Hair Chains, It
was really a
It was really a magnificent ball! The host had determined that his
entertainment should minister to all the senses of his guests, and had
succeeded so well that there was only room to regret there were but five
senses to be gratified. Only five gates in the fortified wall within
which the shy soul intrenches itself, where an attack may be made. And
even when these are all carried by storm, there are sometimes inner
citadels, impregnable to the magic torrent streaming through the
Beautiful Gates, where she may survey intruders with calm disdain. In
vain floods of delicious intoxication beat against her lofty retreat:
she calmly analyzes the sweet poison, (as she thinks it,) separates and
retains the solid fact whose solution had enriched the otherwise barren
stream, and indifferently suffers the rest to flow by. These are the
souls of philosophers and wise men, who never are drowned, never
surprised. But the bountiful host had not cared only for these grand
super-sensual people, but had striven perfectly to satisfy the eyes, the
ears, the noses, the palates of the more numerous throng of weaker folk,
whose inner fortifications were not so well defended. Hundreds of wax
candles illuminated the far-reaching saloons with soft lustre. The walls
were tinted with the most delicate hues, that afforded a pleasant cool
background to the blazing rooms, and relieved the rich colors of the
pictures. In all the pictures adorning the walls, the eye revelled in
the luxurious coloring, careless of the absence of distinctness of form
and grand pure outline. Scenes in the dark heart of tropical forests,
the dense green foliage here and there startlingly relieved by a bright
scarlet flower or the brilliant plumage of a songless bird,—gorgeous
sunsets on American prairies, where the rolling purple ground contrasted
with the crimson and golden glories of eventide,—vivid sketches along
the Mediterranean, the blue sea embracing the twin sky,—vineyards
ripening under the mellow Italian sun,—fields of yellow wheat bending
to the sickles of English reapers,—and sometimes, half hidden by the
folds of a heavy crimson curtain, one was startled to discover the
solemn icebergs and everlasting snows of the Arctic regions. The
wood-work of all the rooms was of dark oak, so that each appeared with
its brilliantly dressed company to be a flashing gem set in a rich
casket. A shadow of music wandered through the air, sometimes blended
with the sound of the falling fountain in the green-house, sometimes
almost absorbed in the fragrance of the flowers.
For two hours the carriages had been steadily streaming under the
archway, and pouring their fair occupants, gauzy as summer, into the
blazing saloons. The flashing candelabra drew the poor little moths from
the outermost corners into the central vortex of light. Dazzled by the
hot radiance, they strove to retreat again into the cool conservatories
and side-rooms; but at that moment threads of music that had been
carelessly winding through the crowd were caught up by an unseen hand
and knotted,—and behold! already the moths found themselves imprisoned
in a strong net-work of sound, whose intricate meshes entangled the
rooms and the company, and the very light itself. The light, however,
was too subtile for long confinement; it slipped along the melodious
mazes, and melted into the rich odor that exhaled from the roses and
jessamines in the conservatory. The light was a welcome visitor to the
hyacinths and roses, obliged to hide in torturing silence in the still
green-house, pouring out their passionate dumb life in intensity of
fragrance. A life just hovering on the borders of the world, and yet
forbidden to enter! But, bathed in the glowing effulgence of the light,
this invisible fragrance could be born, and enter the visible world as
color. For the fragrance is the unborn soul of the flower; color, that
soul arrested in its restless wanderings,—embodied fragrance. Then
the colors upon the purple hyacinths and white jessamines, and the
flashing gems that rested on white bosoms like glittering drops of ice
upon a snow-wreath, and the sheen of rustling silks, and the gilded
picture-frames, and the florid carpets, and the twinkling feet on the
carpets' roses, and the flushing of roses in the dancers' cheeks, and
the radiant heads of the white-robed girls, ran into one another,
blending into an intensity of color that dimmed itself. And the music
still kept spinning and spinning, and finally wove in the color and
fragrance and light with its subtile self; and the background of the
woof was the hum and murmur of voices, and the continual rustling of
feet. No wonder the poor moths were ensnared in such bewilderment!
Do you pity the captives? But it is a delicious imprisonment, and its
fullest delights cannot be realized except by prisoners. In the vast
halls of Intellect and Reason one may indeed be master, marching (a
little chilled perhaps) with firm step and head erect. But on these
enchanted grounds there is no medium between a wretched clearness of
insight that reduces every curve to a number of straight lines, all
clouds to precipitated vapor, all rainbows to an oblique coincidence
between a sunbeam and a drop of water, and a total surrender of self to
the influences of the flitting moment.
Away with these fellows, who would force their miserable microscopes
before the eyes of these happy gauzy moths!—to-night is only the time
for spinning cobwebs. Hold your breath, philosopher, lest you sweep them
away too rudely! Alas for the airy cobwebs! In that cool anteroom is a
philosopher's broom, hard at work, brushing them remorselessly into a
perplexing dilemma,—the frightful increase of the human race.
"If," said the philosopher, emphatically, "if there were any prospect
of emigrating to the moon, there would be some hope; but in the present
state of affairs we shall soon be eating our own heads off, as the
proverb says. Europe is almost exhausted, the ultima Thule of arable
territory in America has been reached, Asia barely supports her own
immense population; nothing is left but Africa, and she presents a
merely hopeful prospect for the future. In a hundred years, what will
society do for breadstuffs?"
"Live on rice and potatoes," suggested Anthrops.
"Rash boy, and check the advance of civilization! Have you not reflected
that the culture of wheat has been an inseparable adjunct to progress
and refinement? The difficulties required to be overcome in preparing
the ground and sowing the grain promote prudence, foresight, and care."
"It is certainly hard work enough to dig potatoes," quoth Anthrops.
The philosopher passed over the interruption with a dignified wave of
the hand, and continued:—
"The watching and waiting, during its progress to maturity, necessarily
produce that patience which is so essential to all scientific effort;
and the graceful loveliness of the plant in its various stages of growth
materially assists in developing that love for the beautiful which is a
necessary element in all harmonious individual or social character. Now
what aesthetic culture can you evolve from that stubbed, straggling weed
you call the potato?"
The discomfited pupil meekly suggested that he had been considering the
dietetic, not the aesthetic properties of the despised vegetable.
"Impossible to separate them, Sir!" cried the philosopher. "If, indeed,
you could fill the stomach without the intervention of any process of
brain or hand, they might be considered apart. But consider the position
of the stomach. Like a Persian monarch, it occupies the centre of the
system; despotic from its remote situation and the absolute power it
exercises, all parts of the external organism are its ministers: the
feet must run for its daily food, the hands must prepare that food with
cunning devices, the brain must direct the operations of feet and hands.
