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"Walter, 'it is good for us that we have suffered.'"
The low, humble, solemn tones reply: "The Lord's ways are not our ways; to him be the glory! My dear, dear Laura! my bride, my
wife'"' . 4. .
"SiBter, s,ister I Ann's tones are both imperative and impatient.
Passing out we enter the forward cabin. Frank and Dr. H. stand aside to let us pass. To the right sits Miss Clara Bascorn, with little Chincha on her lap; Marsellas grins delight in the background. Ann looks up from the heap of silk and lace by which she is half hidden, with the exclamation :—
"Everything is arranged. The chaplain of the 'Tribune' is to perform the ceremony, You are to be married 'Twelfth-day,' early in the morning; then you will take a bridal trip to Lima."
"Whether I will or not?"
"Yes, mademoisselle, 'whether you will or not.*"
BY ADA TREVANION.
Before he loved and bade me live
This new life half divine—
Colonr and form to mine,
E'en when his arm was round me cast,
And when our lips first met,
Which bound my spirit yet,
I sighed and trembled, for I knew
I had that to confess
Of my sky's happiness.
I told him all, and hid my face,
But I was clasped in close embrace—
I felt as if my heart had grown,
In that brief moment, to his own!
Yet even in these happy days,
When his eyes on me turn,
My cheek and forehead burn:
A SUMMER-DAY RHYME.
BY EBBN BBXIOED.
The buttercups bloom in the meadows, The clover nods on the hill,
And the violets blow in the shadows, Where the summer winds arc still.
The breezes in wild commotion
Sweep down from the mountain-sida,
And the meadow sways like an ocean At the rising of the tide.
The sunshine drifts like a shower
And kisses each little flower
1 can hear the honey-bees humming, As they gather iu their sweets,
And I hear the whispers coming From the water-nymph's retreats.
The pinks by the walk are bending
And the lilies their sweets are spending
The robin sings on the cherry
And the blackbird's answer is merry
Tha mountains aro wrapped in grandeur,
A purple and rosy mist,
On their brows which the clouds hath kiss'd.
Ere long the leaf will be falling With a patter like the rain,
And the robin will be calling To the meadow-lark in vain.
The Summer's radiant sweetness Will change at Autumn's breath
To the glory of full completeness— Fruition will herald death.
Eobcd like a queen at her crowning,
She will fall asleep forever
And shrouded in royal splendour,
And the winds will chant sad masses
BEADING AS A MEANS OF CULTURE.
In the early ages of the world, before the art of writing was invented, men had to depend, for the acquisition of knowledge, chiefly upon oral instruction. In this way, each generation were, in turn, the pupils of the preceding, and the teachers of the following generation in the reception and the transmission of the traditionary lore of the times. And as the family bond was then a strong one, each child was in a preeminent sense the pupil of his parent, and each patriarch was in a pre-eminent sense the teacher of his child, when he "sat with him in the house, and when he walked with him by the way, when he lay down, and when he rose up."
After the invention of alphabet-writing, and before that of printing, oral instruction was still the principal means of imparting knowledge. Readers were few; books still fewer, and not accessible; transcription was expensive. So valuable, indeed, were some works, that, in order to obtain the loan of a book, it was necessary to pledge an estate for its safe return: indeed, in some instances, books were kept rhaine.1, so that they could not be removed from the place where they were kept.
But since the art of making paper was inrented, and, as related to this, the art of printing, a mighty change has taken place in respect to the number of books and the number of readers. In our own country, where all may, if they choose, enjoy the advantages of popular education, the majority are readers. All, therefore, must be interested in the subject which I have chosen, namely, Reading As The Means Op Selp-ccltcre.
In treating this subject, I hope, in some degree, to supply a felt want frequently expressed by those who are engaged in self-culture, whether they are at school or at home, or engaged in some professional employment.
What end shall I aim at in reading?
What time shall I spend in reading?
What mode shall I adopt in reading?
What books shall I read?
These are interrogatories prompted by a desire of self-improvement on the part of the modest and earnest aspirant, whatever be his position; and they demand a careful and a correct answer.
