of a good, old-fashioned talk — I should n't care what about. I like to talk about Titian or turnips, poetry or pies; metaphysics or mulattoes; men, women, or Harriet MARTINEAU — when I feel like talking — but pray can you conceive of any thing more appalling than to be obliged to talk when you do n't feel like it; or to talk to people at any time, for whose existence you care as little as for the good name of the Hottentot Venus? I fancy I could talk to you of every thing in heaven or earth, could n't I? And I do n't believe you would be terribly frightened if I should happen to say something occasionally which no other person here below would venture to say.
* Egotism, as a general thing, I think rather insufferable ; but nevertheless I think egotism the essence of interest in private letters; therefore, when you write to me let it be what you think, like, and feel, particularly — will you not? Character-hunting is one of my passions; any thing which throws any light upon the character of any one with whoin I am associated has a peculiar interest to me.
'But the unheard-of length of this letter will quite frighten you; so I basten to closc, if I can. I like H —'s sketches, but what's the use of spoiling them by cutting out the 'shocking'anecdotes? The more dash to a thing the better in these times. But excuse me, I forget the dignity of the profession, and your especial dignity as editor. Proceed, O Grand Monarque ! and cut, clip, prune, and polish to your heart's content. It's a good thing some people can do it. Unfortunately I can't, as you can judge by my - I had the spirit for a few moments, and wrote it just as you have it; then the mood was gone, and I could n't alter a line. I hope you can, and improve it.
“The evening wears on. The fire burns low in the grate. Friar Tuck (a grand Newfoundland, big and splendid) sleeps under my feet; the last bell, with its soft tintinabulation, has died away, and we really feel the trailing garments of the night sweeping around us. Oh ! how the infinite hush steals into the heart ! How calmly it lays its finger on each bounding pulse, each thrilling vein, each heart wild with its many emotions! Even the Constitutional riot' in my blood is stilled, and I feel only the subduing tenderness of the holy hour. How the events and excitements of the day recede! how quietly we dream, thinking only of the calm blessedness of being! How beautiful the faith which steals over us in such an hour!
God's in His heaven,
All's right with the world.' Now I really am going to stop, bon ami. And whenever, if ever, you want another such infliction as this, write a long, crowded, mixed, miscellaneous, merry, or mad letter to
Stop! stop! for Heaven's sake, stop ! There — Now you 've done it ! That was copy for KNICK!'
'I should think that original matter would be more in your line than copy,' was the calm reply of our friend, as he watched the burning stump of paper, with which he had lighted his cigar!
* And by all that 's aggravating, you've burned up the first half of RUTH Hall's letter. Oh! you have done great mischief, little dog DIAMOND!' Well, better half a loaf than no bread. But, O Ruth ! let us hope that the patient spirit of thy namesake is yet in thy bosom, and that thou pardonest the conflagrator who cared not a nickel for KNICK's feelings.
Gentle reader, accept the moiety. If thou art an astrologist, the Stars may teach thee something.
"I am again the happy owner of January and June,' that delicious production of B. F. Taylor, once a frequent contributor to the KNICKERBOCKER, and for many years literary editor to the Chicago Evening Journal. I confess to a Mrs. Toodleish liking for old furniture, and cast wistful glances at second-hand shops as I pass, which I seldom do if a pile of old books are among the treasure. 'T was in one of these receptacles for rheumatic and decayed household goods that I picked up the gentle 'Elia,' and to another am I indebted for the reäcquisition before mentioned. I like old copies a little battered and soiled by jostling through the world, as some women seek damaged goods — perhaps because they come cheaper - all human motives are mixed.
• I like logic, abrupt transitions, but · MACE SLOPER' should be the last to find fault with even a bad imitation of himself, the flattery is just as sweet. Indifferent spelling, when not attempted as witticism, and the ideas are correct, may be endured; bad grammar even be good English; but a want of point and concentration is not to be put up with on any account; and we meet with it every where. More especially in the pulpit the text is given out, and, like the title of a modern book, the less it has to do with the subject the better. Was not that sharp irony when Carl Benson called his last story, *Do n't Touch the Ax'? and Mrs. Grundy and every other man’ were looking for the weapon in vain through its pages ; from women generally it is not expected, either in writing or conversation, but from public speakers, whether clergy or laity, we have a right to demand it. I like to hear a proposition started, or a stand taken, and then argument
like a wedge driven in, every blow telling, until there is sufficient space for conviction to enter; not a rambling, incoherent, unconnected dissertation, which you cannot help mentally criticising, until your head is wearied by the sharp practice, and your heart or soul no way benefited. Many of our divines would do well to study the graceful gestures, correct reading, and well modulated-voices of our best actors. I claim this as an original idea, sending the clergy to school to the players. Is it necessary that a man shall be an ungraceful lout to be a good Christian ?