Now, unlearned youth, wilt thou contend that the degree of refinement
evinced by attention or indifference to the niceties of cooking, and so
forth, has no bearing upon the character of the man and the race? Take
as a standard the method of immediately conveying the food to the mouth,
as it has progressed from barbarism. First, fingers; then, pieces of
bark; then, rough wooden spoons, knives, two-pronged steel forks;
and lastly, an epitome of civilization in each one that is used,
five-pronged silver forks, evincing both the increased complexity of the
nature that devises the extra prongs, and the refinement of taste that
insists upon the silver. It is impossible to use wheat in any of its
preparations," ("With five-pronged forks," murmured his attentive pupil
parenthetically,) "without at least a piece of bark, for mixing and
cooking, if not for eating. But in devouring potatoes, we are—I shudder
to think of it—each moment upon the brink of being reduced to the
absolute savageness of fingers. No, Sir! the moon and wheat both failing
us, there is but one method of escaping universal famine,—peremptory
reduction of the population."
Anthrops started; in that country murder was a capital offence.
"I do not mean," continued the philosopher, serenely, "by any forcible
diminution of the existing populace: unfortunately, the vulgar
prejudices in favor of life are so strong, owing to the miserable
preponderance of the Egoistic over the Altruistic instincts, that such
an expedient would be unadvisable. I refer to the"—
"What splendid hair!" suddenly exclaimed his young companion, starting
forward with great animation to gain a nearer glimpse of its beauties.
The owner had stopped for a moment in passing the secluded couple,
and the rich chestnut head was presented in clear relief against the
confused mass of color and light that streamed through the doorway of
the saloon. The billows of hair rose from purple depths of shadow into
gleaming crests of golden light, and fell away again in long undulations
into the whirlpool of the knot.
While Anthrops was feasting his rapt eyes on the lovely picture, some
treacherous fastening gave way, and the whole wavy mass overflowed upon
the white shoulders. Then there was bustling and officious assistance,
then there was flitting of maidens and crowding of men. They did not
care that the hair of the Naiads in the waterfall outside of the city
floated all day long over the glittering green waters, or that the
soughing grass in the marsh stream lazily swayed to and fro always in
sleepy ripples, or that the waving tresses of the weeping-willows were
even then sweeping dreamily through the colored air: they cared for none
of these things; but how eager and anxious were they to gain one glimpse
of her,—fairer in her blushing confusion than before in her stately
loveliness! She wound up the long tresses in her hand, and was
retreating to the dressing-room, when the music, which had paused for a
moment, renewed itself in an inspiriting waltz. Anthrops, forgetful of
wheat, potatoes, and universal famine, rushed forward to claim her hand
for the dance. The lady sighed, the waltz was so lovely, the young
man so attractive, but—her hair? She really must arrange that before
anything could be determined in any other direction. And she started
backwards in her embarrassment to reach the stairs, and slipped into a
little anteroom by mistake. There was but one door; so, when Anthrops
followed her in, she could not get out, without at least hearing an
additional reason for dancing.
"The waltz will be finished," urged Anthrops. "Take this little dagger,
and wind your hair around that; it will be a fitting ornament for you."
As he spoke, he drew from his pocket a small dagger, a toy, but richly
carved at the hilt, and offered it to the maiden. He had bought it that
day for a little nephew, and had happened to leave it in his pocket.
Doubtless, had the waltz been less enticing, or the youth less handsome,
or the little anteroom less secluded, Haguna would have rejected the odd
assistance. But, as it was, she accepted the jewelled toy, and in a few
minutes had dexterously hidden the tiny blade with the thick coils of
hair, just leaving the curiously carved face on the hilt to emerge from
its shadowy nestling-place.
With the readjustment of her tresses, Haguna recovered the marvellously
defensive self-possession that had been momentarily disturbed. So
subtile and indefinable was the curious atmosphere that surrounded her,
that, while it could be almost destroyed by the consciousness of a
disordered toilet, yet the keenest eye could not penetrate beneath it,
the most confident demeanor could not impress it, once reestablished.
Anthrops did not notice the change that had taken place in her aspect.
Was it not enjoyment enough to whirl through the maddening mazes of the
dance, into still deeper entanglements in the mysterious web that now
had immeshed the saloons, borne irresistibly along the rapid torrent of
music, through crowds swept in eddying circles by fresh gusts of sound,
like leaves blown about by the west wind,—at first in low, wide, slow
rounds, then whirling faster and faster, higher and higher, until the
spiral coil suddenly terminated, and the music and motion fell exhausted
It was quite another thing to return to his friend the philosopher, who
was now in a very bad humor.
"Such fooling!" he cried, when Anthrops came back much exhilarated.
"That woman is the plague of my life! See," he continued, sarcastically,
"I picked up one of the ugly little pins that she fastens her hair with;
perhaps you might like it for a keepsake."
Anthrops snatched eagerly at the little black thing his old friend held
contemptuously balanced on his fingers, but dropped it immediately. Such
a miserable thing to hold those glorious tresses! His dagger was better.
The recollection that it was his dagger that now confined them dispelled
the chill which the irate philosopher had thrown over his glowing
excitement; he submissively proposed a return to potatoes, piling up
famine and wheat over the one little thought that diffused such a
delicious warmth through his breast; as charcoal-burners heap dead ashes
over their fire, to hide it from the rough intrusion of chilling winds.
The nest day Haguna sent back the dagger, with a little note, thanking
the owner in graceful terms.
"Your graceful politeness last evening, Herr Anthrops, saved me much
perplexity, and procured me a delightful waltz. One should indeed be
well protected by fortune, to find so readily such a courteous little
sword," ("She does not know the difference between a sword and a
dagger," thought Anthrops, and he was pleased at her ignorance,) "to
supply one's awkward deficiencies." (Anthrops slightly winced as he
thought of the little black pins.) "The old man on the hilt is really
charming. I actually was obliged to kiss him at parting, he looked so
kindly and pleasantly at me. Besides, he was my true benefactor; and
my grandmother has often told me, that in her day maidens were very
properly more expressive in their gratitude than now." (Anthrops
fervently longed for a retrogression in the calendar.) "And I really
think my old friend must have been alive then, and have been changed
into wood, on purpose to preserve his looks till I could see him. It
would be a right pleasant destiny, when one begins to grow old and ugly,
to be transformed into wood, and carved as one would wish to appear
perpetually. And happier fate still, like Philemon and Baucis, to change
into living trees, and flourish for hundreds of years in youth and
vigor. There are willow-trees growing on the banks of the river that may
easily have been girls who wept themselves into trees, because their
hair would soon be gray, and they have exchanged it for tresses of
green. Near those willow-trees the princely stranger who has lately
occupied the castle will next week give a boating fête, to which I
am invited; I suppose you also, courteous Sir, will be present, a
knight-errant for distressed damsels?
