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But it may be objected, that many have incurred ruin by following their own plans, and neglecting the advice of some sage over-anxious busybody. Not, however, have such been ruined by daring to trust in themselves; but because they have feared to confide in their own principles to the end. They have had too little faith ; and thus they have done neither one thing nor the other-neither followed the advice of their friends, nor continued stedfast to their own determination. They have wavered between two stools; and what wonder that the old adage was exemplified ?
And now can we perceive in what GENIUS consists. The man of genius is he who dares do that, which a world of cowards shrinks from. He believes the monitions of his own soul to be true for himself and all men, and acts in the light of their influence. Courage and genius are identical ; nor can one exist without the other. The essence of genius is in the exclamation “I WILL do it!" It determines to effect something ; nor awaits the dull calculation of means. In short, like love,
“ It rides upon a thought, And straight o'erleaps all fence unto the goal.” The man of genius feels no inadequacy to his task, however difficultnay, however impossible it may seem to others. His motto is, “ I and Time against the World.” To the uninspired portion of mankind, this energy of his at first appears the frenzy of a Bedlamite; but sooner or later his character is better appreciated, and the justice of his aims acknowledged.
Genius is ever self-sufficient. Often do we find recorded in the lives of great men, that although they listened to the opinions of their coadjutors, they always followed their own. The man of genius is what the world calls obstinate ; and neither requires nor takes advice. What would be good for another, who is a poor groveller that boasts not of genius, would, for that very same reason, be the worst possible course for him. He depends upon his own resources; for he knows all help, but that derived from himself, will fail at need. The hare may counsel prudence and fly; but the lion must face his foe.
Our whole life below is spent in struggling, either manfully or otherwise. All of us have obstacles to overcome and enemies to disarm; in which contest we shall either incur eternal infamy or win eternal glory. Say what they will, victory in this world is ever obtained, not by caution, but by daring. Cowardice, of all kinds, is ruin ; the old proverb, “ Nothing venture, nothing win," is confirmed by the experience of every day. He who would be the actor of poble deeds, must cast off from him the slough of a beggarly prudence, and feel that nought which is possible to man is impossible to him. He must not for a moment entertain the lazy conviction of mental inferiority to any, but must assert an equality with the bravest and the best by a glorious emulation of their virtues and achievements. In short, he must cease to be the puppet of convention-he must be a Man!
*** In the Cogitations of a Contemplatist, published last month, some errors of the press have occurred; which, as they are of importance to the sense, I beg leare
to correct. Page 354, line 32, instead of " but it is rarely requisite that all their isolated characteristics should be faithfully preserved ;' read, “but it is surely requisite that all their isolating characteristics should be faithfully preserved." Page 355, line 41, instead of “ And Babylon that didst no waste ;' read, “And Babylon that didst us waste." Page 355, bottom line, instead of “That your salvation brings ;" read “That your salvation bring."
THE DOUBLE DISAPPOINTMENT.
A TRUE STORY.
BY MRS. EDWARD THOMAS.
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
SHAKSPERE. It was a beautiful afternoon, in the month of May, when Madelon and Janet Howard stepped into the London coach, which passed their father's neat-looking villa by the roadside, to pay a sort of stolen visit to a favourite brother, who held a situation in Somerset House; and who, from obstinately persevering in an attachment to a lovely and amiable girl, whose only crime was a want of fortune, (the heaviest in the eyes of many,) had incurred the paternal displeasure to such an extent, that, after a long and angry correspondence, it ended in Frederick Howard's being forbidden his father's house (to the great grief of his adoring mother, and affectionate sisters);—the most injudicious step that can be adopted in such a dilemma-yet one too many parents take in similar circumstances. For where can the sorrowing and banished delinquent turn for pity and consolation, but to the very being for whom he is suffering such unmerited cruelty? Who so capable of soothing his irritated feelings,- of speaking peace to his wounded spirit,—and pouring the balm of sympathy and affection (that true“ oil of gladness !") on his aching heart—as she who has caused his affliction? And, although quite involuntary, still feels such tender and acute self-reproach, for the injury her innocent affection has inflicted on the being dearest to her, and for which she would atone with the sacrifice of all most precious to her young heart!
