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N the legend of Hellas, when Herakles brought 
Theseus back from Hades, the Greeks called the 
return of the Attic prince a Psychagogia, or a 
leading of a soul back from the region of the dead. In 
a less literal but a more significant way, the publica- 
tion of these letters replaces Byron Caldwell Smith, 
who died in the splendid promise of his youth, amongst 
the living generation, and by them ** he, being dead, 
yet speaketh/* Many who knew him in his fair per- 
son will rejoice at this restoration of his bright, strong- 
pinioned spirit to a place-, and ;funtitioi3f ^«mpogj»man- 
kind, and lament the lefesrlais ^iafly ji6(Mras€i,iVhich 
seemed at the time to end ^^irareJKl^, of ;e,xtraordinary 
promise. • %« -.- i.o o -.» 

These letters were written W/^¥pvi^*tn2iV^ between 

the ages of nineteen and twenty^fhree,- "during four 

years of student-life in five university cities of Europe. 

It is notable that the author of them had planned for 

himself, and in advance, the scheme of study that he 

followed there, and that it was dominated by an ideal 

I of culture rather than by standards of professional at- 

X) I tainments. It is further remarkable that, although so 

"^ ' young on leaving home, he had already forged his way 

"V^ to philosophic, religious, and social conceptions which 

he thereafter developed but never abandoned, Stud- 

'^ ents, wherever they congregate, make a world of their 

^ • • • 


iv Preface. 

own, and in Europe their communities have a Bo- 
hemian irresponsibility and freedom on which dissolute 
habits make heavy inroads. For young Smith such 
temptations could not seduce him from the joy he had 
in conforming to the pure order of nature and he came 
out of the Circean ordeal unsullied. **I have with- 
stood every temptation/' he writes to his mother as he 
set his face homeward, *' and grappled with every diffi- 
culty that I thought might conceal treasures for my 
life, that I might be worthy one day to return to your 
bosom as pure in body and soul as when I nestled there 
as at the fountain of my life.*' Is not the remem- 
brance of a spirit so self-poised, of a pursuit of truth 
and beauty so strenuous, of conduct so blameless, and 
of a career ended with the bloom of youthful enthusi- 
asm fragrant upon it, worthy of perpetuation ? 

It has fallen to one who was a close associate of 
Byron Smith during all his professional life and who, 
for arjBajJft gf tWtimJ, ^i]i)4irJ$im as a member of his own 
family; .W *w£it* these'-lettefe.' In performing this task 
care has Waeh ^C^ }xi:present the character of their 
author with ¥oliiess "and* integrity, and to sacrifice VlVlx- 
formity W-'^tvie •ii)f»iite Spontaneity and freedom of 
epistolary wntinV*aft*difelfent times and under difiFerent 
circumstances. To make them look as he would have 
made them look had he revised them for publication 
(a task he would never have undertaken, for he did 
not dream that his biography could be of public inter- 
est), would be to introduce into them an element of 
constraint and reserve incompatible with their naivete 
and self-revelation. There have been eliminated from 
these letters some personal comments and ephemeral 
business matters of no permanent interest, but enough 
of these has been preserved to keep alive the epistolary 

Preface. v 

form and color. It was a fixed principle with Profes- 
sor Smith to give no needless oflFence to a single person, 
though he scorned trimming, cowardice, and untruth- 
fulness. For this reason, where no verity or sup- 
pression of traits was involved, the editor has rarely 
modified or erased vehement expressions of dislike for 
things other men cherish, which never would have 
fallen from Smith's lips except under the sacred con- 
fidence of intimate friendship or family intercourse. 
Otherwise the portraiture in these pages stands as its 
subject drew it, unsuspicious that strange eyes would 
ever behold it. It is a picture veracious and without 

From the dawning of intelligence Byron Smith was 
a child of enthusiasm and ardor. His hunger for know- 
ledge and his aspiration for culture grew with his growth 
and were unappeasable. In the realm of books the 
ground he conquered will seem prodigious even to 
scholars. To some his expressions of opinion may at 
times seem over-confident and even egotistical. A 
part of that self-assertion (which he never showed in 
general company) belongs to the intimacy of home. 
But a part, too, belongs to his singular sense of clear- 
ness in thinking and the fervor kindled in him by the 
themes of which he discoursed. 

Among his rare intellectual characteristics there may 
be noted his philosophic and religious views. Even 
those who dissent most widely from them, will recog- 
nize that he presents them wdth masterful comprehen- 
sion, logical force, and great vigor of language. He 
claimed discipleship of Spinoza and Hegel, frankly 
avowing himself to be a pantheist. From Absolute 
Being he stripped away all predicates, especially dis- 
carding all anthropomorphism. Thus he was left to 

vi Preface. 

confront in his soul an inscrutable abstraction as the 
source of all being and history. For most men this 
position is paralyzing to the religious sense, and re- 
sults in an impotent or indifferent agnosticism. Not 
so with Byron Smith. To him this mystery was life, 
and wonderful beyond utterance. It was a divine and 
ultimate fact, and here he worshipped with a reverence 
that was impassioned. On this foundation he built a 

On it he also founded a system of ethics, and gloried 
in its noble generosity and arduous exactions upon 
human nature. It called for a self-effacement seldom 
reached by the devotee of mysticism. Yet he was not 
an ascetic. To him selfishness was simply separation 
from nature, in and through which ceaselessly throbbed 
the unspeakable Divinity. He recognized no personal 
immortality, and thought it made self of extravagant 
importance, setting it in opposition to the divine whole, 
and making love a passion rather than a principle. 
Death was to him a dreamless repose, a blessed Nirvana. 

Although first of all a metaphysician, he did not 
believe in the opposition of philosophy and science. 
Science he understood in its principles, methods, and 
tendencies, but he found in it a firm support for his 
speculations. He would not lose his hold upon the 
unity of all things, for at that centre was divinity. 

Not unrelated to these premises were his views of 
art and scholarship. Nature had a sacred beauty for 
him. It was a revelation of the Absolute. The artist 
was touched with a divine afflatus. In verdant fields 
under ** azure '* skies, on the sea and on land, and in 
the galleries or before the temples of Europe, his soul 
kindled with solemn joy. Of the poets he was a dis- 
cerning critic, and few pens have more incisively 

Preface. vii 

pointed out the soul of art or a singer's limitations. 
He seems to see into the heart of a Wordsworth, a 
Goethe, a Tennyson, or a Swinburne. 

His arguments have the parry and unerring thrust 
of a skilled dialectician. His thought moves through 
metaphor and epigram with lucidity and charm, as the 
clear waters of a river, catching light on its white foam 
as it pours over obstacles, or purling in soft cadences 
along the reaches of its channel. 

To those who respect youth, lofty aspiration towards 
verity, faculties capable and brilliant, the ardor of a 
noble nature, loyalty to conviction, and purity of heart, 
— all combined in a narrative of devotion to culture, 
— these autobiographical pages are now committed. 


ViNEiyAND, N. J., February, 1897. 



THIS book is for the most part an autobiography 
of Byron Caldwell Smith, since that part is com- 
piled from his letters. It needs no justification 
from the fact that it puts before mankind a remarkable 
union of youth and mental gifts in one person, nor 
from the desire of fond relatives and friends to perpetu- 
ate the memory of a character they can never forget or 
of an influence they can never erase. In a final judg- 
ment of values men do not ask the age of the singer 
whose impassioned notes thrill them, nor of the painter 
whose limning entrances them. Work and lives must 
be taken at their real worth. It is therefore with the 
conviction that they deserve it that these letters are 
wrought into this life-history, and that the reader will 
recognize the fine enthusiasms, the high gifts, the ele- 
vation of character, and the eloquence of expression 
thus disclosed as of fascinating interest. 

Yet youth has its beautiful glamour, and great ex- 
cellences are more striking when early attained. These 
letters were written when their author was passing from 
nineteen to twenty-three during four years of studious 
life at Heidelberg, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, and Athens. 

2 A Young Scholar. 

They were for the home reading of parents loved with 
unusual candor and confidence, and their self-revela- 
tion is without constraint. Their writer unfolded 
himself in that large atmosphere of sympathy, as the 
flowers expand their petals and give forth their per- 
fume in a balmy morning of June. In them his remi- 
niscences of youth complete a rounded history of his 
mental life, and it is only necessary that a friendly 
band should add a few details of childhood and of the 
days that were fading away under the stroke of disease 
to make a whole biography and chain a life that other- 
wise would seem like the rapturous dream of an artist 
and a sage, to this earth. 


Authors searching for new scenes and strong natures 
to give color to their writings have as yet not discov- 
ered the valleys of the upper Ohio. Yet they were 
peopled by a dominant race as religious as the Puri- 
tans of New England, but far more touched with 
ardor. Their lives were as simple, their confronting 
of a new wilderness to be subdued as brave and unre- 
pining, their veraciousness as stern and thorough, their 
strength as indomitable, their ideals as high, their do- 
mestic affections as sweet and faithful, as those of any 
people that ever reared and gave vigor to states. It is 
the Scotch-Irish race that gave character to the settle- 
ments of this region, and they came thither with their 
school-mststers and their Presbyterian pastors, not as 
fugitives from persecution, but under the more genial 
impulse that seeks enlargement of life and room to 
grow in their own fashion. They were not embittered ; 
they were not joyless ; they were godl5^ One sees 


in their characters the same difference in moderation 
and geniality as between the Presbyterians and Inde- 
pendents in the days of the English Commonwealth. 
Sir Walter Scott describes it well in Woodstock and 
other of his novels. Into these valleys came now 
and then descendants of those German Anabaptist 
sects whom the influence of Penn drew to the fertile 
fields of the Susquehanna valley ; a meek, devout, 
simple people, clannish as Israelites for like reasons 
of faith, living in a perpetual sense of obedience to 
God, and, while narrowed by too formal adherence to 
the letter of the law, yet too godly to lose its spirit. 
They were a meek, affectionate people, plodding with 
dogged perseverance, as are the characteristics of their 

Among these people Alexander Campbell found a 
field ripe for his harvesting. He followed his father 
from Ulster province to Washington county, Pennsyl- 
vania, where both were stirred by an unappeasable 
desire to see the unity of Christians. They would wipe 
from Christendom all the blots and scars of contro- 
versy and creeds, and have believers one family, known 
only as obedient disciples of Christ. Campbell wished 
to reach the heart of divine truth that makes men 
free, and, holding with unquestioning conviction that 
through the New Testament the mind of Jesus spoke 
so that the lowliest heart could understand, he strove 
to silence all the jargon of the schools and the disso- 
nances of the sects, so that men should hear in Christ's 
words the revealing voice of God*s will. His ideals 
were by no means novel. Others had tried the same 
dangerous experiment again and again through the 
ages, and the issue had been a religion more fantastic 
and even antinomian than that of the formalized 

4 A Young Scholar. 

church from which they sought to escape. If Camp- 
bell's venture was free from this peril it was largely 
owing to the sound sense, the self-restraint, and the 
discerning consciences of the people who received his 
tenets. He sowed his seed on good ground. Men and 
women reopened their Bibles and tested Campbell's 
preaching by his fidelity to the primitive gospels. 
They gathered about and adopted his teachings. He 
secured their liberty by a Congregational system of 
church government ; they accepted adult baptism by 
immersion ; their young men prophesied in their meet- 
ings ; they founded their church-fellowship on simple 
obedience to Christ ; they repudiated dogmatism and 
formulas. Great was the influence of that evangelist 
of rude eloquence, glowing faith, and brave, high rec- 
titude. It lingers now, spread all along the Ohio val- 
ley to Missouri. In its nurture his widowed mother 
trained the youth of President Garfield, and its fra- 
grance was upon him at the White House as chief of 
the nation. The Disciples of Christ, as they wish to 
be called, or the Campbellites, as sectarian discrimina- 
tion terms them, may not have been able to break 
through the limitations that rest upon all religious 
societies, and so have only added another denomination 
to the motley divisions of Protestant Christendom, but 
they were of heroic blood, fearless of scorn, veracious 
and truth-loving as they could see the truth, simple 
in manners, and withal not lacking in picturesque 

Byron Smith was the child of these influences. In 
him mingled the blood of Penn's Palatinate Germans 
and of the Ulster Presbyterians. The inspiriting fel- 
lowship of The Disciples brought his parents to- 
gether, and its atmosphere enveloped his cradle. His 


father was of the Pennsylvania German stock, and 
came across the Appalachian ranges to the Ohio valley 
with his father, and here both came under the influence 
of Alexander Campbell and for a time were now and 
then lay exhorters in that communion. His mother's 
family came from Belfast, in Ireland, and were the 
children of the covenant, as the Irish Presbyterians 
defined their relation to God, the covenant-keeping 
Sovereign of the Universe. This commingling of races 
has given rise again and again to some of the finest 
personalities of the world. The warmth of family loy- 
alty and love never cools in the blood of either. To 
the huge capacity of the German for enduring persist- 
ency and thoroughness of work, the Irish adds its 
acuteness, ardor, versatility, and wit. The qualities of 
either race are counterparts in the making of a full- 
rounded, well-balanced, and strong man. The genius 
of work and the genius of intellect combine in the 
ideal genius. How far this result was attained in our 
young scholar his own words are soon to disclose. 

The father, George P. Smith, in middle life was a lithe, 
slight man, alert and elastic in motion, full-bearded, 
and with wavy hair touched with iron-grey. His brown 
eyes had in them a glint of light that indicated quick 
understanding and resolute energy ; evidently a man 
not to be trifled with, and self-reliant. His manner 
was placid, his speech soft, his manners gentle and 
without affectation. Fear he did not understand. 
There slept in him a Berserker rage, that shot forth at 
the last indignity of bodily assault, and woe to the man 
that laid hands upon him. Such a man is seldom mo- 
lested, and had not one or two rash men dared to 
awaken this temper by violence it never would have 
been known what a tempest that tranquil man's breast 

6 A Young ScJwlar. 

could brew. But his scorn of wrong and his purpose 
to see the earth clean and righteous, never slept within 
him. In his youth he preached as the spirit moved him 
among assemblies of The Disciples, though he never 
sought ordination or pastoral care. He made journal- 
ism his business, and, in the days when men were 
angered by slavery, he was working on the editorial 
staflF of the Wheeling Times and Gazette. He was the 
friend of the bondman. As the presidential election of 
1856 drew on, Mr. Smith advocated in that Democratic 
city the choice of John C. Fremont, and in the City 
Hall addressed an assembly in an anti-slavery speech. 
Many were enraged and a mob gathered to waylay 
him on the street. He was beaten and his clothing 
torn from him, but possessing himself of a dirk he held 
the crowd at bay, having wounded two of his assail- 
lants when the sheriflF rescued him. Strangers to him 
went on his bail-bond, from admiration of his pluck. 
In a pro-slavery court a Wheeling jury acquitted him 
of the charges of the indictment, but he was advised 
quietly to leave the city. ** Not until I have cast my 
vote for Fremont,** was his answer. On election morn- 
ing, amply and visibly armed with knife and pistol he 
walked openly to the polls and deposited his ballot for 
the Republican candidate and none molested him going 
or returning. He then turned his face westward and, 
after two years* stay in Mason, Illinois, moved on to 
Danville in the same State, where he published a news- 
paper. He was at Steubenville, Ohio, visiting his 
wife's parents and on his way to Port Townsend on 
Puget Sound to assume the duties of collector of the 
port, an office to which President Lincoln had appointed 
him, when the call was made by the government for 
three months* volunteers to resist the secession rebellion. 


He abandoned the civil office and promptly enlisted, 
receiving the rank of captain and serving on General 
Morris's staflF at Wheeling, Virginia. Again he en- 
listed when troops for a year's service were called for, 
and going to Dwight, 111., he became major of the 69th 
regiment of that State. This little place was the home 
of his family during his service in the field. As a major 
his services were rendered in Chicago, but the fol- 
lowing year he obtained permission to recruit a regi- 
ment, and he raised the 129th Illinois volunteers, 
becoming its colonel under the commission of Governor 
Richard Yates. The regiment was immediately ordered 
to l/ouisville, Kentucky, and was attached to General 
Rosecranz's army. At Louisville the Colonel passed 
through a long and dangerous sickness in a military 
hospital, which he left in health too shattered for service 
in the field. Consequently he resigned in 1864, and 
removed to Jacksonville, 111., where his son Byron, 
then a lad of fifteen, had already passed two terms 
in Illinois College. Here he became editor and pro- 
prietor of the Daily Jacksonville Journal, and in the 
columns of that paper the youth found occasion at times 
to practise his pen. The family settled in Humboldt, 
Kansas in 1869, led thither in hopes that the change 
would restore the father's failing health, and here he 
mingled farming with journalism and with public ser- 
vice in the House of Representatives of that State. In 
1884 he fled from the agues of a new state to Pittsburg, 
Pa., where he was in the service of the Pension Bureau. 
He died at Steubenville, Ohio, in the summer of 1889. 
This narrative necessarily fixes the residences and 
migrations of the son until he went abroad, when his 
own letters begin to indicate his locations, pursuits, and 

8 A Young Scholar. 

Byron Smith*s mother, Margaret Caldwell, was the 
daughter of Belfast Presbyterians who settled on a 
farm near Steubenville, Ohio. To describe their home 
is most quickly done by saying that its pious and 
winning spirit Bums portrayed in **The Cotter's 
Saturday Night. ' * It was the cotter's household trans- 
ferred to the freer and larger life of an American frontier, 
for when the Cald wells came to the Ohio valley it was a 
frontier. There was frugality in it without penury, 
diHgence and thrift, but without anxiety. The sire 
was patriarch and priest to his family. He read to 
them God's oracles and they knelt reverently and daily 
at the family altar. High thoughts gave dignity to the 
home ; love lent it warmth and cheer ; veracity made 
life earnest and real for it. One feels the strength and 
wholesomeness of these integrities^ — the solidity and 
stability of truth-loving are in it. Mr. Caldwell lived to 
be a venerable man and in his later years was much an 
inmate of his daughter's family. As his hair whitened 
with the silvery touch of time, he grew oracular in his 
cozy ingle-side seat, speaking as one having the author- 
ity of a good life and a long experience. His converse 
still was of high themes, for his love of right-living 
grew with his years, his interest in the lives of kindred 
and neighbors mellowed and expanded, and his need 
to discern the divineness of reality in things and the 
Godward purport of events was imperative. 

The people I have described drifted widely as time 
went by from the doctrinal moorings of early days, and 
outgrew their Campbellite cradles. No influence was 
more potent in producing the change than the unfolding 
of the bright and captivating life that had sprung from 
them. But through it all, the love of love, the human 
soulfulness that was more than conventions and station, 


the conviction that truth was the keeper of all security 
and goodness, the scorn of sham, and the courage of 
rectitude persisted. Indeed it was just these qualities, 
which their primal faiths nourished in them, that made 
their changes of mind necessary. Their birthright 
spirit wafted them on. 

These Smiths and Caldwells were not learned people, 
but they had a substitute for learning in their bright 
common-sense. They were never lured to grasp the 
unearned favors of fashion or position, but they loved 
to see work done honestly and well. For social arts 
they had bonhanimie. 

Such were the influences that nurtured the youth of 
Byron Smith. It is his mother's testimony that parent- 
al authority never was used to warp or constrain his 
development. Indeed there was little occasion for inter- 
ference, for the child, quick of wit, and inquisitive for 
the reason of things, found as keen delight in the play 
of his mental faculties as a boy does with his first pair 
of skates. Yet he was far from being a pale, large 
foreheaded book-worm, devouring his books in quiet 
corners of the house. It could not be said of him, as 
John Stuart Mill said of his childhood, that he ** never 
was a boy." While still in petticoats he was ready to 
arbitrate his differences with his mates with a pair of 
chubby fists, and when in knickerbockers, he strove 
to be first in the race. He needed no spur either on the 
play-ground or in the school-room. His merriment 
was hearty, his enthusiasms many. Over his large 
lustrous brown eyes there passed expressions of intent- 
ness, questioning, eagerness, intelligence, mirth, jubil- 
ancy with vivacity, like troops that enter and pass over 
the mimic stage, until sleep drew down the long- 
fringed curtains of their lids. His dark brown hair 

lO A Young Scholar, 

clustered about a face of clear brunette complexion and 
rosy cheeks, such as seems to be granted to Irish 
beauties. But from the earliest manifestations of in- 
tellect there appeared in him a delight in ideas, and an 
insatiable appetite for knowledge that was his domin- 
ant characteristic. The great function of his parents 
was to tend the unfolding of the soul of their son and 
nurture it with sympathy, and this they proudly did. 

Early Years. 

Island Creek is a farming township on the Ohio 
River immediately north of Steubenville, and in it the 
Smiths and Cald wells dwelt on adjoining farms and 
had the same religious connections. Here, on the 28th 
of August, 1849, Byron Caldwell Smith was born, being 
the first child of his parents. Their migrations fixed 
the scenes of his childhood and his schooling. His 
teaching was such as was aflForded by such towns as 
Mason, Dwight, and Danville in Illinois, with the ex- 
ception of four months in a Roman Catholic school at 
Wheeling when his father was on staflF duty there in 
the early days of the Civil War. Mathematics were a 
delight to his heart, and he seemed to have entertained 
towards them in his childhood the spirit of a remark 
that he made years after, to the eflfect that no farther 
advance in that branch of study was to be expected 
except from highly imaginative minds. Imagination 
is not associated usually with pure mathematics, but 
men who can conceive concretely of figures of four or 
five dimensions have a rare gift. At all events, these 
studies to Smith were more than ingenious processes 
and solutions of problems. They conjured before him 
relations numerically expressed and marshalled vital 

Early Years. ii 

things in orderly procession. He excelled, therefore, 
in geometry. At ten years of age, while attending the 
White Seminary at Danville, he was present at the 
annual exhibition of the proficiency of its scholars 
before a public audience. The class in higher geometry 
came to the front, and soon had themselves, their 
teachers, and the lookers-on in a very uncomfortable 
state of flushing warmth and uneasiness. One after 
another failed to make his diagram fit his problem, or 
his demonstration fit the figure. Byron, through the 
humiliating scene grew restless, his face glistened with 
eagerness because the failures were so needless to his 
mind, and at last he went forward to explain, and with 
lucid demonstration to the admiration of the audience 
solved the problems and corrected the diagrams. 

He had just passed his fifteenth natal day when he 
entered Illinois College at Jacksonville. At this time 
he was pondering deep questions of government, such 
as the philosophical basis of personal rights and liberty ; 
theological problems cast spells over his thought and 
he was then in quest of that unity which would recon- 
cile faith and nature. A clear conception of such prob- 
lems was to be found in ideas and not in the formal 
drill of grammar and logic he had reached. During 
his college course, through the columns of the Jackson- 
ville Journal, he entered anonymously upon a contro- 
versy with the classical professor of the college over 
the right method of making Greek a means of culture 
rather than of mental discipline. The professor was a 
man of more force, ability, and thought than in those 
days was ordinarily to be found in the chairs of West- 
em sectarian colleges, and he was lured into the dis- 
cussion by the impression that he was answering the 
criticisms of some clergyman in the place. Great was 

12 A Young Scholar. 

the surprise of the town when the fact came out that 
the Goliath of the faculty had been measuring weapons 
with a David of the class-rooms having the ruddiness of 
his teens fresh upon him. In these days the young stu- 
dent was found propounding his reflections and views 
to those who were interested in him. He would have 
seemed pedantic had it not been for the evident flame 
of enthusiasm that was in him. I^ife was opening to 
him as a very wonderful and beautiful thing. To see 
the order of nature, to contemplate a lucid thought, to 
perceive the primal rock of truth under facts, to catch 
the tone of beauty in literature, made him rapturous, 
and like all hale youth he could not restrain the expres- 
sion of his ardor. His speech was always fluent and 
yet with all his glowing temperament there was in him 
a singular power of accuracy and fitness in the use of 
words. No doubt, to prosaic and unsympathetic nat- 
ures this exuberance of utterance was a bore and a 
token of too great self-complaisance. Had he vaulted 
with poles on the campus, shouted rollicking college 
songs in college corridors, exhibited the antics and 
abandon of high animal spirits, people would have said 
these performances fitted his youth, and have smiled 
with the amusement or pleasure that older people so 
readily receive from the pagan glee of young students. 
To comprehend Byron Smithes style of exuberance 
at this time we must conceive that ideas and mental 
operations were to him what athletic sports are to young 
men. He approached them in a similar spirit. 

In the summer when he attained the age of nineteen 
he graduated from Illinois College, and, having laid 
out a scheme of scholarly culture for the following six 
years, found in his parents' generosity and devotion the 
means of putting it in execution. It was to be carried 

Early Years. 13 

out in Europe, and with it beg^n those letters which 
convert the rest of this book into an autobiography. 
They were penned with no dream that stranger eyes 
would ever see them ; they are wholly without con- 
straint or affectation. They present their author in 
all the freedom of self-revelation that love and confi- 
dence and sympathy could secure for him. It is not 
the intention of their editor to add one needless word to 
their narrative, and they require small elucidation. If 
the art of letter-writing is a lost one, it surely revived 
with Byron Smith's pen. It is, perhaps, proper to 
apprise those who will read on, that the picture to be 
unveiled to them is not one of incident, but of a gifted 
soul. As the highest art lies in depicting the human 
form as the instrument of a noble intellect and heart, 
so it is the higher reach of literature to reveal the 
mind and soul of a noble man. 

The letters now take up their function and appear in 
chronological order. 



The splendor and mystery of the sea ; Bremen ; the 
Cathedral of Cologne; pantheism native to the German 
mind as seen in the early religious architecture as well 
as in the transcendental phibsophy; Heidelberg; early 

HBIDEI39]itG» Sept. 23d, 1868. 

I^et me give you a hasty and incomplete account of 
what I saw, or rather what I felt in the four weeks of 
voyaging and railroading from which I now gladly 
rest. How I shall strive to forget what I saw of hu- 
man nature on the sea, of the vileness and the coarse- 
ness of sin and intemperance, of the wants and the 
lusts which make men miserable, and contemptible 
and pitiable ! But what a divine and infinite beauty 
hath the sea, the very type of the transient in the eter- 
nal, of the yielding yet unconquerable ! He who has 
not gazed for hours, till entranced, on its white wind- 
flowers and quietless great violet bosom, has felt little 
of the sense of that ineffable mystery which, like the 
dark earth, must underlie the flowers of love and glad- 
ness and quenchless hope in our hearts. There is one 
treasure given us in the great chaff heap of men's 
lives which, when found, turns to gold. Without it 
every life is pulvis et umbra^ shade and dust alone ; 


1 6 A Young Scholar. 

with it none can be less than the universe, of which it 
is a ** joy-mirror,** as the dear German philosophers 
would say. 

We could not have seen the sea in a more beautiful 
mood than it was our fortune to experience through 
our entire voyage. Its colors were the most ethereal 
and perfect that can be imagined. 

From the wan grey water of dawn to the rich- 
golden green of sunrise, the soft violet of mid-day, 
the purple sea of twilight, and heavy cold lead-colored 
waste of night, the pencil of light worked wonders on 
the deep. Among a heedless and vulgar crowd whom 
the light of Paradise could not penetrate, the immortal 
beauty of the sea preserved for me a tone of mind 
which they had not the sense to envy. You would 
pardon this flight of egotism could you congratulate 
yourself, as I can, on having endured without utter 
disgust the daily associations with the company on 
board the vessel. 

I cannot say that the voyage on the whole was not a 
great pleasure — ^it certainly was a lesson and an experi- 
ence of incalculable advantage to me. It awoke a 
passion to know more of the sea, not more of the life 
of men on it but of its great self. Sometime I must 
live by its shore and peer into its great and beautiful 
secrets, which are only yielded to the patient watching 
of the eyes that love to seek. You may smile at my 
enthusiasm, but it is a -love bound to grow with my 
growth, and in the end solve the great problem of life. 
I do not think that the beauty of the sea is comparable 
with that of the land in those forms which afford the 
best nourishment to man's mind day after day, but it 
is rather a great spiritualizer, breaking down the barriers 
of sense by its negative impressions, driving him out 


Letters. 1 7 

of his daily relations, rebuking him by its endlessness, 
barrenness, and unbroken tameless splendor. 

How awfully sweet is the thought of green quiet 
fields, and scented bright flowers, little golden children 
of the black earth, to one long on the sea ! I have 
gathered numberless blossoms of fantasy from those 
fruitless, beautiful waves where no other blossoms will 
grow. The memory of this mighty -^schylean ele- 
ment of grandeur and mystery will murmur forever in 
my soul and roll, like its own compact deep waters, 
blossoming into white passion-flowers of song when 
the breath of love agitates its bosom. This is the 
education, not for the artist only, but, what is much 
more, for a man. Preach beauty and harmony to the 
inharmonious hearts of men, and take your texts from 
groves and running brooks and the flowers which 
grow out of the black bosom of mother earth. Away 
with forms and creeds and revelations and limits for the 
limitless ; break down these walls which hem the view, 
even the crystal arch of heaven, and let men know 
that they are gazing into the bottomless and the endless. 
The infinite and unknowable are the background for 
the stars and the canopy of earth. 

We saw the cliffs of England at a distance of not 
over three miles, and the city of Dover was quite dis- 
tinct even to the unassisted eye. France could also be 
discovered at the same time but not clearly. We were 
one whole day in sight of land in the Channel, which 
the Germans on board would call canal. We lost sight 
of England Wednesday night and prepared for bad 
weather in the German Ocean. The passage through 
this famous play-ground of the winds was calmer, if 
possible, than in the Atlantic, where I had been sick 
but two days. 


1 8 A Young Scholar. 

After a tedious voyage of three weeks our steamer 
cast anchor Saturday afternoon in the mouth of the 
Weser. I^and had been in sight since morning, but 
was only observed as a mere cloud line above the hori- 
zon ; now, however, its greenery was quite distinct, 
and the peaceful little Batavian-like villas, embowered 
in closes of fresh verdure near the strand, oflFered the 
first nourishment of real nature to eyes almost famished 
on the phantom beauty of the sea. As I am no lover 
of overwhelming sensation, I was delighted by the 
gradual, quieting impression made by this low green 

We left the huge machine which had carried us from 
home, standing out on a clear horizon like a great far- 
travelled messenger just arrived at a distant world, 
and went ashore in a little serving boat which smirked 
and snorted out to the bar to bring us oflf. I shall not 
attempt an account of my emotions on putting foot on 
this strange land, for they are yet too confused and 
contradictory to submit to being stated. While I could 
fairly anticipate the joy of the exertion, I trembled 
with a pleasing dread of the magnitude and the import- 
ance of its results to me. My country and my friends, 
who had heretofore been too much objects of my love 
alone, appeared now to withdraw and stand over me, 
apart in a place not subject to the fluctuations of hu- 
man passions, but to become as never before objects of 
my reverence and rulers of my life. 

In Bremen I got my first impression of a German 
city, clean with narrow stone-paved streets and high, 
solid houses of stone or brick, plastered over with a 
smooth, hard cement, making them look as made of 
dressed blocks ; dotted with parks, statues, fountains, 
etc. ; with a high-towered old cathedral and council- 

Letters. 1 9 

house with a carved point, all covered with tile roofs ; 
and filled with an orderly and sober population, and 
very quiet traffic in the streets. I visited the Raths- 
keller, or, in English, cellar of the council-house of 
Bremen. Here is where the famous wine is kept which 
is over three hundred years old. This is a very strange 
place, with its great iron-headed casks which hold 
ten or fifteen hogsheads of liquor under its white 
massive vaults, adorned by great grotesque figures 
of Bacchus and his satyrs in gilding. I was also in 
the Dead-cellar where corpses are preserved without 
decay for over four hundred and ten years. 

The Cathedral at Cologne, 

A careful survey of this famous structure is worth 
to the student of history the perusal of many learned 
tomes on the intellectual and religious state of Europe 
in the middle ages. Till I beheld it I never com- 
prehended the force of architecture as one of the 
fine arts — that is, as an interpreter of psychological 
conditions. The ground-plan of the cathedral, if I 
remember, is an immense cross, or rather parallelo- 
gram with projections at the sides scarcely consider- 
able enough for the arms of a cross. Its walls are 
pinnacled, gryphoned, and otherwise adorned with 
grotesque figures of old saints. The central aisle is 
one hundred and sixty-five feet from floor to vaultings, 
and the great roof is supported by scores of columns 
rising from the broad marble area to that giddy height. 
The centre of the building is surmounted by a finished 
tower and steeple nearly four hundred feet high, while 
twenty -five hundred workmen are constantly employed 
on the two principal front towers, which are to be six 

20 A Young Scholar. 

hundred feet in height. Bight years will see the work 
completed which six centuries ago was begun. 

It scarcely resembled the work of man's hands, 
but stood rather like some huge crystal of nature, or 
a habitation of some primal earth-power kindred 
to the storm-god, the force of waters, or the prin- 
ciple of life in sweet flowers, or dark forests on the 

Pantheism is native to the German mind, and is no 
less distinguishable in the religious architecture of 
an early period than the transcendental philosophy 
of to-day. Distinct conceptions of divine things are 
characteristic of the sectarian and, as commonly un- 
derstood, religious mind, but how mysterious, how 
really infinite, did the universe appear to the soul of 
the great master who planned this temple to the Spirit, 
who, if He giveth the com, also blasteth it and is the 
Father of sorrow as well as of joy. The chaunt of the 
choir, and intonation of the great organ, when roll- 
ing through these marble aisles shaded by the mellow 
light of stained windows, and solemnized by the devo- 
tions of twenty generations now in the dust, are fit 
to inspire terror or ecstasy as the listener feels at 
enmity or at peace with that awful Being whom he 
has enthroned in the star-paved infinite halls above. 
The temple-building age of the race is gone by. One 
has only to behold this great hymn of stone mutter- 
ing the hopes and fears of departed centuries up to 
the skies, to look at all religious buildings of the pres- 
ent as he would at the efforts of forty to frisk and 
gambol in the plays of ten. The knees which first 
bent upon this floor were not far above the tortures 
of the damned — at least their owners thought so, and 
any sweet, sudden vision of the imagination might 

Letters. 2 1 

really be some calm-eyed saint, or pitying glance of 
the dear mater dolorosa^ our ** Lady of Sorrow." 

If these reflections have carried me too far, the 
nature of my subject rather than my imagination is 
to blame, and I must now leave tmsaid the greater 
part of what I wished to write you of this famous 

That part of the Rhine which I saw from Bonn to 
Bingen, where night fell, was a panorama of such 
beauty and romantico-historical interest, as scarcely to 
allow one the time or temper to observe critically. 

I will not attempt to load my letter further with 
accounts of what you can find much better described 
in infinite books of travel, but hasten home — that is 
to Heidelberg — and to business. 

Ruins of the Castle of Heidelberg, 

Looking away into the western sky from this little 
ancient bower of greenery on the terrace of Princess 
Garden, Heidelberg Castle yard, with the quiet, brown- 
tiled city, and little silver, eager Neckar in the 
autumnal sunshine at my feet, my thoughts go out 
involuntarily to the friends at home. This is the 
very eye of Germany, and finest ruin of the middle 
ages in Europe, if not the finest ruin in the world. 

I have never felt as to-day the unutterable loneliness 
of this place, although I have been here almost daily 
for two weeks. To-day the thoughts of home are 
really awaking far down in my heart. How irresisti- 
ble these memories ! What floods of melancholy do 
they threaten to rain down on the soul ! I fear them, 
for to-day the first drops have fallen and my heart 
is too full of sighs. Ah ! the world is everywhere 

22 A Young Scholar. 

beautiful, and there are everywhere so many souls 
to whom one may speak a joyful word, that men have 
little more need to wander for ** sweetness and light *' 
than the silver-cupped lilies of the field. I am not 
insensible to the beauties of this place, but if I am 
not so elevated by them as I might expect to be, it 
is because I never knew before how very nearly full 
my happiness has been without them. 

What a blessed change did I experience three years 
ago, when the world was without color and men's 
hearts without love, because I was soul-sick. How 
can I ever forget that delightful September day, so 
like this, with its rich autumn-colored greenery and 
mellow air, when, oppressed by a cruel dread of some 
nameless evil and a perfect disgust of all life, I rushed 
from the house for relief out into the light under the 
sky, and stood for some moments entranced before the 
infinite joy and life of nature, until the glory of that 
autumnal day sank down into my soul. My care was 
gone, I smiled through tears of gladness at the blindness 
of my fears, and ever since have been as happy and 
cheerful as man may hope to be.* 

'^A year later Byron Smith wrote the following metrical 
account of ttiis experience. 

Once in childhood^s minstrel days, 

While light of summer prairie fell 
Upon my hair, and all the ways 

Of flowery grass and hazel dell 
Seemed strange to feet that knew them well, 

Within my heart, as in a flower, 

The breaking flush of life grew bright. 
And every soft-winged, listless hour 
Passed and left a deeper light. 
Made day more sweet, more strange the night. 

Letters. 2 3 

Beattie was a true poet, for he said, you know, of 
nature : 

'* Her charms shall work thy soul's eternal health." 

Do not, I pray, take what I write to-day for a speci- 
men of what I think a letter ought to be — not a Tro- 
phonian oracle or Sibylline prophecy of the unutterable, 
but a calm and clear narrative of facts and statement 
of things. 


Visions of home ; study of the classic and German Ian- 
guages; from the boy's task of memorizing to the 
man's labor of thinking ; need of Greek culture in the 
conflict of modem learning ; work of the scholar; the 
presidential campaign ; nature of authority. 

Heidei«bbrg, ist Oct., 1868. 

The first letter from home has just reached me, and 
how wonderfully sweetened are its words by a silence 
of over two months and a distance of so many thousand 
miles ! 

There is a miserable sad fog in the sky and a feeble, 
cold rain is dripping through it, but I am too happy to 
regard either the vain ways of men or the windy ways 
of heaven with troubled eyes. To-day shall be a holi- 
day, and books shall rest from their importunities, 
while their bond-slave snatches a moment of time to 
rejoice and to indulge a sweet grief which is akin to 
joy and pain. I have read both your dear letters so 
many times and am proud of both. Dear mother 
writes like a Cornelia, and what son would not feel like 
a Gracchus with such a mother to love andencourage 

24 A Young Scholar. 

him ? I love home — no one knows how well, — and the 
first wish of my heart is to make it the centre of 
** sweetness and light," for I shall never have any other 
home but round your hearth. Sometimes a note of 
some melody that dear little Abby * plays will strike a 
vision into my soul so vivid, that I am again sitting on 
the shaded tiny porch and hear the indistinguishable 
murmur of known voices within, — only a faint con- 
sciousness lurks, as in a dream, that it will not last. 

Dear mother asks if I am homesick. I do not know 
what sort of a complaint that is with others, but with 
me it is a continual hunger, and will only be borne, 
not stilled. I would not be at home away from home. 
Write longer letters, and as an artist, with the purpose 
of creating home around me. 

When I finish this letter and send it off I shall know 
more about my studies for the winter, and whether it 
will be possible or advantageous for me to attend the 
Lyceum or not. My labor, however, will consist almost 
entirely of a thorough, genial, and minute study of the 
classic and German languages. I abandon for the first 
six months all attention to ideas and literatttre, and 
shall busy myself in those technical difficulties which 
an earlier and better directed study should have en- 
abled me to be past at this time. But I trust to my 
enthusiasm and industry to deliver me from the toils 
of syntax. The labor of most or nearly all American 
students is rendered fruitless by their beginning the 
study of philology so late as never to escape from the 
boy's task of memorizing to the man's labor of thinking. 
I am thoroughly convinced that an enlightened sym- 
pathy and extensive acquaintance with the spirit of 

* His only sister. 

Letters. 25 

Greek art is essential to any liberal education. The 
Greeks were the great apostles of intellectual order, 
and were no less remarkable in the semi-moral, semi- 
intellectual region of aesthetics than the Hebrew mind 
in the purely theosophical. The one will always com- 
mand the admiration of the learned ; the other has 
passed for inspired with the many. The great igno- 
rance of men, however, is of the capacities of their own 

Some minds are so Greek by nature that they may 
scarcely be thought to need an exquisite sense of com- 
pleteness cultivated, yet without the support of some 
congenial literature it is not apt to hold its desired 
importance in the wonderful civilization of our day, 
where the mind and the eye are distracted by a multi- 
tude of objects and subjects. It is prudent for the 
scholar, whose business is in the conflict of modem 
learning, where the stars and animalculae are searched 
for their secrets and the grandest speculations are link- 
ing the present and future of the race to the most ab- 
stract problems, to secure himself a retreat in the 

** Olive grove of Academe, 
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird 
Trills her thick warbled notes the summer long." 

Without such a country residence, how can he as- 
sociate with the aristocracy of letters ? And thus he, 
on whose vision the genuine impression of a little 
Dorian temple in a myrtle grove of Greece, where the 
bright blue waters of the ^gean are breaking forever 
at its marble base, has once been made, will scarcely 
leave the pursuit with his will. 

But after all, the principal work of the scholar is not 
there. It consists in a mastery of the diviner ideas of 

26 A Young Scholar. 

his own time, and a comprehensive reduction to order 
in his own mind of the systems of thought that are now 
winning for the world true conceptions of liberty, na- 
ture, and man, and driving out of life that Protean mon- 
ster of superstition, that lingers in the dawn of a terrific 
advance of Truth. Truth has become Graecized, that is, 
is losing the fretful ardor of her youth and uncertainty, 
and now moves with the divine, calm majesty of Pallas, 
neither hastening nor ceasing, but sending her silent 
golden shafts far into the fading hosts of cruel bigotry 
and selfish philosophy. He who despairs of these days 
is a fool and the real and only genuine traitor known 
in nature. 

I have not received a Journal* yet, but read the 
English and German papers with interest on the (presi- 
dential) campaign in America. They represent the 
situation as very deplorable in the South, which is con- 
firmed by several acquaintances I have made here just 
from the Carolinas. Negro rule, they say, is prostrating 
every department of industry but the trade of corrupter 
and lobbyist. Incompetency, immorality, and irre- 
sponsibility are alike necessary qualifications in their 
legislators, whose election is directed and secured by 
adventurers from the North, called Carpet-baggers. 
It is a sad picture, and however much we may think 
they (of the South) need some such humiliation, we 
must yet recognize such a rule as fatal alike to innocent 
and guilty, and as a precedent absolutely fearful. It 
makes no difierence what the animating principle of a 
regnant party may be, a province or a dependency has 
never yet experienced anything but the boundless 
efiects of corruption and misrule. It is no more possible 

* His father's newspaper. Hie Daily Jacksonville Journal. 

Letters. > 27 

for the North to maintain good government in the 
South, than for the authority of a master not to be 
abused by the majority of men. I have always pre- 
ferred a republic to every other kind of despotism, as 
most likely to be liberal on occasions, and have no rea- 
son to change my mind since I have seen the surface 
of European societ5\ You know my peculiar ideas on 
the nature of authority in society, and I cannot expect 
to see any country free from internal broils till the 
rigid distinction between protection and government, 
objective and subjective aid, is recognized and the func- 
tion of law or force limited to the former. This is no 
distance at which to argue politics, so I shall await the 
results of November (the presidential election). 


A student-guest at the Lyceum; love 0/ temperateness. 

nth Oct., 1868. 

I have entered the Lyceum here as a guest, in which 
character I shall not be subject to many very annoying 
interferences which the regular student must endure. 
I only study the classics, and am not yet required to 
take part in the recitations, as my German will not 
permit. I get the lessons and much more and attend 
recitations, and expect in three or four months at far- 
thest to recite. They are more thorough than I ever 
thought it was possible to be in an ordinaiy school. 