Anthrops kissed the little old man on the dagger's hilt again and again,
and made two equally firm, but entirely disconnected resolutions,
simultaneously: namely, never to give his nephew the intended present,
and by all means to be at the boat-fête the following week.
The day of the fête arrived,—a clear, lovely day in early June. The
host had provided for the accommodation of his guests a number of boats
of different sizes, holding two, three, or a dozen people, according to
the fancy of the voyagers. Anthrops, descending the flight of steps that
led to the river, came unexpectedly upon his old friend the philosopher,
apparently emerging from the side of the hill.
"I expected you here," said he; "are you going on the river?"
Anthrops replied in the affirmative.
"Haguna is here, and I have come to exact a promise that you will not
sail with her. You will repent it, if you do."
"Better than starvation is a feast and repentance," cried the young man,
gayly. "What harm is there in the girl? Though, to be sure, I had no
particular intention of sailing with her."
"It would be of no use to warn you explicitly," said his friend; "you
would not believe me. But you must not go."
"Nay, good father," returned the youth, a little vexed,—"it is
altogether too unreasonable to expect me to obey like a child; give me
one good reason why I should avoid her as if she had the plague, and I
promise to be guided by you."
"All women have some plague-spot," said the philosopher, sententiously.
"Well, then, I may as well be infected by her as by any one," cried
Anthrops, lightly, and was rushing down the steps again, when the
philosopher caught him by the arm.
"Follow me," he said; "you will not believe, but still you may see."
He led the way down to the river, and, the youth still following,
entered one of the gayly trimmed row-boats and pushed from shore. The
boat seemed possessed by the will of its master, and, needing no other
guide or impetus, floated swiftly into the centre of the channel.
Obeying the same invisible helmsman, it there paused and rocked gently
backwards and forwards as over an unseen anchor. The philosopher drew
from his pocket a small cup and dipped up a little water. He then
handed it to the youth, and bade him look at it through a strong
magnifying-glass, which he also gave him. Anthrops was surprised to find
a white dust in the bottom of the cup.
"Ah!" said his companion, answering his look of inquiry, "it is
bone-dust; and now you may see where it comes from."
Anthrops looked through the magnifying-glass, as he was directed, at the
river itself, and found he could clearly see the sand at the bottom.
He was horrified at seeing the yellow surface strewn with human bones,
bleached by long exposure to the running water.
"Alas!" he exclaimed, sorrowfully, "have so many noble youths perished
in these treacherous waters? That golden sand might be ruddy with the
blood of its numerous victims!"
"Don't be blaming the innocent waters, simple boy!" half sneered
the philosopher. "Lay the blame where it is due, upon the artful
river-nixes. Since the creation of the world, the stream has flowed
tranquilly between these banks; and during that time do you not suppose
that these fair alluring sprites have had opportunity to entice such
silly boys as you into the cool green water there below?"
Anthrops gazed long into the still, cruel depths of the river, held
spell-bound by a horrible fascination; at last he raised his head, and,
drawing a long sigh of relief, exclaimed,—
"Thank fortune, Haguna is no water-nix!"
"What!" cried the angry philosopher, "your mind still running upon that
silly witch? Can you learn no wisdom from the fate of other generations
of fools, but must yourself add another to the catalogue? She is more
dangerous than the nixes: the snares which they laid for their victims
were cobwebs, compared to the one she is weaving for you. You admire her
hair, forsooth! The silk of the Indian corn is a fairer color, spiders'
webs are finer, and the back of the earth-mole is softer; yet in your
eyes nothing will compare with it."
"The silk of the Indian corn is golden, but coarse and rough; the
threads of the spider's web are fine, but dull and gray; the satin hair
of the blind mole is lifeless and stiff. Let me go, old man! I care
nothing for your fancied dangers. I shall row her to-day; that is
pleasure enough." And he attempted to seize the unused oar.
"Once more, pause! Reflect upon what you are leaving: the pleasures of
tranquil meditation, the keen excitements of science, the entrancing
delights of philosophy. All these you must abandon, if you leave me
Anthrops hesitated a moment.
"How so?" he asked.
"He who is devoted to philosophy must share his soul with no other
mistress. No restlessness, no longing after an unseen face, no feverish
anxiety for the love or approval of an earthly maiden must disturb the
balanced calm of his absorbed mind"—
"Herr Anthrops, Herr Anthrops, how you have forgotten your engagement!"
She was in a boat that had pushed up close to them unawares. Some girls
and young men occupied the bows. Haguna was leaning over the stern and
waving her hand to Anthrops. So suddenly had she appeared, that it was
as if she had risen out of the rippling river, and the ripples still
seemed to undulate on her sunny hair and laughing dimpled face: so fresh
and bright and fair she seemed in that glad June morning. What did it
matter whether he reasoned rightly on any subject?
"Let me go!" he exclaimed to his companion. "Farewell, philosophy!
farewell, science! I have chosen."
To his surprise, he discovered that he was suddenly quite alone in the
boat. The philosopher had disappeared,—whether by waxen wings, or an
invisible cap, or any of the other numerous contrivances of many-wiled
philosophers, he did not stop to consider, but hastened to join Haguna
and her companions.
"You are a welcome addition to our company," said Haguna, graciously
reaching out her white hand; "but you choose strange companions. An old
gray owl flew out of your boat a moment ago, scared to find himself
abroad in such a pleasant sunlight. I confess I don't altogether
admire your taste, not being an orni"—
She appealed in pretty perplexity to the student to help her out of the
difficulty into which she had fallen by her rash attempt at large words.
—"Thologist," added Anthrops, much wondering at these new tricks of
the philosopher,—and then again he so much the more applauded his own
wisdom in exchanging for her society the company of an old owl.
So all the day long he stayed by her, all the day long he followed her,
rowing or walking or dancing, or sitting by her under the willows on the
banks of the river. The soft breeze routed her shining hair from its
compact masses; it touched his cheek as he knelt beside her to pull
up the tough-rooted columbine that resisted her fingers; her fragrant
breath mingled with the odor of the sweet-scented violets that he
plucked for her; the trailing tresses of the mournful willow, swaying in
the breeze, brushed them both; the murmuring water at their feet heard a
new tale as it flowed past her, and babbled it to him, adding delicious
nonsense of its own, endless variations upon the same sweet theme. How
happy he was that day! It came to an end, of course; but its death
scattered the seeds of other days, that sprang up in gracious profusion,
yielding dear delights of flower and fruit. All over his garden these
bright plants grew, gradually triumphing over and expelling the coarser
and ruder vegetables.