'I could have wept to-day over the fall of an old friend, one whom I have greeted in my daily pilgrimages for years — in a rough, shabby overcoat in winter, rejoiced over the delicate new spring vestment, smiled at his regimentals in autumn, and in the days when playing soldier was in vogue, hailed him in my own mind as a captain of the row of trees. Poor fellow ! he is gone. I passed the corse unwillingly to-day, the bright tresses trampled thoughtlessly under-foot by those who had not watched his tender infancy as I had, although I was somewhat prepared. A few evenings ago, when the western sky was flooded with amber sun-light, gilding and making beautiful the commonest objects, two or three men in roundabouts were to be seen spanning and measuring the distances among my beautiful trees — mine only by the right of love - evidently hewers of wood were they, and I anticipated the woful sight which met my eyes this morning. There they lay with their tender, delicate greenery, still wet with the early dew, a wonder to the strolling Dutch rag-pickers, the childish portion of them I mean, the elder are too phlegmatic to see aught but the golden chips, which they greedily transfer to their filthy bags; and the executioners are coolly going home to breakfast, while I, with a real pain at my heart, reverently step over the branches of the dead friend, and pass on, sadly moralizing on the fall of men and trees.
We gladly find place for the following, which can never be untimely, notwithstanding a delay in its publication, which we sincerely regret. The obituary of a whilom contributor — of one of that dear band, in whose letters we live, and whose word-paintings, be they grave or gay, have been the objects of our tenderest interest — is always to us the obituary of a dear friend. God bless them all! we exclaim from our heart, adding in solemn earnestness for the following requiem, 'Forget not the faithful Dead!'
• Brooklyn, January 28th, 1862. EDITOR KNICKERBOCKER: Dear Sir: Permit me to offer you the inclosed lines, as a tribute of affection and respect to an old contributor to your Magazine, ROBERT S OAKLEY, Esq., who died suddenly on Thursday, sixteenth instant.
"To those who knew him, and I presume I am addressing one who is no stranger to his character, any eulogy would be superfluous.
* A free and generous nature, gifted with a genuine perception of the true and beautiful; a true poet, loving the right and hating the wrong; he lived a Christian gentleman, whose place in the family and society in which he moved can never again be filled.
* If, Sir, these lines are worthy a place in your Magazine, please accept them from one who loved him living, and who now cherishes the hope of a meeting in that world where sorrow and parting shall come no more forever.
*Very truly yours, VOL. LX.
• And is he then dead ? has that kind, loving heart
Ceased to throb at each sad tale of sorrow?
So pallid and still on the morrow.
So urgent the message was sent him;
And we are left here to lament bim.
Or the smile that still welcomed us near him
Whose remembrance shall ever endear him?
Controlled by each passing emotion;
Now solemnly hushed in devotion.
Ever ready his summons awaited,
The pictures his fancy created.
Can Death rule so absolute o'er us? Must all that is lovely and noble in life
Go down thus in darkness before us ?
Mortality gathered around him;
Of the ties that so lovingly bound him. * To affections so pure and so holy as his
Eternal endurance is given;
He has carried unbroken to heaven. * And we who have shared in his friendship, how near
To our hearts are the words he has spoken! May the love that be sought still strengthen with years,
And not one link that binds us be broken!
And when he in heaven shall meet us,
And the welcome with which he will greet us!'
You have broken hearts a score;
You 're a lady I adore.
You have always been a belle;
He 'll be sure to treat us well,
They had no time for tears,
Feel the sting of shame for years.
I'll scarce know what to do;
Madame la place à vous
GossIP WITH READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. —' Juveniles' are never long missing among KNICK's correspondences.' Among the latest we find the following:
Here is a queerish child-saying' that I think never was printed. I have it from the lips of a relative of the 'smorl' critic. A little girl was sick with a cough, and was standing at a window when the doctor' came to see her. The doctor was a very large man, and he rode a very small horse 'o' horse-back.' The little girl noted the discrepancy of bulk in horse and rider, and when the doctor entered lighted on him,' in the querulous voice of an invalid, with the sharp query: 'Is that your horse ?'
“Yes, dear,' said the doctor ; ‘and how's your cough!'
"Well, then, why did n't you come twice ?'
Number two is harder to believe, so that all things considered, w deem it expedient to state that it is perfectly authentic :
· A Sunday-school teacher told me this story just now : Last Sunday a poor little girl, offering her a penny for the Pottawatomies, hesitated a little, and being asked if her mother had given her said penny for heathen purposes, answered, “No, but for some slate-pencils ; but that she had a little short pencil, and would rather give the cent to the pagans.' Today the teacher appeared with three long pencils, and the following dialogue ensued :
"Mary, last Sunday you gave your penny to God; did n't you?'
"Why! does God keep pencils ? And does He give three for a cent? How good He is !''
When will teachers learn that to the direct and literal mind of a child such placings of the means for the cause are sadly misplaced ? They either create misapprehension or irreverent associations, neither to be particularly desired in young and innocent minds. Apropos of these efforts to come down to the level of childish intellect, and sinking below the bottom, we have the word of a friend :
'I once read in some Sunday-school weekly a quaint application. It ran somewhat as follows: "There was once a little boy who had a pug-nose. He complained to his mother. “Dear mamma, I do n't like my nose. It was always a pug, and it keeps getting pugger and pugger every day.'
Now, my dear little reader, you may not have a pug-nose. Perhaps the Lord has seen fit to give you a straight one. But, my dear little reader, you may have a pug heart. What a dreadful thing it is to have a pug heart! And unless you are very careful, you will find your heart like the little boy's nose, growing pugger and pugger every day.
Glancing over the plates of a Physiology, the idea occurs to us, how a heart would look illustrated in all the stages of pug-gism! Enough said.
Apropos of which little ones, we find some strong common-sense in a paragraph from the Massachusetts Teacher, which we trust may go the rounds through every journal in America, 'irrespective of party :'