I have seen but two or three drunken men in Ger- 
many. I suppose mother's anxiety about my habits 
must be excused, but I do not know how she could en- 
tertain fears when she knows my temper in such things 

28 A Young Scholar. 

and, what is as much, I know her desire. My habits 
here shall be in all respects as temperate as they were 
at home. 


Autumn the philosophic season ; a happy mean of labor 
and rest; German enthusiasm for light and catholic 
sentiments; the German youth the people's ideal; the 
character of this ideal. 

HKIDKI3KRG 26th October, 1868. 

Everything moves on with lis as I imagine it does 
with the empty shades below. The currents of our 
lives hardly make an eddy and are clear to the eye. 
Autumn is the most philosophic season of the year, 
and when all nature is resigning life and the pomp of 
summers, I catch the infectious spirit of resignation, 
and take a certain melancholy delight in reflecting that 
I have cause for grief, and still let the sweet days die 
in labor that I love. 

Nothing could be more regular than our hours, which 
we keep with the quiet and punctuality of a monastery. 
It is that happy mean of labor and rest, which, if a man 
is not allowed change, wears longest and best. We * 
refresh our evenings with a walk through the moun- 
tains, which the beautiful scenery invites and cheers ; 
or sometimes take our stroll on the busy streets, where 
the eye of a curious, or the reflections of a philosophic 
mind need not to be idle, and the afifections of a senti- 
mental stranger, like myself, find a thousand objects 
of pity, or faces with whose gentleness or jollity he may 

* He passed his year at Heidelberg in the companionship of a 
young American stndent with whom he had been in college. 

Letters. 29 

fed an interest. Often we take our walks alone by a 
sort of mutual consent, when we feel that we need 
a moment of self-communion. These little evening 
tramps will soon be broken up by the increasing in- 
clemency of the weather, which is more forward 
towards winter here than at home. 

My attendance at the Lyceum is regular and I am 
highly gratified by the progress I am making under 
instruction, I may say, for the first time in my life. 
The art of teaching is thoroughly understood here, and 
the drill is perfect. My studies are incapable of lend- 
ing interest to my letters, further than to let you know 
that they are successful. I read but little, and that 
from the German classics. I have made several trans- 
lations from Burger and lycnau, but they need touching 
up, and that requires time. 

You have little idea of the difficulty I experience in 
resisting the constant temptation to read, and when I 
indulge myself for an hour in the pages of Wieland or 
Kleist or Jean Paul, I miss my accustomed auditor, 
dear mother, whose noble appreciation of noble senti- 
ments lent them a double interest. German literature 
is only to be appreciated out of its native soil by the few. 
A mild ideal atmosphere early accustoms the mind to 
the beauty in the haze of things. The promise of the 
German character is even greater than its achievement, 
but such enthusiasm for light and such catholic senti- 
ments as govern them in the pursuit of excellence can- 
not fail of the highest results of culture. I desire to 
gain something of that generous disposition towards 
the sum of all systems of thought which is so promi- 
nent a trait of mind among the learned of Germany. 

There is a peculiarity of the German character which, 
I think, I may affirm to be national, and to one who 

30 A Young Scholar. 

thinks, it must give a far insight into the real life of 
the people. I refer to the kindly and enthusiastic sen- 
timents with which the old regard the young. If the 
people have an Ideal it is the German youth. I need 
not tell you how this character is supposed to unite 
generosity with frankness, courage, and tenderness, — 
with an enthusiasm for the beautiful which is truly 
Greek, and I do not believe any people can vie with 
the Germans in the attainment of their desire. 

Have dear little Abby write to me with her own 
hand. I shall kiss the letter a hundred times. Can't 
Billy * manufacture a postscript ? 


Latin instruction ; German laboring men look to Amer- 
ica; superiority of American country women due to 
liberty ; Greek verbs and Homer ; art purified nature ; 
Morris's ^^ Earthly Paradise ^ 

HEIDEI.BERG, 8th Nov., 1868. 

Within the last fortnight I have received two letters 
from you ; one enclosing a sheet from dear little sister. 
I have deposited my guldens with the banker on 
whom the paper was drawn, and, as far as money can 
purchase content, I am at rest for several months to 
come. It is possible to live in Germany on very little 
money, but a student can spend a good deal with 
advantage, if he can afford it. For instance, although 
I have the regular recitations at the Lyceum, as I take 
nothing but the classics I have time to write a good 
deal of Latin, which cannot be corrected by the pro- 

* A yonnger brother. 

Letters. 3 1 

fesson Consequently I need some one to do this, and 
this will be an extra expense. 

The news of Grant's election has reached us, for 
which, I believe, every one was prepared. It is going 
to add fuel to the emigration fever, which next spring 
will be unprecedented. There is scarcely a laboring 
man in Germany under forty years of age, who does 
not look forward to a home in America, — something he 
need never think to own in the Fatherland. Means to 
go are almost impossible for him to obtain. I know a 
young tailor here who thinks that, if, after ten years* 
savings, he will be able to get to New York he will be 
fortunate. He has been several years a journeyman, 
but has just been able to live and is not worth a kreut- 
zer. Marriage among the very poor is scarcely known, 
and four-fifths of the people are very poor, 

A woman in Germany pays her own way, and has 
about as many rights as a man, with an exemption 
from the army, — and such women ! It is pitiable to 
see every trace of women's grace and sweetness crushed 
from their poor faces. Among the peasants I have not 
seen a face which was not painful to behold, while in 
America, among the country women, no one is surprised 
to find the greatest delicacy and proportion. The 
cause or causes are not far to seek ; the very breath of 
liberty bears beauty with it, puts a fire in the eyes, 
gives uprightness and elasticity to the step, and a 
cheerful independence to the whole countenance. 
There is nothing more brutalizing than slavery of all 
kinds and degrees, and to live with the never absent 
sense that there is some one over you, that your destiny 
is being determined by the prejudices, or even wisdom, 
of others, will put a cloud on the face of the sun. The 
learned can, in a manner, dispense with the sunlight of 

32 A Young Scholar. 

liberty by shutting themselves up in their studies, 
and lighting all the candles of science, or from the 
pages of ancient Greece catch the light of suns set two 
thousand years. Even they betray a sickly tint of arti- 
ficial light, and learning is not even here what it ought 
to be. She is a goddess in whose robes the freshness 
of the mountain air should blow, and whose hair should 
be sweet with the weight of wood-perfiimes and the 
light of the field. 

I begin to see that too much planning and too little 
work are no more profitable, although more delightful, 
than the reverse. I put my powers of memory to a test 
the other day, and committed in one hour one hundred 
entirely new Greek verbs : I mean that I was able to 
give the Greek verb when its German equivalent was 
pronounced. I consider this a feat, but do not propose 
to repeat it very often. I am reading Homer's Odyssey 
with such delight as you can hardly imagine. It is 
more than probable that, when I have finished my 
studies in Homer, I shall write you an essay on his 
genius and works. 

You neglect to tell me what you are reading. I am 
in no condition to recommend anything to your atten- 
tion in English, as I have only what I took from home. 
You may determine whether or not you have a taste for 
pure art, which is simply purified nature, by ascertain- 
ing whether you are able to find unalloyed delight in 
several of the stories of Morris's Earthly Paradise, 
The book, you know, was presented me in Chicago, 
and I read it all the time I was at sea. It is as Greek 
as the Odyssey, 

Dear Abby's letter was especially pleasant, — so full of 
every kind of news and gossip. She writes sense and 
English. Your letters grow thinner every mail. You 

Letters. 33 

must not let the only bond between me and home grow 
weak. Father does not say much more than he would 
if he met me at the comer of the street, but he is work- 
ing hard for me and loves me, I am sure. What pleas- 
ure we shall have one day, when I come home, to repay 
him a part of his care and toil ! We shall always have 
but one home and one interest, which some day will 
not all be earned by him. I leave a thousand things 
unsaid and unasked. Write often and at length to 
your lonesome boy. 


Men's part in the world ; preparation for the Univer- 
sity ; a newspaper article would derange one's tem- 
per for study, 

HEIDBI3ERG, 6th Dec, 1868. 

Your own and mother's letters of November 6th are 
before me, and by their side the sweet face of little sister. 
A wife and daughter who love us must make us do 
men's parts in the world. If my peculiar views on 
the subject of government have appeared to make me 
a dissolver of civil relations, they have driven me for 
logical foothold on to a more elevated conception of 
the family. Where my head clearly leads my heart 
is in training to follow, although I had no need of 
reason to make me an enthusiast for the family. You, 
I am sure, cannot fail to understand the joyous pride 
that must thrill a true man's heart and is the reward 
for his sufferings, when he can plant his shield over 
the dear and defenceless, and face the world. I say 
to myself: ** Father and I are now comrades of battle ; 
he watches while I arm — he shall soon be relieved." 

When you receive these lines, nearly a half-year will 

34 ^ Young Scholar. 

have elapsed since we parted on the cars. The twinkle 
of letters, like stars, must light me through the dreary 
watches of the night, with sometimes the pale memory 
dreams which rise like the ** ghost of the late buried 
sun.'* This letter must, however, be one of business 
and not of sentiment, although sentiment is no sport 
for a poor homesick fellow, but the first of realities. 

Business in this world is limited to dealings touch- 
ing money, which, like faith in the church, compre- 
hends everything else. To begin, as Horace warns 
poets not to do, at the beginning : — I have, after get- 
ting and reciting my lessons at the Lyceum, which are 
much easier for me now than when I began, seven 
hours each and every day, and they must be utilized. 
I have discovered a gentleman in the city who has 
prepared young men for the University with eminent 
success and in an almost incredibly short time, but 
these were able to take two or three hours with him a 
day. He reckons for success on extra diligence and more 
than average perception in his pupils. This gentleman, 
who has a reputation to sustain as well as a charac- 
ter that appears most honorable, promises me to abate 
at least one of the three years to which I am doomed, 
if I give him the direction of my studies and take six 
lessons a week of him. I am confident that at least 
so much, if not more, could be done. I trust that you 
will be able, as I know you will be willing, to pay it. 
In the meantime, till I can hear from you, I shall em- 
ploy him, for I feel that time is flying, and enough 
has already come and gone with unweighted wings 
for me. 

What can I say to your invitation to write? [/. e. 
for the Jacksonville Journal'^, When I consider how 
it must appear to you I cannot excuse myself, but 

Letters. 35 

then I really have now no more material to write of 
Germany than if I were almost anywhere else. Soci- 
ety no man can learn without money and time ; Ger- 
man politics are sluggish and as impenetrable as mud ; 
my scenery is shut within this little valley, and now 
often smothered in vapor ; and I have no time for Ger- 
man literature more than just to taste. Moreover, 
people here are very like the Germans at home. After 
all, my matter would not so utterly fail me if I had 
time ; but every available inch of it is under contribu- 
tion to duty. To collect one's ideas for a newspaper 
article would derange one's temper for study to a sad 

Give my love to all, and think of me as often as I do 
of you, which is without ceasing. 


Industry a goddess ; the opera ^^ Faust ^\' taneltness not 
endurable ; German pedagogic to help the reform of 
American schools. 

HKIDEI.BKRG, 27th Dec, 1868. 

For once you must pardon my neglect and be satis- 
fied with a note instead of a letter. 

My three days' vacation has run through to the last 
sands, and to-morrow I awake to ** fresh fields and 
pastures new." You remember the passage in Lyddas : 
** Sober-faced Industry is a goddess, with girt-up gown 
and severe smile, whom no one loves at first ; but for 
the initiated into her mysteries of silent, ceaseless, mid- 
night toil, she has many an hour of calm and genial 
feeling, when the balanced wheelwork of the mind runs 
without hum or jar." 

36 A Young Scholar. 

Yesterday E and I, with a triad of friends, went 

to see the opera Famt at Mannheim. What emotion 
purifies the heart like pity ! And what a masterpiece 
of sadness has Goethe created, where the unsearchable 
forces of our nature impel life against life, and love, 
like the fabled blossom made deadly by lightning, 
grows a poison flower by wrath out of heaven ! The 
music by Gounod, and performed by perhaps the finest 
orchestra in Baden, was such an interpreter of every 
scene, that you had thought it more intelligible than 
the words. We returned at eleven o'clock, and have 
thought in iambics all day. 

The weather has been so mild as to leave sweet little 
nooks of grass in the mountains, but they cannot laugh 
the gray sky into the azure and silver of summer. Ice 
has formed but once. 

You have no right to taunt me with my praise of 
solitude, and ask me how I find it in reality, since it 
seemed so desirable when it could not be reached. 
This is not solitude, but desertion ; nor is it even soli- 
tary desertion, for the world's voice rings in my ears : 
— now however, it is German that is spoken. But I 
confess, and that is what you desired I should do, that 
utter loneliness is not even endurable by the lion of 
the desert. How insufferable then must it be for a 
man ** whose heaven-erected face the smiles of love 
adorn*' ! 

I am collecting information on the entire pedagogic 
of the German schools and intend imparting it to the 
Journal. I am convinced that what I can say will be 
acceptable to all earnest students and may contribute 
its mite to the reform in our schools which must be 
achieved, and for which I shall strike a blow when I 
come home. 

Letters. 3 7 


Gothic Utters; as Telemachus in the ** Odyssey ^^ ; charm 
of the * ^Earthly Paradise * * / its Greek stories the finer ; 
men defend with the most violence what they least un- 
derstand; the Spaniards itnth the coolness of a gam- 
bler and equal concern ; Germain monarchists exalt 
learning to kill the thinking faculties ; draft on 

H^iDBi^BKRC, 3d Jan., 1869. 

Two of your letters came to hand four days ago at 
the same time, notwithstanding the difference of their 
postmarks of six days. Your letters are so Gothic, 
not only in their form, but as well in contents and ar- 
rangement, that to answer them is pretty much like 
singing an appropriate chorus to the blended songs of 
a wood full of birds on a June morning. 

Your solicitude about my health and appetite is un- 
founded, as I never enjoyed either in a greater degree 
than since I have been here. I caught from the cir- 
cumstantiality of Abby's letter a real genuine impres- 
sion of home. She has the art of making herself 
objective. Tell her I think of her dear little face every 
day, and long for the time when I shall see it again. 
Her picture is a delight to me, and dear father in his 
fur coat looks out from the magical metal plate with 
those clear eyes, manly, imperturbable brow, as I loved 
them at home. As Telemachus in the Odyssey ^ who 
mourned his father as lost when Mentes, who was 
Pallas in disguise, put courage in his heart and then 
went gleaming up to heaven, thought with more love, 
so has absence made me feel more consciously how 
noble a father I have. I^et me have your own picture 

38 A Young Scholar. 

and Billy's, for the eyes are fed with a shadow while 
the heart has the essential reality of'love. 

When I heard that you had procured a copy of 
Morris's poems I intended to make this letter an intro- 
duction to reading them, but the inexorable demands 
upon my time will not allow me more than a few re- 
marks. The pre-eminent charm of the sentiment is the 
delicate blending, or rather fusion, of an intense ob- 
jectivity in form, the antique element, and an equally 
intense subjectivity in essence, the finest product of a 
high civilization. His stories, you will notice, are al- 
ternately on Greek and mediaeval legends. For the 
reason above referred to, his Greek stories are by all 
odds the finer, as they offered him the most perfect 
body for his sentiments, which must still be modern. 
The mind of every reader is fitted up with what one 
may call its scenery, and the finest poet can do little 
more than shift the figures already possessed. It is 
true that he must perfect and develop the material in 
a measure to his hand, as the furniture of the mind is 
not fixed, but grows ; still one poet cannot expect to 
carry the process very far, and if he finds little to his 
hand to begin with, he seldom succeeds in arranging 
an effect. 

To construct a story of Morris's in the imagination 
does not demand a great number of fixings, but rather 
a very few but exquisite human figures and idyllic 
landscapes. The sea is always introduced with the 
most enchanting effect, which I failed to perceive till I 
had seen the sun-saturated water of the Atlantic. 
With the qualifications of a tolerable imagination 
nursed in dreams of artless human beauty and still 
fields and waters, of a heart undebauched by a thou- 
sand affections as transitory as worthless, and of a 

Letters. 39 

clear conscience and good digestion, one may open to 
the first tale, **Atalanta*s Race,** with the certainty of 
being delighted. I can only call attention to the beau- 
tiful introduction to this story, and then to the lovely, 
fearful maiden, the friend of Artemis, who scorned all 
love. How appropriately Morris has given her gray 
eyes ! — but I believe he has done as much for all his 
female characters. The beautiful episode of Milanion 
at the temple of Venus deserves many a reading. After 
the preferment of this eloquent prayer, the temple is 
described, or rather the heavens and earth are so 
blended with the place that we think we could have 
prayed too in such a spot. 

In the ** Doom of King Acrisius ' ' the fight of Perseus 
with the sea-monster is a subject for the pencil. An 
artist would seize the moment when 

" In confused folds the hero stood. 
His bright face shadowed by the jaws of death ; 
His hair blown backward by the poisonous breath." 

In the story of ** Alcestis ** remark what an efiect the 
shepherd-man, Apollo, has on the mind, — a god in dis- 
guise. But this subject could only be exhausted with 
the entire book. The story of ** Cupid and Psyche,'* 
the finest allegory in existence, is perhaps the most 
perfect of the tales. If you cannot become, as I am, 
an enthusiast for Morris, you will have the majority to 
sympathize with you. 

I have written a letter to M in which I expressed 

my opinion on some delicate subjects in not a very 
delicate way, and I am in fear he may not understand 
one. Religion is something in which men put their 
hopes darkly, and as they are determined not to be 
driven from it, they defend what they least understand 

40 A Young Scholar. 

with the most violence. I have done the same thing 
and can fully appreciate the agony of mind with which 
we feel ourselves being forced in some cherished ob- 
scurity to see the light. When we have been driven 
from an error we never regret it, but the pain of sepa- 
ration cannot be surpassed by that which we feel on the 
death of a friend. 

Your ingenious policy for $1000, costing onlj' $1.10 
per annum, is more than was thought possible when I 
was a boy in arithmetic. Methuselah's age would not 
suflSce to make such a policy paying to the grantors. 
Tell me if this is a new invention since I have left 
home. How fast one gets behind in Europe ! 

The revolution in Spain raised the highest hopes in 
my breast for Spanish freedom, but there is eminent 
danger of a relapse. The secret influence of European 
sovereigns is untold, and they are exerting themselves 
to their utmost to turn aside the eyes of the Spanish 
people from the seductive light of liberty. That nation 
acts with the coolness of a gambler, but I am afraid 
with only equal concern. Kingship is in less danger 
in Germany than in any other civilized nation of 
Europe. German monarchists have understood how 
to control the popular thirst for knowledge to their own 
interest. They have made learning a state institution, 
and by making an almost incredible proficiency in the 
forms of science and language indispensable to success 
in either public or professional life, they have suc- 
ceeded in killing the thinking faculties of the great 
majority of educated men by an overdose. One ex- 
treme is as beneficial to oppression as another. I shall 
benefit by their oppression, as I can take just as much 
of each course as will advance my true culture. 

My first year will be the most slavish I shall spend. 

Letters. 41 

You cannot imagine the drafts this work makes on my 
patience. I think every day I shall be bankrupt in 
that necessary quality, but it seems to grow with use. 
My self-respect is flattered by my cheerfulness under 
circumstances I had thought would cast me down. I 
work like a spirited horse, steadily but restlessly. 
What years of literary ease and domestic happiness I 
promise myself as a reward for this labor and loneli- 
ness ! 

I must go now to dinner, having consumed the 
morning on this letter, which will be a poor pleader 
for a half-day when we must answer for our wasted 


Temperance and freedom from cares enable us to do prod- 
igies ; monopoly the secret of money-making ; the secret 
of life ; expansion of social pleasures and realization 
of noble ideals a cure for intemperance ; as healthy and 
innocent luxuries of life become attainable, the per- 
nicious ones are given up ; study of Greek drama ; 
Heidelberg skies. 

HEIDEI.BBRC, 8th Feb., 1869. 

Your letters with an enclosed draft for some hundred 
and eighty gulden were received more than a week 
ago. I did not write an acknowledgment of their 
receipt at the time, as I had posted a long letter to you 
only some three or four days previous, and as I never 
sin against order by doing more than is on my card. 

My health continues excellent, but in view of my 
liability to a spell of fever in the spring, I shall slacken 
sail and wear into the wind. This winter's test has 
been severe, but has affected neither my appetite, eyes, 

42 A Young Scholar. 

nor temper. Perfect temperance in all one's bodily 
habits, with an ordinary freedom from grinding cares, 
will enable us to do almost prodigies in labor. 

Your journalistic ambition is not so far from meeting 
my humble approval as perhaps you would think. 
Monopoly is the secret of money-making, and if you 
were master of ten Journals each one would cost you 
less than the same paper would the publisher who had 
no other oflSce. I look to some form of journalizing 
as the only field open for myself in which to discharge 
that debt of labor which we nearly all have to pay for 
the privilege of existing. 

I neither covet nor expect to lead a purely scholastic 
life. Such an existence is dearly bought at any price, 
and reason as well as inclination points me to the busy 
field of actual human labor as likely to afford most 
delight in the execution of my duties, and far greater 
satisfaction in the reflections of age. 

But how shall I adorn and deepen my life from the 
wealth of the dead centuries ? The secret of a perfect 
life is to live through the past, in the present, and with 
the future. The secret of a happy life may be learned 
from the former, and it is to keep our ambition below 
our abilities, and then we are always successful. I 
know far too well where I can hope to succeed to lay 
any claim to the laurels of song. I warn you all from 
entertaining too high hopes of my powers, for it is the 
surest way to ensure disappointment for yourselves and 
the bitterest mortification for me. 

We are altogether apart on the liquor question, as, 
in fact you are aware, on many other public issues, but 
at all events you are conscientious and able in your 
defence of prohibitory legislation. You will fail, must 
fail, ought to fail; but that would be nothing more 

Letters. 43 

than the fate of many a generation of earnest and power- 
ful legislators. Temperance must win in the end, but 
unless some other vice is to be substituted for drunken- 
ness, we can never get rid of intemperance till the 
gradual expansion of social pleasures and the realization 
of noble ideals make drunkenness, what so many vices 
have already become, without any attraction and anti- 
quated. The development of society is organic and 
proceeds from within, not from without. Wquor is 
only an instrument of human imperfection in the pro- 
duction of vice, not a cause in itself. The race is just 
so imperfect, and so much moral weakness must have 
its effect, whether its instrument be one or another. 
The savage, who can procure neither liquor nor any 
other of our civilized means of vice, manages to be the 
most wretched and villainous of mortals. In many 
countries I could name, the entire plain is shedded over 
with the pious solicitude of men who forget that, if 
Nature had thought drunkenness needed any more 
legislation, she would have added to the already severe 
penalties she executes against it. It is a long and 
hard lesson, — ^this of keeping hands off the delicate pro- 
cesses of social machinery, which is as much under law 
as the stars. Every man's sphere is to seek light and 
sweetness for himself first of all, then when he has got 
it, give of it freely to all who will listen or look, — and all 
will do that. While the virtuous men of society are 
represented by the narrowness, dryness, and darkness 
of our religious brethren in America, I should lament 
the day that drunkenness or any other vice of excess 
was stopped, not that in themselves they are not bad, 
but that if they could be eradicated at this stage, it 
would be conclusive evidence that we had reached our 
zenith, — that we had grown to our stature, and such a 

44 A Young Scholar. 

stature ! Principles, like algebraic formulas, know no 
particular names or quantities, but work with generali- 
ties, «, w, x^yy etc., for which in any given problem 
you must substitute the particular things ; but who 
will swallow the liquor-law or tariflF when formulated 
to a principle? Of course there can be a thousand 
twists and evasions, which evade nothing, between 
these principles and the law on the books, but reason 
must call them all the same. Drunkenness has de- 
creased immensely in the last two centuries, but the 
cause has never been a sentiment or law against it. 
The prying eye of research finds that as the healthy 
and innocent luxuries of life become attainable, the 
pernicious ones are given up. There is no manner of 
doubt on this matter. This law has obtained in regard 
to every moral quality we can cultivate. The last of 
arbitrary power and forced respect gives place only to 
the increasing honor shown to human nature as such, 
and especially to the peaceable attainments of the 
scholar and thinker. 

But why should I enumerate these happy changes, — 
this transmutation of vice into virtue ? We all can now 
see what stupid unbearable worlds have been the very 
dreams of the virtuous Puritans of Cromwell's time. 
In the unconquerable disobedience of their children in 
marrying for love, although it brought ruin and con- 
tempt, lay the force which was in the end to master 
and make the marriages of to-day seldom a pious pros- 
titution. If I may be allowed to reason rather than 
relate, in the drunkenness of our land we see the fruit 
of our cold selfish society, and till innocent mirth and 
jollity make the sweet land ring from sea to sea, we 
shall hear the hideous imitatum of the midnight orgy 
and carouse. I am confident that in Germany, where 

Letters. 45 

there is absolutely no sentiment against drinking, and 
where the chances for social pleasures are not so good 
by far as in America, but better cultivated, drunkenness 
does not do one third the harm it does at home. How 
seldom a drunken man is here seen ! Yet it is not true 
the people drink at home to intoxication, for the beer- 
saloons are never empty of a gay, interesting crowd 
from every rank of society and of every profession. 
About one table are seen a half-dozen laborers eating 
black bread and sausage and drinking their mug of 
beer ; around another a group of students reading a 
drama of Sophocles in the Greek for their pleasure, or 
hotly debating the HegeUan philosophy. This is no 
fancy picture but an actual fact. The entire corps of 

preachers in J would be children in learning beside 

these young enthusiasts. Yet even for these beer is an 
evil as it is used here, but how much less an evil than 
were there nothing but Sunday-schools on the one hand 
and beer on the other ? The conditions of society, not 
her laws, are to determine the extent of every vice. 
But this is a long and irregular digression for a letter, 
and not to my own taste. 

I will mention what my progress has been in Greek 
poetry, — perhaps the hardest department of classical 
learning. I have studied some dozen books of Homer 
with such thoroughness that my teacher says I can read 
his entire works against the first of next autumn. A 
year from date, if nothing happens, I shall have read 
the entire Greek drama, embracing about forty tragedies 
and comedies of -^iEschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and 
Aristophanes. These are without doubt the finest re- 
mains of ancient genius, and in a field where the 
Romans could no more follow the Greeks than a Metho- 
dist. I am in no humor to-day to descant on the 

46 A Young Scholar. 

pathos of Sophocles, but take my word for it, the man 
who does not know Greek is no scholar and is to be 

I have written and rewritten an article on German 
schools, but I was frightened to find myself in such 
deep water and on a subject I could only treat in a way 
interesting to an enthusiast, like myself— I may, how- 
ever, hammer out something yet ; it is an uncertain 
subject and would not interest anybody. 

The region about this place must be a wonder in 
May. Such deep skies and airy delicate shaded clouds, 
it appears to me, I had never seen at home, and then 
the fine hills or mountains — ^but they are neither — are 
so green near the sky that they intensify the blue. 
Spring too will awaken my longing for home, which 
has somewhat slumbered through these inert months. 
What delicious and sad emotions does not spring arouse 
in our hearts, — ^if it has a place there ! In this respect 
I am as near to nature, I often think, as some of the 
animal world. Dr. Johnson would not allow that the 
seasons made any difference in our real feelings. He 
was not as susceptible as a bear. How I wish the days 
had fifty hours. 

Do not let any one see my letters in whose eyes you 
imagine I would care to stand well. I don*t laugh as 
often as when at home, but have an even temper, — on 
the whole a much better. 

Letters. 47 


Tendency of feeling to become ideas ; struggle against 
our sensibility ; an escape in mental toil ; Tennyson^ s 
^' In MemoHam^^ a sublime biography; philosophic 
value of the poem; pain of mourning ; an intenser 
life; error of the poem ; Spinoza's God. 

(Conjectured date) HeidkI/BERG, March, 1869. 

Too earnest and serious letters, such as mine, always 
act as a soporific antidote to the pains of separation. 
If I can sound on in your ear with the monotonous 
drum of abstract thought, I shall grow farther and 
still more distant, till I shall be to your sense as a low 
disembodied voice whose unreal joys and griefs will be 
remembered as things sad or sweet, or things of 
thought. Feelings with me have an almost resistless 
tendency to become ideas, memories to pass from the 
actual life, where they sob and ache and glow, to the 
motionless heights of soul, where passion is none and 
love only a perfect yearning. 

It is strange, but love is too overpowering a passion 
for me, too awful. My nature trembles in its presence, 
and I shrink, maiden-like, from the too great joy, the 
divinity of love. It is the wisest for me ; it is in truth 
the only thing possible, to be content with one stolen 
glance of her great, sweet face. Who will understand 
me ? I scarce understand myself, yet I know that I 
am too weak to live and cherish one full love, a ray of 
flower-like, starry affection, — the one holy thing in life, 
of infinite memory, of power to penetrate the dust of 
death, a fountain of songs as the sun is of spring. 

Far be sentimentalism from me. I love to look at a 
healthy life with blood in its face, and no one has ever 
done less for, nay more against, over-great sensibility 

4& A Young Scholar. 

of feeling than I ; but it is in no one's power to be 
other than one is bom. This same peculiarity is per- 
ceptible in other and lesser affections, — ^a certain desire 
to go off from them, to worship them alone at a great 
distance. How absurd ! Yes, and I contend against 
it, let it be hoped with some success. 

This sense of completeness, or rather content with 
what is past, should be the cool bright mood of age, 
after a life of struggle and of love. It takes away all 
fear of death, but for youth it is sad and leaves me to 
wonder how rsLy life will be filled out, if it is long. 
Can these sweet and high concluding strains sound on 
for years or will they cease? After the last, surely 
there is no more music. 

I have tried by these remarks to give you a deeper 
insight into my heart than one generally gets from 
words, but I shall have scarcely succeeded. If you 
have a chord of kindred feeling, it will jar audibly at 
these words, and you will understand me ; if not, the 
common stock of sentiment is not rich enough to fur- 
nish me with universally understood expressions for 
such a feeling. My only escape appears to me to be in 
a life of unusual mental labor and an assiduous culti- 
vation of the minor feelings. I can love children and 
places and friends, books and animals and mankind 
and some great cause, and brother and sister, while I 
must take care to be always master of my filial feelings. 

The following is a reflection after reading Tennyson's 
In Memariam, 

For every one whose Jieart beats true to the pulses 
of this age, that is, who lives over in the increased 
distinctness and fervor of personal experience what is 
only dimly and in outline indicated by the religious, 
literary, and political convulsions of the period, will 

Letters. 49 

esteem this master- work of Tennyson's as a piece of 
sublime, universal biography. We see here what re- 
sources the world at this time has for a grand, pure 
soul in sorrow. 

We have a man whom nature and fortune conspired 
to endow with the fullest and finest sense of life possi- 
ble in an age which, for beautiful enthusiasms, star-like 
virtues, and deep, sweet sympathies, is indeed the very 
crown of times. He meets with a loss bitter and deso- 
lating as the heart of such a man can sustain ; but it is 
of a nature to which, by an inexorable law of fate, 
every human bosom is in its degree liable, and, being a 
sorrow from the heavens, leaves no hateful and to be 
hated human form between the sufferer and his grief. 
It is a pain to be wept out by a naked human soul to 
the naked, heedless heavens. We are to see whether, 
on the earth or under it or above it, there is a final 
reconciliation ; whether with the Christian we are to 
think it no bereavement, or with the philosopher an 
endurable and salutary bereavement, or with the ach- 
ing heart only a bereavement which we shall forget 
when we forget all things. 

That Tennyson has not decided from an aesthetic- 
moral view this conflict which, from a moral-intellectual, 
has been so terribly contested in the world, is too ap- 
parent from his work to need a statement. Indeed we 
should be unwarranted in looking for such a perform- 
ance till the faith of the world is better fixed ; at least 
till all that half the great minds affirm of life and im- 
mortality is not negated by the other. It is not until 
sometime after their discovery that we are able to feel 
ourselves at peace with great truths, and, whatever 
may be the final decision as to the soul's immortality, 
there will certainly be no exception here to the general 


' I 




50 A Young Scholar. 

rule. That, with each great truth once decided, a final 
reconciliation of the human heart must take place, fol- 
lows from the necessity in nature of a gradual adapta- 
tion or an ultimate extinction. Not to pursue the 
methods of this great and creative law in the limited 
field of history, we may rest assured of its existence. 

What, then, is the philosophical value of this poem ? 
The answer to this question will be determined by the 
faith or lack of faith of him who answers. The spirit- 
ualist will say, taking up the conclusions of the poet, 
that it shows the triumph of faith over grief. But 
there is another conception which, to my mind, is the 
true, essential tendency of the work, that is, the reali- 
zation through the imagination and feelings of the 
existence of the beloved object for the mourner, or, in 
other words, the annihilation of time as a factor in the 
life of the soul. Death is only a ceasing of the subject 
to exist for himself; for love he cannot cease to be. 
So much of our nature as remains unchanged after such 
a loss, and so much only, can keep the old love, if kept 
by the imagination in a constant glow and in the perfect 
vigor of its accustomed sensations. It will not grieve, 
for the pain of mourning arises from the discontinuation 
of old and agreeable impressions. 

A friend dies in whom the poet had gathered up the 
almost infinite affection of his young heart for an 
object of the finest, highest, broadest manhood. He 
had loved in his friend all that is amiable in the race, 
and cherished dreams of divided happiness and fame 
with him. But with a poet*s love all nature enters 
glorified into his heart. His friend had now ceased 
any longer to be as a personality. Is then all that 
was built on him to fall together? With most 
men it would have done so ; with the poet it did so 

Letters. 5 1 

only partially. It will always in a less degree be 
so as our sense of life becomes more unified and 
intense, and as our love can look farther before and 

It is too true that the poet has descended to that 
traditional abuse of what seems the earthly at times, 
nay, even to frantic and senseless expressions of disgust 
at life unless it is to last forever. By this means 
he does not approach the object of his desires and 
fears in any degree, but he fully unprepares himself 
to meet the other alternative. These words are often 
in the harshest contrast to other and better weighed 
and more deeply felt passages. This is the chief error 
or imperfection of the work, as all works must have 
chief errors and other smaller ones. 

In the nature of Tennyson's passion itself, as it 
appears to us from this great dirge, we may notice 
a certain want of individuality, perhaps due to the 
little idea he gives us of his friend's relation to him. 
The poem is rather a bas-relief than a freely rounded, 
perfect whole which we are at liberty to view from all 
sides. Such limitation was probably necessary in the 
production of those great lyrical monotones of grief 
which, to change the figure, seem to moan with an 
endless pathos in the depths, with an answering accord 
in the heights of his soul. 

It is a great fault of feeling to find the sorrow of 
these poems too intellectual, as I have at times heard 
it characterized. True it is that the whole understand- 
ing cannot take part in the heart's sorrow ; but not 
for this reason is the grief of all men alike. Nay, it 
is in the choicest light of the understanding, the true 
wisdom of a man who grieves, that the really wise 
and good and tender in the centre of their being come 

52 A Young Scholar. 

together and make one heart, where great sorrow or 
great joy abideth. The assimilation of all these 
elements is the true growth of character. He only, 
who has felt the enthusiastic longing of youth for 
wisdom, can know how real a part of a man's inner- 
most desires and dreams the pressure after truth comes 
to be, and, with such sympathies in the reader, the 
great I^aureate's work will have no trace of the forced 
and far-fetched. 

His choice of metre cannot be admired suflSciently, 
and his mastery in it is so natural that its use is made 
impossible for every coming poet who may have read 
him. He seldom indulges here in that golden shim- 
mer of coloring which in his early pieces reminds one 
of the old Italian masters. He might have safely 
been more profuse with his magical brush, did he not 
have Milton's Lycidas as a guide. But we have said 
enough and more than enough of dispraise. He has 
lived to see the direction which he had the originality 
and boldness to take up in poesy, become the common 
highway of English art. For neither to Byron nor 
to Wordsworth can we trace the birth of that unspeak- 
ably tender light, so deep, so spiritual, now spread 
over all the best productions of the British Muse. I 
am certain that, in the perusal of this great work of 
human love and ruthless fate, you will not miss the 
sublime tones of sorrow transposed by presence of 
universal death into the unearthly cadences of a 
pathos that nothing can disturb. 

The divinely intoxicated thinker of whom you 
speak, Spinoza, the real father of German speculation, 
develops in the fifth division of his Ethics an idea 
that is destined to be recognized as the most fruitful 
thought of the human mind ; enveloped, it is true. 

Letters. 53 

in the appendages of his general system and not car- 
ried through to any important consequences, but still 
the thought. Nature is God to Spinoza, but it is 
another nature than we are accustomed to represent 
by the word God. It is the entire sum of all that 
actually exists, the divine whole, full of life, blossom- 
ing in flower-beauty, sky-beauty, soul-beauty forever, — 
a divinity that rejoices in an eternal youth. Its being 
is order with a soul of necessity. It is all one great 
problem for the mind, and an infinite treasure for the 
heart. This we must love and seek to understand. 


Enchanted ground ; age of imperative thought ; fashions 
of learning; faith the heroic virtue; religious fal- 
lacies ; no exiling sorrow ; nobler studies, 

Hbibki^BRG, loth April, 1869. 

This is indeed enchanted ground ; such a spot as 
earth and sky conspire to make sacred. The great 
valleys are resonant with the soft but querulous music 
of spring birds, while the air lies almost still, nursing 
the sweet balm of flowers. The water makes a cheer- 
ful sound in the cool, deep moat, and on the walls stout 
old knights in stone are almost hid in the freshening 
ivy. Heroes, ye men of passion, do ye not look with 
superior pity on us poor children of ideas ? Hundreds 
of years ago, in the sweet spring-time, the glorious 
tournament and minne-song stirred your young blood ; 
here, where ** ladies' eyes rained influence," the anx- 
ious search for lore has brought me far from home and 
buried my youth in the dust of libraries, — ^youth that 
is never to come again. 

54 -^ Young Scholar. 

Forgive me this reverie, for part of it comes from 
my very heart. For what is all this voluptuous pomp 
of nature, this unfettered joy and overflowing luxury 
of life ? Why should it make me sad, as if conscious 
of some irreparable loss — as if the sweet fruits of life 
were passing before me, Tantalus-like, in the impo- 
tenc5»^ of a dream ? Is it a misfortune in this age of 
imperative thought to have a too lively sense of the 
rich full wine that is in our hands, but which we dare 
not drink lest it cloud the brain? I look forward 
to old age for some recompense of my self-denial, 
when Memory, who loves the thought of labors past 
better than the withered flowers of delight, will spread 
her own heavenly colored clouds over these very days, 
and every sigh of the boy's heart will be a gentle, far- 
off, tender remembrance to the old man. 

But why should I not be glad now ? The health of 
youth is mine now, and the roselight of hope. So 
long as everything is new nothing can be wearisome, 
and if I already have plucked one dusk flower of 
regret ** that sad embroidery wears,** still even it is dear 
to me, and I have yet no cause in my life for remorse. 

I study with zeal, but not as a devotee, the wisdom 
of men. I have thoughts of my own, and to their 
songs I bring an almost equal share, — an open heart. 
I respect myself, for I have fought clear of all the 
nets in social order and universal order that the inter- 
twisted follies, fanaticisms, vices, and dreams of one 
generation weave for another. Wherever I see a man 
caught in them, I have seen to his bottom, at least in 
one place. I have no cause for vanity in this con- 
sciousness, but it delivers me from that excessive rev- 
erence for these great men with which an ardent child 
is certain to begin its studies. I am aware that in the 

Letters. 55 

schools there is as great a pernicious clinging to tra- 
dition and old forms as in the state. 

It is difficult to introduce any sound human sense 
into institutions which have once bound up, as it were 
in one body, the heterogeneous mass of many men's 
opinions. It is the teacher's trade to teach what he 
was taught, and the first requisite for the scholar is to 
know what others know, for learning has its fashion, 
and one as much more imperative than that of dress as 
the pride of knowledge is naturally greater than the 
pride of appearance. Some great men advise a stu- 
dent to dare to be ignorant of many things that every- 
body knows. I shall not hesitate longer in dismissing 
the pretensions of school cram to my time. 

It is my intention to live a genuine, fair life, and 
neither pretend, do, or believe anything that I do not 
think is altogether sound and true to the centre. If 
this resolution strips me to the faith of a savage and 
darkens every jack o' lantern pole-star in my horizon 
(of which there are some thousands claiming confi- 
dence), I shall not be intimidated, for I do not at least 
fear any ghosts in the dark. So long as the essential 
question is What sort of faith will make me happy ? 
and not What is the truth about life ? there will be no 
end to the errors and consequent miserable confusion 
of opinions. Faith, in the only acceptation that makes 
it anything but credulity, is that heroic virtue of mind 
that forbids us to make any effort to blink the truth 
for fear of consequences, — which refuses to acknowl- 
edge as even desirable anything but the truth. Now 
I ask you how this philosophic, liberal spirit is possible 
for one who even sUvSpects that he has in his hands a 
** revelation,*' for that all reason is long over with. A 
man who believes this need not be remarked. 

56 A Young Scholar. 

You seem to have altogether mistaken the purport 
of my syllogism. I gave it as the most generalized 
statement of the cosmological argument for the exist- 
ence of a personal Creator. By showing that our word 
** planner'* never means the origin of the wisdom of a 
plan, but only a mediate agent, I believe that I have 
(for myself) discovered the fallacy of this ordinary ar- 
gument. For my part I have not the slightest idea 
that the order of nature ever did begin, and am myself 
growing extremely tired of these questions which find 
their only support in the inert credulity of human na- 
ture. Religion serves to give some form and embodi- 
ment to our notions and highest affections at an age 
when symbols are necessary to convey or rather to 
ratify every idea. Their incongruity and absurdity 
become apparent as soon as, and no sooner than we 
can fairly see, in the worth of our nature, the utUe et 
honestum, the useful and the right. To deprive a man 
of his superstition before this, is like refusing the mathe- 
matician his assumption of x. He treats it as a known 
quantity while he knows nothing about it ; but this 
proceeding is necessary if he is ever to evolve its value 
from the given conditions. He drops his x so soon as 
he knows its equivalent in common-sense figures. 

lycaming is always cultivated first for power, and 
often never for anything but power. In order to make 
human culture worthy of some men's celestial notice 
they must fancy they are cultivating themselves for 

eternity. W imagines that he is preparing the 

youth of an entire city for examination at the council- 
table of the Trinity. Now most men of sense and even 
genius have found that, after much labor, they had 
made but slim preparation for this life ; so you see 
that our worthy friend has no mean idea of his abilities 

Letters. 5 7 

and responsibilities. Men are that in their general 
opinions that they are in their particular, and, so long 
as the possession of boundless wealth or power is reck- 
oned by a world as the ideal of earthly happiness, they 
will leave themselves nothing to wish for in their uni- 
versal doctrine of life, — that is, in their religion. 

But extravagant hope is fatal to happiness, for where 
it does not make every beautiful reality worthless, as 
in the eyes of an ascetic, it will be certain to occasion 
a feeling of hoUowness or vacancy, the effect of over- 
tension. Thus we are never done hearing religious 
people talk about the vanity of this world, as if there 
were for us here, while we live at least, anything but 
this world. They talk of life as a ragpicker might of 
a fragment of Raphael* s canvas ; it is the paint that 
spoils it for all his uses. 