Nothing but flowers would he cultivate now,—and cared not even that
they should be perennials, if only the present blooming were gay and
One June day, Anthrops joined a pleasure-seeking equestrian party, who
rode from the town to spend the day in the woods. What a lovely day it
was! The pure, fresh air seemed to contain the very essence of the life
it inspired, life drained of all impurity and sadness and foulness
by the early summer rains, the springing joyous life of the delicate
wood-flowers. The strong trees in the leafy woods trembled with
happiness in their boughs and tender sprays; the carolling birds poured
forth their brimming songs from full hearts. And upon the interlacing
greenery of the shrubbery, and the lichens upon the trees, and the soft
moss covering with jealous tenderness the bare places in the ground,
the slant sunbeams glittered in the early morning dew. As Anthrops rode
along silently by the side of Haguna, an inexpressible joyfulness filled
his heart; the light, round, white clouds nestling in the deep bosom of
the sky, the faint, delicious odor of the woods, the rustling, murmuring
presence that forever dwelt there, all made him unspeakably glad and
light-hearted. As he rode, he began to sing a little song that he had
learned awhile before.
We rushed from the mountain,
The streamlet and I,
We scarcely knew why,—
Till we met a dear maiden,
Whose beauty divine
Stilled with great quiet
This wild heart of mine;
And awed and astonished
To peacefulness sweet,
The fierce mountain-torrent
Lay still at her feet."
"A right rare power for beauty to possess!" laughed Haguna. "Are you so
restless that you need this soothing, fair Sir?"
A deep, sweet smile gushed out from his eyes and illumined his face.
He stretched out his arms lovingly into the warm air, as if he thus
infolded some rich joy, and answered, musingly,—
"In ordinary action, thought, and feeling,—we are too conscious of
ourselves, we are perplexed with the miserable little 'I,' that, by
claiming deed and thought for its own work, makes it little and mean.
But the wondrous Beautiful comes to us entirely from outside; our very
contemplation of it does not belong to us; we are overpowered
and conquered by the vast idea that broods over us. And so that
contemplation is pure happiness."
Haguna laughed a little, and a little wondered what he meant; then
"You must value yourself very modestly, to consider your greatest
happiness to consist in losing your self-consciousness,—unless,
indeed, like Polycrates, you hope to insure future prosperity by
sacrificing your most valuable possession."
"If so, I, like Polycrates, am the gainer by my own precaution; for, in
your presence, dear lady, do I first truly find my right consciousness."
She clapped her hands gleefully, wilfully misunderstanding his meaning.
"Most complimentary of monarchs! So I am the haggard old fisherman who
replaced the lost bawble in the royal treasury! Pray, Sire, remember the
pension with which I should be rewarded!" And she bowed low, in mock
courtesy to her companion.
"Nay," rejoined Anthrops, vexed that his earnest compliment should be so
mishandled,—"blame your own perversity for such an interpretation. At
your side I forget that I live for any other purpose than to look at
you, and lavish my whole soul in an intensity of gazing; and then the
presumptuous thought, that you like to have me near you, nay, are
sometimes even pleased to talk to me, gives my poor self a value in my
own eyes, for the kindness you show me."
"I know all that well enough," said Haguna, quietly. "But in the mean
while, dear Anthrops, you must remember that it is really impolite to
stare so much."
By this time they had ridden deep into the still woods. Following the
light current of their talking, they wound in and out among the green
trees, under their broad arching boughs,—now following the path, now
beating a new track over the short grass mixed with the crisp gray moss.
The sunlight glanced shyly through the fluttering leaves, weaving with
their delicate shadows a rare tracery on the grass. The pattern was so
intricate and yet so suggestive, they were sure that some strange legend
was written there in mysterious characters,—something holding a fateful
reason for their ride together in the green woods. But just as they had
almost deciphered the secret, the broidered shadow disappeared under a
bush, leaving them in new perplexity. They looked for the story in the
windings of the checkerberry-vine and blue-eyed periwinkle, on the
lichens curiously growing on the boles of aged trees; but for all these
they had no dictionary. So they strayed on and on, in the endless
mazes of the forest, till they became entirely separated from their
companions, and lost all clue for recovering the path.
Anthrops looked in some perplexity at Haguna, to see if she were alarmed
at this position of affairs. He was rather surprised to find, that, far
from being discouraged, she seemed highly to enjoy the dilemma. She
leaned forward a little on her horse, her one gloved hand, dropping the
reins on his neck, nestled carelessly in his mane, while the forefinger
of the other hand rested on her lip, with a comical expression of mock
anxiety, as she looked inquiringly at Anthrops.
"I think," finally exclaimed Anthrops, "that we had better push straight
through the woods. We cannot go far without discovering some road that
will lead us back to the city."
"Nobly resolved, courageous Sir! But first tell me how we shall pass
this first barrier that besets our onward march."
And she pointed the end of the riding-whip that hung at her wrist to a
mass of brambles which formed an impenetrable wall immediately in their
path. Anthrops rubbed his eyes, for he could scarce believe that this
thicket had been there before; it seemed to have grown up suddenly while
he turned his head. He then tried to retrace his steps, but was thrown
into fresh perplexity by discovering that the trees seemed to have
closed in around them, so that he could find no opening for a horse.
"It seems evident to me," said Haguna, "that we must dismount, and find
our way on foot. If now we could have deciphered the hieroglyphs of the
shadows, we might have avoided this misfortune."
As cool water upon the brow of a fevered man, fell the clear tones
of her voice upon Anthrops, bewildered and confused by the sudden
enchantment. She, indeed, called it a misfortune, but so cheerily and
gayly that her voice belied the term; and Anthrops insensibly plucked up
heart, and shook off somewhat of that paralyzing astonishment.
He assisted her to dismount, and, leaving the horses to their fate,
they together hunted for some opening in the dense thicket. After much
search, Anthrops succeeded in discovering a small gap in the brambles,
through which he and Haguna crept, but only into fresh perplexity. They
gained a path, but with it no prospect of rejoining their companions;
for it wound an intricate course between ramparts of vine-covered
shrubbery, that shut it in on either side and intercepted all extended
view. The way was too narrow to admit of more than one person passing at
a time; and as Haguna happened to have emerged first from the thicket,
she boldly took the lead, following the path until they emerged into a
more open part of the forest, where the undulating ground was entirely
free from underbrush, and the eye roamed at pleasure through the wide
glades. Haguna followed some unseen waymarks with sure step, still
tacitly compelling Anthrops to follow her without inquiry. As she sped
lightly over the turf, she began to hum a little song:—
"Nodding flowers, and tender grass,
Bend and let the lady pass!