What, Then, Is The Exd To Be Aimed At Ix Reading J
Now, a large class of readers propose to themselves no end at ail in their reading. They feel attracted to the page of a book or to the column of a newspaper, in« as tbey are to a garden ol Bowers, or to a winding river. They have so purpose in view; they have no object to be •eeoniruj.bed. The a.-t of reading ttrtnmatff in itself, so far as any end is concerned. It as icK a reiser of present gTatJJcnaom, of "•;'!"t; iHiTOsfiraett.
Ann.!-T ,"i-*i »*■** .-cV to VII trase, which
otherwise would haog heavily on their hands. Their minds are listless, or they are tormented with sad thoughts, or inward upbraidings, or remorse, or shame, from which they wish to escape; and by killing time in this escape from themselves, so far forth, they commit suicide.
Another class read in order to make a show of learning. They read incessantly, and incessantly boast of what they have read. Tbey are ostentatious; they are vain in their knowledge, and pedantic.
The true end of reading, as the means of selfculture, is evidently, in the very statement of the terms of the proposition, self-culture. Now, ■elf-culture aims at the improvement of all the higher powers of our nature. Just so far, then, as reading contributes to self-culture, it contributes to improve, and elevate, and refine our whole nature. By holding intercourse with the great minds of the world as they still lire in their works, we can become like them. Our memories can be stored with the treasures of knowledge gathered by them. Our imaginations can rove freely among the forms of thought among which they expatiated with delight. Our judgment can decide correctly in view of the facts which they have collected, and the principles which they have evolved, and the reasonings they have elaborated. Our wills can be confirmed by the motives they administer. Our hearts can be brought into harmony with their hearts by contemplating what awakened their emotional nature. Our moral feelings can become assimilated to theirs by inhaling their spirit.
In books we have the concentrated wisdom of past ages and of the present, which we can appropriate to ourselves, for our own improvement and that of others. The true end of reading is to make this Appropriation. Lord Bacon's rule is the best: "Read, not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."
The improvement of your intellectual and vour moral powers being the true end of reading. I shall proceed to the second question: What
TIME SHALL I SPEND IN READING?
The answer to this question must depend upon the circumstances in which you are placed and the duties you have to perform. You are in the district-school, or the academy, or in the preparation for some professional employment, or in the practice of some profession, or are actively employed in family duties. Now, whenever reading, by consuming lime, interferes with roar regular studies, or roar professional exnptaytaents. or your family ouiies. it should be avoided, even though at a •nennceof inclination.
Moreover, when it nialii a distaste for *so,ti«i w other dwtie*. Vr withdrawing attention from them, by impairing the intellectual vigour, by weakening the moral power so as to disqualify you for study or labour, it defeats the main purpose for which you were placed under instruction, or for which you devoted yourselves to labour. For instance: if a student has in his room a book that creates a distaste for the study of arithmetic, a branch which he is pursuing, he had better spend no time in reading that book, for the plain reason that arithmetic, in relation to his duties as a student, is of more importance to him. If a merchant's clerk has a book which creates a distaste for his ledger, lie had better spend no time in reading that book, for the plain reason that it disqualifies him for his paramount duties.
And so too, when reading fatigues and exhausts the mind, it should be avoided. Some books are so exciting to the attention, to the imagination, to the passions, that they produce a mental debauch, which, if often repeated, destroys the firm tone of the mind, and renders it fitful and inefficient in its exertions.
Moreover, reading should be avoided when it interferes with necessary repose, as it does when pursued at a late hour of night. It then has a pernicious influence upon the health first, then upon the spirits, then upon the mind itself. The knowledge gained in this way is, for the most part, but of little value, for it is gained at the expense of mental vigour, and sometimes even of life itself. To read when you ought to be in bed, especially to read when in bed, is to inflict a great evil on yourself without an equivalent. It is to injure your eyes, your brain, your nervous system, your intellect.