I find no theory that can exile sorrow from the realms 
of life, or imperfection from any kind of existence. We 
call laws perfect. This means certain^ for any other 
complete character cannot be given them. We are 
born with tears and lamentations as the first proofs of 
our life, and yet, some men have the madness to dream 
of millenniums. Life is on the whole very endurable, 
to me a greater source of wonder and delight than the 
still years of heaven. When it becomes oppressive I 
can leave it without pain, and so I have no grounds of 
complaint. While in it I find daily something to bet- 
ter, something to regret which I cannot better. 

I am as fortunate in my studies as I could expect, 
and hope now to be able to give my attention in a short 
time to the nobler studies. One more year will release 
me from the shackles of grammar, at least of the classi- 
cal languages, and I can then combine my Oriental 
studies with others in such a manner as to make the 

58 A Young Scholar. 

drudgery scarcely felt. I am gradually extending my 
acquaintance with German literature, and find here 
many a glorious thing. 

This beautiful weather, it is so hard to study. I 
rise early and do not leave my room in the forenoon, 
for I could not get courage to come back if I did. For 
the sake of company at dinner with whom I can con- 
verse and improve my hour's walk after meals, I am 
obliged to leave my eating-house, which is, in truth, 
frequented by a very ignorant set of clerks. At a bet- 
ter place my dinners will cost me eight kreutzers more, 
but still that is cheap, and conversation is indispensable 
to progress in German. 


A family removal; changes of age ; theory of politics 
and art ; efforts at composition of poetry ; Elizabethan 
dramatists for old age. 

Heidei^berg, 25th April, 1869. 

Perhaps I should have written home on receipt of 
the exchange that mother negotiated during your ab- 
sence, but I have waited for the recurrence of my wonted 
time. Your own letter with its strange and important 
news * is now before me. Whatever be the event of 
the contemplated change it cannot but be important. 
Both the future of the children and the fortune of your- 
self and mother will in no small degree be influenced 
by one more remove to the singular and active life in 
the far West, which some years ago had not altogether 
disappeared from Illinois. My first wish is that it may 
confirm your health and contribute somewhat to en- 
liven your spirits, which, with great concern, I have 

* The impending removal of the family to Kansas. 

Letters. 59 

watched apparently sinking under the fatigue of your 
wearisome business into a settled melancholy. When 
I come home I shall do my best to make life for you 
more genial than it has ever been. You may make 
less money in the West, but that is not so vital a matter 
as we are apt to think. It is much more important 
that now, near the change of life, you should enter 
with good omens on a cheerful old age. 

After a man's youth there is no period so critical and 
impressible as the ten years from forty to fifty. It is 
for other reasons recognized as such in one sex, but is 
scarcely less important in the other. I desire that you 
be not all too careful of me and my wants. A year or 
so less in Europe than the rhythm of my plans seems to 
demand, will not be unwillingly sacrificed to the welfare 
of an affectionate parent, for I have gained too deep a 
sense of the infinite beauty and blessedness of filial 
love to let the splendid, but in a great part hollow, ac- 
complishments of the schools stand between me and 
mine. * * The world is too much with us, * * says Words- 
worth, and for no class of men is it of more import- 
ance to remember this than for scholars. 

You do right and beautifully to cherish your dreams 
of western life, and all that is necessary to realize them 
is the might of an unblinded soul. How immense the 
difference between an enthusiast and a visionary ! How 
enviable the man who can keep alive the heart in the 
head ! Only the finest natures preserve into old age 
that glorious day-spring of sentiment in the breast, 
that makes, for even the most earthly, a sweet vision of 
youth. It is with inexpressible sadness that, at mo- 
ments, I become aware that the magic roselight of 
youth is fast fading around me, — that I feel the faint 
last pulsations which were once the source of over- 

6o A Young Scholar. 

powering ecstasies or delicious sorrow. I am conscious 
that not only those feelings, but the capacity to experi- 
ence them are in the past, and I look forward to the 
fair, hard light of common day with eagerness to see 
what sort of recompense it has in keeping. Could I 
become ambitious? avaricious? or enthusiastic as an 
advanced agitator ? 

Alas ! high passions of whatever kind are but species 
of intoxication from which we have a dreadful waking. 
Many men are wrecked from the sea of youth on the 
shore of manhood ; many are drifted sluggishly on to 
the land ; some enter from a prosperous voyage with 
high hopes and full hearts to do courageous battle. 
No one will ever know the violence of the logical strug- 
gles that have absolved my intellectual nature up to 
this time. I have carried off the victory, but is it not 
pitiful that it should have cost me such desperate effort 
to emancipate myself from the villainous and obvious 
humbug and superstition which passes for the science 
of civil relation and moral duty ? I cannot some way 
draw any comfort from the reflection that many others 
are still in the dark. 

Professor T *s masterly lecture on civil govern- 
ment would have been to me a year ago an absolute reve- 
lation, but only after I have satisfied my own reason, 
can I have the contentment of seeing that what I, as a 
child, had won from iron meditation, is the mature 
conviction of an old man. His distinctions are drawn 
with scientific precision from uncontrovertible grounds 
of fundamental rights. His lecture is the first bit of 
rational politics I have heard of in America. Only in 
his classification of the arts proper with the powers of 
social forms did he wholly mistake his ground. Art 
proper is, in so far as art goes, a spontaneous, pure 

Letters. 6 1 

product, having, considered in its origin, no object to 
fulfil, but is the simple natural expression of every life 
whose burden is hope defeated by desire. Wherever it 
can be produced there it is right and necessary that it 
should have way. The agitation of women's rights in 
America is to my mind the most gratifying phenomenon 
of the times, but my grounds for thinking this are too 
tedious to be given here. 

I am much obliged to Mr. M for saving one of the 

best turns in those verses, which appeared by his correct 
reading of my manuscript. On a reperusal of them I 
am satisfied that I failed in the expression of my idea 
in them, and that they give the conception in a sort of 
green or raw form without the softer mellow light of a 
perfect artistic treatment. The language too is what 
might be expected of my first attempt in the English 
dactyl. Poetry is not my forte, and my cultivation of 
it is a matter of the most disinterested love. Occasional 
efibrts at its composition give us a closer and more in- 
structed eye in reading. 

I would recommend to mother's attention, as a prac- 
ticable object of study, the old English dramatists and 
their modern critics ; Shakespeare, Jonson, Massinger, 
Ford, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Marlow, with the 
fine critical literature their works have called out. 
Any one could spend years in "this delightful field of 
human genius, where so much conspires for the enter- 
tainment of the imagination and occupation of the rea- 
son. It would be provident in my opinion to cultivate 
such a resource for old age. 

If you go West soon this will perhaps be the last let- 
ter that you will read from me in our common home. 
Take good care of mother, brother, sister, and your- 
self, and do not fail to write that long-promised letter. 

62 A Young Scholar. 


Teleology or plan in nature considered; natural religion ; 
dialectics the grammar of thought ; civil liberty. 

Hbidei^bbrg, 27th May, 1869. 

How can I refrain from a perhaps premature answer 
to the challenge blared out in your review of my syllo- 
gism, which was contained in your long letter of the 
loth, received this morning ? No, I must maintain so 
honest a S5'llogism, as a true knight of logic, against 
all comers. I have to object to your objections, that 
they are contradictory, inadequate, and founded on 

But here now we come to close quarters and all 
swinging of banners is out of place. I intend to rout 
you, foot and dragoon, and I insist consequently that 
whoever is found first to maintain an unintelligible 
position, capitulates at once. 

We use two words in the discussion that are vital to 
it, and I see that you understand them in at kast two 
diflFerent ways. They are plan and planner. There 
is one definition oi plan which may be thought the 
most strictly correct : namely, that it is a purposed re- 
sult of reflection. I admit that this definition makes 
the first premise an axiom and would enable the second 
alone to establish the point at issue. Observe closely 
what I say : this is the definition you have assumed, 
and so your thunder has been blown into thin air. 

I do not wonder at your eulogies of Aristotle and 
logic in general ; — you certainly thought you were do- 
ing me a service in referring me to my dialectics. But 
now we will take the only reasonable definition oiplan 
for the minor premise, which is simply, without refer- 

Letters. 63 

ence to its origiu (the point in dispute), an exUUng 
adaptation of certain means to certain ends. This fitness 
is the most remarkable thing in nature, and it is to be 
observed in all things. Now the point is simply this, 
— to prove that all such adaptations in the first place 
are the product of a reflecting intelligence, and in the 
second place, of an uncaused intelligence or God. 

To do the first of these the word planner in the major 
premise must mean intelligent cause ; to prove the 
second and establish the divinity it must mean un- 
caused intelligent cause. I do not mean that by giving 
to this word these meanings, the major premise really 
establishes these things, but that these are the defini- 
tions the word must have if it is to establish anything. 
It is my part to show that it is not true, with these 
definitions for the word planner^ (that creation has such 
a cause). 

An intelligent cause, so far as we know anything 
about such a thing, is not necessarily anything but an 
adaptation (itself), or pure product of nature herself, 
and difiers in no way from an ordinary proximate cause 
but in being aware of the processes. To this point I 
desire your closest attention. We agree, I believe, that 
before the birth of Raphael all the causes existed that 
finally painted his Madonna. Where then is the neces- 
sity of every adaptation in nature having such an 
origin, viz., in the intellect of a being whose intellect 
and its results are determined by causes again equally 
unconscious and unintelligent as those which we see 
do directly bring about these adaptations themselves ? 
But even were it so, which is extremely absurd, this 
cause would still not be a God, for it is not a final 
cause. We must now be prepared to do the last great 
feat of absurd conceptions, viz., that of an intelligence 

64 A Young Scholar. 

without a cause. The human intelligence, as we have 
seen, is the product of unintelligent or unconscious 
causes. Intelligences can only differ in degree, but are 
alike in kind. How then do we have any greater ease 
in conceiving of an uncaused intelligence than of any 
other uncaused phenomena, say the adaptations in 
nature ? We cannot, for every intelligence presupposes 
in itself the most wondrous adaptation, and besides 
this the wonderful faculty of being aware of the pro- 
cesses by which it works. 

For my part, I believe that everything has its cause, 
namely the phenomena that preceded it, and it is no 
misconception to suppose a retrogression of causes ad 
infinitum^ for at no point of the golden chain can we 
conceive ourselves nearer the end than at another. 

This is a sufficient disproof of teleology, but there 
are other very vulnerable approaches. For instance, 
wisdom is nothing more than a knowledge of the adapt- 
ations in nature, and perfect wisdom is only a know- 
ledge of all of them. But a thing cannot be known that 
does not exist, at least potentially in sufficient causes ; 
consequently we can conceive of no wisdom anywhere 
existing before nature. Again, if at any time God 
alone existed. He was the sole factor in the creation, 
but a creation of which any one thing is the sole factor 
is simply a metamorphosis, and the original ceases to 
have existence save in its effects. 

Again, so far from a lawgiver being necessary for a 
law, we cannot conceive of any law which we thor- 
oughly understand, being given. For instance, the 
entire science of mathematics, which is at the bottom 
of every combination in nature, is independent of gods. 
Mechanics partake of the necessity of numbers, and its 
laws determine all celestial phenomena, the shape of 

Letters. 65 

the earth, its surface irregularities, the volume, course, 
etc., of winds, rivers, seas, etc., ad infinitum. The 
correlation of functions in organic bodies, of which we 
know so little, is without doubt subject to mechanical, or, 
in other words, mathematical laws. Chemistry is called 
by its best masters a science of numbers. Again laws 
of logic, laws of right and justice, could not be any- 
thing but what they are, if forty gods willed otherwise. 
In fact a law cannot be given, but simply is because 
it must be. Theism always takes her refuges in our 
ignorance of the laws. 

You say very correctly that a plan cannot plan itself, 
but, pray, how can a planner plan himself? As you 
state your willingness to show that wherever there is 
a plan, there is somewhere an ultimate origin of its 
wisdom, be so good as to say who sat in council over 
the nice arrangements of the divine mind. You are 
bound to admit some place an adaptation which has 
not been the subject of conscious reflection, and it is 
very unscientific to so involve the problem needlessly, 
by the introduction of an unintelligible something. 

The entire force of my argument hinges on the fact, 
which I have seen nowhere else mentioned, that intelli- 
gence introduces no new ordering force into nature, 
but is a simple consciousness of processes positively 
determined by causes existing prior to intelligence, and 
efficient for the consciousness as well as the plans or 
wisdom of the mind. 

Nature is to me not an accident but a necessity. 
Why it exists or is, will be shown when it is shown 
how it could cease to be, or that there was a time in 
which it was not, or how it possibly could not be. 
Why it is as it is, will also be capable of demonstration 
when we see how it could possibly be otherwise. Till 

66 A Young Scholar. 

then such questions belong on the table. Our business 
is simply to learn how it is. 

I have faith that by an obedience to the laws of life 
it will go best with me. I hope the conditions of my 
organism will allow me to observe them, with charity 
for all who under other conditions and laws perish and 
perish. I love a good man because he is good, not 
because he could as well be bad and is not, like those 
who believe in a free-will. I love especially all who 
love me because I can*t help it. I would be honest, 
merciful, brave, and wise because I do not think life 
worth anything at all on any other conditions. Who- 
ever needs more reasons than these to make or keep 
him upright is incapable of understanding virtue and 
its own loveliness. 

Death does not concern me, for when it comes I have 
no existence. Other evils leave me to lament them, 
but a man never knows when he dies. I had rather 
live than die so long as I am young and in health, but 
when life ceases to please me I had rather quit. Super- 
stition, or in other words religion, is intended to increase 
the fear of death. Nature has implanted a certain 
dread of death in the bosom of everything that lives. 
To this they owe their preservation. No doctrine can 
or ought to be taught to destroy this. 

Do you understand what you mean when you say 
* * pay homage to God ' ' ? Is it a gratifying recognition 
of His superioritj'', or is not that a question to dispute ? 
Do you love Him tenderly, so that your heart leaps with 
a sweet low joy at thought of Him as it does at the 
thought of other dear ones ? Do you admire Him for 
inventing truth ? Or is not all this talk about adoration 
simply a childish accounting for the involuntary delight 
we feel in life, and wonder at the great mysteries we 

Letters. 67 

do not understand ? How do you represent God to 
your mind when you desire to worship ; — as He is in the 
pictures, or perhaps in His real infinitude ? You will 
not be astonished when I say in conclusion, that I look 
on your letter rather as an ingenious efibrt to puzzle me 
than as an expression of your views. 

You speak of the study of logic with some enthusiasm. 
Ptue dialectics are the grammar of thought, and al- 
though no more necessary to a correct thinker than 
grammar to a correct speaker, are yet of great service 
in habituating the mind to methods of exact deduction. 
The highest problems of logic result in problems of 
metaphysics, as for instance Pyrrho*s argument against 
the efficiency of causes cannot be contradicted by logic. 
Some of the finest masters of dialectics are to be found 
among the nominalist and realist schoolmen of the loth, 
nth, and 12th centuries. A thorough course of 
speculative philosophy will embrace the peculiar views 
of the great thinkers of logic. It will be my forte, as 
the science is almost purely mathematical. 

Originality in truth is a very rare plant, and you 
frighten me by expressing your expectations of my 
studies. Till you admit my theory of government I 
can have little encouragement to expect to find much 
that is new for you. If you really are in earnest in 
your objections to my syllogism, I beg that you will 
thoroughly study the idea involved in the word planner^ 
under the light which is thrown upon it by the reflec- 
tion that a planner, as far as we know, is simply a plan 

To be an apostle of liberty demands such a sublime 
faith in nature that no religionist can be expected to be 
one. We must consider too the rights of our fellow- 
men to self-government in so sacred a light, that theists 

68 A Young Scholar. 

have been proverbially on the side of strong governments 
from constitutional incapacity to understand any sanc- 
tities. Sometimes I feel my heart swell toward a bat- 
tle with the superstition and despotism of American 
ideas. Perhaps I could swing a battle-axe and make 
it ring on the mail of ignorance and policy that are 
choking us to death. I do not court a life of storm 
and battle, but it appears now to be the duty of every 
man who can make his arm tell. 

I would like to write a great deal more in this letter, 
but it has already run in on my time too heavily. 
Mother must not be anxious about my vacation tramp, 
which in all likelihood will be through Switzerland. 

E will go along, but next winter he goes to Vienna 

and I to Berlin. I understand to a T a stranger's life 
in Europe. A man's only danger here is in his profli- 
gacy, and consequently I feel pretty safe. 

This letter, considering its subject, has been in too 
great haste. 


Inherited features; imitation of Wordsworth ; the philo- 
sophic not higher than the poetic intellect ; latitude of 
Goethe ; the desire to live after death, 

HKid^i«bERG, 6th June, 1869. 

Your letter of the 13th of May, containing father's 
picture, hit the mark several days ago. I shall not 
pass any compliments on father's face, for that would 
be almost a sort of egotism. I was startled the other 
day, when a side glance toward my glass revealed to 
me a likeness of which I had no idea. My whiskers 
and eyes are not to be mistaken, and peculiar moods 

Letters. 69 

heighten the likeness wonderfully. I do not mean to 
say that on the whole I could pass for as handsome a 
man, but there is something strange in a resemblance 
which often loses little by an enormous caricature. 
Father's features would indicate a soul whose element 
was ideal action, — a turn for which modern life presents 
few openings. The explorer, the military hero, the 
social reformer represent it with us. Dreaming will 
satisfy me better than it will him. 

You are mistaken in regard to the poet whom I en- 
deavored to imitate in those irregular verses, and Mrs. 

C is correct. Allow me to return her my humblest 

thanks for her flattering judgment. I am only re- 
strained from being more enthusiastic in the demon- 
stration of my feeling from the reflection above made, 
that a horrible caricature may still possess resemblance. 
My effort was to give the simple dignity of man as 
Wordsworth understood it, not in so far as he differs 
from his fellows, but in that which is common to the 
race. In this sense my lines are hardly original. How 
you happened on Swinburne, whose sensuous imagery 
and harmony are altogether wanting to the verses, or 
Browning whose cool intellectualit)'^ is equally distant, 
or Arnold who talks in great lucid Grecian ways, it is 
difficult to understand. Yet Wordsworth has been the 
master of all these men, who are younger poets. They 
have studied Greek and studied Byron and studied 
Dante, but they have seen farthest into the darkness of 
nature through Wordsworth's glasses. 

Your chemico-logical figure, the affinity of the truth 
for the understanding, has its justification. Only great 
ignorance and an entire want of sense and feeling for 
law could ever allow the claims of an institution to be 
part of the order of things and equally noble in its ori- 

70 A Young Scholar. 

gin with the primal harmonies of nature. It is without 
a logical content (you would say **has no afl&nity for 
our understanding,*' as for instance the efl&cacy of 
baptism), and alone can give a thinker no clue to its 
nature or purport, but like nude pictures must carry 
its explanation labelled in its mouth. 

One of your remarks to the eflFect that the speculative 
intellect was of a higher order than the creative, or in 
other words the philosophic than the poetic, does not 
meet my approval. They are of equal rank, and to- 
gether divide the empire of life with the actor and in- 
vestigator. It is no matter whether a man strikes, 
observes, muses, or sings ; if he does his work well he 
is the peer of every other. A Columbus, a Newton, a 
Bacon, a Shakespeare, are equally noble. The one en- 
larges life, the other secures what has been gained and 
makes progress possible, the third orders and harmon- 
izes it, the last lays open its highest meaning and se- 
cures the essential being of the different ages. It is the 
highest end of culture to so illuminate the mind that no 
shadow obscures any part, that we lose the professional 
spirit in the philosophic. I owe an infinite debt to 
Goethe for opening my eyes to the fatality of the nar- 
rowness which ranks the great departments of human 
knowledge and action, the one above the other, accord- 
ing to the cast of our tastes. How the poets are deified 
if we are in love or chronically sentimental ? How over- 
shadowing the proportions of the great actors to men 
whose sun is hidden by a dollar ! But Goethe could 
spin metaphysics with his Hegelian friends, bicker and 
squabble over a theory of light with the Newtonians, 
write love-songs like a spooney, fierce novels like a 
would-be suicide, grand life dramas, a Faiisty like a 
philosophic Shakespeare, social theories like a Rous- 

Letters. 7 1 

seau ; in fine he could drink beer in a kneipe with 
bauerSy dance with peasant girls, seduce princesses, puz- 
zle physicists, correct philosophers, and stand it all 
without loss of vigor for eighty-three years. He was 
an epitome of his time, with the good and bad all 
summed up in himself. No man can or ought to imi- 
tate him in his errors, but one such life, viewed as a 
whole, teaches us the folly of a one-sided enthusiasm, 
or of a niceness of manners that consists in decencies 
forever. Breadth of feeling is too apt, if it comes at all, 
to come when long experience and wearied age have 
lowered the temperament to a neutral point. 

It is no use for us to believe more than we can under- 
stand, and the cold unvarnished truth, if manfully met, 
will brace the mind and heart better than glorious con- 
jectures. When we die we cease to be, and conse- 
quently the dead are not lost to themselves, which 
would be misery, but only to us who hav'e the sacred 
pleasure of keeping their memory while we live. A 
man who has lived as a man ought to live to an old 
age and done his duty in every way it becomes a man 
to do it, no more desires to live after death than he 
does to have lived before his birth. He has labored 
until he is weary of labor and has thought through 
his circle of mind. He has loved forms which have 
long ago been dust, and it would be painful to begin 
to love again. He feels kindly towards everything 
that lives and is glad to know that their delight will 
not be stopped by his death. He has gradually been 
losing his hold on life, till now without pain it is al- 
most gone. How still and bright must the ocean of 
his life appear, so full of distant islands where he 
has been delighted, and far shores where his young feet 
have trod, now lit by the setting sun ! If we die young 

72 A Young Scholar. 

it is noblest to die cheerfully and courageously, but it 
is nonsense to imagine that we are just taking a flight 
to paradise. As I have but one life to live I shall live 
it as nobly as I can. Nature has existed one eternity 
without me ; she can and will exist another without 
me. The fables about heaven and hell are inventions 
evidently gotten up to help us through this world. 
They exist only for this world and hang to it as mere 

I shall close with this page, so I can say some things 
I wished to. Could n't you send something over $ioo 
by the next draft, as I would like to travel a little? It 
shall not cost much, but then I shall have to go to 
Berlin to spend the winter there. 


Sensibility to fear and love ; Swinburne* s view ; dual- 
ism of Christianity ; the new school of poetry ; obscurity 
accompanying the religious idea, 

HmDBi*B^RG, 27 June, 1869. 

I can hardly tell you why, but a remark in your last 
letter caused me a deal of rather melancholy uneasi- 
ness. What a strange, weird note of fear runs in the 
blood of some families ! You sometimes almost wish 
yourself dead for fear of knowing what may become of 
your children. I laughed at this much more heartily 
than another would because I understood it. Of such 
persons we cannot say, as of Tennyson's ** Margaret," 

" Your sorrow, only sorrow's shade, 
Keeps real sorrow far away." 

Letters. 73 

Although the ground-works of our feelings are sufiS- 
ciently alike for a mutual understandiug, yet you are 
by far the most intense realist. Feelings with me have 
an almost irresistible tendency to become ideal memo- 
ries, to pass from actual life while a sob and ache and 
groan to the motionless heights of soul where passion 
is none and love but a perfect yearning. It is an eflFort 
of nature to protect herself. Some persons are but "^ 
scarcely agitated hy the grandest, sweetest passions of 
our nature, some are exalted by them into a fuller, 
larger life and they would overwhelm them if met and 
embraced in all their stormy, magnificent mood. ^ 

I tremble like a maiden before the awful mystery of 
love. One hurried, stolen glimpse fills my life with 
song, throws ** splendor on the grass and glory on the 
flower.** Call it overwrought sensibility and in one 
sense you are right ; in another it is in me an anticipa- 
tion of the love of a grander time than ours. Now for 1 
almost the best men love has a hideous double ; nature 
is a sphinx with the fair front of a virgin and but the 
body of a beast. They grope in miserable darkness, 
just seeing somewhat of heavenly light and love but 
feeling themselves still deep in the slough of sensuality, j 
These men do well to be yet one-sided, to cling fast to 
their distinctions between flesh and spirit, so long as 
they share what these call the flesh with the dumb 

But such people should persuade themselves that ' 
what they mean by sensuality, which performs al- 
though a degraded yet so important a part in their 
lives, is unknown to Swinburne. I readily admit that 
he especially treats that phase of feeling which cor- 
responds to sensuality in their lives and the lives of 
animals; but it is no more sensuality in their sense 

74 A Young Scholar. 

than is Christianity fetichism because they both take 
the place of religion for different people. 

Swinburne's point of view is too high to see any- 
thing as in itself unholy or shameful which is a part of 

^he natural order of things. Don't understand me to 
say that shame is not a necessary element in the lives 
of such people, for it is, and will remain so till it is 
developed into something better which will take its 
place, as the cold, high self-respect and sense of right in 
the philosopher takes the place of brutal ferocity in the 
savage as generators of courage. You may ask how 

I it is possible for such a difference to exist ? Christianity, 
as every other active religion, has been throughout its 
entire history an analysis of human nature. It has 
sought to separate it into parts and give relative values 
or worth to them. It is in the first place a dualism of 
soul and body, from the first of which all that is noble 
springs, but from the last not quite all that is bad, for 
the soul itself is capable of many vices, such as dis- 
obedience and pride. 

But man is an organism and not made up of separate 
and imperfectly connected parts, which truth some have 
never been capable of comprehending. The result of 
their dissection is therefore this, that man is altogether 
or totally depraved and that all the virtues, the existence 
of which they could not deny, are from the free grace 
of God. With those uncertain, half-way infidel Chris- 
tians who deny these positions logically considered, but 
yet unconsciously act upon them in their life-philosophy, 
I have nothing to say. But a newer school of men at 

^ whose head perhaps, aesthetically considered, Swin- 
burne stands, has entered upon the synthesis of human 
nature, that is, is finding the beauty and goodness in 
the results of the organism of which life itself is but the 

Letters. 75 

flower. Here then it becomes the duty of the poet to 
take every normal human passion, deepen, unfold, and 
intensify it, to develop its close organic connection 
with all the other aspirations that bum in our frame. 
This end is not to be attained by bleeding a passion, 
or choking it, or putting other people's clothes on it, 
but by developing it. You will perhaps see what I 
mean, but if you see of how far-reaching a system of 
reformations this is only a single part, you will com- 
prehend much better the inanity of the ordinary objec- 
tions to Swinburne. If one wishes to read real obscenity 
one must hunt its literature in periods when the re- 
ligious idea was much stronger than it is now. 


In our politics^ life for a man of brains ; Italian antici- 
pations ; learning in Germany is wealth in America ; 
American students in Germany, 

H^IDEIfBBRO, July ii, 1869. 

Two weeks don't seem to develop any, even the most 
trifling, crisis in my history, and yet I am required to 
think as if they did. You are, however, making his- 
tory at home fast enough. I received father's letter 
dated at Humboldt in which he gave expression to very 
high hopes indeed. I am certain that in Kansas his 
herds and acres will be made to have a political weight. 
I am very well pleased that it should be so, for where 
but in politics is there suflGlcient intellectual life for a 
man of brains who is not especially a scholar ? What 
you are about to do will be at least of great advantage 
to Billy, who should not be allowed to grow a year 
older without some certain business direction. He 


76 A Young Scholar. 

ought by all means to be a farmer, and in a few years 
he will want an establishment. There are so many 
fools afloat that real industry, directed by common 
sense and made respectable by common honesty, cannot 
fail of success. 

If you come to Europe had you not better wait till I 
go to Italy ? Berlin is a poor place for visiting and it 
would pay better to **do'' Germany, as the tourists 
say, and reside in Italy than spend a year in a great 
business city like the capital of Prussia. What days 
we could spend in Florence, or Rome, or Venice ! If 
you wish to come in a year, I shall take Italian lessons 
next winter in Berlin and pay less attention to French. 
Nothing could equal the delight I should feel in hav- 
ing you with me in such a land but that of having you 
all. There I should study the history of the Middle 
Ages, the Catholic Church, School-philosophy, the 
sweet, half-effeminate period of the Renaissance, the 
art wonders of the world, while the awe-inspiring 
associations of the country would be a schooling in 

Germany is the grandest land for work for an intel- 
lectual American, since learning is pursued for the sake 

of the chase as wealth is at home. E wishes to go 

to Vienna because the most famous school for homoeo- 
pathy in the world is there. Of almost fifty Americans 
with whom I have come in contact here or heard of, 
not one but myself is seeking general culture. At the 
most they are studying I^atin and Greek with a view 
to teaching the languages, or else they are theologians 
who add for form's sake a little philosophy to their 
regular cram on David and his concubines. By far the 
majority are studying chemistry, medicine, or law. Of 
these the medical students are the only workers. 

Letters. *]^ 

Learning proper, that is a knowledge of what and how 
the world has ever thought and thinks at present, is 
below par in America. In fact even here, although 
there is a great deal of study, there are not many who 
study out of a profession. I have the honor of the 
acquaintance of the only real student of philosophy in 
Heidelberg. All others inscribed as such are either 
physicists or triflers, who take a Doctor's degree after a 
few months of dabbling in logic and in the history of 
philosophy. The degree is worth nothing in Germany, 
it is bought. A professorship on the other hand, 
which is a state's examination prize, is rigorous in the 
extreme. Well I shall not fiddle away with nothing 
to say any longer. 

This is the meanest letter I ever wrote since I used 
to begin with ** I am well ; how are you ? *' 


Liberality towards a son ; faith in immortality and a 
soul reconciled to death; Darwin's theory ; philos- 
ophy of Feu^rbach. 

HEIbEi^bERG, July 20, 1869. 

Your letter of the 2d inst. was received just one 
week ago to-day. It came in with my breakfast and 
took precedence, so that the meal was quite cold when 
I finished the second reading. I then laid the letter 
on the table to be called up for a third reading at leisure. 
These rich, abundant letters of yours, so freighted with 
your very self, are the real incidents of my Ufe here : 
such affecting appeals to embrace certain ideas, such 
frantic explosions of a mother's fear and a woman's 
superstition as to overwhelm a person without bringing 

78 A Young Scholar. 


any conviction, and make a not very ardent mind afraid 
of or indifferent to the truth ! 

I shall never be able to repay the debt of gratitude I 
owe to the wise liberality of your own and father's 
treatment of me. I was never constrained nor sought 
to be constrained in a speculative opinion, and yet I 
always found in you both the liveliest interest in my 
boyish fancies and ideas. 

This morning I am alone with a magnificent bouquet 
of roses in a tumbler of water on the table, while the 
** sluggish air is shattered by the bells ** — the bells of 
a Sunday morning, a still, beautiful, pious morning 
with the golden calm of summer in the sky. 

I feel a deep distaste at struggling to produce and 
defend by the processes of logic the ideas, or rather 
modes of thought, which represent the achievements of 
my soul in finding depth and clearness and light in 
life. I speak the sentiments of truth when I say that 
I feel the necessity of death as a beneficent and perfect 
conclusion, giving sublimity, depth, and pathos to life. 
This I feel to be a perfect mood of mind, but how am 
I to communicate this sentiment to others who are 
destitute of the sensibilities pre-requisite to it? To 
look the same way at death we must have the same 
conception of life. 

I am not so unwise as to think or wish to make a 
fooVs festival of existence where there is to be nothing 
but a reign of unbroken gaiety. I know how impossi- 
ble this is for any theory to accomplish, however well 
adapted to that end. The faith in an immortality takes 
away neither the terror of death, natural to all men 
whose lives are but half-lives, nor has it at all deepened 
and purified life, but quite the reverse. It has been 
gradually lost as we have emerged into a more real and 

Letters. 79 

intense existence, and now, in every country of high 
culture, is held chiefly by the poor and the women 
whose mental and moral development is yet very rudi- 
mentary. It is so foolish to say that if I live hereafter 
I don't care to live here, and it is the sign of a most 
worthless, profligate nature when one says, If this life 
is all I would live it in sin. Such a person means to say 
that lust is in itself better than love, and that an abun- 
dance of luxury is sweeter than the afiection of our fel- 
lows and the consciousness of having made others bet- 
ter, stronger, and happy. According to my philosophy 
it is through love alone that any soul can become 
reconciled to death. The first condition of love is 
moral purity, the second is wisdom. To love is to live 
in another, to have taken one's interest out of one's self 
and entrusted it to others. For every individual there 
are many forms of love, each peculiar and beautiful in 
its kind, and not the least of these is a love for the 
aged, — an affection so full of deep and calm pathos that 
it is perhaps among the very highest and therefore felt 
but by few. 

Are you not ashamed to have written ** It never pays to 
keep old people," and to have asked me if that shallow- 
hearted and if possible shallower-headed girl did not act 
in accordance with reason in banishing her old grand- 
father? What sense has she of life — of its beauty or 
height or breadth ? We must rise through the starry 
steps of love to that divine peace of soul which cannot 
be disturbed by our own end, since the course of nature is 
a constant and jubilant triumph, and since death, which 
is inevitable and which closes our existence as birth 
began it, is a desirable conclusion when the circle of life 
has been lived out and the dear forms of our youth are 
either gone or worn as ourselves, and while the ever 

8o A Young Scholar. 

young world, the passion and beauty of youth, the 
prattle of children make old hearts glad for the life 
around them, although no man would live his over 
again. I do not ask you to follow me in this faith. It 
is, as in all things, possible that I am mistaken. I 
only refuse to believe that for which I have no evidence. 
If you feel it impossible to reconcile life and death, 
abolish death and live. It is not every one who can 
walk beneath the sweet stars and with cheerful courage 
think there will come a time when I shall greet them 
neither amidst the mountains nor by the sea. Many 
souls, with Tennyson, ** cannot think the thing fare- 
well. '' 

The irresistible advance of modem science, propelled 
by that terrible theory of Darwin's which finds in Eu- 
rope almost universal acceptance among the learned, is 
fast pushing the old stays and props of the world over. 
It is becoming impossible to believe. The first result 
of this change will be a fearful disintegration of society, 
a loosening of old foundations and a period of moral 
anarchy, till a new reconciliation of our reason and our 
aspirations is found in a new ethical system. How long 
must we wait for this ! Who will be the great teacher 
of another faith to the world ? I cry to these theologi- 
ans, like John in the wilderness, **Make straight the 
ways of the Lord.'* Well, enough of this ! 

My progress has really exceeded my expectations, 
not exactly in the work done, which is always less, 
but in the actual mastery acquired over the languages. 
My genial work begins next winter. 

Metaphysics are at present below par in Germany. 
Scientific realism has almost swept them from the field. 
There is a new school, however, which has undertaken 
to adapt the principles of speculative philosophy to the 

Letters. 8 1 

new scientific conditions. Feuerbach is at the head of 
this movement. It is probable that I shall find a hold 
here. At all events, as things now stand, I shall be 
obliged to think for myself. 

I cannot help wishing myself with you on the grand, 
free prairie. I could enjoy it so much better than I 
once did. You will renew the old Mason days in rid- 
ing over the flowery grass under a soft blue western 
sky. I keep the eyes of my longing on the stretches of 
the western world, but Kansas is too far inland. I had 
rather be on the sounding sea beach. 

If you come to me we will go to Italy and spend a 
year in Rome and Naples. Then perhaps father will 
be able to come the last year of my stay, and come 
home with us by the way of China. Am I not a 
genuine Smith to cherish such dreams ? Money makes 
all things possible. 


Systematic studies of art ; solitariness in travel; deep- 
ening life; American activities; America of igoo ; 
the American who reforms into superstition. 

H^D]$I«BERG, Aug. 8, 1869. 

My year's work has come to a close which it is natu- 
ral I should hail with the pleasure every worker takes 
in rest. I have abandoned my idea of making a trip 
in Switzerland during vacation because it would, if 
made at all agreeably, draw too heavily on my purse. 
My intention now, which I hope you will find wise, is 
to take advantage of my route to Berlin to spend some 
time in the most interesting cities of western Germany, 
Miinchen, Prague, Dresden, Leipzig. I shall spend 
the time, two coming months, till the beginning of 


82 A Young Scholar. 

lectures in the Fall in a systematic study of art, for 
which purpose I shall visit the superb collections in the 
above named cities. Being all alone with a few works 
on the subject before me, I can put up at a very modest 
inn for a few days in each place, read my critics in the 
morning, visit the galleries and museums in the after- 
noon, stroll through the streets in the evening, come 
to my room and write down my impressions at night. 
This is the way to really learn or rather imbibe the 
greatest things Travel oflFers to its devotee. Solitude 
makes the heart a thousand times more susceptible 
than it can possibly be when teased by constant com- 
pany. To be alone offers more opportunities of meet- 
ing with striking, affecting, or instructing incidents than 
most travellers seem to know. It is also the shortest 
way of gaining that perfect self-reliance and consummate 
knowledge of human nature, at least on one side, which 
distinguish the travelled man. 

It is true that one does not have much to do with 
anybody but porters, coachmen, hotel clerks, and rail- 
road officials, but it is surprising how few persons ever 
thoroughly come to understand how to maintain their 
simplest rights against the shameless impudence in this 
class. The best method is to do as much as possible 
for yourself, be instrjicted in the prices before coming 
to a place, and then threaten all obstreperous characters 
with the police, who generally settle things here in favor 
of the traveller. One must have no compassion on the 
multitude of serving men, who are in everything so 
anxious to be of use. 

I/ife grows deeper, sweeter, and sadder for me year 
by year. I come gradually to an understanding of 
what surrounds me in what has been and in what is, 
but my intellect seems to master the situation with 

Letters. 83 

greater certainty and force than my heart. I know 
what and how strongly I should believe, better than 
I know what and how strongly I dare love. I must 
confess to an utter want of interest in the greater num- 
ber of things for which men think it worth while to 
live. I do not believe that greater intercourse with 
the active world would be able to create in me a taste 
for these things, for, their worthlessness once seen, it is 
impossible to revive the delusion. The question often 
occurs to me with saddening force, What should I do 
or desire to do, were I now at home, with all the 
learning and accomplishments with which, without 
vanity, I can suppose six years of study and travel 
will enrich me ? I would of course have novel opin- 
ions, perhaps worth propagation, but why should I 
care to try and persuade an unripe multitude to accept 
ideas in which they would think they saw their great- 
est misfortune ? How could I find any sufficient life 
for myself in contending with the vagaries of some 
mesmeric spiritualism adapted to the credulity of a 
stupid mass of superstitious people? While we live, 
life is what we want, more life ; when we die we want 

The American people appear to me, as the German 
nation did to Heine, as if they had swallowed the stick 
with which they were once flogged. They have pur- 
chased their liberty at the expense of their ability to 
move. I shall be laughed at for saying that the Ameri- 
can people do not move, but it is the truth. To move 
is to gain new ideas, to grow from one form of thought 
to another > but in America every vital idea was brought 
over in the *' Mayflower,'* and what we witness to-day 
is an enormous acceleration of their motion. 

It is quite possible to predict the future of such a 

84 A Young Scholar, 

people. Just imagine more of everything and you will 
have the America of 1900. Now to my mind — which 
demands a growth, not magnification, a harmony of 
discordant elements through the comprehension of 
higher principles, not a constant shifting of the same 
difficulty, — ^public life at home is sadly unsuited. 

I hear coming through the grass a party of boozy 
young Americans making night hideous with the 
chorus **0h, ho, oh, ho, 1*11 never get drunk any 
more." Judge how I can feel, in that vulgar rant and 
childish noise, an insensibility to every generous effort 
one could make for them, and the miserable, swagger* 
ing self-assertion on which learning and reason alike 
would be lost. Such men only can reform into super- 
stition. The religionist represents the complementary 
hemisphere which, with this vicious levity, makes up 
the impassive circle of American development. But I 
must close with this sheet. I will write you when on 
the road. I send you a picture taken day before yes- 
terday. My health is excellent ; do I look as if I 
could take care of myself ? 


A sequence of studies; ** The Nation ^\* American 


I shall be free next winter to begin at Berlin a com- 
prehensive study of the history of philosophy in its 
sources. I shall then be able to read Plato, Aristotle, 
Theophrast, Philo, Plotinus, Jamblicus, Aurelius, etc., 
together with the fragments of the Stoics, Epicureans, 
and Roman philosophers, and with the magnificent 
critical literature in the German language at the same 

Letters. 85 

time. I shall also take chemistry or geology, the 
French language, which I read already with tolerable 
ease, German literature, and continue my studies, al- 
though not so exclusively, in the classical languages. 
At present I am laboring at Greek and I^atin in order 
to make all this possible. Two years in classic and 
mediaeval philosophy will be a fine preparation for the 
study of modern thought since Bacon. I shall dis- 
charge one of the natural sciences a year, in which 
time I can get from them all they offer to the simple 
scholar who does not pretend to specialty. The order 
will likely be chemistry, natural history, geology, 
physics, mathematics, and astronomy. Thus I shall 
always have on hand some positive science. 

I received the Every Saturdays the other day all in 
a lump. They were all the numbers since Janu- 
ary. The editor of The Nation is wide-awake. He 
hardly knows what he wants, but he sees very well 
what he does not want. I must go now and eat my 
Sunday dinner, take a walk up the Neckar, and then I 
shall come back and finish this page. 

Ten o'clock p.m. I have just spent a very pleasant 

evening at Miss E 's, where I met besides herself 

two very entertaining and pretty young ladies. We 
talked as well as I was able on many things, principally 
the character of the modem English and American 
woman. I found it hard in the presence of so much 
intelligent and delightful womanhood to be very ardent 
in the defense of the somewhat mannish character of 
my country-women, but after some time I got them to 
see that in its noblest exponents, for instance as they 
were acquainted with it in literature in the persons of 
Jane Eyre, etc., it is after all a great sort of woman- 

86 A Young Scholar. 

You acted very hastily in showing my remarks to 

Prof. T . Had I known what you would have done 

I should have used language more becoming our relat- 
ive ages and merits. It is difl&cult for one who thinks 
for himself to be sufficiently modest, yet no one knows 
better the necessity. It strikes a quarter of eleven. 


To Berlin ; enthusiasm for art ; first semester ; cost of 
living ; mastery of learning. 

BBRUN, 22 Aug., 1869. 

The date of my last letter has almost escaped my 
mind in the confusion of the last two weeks. If I do 
not forget I informed you from Heidelberg of my in- 
tention to come directly to Berlin, omitting the trip in 
Switzerland that I had previously contemplated. Sev- 
eral reasons influenced me to this, the chief of which 
was the fear ot expenses. I should have been obliged 
to come to Berlin at any rate, and the united cost of the 
two journeys, though very reasonable, frightened me ; 
in fact it would have exceeded my purse. For another 
matter, I should have been alone unless I had chosen 
the company of some gentlemen there, of whose ability 
and disposition to spend I was too ignorant to take the 
risk. But, in order not altogether to lose the advantage 
of my time and money, I went something out of my way 
in coming to Berlin and visited Munich, Prague, and 

My intention was to stop longer in these places but 
the inevitable extra expense, upon which one never 
knows how to calculate, forced me to come on to my 
destination after two or three days* rest in each of the 

Letters. 87 

above places. My time, however, afforded me a view 
of much that was worthy of the trouble, especially in 
Munich, where the works of art are so extraordinary 
and where at the time there was an international art 
exposition. I enjoyed the most pleasant and profitable 
three days imaginable. I despair of giving you any 
idea of the art wonders of the galleries. It begat in me 
such an enthusiasm for the subject that I have already 
laid out for the winter a course of reading on art, which 
will embrace all the best critics, English, French, and 

My most burning ambition just now is to become a 
connoisseur, and nothing shall hinder me from appreci- 
ating as well the real excellences of Titian, Veronese, 
Angelo, etc., as I flatter myself I can now appreciate 
the divine soul of Dante or Calderon. You will appre- 
ciate my openness to you to whom I tell everything 
just as I think it. You must not be alarmed for my 
more formal studies which, I assure you, will not be 
oppressed, but rather relieved and made easier by this 
child of delicate blood and passionate breath, my 
enthusiasm for art. 

