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TWO LITTLE STARS.
Rose in the azure, side by side,
The night stole on—but, with it came
The night wore on-the angry blast
And on they went, with rising force,
Thus, dearest, onward, side by side,
And thus, though storms may come and go,
And when, at length, each end attained,
MY THREE CONVERSATIONS WITA MISS CHESTER.
WAS at a party; where, is none of
your business, and immaterial to the following relation. On second thoughts, however, as localization increases the in: terest of a narrative, I will say, at New York, in a Fifth Avenue palace.
Perhaps it would be well to say something introductory about myself. I was twenty-five-between you and me, fair reader, I am not so very much older now-tall, well-formed, strong and active, both mentally and physically, and an extensive and omnivorous reader and student. The only trait of my character which has any special significance, relatively to the matter in hand is, that I have a considerable endowment of that magnetic power used in throwing “sensitives," as they are technically termed, into the mesmeric state, although I very seldom exerted it, and my possession of it was known, I believe, only to myself. Did it never happen to you, respected reader, when looking intently into a person's eyes during conversation, that you saw the thought, and even the very words, which passed through his or her mind, in comment or reply? The whole group of phenomena, of which that is one-embracing some classes of dreams, much mental action, animal magnetism, biology, the whole circle, in fact, of physico-psychological science—is, at this present writing, the most profound, comprehensively, multitudinously and variously related, the most promising, important and intensely interesting, and the least understood, of all the departments of human knowledge. I wish I could stop to indicate a few of the complex and astonishingly intimate ramifications by which this phi. losophy-the philosophy of the combined and reciprocal inter-action of mind and body, the wondrous march or border-territory whereon spirit and matter bear conflicting and contested sway—underlies and entwines itself with human interests and human actions. But that is not my present design; and for the narrator, especially, must hoc age be inscribed upon his pen. Mind this ; not that, nor the other.
The relevancy of these remarks consists in this, namely: that the few circumstances which I propose to narrate are an actual exemplification of the
working of the laws to whose existence and influence I have alluded. I have permission from the lady most interested to record and publish them; for, however insignificant in themselves, they will, at least, form some portion of the archives from which a future generation is certainly to draw facts cooperative in constructing a fabric of universal philosophy, more marvellous in architecture and more immeasurably magnificent in dimensions, than any the wildest dream hitherto figured by the loftiest human intellect. This splendor, however, is of course. Systems of actual truth, the work of the All-powerful--as their awful vastness unveils itself before human eyes-must as much transcend the beauty and the size of the one-sided little elaborations of human minds, as the unimaginable splendors of evening clouds excel the blue and yellow dabs of that landscape-goat of a paintaster," Skumble; as the great palaces of the heavens surpass the ecclesiological glories of the. Wooden Gothic.
I had selected, according to my custom, a corner, from which I was making my ordinary use of the company, viz. : studying their lives from their faces, and working the detail of expressions and postures into connection with the preexistent mass of mental philosophy, whose acquisition and arrangement had been my study for years.
All the usual varieties of young men and women passed in review before the uninteresting person in the corner. I was not dressed in fine raiment, wore no gloves, was not known as a "lion," known, indeed at all, to only two or three besides my cousin, the daughter of the house, and only very slightly known even to them and to her. So, nobody stopped to talk with me; and, as I had arranged with cousin Ellen to let me alone, save when I shonld ask to be introduced, I had a fair opportunity for my secret espials. It was a curious and entertaining spectacle, when rightly viewed. First, I generalized my eyesight—if the expression be allowableand gazed upon the moving mass before ine, without reference to any particular individual. This, especially during the dances, furnished à drollo spectacle. Such another may be observed by gazing in the same general manner at a church, all waving with fans, like a
flock of great butterflies over a bed of monotonous dance-music of the two gay cabbages, on a hot Sunday in sum- German fiddlers, the barpist and pianist, mer: and another, more decided in who officiated as orchestra. The din character, by observing the simultane- was stunning. It was as if the English ous natations of heads, fingers and arms language had been torn into ragged in an orchestra. These effects are dif- angular scraps and fragments, and voferent froin that of a band of marching ciferated at the utmost possible speed, men; for the entire body of these last and entirely at random, by the whole moves forward by rhythmic progres- company. Now and then a shrill laugh, sions, while in the cases just instanced, or one or two connected words loudly the company considered together, is sta- articulated, jumped up from the rough tionary; and the rhythmic movement average of the confused noise. The of individual limbs and instruments harsh fiddle-notes darted and streamed throws only an atmosphere, as it were, up and down among the tumult, like so of ordered motion over the whole. many vocal squibs; and the harp and
