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the snow gathers together, so are our habits formed; no single flake that is added to the pile produces a sensible change; no single action creates, 121 however it may exhibit,54 a man's character; but, as the tempest hurls the avalancheEl down the moun. tain, and overwhelmsót the inhabitant" and his habitation, so passion, acting upon the elements of mischief, which pernicious habits have brought together by imperceptible accumulation may overthrow the edifice of truth and virtue.
6. — KINDNESS ITS OWN REWARD. Good and friendly conduct may meet with an unworthy, with an ungrateful return, but the absence of gratitude on the part of the receiver cannot destroy the self-approbation which recompenses the giver. And we may scatter the seeds of courtesy and kindness around us at so little expense! Some of them will inevitably fall on good ground, and grow up into benevolence in the mind of others, and all of them will bear fruit of happiness in the bosom whence they spring. Once blest are all the virtues always; twice blest sometimes.
XXII. — TIIE BOASTFUL SCHOLAR. 1. Professor Porson, who was a very learnedal man, of some what odd character and appearance, was once travelling in a stage-coach, along with several persons who did not know who he was. A young student,40 from Oxford, E' amused the ladies with a variety of talk, and, amongst other things, with a quotation, as he said, from Soph’oclēs.El A Greek quotation, and in a coach too, roused the slumbering professor from a kind of dogsleep in a snug corner of the vehicle. . 2. Shaking his ears, and rubbing his eyes, “I think, young gentleman,” said he, “ you favored us just now with a quotation from Sophocles; I do not happen to recollect it there.” “0, sir,” replied our tyro, EI “the quotation is word for word as I have repeated it, and in Sophocles, too; but I suspect, sir, that it is some time since you were at college."
3. The professor, applying his hand to his great-coat, and taking out a small pocket edition of Sophocles, quietly asked him if he would be kind enough to show him the passage in question in that little book. After rummaging the leaves for some time, the youth replied, “ Upon second thoughts, I now recollect that the passage is in Eurip'idés."EL “Then, perhaps, sir," said the professor, putting his band again into his pocket, and handing him a similar edition of Euripides, “ you will be so good as to find it for me in that little book."
4. The young Oxonian returned again to his task, but with no better success. The tittering of the ladies informed him that he had got into a dilemmas. At last, “ Bless me, sir," said he, “how dull I am! I recollect now; yes, yes, I perfectly remember that the passage is in Æs'chýlus.” The inexorable professor returned again to his inexhaustible pocket, and was in the act of handing him an Æschylus, when our astonished student vociferated, “Stop the coach ! - holloa, coachman ! let me out, I say, instantly, — let me out! There's a fellow here has got the whole Bodleian library in his pocket.”
XXIII. — LEARNING TO WRITE.
1. The winter I was nine years old, I made another advance towards the top of the ladder, in the circumstance of learning to write. I desired and pleaded to commence the chirographical*7 art the summer, and, indeed, the winter before ; for others of my own age were at it thus early. But my father said that my fingers were hardly stout enough to manage a quill from his geese ; but that, if I would put up with the quill of a hen, I might try. This pithy sătīre put an end to my teasing.
2. Having previously had the promise of writing this winter, I had made all the necessary preparations days before school was to begin. I had bought me a new birch ruler, and had given a third of my wealth four cents — for it. To this I had appended, by a well-twisted flaxen string, a plummet of my own running, whittling, and scraping. I had hunted up an old pewter inkstand, which had come down from the ancestral eminence of my great grandfather, for aught I knew ; and it bore many marks of a speedier and less honorable descent, to wit, from table or desk to the floor.
3. I had succeeded in becoming the owner of a penknife ; not that it was likely to be appplied to its appropriate use, that winter, at least; for such beginners generally used the instrument to mar that kind of pens they wrote in, rather than to make or mend those they wrote with. I had selected one of the fairest quills out of an enormous bunch. Half a quire of fools. capet had been folded into the shape of a writing-book by the maternal hand, and covered with brown paper nearly as thick as a sheepskin.
4. Behold me now, on the first Monday 1 in December, "1 starts
ing for school with my new and clean writing-book buttoned unler my jacket, my inkstand in my pocket, a bundle of necessary books in one hand, and in the other my ruler and swinging plummet, which I flourished in the air and around my head, till the sharpened lead made its first mark on my own face. My lung, white-feathered goose-quill was twisted into my hat-band, like a plumy badge of the distinction to which I had arrived, and of the important enterprise before me.