Now I am in Berlin, the city of Bismarck, of Fred- 
erick the Great, and of Hegel. I have already selected 
in the catalogue for the coming semester or half-year 
my cotu-se, on physics, on aesthetics, on Greek philo- 
sophy, on Demosthenes (the lectures in I^atin), on Old 
German poesy and literature of the Middle Ages. 
These are so distributed through the week as to give 
me on an average four a day, and the industrious stu- 
dent allows himself six, but I shall have in the prose- 
cution of my Latin and Greek exercises, which I 
cannot yet give up, and of French, together with my 
reading, sufficient to employ my hours. 

88 A Young Scholar. 

The term does not open until the middle of October, 
until which time I shall recreate as best I may, and 
read light books. Some acquaintance with the 
greatest writers of fiction is not only beneficial, but 
in the present state of learned society imperatively 
demanded of every scholar. Hawthorne, Thackeray, 
Irving, Auerbach, Hugo, etc., must be read. You 
will be anxious to learn how I am fixed here and what 
my expenses are likely to be. By reference to my book 
I had just one year ago to a day about a hundred 
dollars in money and was just arrived in Heidelberg. 
Now I have forty dollars, so the diflFerence, sixty 
dollars, added to the four hundred and thirty dollars 
which I have received, makes four hundred and ninety 
dollars for my year's expenses, including a considerable 
number of books that I have yet, and my travelling. 

The coming year promises to cost me a trifle more, 
not for books, clothes, or tuition, for the first and last 
of these will hardly be so much, but I must now bear all 
of the expenses of my room and fuel, and boarding is 
higher. My resolution is, if possible, to live alone, for 
although it would be hard to find a more agreeable 
room-mate than C in respect to taciturnity and in- 
offensive habits, yet I feel a thousand times more at 
ease when alone. Interruptions from visitors are to a 
certain extent unavoidable, and when there are two in 
a room the nuisance is doubled. Then two persons find 
so many ways of frittering away one another's time 
that, whether they will or no, entire hours glide by 
during a friendly little argument or an oration. The 
time which you really set apart for recreation is drawn 
out in a hundred ways, often by the presence of a friend 
who is not so anxious to work. 

Another thing, I should run a great risk in taking 

Letters. 89 

in a stranger, for we rent here by the half-year, and I 
could not get rid of him if he was ever so low and dis- 
agreeable a fellow. My room, which is very pleasant, 
will cost with service included fifty-four thalers for a 
half-year. A thaler here is worth very nearly as much 
as a dollar greenback. It is impossible for me to say 
yet for how little I shall be able to live. I am certain, 
however, that it will not be much above my expenses 
at Heidelberg. Fire, light, and washing are, as every 
where, extras. My matriculation and lecture fees will 
all have to be paid at once, and the greater part of the 
necessary books purchased at the same time, 15th of 
October. You will see that I shall stand in need of 
money soon. All the books I read I get from a 
large circulating library, which costs me 75 cents a 

Do not fear that you would have to meet a sour- 
faced and ungrateful son should circumstances compel 
you to take me home. I would return with but one 
desire in the world, to make with you and for you a 
cheerful fight against fortune. No one could well be a 
more enthusiastic lover of learning than I, but I am at 
the same time above learning and could manage to think 
many a fair and bold thing without it. You will not 
understand me as abating one jot of zeal in my work, 
but as only growing up out of and around it, as one 
really should. He is no master of learning who is 
mastered by it. A man who cannot drive cattle the 
more cheerfully for having studied Kant or Anacreon 
has not studied them rightly. I do not say more con- 
tentedly and happily than he could do something else, 
but more contentedly than a man who never had read 
the philosophers and poets. 

Not one scholar in a thousand can do this, but not 

90 A Young Scholar. 

one man in ten thousand lives either reasonably or 
contentedly, and as for 

** The wreath of air, 
That flake of rainbow flying in the highest 
Foam of men's deeds," 

you have long known the estimation in which I hold it. 
My landlady is a character. I will describe her to 
you some time when I know her better and have more 
time. Swinburne says that the ** peace of the devil 
passeth all understanding,** which I have reason to 
believe true. My love to all the family and your new 


Bohemian peasantry ; Munich; Italian masters ; Dres- 
den; Prague ; fiction reading ; an intelligent and 
beautiful woman ; studies ; North German character- 

B^Ri^iN, Aug. 30th, 1869. 

Dear Joe * : — ^The confusion of the last three weeks 
has been so great that I can no longer recollect whether 
or not I finished and mailed a letter to you which I cer- 
tainly began. It seems to me that, on leaving Heidel- 
berg, I tore it up with other papers of unfinished 
compositions and broken melodies of verse, and con- 
demned it to the stove. Nothing will be the worse, at 
all events, if I write again, and now that I have just 
made an interesting trip,t it will be easier to say some- 
thing new. 

* A fellow-student in days at the college in Jacksonville, 
t From Heidelberg to Berlin. 

Letters. 9 1 

I was almost two weeks on the way, as I spent 
several days in the principal places through which I 
passed — Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden. The 
intervening country, save the Bohemian mountains 
between Prague and Dresden, might have passed for 
any of the broken western states had it not been for 
the squalid wretchedness of the poor country people. 
Such battered, tormented, brutalized looking creatures 
I don't expect to see again. If a man's fears did n*t 
force him to believe some things against his reason, 
such undeserved inequality in our human lot might 
shake certain creeds, but we call that justice, even 
love in the highest, which in the low would be cruelty. 
I believe Tacitus makes some such remark concerning 
the interpretation of the conduct of Tiberius, but my 
memory may be false. 

At Munich, the art-centre of Germany, I spent most of 
my time in the galleries and at the international art ex- 
hibition held there at the time. This city was the resid- 
ence of Schwanthaler, Cornelius, Ranch, Klenze, and 
others who take rank with Thorwaldsen and Canova 
as restorers of taste. I/)uis I. of Bavaria, their great 
patron, the Maecenas of modem art, has adorned his 
capital as no other city of its size in the world. Only 
the inspiration of the sister muse of song could do just- 
ice to the sublimities of these works. Some of the 
faces in the Italian gallery by Titian, Veronese, Dolce, 
Tintoretto, and Raphael will never fade from the tab- 
lets of my memory while the sweetness of this outer 
world beats through to my brain. Could I only tell 
you how I spent two long days in that little Italian 
kingdom of color, till the subtle soul of the masters 
seemed to look at me through the eyes of their creat- 
ures ! It was a glorious delight to feel that one had 

92 A Young Scholar. 

mounted up through the forms of change, till one 
could catch the unity of mastership in a reeling feun 
and beatific holy Virgin, a monk, and a Venus. I 
felt the chrysalis of a great faculty breaking within 
me ; then the play of wonderful wings. I could have 
made an artist, a better one than I shall ever be at 
anything else, but time is gone. There is yet the de- 
light of appreciation left, and I am determined to be a 
connoisseur if zeal will help me to it. 

This winter I have mapped out a course of reading 
which will embrace all the best art critics, German, 
English, and French. The galleries here are very 
fine and I shall have my time to study them; while 
I shall hear a course of lectures by the great Hotho on 
aesthetics. At Dresden, where the galleries are very 
fine, perhaps as good as at Munich, I had less time, 
but I may go there during the holidays on purpose to 
study them. Prague is a city preserved as it were 
fi^om the thirteenth century. Its wonderful old streets 
and churches and strange hostelries, where the social 
old knights used to drink, are just as they were before 
America was thought of. Its old wall makes the finest 
promenade in the world, shaded by great trees and 
made merry with dancing on all the old towers or bas- 
tions, where the wall is widened. 

I attended service in two cathedrals and walked 
piously across the famous bridge on which there 
stands a statue of Bohemia's patron saint,* who 
in old times worked some astonishing miracles with 
the river Moldau to the discomfiture of Bohemia's ene- 
mies and the great glory of God. Every spring an 

* St. Nepomuc, who was thrown into the Moldau for refusing 
to disclose the confessional secrets of the Empress, upon which 
the river grew praetematnrally luminoos. 

Letters. 93 

incredible pilgrimage of the faithful is made to his 
shrine on the bridge, where an inscription almost old 
enough to be Ciceronian tells us, vas^ qui transite per 
vianiy colete numen loci I * 

Now I am comfortably quartered in Berlin for the 
fall and winter at least, most likely for the year. Till 
the 15th of October, when the University opens, I shall 
recreate myself in light literature, a branch somewhat 
behind with me. I read a novel a day and hope 
against the aforementioned time to have finished the 
best works of Thackeray, Hawthorne, George Kliot, 
Fielding, Smollett, Auerbach, Freiligrath, Andersen, 
and Gutzkow. It is absolutely necessary for me to 
know more about the best works of modem fiction, 
but that will come gradually. 

You will be sure to congratulate me on my good 
fortune when I tell you that I am engaged with a 
young lady of eighteen, of great beauty and amiability, 
mistress of four languages and a brilliant wit, not to do 
the one foolish thing in the world, but to read together, 
or rather make an exhaustive study of modem and 
English poetry since Tennyson. She is an American, 
and her family were and are very violent rebels. Their 
home is in the neighborhood of New Orleans, but her 
mother, sister, and herself prefer to live in Europe, 
where they have been, excepting a visit or two home, 
ever since the war. Notwithstanding their political 
principles both the mother and daughters were very 
friendly with Mr. C. and me ; perhaps because we were 
so fresh in the expression of our opinions. The mother 
especially loves pluck with all the extravagance of 
what she calls her chivalric Southern blood. 

* Respect, oh wanderer by this road, the divinity of this 

94 A Young Scholar. 

If I were so unfortunate as to be a lover, I might suc- 
ceed in a description of this charming little creature, 
but nothing less than the sapphire fire would color my 
words. Just to give you a rude idea, you must imagine 
a face with dark brunette complexion, and very delicate 
in all its outlines, rather intellectual than Venus-like. 
The chin and mouth are of peculiar delicacy, even for 
the other features ; the lips finely turned and elastic. 
Her eyes are not brilliant but soft and clear with an in- 
expressible and transient light of melancholy. They 
are a deep hazel. Her hair, which is very dark, is 
luxuriant but straight, while that of her blonde sister 
falls in the finest curls I ever saw. But her form is a 
study for Gautier.* Her slipper is just the length of 
my hand and I can span it without noticeable pressure 
at the instep. The hand is a miracle of flexible, deli- 
cate form and perfect color. Now such extremities are 
generally found to go with a very poorly moulded 
body and limbs, but it is just here that Gautier's pen 
is needed to convey an idea of the most perfect fulness 
woven into infinitely delicate forms. On the streets 
she arrested the gaze of every one, but especially the 
students, although always veiled. 

Now the plain truth is, that were I capable of ever 
loving any woman, I should have gone mad about this 
creature, but on the honor of a friend I assure you that 
it did not cost me a sigh to take leave of her, although 
there is scarcely a probability of my ever seeing her 
again. I feel myself after this test perfectly proof for 
life. We read Tennyson together, but as we are apart 
now, she in Heidelberg, we must carry on our studies 
by correspondence, for which we have her mother's 

^Jacques Gautier-Dagoty, a French anatomist and engraver 
of the i8th centuiy. 


Letters. 95 

consent and approval. I am nominally master in these 
lessons but I find it diflScult not to learn more than I 
teach. You may believe that I eagerly snatched at 
this connection as an escape from masculine barbarism 
and metaphysical beer, which threatened to engulf me. 
The relation is for me a very pleasant one, almost 
tender, and I confess that I look to its end which, in 
the nature of things earthly, must come soon, with 
some sadness. But they all go, these delicate little 
flowers of life, even our great loves, which fill the soul 
with awful light and storm, go too. Go where ? 

** Qui salt o^ s'en vont les roses ? 
Qui sait oil s'en va le vent ? 
Bn songeant d teUes choses, 
J'ai pleor^ souvent" 

My lectures for the winter half-year or semester will 
comprise a course on Greek philosophy, which will be 
my chief study, on physics, on aesthetics, on the Iliad, 
on the orations of Demosthenes, a Latin lecture, and 
on German I^iterature of the Middle Ages. I may 
hear some slim lectures on history beside these. My 
reading will be the art critics above mentioned, and 
modem English poetry, with the works of about a 
dozen great scientific materialists, Diderot, Holbach, 
Btichuer, Vogt, Moleschott, Feuerbach, Lange, Czolbe, 
etc. My I^atin compositions must be continued and I 
expect to read this year the body of Latin poetry up 
to the Brazen age. I read with perfect ease and can 
do it without trouble. This work is all genial and I 
am happy. From six to twelve I shall study, from 
two to six hear lectures, and from then until bed-time, 
eleven o'clock, either read or spend in German society. 
Two nights in the week for talk will be sufiicient. On 

96 A Young- Scholar. 

Sundays I shall write my letters. With five minutes 
for dumb-bells between my morning hours, two hours' 
rest at noon, and time for a long walk between six and 
supper, I shall grow strong. If I can manage to eat 
dinner with Frenchmen, as is probable, I shall improve 
my speaking knowledge of their tongue. Now I have 
written all, or very nearly all, about myself, and beg 
leave to ask of you something like the same particu- 
larity in your next. 

This place is very much like an American city on 
account of its great business relations. The people 
of North Germany are cool-headed, industrious men 
of the world with pretty much all that recommends 
and blemishes such characters. The city has a bad 
reputation for morals, but, unless one seeks corruption, 
it is not put under his nose, as it is in the streets of 
New York at night. In an evening stroll in that city 
from my hotel, I had eight separate invitations to 
**walk in, Mr. Fly.*' Such a thing has never hap- 
pened me here. My expenses here for a year will be 
about six hundred dollars. They were less than five 
hundred in Heidelberg. It is possible to live on con- 
siderably less in both places, but I had rather stay a 
shorter time, if that were necessary, than be annoyed 
by hunting expedients to shift through on less. One 
really loses time by it. 

This letter is a sad mix of irrelevant matters, and 
will never do as a model of correspondence, but I had 
only an hour and three-quarters to write it in, and you 
know I require time if I wish to compose. 

If you like, I will send you some lines written in 
meter the next time, but most of my verses are fatally 
colored with atheistical sentiments, which will make 
them disagreeable to you. In fact there is so much to 

Letters. 97 

modify in my feelings, so much to be harmonized, that 
it is the merest accident if I ever strike a mood all- 
golden enough for song. I send you a picture taken 
three weeks ago, and will confidently expect yours in 
return. Don*t delay an answer for I am very lonely 


Desire of (ucustomed labor ; character analysis; pretence 
of artificial purity ; Swinburne ; synthesis of affection 
and desire; Goldwin Smith on the philosophy of his- 
tory ; how to form right (pinions. 

Bkrun, Sept. 5, 1869. 

My situation here is a very novel one but not un- 
pleasant. I could scarcely be more alone on Crusoe's 
island than I am now in the heart of the Prussian capi- 
tal. I desire to be perfectly undisturbed till the Univer- 
sity opens, for I find that absolute quiet is more 
propitious to the process of intellectual digestion than 
I had supposed. My severe studies are conscientiously 
laid aside and I begin already to feel that most violent 
of all appetites, the desire of accustomed labor. Before 
I omitted work I was quite weary and glad to rest ; 
now I should be the most wretched man on earth 
were I condemned to idle forever. A system bent to 
toil does not straighten without pain. 

I read light literature, Thackeray, Eliot, Disraeli, 
Hawthorne, Fielding, Auerbach, Gutzkow, Freiligrath, 
etc. ; make verses ; take long walks in the immense 
zoological garden where there are no animals but 
Berliners taking the air with their dogs and daughters ; 
take long after-dinner dozes on the sofa ; and when I 
can't do any of these things I stand at the window and 

98 A Young Scholar. 

wish I were home. Your letters come like a full- freighted 
argosy to an anxious merchant. They appear elo- 
quent, profound, poetical, everything, — I will not say 
because they are your letters, but the circumstances 
certainly lend them a favorable light. 

You practise satirical chemistry on your friends. 
The analysis of character is an operation in which I 
take great interest and profess some skill. I am not a 
keen observer of men, or very accurate in my estimates 
of what certain persons will do under certain complicated 
conditions. This is the talent of a leader of men. But 
when a character is once fairly observed and its peculi- 
arities known, I think I have some insight into the 
inner adjustment of its parts. It is one thing to know 
a fast horse by certain jockey signs, and another to 
point out anatomically the causes of his speed. 

In the practical faculty I think you are by nature 
far my superior, but I doubt as much when it comes to 
the philosophical classification and explanation of pecul- 
iar characters. I find your observation that M 

represents a high form of a low type to be perfectly cor- 
rect. The rank of types is determined by the greater 
or less unification of intellect, imagination, and propen- 
sity ; the rank of form by the separate strength of 

these faculties. In M they are all strong, but 

each would singly lead him to a different result in al- 
most every case. This produces confusion in the intel- 
lect, diffuseness in the imagination and impotence in 
the passions. With his mind, which in a small way 
may be called encyclopaedic, he will never arrive at a 
clear notion. With all his imagination he has no ideal, 
and in spite of his extraordinary social nature he never 
has been nor ever will be in love, nor will he make any 
connections stronger than those of ordinary friendship. 

Letters, 99 

If his intellect could force his imagination to ideal- 
ize, his imagination would then mold the great mass 
of his kindly nature into some grand and beautiful 
affections, but in him intellect, imagination, and feel- 
ing are disconnected, — all very powerful limbs but not 
jointed. Where the whole organization is finally knit 
and in perfect harmony we have a higher type. If in 
such case the parts are small the form is low. The 
Greek character presented few low types and few high 
forms. The reverse may be said of the Teutonic mind. 
A character in which a certain unification is reached 
by the extravagant preponderance of one or two of the 
faculties must not be reckoned as belonging to a high 
type. Great men, however, are more often of this class 
than any other. They are not great characters, but in 
some direction they are powerful. In a great actor the 
intellect and sensibilities predominate ; in a great poet 
the imagination and sensibilities ; in a great philosopher 
the intellect and imagination ; in a great man they are 
all strong and closely harmonized. 

But let us drop this subject and come to Swinburne. / 
If the object of those insipid friends of yours is to 
avoid sensuality, not through the purification of things 
held sensual by shedding into the kingdom of the 
blood the needed light and wind and waters of the 
soul, but by utterly ignoring it, then I can understand, 
if not approve, their objections to meddling with such 
things even in the grand sacred way of Swinburne. 

It is plain as the sun in the heavens that these people 
neither do, nor can, nor wish to ignore and choke out 
the sensuality of their natures. They prefer to keep 
it in the dark where it only stinks, and make pretense 
to the silly world that they don't know anything about 
it. This sort of artificial purity is like the housewifely 

lOO A Young Scholar. 


cleanliness Grandmother Henry could not endure. 
The great task of the moral reformer is to overcome 
the opposition between any two parts of our nature 
by fairly developing each to its utmost capacity, when 
they will fall together. \ As an example, with too many 
the good man is he who severely subordinates his self- 
love to his love of others. Very good ! As long as a 
man's self-love finds its gratification in extravagant 
possessions, or in all too great authority, or in the lux- 
uries of life, the best thing for him to do is to subordi- 
nate this love to some other; but when the man's 
knowledge of himself and the world is so far advanced 
^ that he sees the vanity of those things which he once 
, ^ . sought for, and he begins to find pleasure in wisdom 
^ i^ c ■- and acts of sympathy and in the affections of ordinary 
\^ j\t*^' ^ ^^^^> ^^^ self-love and his humanity suddenly become 
^^ W identical, and it no longer has any meaning to say to 
v« '^ ' \ him that he must not follow the lusts of his heart. 

\\^^ So it is with appetite and love. Most men have 

J itH difl&culty in subordinating one to the other, and these 

^ remain for many good men to the end of their days in 

a hostile or uncongenial relation. This is so universal 
that I risk my reputation for sense with most people in 
saying that the most perfectly developed and powerful 
appetite would never find itself in conflict with the 
unity of the affections. They who are accustomed to 
feel what they call a passion in common with that 
of the brute will have no more conception of what I 
mean than a New Zealander would of the blessedness 
of ** mercy, which droppeth as the gentle dew from 
heaven." It is nevertheless a fact that the passion of a 
perfect man is no more like a brute's than is his in- 
. * tellect. 

Now this synthesis of affection and desire can only 

^ y 

^ . t. 

Letters. loi 

be brought about in the way Swinburne indicates. 
Passion must be heightened and purified by the ele- 
ment of sorrow so prominent in his works, and enriched 
by an infusion of the very blood of beauty, as art only 
can do it. The animal substratum in this way soon 
ceases to be animal and fuses gradually with the star- 
fire of pure divine love. The result is something 
greater, sweeter, more manifold than either, just as the 
perfect and genial humanity of a great kindly soul is* 
more than the charity of an ascetic which has cost him 
terrible struggles with himself. 

Whether Swinburne expects such a result or not I 
do not know. He may write with only the artistic 
instinct to express what he feels and despise the remon- 
strances of critics because he does not care for the 
result, but it is more probable that he is thoroughly 
aware of his philosophical justification. 

You ask me what I think of his ** Hesperia.'* That I 
and his **Hymn to Proserpina " are the finest specimens 
of versification representative of the Greek language. 
They are poems in sound and rhythm as well as sense. 
One can enjoy them without understanding them. I 
read them many times over with delight before I had I 
their sense clearly before me. —I 

While at home I read Goldwin Smith's lectures on 
the philosophy of history and at that time read them 
to approve. Much of their detail has escaped my 
memory in two years, but I remember that they turn 
upon the possibility of a science of history, which 
he denies. The reason that he advances, namely, the 
freedom of the will, would make a philosophy equally 
impossible — in fact, would make all calculations based 
on peculiarities of character or institutions worthless. 
Smith belongs to that more numerous than admirable 

I02 A Young Scholar. 

school of thinkers who hold the unknown for the 
impossible. It does not matter that every year sees 
them lose ground ; there is always the infinite region 
of the unknown into which they can retreat and again 
bid defiance to the enterprising, investigating intellect. 
He is great by reason of the multitude of lesser men 
who think as he does. Such men are always power- 
ful through the ignorance of the world, never through 
its intelligence. Comte was an egotist ; so was 
Calvin ; which had the greatest right to think well 
of himself is no matter. If M. Comte thought that 
he could invent a science of society and then arrange 
society according to it, he simply forgot that sciences 
are not first invented and nature afterwards scientific- 
ally arranged, but that we are at first to leave nature 
alone and then win from her arrangement their method. 
Every grade of impudence and ignorance, from the 
days of Moses and Minos down to the last constitu- 
tional convention, has tried its ability in fixing civil 
relations which, if let alone, would be already most 
beautifully arranged on a basis of perfect liberty and 
economy. Some political economist feels himself re- 
sponsible for the over-population of his country, 
another for the scarcity of food. It is possible that 
some political economists have much to do with these 
evils, and their conscience urges them to propose so 
many ways of relief. But we can count their willing- 
ness to serve us to their credit without taking their 

I cannot imagine what the result of my studies in 
speculative philosophy will be. To begin with I am 
a materialist and must understand all their talk about 
soul as somehow a misconception or mistaking a func- 
tion for an organ. Trendelenburg is a very great man, 

Letters. 103 

and I am to hear him on the history of philosophy, 
but I can hardly conjecture what my opinion of the 
whole thing will be when the winter is through. It 
is at all events worth while to be acquainted with the 
various doctrines, all of which cannot be right and 
none of which very probably correct. They are full 
of suggestive ideas and fragments of great truths and 
beautiful theories, from which much may be gained. 
If I were a genius I would have a magnificent dif- 
ference in my opinions of most things in the world 
to build a new system upon of philosophy, morals, 
and politics as well as art. My desire is to see the 
man who will give the world a helping hand and 
raise me on to solid ground. He will be sure to come, 
but when? — a saviour of the world, as the first one 
was of his time, who will show us how we may live 
perfectly, who will overcome death, not explain it 
away. The world, as the individual, has a great deal 
of sad reality to learn after the dream of youth, but 
it is only sad at first, after awhile it goes well enough. 
Heaven is a pretty dream to resign, so is a young love, 
or a child's vision of glory and power, but we all have 
to give them up. Those who lose most in these 
splendid passions of youth will be able to meet the 
further losses of mature life, and even existence itself 
is not so very dear to one who has ever lost what he 
loved most. Courage and a cool, clear vision will 
square us with the truth if we accustom ourselves 
early to look it fairly in the face and follow after no 

But to be able to do this we must be as pure of heart 
as fire, strenuous in exertion of all our faculties, care- 
less of the reward in gold or applause, and full of love 
for all the world. I say that such a brave, free life, 

I04 A Young Scholar. 

which is utterly without fear because pure and wise, 
is possible without the bribe of an immortality. Can 
I live such a life, is the question of the hour with me. 
Shame and remorse must never come near and then 
fear will stand off. 

I have absolutely no habits which occasion me ex- 
pense. I neither smoke, drink, dance, play, fight (as 
a student duelist), nor frequent expensive society, and 
there are few students here who do not do all these 
things. If you think yourself able to keep me here 
and can yourself come over in a year I should be the 
happiest boy on earth. Give my love to Abby and 
Billy and tell dear father that this letter is as much his 
as yours. I love very much for father to write. Two 
sorts of letters make it far more like home than yours. 


T%e blind farces of life ; a hunger of the soul ; the stu- 
denies sacrifice; Euphrone; verses on ^^ In Memo- 
riant '* / In Excelsis. 

BBRijN, Sept. i8, 1869. 

The mild autumn days wax bright and warm, work- 
ing the wonders of morn and evening on earth and sky, 
while through my soul they seem to flow with a low 
murmur of minutes, neither bringing to nor taking 
anything from its peace. Sometimes I almost think 
the quick may taste the blessed Nirvana of Buddhist 
hope, the consciousness of perfect rest, neither joy nor 
fear nor expectation, only calm. But it is not so; 
even in the embers of life there is a restless thought 
which can always brighten into a conflagration. To- 
day I do not feel my life, or in other words it does not 

Letters. 105 

seem to me that one thing more than another could 
stir my pulses, and yet my heart would be a wild sea 
of tempestuous joy in an instant could I, looking out 
of my window, behold your faces on the street. Such 
strange creatures are we that we can dream on with 
passions, unfelt and unthought of, locked in our hearts 
that have power to make us miserable or happy beyond 

What is wisdom but a knowledge of how these blind 
forces may be utilized ? And what is a life in which 
they never awaken ? Is that society healthy in which the 
student's life is an envied privilege, when we are glad to 
be allowed to pass the glorious years of youth and early 
manhood in the study of languages and laws, at the 
best, of poetry, and dream of action? Of what emotions 
is my heart not capable at twenty ? Music that shoots 
as a fire through the soul or blows as a wind, touches 
not the extremest bounds of its desire. Poetry — it once 
taught me to feel new and strange passions undreamt 
of by the child—is now only a common comforter, a 
necessary solace, a gentle but often insu£Scient substi- 
tute for the reality of which it is but a shadow. It 
eases the heart of an oppression which is not always 
one of pain, but a higher something between or above 
pain and joy, just a perfect emotion for tears. 

When this nameless hunger of the soul grows too 
dreadful, a note of poetical, interpreting music touches 
the spirit and the whole burden is swept out in a re- 
sistless flood. Then a sweet and cheerful tranquillity, 
as safe as an infant's slumbers, enters in, and oh ! the 
delight to look upon the sun, the woods and waters of 
the earth. That this sensibility is not morbid, I am 
convinced by the calm still under it, — the feeling of the 
indomitable strength and courage of a healthy nature. 

io6 A Young Scholar. 

The student's sacrifice is a sacrifice of youth and 
hence these inward conflicts. A few years will see 
them blown over when in maturity and old age I can 
find play for all the impulses within. Courage ! I say 
to myself, and turn my eyes from dreams that are 
dangerous to my labor which is safe. There is a sort 
of grand desperation in such work that makes every- 
thing seem possible. I^t a man conquer his youth 
and fear will be to him an idle name. If in no other, 
at least in this way we may gain 

" That lofty mind 
By philosophic discipline prepared 
For calm subjection to acknowledged law, 
Pleased to have been, contented not to be." 

Time which changes all things will take the pain 
from these days and leave me only the beautiful and 
softened recollection, the shine and sound of a storm 
long passed. 

What few verses I write are forged in the very fire of 
my soul. They are not great, for they lack that supreme 
breadth and height which poetrj?^ must owe to a great 
as well as to an intense nature. Take those I send you 
as some of the best that I have lately composed. That 
with the Greek title, which is the euphemistic appella- 
tion for night, used on solemn occasions by the devout 
when they feared to violate her dread sanctity, and 
which signifies the Gracious One, is a recollection of a 
night at sea. You will understand the double allusion 
in the first strophe to the fabled harp of Amphion, to 
the music of which the walls of Thebes arose, and the 
geological genesis of strata in which the sea waves have 
been the first great agent. 

Letters. 107 

If you can, think yourself into the scene and try to 
feel that spirit of infinite rest and sameness of night and 
the sea, with the contrast of the endless variety of the 
earth and the day partially suppressed. The emotion 
is indescribable and in my verses I could only hope to 
awaken it for one who had already felt it. 


In the kingdom of the night and still desire, 

Sweet with starlight and cool sea air breathing low 

That same chant upon the waters' silver lyre 

Under which the builded world rose long ago, 

We forget the kingdomed day of songs and flowers, 

We forget the changing colors of the year. 

While the peace of night is shed through tranquil hours 

In our heart of hearts, that knows not change nor fear. 

Two of the other pieces are recollections still older, 
mere gleams of a light which was always too grand and 
pure for me fully to comprehend. That on finishing 
Tennyson's ** In Memoriam '' cannot well be intelligible 
to one who has not read that grand monody of his on 
the death of a friend. It was written in the castle gar- 
den at Heidelberg just before leaving. You may criti- 
cise the sentiments, language, thoughts, everything 
with the greatest liberty ; for what does it matter ? We 
cannot all feel the same thing in the same way. 

Mine eyes are vacant on this scene ; 
My heart is sounding with thy great love, 
Above whose face the low winds move 

Of grief and song. I list between. 

O poet heart, giv'st thou God praise 

That thou bast loved another so? 

Or only find'st thou poesied woe, 
A sound to charm our idle days ? 

io8 A Young Scholar. 

Or is 't indeed thy song's intent 
That soddened paths may still be sweety 
Which grief and hope with sister feet 

Ascend toward some '' far off event? " 

How seldom we reach that imperial mood of real 
poesy, which I have tried to compare to the natural 
heavens with their clouds and winds in the following 
verses that I take from a little poem of mine on man 
and nature, a parallel. 


O nightly frame of soundless skies, 
Whose waste of violet, clear and deep. 
Above the stars in golden sleep 

And everlasting beauty lies ! 

How many men with hearts at ease, 

Who take no second look at fate, 

Who follow only love and hate, 
Hear gods above thy silent seas ? 

Or think they hear? since gods must be, 
Else fate cannot be reasoned with, 
It matters not before what myth 

They bend the idle, suppliant knee. 


Calls on professors ; Physical strength ; credulity and 
common' sense ; translation of Lenau's ^^ Primula 

BKRUN, Oct. 24, 1869. 

You are expecting in this letter to hear that I am at 
last under way ; but the school opened on the 15th only 
for the admission of students. The lectures begin to- 
morrow. Yesterday I made the tour of my professors, as 
is customary, calling upon each in his house. There are 

Letters. 109 

nine on my ticket and I was an exhausted mortal when 
I reached my room. It would rejoice your eyes to see 
such genuine gentlemen ; so much simplicity, kindness, 
and dignity. The greatest living Greek historian, or 
rather the greatest of all that ever lived, Curtius, and 
the rival of Rosencrantz in speculative philosophy, 
Trendelenburg, and Lepsius, the reviver and inter- 
preter of Egyptian learning who first read the puzzling 
hieroglyphics of the Pharaohs, do not embarrass a 
young man. 

You complain of my appearance in the photograph 
with justice, for it is an extremely bad likeness, ac- 
cording to the judgment of all my friends. You are 
mistaken, however, in seeing thinness and care on the 
face, at least more than usual, for I never weighed 
so much as now, nor was I ever physically in better 
trim. The other day at a fair where a crowd of men 
were striking on a Turk's head, a machine for measur- 
ing the force of blows with the fist, after the biggest 
man had beat everybody ten pounds I beat him twenty- 
three. He was almost double my weight. The whole 
crowd must come up and feel my arm. I shall always 
feel safe among those fellows. 

C ought to have more discrimination than to 

credit the absurd story of the decline of the University 
at Heidelberg on account of rationalism. Why in the 
country of rationalists should that hurt the school? 
Or does he think that it is part of a rationalist's creed 
not to study ? The learned Campbellite church has not 
quite monopolized science. At Heidelberg there are 
between 500 and 600 students ; here there will be this 
year over 3000. Some men are famous for neglecting 
their common-sense and believing everything they hear, 
at least on one side. E thought he had read some- 

no A Young Scholar. 

where that the city of Mexico in the days of the 
Montezumas had 8,000,000 inhabitants. Rome when 
mistress of three continents, at the very wildest compu- 
tation, never had over 5,000,000. Pekin, the capital of 
one-third of the human race, has not that many. The 
emporium of modem commerce, London, cannot support 
but between three and four millions, and yet a small 
country like Mexico, and but one-quarter civilized, was 
to find resources to supply a capital almost twice as 
large as Rome. When we come to look at the books, 
Mexico, according to the conqueror's own account, 
was as large as Seville or Cordova in Spain, perhaps 
with 300,000. It is n't wonderful that such people 
believe in miracles. The world has more heroism, 
more charity, more imagination, more truth, more of 
every good quality than it has of common-sense. 

I enclose a translation I made a few days ago from 
Lenau's famous piece set to music by Mendelssohn, 
Primula Verts ^ or in English, the ** Firstling of Spring." 
I love the verses very much for a tender melancholy 
which, in most of the other poems of I^enau, degen- 
erates into pitiful misery. The poor fellow died in- 
sane. In this poem he compares the trusting aflFection 
of his own heart, which was blasted, to the earliest 
flower of Spring, that leaps into the sunlight on the 
first sweet troubling of the earth, but only to be killed 
by later frost. 



Beautiful flower, 

Art thou again so 
Early returned ? 

Welcome, I greet thee, 

Primula Veris. 

Letters. 1 1 1 

Lighter than all that 

Bloom in the meadow, 
Sweet hast thou slumbered, 

Beautifol flower, 

Primula Veris. 

Heard by thee only, 

Called the first whisper 
Soft, of awakening ; 

Beautiful springtime, 

Primula Veris. 

Ah ! in my heart too 

Blossomed but lately. 
Fairer than all the 

Flowers that I/>ve bears, 

Primula Veris. 


Beautiful flower. 
Primula Veris, 
Fair one, I call thee 
Faith's flower symbol. 

Trustful, hast'neth 
Forward to meet thee 
Heaven's first greeting, 
Giv'st him thy bosom. 

Springtime is here now. 
Even if frosts and 
Darkening clouds should 
Cover him over. 

Flower, thou b'lievest 
The long wished for 
Heavenly Spring at 
I^ast is returned. 

112 A Young Scholar. 

Giv'st him thy bosom ; 
Bat the keen frosts, that 
Watched thee from ambush. 
Press in thy bright heart 

Ah, it may wither ; 
Never was lost yet 
Soul of a flower 
Trustful as thou art. 


Genuine ignorance superior to school ignorance; little 
devotion to truth; Hubner^s lectures; HaupVswit; 
cheapness in Germany traditionaL 

B^RUN, 7th Nov., 1869. 

It is full time to protest against more notes and let- 
ters six inches long. What could be a more painful 
disappointment than to open a letter from home, which 
I always do with barbaric gestures and exclamations 
of delight, and then to find a beggarly account of com- 
monplaces which I rush over in thirty seconds ? You 
can write a letter brimful of wit and sentiment and most 
curiously suggestive ideas. Is n*t father afraid that I 
shall remember him only as my faithful commissary ? 

B *s letter is a literary curiosity. An ignorant 

man cannot do his common-sense justice on paper. 
When he takes up a pen he feels foolish and like a 
child. The poor fellow has an ambition to become 
a professional man and asked my advice. It would 
be a cruel wrong to encourage him in such an idea and 
distract him from his trade. It is foolish even to en- 
courage him to make an effort for common culture. 
Too many preparatory difficulties lie in his way, all 

Letters. 113 

of which would have to be mastered before ^he could 
gain any benefit from his labor. Genuine and cheap 
ignorance is a thousand times preferable to that expen- 
sive sort acquired at our schools. In my letter to him 
I have to be guarded in the expression of the disagree- 
able truth. 

What a strange faculty father has of drawing after 
him in his peregrinations about the world smaller na- 
tures ! If he had lived in ancient times he would 
have been a great chief and wandered over the country 
with a pack of as devoted savages behind him as ever 
followed Gengiskhan. It is his political nature, a 
certain natural bent to public life. I have n't a bit 
of it. 

Unless M means to open a private cemetery for 

his defunct opinions I cannot conceive what he intends 
doing with four acres of ground near the Deaf and 
Dumb Asylum. Has he grown disgusted at the miser- 
able order preserved in the Lord's family, as he was 
fond of calling the race ? It is certainly a very ineffi- 
ciently managed household, M felt this himself, 

and had determined to devote his life to reforming the 
dreadful muddle into which the I^ord, very likely on 
account of the extent of the concern, had let everything 
fall. Some of us do not look like full brothers, while 
we white children suppose, from the peculiar favor 
shown us, that we are the legitimate men of this world 
and entitled to kick out the black and yellow bastards. 
It is a pity that- such silly and illogical ideas, just 
because they seem to offer a shibboleth of reform, should 
master a man's understanding. How precious little 
devotion there is in the world to truth because of the 
truth, and not for the crumbs ! 

I take my notes on lectures at the University in Ger- 


114 A Young Scholar. 

W   I III ■!■ I 1    - - ^ -- - -- -, , 

man. Ifris the best imaginable exercise in thelanguage. 
Here the lecture-rooms are crowded, many often having 
to stand. I secured a seat in every one by being prompt 
in announcing myself to the professors. There is one 
of the nicest professors here. He looks for the world 
like father, only not quite so stem and military, who 
lectures on I^atin grammar. His name is Hiibner. 
It does me good to see and hear him in his chair. He 
will talk to the students about the etymological value of 
an Etruscan inscription as if he were telling a youngster 
a Mother Hubbard's tale. One old fellow, Haupt, who 
lectures on the Iliad^ is the very contrary of Hiibner. 
Almost half his time is consumed in making fun of 
and blackguarding certain Homeric commentators. 
He will get red in the face when he thinks of Payne 
Knight's theory of the Digamma. His wit is as keen 
as his temper is sour, and his enmity towards theolo- 
gians is to me a constant source of amusement. But 
the old man suffers a great deal from ill health, which 
I think is the cause of all his bad humor. 

I am glad to hear of Billy's industry and pushing 
habits. There is more than one way of being a man, 
and the great West needs actors more than thinkers. 
Americans here who attend the theatres and eat in the 
second-class restaurants tell me that they cannot make 
out for less than a thousand dollars a year. Living is 
as high here, I believe, as in New York. The cheap 
days of Germany are pretty much a tradition. Travel- 
ling in England, according to accounts, costs about 
twice as much as it does in the United States. You 
must pay every man you see. 

Can't you begin again by answering my letters when 
you receive them ? They will come regularly two weeks 
apart. Good-by. 

Letters. 115 


Death still terrible ; life real ; the divine emotion ; better 

educated if less learned, 

BERWN, Nov. 24th, 1869. 

Death has been in the midst of our friends and sad- 
dened our own hearth, but has spared us. How infi- 
nitely nearer to us is that little circle of names, father, 
mother, brother, and sister, than all the great world 
beside ! We can hardly weep for others while the soul 
shudders with helpless fear before the thought of losing 
one of those golden links. 

I cannot contemplate my own death with fear, think 
as I will, but Death has still his terrors for me and 
no philosophy is consolation. Religion is a vanity 
before this great reality, the indestructible pathos of 
life. Grief is not for the dead but for ourselves. 

** The end and the beginning are one thing to them 
who are past the end.'* 

** There lies not any troublous thing before, 
Nor sight nor sound to war against them more, 
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun. 
All waters as the shore." 

The expectation of a future life looks to me so far- 
fetched, so unreal, so out of joint with everything I 
feel, that, were it not utterly improbable, I should find 
little or no comfort in it. I^ife, far from being a vanity 
because limited, is only so much more real, and every 
pulse of pain or pleasure gathers from the thought a 
lyric intensity. An ineffable sweetness and grandeur 
broods over our days. Hearts cling closer for love, for 
love is life in the highest. 

ii6 A Young Scholar. 

At times in the presence of Nature's most solemn 
aspects, as amidst dry leaves of a Fall forest when the 
strange savor of dying things is in the air, and the 
white sky stretches out cloudless and limitless as it 
seems forever, I have felt in my inmost soul the 
broken wail and rush of a great music. Oh, earth ! 
Oh, life ! And these were all the words I could utter. 
Above joy and pain there is a perfect emotion bom 
of both ; we may call it divine. In it life and death are 
harmonious. If my nature were mightier and did not 
shudder and lose all thought under these floods of feel- 
ing, then I too might be a poet. As it is, I envy those 
wonderful, crowned heads, not their laurel and their 
light, but the power with them to feel these things and 
not to weep but sing. 

Mother's criticism of my letter to Grandfather was 
not unexpected or unjust, but she forgets the character 
to whom I write and the artificial occasion of writing, 
when she asks me to strike a deeper and more musical 
chord. The highest sentiment of which an old man 
like Grandfather is generally capable, is a feeling for 
moral earnestness. With him it is peculiarly true and 
everything else appears frivolity. Then I am fettered 
in my use of words and images to suit his taste which, 
although not really prosaic, yet finds its genuine 
nourishment in the contemplation of the nude truth, 
grandly limbed and thewed like a god, but which, like 
the art of Greece, admits no ornament. 

I am working for an education not a profession. I 
shall strictly avoid spending time on anything which 
is not culture, and by that means I hope to be better 
educated, if less learned, than some whose names are 
high among scholars. This age of specialties makes 
such a course exceedingly laborious, and I find that in 

Letters. 117 

many respects these great German schools are ill-suited 
to my purposes. They are the best, it is true, of any, 
but still I must listen to many things that can only 
have an interest for the professional philologist, scien- 
tific man, metaphysician, historian, artist, etc. I am 
obliged to read a great deal for the information I de- 
sire. My course of study is indulged in here by the 
very wealthy and the aristocracy. 

My health is excellent and spirits cheerful with work. 
We have had the wettest Fall I have ever seen. I 
thank Billy for his little note and wish it were longer. 
Kiss Abby for me if the rogue is at home. 