I threw out of consideration the bodies piano were scarcely audible. A minute of the dancers, and only observed their or two of such listening satisfied me, and heads. A strong volition of a few ini- I returned to my invidious business of Dutes' duration enabled me entirely to watching my neighbors. lose the remembrance of bodies, and to A flaxen-haired and flaxen-mousfree myself from the sensations coming tached dandy, whose unnaturally slender from the sound of the music; and so, limbs, cased, secundum artem, in skinfrom the silent motions of the dancers, tight pants, would almost qualify him and the accompanying expressions of the for the workhouse under the vagrant faces, in quadrille dances especially, — laws, as “having no visible means of there arose before me a spectacle of such support,” stood "diddling” (i. e., imitatintense absurdity that I was forced to ing the movements of a wretch in an break off my occupation to avoid an ob- ague-fit), after the approved fashion, trusive laugh. I was beholding only and expending washy conversation and faces, it will be remembered, as solely washier smiles upon a female counteras if I had been looking at heads cut off. part. Two or three city damsels, very The expressions upon nearly all of them much alike, all having the fair complexe were of intense solemnity. Nearly up- ions, slender forms and large fringed on a level, they bobbed up and down in eyes, so common among metropolitan couples and fours; swam about, cocking beauties,-were giggling and chattering, theinselves oddly to one side or to the in the enjoyment of that fluent ladies' other; turned towards each other in talk so incomprehensible and unattainathe alternations of rest, and gibbered ble to us stupid and slow-tongued men. slightly; anon, launched forth again up- Two or three wizzled antiques of the on the inane vagaries of their solemn same sex mumbled sourly together upon mummery. I nearly laughed aloud, but a sofa. Several fat mothers conversed ceased gazing: and, forthwith, grew an- in awful conclave, on the other side of gry. Apish phantasms of silly sport, the room; and in the middle, the varythe winking, wiggling heads were a fair ing dances wove their interminable tanrepresentation of the earnestness with gle. which the “first circles" bury them- With her back towards me, so near selves in the mindless frivolities of po- that I could almost hear her words, stood lite society. I was angry that the ob- a tall young woman dressed in black, servances of fashion should be so much with magnificent shoulders and arms, regarded, even by the brainless nobodies with raven-black hair of great fineness, who gabbled and fluttered before me; lergth and volume, and a dark but peand with a most expansive and ardent culiarly transparent complexion. She aspiration after the Apotheosis of La- was surrounded by several gentlemen, bor, I left the dancers to their aimless whom she seemed at no loss to entertain, evolations.
at least so far as to bear her full share in Then I made a similar experiment up- the conversation, and in the commerce on the heterogeneous volume of sounds of wits, whatever they might be; for that arose from the social hubbub of the there seemed to be in the circle much rooms. Not listening to any single laughter, though not of the pleasantest voice, I regarded only the clacking, clat- sort. As I watched the group, I saw tering ratile that flowed turbulently up one and another of the gentlemen's faces from so many voices, mingled with the redden, when the others laughed; one
or two grew preternaturally sober, and incarnadine her neck, and not her cheeks quietly left that part of the room. The and brow. Deeply she blushed for some lady's noble head, haughtily set upon her unknown reason, and almost immedineck, moved now and then with an almost ately she moved away, without turning imperceptible gesture of disdain her head, saying something which I anger. I quietly drew a little nearer; could not hear, to a distant part of the not to listen to the conversation, but to observe the heads. The faces of the I recurred to my cogitations upon the men were all foolish and conceited; and flitting figures before me, but still my they were, as it happened, all fair-haired. thoughts recurred to the “dark ladye." Although I could not see the lady's face, I felt certain that she must be well worth yet the dark masses of her hair and acquaintance. It could hardly be possidress, and the height and volume of her ble that one evidentiy of so remarkable head, her self-possessed attitude, the natural endowments, should not present minute gesture of which I spoke, and the a rare study for the philosopher--espeshort and keen replies which she shot cially for the philosopher in living minds. about, rendered the contrast of charac- I desired to complete my new discovery. ters, as she stood among the young men, My snug corner became dull. I left it; extreme and striking.