5. On arriving at the school-house I took a seat higher up and more honorable than the one I occupied the winter before. At the proper time, my writing-book, which with my quill I had handed to the master on entering, was returned to me, with a copy set, and paper ruled and pen made. My copy was a single straight mark at the first corner of my sheet of paper. “A straight mark! who could not make so simple a thing as that ?” thought I. I waited, however, to see how the boy next to me, a beginner also, should succeed, as he had got ready a momento before me..
6. Never shall I forget the first chirographica]*1 exploit of this youth. That inky image will never fade from my memory, so long as a single trace of early experience is left on its tablet. The fact is, it was an epoche' in my life : something great was to be done, and my attention was intensely awake to whatever had a bearing on this new and important trial of my powers. I looked to see a mark as straight as a ruler, having its four corners as distinctly defined as the angles of a parallelogram.Et
7. But, ( me! what a spectacle! What a shocking contrast to my anticipation! That mark had as many crooks as a ribbon in the wind, and nearer eight angles than four; and its two sides were nearly as rough and as notched as a fine handsaw; and, indeed, the mark somewhat resembled it in width, for the fellow" had laid in a store of ink sufficient to last the journey of the whole line. “Shame on him!” said I, internally. “I can beat that, I know."
8. I began by setting my pen firmly on the paper, and I brought a mark half-way down with rectilinear") precision. But by this time my head began to swim, and my hand to tremble. I was, as it were, in vacancy, far below the upper ruling, and as far above the lower. My self-possession failed; my pen diverged to the right, then to the left, crooking all the remainder of its way, with as many zig-zags as could well be in so short a distance. Mine was as sad a failure as my neighbor's. I covered it over with my fingers, and did not jog him with a “ see there," Rs I had vainly anticipated.
9. So much for pains-taking, - now for chance. By good luck
the next effort was quite successful. I now dashed on, for better or worse, till in one half-hour I had covered the whole page. In the afternoon a similar copy was set, and I dashed on a gain, as if I had taken so much writing by the job, and my only object was to save time. Now and then there was quite a reputable mark; but, alas for him whose perception of the beautiful was particularly delicate, should he get a glimpse of these sloughs 3 of ink!
10. The third morning, my copy was the first101 element of the m and n, or what in burlesque is called a hook. On the fourth, I had the last half of the same letters, or the trammel ; and indeed they were the similitudesio of hooks and trammels, forged in a country plenteous in iron, and by the youngest apprentice at the hammer and anvil. In this way I went through all the small Irtters, as they are called. Then I must learn to make the capitals, before entering on joining hand. Capital letters !1:33 They were capital offences against all that is graceful, indeed decent, yeab tolerable, in that art which is so capable of beau. tiful forms and proportions.
11. I came next to joining hand, about three weeks after my commencement; and joining hand indeed it was! It seemed as if my hooks and trammels were overheated in the forge, and were melted into one another; the shapeless masses so clung together at points where they ought to have been separate, and 80 very far were they from all resemblance to conjoined yet distinct and well-defined characters.
12. Thus I went on, a perfect little prodigal in the expenditure of paper, ink, pens and time. The first winter I splashed two, and the next three writing-books with inky puddle, in learning coarse hand; and, after all, I had gained not much in penmanship, except a workmanlike assurance and celerity of execution, such as is natural to an old hand at the business.
XXIV. — THE LIFE-BOAT.
1. QUICK! man the life-boat !36 See yon bark,
That drives before the blast!
And the storm comes thick and fast.
Avert the doom that's o'er her?
2. Quick! man the life-boat! hark! the gun
Boomget through the vapory air ;
And speak the ship's despair.
Seemed from the wave to sweep her :
The life-boat! Man the life-boat!
3. Quick! man the life-boat! See -- the crew.33
Gaze on their watery grave :
Are battling with the wave;
As thoughts of home come o'er him ;
The life-boat! Man the life-boat!
4. Speed, speed the life-boat! Off she goes !
And, as they pulled the oar,
That started ship and shore.
las human lives within her ;
On, life-boat! Speed thee, life-boat!
5. Hurra! the life-boat dashes on,
Though darkly the reef may frown;
Full twenty fathoms down.
With the hillows single-handed :
By the life-boat! Cheer the life-boat!
XXV. --- THE SNOW OF WINTER.
1. What can surpass, in festa magnificence, a clear winter morning, when all things are firm with the cold? The early Bunbeams play upon the glittering frost. The crystal icicles, like pend’ulouse diamonds, adorn every branch. Hills, valleys" aud plums, are robed in a pure attire of snow, upon the delicate and