Pre-Socratic speculation in Greece ; verse^ on^s inmost 
life ; genesis of Hebraic ideas of immortalify ; nothing 
in the world worthy of hate, 

Berun, 6th Dec, 1869. 

When in my last letter I spoke of having a longer 
communication on hand, or rather under consideration, 
I meant to send you a review of pre-Socratic specula- 
tion in Greece. This chapter opens the narrative of 
thought and is, for such as take an interest in the 
genesis of ideas, of incomparable importance. It is 
but the vestibule to the temple of Greek speculation, 
a structure of the chastest and severest beauty, but now, 
alas ! a ruin. Time has spared many a more worthless 
edifice than the systems of Herakleitos and Parmenides. 
On this period I have heard Trendelenburg, Bonitz, and 
Gruppe ; read all the fragments of the old philosophers 
themselves which are extant in Greek, and about 3000 
pages of I^atin commentary. But this introduction is 
superfluous, as nothing of the kind is to follow. The 

ii8 A Young Scholar. 

subject may lie over till I am needing matter for a 

This time I have ransacked my journal and all the 
loose leaves on my desk for verses to send you as a 
Christmas gift. I always felt a little delicacy, or rather 
sensitiveness, about turning such things to public gaze, 
for they are copies more or less exact of one's most in- 
most life. But I lose my scruples as I grow older. I 
am ashamed now that I have so often and fatally 
checked my nature when it should have had the sun- 
light of sympathy. 

The unhealthy tone of some of these verses by no 
means escapes me, but many of them were written in 
a transition period, one of depression and pain. One 
can see in them what the German student would call 
the claws oi katzenjammer, that is, the headache, etc., 
after a drunk. I had believed too much ; the world 
still believes too much, and an awakening to the reality 
of things was dreadful. With time one comes to look 
with fresher, clearer eyes at life, with sympathies deep- 
ened and again in tune. 

In your letter before the last you asked me if Plato 
got his ideas of immortality from the Hebrews. The 
reverse is by far the more probable, for the Bible Old 
Testament does not teach the immortality of man, 
while in Homer, who lived nine hundred years before 
Christ, we read of Elysian fields and the assemblies of 
the dead. Plato, five hundred years after Homer, and 
after many philosophers who had taught immortal- 
ity, endeavored to prove the undying nature of the 
spirit by arguments which embrace everything of value 
that had been adduced on the point. The Jews and 
Christians, when, long after this, they came to believe 
in it, did so without proof, as they did all things ; — mira- 

Letters. 119 

cles, revdations, dreams, prophecies, etc. The man is 
an ass who says that Plato borrowed from the Hebrews ; 
such an assertion is parallel to that which would have 
us owe our sense of right and wrong to Moses and his 
ten laws. 

My society here is slim, but perhaps I have as much 
of its kind as is wholesome. Sometimes I have a dis- 
pute with a countryman who insists on being either 
redeemed or elect, or who favors a tariflf, or with a 
German who prefers Horace to Catullus. For the 
most part my opinions grow rusty for want of wear. 

I expend some of my superabundance of logic in my 
letters home. I must n't forget to tell you that the use 
of the word ** kingdom'' and *'kingdomed" in my 
verses ** Euphrone " is original and, as I think, of great 
beauty. **The kingdom of the night" means the 
whole realm of night abstracted and thought of for 
itself, independent of all other times, as a kingdom is 
something in politics or nature independent and per- 
fect in itself. 

Your advice to study history is rather superfluous. 
All I want is time, time and money, and I '11 study his- 
tory. It is wrong of you to hate so heartily as you do. 
There is nothing worthy of hate in the world. The 
sage knows only two passions, love and pity. But I 
am persuaded your hate is a mild form and rather in- 
dignation. I would be a sage if I could, and expect to 
be one at your age, but for the present I cannot well 
help thinking " damn " at some people. 

Father's health concerns me very much and it is no 
encouragement to hear that he is every now and then 
shaking with the ague. I wish I knew what you could 
do. What do you say to my lessons on the flute ? I 
believe I could learn to play. 

I20 A Young Scholar. 


A temple of Venus ; women in universities ; Goethe's 
lyrics ; lofty purpose, 

Berijn, 24th Dec, 1869. 

This letter has been due some time, but I was occu- 
pied with some reading which I wished to finish before 
the University Library was closed for the holidays. I 
am now free for two weeks. The recreation is scarcely 
necessary and I shall only idle three or four days of it. 

The city is full of preparation for the celebration of 
the holidays.- On every comer are stands of toys or 
small groves of pine saplings for Christmas trees. Ger- 
many is going to please her babies. The demonstrative 
fondness of this people for their children is a spectacle 
for a stranger. The men seem to be rather the worse. 
They do not think half so much of their wives as of 
their little ones. 

Last night I went for the first (and last) time to the 
famous Orpheum. It is one of the sights of the place 
and down in the guide-books, as the tourists say. A 
modern temple of Venus, more splendid than the 
cathedral, with music and lights and inmates some- 
thing like those of Mahomet's heaven. The place 
is the first dance-house in the city, and a rendezvous 
for all the ilite of the demi-mxynde. Shamelessness is 
carried to the perfection of an art. If you are very 
delicate you can pay a thaler and sit up in the gallery 
loges where you will not come in contact with any of 
these wretched girls. If you have less money and 
more stomach you can stand it out below for ten 
groschen. I did the latter. I can*t describe what I 
saw, but the effect would certainly have been a salutary 

Letters. 121 

one if I had needed disgust. The ladies were dressed 
in robes of satin and gauze with trails and without 
trails, and in performing the dance, which they did 
alone, nothing was left undone that the vilest brute 
alive could have desired to see. Some of the girls 
had interesting faces, only at a distance however, for, 
when close by, their eyes were robbed of the celestial 
fire of innocence, and expressed only a sensual leer. 
If a man wants to make his life vanity, take all the 
passion out of it, throw mud in the spring of all poesy 
and love, he can do it right there. To talk about such 
things as a temptation is to confess to a vile heart. I 
never knew before how far I was above such influences. 

The richest thing was that I found my pious friend 
from Carlisle there and in tow of one of the nymphs. 
He had been there before and advised me to go once 
if I wanted to see the effect of German speculation. 
He had been there, he said, out of curiosity and had 
been sickened. Why a man should go the second 
time out of curiosity and to get sickened again I could 
not see. It was amusing to observe the sudden efforts 
he made to shake off his companion when he caught 

sight of R and me. The lady could not comprehend 

what had so suddenly changed his humor. We pre- 
pared to go home and went together immediately. 
On the way I asked him if he thought he could get 
a clear idea of Fichte's Ichlekre or doctrine of the 
absolute ego at the Orpheum. He will not be likely 
to say anything more about dance-houses in connec- 
tion with German speculation. 

The weather is wretched in the extreme but not 
severe. The climate of Berlin would be improved by 
any sort of change you could make. 

When you write to C send her my regards and 

122 A Young Scholar. 

tell her if she could comprehend for once the real 
relation between the sexes in Germany, she would 
not hope to see her reform in the universities during 
the present generation, — I think not for several. In 
the medical schools it may go after some time, but 
people do not feel here as they do at home about the 
propriety of such a thing. For my part I must yet 
see a demand among women for the thorough learning 
of the universities. For the life of me I cannot help 
but think that women on an average are intellectually 
immeasurably below the male standard. The men 
slaves of Greece and Rome, who certainly did not 
have one-tenth the motive and opportunity to study 
that the women of our modern times possess, were 
often very profound scholars for their age. Many 
persons agree with me in thinking that history makes 
out a plain case against the intellectual equality of 
the sexes, while I think that a certain depth and 
purity of feeling compensate for the inferiority. Be 
that as it may, no amount of fine feeling will help a 
person through an obscure fragment of Parmenides. 
But I sympathize thoroughly with the aimers of these 
eflforts, so far as they aim at an independent intel- 
lectual culture for women. We may think what we 
choose of people's capacity, but we have no right to 
limit their opportunities. To my mind intellect and 
culture make a goddess of a woman, who with only 
the other advantages of person and character must be 
insipid and vulgar. 

I will pay anybody for telling me what need we have 
of Goethe's lyrics. With a half-dozen exceptions they 
had better either not have been written or else done in 
prose, for poetry they have none, as his genius, although 
a master of dramatic pathos, and having clearness of 

Letters. 123 

vision in everything concerning human character, is 
still highly unpoetic. So I dare maintain. Goethe 
seems to me to have had everything but that "faculty 
and vision*' which Wordsworth had and allows the 
poet. What I say is literary heresy, I know, but we 
must all think as we cannot help thinking. I owe a 
great deal to Goethe in the way of general insight into 
things and breadth of view, but I never could see that 
he made me master of a profounder sensibility towards 
any object of human love, nor can I recall any passage 
in his works which seems splendid with new light, — a 
thought such as there is no end to in Shakespeare. 

I do a great deal of work but it gets sour enough 
sometimes, and I think it would then puzzle me to give 
a reason for my existence and the hope that is for the 
moment not in me. But I must work now to live ; it 
is a second nature. Generally I feel full of purpose, 
and lofty theories of life beckon me on to some high 
achievement. I would fain live like a god and feel 
nothing but pure pathos ; then I see it is dinner time 
and am hungry. I lose inclination to quarrel with my 
fellow-men about their ideas, and I have my doubts as 
to the possibility of ever living up to my own. This 
was the birthnight of man's greatest friend, Jesus of 
Nazareth. This means more to me than to him who 
calls him God. 

Good-night and a Happy New Year ! 


Influences in childhood ; a student' s freedom ; concerning 
marriage; domestic sorrows, 

BERifiN, Jan. 8, 1870. 

Dkar Aunt LEiyriK : — You were certainly kind not 
to upbraid me in your letter for negligence. I expected 

124 A Young Scholar. 

nothing less than a regular lecture. Indeed, I felt that 
it was deserved. For once an abundance of matter 
stood in the way, I could not think what to write un- 
less I began (and what's begun, must be ended) a set 
narrative long enough to get a copyright on. Between 
mother and me we spin all manner of speculative 
cobwebs ; poetry, criticism, nonsense, will fill a sheet 
when nothing else will. She is even more sublimated 
than myself, and sometimes I think could almost take 
hold of an abstraction with her teeth. She is a strange 
soul to come out of Island Creek. For my part I 
am unable to breathe without interruption so rarefied 
an atmosphere. Perhaps this is the reason why I have 
always felt so lively an inclination for dear Uncle Henry 
and yourself, who both live so genially in a genial 
world. No child of sensibility could grow up to insig- 
nificance under mother's influence : if there is an ele- 
ment of strength in one it must come out. 

But this is not matter for a letter. You would like to 
know all about my surroundings, the sort of people I 
live among, the sights I see, etc. If so, I can only 
refer you to some reliable history of the German people, 
and then an account of their universities. The story 
is a long one. I have a room in the city, eat at a rest- 
aurant, attend lectures in the academic building, read 
during the afternoon in the Royal Library (which con- 
tains 600,000 volumes), and study at night in my own 
quarters. My life is magnificent, simply because I 
have to make no appearance, can go and stand and 
stay when and where I please. 

My kingdom is the library. The grand erudition of 
these laborious scholars has created for the earnest stud- 
ent a second world, one over and above that where we 
live! One learns to laugh at and pity the muddled 

Letters. 125 

notions of the mass of men from these dear intellectual 
heights. Thought ceases to be only a means to some 
lower end and becomes an object for itself. We live 
to think. It is true, that here, where men's lives are 
devoted to the most laborious and profoundest study, 
those things which you hold sacred are called dreams. 
But who 's to judge ? and whose opinion would carry 
before the unprejudiced the most weight, — a German 
professor's, or an orthodox preacher's? 

But beyond this grand battle-ground of science and 
superstition, of positive knowledge and mere faith, is 
the eternal realm of song, the poetry of all times and 
tongues, where a world of beautiful and tragic forms, 
of pathetic and songful figures, is opened to the heart 
and imagination. I care not if I have but one change 
of shirts and the food necessary to life, so I may only 
learn, and every day think clearer and feel more pro- 
foundly the infinite beauty of life and the loveliness of 
things. I can appreciate the comforts of existence as 
well as others, but the comforts alone, what are they ? 
Roast meats and preserved fruits. 

A question of yours (you will remember it) is both 
delicate and difficult in the extreme. Difficult because 
it will not admit of a categorical ^^^ or no, and delicate 
because the real reason is likely to be misunderstood. 
The fact is, that it is very unlikely that I shall ever 

I know that a life without love is like a flower with- 
out its color, and feel this as painfully as another can, 
but such a life may at least be genuine and high. Then 
my idea of what a woman must be whom I could love 
is, I suppose, absurd and impracticable in the extreme. 
I can see plenty of quiet and kindly creatures whose 
lives are pure and persons pleasing, even some who are 

126 A Young Scholar. 

interesting, sweet creatures, but somehow I can*t help 
dreaming of a great soul of passion and intellect that 
seeks for the profoundest truth, — a woman whose 
nature is intenser, grander, clearer than that of the girl 
of the period, whose life is an insipid observance of 
conventionalities forever. A scholar's life can never 
be so objectless as that of an old bachelor generally is, 
so you need not fear my petrifaction. 

Our family has suffered an irreparable loss in the 
death of dear Aunt Ellen. How sweet a nature shone 
through her very eyes ! This hard world had grown 
too rough and confused for her; so I thought long 
before her death. If I could say a word of comfort for 
poor Cousin Mary and John, how gladly would I do it ! 
But I know that a grief like theirs must be simply 

Let us withdraw a weary heart and saddened 

From Timers thronged highway and from Life's derision, 

Where we have striven, but were never gladdened, 
And seek repose within the core of vision. 

I shudder to think of the possibilities of sorrow that 
hang over my head. Could reason, could life itself, 
sustain them ? Who is it that cares more for himself 
than others ? It must be a monster who does not love 
some one better than life. I was glad your letter was 
so full of family news. Mother does not write me much 
about such things. Greet all the friends for me and 
give my love to Grandmother and Aunt Mary in par- 
ticular. I want you to write often and longer letters 
than your last. Your affectionate nephew* 

Letters. 127 

A scheme of culture ; scholarship and spedalizaHon ; a 
lover self -sufficient ; ^^ potter abend ^^ ; Methodist stu- 
dents in Berlin, 

BERlriN, Jan. 19, 1870. 

Some avenging fatality has punished me certainly 
for letting you wait some weeks ago full seven days 
longer for a reply than was fair ; I have not heard from 
home for four weeks. It must be that one letter has 
fallen through the mail, or you would scarcely make so 
extraordinary an exception to your usual time. Per- 
haps my verses have determined you either to drop 
such a poetaster altogether or to send for me with the 
design of submitting my case to the physician. 

I intended in this letter to tell you about my studies, 
what can be told, and ask your advice on some points. 
You know I had no other object in coming to Europe 
than culture in its widest sense, and the time which I 
had set to do the work in is amply sufficient to give me 
one of the finest educations in the world ; that is, such 
an education as you might imagine an intellectual Eng- 
lish lord would covet, who desired it for social purposes ; 
a real familiarity with the two classic languages and 
a genial knowledge of the entire literature contained in 
them ; an almost equal acquaintance with the German, 
French, Italian, Spanish, and English literatures ; and 
a knowledge of the German and French of the Middle 
Ages — the languages of the Troubadours and Minne- 
singers ; add to these the Persian or Arabic, or both, 
and modern Greek as a simple philological side of an 
education ; the speculation of all ages, as I shall have 
it here, from Thales to Herbart, and this by an actual 

128 A Young Scholar. 

study of the philosophers in the original languages, to- 
gether with the splendid commentaries of German schol- 
ars ; a parallel study of political and social history and 
science as the practical side ; and, to round all, a course 
in natural science and mathematics with such a study 
of art as my enthusiastic nature will make easy. 

You must not get pale at the mention of all these 
things, for it has been done and can be done again. A 
scholar's work grows easier in a geometrical ratio as he 
advances. It is not always the drudgery of page by 
page which it is at first. For instance, I shall be able 
to read, as vacation work, the corpus, or entire body, of 
Latin classic poets ; Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Catullus, 
Propertius, Tibullus, Juvenal, Persius, and I have al- 
ready read most of them, but I shall re-read all. Once 
I could not do so much, but the question is this ; be- 
tween such an education and what is called in any one 
branch profound scholarship, there is a great difference. 
In America, however, there is, I dare say, scarcely one 
professor of the classics who would have a better ac- 
quaintance with his specialty than I should have, but 
that says nothing. Here a Greek scholar for excellence, 
or a philosopher by profession, or any sort of specialist, 
goes into the dry details of his branch which have no 
earthly value as culture. He will know about the 
Greek what Shakespeare did not of English. Such in- 
vestigations are necessary to widen our general know- 
ledge and the results of such a life may throw a ray of 
light on some point which the general scholar can 
utilize in ten minutes ; but the extra light is a perma- 
nent addition to learning. Many men have spent their 
lives in such minute labor and been able to do nothing. 
Others have only confused the state of the subject. A 
few gradually clear it up. 

Letters. 129 

Now I feel tempted, at the expense of some con- 
siderable part of the above splendid catalogue of mat- 
ter, to give extra attention to the Greek language and 
speculative philosophy ; not exactly with the hope of 
making a name among the philologists or school 
philosophers, but perhaps of being better able to en- 
courage in America a genial study of these much 
neglected subjects. I expect to be able to do that any- 
how, but a more special preparation than I should care 
to make for my own culture might be of importance. 
Then if I should desire to teach (and who can tell what 
may be necessary ?) it would always be a recommenda- 
tion to be a trained specialist. The fact is, if I were a 
born genius I should pursue my original plan and 
seek only such information as would be valuable to my 
mind in speculative thought or art creation, but I am 
becoming seriously persuaded that it would only 
cripple my usefulness to follow such a course. It would 
certainly better accord with my tastes, and if I had a 
fortune I do not know but I should let the useful take 
care of itself and study only for my own accomplish- 
ment. What do you advise? I feel that, if I were 
willing to sacrifice all my dreams, I might be sure of a 
position among scholars which would be honorable 
even to my Alma Mater, Berlin, but it looks cold and 
repulsive beside the ideal fields of light where I may 
roam instead of plow, 

E writes me that he is flourishing on Austrian 

air. He sends his regards to you and the family ; says 

that poor M is madly in love and condoles with me 

on his case after his own fashion. Miss I^ O 

is the lady of M 's heart. She is confined to her 

bed with consumption and he watches by her the 
greater part of his time. He wants to marry her that 

130 A Young Scholar. 

he may have a right to uurse her, but she refuses him 
because he has left the creed of his fathers. It is very 
sad and not a Uttle astonishing that he has turned out, 
after his long life of social dissipation, capable of such 
an affection. A soul in love is sacred and terrible. It 
is hard to prevent a life uninformed by any great plastic 
passion from sinking under its own insignificance. 
Every man must have a reason for respecting himself. 
It is all one whether he seeks it in the artificial light of 
social place, or the borrowed light of wealth or learn- 
ing. The lover only, like a divinity, is self-sufiicient. 
There is one thing the human heart sets far above 
pomp of place or pride of right, years of rest or end- 
less heaven sleep with visions bright. 

But all the world does not feel alike. For instance, 
last night we had polterabend, or my landlady held a 
sort of wake over her dying maidenhood on the eve of 
her third marriage ! To-morrow the proper ceremonies 
transpire. Last night was a sort of festivity which 
precedes the marriage three days, called polterabend. 
The woman insisted on my coming in to see the young 
ladies and honor her nuptials, which I did to the best 
of my ability, if acting the fool with a jolly company 
of Germans and drinking beer can be so called. The 
bridegroom called me ** Baron'' or rather ** Hen- 
Baron'* all the evening. He either thought to flatter 
me or else mistook my real name, ** Byron," for the 
title of nobility often worn in Germany by persons less 
pretentious than myself. The poor nobility cling to 
their titles as to their lives. The girls told me I looked 
like a geistlicher, or divine, and insisted on turning me 
into an artist by parting my hair in the middle. Then 
they said I looked like a painter. You would have 
died laughing to see the figure I cut. I was obliged to 

Letters. 131 

take a dancing lesson with every one in succession till 
I could scarcely breathe. It was the liveliest company 
ever I was in and I took pains it did n't get duller on 
my account. It was something new for me. 

The pair are well-to-do and belong to the upper- 
lower class, that is, the top of the class just below the 
professional and wealthy members of society, who make 
the middle class. Company here is so much less re- 
strained than at home that an American is almost 
frightened to find himself so unceremoniously treated. 
I can enjoy their sport almost as well as they, perhaps 
better, and yet we have not an idea or taste in common. 

It appears a sort of punishment for my hostility to 
religion that I should everywhere be taken for a student 
of theology. I shall get my hair clipped h la Heenan, 
and try to look as savage as possible, if people don't 
stop making the mistake. 

To-day the weather is cold and windy. I long for the 
vine-clad hills of the Neckar and the summer shades 
of the murmurous old castle. You have no conception 
of the charm a mere place can exert on the mind till 
you see something like Heidelberg. When I am once 
well away from Berlin I shall not much care to return. 

My money is due about this time, and I expect it 
every day. In sending that you must be punctual, as 
it stands between me and the world. I have a friend 
or two who in a pinch would lend me something, but I 
had much rather not ask for it. This letter is three 
days late. I have deferred it in hopes of hearing from 
you. Your affectionate son and pensioner. 

P. S. — Jan. 29th : Your letter without a date, con- 
taining the check, I received just an hour ago. I have 
delayed sending the enclosed letter one full week over 

132 A Young Scholar. 

time, for every day I thought, well, to-morrow it must 
come. In directing it you wrote **27** instead of 
*' 47,*' and the police had to hunt me up. You should 
have these letters all registered. The post-oflSce offi- 
cials here told me that no letter was safe without that 
precaution. Since New Year I have done, for me, an 
amazing amount of work. I am engaged in one sort 
of intellectual labor or other fourteen hours a day. I 
wish I could study myself tired once. I am delighted 
that my verses please you. But how can I write poetry 
who never have occasion for a poetic emotion, save 
what comes second-hand through books ! 

Berlin is the chief city of prose. Poetry only comes 
here to be criticised. Nothing rhymes ; it 's all rea- 
son. The god of logic, Trendelenberg, is sick, and an- 
nounced that he would begin his lectures on Philoso- 
phy again next Monday. It sounds as if he knew his 
recovery by syllogism. A fellow who has the inclina- 
tion can go crazy here with the greatest ease, but I 
have no mind to. I might get dangerously serious 
but for my American acquaintances. Fish in an ex- 
hausted receiver are more at home than these Meth- 
odists. They are confounded, muddled, outraged, 
astonished, and of course finally disgusted. They 
can comprehend neither head nor tail of German learn- 
ing and ideas. They run their nose in the ground in 
every direction. Nothing is orthodox and nothing 
seems to care whether there is such a thing as orthodox 
Christianity on earth or not. In a thousand years from 
now the German professors will take up the subject 
as one of the phases of vulgar superstition in a 
barbarous age. My money came in time, for I change 
my room next month and take a mate with me, a 
German law-student. I shall write again soon. 

Letters. 133 


Thought ceaseless; self-mastery ; depth of Wordsworth ; 
studies in philosophy, 

Bkri;in, Feb, 6 1870, 

A change of quarters or a new hat or any deviation 
from an old habit is always painful, at least for me who 
am fonder of intense impressions than of variety. I 
have been almost a week in our new room, and begin 
to feel myself at home after a season of disagreeable 
adaptations. My mate is a genuine German, a fellow 
who holds the most astounding opinions without being 
conscious of their outrageousness, but he has an ex- 
cellent temper and we agree as well as the majority of 
persons who stand in as close relations. To-day I have 
neither poetry nor philosophy for your amusement or 
confusion. The weather is bitter cold and our fires 
none the bCvSt, which may account for the absence of 
the usual superabundant vitality discharged in my 

I heard the other day from M , and received his 

very welcome picture. He complains that I have not 
kept him posted in the obituary and police reports, etc., 
of Berlin, or in his own words that I do not seem to know 
anything about my neighbors. Abby wants to hear 
gossip too. There is no such thing but in social life, 
and for me society is only a tradition, or, more properly, 
a speculation. One day is the exact pattern of every 
other, save in the internal world of thought, which is 
an ever-rolling panorama. I shall not be able to 
avoid the influences, in this highly impressible period 
of life, of silent study for years. I feel it becoming a 
necessity. The maelstrom of endless thought grows 

134 -^ Young Scholar. 

swifter and louder ; the rest of the world must recede. 
Will you be ready to welcome home a being whose 
nature must ever yearn for the peace of a silent and 
exhaustless library ? What if I turn monk and take 
orders in the Catholic Church ! Real belief is not re- 
quired, at least not expected, and oaths are only forms. 

Don't get frightened, I am only in sport; but the 
surroundings are all-powerful to mould my habits. I 
am utterly deserted on the side of social or domestic 
life, have as good as no nourishment for that part of 
my nature, while duty, opportunity, and inclination 
conspire to bury me in a life of reflection. What great 
souls have been condemned to live upon themselves ! 
I am however to be pitied the more as I am the less 
able to find in myself suflScient nourishment for every 
want. Spinoza ground glasses for a living in Antwerp 
in a little room all alone, and his soul brooded on the 
eternal depths, a universe of pure contemplation as the 
night-azure, strewn with golden thoughts like stars. 
The great winds of moving but invisible passions, no 
doubt, swept through its silent regions on the track of 
** limitless desire.'' The cruel period of depression 
is over with me. At last I feel dawning a sense of 
calm mastery over life, a power in myself to forbear 
and endure. I am happy, happy even if I were to know 
that all things for me were soon to pass. Before and 
after are one. The success of life is dependent on our- 
selves, and we are dependent on the circumstances 
which make us. 

Your last letter was like an anthology from Words- 
worth. My admiration of the man grows with my ac- 
quaintance, although the interpretations which we give 
to the blank misgivings of the soul are a whole heaven 
apart. He felt life stir in profounder depths of the soul 

Letters. 135 

than any man of the century. It is natural that he 
should not have understood what he first experienced. 
But after all, immortality is rather a form of reflection 
into which he endeavored to mould a great world-emo- 
tion (pardon the German), than an actual presence in 
his poems. I feel to-day a minimum of critical vigor, 
therefore I shall not spread myself further on Words- 

I have begun the study of Plato and shall probably 
spend about three or four months on his dialogues and 
the commentaries of Aristotle, Hermann, Schleierma- 
cher, Munk, and then comes the actual study of Aristo- 
tle's works, 1450 folio pages of Greek and of the literature 
which illustrates his system. One cannot understand 
Aristotle critically with less than five months* labor, 
and then one must have a facile command of the Greek 
and a head for philosophy. The rest of ancient phi- 
losophy will require perhaps six months more. In the 
meantime I shall pursue my literary studies, the poets, 
and general authors of belles-lettres, and also take oc- 
casion to gradually read myself into a familiarity with 
German speculation preparatory to a systematic study 
of it. The most extensive school now in Europe is 
perhaps Comte's Positivism. Hegel has already taken 
his place in the ranks of things which were. But his- 
tory, and above all the history of thought, is, as Hegel 
himself said, penetrated by one great self-controlling 
idea, and every system is but a ** moment in the eter- 
nal being." The object of study in youth must be to 
find the keys to all the splendid temples of thought and 
feeling in which we shall wonder and worship till the 
snows of winter bow our weary heads. Persons who 
read only surface books or who find in reading only an 
amusement, have no idea of what the great work of 

136 A Young" Scholar. 

^» »■ — ■■»■■■■   — — ^^■■■■^ 

books is. The pleasure of the student is altogether 
different in kind from that of the mere man of informa- 
tion or of taste. 

It will be spring when you receive these lines and 
the delicious life of the new year will be stirring in the 
earth. Perhaps I shall then make some new songs — if 
I feel the prompting, that is. This winter I have not 
made one rhyme. The coaches on the street make 
their stupefying rattle without ceasing to-day. The 
citizens ride out to the skating park where fashion in- 
dulges in a slide, but no excitement can empty the 
comfortable beer-houses of Berlin. If possible don't 
let me wait longer than the 25th of March for my next 
instalment. I have contracted a little extra expense 
this winter, the object of which 1 hope to reveal to you 
with pleasure by and by ; I fear you would laugh at me 
now. I have delayed this almost a week in expectation 
of a letter from you. 


Filial sympathy ; denial of self; the combat of scientific 
realism ; government in harmony with scientific tend- 

BBRi^iN, Feb. 20, 1870. 

Dear Father :— Did I think that you really meant 
all you say in your last letter, I should be soundly un- 
happy. I know we sometimes complain as children 
that no one cares for us only to get a mother's reassur- 
ing caress, but it was cruel in you to even pretend to 
think me so insensible to the love of a kind parent as 
would appear from what you have written. You know 
that when you relate to me your plans or recall the 

Letters. 137 

struggles and deprivations of your youth and manhood, 
you could have no more sympathetic auditor. Men 
neglect the gods whom they believe in ; such is our 
weakness. Why then reckon it to a busy student as 
indifference or want of fiUal piety when he neglects the 
difficult task of expressing the sympathy he feels with 
a beloved parent ? I cannot think of a divided interest, 
but you it seems will not understand how singly my 
heart is set on home, — on a home with you and mother 
where my whole life shall be devotion. My nature 
needs love far more than light, but you will scarcely 
believe me, for you have been used to think of my 
wants as summed up in a book-case and school-teacher. 
You have spared nothing to give me these, I think, and 
this must be love. 

To-day I have re-read your letter of Oct. 24th. It 
breathes the sadness of unfulfilled desire, of life which 
has failed in many high things, of a heart which has 
never been enough beloved. It seems to you as if 
learning could soothe these pains, as though we find 
anything else in books than the measureless pathos of 
time. It is the scholar* s privilege to turn from the 
actual world whose passion and mystery overpower us, 
to beautiful early Hellas. There is nothing in the lives 
of Homer's young heroes, so radiant and bold, which 
we cannot understand ; no bitter kernel of mystery. 
The soft woven light and music of Ionian numbers are 
spread as a veil about the forms of youthful gods and 
men, as Swinburne says, *' while both alike were 
Greek, alike w^ere free." 

But what is history ? Less than four hundred years 
after these songs were first heard among the ^gean 
isles, Heraclit the Dark looked with tears upon the 
fire-born Cosmos and endeavored with profound reflect- 

138 A Young Scholar. 

ion to grasp the single thought which is alone wise, 
which goes as a great wind, a spirit of order, through 
the All. Wisdom, not knowledge, is the guide to con- 
tent — wisdom which is love, which leads us through 
life with the freshness of childhood always on our brow 
and infinite peace in our heart. To have an ambition 
for ourselves is cursed. Egoism is hell. What is 
place or pomp or all the sorry trumpery of honor ! He 
who will find his life must lose it. Self ! was there 
ever a more wretched thing ! It is sorrow, a black 
spring whose fount is in Tartarus, that has no right 
to bubble its hell-water up to the pure air, into the 
azure light of heaven which fills the flowers of earth. 
Religion is a consecration of the iniquity of self, teach- 
ing the soul that it is deathless, opening infinity to its 
greed of life. You must not despair ; you can yet reach 
that sublime calm, the consummation of soul, which 
proceeds from a wise estimate of things and their 
worth, and a great joy in the divinity of the whole. 
You will try with me. I^et us together, father and son, 
make the resolution to live down fear and all misery, 
ijot as poor ascetics, but as men, the sublime beings 
capable of truth and love, life in the lives of others. 
My pen is weak to express what fires my heart, it is 
the flame of a new era. I write to you without reserve. 
I cannot endure to see a dear life sink into a tedious, 
miserable hopelessness. We must have courage. I 
have had a bitter struggle, and still have, to smother 
the impulses of youth in a heart only too sensitive, to 
let it hunger itself dead. I do not know if it is wise, 
but it has been undertaken and must be accomplished. 
Perhaps you will be interested to know what I am 
reading at present. I have given myself three months 
(two hours a day) to make myself familiar with the 

Letters. 139 

state of the great intellectual combat now raging in 
Europe. The form of scientific realis^i, called by its 
enemies materialism, threatens to extinguish speculat- 
ive philosophy entirely and theosophy too — so far, 
namely, as this is subject to a logical handling. The 
writings of Biichner, Moleschott, Vogt, Du Bois-Rey- 
mond (our Rector), I^ange, etc., are the forces on one 
side. The opposition is best characterized as a ** mob 
of gentlemen who write with ease.*' The contest is a 
sharp one ; even the theologians are not altogether con- 
temptible adversaries, so far as erudition and a trained 
dialectic can avail anything. 

I have studied very thoroughly the first development 
of the doctrine of the Epicureans and Atomists of 
Greece, Hobbes, Gassendi, De la Mettrie, Diderot, 
Holbach, etc. Kant's Critique of the Reason is the 
point about which the battle rages hottest at present. 
I must reserve a study of national economy and statis- 
tics for another time, although the principles of these 
sciences are vital to the question. The theory of law, 
or rather theories, will find their places in my course 
of philosophy, which will also embrace the principles 
of political science from Thucydides through Grotius, 
Machiavelli, and their numerous successors up to Mill, 
Buckle, and Carey the American. The great I^ibrary 
furnishes me with every manner of book save contemp- 
orary belles-lettres. A studiosus has no excuse for 
not knowing everything, save that time refuses to 
stretch. You will probably have more interest in my 
sociological studies than in those that are directed tow- 
ard such matters as the Attic dramatists, Spanish 
ballad poetry, Arabian speculation, or the modem Ger- 
man lyric. In time I shall get my nose above water 
in these matters. 

140 A Young Scholar. 

It is to be supposed that you have political irons in 
the fire as usual. Once I was inclined to think them 
foolish, but that was a boy's one-sided view. Intel- 
lectual activity is a prime necessity of all persons who 
have brains, and for one who is not a scholar, politics 
offer the most interesting and honorable field for their 
exercise. There is no reason why, with your past, you 
may not succeed to your own wishes in the new state. 
I know little of the modus operayidi by which men grow 
to greatness on the milk of popular favor, but I am con- 
fident that you do. I shall endeavor to help physic 
the American people if the opportunity ever occurs. 
If I can take any part in politics, it will be as agitator 
for a form of state in harmony with the scientific tend- 
encies of the age. The function of government is a 
simple, not a complicated one. Just as philosophy in 
its historical development has successively thrown oflF 
the sciences of medicine, politics, mathematics, physics, 
aesthetics, till we have it now as pure speculation on 
the first principles of being, so has the state, which at 
first regulated all the relations of the citizen in succes- 
sion, excluded from its jurisdiction religion, the con- 
trol of the individual's business or profession, the 
censorship of morals and opinions, the regulation of 
commerce, etc. The state has not exactly done this, 
but this is the tendency in her development to a purer 
form. But I have no need to instruct you in the real 
philosophical meaning of the great modem struggles 
for more individuality, or, in other words, liberty. 
You have, however, to do with actual politics, the best 
application of existing forms. The talents of a states- 
man and agitator are very different. 

I shall have to bring this letter to a close after so 
weighty a remark. Mother has not sent me of late a 

Letters. 141 

real good specimen of her letter style. I have several 
which I defy any woman to beat for what the Germans 
call '' geist.'' My Teutonic room-mate is asleep on the 
other side of the table. Too much beer or too much 
Rhine wine seems to be the cause of his slumbers. 
He is a Schopenhauerianer and believes that life is a 
dream of pain. So he says, and makes fun of all man- 
ner of enthusiasm as absurd. After all, he seems to take 
it very easy. The sky is warm and blue this morning. 
One of my professors, Trendelenberg, has been obliged 
by ill-health to give over his lectures. I am very sorry, 
for he is a splendid thinker and had not yet come to 
the most interesting part of his course. What do Billy 
and Abby do for a school? Can't you get Abby to 
reading novels ? Anything to excite a little intellect- 
ual activity. 
Love to all. 


Argument concerning a personal Creator; defense of 
views of civil government ; unity of tke human race; 
the empirical psychology ofBastian. 

BERI.IN, Feb. 27, 1870. 

Your letter, I mean the critical one of Jan. 30th, has 
given me matter for various reflections. Of course my 
first impulse was to undertake a systematic refutation 
of your strictures, but maturer examination of the 
whole argument convinces me that if we are ever to 
approximate an understanding it must be by first set- 
tling the method, and the ground from which we can 
agree to start, the loci communes, in other words, be- 
tween us. I hope in the course of this letter to make 

142 A Young Scholar. 

plain the great difference between the ways on which 
we endeavor to approach the truth. In order that 
there may be no misapprehension of my position, 
I will remark that the views which I shall advance, 
with the exception of those I shall claim as my own, 
are shared by the overwhelming majority of scientific 
men on the continent and in England ; by such think- 
ers as lyyell, Huxley, Darwin, and others. 

What I wish to call your attention to chiefly, is the 
great revolution the last few years have seen transpire 
in the way or method of dealing with great cosmical 
questions. The change dates in a manner certainly 
from Kant, but it is very lately that the importance of 
his ideas for the positive sciences has been acknow- 
ledged. This influence heretofore has been almost 
exclusively felt in the various systems of speculative 

Matter is an abstraction, a metaphysical conception, 
and all conclusions drawn from its supposed attributes 
of passivity, inertia, insensibility, etc., are unwarranted. 
There is however a somewhat that appears to our senses 
under the form of matter and force. These are insep- 
arable, and most probably one in their real being. 
We may call that which is, dynamic matter, or ma- 
terial force. Beyond the existence of this we have no 
evidence that anything is or has been. That this 
something is, we have the immediate evidence of con- 

Next, what is law ? Here it seems to me is to be 
found the root of the theological error. Is a law of 
nature something which, like a civil law, depends for 
its force on enactment, or is it necessary and eternal ? 
Law is relation and all relation is mathematical. The 
mechanic, the physicist, the moralist, in so far as they 

Letters. 143 

comprehend the laws of their sciences, see in them 
only the mathematical necessary relations of forces, 
intensities, magnitudes, etc. Where our insight grows 
weak or fails, there it seems that the relations might 
be otherwise than they are. It is absurd to think of 
the laws of Algebra, or Geometry, or Logic, or Right, 
or Mechanics being enacted. And what are the laws 
of Psychology but mathematical ? Chemistry has of 
late been reduced to a mathematical science, the for- 
mulae all made algebraic and the substances distin- 
guished by the weight of their atoms. There is nothing 
but mathematical relation, and when we talk about a 
law-giver for nature, we simply mean some being who 
enacted that two and two equal four. And when we 
talk about a Creator we mean a Being who made some- 
thing out of nothing some years ago. 

No particle of force is lost. Science has demonstrated 
this beyond a doubt. Heat, electricity, magnetism, 
the force of gravitation, mechanical force, chemical 
force, are all the same force, and can be transmuted 
the one into the other. I add to these without hesita- 
tion, vital force and intellectual force. Thus the uni- 
verse is a perpetutim mobile ; it costs nothing to run it. 
Vital force is sustained by the chemical force of food, 
and fails or increases with this. Consciousness is a 
manifestation of vital force, and, indeed, one of the most 
easily disturbed. It is heightened, diminished, removed, 
restored by purely physical means. It originates with 
the organism, and is present in the lower organisms in 
a lower form. To say that matter cannot think is a 
pure contradiction of our daily experience, and a simple 
assertion. Every time an egg is hatched the contrary 
is demonstrated. 

Now what is wisdom, — ^intelligence ? Evidently only 

144 ^ Young Scholar. 

a consciousness of things, or more properly of the rela- 
tions (laws) between things. How absurd then to 
make intelligence a prius to these laws, in the knowl- 
edge of which it consists ! I pray you give close atten- 
tion to this thought. Right here is the circle in which 
the unscientific mind constantly turns. Knowledge, 
wisdom, must necessarily come after there is something 
to know. But listen to the way in which you square 
this circle. **The Author, Planner, Creator of the 
Universe exercises not intelligence as man exercises 
intelligence. (The question is not about the exercise, 
but the nature of intelligence.) He was under no ne- 
cessity to think, to elaborate, to experiment, but was 
and is the embodiment of all wisdom, the very essence 
of all intelligence, from whom eternally spiritual life 
emanates, and from whose existence the laws of nature 
are derived.*' 

Is this scientific thought ? How do you know the 
astonishing things here so dogmatically stated ? And 
what distinct sense do you attach to the '* embodiment 
of wisdom," the ** essence of intelligence,' ' the ** de- 
rivation of law from the existence " of a being which, 
in order that itself may not be B^plan, must sustain no 
internal relations, and to the ** emanation of spiritual 
life ' ' ? You see the difference between our methods of 
investigating truth. You speak of my assumptions, 
and I endeavor to bind myself rigidly to the empirical 
facts, while you allow yourself such speculation as the 

You promise me to account for the existence of God, 
if I promise to account for the existence of the universe. 
It is not the task of thought to account for being, but 
do you show that God w, and I will not ask you to 
account for his existence. It is not a dilemma. 

Letters. 145 

^■i^-^— ■^— ^i^"—  ■■■.-■■-■■■■■ ■■■■«^ 

Again, you ask why the great law of selection and 
preservation of the best, to which we owe the order or 
adaptations of nature, might not be a part of the origi- 
nal plan, or, in other words, you ask if it was not 
planned that the strong should overcome the weak, for 
to this natural necessity the whole law must be and 
is reduced. In this question you can see how unclear 
your distinction between plan and necessity is. You 
are astonished that order should come out of disorder, 
or the lack of order. Is the contrary thinkable ? You 
must refer all disorder to the ' * essence of all intellig- 
ence/' /recognize the law by which the intellects of 
a Shakespeare and Aristotle were developed from the 
obscure brains of primitive men, whose language did 
not distinguish between nouns and verbs ; by which 
the beauty and order of civilization have risen out of the 
chaos of barbarism, the present world of flowers and 
plants out of the even ruder forms of the geological 
periods. Even you express a hope and faith in the 
ultimate perfectibility of the race — that is, order out 
of disorder. 

I do not believe in perfectibility of any kind, because 
the conditions of life are in a constant state of change, 
and the adaptation consequently can never be com- 
plete. But it is not perfection we want, only improve- 
ment, growth. You suggest that if Nature goes on 
with her process long enough, the result will be a 
God her Or«/«r^, not her Creator. I object that the 
universal condition of beginning is ending, that life is 
bound to the fate of matter, and that the changes in the 
universe can never cease so long as force exists, and 
force is indestructible. Systems of suns are rolled to- 
gether, then bum away. There is no chance, more- 
over, for monotheism, as the condition of growth is 


146 A Young Scholar. 

competition, and he i6 only a God who is supreme 
over law. How can the creature of law be this ? 

I am sorry to have occupied so much of my letter 
with this abstract argumentation. It seems to me a 
wrong you do your acute and logical mind in remain- 
ing longer on the old standpoint of personification. 
The scientific men of our day have left these popular 
errors to the masses, and such scholars as, like the 
members of the Roman Curia, have an interest in 
utilizing them. 

You remark with justice that I must not consider the 
assent of Mill and Buckle to my political ideas, or rather 
my agreement with them, as final proof of their truth. 
I could not cease to consider a system as ignominious 
and unworthy the dignity of human nature which 
makes liberty a creature of convention, and identifies 
the right with the interest, imaginary or real, of the 
majority. It is enough for me that the whole process 
of the development of civil government, I mean of 
course historically, has been, and is yet, an unconscious 
approximation of my ideal. I do not hesitate to de- 
signate it as an ideal, because it is a purely rational 
conception. For this reason it is not necessarily im- 
practical, — rather in the highest degree practical. 