and edged and twisted about the lofty She stood talking with her retinue for rooms, pretending great need to arrive a considerable time; and afterward with at some point in advance, which, like the others who approached. I observed her beetle with buttered borns, I carried forsteadily and intently, watching her head, ward as I went. Up and down I wormed her temperament, her form, and her des about; sometimes looking earnestly at meanor. All were faultless ; at least, the other side of the room in general; oven with a sufficiently critical disposi- sometimes peering with emphasis at a tion, and much experience in estimating' feigned something among the closely phrenological, physiological, and psycho- crowded male and female shoulders logical characteristics, I could not see around me; until, after making a good anything to change. I did not, however, deal of trouble, and many skilful evoluas I said, see the front of her head. I tions, I unsuspectedly established myself gazed and gazed, until I became absorbed to my satisfaction, en échelon and to tho in my contemplations, and in considering front of my unknown. Thus, I was in their consequent and collateral reflec- better luck than before, in my philosotions, my meditations eventuated in a phical pursuit. For while I was as well profound reverie, of a dim and unde- hidden from her as before, by the densefinable character. All my thoughts, at ly aggregated and moving mass of the first, seemed centered upon the indi- crowd, a skilful adjustment of my operavidual lady at whom I had been looking. tions would preserve me from annoying But I lost track of them; and it seemed, her, while I could study her face and afterward, as if I had entered into á gesture-language to much better advanstate resembling that which Asiatic tage. ascetics believe they can attain by un- Of her face, the lower half was perfect ending reiterations of their sacred name. but not peculiar, unless for the firm clo
I was aroused from entire forgetfulness sure of the full lips. The eyes were of time and place, by some sudden and large, black, and deep-set. The eveuncomfortable sensation, which made me brows fell with an unusual slope at the for an instant suspect that I had been outer end of the eye. The forehead rose struck, although I could not say where. high above, full and steep, like an intelUpon this unceremonious recall of my lectual man's forehead, and in those fugitive wits, whatever its nature might portions which would be its four angles, be, I looked again at the fair object of were it a parallelogram laid athwart the my speculations; and with such a feeling face, fuller than any I had ever observed. as if I had not seen her for a long tiine. And in looking, again I glided into deep For the sudden change from abstracted and concentrated musings; and again, reverie of intense contemplation, to from a state of profound reverie, I was mere ordinary intuition, was quite great aroused by such another shock as I had enough to cause the requisite break in felt before. Again I gathered together the current of my consciousness. The my scattered thoughts; and as soon as strange beauty, for some reason or other, I bad retraced their lost clue up to the was blushing deeply—at least it is im- passing inoment, again I looked toward probable that so brilliant a color would the dark beauty who had so much at
tracted me. She had changed her posi- among so many disagreeable vulgar peotion, and was looking another way; but ple!" agaio, whether from some casualty of “Do you think so ?” said she, with a conversation, or from having noticed sort of glimmer in her eye. "If it is so my persistent gaze, she was blushing. disagreeable, what made you come ?"
Beginning, now, to be actuated by a “Self-denial," answered I, “is healthdesire to obtain by conversation the ful for the soul. And aside from that complement of the scanty knowledge excellent reason"-here I rather exagge with which mere exterior observation rated my simper and my diddle, to the had supplied me, and thus to secure some young lady's evident disgust—"I must satisfactory acquaintance with one who, have had a presentiment of pleasure I did not doubt, possessed unusual gifts, reserved for me, in the acquisition of I forthwith resorted to Cousin Ellen. so delightful an acquaintance as Miss From her I requested an introduction to Chester.” I accompanied the last words my fair unknown; at the same time in- with a culminating grin, and as silly a quiring in general as to her naine and bow as I could contrive. condition. She was, Ellen said, a Miss “ Are you acquainted with me?" she Irene Chester; the daughter of a farmer asked, with a curious observing expresin one of the small sea-port towns of sion of eye and of lip, as much as to Fairfield County, Connecticut; an assist- say, “behold here a new and strange ant teacher in one of the city schools; variety of baboon.” an old schoolmate of hers, cousin Ellen's; I sniggered after the most approved here in society for almost the first time, style, and answered with the fashionable but already making quite a sensation; euphuistic dialect, at which I could eanicknamed “ The Two-edged Sword,” sily see that Miss Chester's disdain and from the keenness of her repartees; al- anger were taining almost unendurably, ways a strange girl; invited on the "He, he, he! Ah flattah meself that ground of the school-fellowship, having, I am competent to elucidate and analyze I think, been Ellen's room-mate; perhaps charactahs at short notice. But you not known at all in city society, be- must be weary with standing so long. Fond Ellen's immediate circle ; of great Pahnit me to wait upon you to the têteconversational talent, a student, a reader, d-tête opposite; and if you will allow and otherwise accomplished.
me, ah shall be exceedingly delighted to These last, namely, the study, reading fabnish you a specimen of my powahs and accomplishments, a trifle unsettled in that line." me; for ladies with those recommenda- “By all means, sir," said Miss Chester. tions usually gabble and dabble, but little “I thank you." else. Yet I took comfort from the So we sat down. omen of power in the nick-name, and “I must make one preface," said I. persisted.
"I presume that a young lady of Miss Miss Chester heard my name and the Chester's talents and information " (anorecital of my cousinship to the pretty ther disdain-provoking bow from me), bus*ess, with considerable frigidity; “is aware that such observation as I looked me clearly in the eye as I accosted have been able to make, cannot reveal ber, and waited, apparently under the what modifications circumstances and intluence of some dislike or disinclination occupation may have engrafted upon to speak, for me to begin.
your original character.
Perinit me, These cool receptions are very much therefore, to ask that you will just tell more adapted to vivity one's anger than me what and where your life has one's intellect. I burned in inward been.” wrath and outward speechlessness, for a “Not one single syllable,” returned minute or so; then suddenly adopting a she, with evident pleasure in a short Tesolation, I drove away the rage, as- refusal. “You pretended to an 8Csu ned as pretty a simper as I could mus- quaintance with me, and offered to ter, and ventured to remark, with an prove it. And now, when it comes to 3.7 of great interest and (I tlatter myself) the trial, you already begin to feel about a well executed - diddle,"
for such scraps and hints as you may It's very fine weather, Miss Ches- hope to coax out of me, after the usual ter."
fashion of fortune-tellers. I thought it ** Yes sir."
would be so. I don't believe you know ** Unusually crowded rooms this even yourself, and to pretend to know me, ing. How tiresome it is to squeezed up whom you never saw before, and pro