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CONCERNING DISAPPOINTMENT AND SUCCESS.
, its you are once more! I saw you, prime:' and I think that in these golden and brown, in the afternoon words the picture presented to the sunshine to-day. Crisp leaves were mind of an untravelled Briton, is not falling, as I went along the foot- the red grapes hanging in blushing path through the woods: crisp profusion, but rather the brown, feaves lie upon the green graves in and crimson, and golden woods, in the churchyard, fallen from the the warm October sunshine. So, ashes : and on the shrubbery walks, you russet woods of autumn, you crisp leaves from the beeches, accu- are welcome once more; welcome mulated where the grass bounds with all your peculiar beauty, so the gravel, make a warm edging, gently enjoyable by all men and irregular, but pleasant to see. It women who have not used up life; is not that one is tired of sum- and with all your lessons, so unobmer:. but there is something trusive, so touching, that have come soothing and pleasing about home to the heart of human genethe autumn days. There is a rations for many thousands of great clearness of the atmo- years. Yesterday was Sunday; and sphere sometimes; sometimes a I was preaching to my simple subdued, grey light is diffused rustics an autumn sermon from the everywhere. In the country, there text We all do fade as a leaf. As is often, on these afternoons, a re- I read out the text, through a halfmarkable stillness in the air, amid opened window near me, two large which you can hear a withering withered oak-leaves silently floated leaf rustling down. I will not into the little church in the view of think that the time of bare branches all the congregation. I could not and brown grass is so very near as but pause for a minute, till they yet ; Nature is indeed decaying, should preach their sermon before but now we have decay only in its I began mine. How simply, how beautiful stage, wherein it is pen- unaffectedly, with what natural sive, but not sad. It is but early pathos they seemed to tell their in October; and we, who live in story! It seemed as if they said, the country all through the winter, Ah you human beings, something please ourselves with the belief besides us is fading; here we are, That October is one of the finest the things like which you fade! months of the year, and that we And now, upon this evening, a have many warm, bright, still days little sobered by the thought that yet before us. Of course we know this is the fourth October which We are practising upon ourselves a has seen this hand writing away cheerful, transparent delusion; even at an article for the only magazine as the man of forty-eight often de- for which I ever wrote, or ever will clares that about forty-eight or write, I sit down to begin an essay fifty is the prime of life. I like to which is to be written leisurely, as remember that Mrs. Hemans was recreation and not as work. I do describing October, when she began not intend to finish this essay exher beautiful poem on The Battle cept just in time for the January of Morgarten, by saying that “The number of Fraser, so I have plenty
VOL LXI. NO, CCCLXI.
of time, and I shall never have to remember when I wrote down their write under pressure.
That is names, what a vast amount, as I pleasant.
And I write under an- fancied, I had to say about them : other feeling, more pleasing and and all experience failed to make encouraging still. I think that in me feel that unless those thoughts these lines I am addressing many were seized and chronicled at once, unknown friends, who, though they would go away and never knowing nothing more of me than come back again. How rich the they can learn from the pages of subjects appeared to me, I well rethis magazine, have come gradually member! Now they are lifeless, not to think of me as a stranger. I stupid things, of which it is imposwish here to offer my thanks to sible to make anything. Before, many whose letters, though they they were like a hive, buzzing with were writing only to a shadow, millions of bees. Now they are have spoken in so kindly a fashion like the empty hive, when the life of the writer's slight contributions, and stir and bustle of the bees are that they have given me much en- gone. O friendly reader, what a joyment in the reading, and much loss it was to you, that the writer encouragement to go on. To all did not at once sit down and sketch my correspondents, whether named out his essays, Concerning Things or nameless, I now, in a moral sense, Slowly Learnt ; and Concerning extend a friendly hand. As to the Growing Old ! And two other question sometimes put, who the subjects of even greater value were, writer is, that is of no consequence. Concerning the Practical Effect of But as to what he is, I think, intel- Illogical Reasons, and An Estimate ligent readers of his essays, you of the Practical Influence of False will gradually and easily see that. Assertions. How the hive was buzz
It is a great thing to write lei- ing when these titles were written surely, and with a general feeling down: but now I really hardly reof kindliness and satisfaction with member anything of what I meant everybody ; but there is a further to say, and what I remember apreason why one should set to work pears wretched stuff. The efferat once. I feel I must write now, vescence has gone from the chambefore my subject loses its inte
pagne ; it is flat and dead. Still, rest; and before the multitude of it is possible that these subjects thoughts, such as they are, which may recover their interest; and the have been clustering round it since author hereby gives notice that he it presented itself this afternoon in reserves the right of producing an that walk through the woods, have essay upon each of them. Let no faded away. It is an unhappy one else infringe his vested claims. thing, but it is the fact with many There is one respect in which I men, that if you do not seize your have often thought that there is a fancies whe they come to you, curious absence of analogy between and preserve them upon the written the moral and the material worlds. page, you lose them altogether. You are in a great excitement They go away, and never come about something or other; you are back. A little while ago I pulled immensely interested in reaching out a drawer in this table whereon some aim ; you are extremely angry I write ; and I took out of it a and ferocious at some piece of consheet of paper, on which there are duct ; let us suppose.