Buckle and Mill are thought to be visionaries by 
some. The first logician of his day and the first philo- 
sopher of history can certainly afford, if any one can, 
to be so considered. The scientific thinkers of our day 
feel the power of their method. They know that others 
are wrong because they are not scientific. It would 
be as remunerative a task to endeavor to persuade 
a modem astronomer of the truth of the Ptolemaic 
system, as Mill, for instance, of the propriety of a 
protective tariff, or Buckle of its justice. 

Letters. 147 

The law by which all organisms advance is the same, 
one great and simple principle, so that we have in the 
fauna and flora of Australia a practical example of the 
effects of the system. That country's insular position 
has given to its plants and beasts a monopoly, so to say, 
of the soil, by cutting off the competition of the con- 
tinents. The result is, that Australia is a geological 
epoch behind, and that the artificially introduced plants 
and animals of Europe and India rapidly exterminate 
the natives. Competition has refined and strengthened 
their organizations. I know you will object to the 
analogy, but it will be because you refuse to recognize 
in man and in society the same inevitable laws which 
govern the rest of the organic world. 

You mention that you had prepared a paper on the 
question of **The Origin of the Races.'* I do not 
know what grounds you can take other than that dif- 
ference of race seems so very great that you cannot be- 
lieve in their previous unity, which is certainly not 
science. The Darwinist has no more difficulty in ac- 
counting for the races, than the comparative philologist 
for the dozen or so distinct Indo-Germanic tongues, 
which are all from one mother-language. The process 
of differentiation has been identical. 

We have the greatest living anthropologist in our 
university. Dr. Bastian. I hope to hear him next 
semester. His plans and ideas are stupendous. He has 
undertaken to revolutionize the science of psychology, 
carry it out of the region of dreams and subjective ex- 
perience, and make it empirical. Accurate and com- 
parative observation of the genesis of ideas in the 
primitive races of men, as they are still to be found on 
the earth, and of the relation of sensibility and the feel- 
ings to the understanding in the process of growth, is 

148 A Young Scholar. 

the means by which he hopes to arrive at an insight 
into the real nature of our intelligence. 

Mother's letter was very fine and gave me great 
pleasure. Perhaps its rather more friendly tone con- 
trasted with the sharpness of your critique. But do 
not think that I would have you handle my ideas with 
gloves. They can get no hurt, if they are sound, from 
a little rough treatment. Only we must try to get on 
the same standpoint of the exact sciences and the em- 
piric method. I cannot manage such ideas as the 
** embodiment of all wisdom.'* ** essence of intelli- 
gence'* ** emanation of spiritual life," etc. An argu- 
ment becomes instantly words^ when we deceive 
ourselves with such phrases. 

Perhaps my reply has been too sharply or passion- 
ately written. I beg you will excuse the too-apparent 
self-consciousness of my manner, as one of the unripe- 
nesses of youth. I hope now that I shall hear often 
from you, as you will certainly have leisure in your 
office business. I must beg pardon for the appearance 
of this letter. My pen is so wretched and it is Sunday 
morning, so I cannot get a better one. 


spring influences ; ike mood of student life in Germany; 
special work in Greek; creed of Du Bois-Reymond ; 
death-bed love ; Swinburne^ s artist sense, 

BERI.IN, March 17, 1870. 

This evening I refuse a free ticket to a first-class 
concert in order to write home while in the mood. 
When we wait for one another's letters before writing, 
the interval between them grows constantly greater. 

Letters. 1 49 

Every small delay in that case becomes an addition to 
the whole time intervening. Hereafter I shall observe 
the fixed time of two weeks, as you also promise to do. 

Your letter (Feb. 21st) is full of interesting thoughts, 
not without that flavor of speculation characteristic of 
you. There is a streak of the grimmest realism in 
your idealism. Its source I think is a sound instinct 
for law^ something that astonishingly few people pos- 
sess. Most persons construct \h!t universe and life com- 
pletely to suit their own tastes. It 's a vain labor, this 
of reforming the facts. 

On the approach of spring weather I wish myself 
away from Berlin. All one sees in a great city is a 
softer fog and a sort of patronizing sunshine, which 
brings the little naked children out of the cold, wet, 
basement dwellings on to the warm sidewalks. What 
I felt at Heidelberg has awakened in me a desire to go 
off with my books to some quaint little place with an 
idyllic stream and hills of vine and woods about it, 
and there work and dream the summer away. A 
lonely little room with the bright light curtained out 
and stillness and cool shut in, with Euripides and 
Spinoza and all the rest of the immortals on their 
shelves and on my table, where I would sit and work 
so quietly through the bright morning hours ! Oh, 
this is earthly Paradise ! Then in the evenings a long, 
pensive stroll under the delicious sky among the hills, 
or an hour or so in the country beer-garden, where one 
can sit in the open air at a clean, white pine table with 
a mug of brown beer and watch the village folk — 
youths and maidens, old men and children — ^resting 
after work, smoking, chatting, or dancing to the 
schoolmaster's violin. If one feels melancholy, it only 
makes the memory of such days dearer. 

150 A Young Scholar. 

If life seems gliding from under our feet, and all its 
dreams dissolving in the ever shortening future, are 
we not daring with greater heart than others to stand 
and watch the ** sweet days die? " This is the only 
way to feel student life in Germany. The country, 
the people, everything, is so wonderfully suited to 
foster that mood in which the soul, as it were, opens 
infinitely downward, till it is as still and deep as the 
shadow-hearted water of the sea. I shall remain here, 
however, the summer term, on account of seven very 
important lectures, and my present opportunities of 
speaking the language. 

During vacation I wish to go with a friend through 
the Hartz Forest on foot, then spend some time in 
either Diisseldorf or Dresden. There is not the re- 
motest danger in such a tramp. Every one here who 
can walk at all takes it sometime in life. 

I shall take father's and your advice and make it 
my business to acquire such a knowledge of Greek as 
will enable me to edit a classic. I need not do this 
much to the detriment of my other studies. If I see 
occasion to make use of it at home, a few years there 
of special study will give me a place as a thorough 
Greek philologist. 

I expect my life, if it is spared, to be one of severe 
labor. Toil is the greatest panacea, healer of heart- 
aches, sweetener of existence. Our Rector, the famous 
Dr. Du Bois-Reymond, closed a course of lectures on 
the results of modern science in which he had declared 
himself atheist and materialist, with the remark that 
his view of things was not pleasant for some, even dis- 
heartening, but that it was the scientific man's creed^ 
whose salvation was work, Goethe on his death-bed, 
and other great men, have declared that the hours of 

Letters. 151 

steady labor were the only really happy moments of 
their lives. The older we grow, it seems to me, the 
more we must feel this. There is indeed a higher 
place of soul and sense, and one of superior contempla- 
tion, of conquest over self through insight and love, 
but, how hard to reach, and impossible to maintain ! 
It is the religion of the future. Perhaps my own 
nature will grow larger and riper with years, and capa- 
ble of more than I now think. 

Your account is a variation on the theme of E 's 

story. In my opinion neither M nor Miss I^ 

more than fancy an attachment. A sick girl at death's 

door, of Miss L 's age and character, can only 

imagine herself in love. The idea of having lived a 
** loveless life,** as Morris says, now she is near her end, 
frightens her into a last desperate effort to cling to 
something. The sort of moral necessity of getting in 

love will persuade M that he really is. In my 

opinion he is too old, that is, too experienced. The 
soul must still be malleable and full of the forces of 
growth, if a great passion is to seize it and mould it to 
a supreme harmony. Two spirits may then be welded 
together, afterward they may only be tacked or riveted 
as cold irons. 

I am proud of your clear, fair insight into Swin- 
burne's poetry. Licentiousness is trifling, as in Byron 
or Heine, and is dangerous because false. It paints 
and powders certain things and gives them an outside 
which they do not have. Truth as it is in Swinburne 
is never dangerous. Whether it is always poetical or 
not, is another question. In my opinion, Swinburne's 
artist sense has seldom misled him in his materials. 
Where it has we can only say the impression is not 
(esthetic^ never that it is bad. 

152 A Young Scholar. 

My lectures close this week for the winter term. 
During the spring vacation I shall study the galleries 
and the history of art My money will last me till the 
first of May, then I shall have my lecture fees for the 
next semester to settle. My eyes are sound as ever. 

What came of the ' * wild-cat ' * Billy was after ? Tell 

sister to write to me. Remember me to Uncle J 

and family. He owes me a letter. Will Linnie come 
home alone ? How are Grandfather and Grandmother 
doing ? Make your letters longer than this one is. 


JSasier vacation ; sense of Christian art inborn^ of Greek 
art gained by culture ; need of solitariness, 

Beri^in, April 10, 1870. 

Our Easter vacation of six weeks is already half over. 
I have been trying to recreate in all the known and 
approved ways of seeing sights, doing nothing, and 
finally, when sick of such occupation, working desper- 
ately for amusement. Military reviews. Parliament, 
the aquarium, gardens, concerts, Spinoza, Hobbes, 
the Museum, newspapers, letters, etc., seem variety 
enough, but I must make out of all these things work^ 
which I started out to avoid. I have seen the royal 
family a number of times in the pomp and circumstance 
of parade, and must say that I saw nothing but the 
absurdity of so much shimmer and show. The whole 
court looks like a troop of spangled circus actors. The 
difference is that here what shines is gold, not tinsel. 
Even this fact we must take on credit. The king is a 
sour old Dutchman, whose chief pleasure is in his army 
and actresses. 

Letters. 153 

My pleasantest hours are spent in the- art galleries 
and statuaria. Homer has awakened in me a sense 
for the creations of Greek plastic art. Without this 
fine instinct for form, this real epic ** delight in things,** 
as Professor Haupt calls it, we are left cold by these 
really divine works. When a man not familiar with 
Greek literature pretends to appreciate the marbles of 
Polyclitus or Praxiteles, Phidias or I^ysippus, set him 
down as a humbug. We are born with a sense for 
Christian art, the creations of a Raphael or Veronese. 
The soul in these speaks to our soul, but we must ac- 
quire _by culture a sense for the antique. It is true 
that for me this was no great difficulty. Yet still it 
cost me time and labor, besides studies of history of 
art and artists, which I hope to verify practically in 
nearly all the great collections of Europe. I study the 
philosophical theories of the great speculators. The 
aesthetics of Hegel, Herbart, etc., although very un- 
certain sciences, are still very suggestive systems. It 
is my custom to write down for future use and present 
practice short criticisms of the most important works 
of art which I have time to examine. Perhaps you 
will think it odd that I should go day after day for 
weeks to the museum to see a single statue, but so I 
have. A real work of genius does not begin to make 
its due impression under less than a dozen visits. 

In a previous letter, I believe I told you how much 
I longed to breathe the delicious country air, to satu- 
rate my spirit through and through with 

"The quiet that is in the starry sky 
And sleep that is among the lonely hills." 

The growth of soul requires the soft vicissitudes of 
loneliness, of quickening joy and deepening grief, as a 

154 ^ Young Scholar. 

flower the recurrence of light and rain and darkness. 
It is only the unblown blossom that thrives onward. 
The spirit that has been watered by all the rains of 
heaven and blown upon by all the winds, that has sat- 
urated its every leaf in the tender air and sunlight, has 
lived. It feels no longer trouble in its inward gloom, 
the motions of growth, the fear of an unfinished end. 

Culture is valuable to me just as virtue, — not for 
what I may do with it, but for what I may be with it. 

The verses which you sent me by G are not by 

any means the worst that I have ever read, although 
the language is conventional, and the sentiment is a 
sort of Sunday-school sadness. They have, however, 
the truth of pain. The images too are confused, — 
every verse bringing a new one ; first the load^ then 
the cross^ then the oar^ then the disappointment. 
Moreover, it is not just clear what the shadow is, al- 
though the last line seems definite enough. This ob- 
scurity is not occasioned by any involved passion of 
pain which the eye scarcely pierces, but is simply want 
of discipline in the writer^s thought. Such verses 
must, however, be taken as evidence of uncommon sen- 
sibility, although poetry is made of more than this. 

I am glad to say that E manfully stood by his 

resolution to leave off tobacco, at least in Heidelberg. 
What he has done since, I do not know. 

Perhaps you will already have seen an account of the 
killing of Colonel Charles Jones and his eldest son in 
Louisiana by a party of lynchers for shooting General 
Lidell. It occurred some time in February, I think. 
These were the father and brother of my acquaintances 
at Heidelberg. I pity those poor people very much. 
This letter is overdue and, as I have written myself 
out, I shall close. My room-mate and I continue to 

Letters. 155 

agree. I moved in order to have the better opportu- 
nity of speaking German. Tell Billy I have not had a 
ride in Germany. Spring has scarcely begun with us. 


Matter of talk among students ; the ignorant deal with 
generalities ; formulated thought; our words will not 
waken in others the sense we feel ; Phidian marbles 
and delight in plastic beauty ; Tennyson's ^^The Mys- 
tic'^ ; a symphony in verse. 

B^RUN, April 25, 1870. 

Two or three of my last communications have been 
so slight and hastily written, that if you care at all for 
the contents, and not only for the writer of my letters, 
they will have disappointed you. Subjects of interest 
are not so easily found as one might suppose, at least 
in Berlin and by a student of speculative philosophy 
and Greek philology, especially too when one's corre- 
pondent is in Kansas. Books make matter of talk be- 
tween students, but as regards the world, and even the 
thinking part of it, they are in one's way. It is not so 
much a lack of sense for bookish questions as a want 
of that minute and quick interest which only familiar- 
ity with a subject can give, that hinders a scholar in 
his intercourse with Philistiadom. 

Life is made up of trifles ; not less the world of 
learning. How long, for instance, would a great savant 
like Hermann toil over the signification of one corrupt 
passage in a classic, when, after all, the sense may have 
no value as a thought ? The ignorant deal with the 
great generalities exclusively. It is refreshing, too, to 
see how far they penetrate into the shadowy region 

156 A Young Scholar. 

of the unknowable. Any bauer in Kansas can explain 
to you the genesis of the world, its purpose, the ulti- 
mate fate of all life, the composition of the Godhead, 
etc., — and such knowledge has cost him less time and 
trouble than the skill he has acquired in breaking 
calves. There is really something naive and beautiful 
in such simplicity. It has an epic breath scarcely less 
invigorating than the unconscious, child-like faith of 
Homer. One thing is worse ; the modern thinks he has 
proof for his notions, whereas it never occurred to the 
ancient that proof had anything to do with the beauti- 
ful legends of the gods. They were true by force of 
their beauty. 

We are never fairly outside an intellectual circle 
until we can appreciate it. I am learning to stand 
toward Christianity as toward Paganism, or Buddhism, 
viz : friendly. It is no use to expect the world to 
move faster than it does, it is best as it is. In one 
sense no system of thought is more than relatively 
the right. In another sense all are absolutely justi- 
fied. Formulated thought at the best expresses very 
vaguely the real, inner soul of us. There is an internal 
as well as transcendental truth ; ordinary truth is some- 
where between. Only we must guard against inter- 
preting one in the language of the other. Such are 
to a great extent the dogmas of religion, expressions 
of the soul in terms of the senses. What is immor- 
tality? Does not Tennyson say of the Mystic, **He 
hath felt the vanities of after and before " ? It is the 
race stammering with childish tongue the great truth 
that love, the highest function of spirit, knows not 
time, that is, knows not self, for it is the individual 
that makes time, by measuring eternity. 

So we must learn to appreciate all ideas. Where 

Letters. 157 

they are not any more valuable to us as an enlarge- 
ment of our intellectual belief, they still are revelations 
of the great life, modes of being, shapes of soul, — 
somehow with their inner flower of love or pain, — 
and all life is beautiful, one more than another, but 
the whole is more beautiful even, for this reason. 
Words are serviceable, it is true, but they will not, 
as many seem to think, awaken in others the sense 
or feeling we may have. 

I never felt this so strongly as a few days ago on 
visiting the Museum with an American acquaintance, 
— an odd sort of fellow, who pubUshed a metaphysi- 
cal treatise with a no less pretension than that of 
reconciling philosophy and revelation and then came 
to Germany to study the subject. If he had done 
this first his book might either never have appeared, 
or at least have been improved. Well, we came 
together at dinner and after some general talk the 
conversation was turned on Greek philosophy, and 
from that to Greek art. He seemed astonished that 
I, who had just appeared so interested in the specu- 
lation of Parmenides, should express a no less enthusi- 
astic admiration for the marbles of Phidias. He 
appeared to think that only those affected a taste for 
such things who were incapable of anything in 
departments of real intellectual competition. I was 
foolish enough to think I might make him see what 
I did in at least some of the figures from the gable 
of the Parthenon, so I invited him to come with me 
when we were through dinner to the Museum where 
these works are represented in excellent plaster copies. 
We stood before a group from Phidias's own hand, 
the daughters of Cecrops, forms in which the un- 
earthly, unapproachable majesty and beauty of the 

158 A Young Scholar. 

gods are incarnate. The flesh seems to wave with the 
force of inner life. The proportions seem, and yet 
are not, greater than human. One lies at full length 
on the lap of her sister and the thin, masterly-handled 
drapery seems to flow with the rhythm of limb. I 
was in raptures, almost devotion. The ** divinely 
tall** forms of Sophocles seemed to live before my 
soul. I endeavored with such words as were at my 
command to make him see what I did, but without 
sxiy result. He said it would always remain a mystery 
to him why any artist could not make such statues. 
The wonder to me is that any man ever could make 
such things of stone. The question which first sug- 
gested itself to his psychological mind was how I 
could see any soul in the mere forms, for the heads 
are lost and the torsos themselves injured. The fact 
is, the form is scarcely less an index of the character 
than the face, and a poetic eye can read its lines. But 
it is not what we learn that delights us in the con- 
templation of that most beautiful of all things, the 
human form, more than in a passage of fine music. 
How can you explain into a man the beauty of 
Mozart's Requiem ? But of all things good which are 
wanting to our time, one of the chiefest is an appreci- 
ation of plastic beauty, a sense which was bom with 
the Greek. A sense for form, so un-Celtic, is not only 
manifested in art, but the politics and speculation of 
a people betray its presence or its want. 

In your last letter you sent me two copies of verses, 
one of Tennyson's and one of Mrs. Bailey's.* The latter 
is worthless, a mere bundle of played out and flat poeti- 
cisms, a shallow reproduction of the film-like coating of 

* Mrs. Margaret L. Bailey, a Virginia lady who wrote verses. 

Letters. 159 

poesy wliich varnishes American Sunday-school life. 
In Tennyson* s verses I should have thought I saw the 
work of a talented but unformed imitator of that poet's 
style. He will write himself out of a reputation if he 
keeps on. The field of ** metaphysical poetry/' to bor- 
row a phrase from Johnson, is moreover no field for 
him. His mind as evidently lacks in that abyssmal, 
spiritual depth of which we get glimpses in Wordsworth, 
as it is endowed with a golden lucidity of vision, and 
tearful pathos. This piece. The Mystic, has, however, 
single lines worthy of the I^aureate at his best. The 
** dim shadows four- faced to four corners of the sky " 
are, so to say, the ideas or Platonic types of things 
which alone have real being, what we see being only 
phenomena : these are ** without form " because they 
are only intelligible essences ; space is created by them 
by their facing the four corners of the sky. He means 
to say that the mystic is lifted above space, and by 
what follows, also above time. The three shadows are 
past, present, and future. I send you the verses to read 

Some lines of my own will perhaps not be unwelcome. 
Their connection with one another is not in the sense, 
but in the feeling, a rhythm of the soul that rises from 
grief to joy and from joy to adoration, as a symphony 
in its three parts. The management of such a piece 
requires the master's hand, and I am but a bungler. 
Sometimes I feel like a Tantalus when after I have let 
the chalice of the heart drip full of some golden thought, 
I am sure to spill it : 

O soulful life ! 
Forth from dawn's cosmic, blossom-freshening winds, 
And with them dreams of far-world-wandering, 
Blow me-ward from strange lands, where opal seas 

i62 A Young Scholar. 

sight, calm. Two years are gone and the process goes 
on. My feelings bom with me are far too great, or else 
my ballast too small. Now that I have reefed a sail 
or two, I navigate much better. 

It *s a dreadful thing, — this amputation of the heart, 
but sometimes it is necessary. The affections which 
are left me grow the healthier for it, and these I can 
sum up in two words, home and books. Home means 
a great deal you may think, and so it does ; but it is 
one love in which the parts are each equal to the 
whole, a mathematical impossibility, but still true. 
A mother with three children does not love them more 
than a mother who has only one, and yet she does not 
love each of her three less than the other, her single 

I think the struggle with myself, which made me 
come to Europe where I could fight it out alone, and 
where I should have the aid of an absorbing industry, 
helps me overcome home-sickness. I do not think I 
could leave home again to stay away so long, were I 
once back. Books are my employment. I know no 
other use to put them to than to study them. To make 
an education a stepping-stone to fame would be like 
a child climbing into a tree-top on a candy ladder. 
The ladder is meant to be eaten. This comparison 
limps, but you will understand me. Of course we seek 
useful activity as a necessity of a vigorous and kindly 
nature, but this is not seldom off the highway of 

I meant to go into an examination of your letter 
as a piece of polemic literature, but your expressed 
desire to dose the question, as well as the hopeless- 
ness of making anything clear in one letter, restrains 
me. How could I expect to affect your opinion of 

Letters. 1 63 

my views when, after all I have written, you can 
conceive that I could be an apologist of suicide ? Is 
not suicide the desperation of selfishness ? Is it not 
a bankruptcy of love? Then you call an opinion 
** monstrous** which is not original with me, or at 
least not first mine. Buddha, Spinoza, and Christ 
held it long ago. It has been the inspiring thought 
of every great moral rejuvenation of the race, the 
motive of every Thermopylae. 

I want to learn to feel with you, as is much fairer 
than to insist on your feeling with me. While our 
own character is building we have no sympathy for 
others. How could we ? The mind must throw itself 
all upon one point till we have a personal fastening, a 
character. So it has been with me, and I am conscious 
of having wanted ability to feel for any ideas but my 
own. It is far otherwise with me now, and yet I have 
this advantage of you, that I am younger, and conse- 
quently more pliant. 

I received a letter from R not long ago. He 

seems to have grown infinitely flatter since I knew 
him, or else I have changed my taste. He is married, 
has a son, and still talks about his life being a failure. 
What has failed but his peacock vanity ? If he loved 
learning for its own sake, he could not so complain ; 
how much less with a wife of his own choice and a child 
to love ! 

My walk in the Hartz Mountains will only last a 
few days and is as safe as going to bed. I will tell you 
what I see. To-day I witnessed the funeral of Prus- 
sia's greatest liberal statesman, Waldeck. Forty thou- 
sand grateful citizens followed the old man to his last 
home. His life was one long labor for the humble 
classes of ** Fatherland.*' I have learned to love Ger- 

164 A Young Scholar. 

many nearly as well as my happier and prouder native 
Republic. I hate these tyrants and their soulless 
meddling slaves, — ^such intellectual prostitutes as Bis- 
marck. Every morning I am awakened by a regiment 
of soldiers with music marching by. They move from 
one barrack to another before five in the morning. The 
music is often fine. 

Your guess, as is usual with what concerns my 
secrets, was very good. The expense which I promised 
to reveal was for a flute and lessons. My instrument 
cost me thirty -five thalers, and my lessons four thalers 
per month. I have pinched everything to be able to 
do this since the first of last December, when I began. 
' My teacher, who is a member of the royal opera, says 
I am the best scholar he ever had, and he has taught 
fifteen years. I shall not take many more lessons and 
am glad now that I began. Abby and I will play 
together after a while. I hope you will be pleased with 
my outlay. My instrument is very good. Remember 
me to Grandmother with all love. 


The character of a German student mess ; three friends^ 
a philosopher^ an unideal thinker, an artist ; com- 
panion of a walk through the Hartz ; joy of the 

BERI/IN, May 28th, 1870. 

SwBET Sister : — I know mother bade you write and 
give me a rating for my delay, else I had not been hon- 
ored by a whole letter from you. If you were not so 
evidently in the right I should jaw back. As it is I 
cry peccavi. Perhaps you will not imderstand this 
peccavi; if not, father's Latin will reach so far. You 

Letters. 165 

know you told that Frenchy young officer that you 
were no linguist ; but we studiosi are fond of poly- 
lingual slang ; it sounds better than the dialect of the 
plebes who call everything by its right name. 

It would puzzle a Philistine to understand much of 
what goes on at one of our messes. A half-dozen 
whiskered and spectacled and otherwise metaphysically 
ornamented faces gather about a round table in the 
restaurant to consume soup, beer, mutton, kraut, etc., 
on which occasion the conversation is everything but 
light, — often more indigestible than that euphonious 
and democratic dish called klops. These are meat-balls 
in which every manner of flesh has equal rights, — that 
is the liberty to smell as peculiarly as is in the nature 
of the fish, fowl, frog, or what not. There is really no 
language spoken here but a supremely entertaining 
wirrwarTy with German for a sort of background. But 
it would be difficult to find a sharper set of thinkers or 
more extensively informed men at their ages. 

I have three friends whose characters affiDrd me the 
most exhaustless fund of observation. The eldest is a 
man of almost thirty years. He has been a student 
for ten years in all parts of Germany and France, 
although he hears few or no lectures now. A small 
fortune gives him independence, and his life is dedi- 
cated to his books. An ungainly form and excessive 
bashfulness make him unfit for society. His learning 
too would impede his efforts to be entertaining in a 
drawing-room, while for me it makes him extremely 
interesting. He wears the brownest of old coats, a 
rusty stove-pipe, and low shoes. A face that has ac- 
quired the abstraction of HegePs Absolute, is but 
half visible behind a tawny fleece of beard. A pair of 
the most mysterious eyes glimmer behind his spectacles. 

1 66 A Young Scholar. 

They have all the uncertain light of metaphysics in 
them. To this day I do not know their color. He 
has a fine, massive brow, Roman nose, and is slightly 
bald. I love to listen to his deep, musical voice as 
sometimes for an hour together he follows some pro- 
found thought through all the heights and depths of 
history, unfolding the most astonishing wealth of still 
reflection and information. He is my philosopher. I 
visit him sometimes for advice in my studies or to read 
a philosopheme of Plato's or Spinoza's in company 
with him. He is generally at home in his long gown, 
with his student's pipe resting on the floor and his 
head enveloped in a cloud of smoke. He has the blues 
at times, when I do my best to cheer him up, and 
generally succeed. I love him for his childlike sim- 
plicity of heart and maiden-like purity of life. He has 
almost thought himself out of the world, and now feels 
alone, without a relation living or a friend nearer to 
him, or so near as I. Sometimes he questions me 
about life in America and seems to wonder at the rest- 
less activity of our people. 

My second friend is made of different stuff"; is 
scarcely less learned than the first. His mind has 
altogether a different direction. Politics, histor}', man- 
ners, are his field. His exterior is more sharply cut, 
his turn as practical as is compatible with a scholar's 
nature. It is his custom to drop in at my room at al- 
most any hour of the day or night and immediately 
strike up an argument. We love to disagree. He has 
all manner of loose, bad habits, and, what astonishes 
me most, he is able to combine these with a tremend- 
ous industry ; the most uuideal thinker I ever knew. 
He says that it is a pleasure for him to hear me theorize 
because I am consistent. 

Letters. 167 

The youngest is my pet. If I could describe him as 
he is, you would fall in love with him I know. I never 
saw so handsome a youth, nor knew so beautiful a 
spirit. The softest of great brown curls hang over a 
marble brow that is a perfect wonder for its soft curves 
and clear heights. But I can't describe him. I can't 
even imagine such wonderful great violet eyes as his. 
Every feature is perfect and full of the highest poetry. 
His head looks like one of Raphael's angel-heads 
taken out of its frame. This is my artist and poet. Of 
course he is no great scholar, but for his age he has no 
superior at the University. We go together to the 
Museum and praise the wonderful works of art, or 
take walks through the beautiful park. My greatest 
pleasure is to read with him from one book, — either 
some English poetry or Greek. One cannot tell all 
his sweet, innocent ways. There are no such boys in 

Well, you will have heard enough of my friends. 
To-morrow I start on my walk through the Hartz. 
An American acquaintance will accompany me, **one 
of the finest fellows out, " as we say. True he is neither 
a scholar nor handsome nor very refined, but he has a 
whole, honest nature, and I am partial to him for his 
real manhood. I shall be back when you receive these 
lines and already a week or more at work. We take a 
couple of shirts, handkerchiefs, stockings, slippers, 
comb, etc., with a few medicines for sore feet, colic, or 
the like, an opera-glass, guide-book, and umbrella. We 
shall be gone not over ten days. 

I need the recreation very much, as I have not been 
out of Berlin for almost a year. All the spirit in a 
fellow threatens to go out under the gray, monotonous 
drizzle of city life and hard work. I don't expect any 

1 68 A Young Scholar. 

better fate than that of my old friend whom I described 
to you, but I am not quite so far yet. He takes no 
more delight, as the Greek poet says, in the ** crocus 
curls of the dancing maidens.** I want to breathe the 
wet hill-air and see the green mountains towering into 
a soft June sky, hear the birds and falling water. 
Berlin is as dry as the Sahara is arid. Even the park, 
which is out of town, is beautiful rather by contrast 
than in reality. 

E is still in Vienna. He proposed to me a trip 

to Constantinople for vacation, but that would cost me 
too much and disturb my plans. He is already near 
there. My love to all. 


A Yankee fellow-traveller ; the cathedral of Magdeburg ; 
Hartz tourists ; loveliness of the scene ; an elementary 
stage of susceptibility ; the ** epic joy of things ^\* sun- 
set 071 the Brocken ; the descent. 

Bbri*in, June 8tb, 1870. 

The above engraving * will tell you that I have seen 
the Hartz, and further, that I am again home without 
mishap of any kind. It was an original tramp. No- 
thing was wanting, — neither scenery, company, nor in- 
cident, — to keep me, between laughing and dreaming, 
splendidly amused. We footed it over one hundred 
and twenty-five miles, almost every step of which road 
presented a landscape worthy the pencil of a Lorraine. 

But first, I must give you an idea of my chum. I 
told you I believe that he was a Yankee, and the most 
honest one that I ever knew. The fellow has no cult- 

* An illustration of Hartz scenery at the head of his letter- 

Letters. 1 69 

ure of any kind and nothing beside his character and 
comical ways to recommend him, save a pair of great 
watery blue eyes. He was scarcely less original than 
the mountains. Indeed they had experienced far the 
most trimming. Monday morning we took an early 
train for Magdeburg. We were strapped and buckled 
like grenadiers of the line. 

In Magdeburg we stopped to see the famous cathe- 
dral, the oldest piece of Gothic architecture in Ger- 
many. It had the greatest interest for me, and marked 
an epoch in my study of art. This was almost the 
only structure spared in the Thirty Years* War. The 
demon, Tilly, sacked the city after a desperate siege, 
and massacred women and children in their flaming 
homes. His wild Croats revelled in the murder of the 
helpless and innocent who had taken asylum here. I 
thought to what an organ blast of horror these great 
vaulted spaces must have reverberated. The good 
burghers of the city have forgotten that night, nor do 
they dream of its possible recurrence. The world has 
grown infidel, and the glory of God, which once de- 
manded such zeal, is left to take care of itself. 

The Hartz is a mountainous region about sixty miles 
south of Magdeburg, in the midst of the sandy plain 
which the unparalleled industry and skill of the North- 
German bauer has turned into fruitfulness. Every 
summer sees it filled with tourists from the great cities, 
seeking health and recreation. Sallow business men, 
who seem lost before the infinite idleness of nature and 
who associate the shadow-hearted mountain water with 
the hum of greasy wheels, wander vacantly about the 
green ways. A more cheerful sight is the corpulent, 
well-to-do burgher with his family, generally a wonder- 
fully agreeable German matron and a mild, blue-eyed 

170 A Young Scholar. 

daughter. A fellow can easily imagine the girl one 
of the fairy princesses, a glimpse of whose gold hair 
and lily hands was wont, according to the legends of 
the Hartz, to reward the daring knight, who with high 
thoughts of love and glory penetrated these mount- 
ain forests when they were full of dragons and en- 
chantment, and before a Prussian commissioner of ways 
had macadamized promenades in every direction. 

But the most appropriate staflfage for these landscapes 
is the light-footed student. He has an eye and a heart 
for everything. Scholars are everywhere friends. I 
cannot say how I exulted and revelled and dreamed, 
after a year of imprisonment and labor, in the greenery, 
the odor of pine forests, the mystical loveliness of sweet 
wood-blossoms, the stupendous grandeur of granite 
cliffs, and the purling and rushing of splendid, shadowy, 
limpid water. How does the immaterial soul have a 
joy in these things? What shape of matter is beauti- 
ful, what grand, if matter is death ? Oh, blindness of 
little souls not seeing that there is but one God, one 
Incomprehensible ! It is here that the great thought 
of Spinoza has irresistible force. 

But you will wonder how I enjoyed all these things 
with that compendium of Yankeedom at my elbow. 
It was seldom he left oflF abusing the dishonest inn- 
keepers who managed every day to swindle us out of a 
few groschen. It was provoking enough, but I could 
not afford to let it sour my whole trip. He is one of 
those souls that are always complaining in a serio-comic 
way, and on the occasion of each new cheat, relates over 
and over again every similar misfortune he can recall 
in his entire history. His admiration of the scenery 
amounted only to astonishment at the singularities. 
This is the first and elementary stage of susceptibility, 

Letters. 171 

at which most persons stop for life. For the great and 
ever-recurring types of nature they have no sense. 

The only natural men in a civilized era are the 
cultivated. The ignorant are deformed, unlike the 
simple children of nature in the Homeric age of the 
world. Then that was born with men which now is only 
to be acquired by the finest and deepest culture, viz : 
**That epic joy in things,'* as I translate a favorite 
phrase of my old professor, Haupt. Homer never men- 
tions an object in nature but he gives it a beautiful 
and characteristic epithet. Of course we have many 
sensibilities which Homer had not, but the epic sense, 
so to speak, is a lost sense to all but the learned. We 
spent a night on the Brocken, the highest point in the 
Hartz, and the famous assembling place of the witches 
who, according to the popular superstition, on Wal- 
purgis's night, come here on broomsticks through the 
air to hold an orgy with the devil. One of the wildest 
scenes in Goethe's forest is laid here at a similar meeting. 
The horizon from this point embraces an area of sixteen 
thousand square miles, that is, the entire Hartz and 
many distant cities. We enjoyed what is here a very 
singular good fortune, a clear sunset. The impression 
was unearthly. The silence of the place and unusual 
temperature made me feel alone. I seemed on a might- 
ier planet with almost spiritual sight. The sky, which 
appeared nearer and less concave, was girt high with 
strata of motionless clouds of dark, ruddy, and golden 
hue. Only overhead the clear ether burned a dark 
azure. The sun fell, scattering a broken and unearthly 
illumination over the glooming masses of mountain 
below and beyond us, till gradually the whole scene 
was darkened, and a loud piping wind set up through 
the hollow night. 

172 A Young Scholar. 

I returned, without speaking, to my room in the 
mountain-house. I thought of my own life, what has 
been and is not, and the emotion was too holy to allow 
a thought of what might have been, that thought which 
employs one so much. The morning came on and we 
descended the mountain in a cold, dense mist, which 
blew about the great boulders and hurried over the wet 
grass and little white chill flowers which alone grow 
here. Soon we were below the cloud in the sweet, 
wild Use valley with azure and silver spanning the 
green heights. This stream is lyrical. I thought of 
the verses Heine made on the Princess Use when a 
student at Gottingen forty years ago. He came over 
the Hartz too in a vacation. The enclosed photograph 
is a point of the stream which is almost one continual 
fall. If our life is to be as fresh and cheerful as the 
water, we must start as high. 

After seven days* marching, in which time our limbs 
grew sore, we had made the grand tour of the Selkau 
valley, Bodenthal-Ilse, Ecker valley, the Brocken, etc. 
We returned on the railroad to Berlin royally pleased 
with what we had seen, and I hungry for my books. 
Your letter of May loth was awaiting me. It was 
the culmination of my satisfaction because it was full 
of you and good news of father's health. You cannot 
think of Jacksonville, my little porch, and the long, 
rose-scented summer days with more emotion than I. 
The images of everything I love or have loved come 
to me then. 

I am glad to hear so splendid an account of Billy. 
Our long summer vacation begins before the first of 
August a few days. In my next letter, if I think of 
it, I will try and explain to you why Greek plastic art 
is valuable to us of this day who are not Greeks. 

Letters. 1 73 


A studenVs room ; character of German students ; the 
student philosopher^ ^^ EmanueV^ ; the Pomeraniaji 
singer ; on irrational materialism ; the soul a dynamic 
manifestation of matter; solution of the riddle of life. 

BKRiJN, June 23, 1870. 

Dkar Jok : — It was some time ago that I received 
your last letter, but it was even then, I thought, very 
late. You will have good reason to complain of me 
because when you expect to hear something of my life 
in Germany, I always put you off with a miserable 
decoction of poor philosophy or flat verses. This time 
I mean to write of trifles to your heart's content. 
Perhaps the desire to theorize will take me toward the 
end of the chapter, when you will be obliged to bear 
with it. 

If you were to call on me just now you would, after 
ascending four flights of stairs, be shown into a room 
that serves all the purposes domestic of two studiosi, 
that looks out on the busiest street of the city and is 
furnished not with any unseemly pomp, but adequate 
in its appointments to all moderate wants. You need 
not be astonished at its height for this is the literary 
story in Berlin. After enquiring of the door-maid if 
Herr Smith is at home you would be shown into the 
aforesaid room ; but I forget, you were already in. I 
know you would be glad to see me looking so perfectly 
at home in a strange land and luxuriating in all my 
favorite disorder, that is, a chaos of books, papers, etc. 

Just let me see what is on this table : A History of 
Art by Liibke, Otfried Miiller's Dorians (I translate 
the titles), a volume of Curtius's Greek History^ Schu- 

174 -^ Young Scholar. 

bert's Views from the Night-side of Natural Science ^ 
Plato's Laws, Suetonius's Ccesars, Spinoza's Opera 
Posthuma, Wiener's System of Nature, two pieces 
of music for my flute, the flute itself, a salt box for 
my chum's tobacco ashes (I wish he would keep it on 
his own stand), a dozen tickets for books at the Royal 
Library, a letter from home, a letter from a friend in 
Paris, a guide through the Hartz, a catalogue of the 
Museum, a lexicon, a book of manuscript notes and 
studies on the sculpture in the Museum, inkstand, and 
— nothing else, — yes, here under the music the first 
volume of Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences, 
Bless me, who would have thought that all these books 
had wandered here since morning, when they were all 
in their places ! You have a conscientious catalogue 
of what is on my study table at this moment, ten min- 
utes of four P.M. 

Out of doors it is raining ; the windows are open ; 
I am in my shirt sleeves. My chum is at the Academ- 
ical reading-rooms. 

But all this nonsense will not interest any mortal. 
Perhaps you would rather hear about some of my 
friends. To start with, I can say that in general you 
would not be likely to find them much to your mind. 
You would think, and with much justice too, that you 
saw in them the want of nearly everything which you 
are accustomed to consider the beneficial influences of 
a severe religious and moral conviction. They are as 
a rule governed by no principles which look to the 
good of the world as the highest norm of action, nor do 
they have much hope or care for the elevation of the 
race. Such, you will exclaim, are my friends ! Ger- 
man scholars ! I must admit the fact with a reserva* 
tion in favor of but two. 

Letters. 1 75 

But how can I eudure such fellows? Well, I have 
learned that there are almost, if not quite as great vir- 
tues of a different kind from those noticed above as 
missing. For instance, my room-mate denies that 
there is such a thing as human rights or unselfish affec- 
tion, makes no secret of unchaste conduct, and has 
what he considers the good humor to tell me of this, 
and says if I want a chance to blow my puritanism, I 
can take a text whenever I choose. Now this fellow 
is a thorough-going, consistent, industrious, remark- 
ably acute, and well-informed young man, and one who 
respects himself highly. He says that a man must 
live naturally and rationally, and he charges me with 
being only a half-head because, as he says, I have freed 
myself from the form of religion, but am as pious as if 
I were a Carmelite. He says he could love a beautiful 
and spiritual girl if he knew one, but that in the mean- 
time he doesn't propose to be a martyr to a theory. I 
only repeat his notions because they are excellent rep- 
resentatives of what by far the majority of people in 
this country think on this subject. He is absolutely, 
I believe, not conscious of doing anything low when 
associating with the demi-monde. He says a man 
must live in harmony with himself. What redeems 
these Germans, to a degree at least, is the almost 
Homeric naweti with which they seem just what they 
are. He calls the Americans fanatical hypocrites, al- 
though he thinks it, in an ethnological aspect, possible 
that in America things are different. I have found it 
of no use and only insulting to talk to him of the 
degrading influence of such habits. 

But what is there attractive about such people? 
Well, they have all the intellectual virtues, as the 
Americans have all the social virtues between them. I 

176 A Young Scholar. 

don't exactly see that those are less than these. Of 
course it appears to each side as though what they 
lack is of no worth, but for one who, like me, stands 
impartially between, they have on neither side much 
advantage. I know that there is a side of the American 
character and American life infinitely better. I think 
of the sweet circle of the American home where purity 
and enthusiastic tenderness lend maiden and matron a 
real sanctity. On the other hand, I know there is a 
nobler side to German character and life. I think of 
that wide, intellectual zeal which glows in Germany's 
schools, of the bold, all-grasping energy of thought 
prompted by the desire to know, for which the uni- 
verse is an eternal wonder, but a wonder of law. But 
I don't mean to say that there are not, in both coun- 
tries, men combining the excellences of both. I know 
that there are such. 

I spoke of two exceptions to this normal character 
among my friends. The elder is an extremely inter- 
esting character. He is a student by profession, and it 
seems for life. He has resided at nearly all the fam- 
ous universities of Europe from Salamanca to Prague, 
and has a treasure of information and uncommon learn- 
ing which is for me an endless source of delightful in- 
struction. More even than his accomplishments are 
the charms of his great, tender nature. As you might 
suppose, he is pretty well advanced in years for a 
student, something over thirty. His person is tall and 
awkward, and a negligent dress adds nothing to its 
effect, but his soul is in his face, and the souloi his soul 
in his deep, tearful, blue eyes. Sometime I shall hear, 
I hope, the story of his youth, which I imagine to be 
that of disappointed affection, for could anything else 
make a man so tender and pure ? I visit him often in 

Letters. 177 

the evening in his room where, before lamplight, he 
generally sits with his long pipe or sometimes with his 
flute, lost in what must be a sad musing, for he has 
often greeted me with a broken voice while saying that 
he was so glad I came because he felt lonesome. I 
have him talk to me, which he does with almost a 
paternal affectionateness of manner, anxious to let me 
have the advantage of his long experience in the bewil- 
dering ways of philosophy. It is not always the same 
mood which is swaying him. At times he rises to an 
emotion which I can only liken to that of pure religious 
fervor, but at that moment of devotion when the soul 
forgets itself and thinks only God. I shall not soon 
forget what he said to me the other evening, while 
walking together by opening starlight beneath the 
softly agitated trees in the city park. ** There were 
heroes once,*' he said, ** so glad of being Romans that 
it did not seem hard to them to die if Rome could live, 
and shall not we who know that we are moments in the 
Eternal Being, be content? or are we perhaps not 
heroes? '* He reminds me so strongly of one of Jean 
Paul's favorite characters, that I have in play called 
him ** Emanuel,** upon which I must hear a criticism of 
the genius of Richter so deep and clear, so full of strange 
and beautiful thoughts, that I could imagine myself 
listening to a passage from the Hesperus itself. I only 
need to tap him with a remark to draw the finest floods 
of sentiment and learning and thought. Don't grow 
annoyed by my detailed account of one whom I really 
love. It is a great pleasure for me to enumerate all his 
excellences and even such weaknesses as give good 
men their individuality. Were it not for these they 
would all seem like models cut out of one piece of pure 
goodness and not be distinguishable. 