Lighter than the south-wind straying,
In the spring, o'er leaves decaying,
Seeking for his ardent kisses
One small flower that he misses,
Will I press your snowy bosoms,
Dainty, darling little blossoms!"
Singing thus, she descended a little hill, and, gliding round its base,
disappeared under a thick grape-vine that swung across it from two lofty
elms on either side. A spider in conscious security had woven his web
across the archway formed by the drooping festoons of the vine; the
untrodden path was overgrown with moss. Haguna lifted up the vine
and passed under, beckoning Anthrops to follow. He heard her still
"Quick unclasp your tendrils clinging,
Stealthily the trees enringing!
I have learnt your wily secret:
I will use it, I shall keep it!
Cunning spider, cease your spinning!
My web boasts the best beginning.
Yours is wan and pale and ashen:
After no such lifeless fashion
Mine is woven. Golden sunbeams
Prisoned in its meshes, light gleams
From its shadowest recesses.
Tell me, spider, made you ever
Web so strong no knife could sever
Woven of a maiden's tresses?"
On the other side of the viny curtain, Anthrops discovered the entrance
to a large cavern hollowed out in a rock. The cavern was carpeted with
the softest moss of the most variegated shades, ranging from faintest
green to a rich golden brown. The rocky walls were of considerable
height, and curved gracefully around the ample space,—a woodland
apartment. But the most remarkable feature in the grotto was a
rose-colored cloud, that seemed to have been imprisoned in the farther
end, and, in its futile efforts to escape, shifted perpetually into
strange, fantastic figures. Now, the massive form of the Israelitish
giant appeared lying at the feet of the Philistine damsel; anon, the
kingly shoulders of the swift-footed Achilles towered helplessly above
the heads of the island girls. The noble head of Marcus Antoninus bowed
in disgraceful homage before his wife; the gaunt figure of the stern
Florentine trembled at the footsteps of the light Beatrice; the sister
of Honorius, from the throne of half the world, saluted the sister
of Theodosius, grasping the sceptre of the other half in her slender
fingers. Every instance of weak compliance with the whims, of devoted
subjection to the power, of destructive attention to the caprices of
women by men, since Eve ruined her lord with the fatal apple, was
whimsically represented by the rapid configurations of this strange
Anthrops presently discovered Haguna half reclining on a raised
moss-seat, and dreamily running her white fingers through her hair,
which now fell unchecked to her feet. He had lost sight of her but a
few minutes, yet in that short time a strange change had come over her.
Perhaps it was because her rippling hair, which, slightly stirred by the
faint air of the cavern, rose and fell around her in long undulations,
made her appear as if floating in a golden brown haze. Perhaps it was
the familiarity with which she had taken possession of the grotto, as if
it had been a palace that she had expected, prepared for her reception.
But for some reason she appeared a great way off,—no longer a simple
maiden, involved with him in a woodland adventure, but a subtle
enchantress, who, through all the seeming accidents of the day, had
been pursuing a deep-laid plot, and now was awaiting its triumphant
consummation. She did not at first notice Anthrops as he stood in
curious astonishment in the doorway; but presently, looking up, she
motioned him to another place beside herself.
"This is a pleasant place to rest in for a while before we rejoin our
companions," she said; "we are fortunate in finding so pretty a spot."
The natural tone of her frank, girlish voice somewhat dissipated
Anthrops's vague bewilderment, and he accepted the proffered seat at
her side. He for the first time looked attentively at Haguna, as he had
until now been gazing at the shifting diorama behind her. He noticed, to
his surprise, a number of bright shining points, somewhat like stars,
glistening in her hair, and with some hesitation inquired their
nature. Haguna laughed, a low musical laugh, yet with an indescribable
impersonality in it,—as if a spring brook had just then leaped over a
little hill, and were laughing mockingly to itself at its exploit.
"They are souls," she said.
"Dear me!" exclaimed Anthrops; "are souls no bigger than that?"
"How do you know how large they are?" laughed Haguna, beginning to weave
her hair into a curiously intricate braid. "These are but the vital
germs of souls; but I hold them bound as surely by imprisoning these."
"But surely every soul is not so weak; all cannot be so cruelly
Again she laughed, that strange laugh.
"Strong and weak are merely relative terms. There is nothing you know
of so strong that it may not yield to a stronger, and anything can be
captured that is once well laid hold of. I will sing you a song by which
you may learn some of the ways in which other things beside souls are
Still continuing her busy weaving, Haguna began to sing. Except the song
she had hummed in the woods that afternoon, he had never heard her voice
but in speaking, and was astonished at its richness and power; yet it
was a simple chant she sang, that seemed to follow the gliding motion of
"Running waters swiftly flowing,
On the banks fair lilies growing
Watch the dancing sunbeams quiver,
Watch their faces in the river.
Round their long roots, in and out,
The supple river winds about,—
Wily, oily, deep designing,
Their foundations undermining.
Fall the lilies in the river,
Smoothly glides the stream forever."
The subtle song crept into Anthrops's brain, and seemed to spin a web
over it, which, though of lightest gossamer, confined him helplessly in
its meshes. Again she sang:—
"From the swamp the mist is creeping;
Fly the startled sunbeams weeping,
Up the mountain feebly flying,
Paling, waning, fainting, dying.
All their cheerful work undoing,
Crawls the cruel mist pursuing.
Shrouded in a purple dimness,
Quenched the sunlight is in shadow;
Over hill and wood and meadow
Broads the mist in sullen grimness."
She had already woven a great deal of her shining hair into a curious
braid, so broad and intricate as to be almost a golden web. A strange
fascination held Anthrops spell-bound; it was as if her song were
weaving her web, and her fingers chanting her song, and as if both song
and web were made of the wavering cloud that still shifted into endless
dioramas. Once more she sang:—
"Drop by drop the charmed ear tingling,
Rills of music intermingling,
Murmuring in their mazy winding,
All the steeped senses blinding,
Their intricate courses wending,
Closer still the streams are blending.
Down the rapid channel rushing,
Floods of melody are gushing;
Flush the tender rills with gladness,
Drown the listener in sweet madness.
