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-and a voice like the lower tones of Mr. Cioffi's trombone to breathe out feelings that should have been played piano on the flute! Thou capricious, laughter-loving nature, what fantastic freaks hast thou invented in the composition of thy creature man!
As the world goes, there is no feeling nobler and more necessary than courage. What a dark world of anxiety and misery it shuts out from the soul! With what a strange beauty it invests even the bad in the hour of danger!
"So spake the grisly terror, and in shape
So speaking and so threatening, grew ten fold
Yet I have sometimes thought it was only a combination of nerve and good sense, to conceal cowardice. "He who has not felt fear," said Frederick the Great, "never snuffed a candle with his fingers. To fear calamity or pain cannot be base. The most sensitive must feel all influences most suddenly and deeply. The courage of many is sheer stupidity and bluntness of perception; while the cowardice of others may be vividness of imagination and love of life. A pleasure seeking and effeminate person will very naturally recoil from whatever threatens his peace and sa y; but in certain situations these are the fiercest and most dangerous enemies. There is no devil like your coward goaded to desperation. I have heard of a German student in a duel so perfectly outrageous from the excess of fear, that he rushed upon his antagonist, a more experienced swordsman, at the imminent peril of his life, struck down his weapon, and sliced him through as one would a water melon. Be wary when the deer stands at bay.
But whatever may be the constituents of either courage or cowardice, it is certain that, while one passes through life with a composed peace of mind, another is perpetually intruded upon with misgivings and visions of anguish. In addition to the actual periods of risk which
come to all, these victims of fright frequently think they find peril when in reality it does not exist. The unfortunate Mr. Fitzgerald is one of this sort. A more chicken-hearted creature never swaggered about under the mask of masculine attire. His fancy is always filled with horrid accidents. He enters the steam boat with a presentiment that the boiler will burst in a few moments; and in a stage he eyes every steep declivity with a forlorn conviction that his time is come. In walking through the forest, he looks upon himself as a poisoned man if a strange leaf touches his hand, and flies the old logs and grape vines for alligators and sea serpents. He once mistook the shrill whistle of a quail for the signal of banditti; and in meeting a woodcutter with his axe, in a lonely glen, he was about to exclaim, "Take my money, but spare my life," when the intruder turned away by a side path. was last summer walking with him in the city, when I felt him drawing me away with an expression of fright. A large, good natured dog, with his tongue lapping from his jaws, trotted directly toward him.
"He's mad," said Fitzgerald: "he runs in a straight line." And then he followed his example, and also ran in a straight line, though in an opposite direction, which made me conclude he was quite as mad as the dog.
We were once fellow passengers in a packet ship from New Orleans, and were overtaken off Cape Hatteras by a hurricane. It was night; and, to say the truth, the tempest howled terrifically. Many of the sails, which we were compelled to raise to keep from shore, were torn into stripes. Apprehensions were entertained that the vessel would spring aleak or go to pieces on the shoals. The waves ran like mountains and broke over the deck, and the whole ocean presented a scene of tremendous fury, at once sublime and appalling. The ladies in the cabin were shrieking in despair, and uttering the names of husbands and parents, whom they never expected to see again, in agonizing fear; and the captain's voice, hoarse with exertion, could scarcely be heard amid the din and discord of the elements. It is one of the greatest weaknesses of a coward to bully and brag when danger is afar off; and Fitzgerald had worn that mask bravely during the first week of blue sky and
gentle breezes. I could not but observe the change A dim lamp was flaring in the cabin, and the few pas sengers were collected around the table and clinging to it. Most of them were pale and silent. One would occasionally venture a remark or jest, that fell dead from the lips that spoke it. Some people would joke in the jaws of the grave. Poor Fitzgerald did not happen to be among the number. When the morning broke, we went up the gangway and looked abroad. He had no sooner lifted his head into the air than his hat darted toward the sky like an arrow. The captain was bellowing through the trumpet. The billows had swept the decks. The drenched sailors were holding on to the ropes for their lives. The deck was almost as perpendicular as a wall. Should I live a thousand years I shall never lose the impresion of his face as he stood by my side in the dim morning light: his starting eyeballs, rolling around upon the really awful scene, as the vessel went rushing, rocking, and thundering through the water his hair was streaming in the wind: his features had the whiteness of marble: his very lips were bloodless and ashy; and as a billow some seventy or eighty feet in height, tumbling like an overturned mountain toward our stern, lifted the ship as if it would actually hurl it into the air, and then swept from our bow, leaving a chasm that seemed gaping to overwhelm us, he uttered a convulsive sound as if some hand had forced a dagger into his very heart, and clasping his white hands together, shrunk back into the cabin, the most abject, prostrated wretch that eyes ever looked on. I crawled out upon deck, clinging to a rope, addressed a good humored sailor who was holding on to a piece of the shrouds without any signs of anxiety.