If parents really desire to add strength and durability to an impru. dent, and perhaps otherwise transient passion, which might soon have evaporated in the natural fickleness of youth-let them follow Mr. Howard's system. But if, from a sincere and anxious regard for the future welfare of their child, they, with the prudent experience of mature age, see strong reasons to discourage it, let them court the poor victim to his boyhood home-let them render it cheerful and inviting to him, and endeavour, by mild expostulation and dispassionate reasoning, to convince him, that the opposition now offered to his dearest wish, is only for his ultimate advantage that, in fact, he has in his father, not a stern, unyielding judge, dead to all the sweet memories of youth, and forgetful of his own early conflicts and sufferings, ere he at
tained the haven of domestic peace and love: but a friend a sympathizer-and a sinceré partaker in all that truly concerns his interest here and hereafter.
If parents, instead of listening in such cases to the voice of passion, would follow the dictates of their cooler judgement, much rain and bitter self-condemnation would be spared them in the decline of life, and many, many victims be snatched from the abyss of vice and folly.
But to return. It was one of those nice old-fashioned May-days, when the sun did shine, and young ladies could dress jauntily, without the apprehension of catching their deaths from a violent and unexpected shower, (alias a deluge). Consequently, Madelon had bestowed particular care on her toilet; and most beautiful she looked
-just nineteen—tall, and finely formed, with large liquid blue eyes, full of fire and animation—a complexion faultlessly fair, blended with the hue of perfect health, aided by the vivacity of a never-ceasing flow of spirits ; mental content being, after all, the only infallible recipe for personal beauty. She wore a most becoming white chip hat, with a wreath of myrtle round it, and an elegant mantelet over her shoulders ; carrying gracefully in her hand a very small light blue silk parasol, favourable to her complexion, she said-and a richly embroidered reticule. Janet, also, had blue eyes, but they were so shaded by her long dark eye-lashes, (the longest I ever beheld,) that, except whea she raised them, it was impossible to judge of their expression ; but then they were radiant indeed! She had a brighter colour than her sister, but was neither quite so tall, nor so fair; and was too young to bestow such attention on her personal appearance, (being only fifteen). She was therefore dressed much plainer and child-like, (which Madelon highly commended, conscious such extreme simplicity must afford only a more striking contrast to her superlative charms,) and carried in her hand a small basket of fresh-blown violets only. But then, “ Frederick was so fond of them !" Madelon chatted with the most unreserved freedom to the other passengers, particularly to rather 1 handsome young man, who sat opposite to her; who looked at the largest objects through a glass, wore diamond studs, carried the “ Morning Post” in his lap carelessly, and had altogether an air " très-distingué" for a stage-coach! On him, therefore, she exercised her ruling passion, (for the time being,) universal conquest; described a ball she had once been at the number of gentlemen who asked her to dance--the sensation she created—the dress she wore, (blue and silver,)—and her distress at not being able to procure natural flowers for her hair, (it being the winter season,) and having no green-house then ; thus adroitly intimating that she was relieved from that painful embarrassment, and could now command a necessary appendage to a coquette, a charming bouquet to pull to pieces, whenever she wished to display the whitest hands in the world, to the admiring youth with whom she might happen to be flirting.
Janet remained silent during the whole of the journey. For she thought, “Who will care to listen to my common-place remarks ? Madelon has so much to say—and says everything so well!" The coach set them down on the Fleet Street side of Temple Bar,-that
being the termination of the stage. They then proceeded up the Strand, and on arriving opposite to Somerset House, they perceived an immense concourse of carriages of visiters to the Exhibition (then just opened). The two girls remained hesitating for some time, before venturing to cross the road. At length, Madelon exclaimed encouragingly, “Come Janet, dear! now's a good opportunity I think!”
“Oh! I dare not,” said Janet, in a voice tremulous with alarm. “I dare not indeed, I'm so frightened !”
“ What nonsense !" replied Madelon, half angrily. “That's just like you, Janet, frightened at everything! You're not fit to come from home, I'm sure. Come ! come! I'll take care you don't get hurt!” And she took the reluctant hand of her sister, to conduct her through the danger. “How you tremble!” she observed, " you silly thing !”
A tall, elegant young man, who had been struck with their extreme beauty, and who, judging, from the smartness of Madelon's appearance, that they were not exactly what are considered “ Londoners," (there being a sort of rustic air joined to her finery,) overhearing the preceding dialogue, now stepped forward, and bowing respectfully to them, said, “ Allow me to see you safely across, young ladies.”