178 A Young Scholar. 

My other friend is very different from the first. 
Scarcely one year at the university, he has retained all 
the freshness of the school-boy ; indeed he is not yet 
nineteen and appears even much younger. I think 
him the handsomest youth among three thousand stud- 
ents, perhaps with undue partiality ; but whose judg- 
ment is in such matters unbiased by moral and 
intellectual qualities ? He has a soul like a song, as 
pure and resonant as the lyre. It is grand to see him 
throw back his long, sunny curls and with beaming 
blue eyes, sing to his own composition a passage from 
the Nibelungenlied, or declaim the great golden hexa- 
meters of Homer. He is every inch an idealist, an art- 
ist, and it is mostly in company with him I visit the 
Museum. The question is whether so joyous a nature, 
one so full of pulsating life, will keep his skirts free in 
this stronghold of moral dissipation. His home is far 
from here, in Pomerania, and can exercise no restrain- 
ing or purifying influence on the boy. He has never, 
as I suspect of my older friend, been disappointed in his 
dearest wish, has not even been in love, but it is not 
hard for me to detect in his guileless and frank nature 
the symptoms of awakening hunger for something to 
love and have and hold and caress, — that hunger 
which drives some mad and some to death and many to 
the devil, — not a few, especially the best natures, to 
lives of desperate labor and fruitless, joyless endeavor 
to fill in some worthy way an aching, insatiable void. 
I don't know which of all these to wish for him, if it 
comes to the worst. 

So much of my friends. Perhaps they will seem too 
much idealized. This is possibly true, for an unskilful 
hand at character-drawing only knows how to delineate 
types ; but they have not won anything through my 

Letters. 1 79 

inability to give you the men more as they are. I 
love to tell them of you, and indeed they admire you 
more than you will them, I fear, but I never succeed 
in giving a real portrait of you. They see always more 
the missionary than the man. 

I have written, not an answer to your letter, but a 
mass of stuflFit seems, just because I could ; but would 
it pay for me to try and show you how I am not a ma- 
terialist in the sense that your conception of matter 
really represents the ground of all various being, the 
divine substance, uncreated and self-existing? I be- 
lieve in none of all this. This is equally irrational 
with that form of superstition which gives the Divinity 
the limits of a personality, the affections of human na- 
ture, and an existence measured if not limited by time, 
and distinct from the world. 

Metaphysics is hard and very uncertain, in the par- 
ticulars at least ; yet it is no vain curiosity but an in- 
ternal necessity which compels man to seek the Ground 
of the Intelligible in an Unintelligible. But to predi- 
cate again of this intelligible reality, back of all phe- 
nomenal being, the most complicated attribute of the 
phenomenal world known to us, viz., consciousness, is 
to forget that it was just as a ground for these mani- 
festations that we first suppose a self-existent some- 
what. The world of things as the world of souls is a 
temporal world, that is, one in which there is no per- 
manence. These things have no real^ only a modal 
existence, as a house is only a condition of bricks, a 
brick a condition of chemical elements, and these again 
what we may call atomic combinations. But what is 
an atom ? Why, it has as many parts as the universe, 
and we find that there is not in matter the ground of 
its own being. Nor is there in soul, for what is soul 

i8o A Young Scholar. 

but a dynamic manifestation of matter, just as gravita- 
tion is, and equally incomprehensible, but, just as gra- 
vitation or heat, convertible into the other forces and 
daily made out of the chemical properties of food through 
the organism of the sexes. 

What you say of a ** thousand inward senses" by 
which you perceive the fact of immortality, is to me as 
talk of colors to the blind. These ** senses *' (?) are 
neither reason nor love, for the one tells us that as we 
are bom so we die, and the other that not our life, but 
the infinite life of the whole, which is immortal, is the 
divine good. As to faith, we have that in all things 
which we believe and of course very often without 
ground. I never heard of its being a sense by whose 
immediate aid we become definitely certain, of course 
not of a fact, it being a sense, but of an appearance, 
and this moreover on our inside. It seems to me that 
our frightened eye comes to the reason and begs her 
fortune, offering, like a timid princess to a brown gypsy 
girl, wonderful things, if it be only according to her 
wish. Nobody but the princess could be in doubt as 
to the answer. But you speak of a ** thousand senses ' ' 
and of course my philosophy, as well as my arithmetic, 
would be unable to make out what or where these 
could be. I think very often, when reflecting on the 
possible grounds which can support men in their relig- 
ious notions, of the words of my friend, ** But, perhaps, 
are we not heroes? '* 

But who can find fault with another for solving the 
riddle of life as he will, seeing that every way it is so 
hard? If we follow a cool, unbiased reason, she 
points out to us, as the only reconciliation with our 
fate possible, a dedication of ourselves to the whole in 
love, which, perhaps, the Christ has attained, but 

Letters. 1 8 1 

scarcely another. ** He who loses his own soul shall 
find it/' is the sense of his life. If we do not trouble 
ourselves about facts so much, we can have as pleasant 
a prospect as we wish, because it has no other origin 
than the wish. But it is hard to constantly oversee 

At the next writing, if you answer this letter 
promptly, I shall most likely be in Dresden, where 
I design to study the art gallery for a month, or such 
a matter, of my vacation. From there I shall write 
you about my art studies and some of the master- 
pieces of Berlin and Dresden. My verses don't seem 
to have pleased you so much as I expected when I 
selected and copied them for you, but then I reckoned 
more on you than on the verses. You must read them 
with care, because they are not finished artistic per- 
formances, but feeble efforts to express emotions by 
which I am rather mastered than of which I am mas- 
ter. Till you tell me more about yourself, how can 
I ask you the questions I know I should wish to? 
You promised me some personal experience, for which 
I am extremely anxious. I am almost ready to bum 
this letter. If my time allowed I certainly should 
write it over. 


Domestic anxieties ; range of solid reading ; the infinite 
beauty of the universe; style of living ; of dress and 
food ; the story of ** Electra " / a poem. 

B«RIJN, July 3d, 1870, 

Your letter of June loth has just been read. 
Father's health seems still critical. This is the first 

1 82 A Young Scholar. 

thing I look for up and down your letters' pages. If 
you cannot have health in that wretched country, 
leave it for heaven's sake and my sake. If you can- 
not make money anywhere else, you can live at least. 
What would it be for me to return with all the learning 
of Europe to a desolate hearth ! When I think of 
such a thing, then I want to die first. A human heart 
is but a vessel full of fears and brightened hopes and 
insatiable wants and pained joys. How hard it is to 
make our love wide enough to embrace the world, and 
calm as the universe, that knows no time ! 

I hope that you will be able to stay a year with me, 
the year that I am in Italy. If father cannot come 
then, why, we will, after some time, come together to 
Europe, for I shall wish to come back, and perhaps I 
shall make it a business trip. This would please 
him better than to sit down with me a year in Rome or 
Florence. What if I had a commission to purchase 
works of art for an American museum, or some such 
object to lend special interest to a visit to all the great 
centres of Europe ? Let father get well with this an- 
ticipation. We shall certainly do something like it. 

Since my return I have been very busy. The ex- 
cursion was most salutary and lent me vigor, which I 
did not know I wanted. Nothing could be finer than 
the wide intellectual activity my studies afford. 

You wish to know what the result of my year's 
work has been. Well, I have read almost as much 
solid literature in the last twelve months as altogether 
before this. In the history of philosophy and in Greek 
speculation I have laid an excellent foundation upon 
which to make a special acquaintance with the great 
modern systems. Of these, I have already studied 
Descartes and Spinoza ; I^eibnitz comes next. The 

Letters. 183 

literature connected with these systems is very great. 
In art I have won my first real insight. This has cost 
me a great deal of reading. Greek has grown almost 
familiar and I^atin quite so. I mean hy familiar, that 
fluency which enables me to read a volume of three 
hundred or four hundred pages in a day. Of belles- 
lettres I have read Uhland, Tieck, Herder, Novalis, 
etc. Wheweirs Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences y 
founded on their history, is almost all that I have read 
in English. My practice on the flute has taken some 
considerable time. My improvement in tone, precision, 
and facility is very flattering. But most of all, my ex- 
perience in the methods of scholars and the real nat- 
ure of learning I esteem as my chiefest acquisition. 

Whose heart would not bound with eagerness to 
learn, so long as systems and sciences are known only 
by the tremendous whisperings of Rumor ? But it is 
reserved for those to whom the universe is an ever-en- 
during, infinite wonder, and every part of it unspeak- 
ably lovely, not to tire at the details of a scholar's 
work. Sometimes I feel as though it were too awful a 
thing to live, — too strange, too full of limitless emo- 
tions, — and I almost want to cease. Then I wonder if 
such feelings are healthy. I look at myself in the glass 
but discover nothing but a face a little worn by work, 
like one of the many thousands passing on the street, 
of the many millions who have been, or of those who 
yet will be. At night I see the little bright flecks of 
star-dust that after almost endless time will be inhabit- 
able worlds, where, no doubt, beings will feel as I feel. 
Some will grieve for loss, and some will long for love, 
and some will wonder at the world, making wreaths 
perhaps for festival of unimaginable flowers, perhaps 
of such as I gather, that are now only attenuated fire. 

184 A Young Scholar. 

By day the blue sky seems to hold me shut out from 
the hollow universe; to bend my thoughts to earth, 
to what is real. I drink deep of its invigorating breath. 
Isn't life a mystery? Is it possible to explain why 
things are ? Would not God wonder most of all why 
He exists ? It may be explained why this thing is 
just this thing and not another, but why or how any- 
thing is, is an eternal and groundless riddle. Some 
people think that when they go to heaven they will 
know, but that can only make it all stranger. 

I attribute all that is hypochondriacal in these reflect- 
ions to my being, as far as my social nature is con- 
cerned, virtually alone. It is not good for youth to 
be so one-sided, so wholly intellectual, and this is a 
reason for my wishing you with me. I make some 
dreadful sacrifices for my education ; there should be 
something uncommon to reward them. 

You ask me so often what I eat and wear ; it seems 
you have no conception of what I look like any more. 
I dress very plainly, wear a very broad-brimmed felt hat, 
blouse-coat, and gray breeches. Coat and vest are of 
light black stuff mixed with white specks. Breakfast 
is very light, — ^bread and milk ; dinner at one o'clock, 
of soup, either chocolate soup or beer soup or pea 
soup, then a plate of potatoes and kraut, or beans and 
lentils, or some other vegetables whose English appel- 
lations I do not know, with two kinds of meat, a dish 
of plums or cherries, and a ** tulip,'* i, e,y three-quarters 
of a glass of beer ; for supper I eat eggs and potatoes, 
I am afraid to tell you how many, lest you think my 
health in danger, but I assure you that nothing is 
wasted in my physical economy of all I eat. No less 
than eight hours' sleep will satisfy me and I take this 
time. I must have some pictures taken before leaving 

Letters. 185 

all my friends here and then I shall send you one. 
The enclosed lines, if not good, are not very bad, so I 
send them without much thought, having composed 
them in an hour a few days ago. What I strove to at- 
tain was classic purity and calm height of soul, in which 
no agitation becomes great enough to deform the noble 
beauty of the human spirit. Electra was the noble 
daughter of Agamemnon, who, on returning from a 
successful siege of Troy, was slain by the paramour of 
his wife, Clytemnaestra, she lending her aid to this act. 
His son Orestes, still a child, was rescued from his un- 
natural mother and reared at the court of an old family 
guest to be his father's avenger. Electra, his sister 
and elder, who had aided his escape, remained. Her 
proud heart was subject to daily humiliation because 
she would not cease to honor her father's grave with 
flowers and tears, and ever prayed for the coming of 
her brother to purge the house of its foul sin that 
weighed upon her soul. Finally she hears that her 
brother has been killed by his horses while in the act 
of winning an Olympian victory. At this, her spirit, 
so long held erect by hope, is broken and she turns 
from the gods, to whom she had offered so many fruit- 
less prayers, and from earth, whose beauty mocks her 
misery, to the eternal silence ; but she goes like a 
Greek heroine to the ** end of all, the poppied sleep.** 
I cannot judge of the power of my verses, because my 
mind is too full of the immortal beauty of the Sopho- 
clean Electra to be impartial to the character. What- 
ever she says must be great, because she says it. You 
must think of the speaker of these lines as one of the 
** divinely tall" daughters of heroic Hellas, bereft of 
her father, the noblest of the Greeks, by a foul sin 
which her heart abhorred ; as unable to bring retribu- 

1 86 A Young Scholar. 

tion on the offenders, which was thought by the antique 
world to be imperatively required by divine justice ; as 
now deprived of her brother whom she had loved and 
cherished with a proud sister's affection. If you can 
conceive the Greek beauty of this character, the plastic 
nobility of form in it, then you will feel what I do. This 
letter must come to a close. When writing home I let 
my whole soul out, and say many things which perhaps 
I only ought to think, which I certainly write to no one 
else. You will know how to account for the too high 
pressure, and sometimes the abnormal state of a stud- 
ent's mind who, like myself, has nothing to do but 
digest systems of philosophy and smack his lips over 
works of art. When you get this I shall be almost 
ready to leave for Dresden. 

Mail your letter as usual to Berlin. 

With love. 


There is no grief bath access to the Gods : 

No tears have ever fallen from heavenly eyes : 
No lamentations reach unto them. 

The clouds are beautiful, nor cease to pass 
Above strewn flowers on my father's grave. 

The springs of light break over me at dawn, 
And the sweet mouths of nightingales 

Are busy all the dusk in lo's wood. 

My heart *s aweary of its fruitless grief, 

And sick of life that 's inconsolable, 
All things have end, and grief not least of them. 

O brother, now among those having loved. 
And father mine, whom I alone have wept, 

Hear, hear, I come, I will be one with you 
Who slumber, not awakening with the light, 

About the knees of calm Persephone. 

Letters. 187 


Description of Sans Souci ; rumors of war; no gov- 
emment by pure reason ; home letters and attachment; 
plans of travel to Munich; the lesson of an evil life ; 
parental characteristics ; the rationale of copyright ; 
the age of labor, 

Beri^in, July 14th, 1870. 

Dkar Mothkr : — ^Yesterday I made an excursion that 
I have had in mind ever since reaching Berlin, I mean 
to Potsdam and the gardens of Sans Souci. Perhaps 
you have not heard of this celebrated residence of the 
Prussian kings, the eye of Europe. The place is ten 
miles by rail from here, situated near a beautifully 
wooded expanse of water, and enjoys the peculiar favor 
of the Hohenzollerns as well as of Providence. The 
gardens, which are said to excel those of the Tuileries 
at Paris, and consequently to be the finest in the world, 
are chiefly the creation of Frederick the Great. Here 
he built his pet residence, *'Sans Souci*' (French, 
for ** without care '*)• Here he entertained the inimit- 
able spirits of his time, Voltaire, De la Mettrie, etc. 
Between philosophical essa5^s, military orders, and bril- 
liant French conversation, was passed the greater part 
of the life of the greatest hereditary monarch since 
Alexander. But these liturgies of hero-worship sound 
not unlike the eternal chant of the guides who spend 
their lives in pointing out to strangers the relics of 
great men. Such trivialities could not occupy me 
amidst the focal splendor of art and nature collected 
in these grounds. 

The gardens are at least (I make a guess) four hun- 
dred acres in extent, ornamented with three palaces, 
one beautiful church in pure Romaic, grottos, temples, 

1 88 A Young Scholar. 

retreats, arbors, fountains, statues without number. 
There are acres of roses, charming glades and broken 
prospects, carriage-drives and shaven lawns, fantastic 
shapes of flower-beds and half-hidden beautiful marble 
columns with classic sculptures resting on them. 
Above all, the forest trees are of the noblest growth. 
In the Orange-house there is a room with forty-three 
splendid copies of Raphael's best pictures. What a 
sight ! In the palaces are rooms of gold and azure 
silk, some in pure marble with crystal lights of ten 
feet diameter ; one room roofed with sea-shells in 
graceful and fantastic forms and literally lined with 
semi-precious stones, amethyst, beryl, chalcedony, 
sardonyx, etc., as they are all named in the Book of 
Revelation. This is the way men spend money when 
they have it without having earned it. The archi- 
tecture is, for the most part, in the tasteless, baroco 
style of the last century, which strove to make good 
a lack of clear architectonic sense by an affluence of 
ornament. It would make a Greek sick, but Geimany 
has learned something since then and the structures 
of a Schinkel might almost rival those of Ictinus, 
the builder of the Acropolis, for harmonious division 
of masses and vital organic necessity of all the parts, 
if in the grace and classic finish of the single forms 
he leaves much to be desired. A great deal of this 
even is due to the inferior material with which the 
German artist had to build. 

But I cannot describe what I saw, I can scarcely 
form an idea of it for myself. The time was scarcely 
sufficient, although I took the whole day to it. The 
crown-princess,* who has just arisen from childbed, 

* Now the Dowager Empress Frederick, the eldest child of 
Queen Victoria. 

Letters. 1 89 

was being wheeled about the grounds, followed by her 
little ones, among them the future crown-prince, who 
looks very much like Billy. She nodded to our little 
party, and of course we took ofiF our hats. 

The rumors of a war with France are rife to-day. 
The king is said to have dismissed the French envoy, 
who required a declaration on the part of Prussia that 
she would not in any way attempt to interfere in the 
Spanish Crown affair, with a refusal to treat in any way 
with such an insolent demand, or to have any further 
negotiations with the bearer of such instructions. 
France seems anxious to fight, or at least wishes to 
frighten Prussia. If Bismarck does anything, it will 
be so unexpected and sudden that France will have 
trouble to keep her feet. A war between these powers 
would be a dreadful calamity. 

The machinery of state is too unwieldy for the direct- 
ion of pure reason. No single thinker or thought can 
be placed in the centre and so gather together the lines 
of power as to control it. A Napoleon only made him- 
self the organ of his time, — put himself at the head of 
an already moving avalanche. The cumbersome forms, 
and precedents of statesmanship, the inertia of the 
masses, the gigantic conflict of interests called up by 
every question, make even genius powerless to inform 
the whole with any vivifying and illuminating idea. 
The state is like the shapeless masses of protoplasmic 
life out of which the organisms of the earliest periods 
arose. But I have trust in the almightinessof that law 
which, through the struggle for existence, selection, 
and destruction, brings order out of darkness. I hope 
to live to see and help form some of the vertebrae of 
scientific order in this clump of interests called the mod- 
em state. We will make it impossible for the peace 

igo A Young Scholar. 

and lives of millions to depend on the health or temper 
of a single, ill-bred bully, called king. 

Here comes a letter from home ! This is lucky, 
what's in it? Well, this is father's letter with money 
and such a rustic account of melons and peaches, ber- 
ries and oats ! A spread-eagle Fourth of July oration, 
etc., but not half enough of the etc. Why did n't you 
give me the best points of your speech ? Don't you see 
how many long letters I write home without getting 
tired ? If you have half the pleasure in reading my 
letters that I have in writing them, they must be 
clear gain all around. When I think of going home 
and talking to you all, it seems as if I must go right 
off. Sometimes I rise from my seat involuntarily, as 
if I were just going, before a second thought stays me. 

In a few days I break up and leave Berlin, where in 
a year I have made some attachments, as I do every- 
where. My nature is almost feline in its subjection to 
habit and the power of daily contact. I never left a 
place in my life, where I had lived any time, with 
pleasure. I fear that a youth of wandering will cure 
me of this at the expense of all power to feel attached. 

I will explain now, as I think I have done before, 
my plan for the summer. My Hartz journey was 
taken in the short vacation of Passover. The term, 
however, is out on the first of August, when the long 
vacation begins. It has not been, at any time, my in- 
tention to stay during these months (August, Septem- 
ber, and October) in Berlin. What would be the use ? 
Now during August I shall be in Dresden to study art. 
Dresden is about forty miles by rail from Berlin. Sep- 
tember I wish to spend on the way from Dresden to 
Munich, stopping at Frankfort, Weimar, Nuremberg, 
and I^ipzig. According to this plan I shall arrive at 

Letters. 191 

Munich on the first of October. There I wish to spend 
the winter. This was the reason I desired money 
for three months. My month in Dresden will not cost 
me much, but then the next month will cost so much 
the more, so that after two months and a half from 
now, when I arrive at Munich, I shall be pretty dry of 
my one hundred and nineteen thalers. The money 
would perhaps reach, but then I should be in a new 
city without immediate postal communication with 
home and strapped. If I don't receive some more 
money before leaving Dresden, say thirty thalers, I 
shall make a very short trip of it, in order to get to 
Munich with something in my pocket. It would be a 
pity to lose this opportunity of seeing these cities, as 
this will probably be my last one. If, on receiving this, 
you send me a draft for a small sum on a Dresden bank, 
I shall receive it before the first of September. Send 
the letter to me, Dresden, Poste Restante, I^etters re- 
main in the poste restante until called for. If you have 
already sent some to Berlin I shall get it. 

I hope mother will, after this, have an idea of where 
I am going. She writes as if I were in the moon, with 
a sort of hopeless inquiry as to my movements. I am 
glad you like my old friend. You would be glad to 
have him in Kansas you say. But how would he live 
there ? He was here just before I sat down to write, 
with a work of Paracelsus which I wished to see. My 

pet, Paul G , goes home to Pomerania in a few 

days, and I expect to see him for the last time. I con- 
gratulate myself in having been of possibly some serv- 
ice to him. The road to hell here for a handsome 
and winning young fellow who loves life, and has 
money, is horribly short. I don't think that you could 
well have gotten an idea of such a state of things from 

192 A Young Scholar. 

any side of American life. But I left America before 
I had grown aware perhaps of what was around me. 

What a lesson this is, to teach me that the bad and 
vile are only unfortunate ! Unfortunately it is true in 
such a way as to take from them nearly all that is 
amiable or worthy of any respect, but still, as far as 
subjects for any feeling, subjects only of pity. What 
a mockery of mingled love and hating, and intellectual 
unclearness, is this doctrine of an undetermined will 
which controls our actions ! This is to give us a right 
to hate and chastise evil-doers. How Christ-like! 
But a parent who has punished a beloved child knows 
better than that. He will know what it costs those 
who love to cause pain, and how far hatred is from 
mingling in such an act, and how solely the punish- 
ment is administered to deter the will, that is, to deter- 
mine it. 

I started to write to mother and now I am writing to 
father, but you are for me only one thought, one 
object of love with two sides, a dualism, if not a trin- 
ity. I think that, taking it all in all, no one was ever 
blessed with better parents than I, and this is the one 
great factor in the making-up of our lives over which 
we have not a shadow of influence. You and mother 
are finely different, down to the smallest touches of 
character, and, although I am like both, I am not like 
either exactly. It is great entertainment for me to 
trace at lucid intervals, when my own character lies 
anatomically bared and transparent before me, the fine 
nuances of traits which are characteristic of either of 

lyCt me propose a question for your consideration. 
You know that the right of property in productions of 
the mind is, and has been, one of the most difficult 

Letters. 193 

points in the philosophy of law, so much so that many 
eminent men have doubted such right, and the rest 
differed endlessly in trying theoretically to ground it. 
Now it seems to me that we are to consider the author 
as imparting his discovery or work to **all whom it 
may concern,** upon the condition of their not seeking 
to make profit out of its circulation. The character of 
this contract (for I consider it such) is a little difiBcult. 
That any man has the moral right to make the condition 
upon which he will reveal anything to another, pro- 
vided the condition be not immoral, no one will doubt. 
The question is, how this condition becomes a contract 
without the consent of both author and public. The 
author could have made this contract singly with each 
purchaser, but, as this would have been tedious or im- 
possible, the state declares that the single act of copy- 
right, or registering a work, shall stand for it. Now 
no man is obliged to use a patented work, so that all 
who do may be justly considered as silently accepting 
the condition of the author. This acceptance, if it be 
admitted as such, makes the contract complete, just as 
a person who gets on board of a public conveyance is 
thereby supposed to contract himself to pay for the pas- 
sage. So in this case, such contracts, expressed only 
on the one side and silently accepted on the other, are 
in society very numerous. If any member of society 
does not wish the secret of the author or artist on the 
given condition he must act as if it had not been re- 
vealed ; for him, it has not. The state simply wit- 
nesses the contract. All contracts, in order to be valid, 
must be made in a legally prescribed form, and noth- 
ing hinders the state from prescribing in this case a 
peculiar form, seeing that no one is deprived of any 
privilege or right which he could otherwise enjoy 


194 -^ Young- Scholar. 

thereby. I am aware that there are many other points 
which come up for arrangement in this question, but, 
for the present, it seems to me that the fiction of prop- 
erty in a certain order of words or wheels is not neces- 
sary to justify the state in defending the artist or 
author in the enjoyment of his labor. Why the right 
of an inventor, but not of an author, should expire 
after a certain term is, I think, capable of a satisfactory 
demonstration. On the supposition of ** property,'* 
and not a *' contract,'* it would be difficult to explain 
how, by rights, either could ever run out. The modern 
state of course does n*t care much for principles. She 
does what she thinks is fair when she means to do 
right, at other times she does as the ** I^obbies** say 
and pay. But all the thinkers of any speculative or 
dialectical power at all are not satisfied till they see 
why and how a thing is so. My attempted explana- 
tion may be unclear for lack of care in statement, but 
I hope your legal head will see what I mean. Give 
me your opinion on the question and on my explana- 
tion. I have not reflected very long on the matter, 
but I take it as a lucky thought. 

The weather is fearfully hot and unpleasant. My 
lectures grow toward the end of the day tiresome. 
My memory and attention are not half so good in the 
summer as in winter, and as to making verses, why, 
somehow this summer I feel as if I had about made my 
last. The fountains of song are dry. The past grows 
fainter and fainter, the present is full of everything but 
emotions of passion and power, and I see time flying 
too fast to expect to ever catch another handful of the 
roses and thorns of youth before they are gone. This 
is the age of labor in the storm, and pressure of ideas, 
interests, social forms. The man of to-day will find 

Letters, 195 

his proper joy to be the glad strong thrill of battle, 
which rejoices the strong, whether it be a revel of 
swords and spears, or of keener thoughts. Wght, 
light is what we want, our war-cry. Woe to the un- 
happy darkness that gets between us and our goal ! 

Your aflFectionate son. 


The frivolous war; Bismarck's duplicUy and NapoleotC s 
baseness; a visit of children ; the hate of joyless men ; 
departure from Berlin. 

B^RUN, July 30, 1870. 

Does not every year teach us with more humiliating 
certainty how little we really live for the world, how 
almost exclusively for ourselves ? It may be a conserv- 
atory provision of nature, this impotence which limits 
our sympathy to a circle fiot exceeding the distinguish- 
ing power of vision, — to which the fixed stars seem no 
more remote than the horizon. 

Indeed, I did not know that the lives of men could 
be so indifferent to me, — ^but indifferent is too strong a 
term. They are not so completely nothing that I have 
been able to view the inauguration of this frivolous war 
without the deepest indignation and depression. France 
bears the world's wrath for her unheard of wickedness 
in precipitating such a calamity upon civilization, but 
she is rather unfortunate than alone guilty. The most 
infamous plans of aggrandizement have been hatched 
and then smothered between the cabinets of Paris and 
Berlin for the last six years.* Bismarck would fain 

* Reference is here made to the alleged agreement between 
Bismarck and Napoleon pending the Austro-Prussian war, that 
if France should not interfere in the Prussian scheme for an- 

196 A Young Scholar. 

make it appear as if the base proposals of France had 
all this time been indignantly but silently rejected by 
himself. Such a fable may deceive the credulous and 
ignorant, but there are those who see in his conduct 
only fear, and in his words now nothing but untruth. 
This consolation remains, — the consolation of science, 
that the providence of law, a disciplining hand of a 
necessity, is here at work, which reckons in history 
with contending passions and the masses of human 
life, as in continent-building with the sea-water and 
shapeless granite. What are a million frequenters of 
Prussian brothels and as many Prussian bauers in the 
eyes of that might which disposes civilization ? If one 
coruscation of creative thought can be evolved from 
their annihilation, it will be called cheap. But the 
question seems harder when it is asked what value has 
thought or aught else for such a world. 

I feel that I am not sufficiently reconciled to the 
reality of things. Just as I am disposed to call every 
love which is not also a reverent worship, infamy, so I 
reckon as nothing those lives passed in the enjoyment 
of food and rest. A thinker must be wiser. No good 
thing will be coerced. I shall let this war roll on 
about me without the interest of a partisan, as there is 
no undivided right on either side. It is a solemn at- 
mosphere in which to pore over the gathered labors 
of the race. It is hard not to feel the irony of battle, 
after so many years of revolving the pages of Plato. 
Perhaps his words of peace may still bear their long- 
desired fruit. The student cherishes at least a kingdom 
of the ideal in the midst of life. 

nezing Schleswig-Holstein she should be compensated with 
Pmssian influence in acquiring Luxembourg ; a promise Bis- 
marck never intended to keep. 

Letters. 197 

There is no news I could send that you will not have 
received much sooner. One does not mark much of 
the war in Berlin. The nation is resolved to go very 
far for her independence. Of course all talk about the 
last man and dollar means no more here than it did 
some time ago in the United States. The army is 
powerful but not over-confident. The French have 
something which intimidates the German to a degree. 
They are more self-reliant and rash. 

I shall try to pursue my original plan of visiting 
Dresden and then of going to Munich. If the French 
occupy the last place, I shall be obliged to come back 
as far as Leipzig or Halle or perhaps Berlin. I have 
no anxiety to join the army, as I might have if the 
cause was a more human one. As it is, it seems 
scarcely worth while to fight for Prussian independ- 
ence, only to see it abused by Bismarck. Of course a 
born German feels otherwise. 

My work has been disturbed by the excitement some- 
what, but as soon as I reach Dresden I shall resume 
the activity so necessary to my rest. This afternoon 
we have had a visit which has done me a world of good. 
Westphairs little cousins of nine and six came up to 
see him. I put books and everything aside for a regu- 
lar play. The youngest is a sweet child, brimful of 
gleeful life and affection. I had n*t seen anything so 
sweet for such an age, that I kissed the little fellow to 
my heart's content. If I were able I would get me 
such a child right off to spend my superfluous affection 
on. What a recreation, after long hours of labor, to 
give one's self up to the sweet humors of a curly- 
headed angel of four or six years ! It must be a sad 
sight to see the nest empty, the little ones all fledged 
and flown. Your letter of July 4th came in some 

198 A Young Scholar. 

days ago. I read with pain the account of that horror 
which occurred in your neighborhood, for I remember 
how cruel these western fanners are, not only to help- 
less orphans in their power, but to their own children. 
I have seen it, and remember well the hatred which 
prevails between the narrow, joyless souls of men al- 
ready hardened to their grasping labor, and their chil- 
dren, those joy-hungry beginners of life. You have 
not forgotten Dick Fuller and his poor Purley. The 
sentiment which lynched that unfortunate man is at 
least not a praiseworthy one. It is not unlike the 
spirit which perhaps prompted his act. The wise and 
good have no joy in the infliction of even necessary 
punishment, as his certainly was. The law must in- 
timidate crime, but if we feel rightly, we will not wish 
to make ourselves the instruments of pain. Hate be- 
gets hate. But I will not blame men for doing what 
they hold praiseworthy ; only wish them, as I wish us 
all, more light. 

The Fifteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution 
is a great step forward on a very long road. I hail it 
with gratitude, but would lose no time in astonishment. 
I am pleased that you understand Mill's political tract. 
Before I came from home I had not read a line of 
philosophical politics, and I thought I was alone in my 
view. This would of course have been too remarkable. 

Day after to-morrow I set off for Dresden. The 
roads are open. The transport of soldiers fills every 
conveyance at present. I have taken leave of most 
every one in Berlin who cared to say good-by. To- 
morrow is Sunday, when I shall visit, perhaps for the 
last time, the Museum. This year in Berlin has 
passed, as every year passes, leaving one wondering 
at the noise and smoke of our preparations to live and 

Letters, 1 99 

the real insignificance of our lives. My existence is a 
minimum of emotion and a maximun of hard work. 
Write to Dresden, Poste Restante, 


The Nemesis of Napoleon and guilt of Bismarck ; di- 
plomacy and character of Bismarck ; Dresden galleries, 

Dresden, August 11, 1870. 

My last letter, if I remember, was mailed the day 
before my leaving Berlin. The troops had not all yet 
been forwarded to the Rhine, and this was the cause 
of my having a roundabout ride of eight hours, via 
lyeipzig. I stayed overnight there and took this occa- 
sion to visit some of the famous book-establishments. 
You know it is the most renowned publishing centre of 
the world. The city has much that is interesting. In 
the afternoon of the next day I came on to Dresden, 
and have taken a quiet little room for the remaining 
weeks of summer. The pictures here are too splendid 
for description, but of these after a while. 

The country is very excited over the cheering news 
from the theatre of war ; perhaps the last news when 
you receive this will have another burthen, but all we 
know now is that the French are retiring along their 
whole line and forming before Metz. No one, I think, 
envies Napoleon his place. Any moment may see a 
tumult in Paris that will block everything and force 
him to fly the country. The Nemesis of history is 
howling on his track. But how unjust the world will 
be to lay the entire blame of this war to his account ! 
All who are even superficially acquainted with the 
diplomatic history of the last ten years know that 

2CX5 A Young Scholar. 

Prussia, or, much better, Bismarck, is really as guilty 
as Napoleon, and only more fortunate that he has been 
able to make Napoleon take the initiative. The moral 
responsibility, however, of shedding so much blood 
is for this reason none the less. If we reckon the 
interests of humanity as nothing, for this is the es- 
timate that European cabinets are accustomed to make, 
we shall be obliged to suspend our judgment between 
the two villains now at war. 

In * sixty-six Bismarck promised Napoleon I^thringen 
for his neutrality in the Austrian war and for his per- 
mission to gobble up Hanover and the other German 
states without molestation. Bismarck's unexpectedly 
sudden and brilliant victory at Sadowa made him so 
confident of his own strength, that he now refused to 
allow Napoleon to proceed with his incorporation of 
Lothringen into his empire. Besides this, the nation- 
feeling had been so raised in Prussia that such an act 
would have probably cost Bismarck his place. He chose 
to be false to Napoleon. Since then, of course Napo- 
leon has been sore, and Bismark, anxious to efface his 
treachery by annihilating its object, has sought a war 
with France. The secret treaty which Benedetti, the 
ambassador of the French court, according to Bismarck's 
latest revelation, should have proposed to him, is un- 
questionably partly his own work. It now serves a 
good turn in raising foreign sympathy for Prussia, or 
rather hatred of France, which is just as valuable to 
him. I am persuaded that Bismarck, who was afraid 
of a reduction of the army at the next Reichstag, when 
the law now in force expires, arranged this entire 
HohenzoUern affair with Prim,* for every one could 

*The Premier of Spain, who was then seeking a candidate for 
the Spanish throne. Benedetti had demanded of the Prussian 

Letters. 201 

see that such a candidature would be met by France 
with the most decided protest. Did not the English 
journals even justify the French in their objections to 
a Prussian prince as king of Spain ? Bismarck also 
knew that Napoleon wished a pretext at that moment 
for war and that such a complication could easily be 
made to afford it. The emperor grew exacting ; the 
Prussian king cut him short ; the declaration of hostili- 
ties followed. 

The present Chancellor of the North German Con- 
federacy, his own creation, has been from the begin- 
ning of his political life a supporter of the rankest 
absolutism of the Prussian House. An unconcealed 
despiser of popular measures and men, his youth was 
one wild scene of debauchery, and his manhood knows 
but one object, power. He neither respects human 
rights nor loves his fellow-men. He tramples on the 
constitution of the state, and then insults the represent- 
atives of the people in a manner which would cost him 
his life in many a state. A nation seems only worthy 
contempt that will endure such a man. His unparal- 
leled talents as a diplomatist secure his power in a 
state which, like Prussia, is bent on an extension of 
territory. I am bound to hope that he will succeed in 
this war, because I hope it will, in freeing France of 
Napoleon, enable Germany to gain in her civil affairs 
greater liberty and self-control. Austria is reported as 
menacing the German Confederation. This would be 
bad. It makes me anxious too, for myself. In this 
case, Munich could very easily be cut off from com- 
munication with America. 

I am hard at work on the galleries, have no acquaint- 

king that no Hobenzollem should be a candidate, and King 
William rejected the proposal. 

202 A Young Scholar. 

ances, and so my whole time. Raphael's Sistine Ma- 
donna is here. I worship her. I expect a letter every 
day from home by way of Berlin, where the post-oflSce 
has instructions to forward my mail to Dresden. Be- 
tween my flute and my critics, I manage to spend the 
evening very pleasantly. 


A melancholy Saturday and its end; celebrating victory ; 
loneliness ; a nature more sensuous than intellectual; 
superfluity of life ; Raphael and the Pope; walks by 
the Elbe. 

Dresden, August 20, 1870. 

It is now three weeks since I have seen a familiar 
face, or spoken a word more than the formal greeting 
of strangers, or, at most, a little chat with my land- 
lady. Everything seems to have a limit — so my gen- 
ius for living alone. My books have lost for once 
their power to charm, my flute is hoarse, my eyes are 
tired with studying pictures. Solitude takes revenge 
at times for my familiarity, especially when she has the 
weather as ally. Not a sunbeam, not a fleck of blue, 
has been seen to-day. Nothing but a dun drizzle in 
the dirty court-yard, which three bedraggled chickens 
and a broken buggy alone enliven. The gallery was 
only open from ten to one, so I have been the unwill- 
ing spectator of this animating scene nearly all day. 

Yesterday it rained too, but toward evening the 
clouds broke up, the great sun-saturated clouds floated 
in tremendous masses through a dewy, shimmering 
azure as pure and endless as the souPs greatest wish. 
A soft, rain-laden air swayed all the branches and 

Letters. 203 

flower-stems in the great park, where your melancholy 
correspondent loitered till the sun was down. Then I 
bought a bunch of roses of a sad-faced little flower-girl 
for a groschen ; came to my room ; blew a half-dozen 
of the softest airs imaginable on my flute ; read a few 
pages of Catullus, and then the maid came in with my 

I was scarcely through with this when I heard the 
wild cheers of a great crowd on the square below. The 
news of a great victory had just been received, and the 
people were expressing their satisfaction in their own 
way. This roused me from my melancholy. I went 
below and cheered too, as loud as my rather loud lungs 
would permit. I hallooed for King William and Bis- 
marck and Germany, till I laughed at my mimic enthu- 
siasm. Then I went back to my room in good spirits 
and went to work on the school of Dutch Realists. 

I think it is only my loneliness which makes me feel 
so lonesome. The heart is so material, so controlled 
by space and time, that it is really little comfort to 
know that we have friends in the world, if they are not 
near us. It does me good to write. I feel twice as well 
as when I began this letter. If some one of you were 
only with me, perhaps I could do double the work I 
now perform, for it appears to me at times as if there 
were no use in my living, because I don*t see anybody 
to live for. 

You may think such a subjection to the senses un- 
worthy the student of philosophy, the disciple of pure 
reason ; but I am more artist than thinker, far more 
sensuous than intellectual. I love the hair-distinctions 
of Aristotle, or the splendid ratiocinations of Kant, or 
the geometrical logic of Spinoza, so that I often long to 
lay my book down in the midst of a thought for the 

204 A Young Scholar. 

emotion that overcomes me, for the pure delight of a 
bold thought which my own mind, running forward, 
anticipates more rapidly than I can read; but the 
beauty of a Grecian Eros, of a wonderful sunset^ of 
Raphael's Madonna, will move me to tears. No 
words can convey what I feel. This is a susceptibility 
almost wholly created since I have been in Europe. 
I mind very well how I used to shout and dance over a 
mathematical triumph, but I do not remember that I 
was ever so impressed by outward nature (art of course 
I had no idea of) ; and this may be the reason, for I can- 
not help noticing how it opens my eyes to the world 
about me. 

I sufiFer from a very curious complaint, too much 
vigor. It reacts on me and makes me restless, discon- 
tented, melancholy, because I can neither work it off, 
nor run it off. Thursday I studied fifteen hours, and 
then walked clear around Dresden, almost ten miles, 
and when I came home could not sleep. With all my 
uncommon bodily strength I could never work well, 
because my mind was restless and wanted employment. 
I could always study best when I was half sick. There 
are so many played-out young men who have no en- 
ergy, that I wish I could put a portion of my life into 
their exhausted veins. It would be good for us both. 
If you never felt how disagreeable it is to have a super- 
fluity of life, why, you will not comprehend my case. 
A man was not meant to be nothing but a student. 

Our gallery has the most beautiful work in the 
world, as the Madonna Sistina of Raphael, and hun- 
dreds more works only inferior to this. Every day I 
go and sit at the feet of this heavenly creation. It is 
my matin devotion. It makes me purer but sadder, 
for then it seems that the best of life is but a dream, a 

Letters. 205 

vision forever unattainable. They say this is the por- 
trait, but slightly idealized, of the little baker-girl 
whom Raphael loved, the little Fornarina whom he 
found in a Roman suburb. He took her with him into 
the Vatican when employed on his famous frescos. 
Kvery day she was near him, till the Pope thought it a 
scandal and asked Raphael rather angrily, who that 
girl was. The artist's face flushed with indignation 
and he answered, ** If your Holiness will allow me to 
reply, she is my eyes.** The Pope understood his 
words and temper, and as he could not afiFord to lose 
him, why, the infallible man gave way. It seems to 
me no wonder, if Raphael had a love like this, that he 
painted angels and Madonnas fit for heaven, for he 
must have been there himself. 

I had progressed so far in this melancholy epistle 
yesterday : to-day, (Sunday) I feel so very different 
that I am almost disposed not to send it, but corre- 
spondents, like married people, should communicate 
good and bad. The weather is Elysian to-day and I 
have enjoyed it. Up and down the beautiful Elbe, 
past the stately residences and royal and noble castles, 
on the shady, long, macadamized roads or promenades, 
I have tramped since eight this morning, — at least 
twenty miles. There are many places in the neighbor- 
hood made sacred by the preference of Schiller, who 
wrote much here. The birthplace of the warrior-poet 
Komer is here, and scenes of the Napoleonic wars. It 
is a question, if I^ouis comes as far as Dresden. 

This winter I should like to go some into society, a 
pleasure, or rather, for a student of men and manners, 
a necessity which I have, up to this time, done com- 
pletely without. It shall not intrench on my industry 
and it will, I hope, open my eyes to many things 

2o6 A Young Scholar. 

which one cannot find in books. It will make some 
better clothes necessary than I have at present, but I 
shall be able to procure these if you only advance me 
money for four, or, if you cannot do that, for three 
months. I shall have of course my university expenses 
to defray for six months out of my first exchange, so 
that you see the necessity of its covering more time 
than two months. 