Well, the written down various subjects for result is that you cannot take a essays. Several are marked with a sound, clear, temperate view of the large cross; these are the essays circumstances ; you cannot see the which are beyond the reach of fate: case rightly; you actually do see it they are written and printed. very wrongly. You wait till a week Several others have no cross ; these or å month passes ; till some disare the subjects of essays which tance, in short, intervenes between are yet to be written. But upon you and the matter; and then your four of those subjects I look at excitement, your fever, your wrath, once with interest and sorrow. I have gone down, as the matter has
1860.] Undoubted Facts.
3 lost its freshness; and now you respect the analogy between the see the case calmly, you see it very moral and the material fails? differently indeed from the fashion I am going to write Concerning in which you saw it first; you con
Disappointment and Success. In clude that now you see it rightly. the days when I studied metaOne can think temperately now of physics, I should have objected to the atrocities of the mutineers in that title, inasmuch as the antitheIndia. It does not now quicken sis is imperfect between the two your pulse to think of them. You things named in it. Disappointhave not now the burning desire ment and Success are not properly you once felt, to take a Sepoy by antithetic; Failure and Success the throat and cut him to pieces are. Disappointment is the feeling with a cat-of-nine-tails. The com- caused by failure, and caused also mon consent of mankind has de- by other things besides failure. cided that you have now attained Failure is the thing; disappointthe right view. I ask, is it certain ment is the feeling caused by the that in all cases the second thought thing; while success is the thing, is the best ;—is the right thought, as and not the feeling. But such well as the calmest thought? Would minute points apart, the title I have it be just to say (which would be chosen brings out best the subject the material analogy) that you have about which I wish to write. And the best view of some great rocky a very wide subject it is; and one island when you have sailed away of universal interest. from it till it has turned to a blue I suppose that no one will discloud on the horizon ; rather than pute the fact that in this world when its granite and heather are there are such things as disappointfull in view, close at hand ? I am ment and success. I do not mean not sure that in every case the merely that each man's lot has its calmer thought is the right thought, share of both ; I mean that there the distant view the right view. are some men whose life on the You have come to think indif- whole is a failure, and that there ferently of the personal injury, of are others whose life on the whole the act of foul cruelty and false- is a
You and I, my hood, which once roused you to reader, know better than to think flaming indignation.
that life is a lottery; but those thinking rightly too? or has not who think it a lottery, must see just such an illusion been practised that there are human beings who upon your mental view, as is played draw the prizes, and others who upon your bodily eye when looking draw the blanks. I believe in luck, over ten miles of sea upon Staffa ? and ill luck, as facts ; of course I You do not see the basaltic columns do not believe the theory upon now; but that is because you see which common
consent builds wrongly. You do not burn at the these facts. There is, of course, no remembrance of the wicked lie, the such thing as chance ; this world
2 crafty misrepresentation, the cruel is driven with far too tight a rein blow; but perhaps you ought to to permit of anything whatsoever
And now (to speak of less falling out in a way properly forgrave matters) when all I had to tuitous. But it cannot be desay about Growing Old seems very nied that there are persons with poor, do I see it rightly? Do I see whom everything goes well, and it as my reader would always have other persons with whom everyseen it? Or has it faded into false- thing goes ill. There are people hood, as well as into distance and
who invariably win at what are dimness? When I look back, and called games of chance. There are see my thoughts as trash, is it be- people who invariably lose. You cause they are trash and no better? remember when Sydney Smith lay When I look back, and see Ailsa as on his death-bed, how he suddenly a cloud, is it because it is a cloud startled the watchers by it, by and nothing more? or is it, as I breaking a long silence with a senhave already suggested, that in one tence from one of his sermons, re