This address from a perfect stranger rather increased Janet's fears -but Madelon, who at a glance saw that he was “a marvellous proper man," gladly availed herself of the offer. .
Twice they leisurely perambulated the spacious quadrangle of Somerset House, ere Madelon had courage to tear herself away from the fascinating conversation of the elegant and captivating stranger who, with that complete tact of a man of the world, had, without appearing to ask a single question, or show the slightest symptoms of curiosity, gleaned the whole history of her errand from the imprudent but unsophisticated girl—with every other interesting particular, relative to her “birth, parentage, and education."
“And is it really only a brother for whom you feel such an interest?” he inquired, in a soft, melodious tone of voice.
Madelon, anxious to convince him, that she had no serious engagement, (having read a great deal about love at first sight-lords in disguise--and the supremacy of beauty—and the madness of allowing the frost of jealousy to nip the blossoms of a dawning passion,) assured him, in the most positive and affecting terms," that she took no interest in any other part of the male creation, except, indeed, her dear papa, and one little nephew, who was only ten years of age, besides her other brothers."
" Will you permit me to wait here to see you safely to the coach again ?” he asked, imploringly. Madelon's pride, for the first time, revolted at the idea of a public vehicle. But she thought, “ It won't be for long,—his lordship must have a carriage to offer me." So she instantly replied, " Most certainly. I shall be only too grateful for such polite attention—but perhaps we shall detain you too long?",
“Not at all, pray do not think of hurrying--my time is yours.”
The meeting between the brother and sisters was of the most affectionate and tender description. Madelon embraced him with all the fervour and energy of her nature, and silent tears mingled with
Janet's fond and oft-repeated kiss, at seeing how much paler he looked ; and how much less bright his eyes were, than when he used to bound from the coach of a Saturday evening, to spend the happy Sabbath in the bosom of his family.
He confessed “that he had not been well for a long time,-that he had suffered great mental affliction, from what he termed his father's harsh injustice, which had impaired his bodily health sadly;" and added, in a tone of defiance, while his face became of the deepest crimson, from excited feelings—“If he does not soon consent to my union with Emily Mills, I shall do worse, and so you may tell him." He did do worse; for, upon the old gentleman still remaining inerorable to his entreaties, he broke off his engagement, and plunged desperately into a scene of vice and dissipation, which entailed misery and disgrace on him for years after, and impoverished his father to snatch him from a gaol, and save his character in his public capacity.
“ But how could he think of allowing you to come alone?" he observed, in a softened tone.
“Oh! he knows nothing about it," answered Madelon; “ he's gone to a public meeting, so we coaxed poor mamma to let us come; and she was only too glad to consent, she is so anxious about you, Frederick."
“Ah! I knew she would be,” said he, sighing deeply. “But were you not afraid ?"
“We were a little at the crossing," replied Janet timidly, awed by her sister's gathering frown.
“Oh! but such an elegant stranger came to our assistance-quite a knight errant,” interrupted Madelon energetically. “I was in raptures at the adventure, I assure you—a man of fortune, I'm convinced-perhaps a lord, Frederick-only think of that. He saw us here, and in fact is actually waiting for us at this moment—so we must rather hurry our visit.”
“ A Lord, indeed !” exclaimed Frederick contemptuously. “I'll not only bet that he's no lord—but not even a gentleman. No gentleman would feel himself authorized in addressing two unprotected girls like you. Some sharper, I'll answer for it.”
“ I'm sure he's not,” observed Madelon, indignantly. “I never saw a gentleman, if he's not one. And as for presuming to speak to us, I'm positive he would never have dreamed of such a thing, if it hadn't been for Janet. But you know how timid and foolish she is always."
“ Yes, indeed, it was all my fault," interposed Janet, in a deprecating tone, seeing her brother's rising indignation. “But don't be angry, dearest Frederick, he said nothing the least rude to us."
“ And what did you say to him, Janet."
“Right !” interrupted Madelon; “I can't agree with you. I think, when a person is courteous and polite, the least one can do is to show our sense of it, by gratitude and civility. I will not conceal that I was absolutely ashamed of Janet's behaviour. She not only remained quite silent and sullen, but made such a horrid, ungrateful curtsey, to his charming parting bow, that I'm quite certain he'll think she's