Onward sweeps the eddying singing,
Ever new enchantment bringing.
Break the bubbles on the river,
Faints the wearied sound in darkness;
But, as one that always hearkens,
Floats the charmed soul forever."
As she finished the song, she arose, and threw over the youth the web
of her fatal hair. The charmed song had so incorporated itself with the
odorous air of the cavern, that every breath he drew seemed to be laden
with the subtle music. It oppressed, stifled him; he strove in vain to
escape its influence; and as he felt the soft hair brush his cheek, he
swooned upon the ground.
The philosopher's study was a very different place from the green
wood,—perched up, as it was, on the summit of a bare, bleak mountain.
The room was fitted up with the frugality demanded by philosophic
indifference to luxury, and the abundance necessitated by a wide range
of study. The walls were hung with a number of pictures, in whose
subjects an observer might detect a remarkable similarity. A satirical
pencil had been engaged in depicting some of the most striking instances
of successful manly resistance to female tyranny, of manly contempt for
feminine weakness, of manly endurance of woman-inflicted injury. The
unfortunate Longinus turned with contemptuous pity from the trembling
Zenobia; the valiant Thomas Aquinas hurled his protesting firebrand
against the too charming interruption of his scholastic pursuits; the
redoubtable Conqueror beat his rebellious sweetheart into matrimony.
The flickering light of a wood fire served not merely to illuminate
the actual portraits, but almost to discover the sarcastic face of the
anonymous artist, smiling in triumph from the background. On the hearth
in front of the fire stood the philosopher in earnest conversation with
a venerable friend.
"I am provoked beyond measure," exclaimed our friend, in an exceedingly
vexed tone. "So much as I had hoped from the boy,—that he, too, could
not keep from the silly snare! It is shameful, abominable;—she is
always in my way, upsetting all my plans, interfering with everything I
undertake. Would you believe it? at the death of one of her sisters, the
fools were not content with giving her a funeral good enough for a man,
but they must place her hair in the sky for a constellation!"
"That was indeed an insult to Orion," said his sympathizing friend,
"My hands are absolutely tied," continued the irate philosopher. "I
bestow upon the boys the most careful education, enlarge their minds
by the study of the history and destiny of man, of the world, of the
stellar system, till I may hope that in the contemplation of the
vast universe they have lost their little prejudices and personal
preferences. I strengthen their judgment, assiduously exercise their
powers of ratiocination, fortify their minds with philosophy, train them
to habits of accuracy, patience, and perseverance by long scientific
research; and at the moment when I ought to find them useful as
philosophers, as seekers after eternal Truth, as lovers of imperishable
Wisdom, they degenerate into seekers after eyes and hair and cheeks, and
I know not what nonsense, lovers of frail, perishable women, who appear
to preserve an astonishing longevity on purpose to plague and thwart
His friend pondered deeply upon the vexatious problem.
"You say," he remarked, "that this unfortunate attraction exists in
spite of philosophical training,—that it is exerted towards the
antipodes of their previous associations; that, as they have been
trained to yield only to well-grounded syllogisms, it is the illogical
mode of assault that vanquishes them unguarded; that their reasonable
minds have nothing to say to such, perfectly unreasonable fascinations;
that, in short, the enemy succeeds by supplying a vacuum, as the walls
of Visibis gave way under the pressure of the dammed-up river?"
"Alas, friend, your observations are too true!"
"Then my way becomes clearer. It surely cannot be unknown to you, sagest
of students, that in physical science we oppose a plenum to a vacuum,
in medicine we supply a deficiency of saline secretions by the common
expedient of salt. Wherefore not apply our knowledge painfully gleaned
from lower science to the study of these more complicated phenomena? The
coward who would flee the fire of the enemy may be kept at his post by
the equal dread of death from his commander. Open a double fire upon
these wayward youths. Make the Barbarians enlist in the Roman legions.
In short, teach Haguna and the others philosophy. There will then no
longer be an opposing force of entirely different nature, but merely an
influence of the same kind as he has been accustomed to, though vastly
inferior in power."
The philosopher started,—the idea was so new to him.
"But, my friend," he urged, doubtfully, "do you not remember,
that, after the Romans had painfully learnt ship-building from the
Carthaginians, they vanquished them with their own weapons? Might not
some such danger be apprehended in this case?"
His companion reddened with indignation, then spoke in a tone of mildly
"Are the girls Romans? Do you suppose that in ship-building the silly
little things would ever advance beyond scows? We shall have the double
advantage of the plenum, by their minds being turned in the same
direction as those of our students,—and of the defeat and shipwreck,
through fighting in unseaworthy vessels."
"I have another idea also," observed the philosopher. "Even supposing,
as I must confess there seems to me a possibility, that in a
philosophical tournament, or trial of wits, they should occasionally
come off victorious," (his friend shook his head angrily,) "the effect
of separation that we desire would still be obtained. Haguna would no
longer be able to entangle silly boys in her treacherous hair. Your
suggestion is good; I will act upon it."
After some deliberation, they agreed upon the method of procedure, which
the philosopher immediately began to put into practice.
Shortly after this conversation, invitations were sent to a select
number of the inhabitants of the city to a new kind of entertainment to
be given by the recluse philosopher of the mountain. The entertainment
was to consist of astronomical and chemical exhibitions; the infinitely
great and infinitesimally little were to be conjoined to form an
evening's amusement. Such was the programme; and the eager curiosity
of the select few who were invited brought them punctually to the
philosopher's eyry. Haguna of course was there,—as unconsciously lovely
as if the disappearance of the unfortunate Anthrops were as much
a mystery to her as to the rest of the wondering citizens. The
philosopher, laying aside the brusqueness acquired in his solitude,
devoted himself with the utmost courtesy to the amusement of his guests,
—opened for them dusty cases of butterflies, shells, and rare stones,
which he had collected in his pursuit of the various sciences that
made them a specialty,—placed ponderous tomes open at some curious
or amusing story of otherwise forgotten ages, to arrest the fancy
of elegant literati,—exhibited rare and grotesque curiosities, the
glittering mica that he had picked up in his long researches, as toys
for these idlers of taste.
