Abbildungen der Seite


as he replied that Tom was a wag, and could n't help turning the most serious things into jests; and went on with his usual brilliancy to finish the narrative. Bolus did not overcrowd his can

His figures were never confused, and the subordinates and accessories did not withdraw attention from the main and substantive lie. He never squandered his lies profusely; thinking, with the poet, that "bounteous, not prodigal, is kind Nature's hand," he kept the golden mean between penuriousness and prodigality; never stingy of his lies, he was not wasteful of them, but was rather forehanded than pushed or embarrassed, having, usually, fictitious stock to be freshly put on 'change when he wished to “ make a raise." In most of his fables he inculcated but a single leading idea, but contrived to make the several facts of the narrative fall in very gracefully with the principal scheme.

The rock on which many promising young liars, who might otherwise have risen to merited distinction, have split, is vanity; this marplot vice betrays itself in the exultation manifested on the occasion of a decided hit, an exultation too inordinate for mere recital, and which betrays authorship; and to betray authorship, in the present barbaric moral and intellectual condition of the world, is fatal. True, there seems to be some inconsistency here. Dickens and Bulwer can do as much lying, for money, too, as they choose and no one blame them any more than they would blame a lawyer regularly fee'd to do it; but let any man, gifted with the same genius, try his hand at it, not deliberately, and in writing, but merely orally, and ugly names are given him, and he is proscribed. Bolus heroically suppressed exultation over the victories his lies achieved.

Alas! for the beautiful things of earth, its flowers, its sunsets—its lovely girls—its liesbrief and fleeting are their date. Lying is a very delicate accomplishment. It must be tenderly cared for and jealously guarded. It must not be overworked. Bolus forgot this salutary caution. The people found out his art. However dull the commons are as to other matters, they get sharp enough after a while to whatever concerns their bread and butter. Bolus, not having confined his art to political matters, sounded at last the depths and explored the limits of popular credulity. The denizens of this degenerate age had not the disinterestedness of Prince Hal, who “ cared not how many fed at his cost"; they got tired at last of promises to pay. The credit system, common before as pump water, adhering like the elective franchise to every voter, began to take the worldly wisdom of Falstaff's mercer, and ask security, and security liked something more substantial than plausible promises. In this forlorn condition of the country, returning to its savage state, and abandoning the refinements of a ripe Anglo-Saxon civilization for the sordid safety of Mexican or Chinese modes of traffic ; deserting the sweet simplicity of its ancient trustingness and the poetic illusions of Augustus Tomlinson for the vulgar saws of poor Richard-Bolus, with a sigh like that breathed out by his great prototype after his apostrophe to London, gathered up, one bright moonlight night, his articles of value, shook the dust from his feet, and departed from a land unworthy of his longer sojourn. With that delicate consideration for the feelings of his friends, which, like the politeness of Charles II., never forsook him, he spared them the pain of a parting interview. He left no greetings of kindness, no messages of love, nor did he ask assurances of their lively remembrance. It was quite unnecessary. In every house he had left an autograph, in every ledger a souvenir. They will never forget him. Their connection with him will be ever regarded as

“The greenest spot In memory's waste.”

Poor Ben, whom he had honored with the last marks of his confidence, can scarcely speak of him to this day, without tears in his eyes. Far away towards the setting sun he hied him, until, at last, with a hermit's disgust at the deg. radation of the world, like Ignatius turned monk, he pitched his tabernacle amidst the smiling prairies that sleep in vernal beauty, in the shadow of the San Saba mountains. There let his mighty genius rest. It has earned repose. We leave Themistocles to his voluntary exile.-The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi.


(BORN 1814-DIED 1881.)



AST year I had a solitary peach upon a

solitary tree, for the early frost frustrated the delicious crop. This only one, which, from its golden color, might be entitled El Dorado, I watched with fear and trembling from day to day, patiently waiting for the identical time when I should buoy it up carefully in my hand, that its pulp should not be bruised, tear off its thin peel, admonished that the time had come by a gradual releasing of the fruit from its adhesion to the stem, and I appointed the next day for the ceremonial of plucking. The morrow dawned, as bright a day as ever dawned upon the earth, and on a near approach I found it still there, and said, with chuckling gratification,“ There is some delicacy in thieves.” Alas! on reaching it, somebody had taken a large bite out of the ripest cheek, but with a sac

* See Biographical Sketch, p. xxxiii.

« ZurückWeiter »