Again, reading ought not to interfere with the due cultivation of the social affections, whether by personal intercourse with friends or a punctual correspondence. Some are such bookworms that they become insensible to the sweet charities of domestic life, and all the delightful amenities of general society.
Finally, only so much time should be spent in reading, as will allow leisure for reflection upon what has been read, in order that it may become our own, for the purposes of mental discipline and strength. Now it happens that one may have a great appetite and a poor digestion. He may read much and think little. Hence, what he reads, not going through the process of assimilation, instead of invigorating, burdens the mind. Thus addicted to mental gluttony, thus suffering from mental repletion, he is incapacitated for high achievements. He is
"A bookful blockhead ignorantly read,
He is, it may be, a living lexicon, a walking encyclopaedia; but he is motionless and dead, so far as practical usefulness is concerned.
With these cautions and exceptions, endeavour to find time, if possible, to read every day of your life. Read, if you can, in the morning, .
in the sweet hour of prime, if it be only for five minutes. Read, if you can, when resting from your toil at noon. Read especially more or less during the long winter evenings. Read in the season of youth, when the impressions made on the mind are permanent. Read in middle life, when the judgment is strong. Read in the season of old age, when your minds become contemplative, and the body unfitted for active life. Let some book furnish daily food for the mind, as the table does for the body.
We are now prepared to answer the third question: What Is The Best Mods Of
The best mode of reading is that which is best adapted to accomplish the end of reading. And the highest end of reading, as in every part of education, is to furnish and discipline the mind, and thus to prepare it to act in accordance with its high capacity on earth and in heaven. In order to gain these high ends, the mind must be tasked to a high effort.
But, as a matter of fact, there is often careless reading when there ought to be the closest application of the mind. There is often reading, in the common sense of the word, when there ought to be study, because the former is easier than the latter. It has been said, with some appearance of truth: "Study is labour, and labour is pain, and no one loves pain." There is, therefore, a temptation to substitute the pleasure of negligent reading for the pain of study. Reading is often identical with study, as when one is said to read law. For success in study, the higher powers of the mind must be put in requisition. There must be the full vigour of the attention without any of its wanderings, the full retentiveness of the memory, the full activity of the imagination. In the examination of the subject, the judgment must be ever vigilant; the will, even in the midst of discouragement, must never swerve from its high purpose, The affections must often be summoned from their repose, to give impulse to the intellect. And the body, too, in that much study which is a weariness to the flesh, must be roused from its languor, only to writhe and quiver under the dialings of the intellect. In short, for successful study, there must be the highest efforts of the best powers of the mind. But in reading the mind is often in nearly a passive state, like that of dreaming or reverie, in which images flit before the mind without any act of volition to retain them. In rapid reading it is nearly in the same state as yours is when you are whirled through a country in a railway-carriage or post-cliai'e. How much do you know of that country in the one case? How much do you know of the book in the other? A person mentally indolent may be fond of reading. He may love to read in a recumbent posture until he falls asleep, every day or night of his life. It might be too much to say that his room resembles the famous cave of the god of sleep. But he furnishes proof in his experience, that the leaves of a book are as sure an opiate as the petals of the poppy, the symbol of that god. Indeed, we have known those who regularly take a book to bed with them every night, as "a shoe-horn to pull on sleep with." Indeed, we have seen a whole family, each with a book in hand, to which he seemed to be bowing in devotion, except one bright young girl, who archly sung:
"We <irc all noddin', nid, nid, noddin';
On the supposition that[you propose to yourself the true end of reading, and are ready to adopt the appropriate means to arrive at it, you will take care to understand your author thoroughly. A vague and general impression is not sufficient. You must bestow the whole vigour of your attention on the words, the phrases, the periods, the paragraphs. If, at the first peruBal, you do not understand a passage, peruse it a second or a third time. If you then fail in discovering its meaning, mark it for examination after you have read the book through. When you can do it, be careful to furnish yourself with every necessary help in books of reference such as dictionaries, general, classical, and biographical works on sacred and profane antiquities, geography, and chronology.
