قراءة كتاب The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 122, December, 1867 A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics

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‏اللغة: English
The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 122, December, 1867
A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics

The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 122, December, 1867 A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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its parent, and began reading. As his eye fell on one paragraph after another, he nodded approval of this sentiment or opinion, he shook his head as if questioning whether this other were not to be modified or left out, he condemned a third as being no longer true for him as when it was written, and he sanctioned a fourth with his hearty approval. The reader may like a few specimens from this early edition, now a rarity. He shall have them, with Master Gridley's verbal comments. The book, as its name implied, contained "Thoughts" rather than consecutive trains of reasoning or continuous disquisitions. What he read and remarked upon were a few of the more pointed statements which stood out in the chapters he was turning over. The worth of the book must not be judged by these almost random specimens.

"The best thought, like the most perfect digestion, is done unconsciously.—Develop that—Ideas at compound interest in the mind.—Be aye sticking in an idea,—while you're sleeping it'll be growing. Seed of a thought to-day,—flower to-morrow—next week—ten years from now, etc.—Article by and by for the....

"Can the Infinite be supposed to shift the responsibility of the ultimate destiny of any created thing to the finite? Our theologians pretend that it can. I doubt.—Heretical. Stet.

"Protestantism means None of your business. But it is afraid of its own logic.Stet. No logical resting-place short of None of your business.

"The supreme self-indulgence is to surrender the will to a spiritual director.—Protestantism gave up a great luxury.—Did it, though?

"Asiatic modes of thought and speech do not express the relations in which the American feels himself to stand to his Superiors in this or any other sphere of being. Republicanism must have its own religious phraseology, which is not that borrowed from Oriental despotisms.

"Idols and dogmas in place of character; pills and theories in place of wholesome living. See the histories of theology and medicine passim.—Hits 'em.

"'Of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Do you mean to say, Jean Chauvin, that

'Heaven lies about us in our infancy'?

"Why do you complain of your organization? Your soul was in a hurry, and made a rush for a body. There are patient spirits that have waited from eternity, and never found parents fit to be born of.—How do you know anything about all that? Dele.

"What sweet, smooth voices the negroes have! A hundred generations fed on bananas.—Compare them with our apple-eating-white folks!—It won't do. Bananas came from the West Indies.

"To tell a man's temperament by his handwriting. See if the dots of his i's run ahead or not, and if they do, how far.—I've tried that—on myself.

"Marrying into some families is the next thing to being canonized.—Not so true now as twenty or thirty years ago. As many bladders, but more pins.

"Fish and dandies only keep on ice.—Who will take? Explain in note how all warmth approaching blood-heat spoils fops and flounders.

"Flying is a lost art among men and reptiles. Bats fly, and men ought to. Try a light turbine. Rise a mile straight, fall half a mile slanting,—rise half a mile straight, fall half a mile slanting, and so on. Or slant up and slant down.—Poh! You ain't such a fool as to think that is new,—are you?

"Put in my telegraph project. Central station. Cables with insulated wires running to it from different quarters of the city. These form the centripetal system. From central station, wires to all the livery stables, messenger stands, provision shops, etc., etc. These form the centrifugal system. Any house may have a wire in the nearest cable at small cost.

"Do you want to be remembered after the continents have gone under, and come up again, and dried, and bred new races? Have your name stamped on all your plates and cups and saucers. Nothing of you or yours will last like those. I never sit down at my table without looking at the china service, and saying, 'Here are my monuments. That butter-dish is my urn. This soup-plate is my memorial tablet.'—No need of a skeleton at my banquets! I feed from my tombstone and read my epitaph at the bottom, of every teacup.—Good."

He fell into a revery as he finished reading this last sentence. He thought of the dim and dread future,—all the changes that it would bring to him, to all the living, to the face of the globe, to the order of earthly things. He saw men of a new race, alien to all that had ever lived, excavating with strange, vast engines the old ocean-bed, now become habitable land. And as the great scoops turned out the earth they had fetched up from the unexplored depths, a relic of a former simple civilization revealed the fact that here a tribe of human beings had lived and perished.—Only the coffee-cup he had in his hand half an hour ago.—Where would he be then? and Mrs. Hopkins, and Gifted, and Susan, and everybody? and President Buchanan? and the Boston State-House? and Broadway?—O Lord, Lord, Lord! And the sun perceptibly smaller, according to the astronomers, and the earth cooled down a number of degrees, and inconceivable arts practised by men of a type yet undreamed of, and all the fighting creeds merged in one great universal—

A knock at his door interrupted his revery. Miss Susan Posey informed him that a gentleman was waiting below who wished to see him.

"Show him up to my study, Susan Posey, if you please," said Master Gridley.

Mr. Penhallow presented himself at Mr. Gridley's door, with a countenance expressive of a very high state of excitement.

"You have heard the news, Mr. Gridley, I suppose?"

"What news, Mr. Penhallow?"

"First, that my partner has left very unexpectedly to enlist in a regiment just forming. Second, that the great land-case is decided in favor of the heirs of the late Malachi Withers."

"Your partner must have known about it yesterday?"

"He did, even before I knew it. He thought himself possessed of a very important document, as you know, of which he has made, or means to make, some use. You are aware of the artifice I employed to prevent any possible evil consequences from any action of his. I have the genuine document, of course. I wish you to go over with me to The Poplars, and I should be glad to have good old Father Pemberton go with us; for it is a serious matter, and will be a great surprise to more than one of the family."

They walked together to the old house, where the old clergyman had lived for more than half a century. He was used to being neglected by the people who ran after his younger colleague; and the attention paid him in asking him to be present on an important occasion, as he understood this to be, pleased him greatly. He smoothed his long white locks, and called a grand-daughter to help make him look fitly for such an occasion, and, being at last got into his grandest Sunday aspect, took his faithful staff, and set out with the two gentlemen for The Poplars. On the way, Mr. Penhallow explained to him the occasion of their visit, and the general character of the facts he had to announce. He wished the venerable minister to prepare Miss Silence Withers for a revelation which would materially change her future prospects. He thought it might be well, also, if he would say a few words to Myrtle Hazard, for whom a new life, with new and untried temptations, was about to open. His business was, as a lawyer, to make known to these parties the facts just come to his own knowledge affecting their interests. He had asked Mr. Gridley to go with him, as having intimate relations with one of the parties referred to, and as having been the principal agent in securing to that party