The flashing gems and gay dresses of the brilliant assemblage
illuminated the dusky old study; the rustling of silks, and the merry
laughter, only a trifle subdued by the novelty of the circumstances, the
eager chattering, the tripping sound of girlish feet darting in and
out of every quaint nook and corner, the varied flow of sprightly
conversation, scared the solemn quiet of the library. Looming down
grimly from the shelves that lined the walls, stood ponderous volumes,
monuments over the graves in which their authors were buried. Oh, the
life's blood that had been wrung into those forgotten pages! Oh, the
eager hope and sickening disappointment, the vehement aspirations,
the intense longings, the bitter hatred, the scorn, the greater than
angelic, the human love and benevolence, the fortitude, the courage, the
whole strange life of hundreds of dead men, that burned between those
thick covers! Often books do not reveal their authors until many years
after their death. They are read at first for the mite of fuel that they
bring to some blazing controversy; the man is entirely forgotten in his
work. But when years, centuries, have passed away, and the fire that
threatened to consume the world has died out as quietly as any common
bonfire, then the "spirits of the mighty dead" come back calmly to their
world-work,—now doubtless seeing its little worth as clearly as their
modern critics, but also hallowing their mighty labors with regal
authority, as the living garment of a human soul. The marble tombs in
graveyards hold empty dust; the real men lie buried alive in quiet
The philosopher entertained his guests well. But underneath all the
polite suavity of his manner could be detected a curious satisfaction at
the contrast between the deep sea of still thought usually embosoming
his library, and this sparkling, shallow little stream now flowing into
it. The prominent popular tricks of science he played off for their
amusement, exhibited the standard stars, enlarged upon the most
wonder-striking and easily understood facts in the sublime science, and
bewildered them with a pleasant enthusiasm of acquisition, by a series
of brilliant chemical experiments. The labors of a lifetime were
concentrated on a few dazzling results: the long tedium of the
means, the painful training, the hard mathematical preparation, the
brain-sickness and heart-sickness of these years of solitude were
But it was round Haguna that he plied the most subtle enchantments,—to
her he exhibited the most glittering decoys of Knowledge. She was
completely fascinated. Her cheeks grew pale, her large dark eyes deeper
and darker, with intense interest. She hung upon every word that fell
from the philosopher's lips, pored over the elegant trifles the scholar
had collected for the wondering ignorant, and stood abashed before the
studied unconsciousness of power,—the power of vast learning, that she
felt for the first time. When the guests were departing, she was still
reluctant to go,—she timidly followed the watchful philosopher to the
mighty telescope that had brought down stars for their playthings that
"My ignorance and weakness overwhelm me," she exclaimed; "would that I
could spend my life in this awful library!"
The philosopher repressed his exultation at this confession, and
"Nothing is easier, Madam, than the gratification of your laudable
desire. I am in the habit of receiving pupils, and should be most happy
to admit you to my class."
An eager light leaped into her lovely face as she earnestly thanked him
for his condescension, and engaged to begin the lessons on the very next
day. So, when the guests had all gone, and the scared quiet ventured to
brood again over its ancient nestling-place, the wily philosopher
threw himself back into his great chair, and laughed a long while with
The next day Haguna wended her lonely way to the bleak hill. It was so
stony and bare and treeless,—jutting out against the gray cold sky
like a giant sentinel stripped naked, yet still with dogged obstinacy
clinging to his post. The hard path pushed up over jagged stones that
cut her tender feet, and they left bleeding waymarks on the difficult
ascent. Woe, woe to poor trembling Haguna! Uncouth birds whizzed in
circles round her head, clanging and clamoring with their shrill voices,
striving to beat her back with their flapping wings. The faint sweet
fragrance of brier-roses clustering at the foot of the mountain wafted
reproachfully upon the chill air an entreaty to return. Once, turning at
a sudden bend in the road, she spied a merry party of girls and children
crowning each other with quickly fading wreaths of clover-blossoms. A
rosy-cheeked child in the centre of the group, enjoying the glory of his
first coronation, accidentally pointed his fat fore-finger at her, as
if in derision of her undertaking. It was strange, that, although she
presently pressed forward eagerly again, she felt glad that none of
those laughing girls would leave the sunny valley to follow her example.
She had flung her whole soul into the scheme, as is the fashion with
girls, and could not recover it again now. It seemed absolutely
necessary that somewhere some woman like herself should be compelled
to scale this ascent, and she—one of those girls in the valley, for
instance, might not be nearly so well able as herself to face this
bleakness. Thus she might preserve those sportive triflers in their
everlasting childhood by the warning of her sad devotion. Faint shadows
of gigantic tasks to be conquered when the hill was surmounted swam
through her mind. And somewhat whimsically associated with these, a
portrait of the learned Hooker occurred vividly to her imagination,—his
face disfigured through his devotion to sedentary pursuits.
Involuntarily she smoothed her soft cheek with her little hand. It was
still round and velvet as an August peach. Nevertheless she threw this
possibility into the burden she was going to assume for humanity,
and felt happier as the burden waxed heavier. The innate hunger for
sacrifice was gratified, with only the definite prospect of suffering
from loss of complexion; a concrete living shape was given to the vague
longing that possessed her; and she cheerfully marched on, strong in the
hope of the love and reverence she was sure her devotion would gain. Ah,
sweet Haguna, Haguna! Sweating enough and toil enough already! Go back,
dear child, from a work thou canst not understand, and imprison sunbeams
for the panting world in flowery valleys!
By this time she had reached the philosophic hermitage. Her future
master met her at the door, and, saluting her with grave courtesy, led
the way to a small unfurnished apartment, from whose windows nothing
could be seen but the distant sea and sky,—always a solemn monotone of
sea and sky.
"And so," he said, with mild irony, "even the maidens must dim their
bright eyes with philosophy! Can they leave their dolls so long?"
The hot blood rushed into Haguna's face, as she exclaimed, with intense
"Is it my fault that I am a girl? I come to you to learn, to satisfy
the insatiable thirst for knowledge which you have awakened,—and you
reproach me with my ignorance! I have just discovered that the one thing
I have secretly needed always was to learn to exercise my mind cramped
with inaction, to share with you labor and toil."
"Poor child," sighed the philosopher, excited to sudden pity by her
ardor, "you know little of the sweat of brain-toil! Do you know that it
takes years of painful study to arrive at a single valuable result? that
for a distant, doubtful advantage, all your bright, unfettered life must
be sacrificed? Each enjoyment must be stinted and weighed,—each day
valued only as another step to be climbed in the endless ladder,—all
simple, sweet enjoyment of earth and air and sky, the careless, golden
halo of each free day, must be given up. Everything must be squared
according to an inexorable plan; self must be despised, passions
restrained and clarified, till the life becomes thin and attenuated
through careful discipline,—all hopes and fears laid aside till the
soul becomes accustomed to its chilly atmosphere. Then body and mind
must be trained to endure a fearful weariness, to pass the days under
such a stern pressure of toil that all loving, graceful interests shall
be rooted out of the stony soil. You must be prepared to lose precious
truths in a gulf of delusion,—to leave all your old beacon-lights and
wander forth in an eternal dark. The troubles that beset weak souls
may be dissipated, but new strength brings dreadful trials. Tremendous
conflicts, undreamt-of in your innocence, will agitate your adventurous
Intellect, penetrating into vast regions of Doubt, where the mind made
for belief often reels into madness, goaded by harassing anxiety.