If a word occurs whose meaning you do not know, be careful to refer to your dictionary, even though it may for a moment interrupt the course of the narrative or the argument. If you meet with an allusion to a fact with which you are unacquainted, immediately turn to your book of reference for the necessary information. For instance, you meet for the first time with the phrase, ultima thule, in a sentence like this: "In that science, he reached the ultima thule of discovery.' Instead of guessing at the import of the phrase, carefully ascertain the meaning, once for all. Again, you meet for the first time with an allusion to the bow of Ulysses, in a sentence like this: "He cannot bend the bow of Ulysses." Instead of being satisfied with a conjecture, read the story of the suitors of Penelope, who were put to the test of bending the bow of that hero, her husband, and you will understand the point of the allusion.
But you say that this is a very slow and tedious way of reading. Slow it may be, but not tedious, because your curiosity is constantly awakened and constantly gratified. It is not tedious, any more than it is, in travelling through a country, to take time to examine the most grand and beautiful objects in nature and art. Instead of being tedious, it is the only way of becoming deeply interested in any highly intellectual and finished work. It is the only way in which you can transfer the views of your author to your own mind, and transfuse bis spirit to your own soul. And as to slowness, you may, on this subject, adopt the adage, "The more haste the worst speed." You proceed more slowly in the first part of your course, in order that you may make the
greater speed in the end. Interruptions will become fewer and fewer as you advance.
But you say that you can understand what you read without all this trouble. Perhaps you can; and perhaps the reason is, that you read those ephemeral productions that require as little labour to read them as it did to write them.
In order thoroughly to understand a work it is frequently necessary to read it a second or even a third time. One of the first scholars of the age said that "he read Demosthenes three times before the beauties of that divine author began to appear." One part of a work throws light upon another part. After you have read the conclusion of a work, you can better understand the commencement.
Lest I should myself fail of being understood, I will adduce one or two more instances. Suppose that you should, in conversation, use the word water in the hearing of two persons, the one a child of six years, and the other an accomplished chemist. Ask the child if he understands what is meant by the word, and he will promptly say: 'Ob! yes.' And yet how inadequate is the meaning of the word as it stands in his mind, compared with that which stands in the mind of the other, who is acquainted with that substance in its elements and combinations!
Take another instance. Read the lines of Pope, descriptive of creative power, in the hearing of two persons, one of whom has and the other has not reflected on the subject to which it relates:
"Builds life on death, on change duration founds, And bids the eternal wheels to know their rounds."
To the one, these lines may be little more than mere words. To the other, they are full of meaning. In them, he sees the earth's face renewed by the breath of the Almighty, and nature for ever changing, yet the same for ever, like the phoenix, springing up into the beauty of the present out of the ashes of the past. Take another instance:
"So Zembla's rocks, the beauteous work of frost,
Rise white in air and glitter o'er the coast:
Pale suns, unfelt at distance, roll away,
And on the impassive ice the lightnings play.
Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
Till the bright mountains prop the incumbent sky:
As Atlas fixed, each hoary pile appears,
The gathered winter of a thousand years."
The full beauty of this piece you cannot perceive unless you bring before your mind each brilliant portion of the whole of this winter landscape. And this you cannot do, unless you make yourself acquainted with phenomena of a winter beyond the Arctic circle. And even then you cannot do it unless you dwell long enough upon each image, to give it a distinct local habitation in the range of your conception. You are to gaze upon each part and on the whole as you would upon the picture of it on canvas, or as you would upon the original scene itself, looking, one while, upon the glittering ice-mountain springing from the shore far into the upper sky, piercing the clouds with its hoary head, and supporting, like another Atlas, the heavens; and then looking at the sun fast struggling above the edge of the far-off southern horizon, sending along the intervening ocean his level, ineffectual rays; and then at the lightnings, the "dread arrows of the clouds," glancing off from the unscathed brow of the giant mountain.