"Good morning, sir," said he; pretty stiff breeze : we go now finely: one can take some comfort in such a ship as this."
"Comfort!" echoed I; "I don't know what you call comfort." (I was wet to the skin, and had not slept all night.)
Why," said the man, laughing, "I was in a brig last month that went down under our feet, after we had been pumping her for twenty-four hours." "How did you escape?"
"A schooner hove in sight, and we got into the long boat."
"And how did you feel, when you found you were going down, without the hope of help ?"
"Why, when we knew that the old thing must gowhat must, you know, must-so I made up my mind to it, and felt easy."
"Easy," echoed I again, as I crept into the cabin; "and this is the way a plain, uninformed, ignorant man can meet the ghastly apparition that frights the king on his throne, and the philosopher amid his books."
I am inclined to think that cowardice may be overcome by active life and some familiarity with danger; and certainly recommend the young to begin early to train themselves in the school of reflection, to meet the perils which environ the inhabitants of this earth. They should be accustomed to calculate upon the certainty of being, in the course of their pilgrimage, often thrown into painful and critical situations. They cannot escape from them always; and, at some time or other, must give up the existence which is only bestowed for a brief period. No one ought to live unprepared to die. It should be one of the earliest lessons of the father to his son: not taught by thrusting him into scenes of horror, but by gentle admonitions; not by bringing him suddenly to the bed of the dying, but by musing with him sometimes in the recepticles of the dead, when the pleasant grass and trees are there, and he can touch his soul with tenderness and meditation, subdued melancholy and calm resignation; you may rely on it he will be better for it when he goes into the world. Passion will not so easily intoxicate, danger alarm, nor pleasure corrupt him. He who plunges headlong into the vortexes of society, conscious of no influences beyond those connected with this limited sphere, is a wretched gamester, who stakes his all on a throw, and who, if he wins today, may be irreparably ruined tomorrow. In triumph he possesses no restraint, and when trouble and peril surround him he is without support. But he who is correctly disciplined to reserve something in his own bosom from the demands of ordinary life, who moves through the adventures of the day with the full knowledge that they are passing and often vain, however he
may participate in their joys, is not prostrated by their calamities. Experience also affords a secret consolation in the thought that half the threats of fortune, like her promises, are never accomplished. I remember many who have blamed that slandered goddess for visionary prospects of human bliss, but I cannot call to mind one who has praised her for dissipating numerous storms that hang over the wanderer's path but never descend upon his head. Shakspeare has a fine sentiment on the subject of cowardice :
"What can be avoided.
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
REVERIES BY NIGHT.
WHAT a lovely night! I cannot conceive two rivals more equally invested with charms of an opposite description, than a quiet moonlight night, and a blossomy, fragrant, rich, dewy, still morning in June. For my part, I have ever found the former more tempting to the feet, more soothing to the imagination. I am even now touched by the delicious spell. I have roamed alone over the silent pavements, admiring the depth of shadows which the long wall of buildings casts broadly and with unequal outline upon the street, and the inexpressibly charming and mellow floods of light which the moon is pouring on the opposite side, softly sleeping, like a smile, on the lovely scene. Then noonlight is so exquisite in its picturesque effects-so magical and subduing. Every thing that is touched by it, is etherealized and elevated and softened. Beautiful objects are invested with higher beauty-grandeur rises to sublimity, and sublimity oppresses the mind with a