Often the lonely night-hours must be spent in sore battle with fearful
spectres revived by the roaming soul from their frequent graves.
All this and more must he dare who aspires to the lofty service of
"All this and more would I gladly suffer," cried Haguna. "There is a
fire now in my brain; you have kindled it, and it must be fed. And,
moreover, I wish to endure this trial for its own sake; for it is not
fitting that men should suffer more than women. Perhaps, too,—am I
presumptuous in thinking so?—two workers may so lessen the toil of one
that this lonely trial maybe greatly helped by even my assistance."
And her bosom heaved, and glorious tears welled up into her deep blue
eyes. The repentant philosopher placed his hand on her lovely head, and
lifted a tress of her soft hair.
"Ah, child, child, you know little about it! What! will you sacrifice
these glorious tresses to a hard and joyless course of study? For none
can study Euclid with me with hair like this."
"Willingly! willingly!" cried Haguna, impetuously, and pulled a pair of
scissors from her pocket to immediately make the beautiful offering.
The reluctant philosopher arrested her hand.
"Rash girl! consider yet a moment. You are exchanging a treasure whose
value you know for—you know not what. You will bitterly repent."
But Haguna, would not consider. She impatiently tore away her hand, and
in a few minutes had closely shorn her head, and the neglected hair lay
in rich profusion on the floor. As it lay there, the warm golden brown
color faded and faded, and some glittering things entangled in its
abundant masses beamed forth for a moment like tiny stars, and then
disappeared. And had Haguna stepped into a cloud, that so great a change
had come over her? The fine contour of head and forehead, the soft
outline of face, the delicate moulding of the chin were the same
still,—the dark eyes glowed with even new lustre; but the graceful
throat and white arm were hidden in a dark muffling cloak, the delicious
blush had faded from the cheek, whose color was now firm and tranquil,
the well-cut lips had settled into almost too harsh lines, an air of
indescribably voluptuous grace had forever fled. Ah, hapless Haguna!
The philosopher made no further remonstrance, but led her immediately
to the library, and, seating her at the table, opened a worn copy of
Euclid, and began at "Two straight lines," and so forth.
A few moments after, Anthrops, released from his imprisonment, opened
the door of the upper room, walked quietly down-stairs, and returned to
the city, much to the joy of his friends and relations, who had long
mourned him as lost.
About a year after this, Anthrops strolled into the philosopher's study,
to inquire the solution of a certain problem.
"I will refer you," said his old instructor, "to my accomplished pupil";
then raising his voice,—"Haguna!"
Anthrops, startled at hearing her name in such a connection, awaited her
entrance with anxious curiosity. She speedily came in obedience to
the summons, bowed with an air of grave abstraction to Anthrops, and,
seating herself, composedly awaited the commands of her master. Her
former captive asked himself, wondering, if this could be the airy,
laughing, winsome maiden with whom in days past he had ridden into the
green forest. The billows of hair had ebbed away; the short, ungraceful,
and somewhat thin remnant was meant for use in covering the head, not
for luxurious beauty. All falling laces, all fluttering ribbons, all
sparkling jewels were discarded from the severe simplicity of the
scholastic gown; and with them had disappeared the glancing ripple that
before had sunnily flowed around her, like wavy undulations through a
field of corn. Very clear and still were the violet eyes, but their dewy
lustre had long ago dried up. Like a flowering tree whose blossoms have
been prematurely swept off by a cold wind was the maiden, as she sat
there, abstractedly drawing geometrical diagrams with her pencil.
"Now, Sir," said the philosopher, "if you will state your difficulty, I
have no doubt my pupil can afford you assistance."
So saying, he withdrew into a corner, that the discussion might have
Haguna now looking inquiringly at Anthrops. He cleared his throat with a
somewhat dictatorial "hem!" and began.
"These circumstances, Madam, are really so unusual, that you must excuse
me, if I"—
"Proceed, Sir, to the point."
"When, avoiding the barbarous edict of Justinian, which condemned to a
perpetual silence the philosophic loquacity of the Athenian schools, the
second heptacle of wise men undertook a perilous journey to implore the
protection of Persia, they undoubtedly must at some stages of their
travels have passed the night on the road. In this case, the method of
so passing the time becomes an interesting object of research. Did the
last of the Greeks provide themselves with tents,—effeminately impede
their progress with luggage? Did they, skirting the north of the Arabian
desert, repose under the scattered palm-trees,—or rather, wandering
among the mountains of Assyria, find surer and colder shade? The
importance of this inquiry becomes evident upon reflecting that the
characters of the great are revealed by their behavior in the incidental
events of their lives."
"It is evident to my mind," returned Haguna, thoughtfully, "that the
seven sages, joyfully escaping from the frivolous necessities of
society, would return to the privileges of the children of eternal
Nature, and sleep confidingly under the blue welkin."
"Rheumatism," suggested Anthrops.
"Rheumatism!" echoed Haguna, disdainfully. "What is rheumatism? What are
any mere pains of the flesh, to the glorious content of the unshackled
spirit revelling in the freedom of its own nature? Thus the cultivated
Reason returns, with a touching appreciation of the Beautiful and the
Fit, to the simple couch of childish spontaneity. Mankind, after
long confinement in marble palaces, sepulchres of their inner being,
retrograde to the golden age. The wisdom of the world lies down to sleep
under the open sky. Such a beautiful comparison! It must be true."
"Really, Madam, your conclusions, although attained with great rapidity
of reasoning, are hardly deducible from the premises. Let me remark"—
"Reduce Camenes to Celarent, and the argument is plainly irrefragable.
It requires a mind deeply toned to sympathy with the inner significance
of all things to"—
"Contemporary testimony is absolutely necessary, if not suspiciously
sullied by credulity or deceit,—in which case, the nearest trustworthy
historian, if not more than a hundred years from the specified time, is
incomparably preferable. But"—
Haguna again interrupted, her voice a little raised with excitement. The
dispute waxed warm, on either side authorities were quoted and rejected,
and how it terminated has never been recorded. But the philosopher in
the corner rubbed his hands with satisfaction, exclaiming,—
"Thank fortune, we may now have a little peace!"