In the dawn of our intellectual existence, before bad mental habits are formed, we adopt the true mode of gaining knowledge. The child, when a new object is presented, gives up the whole of its little mind to its examination. He gazes at it with intense interest, carefully surveying every part. He applies all his senses, so far as he can, to its examination, when it is within his reach. And so strong is his curiosity, that he will break to pieces what he values, in order to discover its properties. In this way he transfers to his mind a distinct and full image of the admired object, which, in the absence of that object, he can gaze upon, in his contemplations, with the same interest that he could upon the object itself, if it were present to the bodily eye. These images, thus carefully formed in early life by the faculty of conception, under the guiding influence of nature, continue distinct and beautiful in the faithful keeping of memory, uninjured by time. In this way, it happens that the young ideas, which, under the teachings of nature, shoot forth from the soul in the spring-time of life, are perennial plants, continuing beautiful in leaf and in flower under the summer's sun of manhood and in the winter of old age.
From the teachings of instinct in early life, reason should learn a lesson to be applied in maturer years. True, the objects that we examine through the medium of words and sentences axe often intellectual, not sensible. But in order to become intimately acquainted with them, there must be the same eager and thorough observation, the same deep emotion, the same curiosity, which the child exhibits. Indeed, the distinct perception and full comprehension of abstract ideas, seen through the dispersive and refractive medium of language, require superior concentration of attention, full earnestness of curiosity, and the quickening influence of emotion. If, on the other hand, there is no curiosity felt, no interest excited, and no vigour of attention, it is all in vain that the eye traces the words on the page.
But you say that you get ideas in this superficial way. So you may, but they are ideas of words, not of things. You may get ideas by reading the naked columns of a spelling-book, but not connected thought. When I speak of understanding a work, I do not refer merely to the words themselves in their lexical signification, but to their relations in sentences, in paragraphs, in chapters, in the whole, in its general drift and scope.
And when I speak of understanding a work, I do not refer merely to pure intellect, but to all the faculties that are addressed by the work. Sometimes a subject is presented in the "dry light" of the intellect; and sometimes, to use another expression of Bacon, it is "drenched in the affections." In the one case, the intellect of the reader is put in requisition; in the other, his affections likewise. For, instance, Samuel Clarke, whom Voltaire called a " reasoning machine," writes a book which can be understood by that reader only who, in the perusal, exerts his reasoning faculty. Another author writes a work under the guidance of his heart, and no one can thoroughly understand it whose heart h as not given a lesson to his head. Milton, on the seraph wings of ecstasy, passed the flaming bounds of space and time; and who can follow him, without the aid of imagination, up to the living throne and the sapphire blaze i
While different writers, in this way, exhibit a predominance of different faculties, it likewise is evident that no reader can fully enter into the spirit of a work, who does not, in the perusal of it, exert that faculty which is predominant in the author. Indeed, for fully understanding a writer and thoroughly entering into his spirit, it is necessary for you to give yourself up wholly into his hands, to put yourself in the same state of mind, when you read, that he waB when he wrote. You are in this way to go through the letter into the spirit. Quiparet in litera, paret in cortice.
At the same time you are to bestow your attention upon the language which an author employs to embody his thoughts, as well for the purpose of learning what those thoughts are, as for being able to embody your own thoughts when you shall address others. As language is the medium of thought, it is as necessary to understand the nature of that medium, as it is to understand the nature of the medium through which you see objects with the bodily eye. In dioptrics, you know that if you view an object through one glass, it will appear magnified; and through another, it will appear diminished; and through another, it will appear distorted; and through a fourth, it will appear coloured; and through a fifth, it will appear just as it is, in form and size and colour. The same is true of language in modifying thought. Five men will present the same thought in five different ways. One will elevate it, another degrade it, a third distort it, a fourth colour it, and a fifth employ such appropriate language that the reader, at the first view, sees it just as it is. If you will carefully observe how good authors express themselves, you will from them obtain such command of language, that, whenever you have a thought to express, words, like "nimble servitors, will come to their places" at your bidding.
I know that some have affected to underrate the knowledge of language in comparison with the knowledge of things. True, there is a difference between an idea and the expression of it; and in order to express it, you must first