As to the war, I hope Germany will go on as she 
has begun, and it cannot last long. You see what 
nerve there is in educated Prussia. An army with 
fifteen thousand university students in its ranks is not 
going to be beaten by a horde of Turcos and Chasseurs 
d' Afrique, however savage. We have not seen the up- 
shot of this disturbance in Europe yet. Your letters 
from now on, direct to Munich, Paste Restante ; that is 
the office where they remain till called for. How is 
the health of all the dear ones at home this autumn ? 
for it will be fall when you read this. My twenty-first 
birthday will be next Sunday. Does father want to 
cut me loose now ? I have no inclination to set up on 
my own hook. I don't think I ever shall have. We 
will make partners for life, if he is willing, and his 
advantage shall be after a while. Good-b3\ 


Solicitude for his father ; reasons for leaving Berlin; 
origin of the Franco-Prussian war ; a Hohenzollem 
King of Spain ; territorial spoliation of France antici- 
pated; cost of culture. 

Drssdsk, Aug. 28, 1870. 

Since my last letter was posted I have received two 
letters from home in rapid succession, the last with a 

Letters. 207 

draft on I^ondon. In your last you speak of a great 
improvement in dear father's health. If you knew 
how uneasy his protracted illness makes me, you would 
not long neglect to write, if it be only a line. You will 
do well to leave that pestilential region, and seek a 
climate more favorable to a shattered constitution. 
Father can live many years with the proper care and 
surroundings, but how suddenly can he be taken from 
us if his condition is not improved ! The past and 
future are to the wise of equal worth, only the immod- 
erate and foolish think that what is past is over. 

You wish to know my reasons for leaving Berlin. If 
you understood, as I have tried several times to ex- 
plain, that no regular course is pursued at these uni- 
versities, and that a student cannot know, till a short 
time before the opening term, what lectures will be 
read and who will read them, you would see that when 
you have heard all the famous men in your branch at 
any one university, it is advisable to go to another. 
I heard in Berlin, Trendelenburg, Haupt, Curtius, 
Harms, Diihring, Hiibner, Erdsmannsdorffer, and Bas- 
tian, so another year at Berlin would not have the value 
for me that a year at Munich will, because these, the 
important men at Berlin, will read for the most part 
the very subjects that I have heard. No student, who 
is not held by a stipendium, stays longer than a year 
at one school. 

Besides these reasons, I desire to study the important 
works of art at Munich and make the acquaintance of 
Bavarian Germany. The library there is even greater 
than that of Berlin, and a library is never half 
full enough. Among a million books it is always 
a question whether the student will find what he 
wants, for to the making of books there is, and has 

2o8 A Young Scholar. 

been, no end. I travel so easily that it is no more 
matter to go from Berlin to Munich than to move from 
one street to another, but, as I think, that is always 
trouble enough. Had I stayed in Berlin I should have 
been among an altogether new set of students next 
winter. The old ones have all scattered, and studiosi 
from other schools move in. Father expected me to 
"go through*' at Berlin, and before I understood the 
modus operandi here I had this intention, but when one 
is ready, one can take a degree at any university, no 
matter where one has studied. 

The progress of this Franco-Germanic war astonishes 
the world, that is, everybody but Bismarck. Father 
desired me to keep him posted on the internal situation, 
and in order to have a right idea of this, we must 
understand the origin of the war. This is to be sought 
of course, first of all in a jealous hostility between the 
two nations, partly founded in historic events, but for 
the most part due to the interested fomentations of the 
actual governments on both sides the Rhine. It re- 
quires no extraordinary perspicacity to see how they 
found their reckoning in this. Internal abuses are suf- 
fered with patience in the face of foreign war. It is 
well known that in 'sixty-six Bismarck made promises 
to Napoleon which, after the successful event of the 
Austrian war, he found too unpopular to fulfil. These 
consisted mainly in the assurance that Prussia, in con- 
sideration of the emperor's neutrality in the violent 
rectification about to be made in the map of Germany, 
would offer no interference to the acquisition of the 
duchy of Luxembourg on the part of France. It is 
said that Belgium was included in this stipulation, in 
case Prussia should see fit to proceed with Bavaria, 
Baden, and Wiirtemberg as she did with Hanover. 

Letters. 209 

This would have been a quid pro quo, but after the vic- 
tory of Koniggratz, German national feeling ran too 
high to suflFer this disgraceful, secret barter to go into 
execution. Napoleon was obliged to bite his tongue 
and keep still. He made other overtures to Prussia, 
of which Herr von Bismarck gave the world a specimen 
in the draft of a treaty which he made public shortly 
after the declaration of hostilities. Thus it is that an 
infamous diplomacy keeps the peace of Europe in con- 
stant jeopardy. 

Now as to the immediate cause of the present explo- 
sion, it is not far to seek. That Napoleon after this 
could not look with perfect equanimity on the uninter- 
rupted aggrandizement of Prussia, is no more than 
natural. That he sought this occasion to re-establish 
the supremacy of French influence in European politics, 
I cannot, however, be made to believe. On the con- 
trary, it has all the appearance of an attempt on the 
part of Prussia to assume for herself the potent voice in 
the counsels of continental cabinets. The negotiations 
between Prim and Hohenzollem were too evidently 
cooked at Berlin to allow any other view of the matter. 
It is incredible that the Spanish procurer. Prim, should 
have made, and the Prince of Hohenzollem accepted, 
an offer of the vacant throne of Spain without the 
knowledge of the Cabinet at Berlin ; and why the offer 
at all, when the most primary diplomatist could have 
predicted its reception in Paris? Bismarck was not the 
man to overlook an opportunity like this of throwing 
the responsibility of the initiative on the French gov- 
ernment and yet of taking them, as the event abun- 
dantly proves, altogether unprepared for war. The 
circumstance, moreover, that the authorization for the 
present standing army of the German Confederacy ex- 


2IO A Young Scholar. 

pires with the current year, is very significant for any 
one acquainted with the embittered contest that Bis- 
marck, in the interest of the royal prerogative, has 
carried on with the representatives of the people, and 
which is still far from an arrangement. 

It is a great pity that the task of uniting Germany, 
it itself one of the noblest fruits of the science of poli- 
tics and of a ripening national sentiment, should have 
fallen to so unscrupulous hands. We are obliged to 
wish Bismarck's efforts successful where they outrage 
every feeling of right. The world looks with suspicion 
on a state that is so rapidly growing powerful without 
becoming better. The tone of the press and public sen- 
timent generally is on both sides very embittered. 
Contrary to every one's expectation, the French I^iberals 
show themselves the most resolute of all in their deter- 
mination to maintain the integrity of their national 
honor. A very disagreeable and significant feature of 
the war is the eagerness shown by Germany, under the 
mantle of retributive justice, to make territorial acqui- 
sitions at the expense of France. The press already 
begins to deprecate the probable interference of the 
neutral powers in case of such an attempt. The 
duchies of Elsass and I^othringen have been French for 
over two hundred years. They became such by con- 
quest, it is true, but by this right alone Prussia retains 
a much larger section of divided Poland, and that by 
simple force of arms, whereas the German troops have 
found in the peasants of these Gallicized provinces the 
most bitter enemies. One can only regret that the 
Germans, who express in such vigorous terms their in- 
dignation and surprise at the unheard of conduct of 
France, do not have more resolution in making them- 
selves heard in the direction of affairs at home. A 

Letters. 211 

citizen who has not the slightest influence on the policy 
of his own state, has in reality no right to complain 
when a foreign power acts altogether against his 
wishes. We are justified in hoping that whatever the 
event of the struggle, it will contribute to enlighten the 
world on the solidarity of human interests, and hasten 
the day when a just distribution of power will make 
such wars impossible. In all probability, before you 
receive these lines the contest will be decided. The 
situation of the Prussian army is still critical in the 
highest degree. 

Father's fears that I may be too agitated over the 
progress of the war to prosecute my studies, are un- 
founded. He forgets that I am by no means so in- 
veterate a politician as himself. I read the morning 
bulletin while taking my breakfast, and after supper I 
have an hour for the daily journal in a neighboring 
restaurant. Beyond this I scarcely think of public 

I am in a better humor to-day than when I last wrote, 
but it does really take nerve to live so all alone as I do. 
Culture only makes our social wants greater, our whole 
nature more susceptible, but I am obliged to purchase 
this at the price of living in an inhabited solitude, for 
such is, and must be, the world to me while wandering 
in search of what Solomon most desired. My health 
continues excellent. I leave for Munich in a few days. 
To-day is my twenty-first birthday. Father can hang 
up his switches now. 

P. S. — My landlady in the next room is indulging 
in one of her Homeric, inextinguishable laughs, which 
are so infinitely loud and merry that they never fail to 
make me laugh too, all over. 

212 A Young Scholar. 


Pleasure in Munich quarters; the mania of Louis I. ; 
old Nuremberg characters; German railway service ; 
Germany bent on the humiliation of France ; know- 
ledge of great civilizations necessary to culture, 

Munich, Sept. nth, '^o, 

Could you but look in at me this evening, and that 
with eyes appreciative of a student's happiness, you 
would behold a vision of what ought to be unmingled 
bliss. I am surrounded by what appears to me the 
luxury of Sybaris : indeed my room is this time com- 
fortable, not an insult and an outrage to my sense of 
beauty, as was the last habitation I occupied in Berlin. 
The effect of one's dwelling upon the mind, especially 
on the manners, is incalculable. Where everything is 
bald and ugly about us, how difficult not to conform in 
a degree to our surroundings ! Now I have pictures and 
window flowers ; a large stuffed bird ; a beautiful gilt 
French clock under a glass case ; a crucifix of ivory 
with a gilt cross and hung with artificial snowballs, 
also under a similar glass receiver ; sofa and chairs all 
cushioned ; a tasteful porcelain stove ; the cleanest bed 
you ever saw, etc. My own lamp is burning so brightly 
on my centre table, and it is so suggestive of my child- 
hood to sit and hear the loud winds piping at the cor- 
ners* (but here they are blowing from the Alps), that, 
what can I do but write home ? 

I have been a nomad for a month, so that to be 
settled again and to look forward with keen anticipa- 
tion to the long, lamp-lit winter nights, when I shall 
sit here so still and so busy with my poets and philo- 

* This is a common prairie experience. 

Letters. 2 1 3 

sophers, is a joy indeed. This room is even cheaper 
than the one I first occupied in Berlin — thanks to the 
building mania of Louis I., who paid people for erect- 
ing fine houses in Munich that were to want inhabit- 
ants. He was bound to have at least the skell of a 
splendid capital, if the people, the kernel, were not to 
be so easily brought together. I was here you know 
for a short time a year ago, so that the city is not 
exactly strange. It appeared to me then that I had 
studied the galleries here. Oh, how we live to learn ! 
They were the first works of art I had seen, and my 
simplicity was natural enough. 

You will have received a letter from me mailed not 
long before my departure from Dresden, so that there 
is nothing of my stay there which would be of interest 
to communicate. From there I came directly to Nu- 
remberg, the most German city of Germany, the birth- 
place and home of Hans Sachs, Diirer, Vischer, and 
other well-known masters of old German art and in- 
dustry. Nuremberg was a free city of the empire till 
eighteen hundred and six, and, in the Middle Ages, 
the chief industrial centre east of Brabant and Cologne. 
Its burghers, stiff old citizens, wealthy tradesmen, and 
solemn city councilors, who built their many-gabled, 
many-storied Gothic dwellings, clothed themselves in 
gold-embroidered cloth, and their worthy ** fraus** and 
** frauleins '* in stiff lace and skirts of ceremony, were a 
strong and original race of men. We can forgive 
their antipathy to Jews and much narrowness of mind, 
when we consider that their homes were the cradles of 
modem social life, and their civic freedom the nursery 
of our civil liberty, besides their incalculable services 
to industry and the useful inventions which were made 
in their work-shops. 

214 A Young Scholar. 

The student of art can not accuse the home of Dtirer, 
Vischer, and Stoss of Philistinism. How different these 
old pillars of the reformation in Germany from the 
English Puritans, who considered Beauty as the first- 
born of hell ! It is the fruit of this wide sympathy, 
this open sense for all that exists, that makes Germany 
to-day the most learned country on earth. How hard 
a sense to communicate ! how invaluable to those who 
possess it ! The revolutions in the methods and means 
of manufacture, as the changes in the courses of trade, 
have robbed Nuremberg of by far the greater part of 
its former splendor ; still its edifices remain in all their 
quaint magnificence and disorderly proportions to tell 
of better days. I spent almost a week there, and lost 
not an hour of the time. From Nuremberg to Munich 
is in reality but a short ride, but by one of these Ger- 
man snail trains is made an outrage of seven hours. 
One would think these roads gotten up for the trans- 
portation of people with acute inflammation of the brain 
and infants, with occasionally a cargo of insane. They 
often make scarcely ten miles an hour, and there are as 
many oflScers usually as passengers. At the depots 
it is dangerous to back, or go to the right or left, or 
to sit down for fear of being arrested by the police and 
sent to bed. They seem to think that every one is 
trying to commit suicide on the railroad track. 

I cashed my exchange on London a few days ago, so 
that I am supplied till the middle of next month. If, 
however, your next draft comes sooner nothing will be 
hurt, for the danger of foreign interference in the war 
is by no means over, in which case we cannot know 
what would come of the postal connection with 

The only wise thing for the French Republic to do, 

Letters. 2 1 5 

is to oflFer Prussia, if she will withdraw her arms from 
French soil, to pay the German war-budget and leave 
the fate of the duchies, Elsass, and Lothringen, to a 
vote of the inhabitants. The republic is not responsi- 
ble for the war. The party now in power was against 
hostilities so long as there was any hope of avoiding 
the conflict, and the disgrace of the French arms has 
been the work of the Empire. They could, in the 
interest of peace, make this offer without humiliation, 
because they come to power when the country is al- 
ready prostrate. But Germany will be likely to insist 
on an unconditional surrender of the Gallicized prov- 
inces, and the party leaders in Paris will fear the un- 
popularity of any concessions, so that there is great 
probability of a protracted struggle, and, in case of an 
exhaustion of Germany, we may look for first Austrian 
and then, not impossibly, English interference. 

The German nation is bent on the humiliation and 
laceration of France. There is a mean streak in the 
German which comes out very offensively in this war ; 
but the action of all parties is so uncertain that it is 
impossible to predict the turn matters may take in 
twenty-four hours. The proclamation of the republic 
in Paris may determine Bismarck to figure for the re- 
storation of Napoleon, or, if that seems too outrageous, 
as least to exercise the influence of Prussian arms in 
favor of the dynasty of Orleans. Anything will be 
more acceptable to the house of HohenzoUem and its 
satellites than a democracy on the Seine. But the 
position of a prince in France supported by German 
bayonets, would be the most unenviable situation one 
could well imagine. The republic could not have been 
actualized in a more auspicious moment. It will be, I 
fear, impossible for her to escape the odium of a peace 

2 1 6 A Young Scholar. 

with Germany, which she will be obliged to conclude 
under such bitter conditions. 

Europe is undoubtedly on the eve of some radical 
political changes. How these will affect my further 
stay here, is difficult at present to foresee. This year 
will conclude the course of exact academic study which 
I wish to take, that is, the Classic languages and 
German Philosophy, so that a residence at the Univer- 
sities of Italy and France will be hereafter of more 
value to me than a longer stay in Germany. The ad- 
vantage of an accurate acquaintance with the spirit, 
language, literature, art, and manners of a people like 
the Italian, or in fact of any great and ancient civilized 
nation, is so great, that, as an element of culture, it 
cannot be equalled by any quantity of the severest drill. 
Besides this, the great fields for the scholar's investiga- 
tion are now the renaissance of learning and art in Italy ; 
the magnificent period of Spanish genius and power in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the an- 
cient civilization of India. 

Classical antiquity has been so thoroughly ransacked 
that the edifice of our knowledge of it stands about 
complete. Its value is priceless, but there is little to add 
by the investigator. On the other hand, these periods 
of scarcely less intellectual grandeur, which have now 
also become for us antique and classic, are almost un- 
known — ^that is, we have not a clear, scientific insight 
into the course and causes of development in these 
periods, as we have of Grecian and Roman civilization. 

The American scholar, who has made these periods 
aspecialsubject of study, will have an almost clear field 
and invaluable capital. It is for this reason that, after 
I have familiarized myself with the German scholar- 
ship, its methods and aids, I desire to make an appli- 

Letters. 2 1 7 

cation of them to these subjects. The laborers are 
already flocking from the German schools to these 
fields, and every week sees the publication of some 
monograph, brochure, or book detailing the findings 
which have just been made. There are on my table 
at this moment six such works, unbound pamphlets, 
the dispatches, so to say, of busy pioneers. 

But my real work here, if I am ever allowed to un- 
dertake it, comes later. I think I shall like Munich 
very much. The changes of temperature here are very 
sudden, and this makes the place in the summer very 
unhealthy. But I shall not be exposed to this danger, 
because I dress warmly and, moreover, the warm 
weather will soon be over. Father has not written to 
me for so long that I am really hungry to hear from 
himself. To hear about one is not a tithe of the comfort 
it is to hear from one. My love to Abby and brother 
and most anxious prayers for father's health. 


Cost of living in Mu7iich ; American sttidents of art ; 
a Greek artist ; obstacles to the development of the 
American art-sense ; Greek and flute-playing, 

Munich, Sept. 24th, 1870. 

The last mail has brought your letter of September 
4th, to my very great delight ; how much greater if 
you had thought it worth while to write more than a 
single sheet, or, what had been still better, compelled 
that scribophobious father of mine to write ! 

My last described my pleasant quarters in Munich, 
and gave expression to my expectations for the winter, 
so that it will set you at rest, I hope, concerning my 

2 T 8 A Young Scholar. 

immediate future. I am always sorry to have written 
an alarming letter home, for, however badly frightened 
I may be, I see that it scares you twice as much. In 
all my letters from Dresden, I sounded the alarm and 
called for money till I have reason to believe you will 
be frightened indeed, since I see that you were about 
to send me a new draft on my first Dresden letter of 
August nth. What I feared was first, of course, a 
repulse of the German arms, and, after that seemed not 
probable, the still greater danger of armed intervention 
loomed up before me. 

It is bad to be without money or friends in America, 
but a thousand times worse here. Six hundred dollars 
a year is sufficient for all my wants, if I can only con- 
trol it at the right times. This winter I expect to 
make it afford me some social advantages besides all 
my school and ordinary expenses. The only practi- 
cable circles for a student, unless he is a native of the 
city and has old family connections, are rather fine, 
and not to be well-dressed is, in Europe, absolutely 
unpardonable except among those who cannot afford 
it. People here will live on soup and salt in order to 
make the show of gentlemen. My money however 
will be all that I could wish, especially here, where 
almost every necessity of life is cheaper than in Berlin. 

The danger of disagreeable complications in the war 
IS still not over. For instance, interference on the part 
of England, in case Prussia should seem to go too far 
in her demands, — and this is most likely, — would 
make money exchange, if not the ordinarj' mails, im- 
possible. It was for this reason that I wished you to 
send me, so as to reach here about the middle of Octo- 
ber, when an advance would be regularly due me, a 
sum sufficient to secure me for any eventualities. It 

Letters. 2 1 9 

must be pretty much all one to you whether you send 
one hundred dollars every two months, or two hundred 
dollars every four months ; but it is not all one to me, 
especially in these times, when it only takes six weeks 
to capture an emperor and annihilate the most arrogant 
army in the world. 

I must tell you about my experience here with the 
young Americans who are studying art, not as I, that 
is, theoretically and merely as a side study, but regular 
painters and sculptors, many of them for years in the 
profession. There are several rival professors with 
numerous disciples in Munich, and the Americans are 
pretty well divided among these sects in art, as they 
are accustomed to be in religion at home ; but their 
nationality brings them together and obliges them to 
be friends, so to speak, or at least to tolerate each 
other. I made the acquaintance of the entire circle 
soon after coming here, for we all eat at one restaurant 
for the sake of chat, etc. Some of the boys are not 
without talent ; one or two have gifts of rather high 
order ; but they almost all acknowledge the superior- 
ity and greater originality of a young Greek, who 
is a fellow-scholar at the Academy and associates 
principally with us Americans. He is, in fact, by 
all odds the most gifted student of art in the city, 
although he will never be a really great artist for the 
lack of ideality and moral comprehension. His sens- 
uous nature is absolute. He knows no good and 
bad, no high and low, no pure and vile. He sim- 
ply revels in nature like a creature of keenest instinct 
whom all forms and beings and colors delight, but who 
has no idea of the world. There is a feature of the old 
Greek in this, but it is without that far-seeing, world- 
ordering love of beauty which made the Greeks not 

220 A Young Scholar. 

only artists, but cosmologists. The fellow is keen and 
quick to understand even every great generalization, 
although he never makes them for himself, and does 
not step up higher through a new thought. He has 
no respect for either the work or opinions of his Ger- 
man and American colleagues, but has got it into his 
head that I know more about art than any of them, 
and tells them so. The principles of art and the char- 
acteristics of the great masters are the only subjects 
of our conversations at dinner and in our after-dinner 
walks, so that I have had occasion to tell about all I 
know of the subject, and as the rest of the company 
have either not been interested enough in their profes- 
sion and its history to study these matters, or have not 
known how to go to work with books and galleries, as 
I have, the result is that I know more about art gener- 
ally and have a more certain discrimination in works 
of art than any or all the rest of the Americans to- 
gether. The Greek, who is an old student and a gifted 
nature, is still my superior in discriminations of styles. 
He is marvellous in his sense for the effects of color. 
The slightest tone does not escape his observation, 
and he can go into real ecstasy over Rubens' s carna- 
tion, — ^who paints flesh so you can, as the Greek says, 
pinch it. 

Americans succeed best in portraiture. There is no 
people with so much sense and so little imagination as 
the Americans. They have also little or no healthy 
sensuousness. It requires intense stimulants to arouse 
and satisfy the senses. We are the most abstinent 
people and the most intemperate ; the most practical 
and most gaudy ; the most chaste and the most addicted 
to unnatural excesses ; the most influenced by prudery, 
which is a monkish variety of lechery. This great 

Letters. 221 

disharmony in the national character, which, like 
a fissure in a geological formation, goes from top to 
bottom of our society, and which, to the intelligent 
eye, is the same, whether it makes the youth ashamed 
of his first love, or makes Beecher preach a don't- 
think-about-the-reason-why-^(7(7flrm^w, must be cured 
before a great art can take root among us. But this 
is only one of the obstacles which the national character 
puts in the way of the creative genius. The artists 
here from America have more hope than I for the future 
of their art, for I cannot detect in the national char- 
acter those qualities which are ever wont to precede a 
period of great splendor of aesthetic creation. I feel 
myself equally under the spell of the time, equally un- 
able to actualize the thought which must and will build 
up the future with the plastic power of the idea — that, 
working in nature, finishes the organism of a great 
tree to the last leaf-tip. The intellect of Europe is 
comprehending the situation, but the heart of Europe 
is not weighing it. America is still endeavoring to 
live by the wasting traditions of a past almost obsolete. 
The future is not far, but it is not yet at our gates. It 
is with the world as with many individuals. The most 
disagreeable act of the day is getting up in the morning, 
and we all see that it is about time. 

In my last letter I spoke about making studies in the 
literatures of Italy and the renaissance generally. I 
do not mean this to be done at the expense of my 
Greek studies, but they are to accomplish very different 
ends. In Greek philology I do not expect to make 
any original studies. The subject is too well worn. 
Yet I hope so far to master the present science as to be 
able to take a Greek professorship with credit, if such 
a $tep should seem the best thing to do when I return. 

222 A Young Scholar. 

For this reason I shall continue my Greek studies all 
the time I am in Europe. Father is very properly 
anxious for me not to neglect this subject which I 
have chosen for a specialty. 

My flute has become a great source of consolation to 
me already. I play solos from operas, cavatinas from 
Meyerbeer, Rossini ; waltzes, songs, arias, etc. This 
winter I must have some number one instruction in 
order to form and perfect a style in the delivery, as it 
is called, and which is, for the flute, the chief point. 
The flute is almost like the voice. The soul speaks 
directly through it, and a flute-player without sentiment 
and feeling is unendurable. 


Parental mental characteristics ; realism in art without 
appreciation of nature ; canons of portraiture and 
landscape pahiting ; art a religion; a statue of Mary ; 

MiJNCHKN, Oct. 8th, 1870. 

Dkar Mother : — Your long letter of September 19th 
with father's note and a draft for one hundred and 
ninety-two florins has just been read. You request an 
immediate reply. A letter is, however, regularly due, 
and besides, such a gospel from home always sets me 
in a frenzy to write, so that this time you are pretty sure 
of hearing from me promptly. 

You thought I was on the eve of a sick-spell, but 
that is not doing justice to my susceptibilities, or, if 
you will, it is rating my equilibrium too high ; for 
why should I not sometimes get blue without having 
a bad digestion or being jaundiced? I know your 
pathological hobbies of old, and must allow that they 

Letters. 223 

were not so blind, even if they did lead you sometimes 
to prescribe podophyllum for a bad memory. All your 
letters have reached me — ^at least, all you mention hav- 
ing written in this last, and, if I remember, I replied 
to that which contained your ruminations on the 
expression, ** the epic joy in things.'* 

It must be grand fun for you to write letters. You 
worry and shake a great idea a minute or so, and if 
it does not forthwith give up, you take a handful of 
hair, a claw, or some trophy, and throw it down for 
the beast itself. I can always tell from the spoils 
you bring in what species and generally what the size 
of the fellow was you should have taken. But it is 
not the clear possession of a thought which charms 
you so much as the exciting struggle with it when 
you feel about how big it is, and that, if you cared to, 
you might hold him, then you let him slip. So it is 
that your letters have for me, who am used to follow- 
ing things to their farthest accessible corner, the great- 
est charm. They suggest more ideas than I need to 
work up for a whole day. The discipline of the Ger- 
man schools would have taken that out of you ; they 
would have clipped your Pegasus and taught him not 
to sky-rocket about so much, but fly longer and steadier 
flights. We can only master the ideas of others by 
method, and this obliges us to bring order into our 

In so many years one would think you would have 
learned other habits of thought from father, whose 
mind is system itself. In the few lines he has written 
me on the second sheet of your letter, I can read the 
whole difierence between your natures. I can feel 
distinctly these two elements in my own nature, and 
the process of my culture is the process of their union. 

224 -^ Young Scholar. 

It takes a white heat of study to make a chemical 
compound of them. 

I have a number of scraps on art, single thoughts 
put down as they occurred to me, which I might 
excerpt for my letter, but when I look them over and 
see how special they all are, and of course for you at 
home unintelligible, I think that it would be waste 
time ; but some of the most general may not be un- 
interesting. You must remember that I have but a 
small proportion of my time for the study of art, and 
the progress which I have made in a year will not 
seem so small when you consider that among a dozen 
professional artists, young men all older than I, I 
still am considered, how justly I will not say, as hav- 
ing the clearest vision on the subject. 

That Greek of whom I told you, goes by instinct 
that has been sharpened by many years* acquaintance 
with the best galleries of Europe. Moreover, he has 
no ideas, only feelings. In the following scrap it is 
to the ideas, not the style, that I would direct your 
attention : 

Without reverential and profound appreciation of 
nature as the only divine fountain of life, realism in- 
evitably degenerates into thingism. The necessity of 
moral abstractions has destroyed for a time the epic 
delight in the appearances of nature simply as such. 
It is the task of a sounder philosophy to restore this, 
deepened by our deeper sense of the significance of life. 
Architecture, as music, is an aesthetic abstraction. 
The pleasure that it imparts by virtue of its poesy alone 
is greater than that of either of the sister arts of the 
brush and chisel ; but these have of course the incom- 
parable advantage that nature speaks through them 
and that they are wholly occupied in conveying matter 

Letters. 225 

not their own. The claims of portraiture to the rank 
of a fine art are based upon its power to withdraw the 
individual appearance from the oppression of the sur- 
rounding world in which it is made, by contrast and 
disturbing influences of all kinds, to seem weak, or 
ugly, or unamiable. 

The object of portraiture is therefore to make appear 
the worth of a character to itself, not its social or civil 
worth. This of course demands repose, as all action 
is the resolution of a relation to others. Masculine 
beauty is much better adapted to plastic representation 
than feminine, especially than modern female beauty. 
The Greek woman, who was less tall and altogether 
less sensuous, possessed much greater linear grace and 
architectonic beauty than the modern, although even 
she was a far inferior subject for the chisel to the 
Dionysius, Eros, or Apollo. Pure form is incapable of 
rendering the sensuous power of the modern woman. 
Our ideal, and it is with this alone that the sculptor 
has to do, is a creature of flame, an embodied desire, 
not a white-limbed maid nor girt-up Oread, nor even 
the all-golden Aphrodite. 

Nothing is more tasteless than the general impres- 
sion that a landscape owes its significance chiefly to 
the formations of its eminences, in which delusion the 
majority of landscape painters paint nothing but hills 
and mountain scenery. The astonishing effects of 
light which they attain in this way are generally much 
more kaleidoscopic than poetic. Contrast is the first 
canon of composition, but such contrast as on^ feels ^ 
not such as one sees. Another matter, in which there 
is much sinning by landscapists, is the over-great use 
of staff age (the figures in a landscape). Nature only 
assumes her majesty when alone ; at least it is only in 

226 A Young Scholar. 

the solitude that we feel that Isis is not simply a mother 
of men, and have an awing that the significance of 
being is not exhausted in the human word happiness. 

As you have a few of the most general sort of notes 
which I have had occasion to make, those in the history 
of art, the particular schools and masters, the parallels 
between certain developments, etc., would be too re- 
mote. You will see, I study art with all my might. 
It is to me a religious matter, as it always has been 
when it was successfully cultivated. What meaning, I 
ask, can any one part of the universe have for a man 
for whom the whole is meaningless ? You should have 
heard how with this question I shut a fellow up the 
other day, who was an artist and speaking with con- 
tempt of the German speculators, **who talk about 
the infinite.** Christianity was once, and so was 
paganism, adequate to warm the minds of men to 
great things. They no longer are. And still art must 
gnaw at their empty rind, but a better time is coming. 

This summer has been very barren of verses. Some- 
how, after the first songful effervescence of passion in 
boy's blood has subsided, things look very cool, and I 
have got criticism on the brain. There is no writing 
lyrics when a fellow is not in love or being shoved out 
through the vale of tears and lamentations. When 
one is once clear out of the whole thing verse looks 
rather ridiculous than musical, and would be, if it were 
not so bitterly earnest. 

There is in one of the public squares here a statue in 
gold, very beautiful, of Mary and her Child, on the 
capital of an Ionic column. It is a famous shrine and 
worshippers are never wanting at the iron railing that 
surrounds it. The poor and afflicted, old men and 
women and little children, come here to experience 

Letters. 227 

wonderful powers and go away refreshed, as in time of 
old. A few days ago I saw there a flock of novitiates, 
young nuns. Some of the girls were the most beauti- 
ful I have ever seen, I think really wonderful. I went 
right near to catch, if possible, the words of their 
prayer. But the noise of the passengers on the street 
was so great that I could only hear after each pause 
the lyatin words, ora pro nobis ^ **pray for us.'* The 
effect was really saddening. I could not help but think 
what their prayer might be. When I went home I 
composed a couple of I^atin verses, and here is a trans- 
lation of them : 

Mary in heaven, pray for us, 
That we may serve thee without stain ; 

And of thy love give unto us 
That lack love, most of all men. 

Mary in heaven, pray for us, 
That we may faint not by the way ; 

And let thy sweet Son comfort us 
That have no comfort^ as men say. 

They have no recommendation but this simple direct- 

School begins in three weeks. Father's arrange- 
ment about the money is very satisfactory. It will 
come in time. You know that at the opening of school 
and winter my expenses heap themselves up all at 
once, so that I must be able to control part of what 
comes regularly in the following months. Father's 
good news about his health is the best of all news. 
The winter I hope will help him out. There is no war 
news, save that the strangulation of Paris is about to 
begin. You speak of coming to me in a year. Oh, 
that you may ! Where shall I be then ? I want to go 

228 A Young Scholar. 

to Italy. Three years in Germany are enough ; then 
I would come back here to take a degree before going 


Effects of the malaria of Munich ; studies in medusval 
German^ Modern Greeks political history^ and finance, 

Munich, Oct. 26tli, 1870. 

Since my last letter I have been quite sick, but am 
now so far recovered as to consider myself out of dan- 
ger. The infamous climate of this place is the cause 
of my disorder. If I had known ^e reputation of 
Munich for fevers and malaria I had certainly not come 
here. My friends tell me I may be glad to have es- 
caped a typhus. What I had was, as near as I can 
judge, one of those old bone-breakers which attacked 
us all you remember on occasion of uncle's illness of 
the small-pox. 

I must have first caught a severe cold. It took me 
with a fever and trembling, a stretchiness of the limbs, 
etc. At night I was advised to take a strong punch to 
produce a sweat. This certainly did make me perspire, 
but I did not sleep a wink the entire night for suffering 
with pains in my joints, and then my mind was busy 
with Greek history which I had been reading. No 
effort of the will could bring it off the subject. In the 
morning, after such an eternity of misery, I was 
completely exhausted, parched-up and thoroughly 
wretched. The doctor came and told me not to be un- 
easy, to keep my bed, to eat nothing but soup and to 
take no medicines. He did not approve the punch I 
had taken, and said that no sort of medicaments was 
of any account in this case — that it was simply a bad 

Letters. 229 

cold and with care would pass off of itself. These 
physicians have very little confidence in drugs it seems. 
In a day or two I was able to go about, and now I am 
pronounced well, although I feel much under the 

It has been a hateful damper on my spirits just be- 
fore the opening of my lectures. I counted on begin- 
ning them with so much nerve, and now I don*t feel at 
all like work, but this state of things will not last. 
The winter is not sickly here and fall is nearly over, 
and in the spring I shall go from here. I have some 
very warm clothes which I hope will protect me against 
the searching, damp winds that blow here. 

A letter firom home is due over three days, and this 
is therefore a little late because I wanted to hear from 
you before I wrote ; but I cannot wait any longer. You 
will have had time to answer my first letter fi-om Miin- 
chen by this time. I hope father's health is, as he ex- 
pected it would be, firmer this fall and winter. When 
I get sick, I don't care a fig to live, I only want to be 
done with the sickness. 

There are no items of particular interest touching my 
studies. This winter I shall read the Niebelungen 
Lied and the minne-singers of mediaeval Germany. 
The language is very different from modem German 
and requires a particular study. I shall also have 
some chance to practice speaking modem Greek. It 
is not so different from classic Greek but that I can 
read it with little difiBculty. 

My intention is to devote considerable time to politi- 
cal history this year — a subject which I have to some 
degree neglected. The last period of over fifty years 
since the restoration of the Bourbons and fall of Na- 
poleon I. is the most important as well as most interest- 

230 A Young Scholar. 


ing. I also wish to make a special subject of attention 
the history of commercial crises, also the theory of 
finance. These will be side-studies for a year. My 
regular work on the Greek language and literature and 
on speculative philosophy will, as usual, take the body 
of my time. I have become ambitious to acquire the 
German language so as to be able to use it like the 
English for literary purposes. I do not know if I shall 
succeed. Such a feat is seldom performed in less than 
a dozen years of familiarity with a language. The ad- 
vantage of such an accomplishment in America would 
be very great, for the influence of German thought and 
of the German element is bound to gain ground after 
this great assertion of national power, and I shall be 
obliged to make common cause in many things with 
the Germans in America. You must excuse this short 
letter, because I do not feel exactly rhapsodical to-day, 
and of ordinary matters the end is here. My love to 
the family and anxious wishes for dear father's health. 

Capitulation of Metz ; French democracy is socialistic; 
European peace in jeopardy ; unrest of the masses ; the 
task of American statesmen; future of America ; 
American students specialists ; immaturity of mind, 

Munich, Oct. 28tli, 1870. 

D^AR Fathkr : — You express a desire to receive 
some word from me direct, and I give you this letter. 
My health has continued to improve, although I feel 
still under the weather. Nothing could have come 
more inopportune than this illness, because it unstrings 
me for a cheerful and vigorous entrance on my winter's 

Letters. 231 

work, and so much depends on the omens with which 
one begins an undertaking. 

This morning we have received the news of Metz's 
capitulation, a haul of one hundred and fifty thousand 
men. Is it not.unparalleled ? But the French have for 
some time been accustoming themselves to the idea of 
the loss of this place. Its bad consequences for them 
are the liberation of the investing force, which will be 
immediately turned to account, either in re-enforcing 
the siege of Paris, or, what seems more likely, in form- 
ing an army for the occupation of southern France. It 
would so thoroughly finish the disorganization of the 
country's resistance, that peace could be dictated even 
before the capitulation of Paris, which, however, can 
not possibly be long delayed. 

The French, who had no other idea when they began 
this war than to annex Prussia up to the Rhine and 
dissolve the North Confederation, which is all that gives 
Germany the political character of a nation, must keep 
quiet, when they are deprived of territory not nearly 
so important as their intended robbery. The neutral 
world may have tte right to complain that Germany 
refuses to recognize the inviolability of nationalities, 
and we have every reason to lament a step which re- 
vives the worst precedents of the past. But France 
cannot complain without adding impudence to violence, 
and it is not the fate of France that I regret, but the 
violation of the idea in the person of France, upon 
which alone it is possible to construct a system of inter- 
national law that will spare the civilized world at least 
a proportion of the wars which now afflict us. 

It is not wise to give ourselves up to the delusion 
that the French are either capable of democratic gov- 
ernment or even generally attached to republican lib- 

232 A Young Scholar. 

erty. It is not a necessity of their moral natures to 
be socially and politically freemen. They will take 
* * corn and games ' ' from the hand of Caesar so long as 
they are forthcoming. It is not democracy in the 
American or Attic sense which inclines the French to 
revolutions, but socialism. The over-hasty sympathy, 
which has found such various expression in America, 
gains us no friends in France. They are incapable of 
gratitude. Their aspirations have nothing in common 
with the sober love of independence which character- 
izes our people. 

The position of aflFairs in Europe is such, that a per- 
manent peace cannot be looked forward to for many 
years. France will be broken, but not annihilated, 
and she will leave no occasion unimproved to take 
vengeance for this defeat. Austria is involved, it 
seems, in the process of dissolution, and the future of 
the elements which compose that empire is not to be 
foreseen. Of these things we may be sure — that Ger- 
many and Russia will endeavor to have a finger in the 
pie, and that they will meet a desperate resistance on 
the part of Austrian nationalities, who have no desire 
to share the fate of Poland. Even this unhappy coun- 
try's future is not quite hopeless. Russia will improve 
this occasion, in which she finds herself liberated from 
the fear of the Crimean allies through the overthrow of 
French influence and through the general contempt 
into which England has sunk, to go forward on the 
Black Sea and in Turkey.* Whether or not the Eng- 
lish will not make a final desperate eflfort here to re- 
trieve their prestige is at least uncertain. If they do 

* A prediction verified by the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 and 
the treaty of San Stefano. Note also the attempt of Great 
Britain to regain prestige at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. 

Letters. 233 

not, they may expect to see their Indian possessions 
crowded by Russia on the north, where she has been 
for many years getting a larger foothold. 

In addition to the danger from these sources, the 
time is almost ripe again in Europe for another revolu- 
tionary movement of the masses, such as took place in 
1820 and again in 1848. The democratic elements are 
confident of the future, and a combination of the 
princes, such as the Holy Alliance under the direct- 
ion of the Austrian minister, Metternich, which long 
held the aspirations of all Europe for constitutional 
government in check, is no longer possible. On the 
other hand, the powerful middle class is hostile to 
democratic ideas because the socialistic character of 
these ideas here makes them fear for their property. 
The proletariat of Europe is becoming greater, more 
self-conscious and clear as to his aims every year. 
Under these circumstances no human sagacity can 
foresee what the next decennium may bring forth. 

How thankful on the other hand is the task which 
presents itself to American statesmen who have the 
insight and the lyill to conduct aright the energies of a 
great people ! The easy maintenance of peace, the 
rapid extinction of our national debt, the purification 
-and reform of our civil service, the elevation of popular 
education, the encouragement of a national art, the 
gradual realization of scientific principles of govern- 
ment — these will bring order and clearness into the 
functions of society and insure the industry of the 
land a rational and healthy life. To do all this with 
the moderation of genuine political wisdom would be a 
task to the wish of a Pericles. 

Is this the course that things will take in America, 
or will a general uncleamess, seconded by a mercenary 

234 A Young Scholar. 

and short-sighted demagogism, gain ever more and 
more the upper-hand in our affairs ? I hope not and 
think not, but it is not so impossible as a great many 
surface optimists, entirely ignorant of the causes 
which affect the life of nations, believe. There are 
two sorts of absurd political theories, viz : the practical 
and impractical. Whether a certain system shall be 
of the first or second class depends upon the locality 
and time, much more than on any other intrinsic char- 
acteristics. For instance, the Chinese system would 
be an impractical absurdity for America. Where it is, 
it is a very practical thing, but no less absurd to the 
eye of reason which requires conformity to the natural 
laws of social growth, of trade and industry. Plato's 
republic is intrinsically more reasonable than many 
actual forms of government, but its misfortune is not to 
have found the time or place yet where it is possible. 
We must keep this fact in mind when we are met by 
the objection that certain reforms are not practical. All 
that makes them so is the objection. 

I did not intend to fill these pages with politics when 
I began. I would like to talk over your work with 
you if it were possible, or, better, lend a hand. I know 
that I wasmever much account at building fence, but 
there were few who could chase hogs, when the fences 
were poorly built, with more bitterness than I. It 
seems from mother's last letter that poor Billy has been 
badly taken down this fall. It must leave you your 
hands full, when he is laid up. Are you finally settled 
down to farm life, if your health remains good ? 

It would be grand if mother could come and stay a 
year with me and then you come the last year and we 
go home together. If that is not possible, I promise 
myself later a trip to Europe with you, which nothing 

Letters. 235 

common shall hinder. As I laid out my plan of study 
to begin with very broadly, it must be more or less a 
failure, unless I am allowed time to carry it through. 
Students who have specialties, and this is the case with 
all I have yet known here from America, can better 
afford to break up than I, because they do not have so 
many irons in the fire, but they miss a culture upon 
such a catholic basis as I am building mine on. I recog- 
nize the immaturity of my mind with pleasure, because 
there is a promise in it that time will give me a control 
of my intellectual resources that I do not now dream 
of. Severe study in my opinion is, other things being 
favorable, inclined to prolong one's youth by keeping 
the mind and feelings open long after they had other- 
wise taken the permanent form of maturity. When 
the long winter nights set in, you will certainly find 
time to write me oftener and at length. 


Lectures in Munich; their comprehensiveness; valves 
of a home ; the homely comfort of lo^ for others. 

MiJNCH^N, Nov. 13th, 1870. 

After my last two letters you will be no doubt glad to 
learn that I am completely on my feet again and glori- 
ously at work. I have been now two years in Europe. 
The first year was spent in getting a start, the last only 
has had visible results of a kind to satisfy my idea of 
what constitutes the privileges and pleasures of the 
scholar. But now the highway is before me, every 
step repays itself and is no longer taken iff4jie hope of 
sometime being valuable, as when a man is mi|^ng his 
way through I^atin syntax or translating Germarf^er- 

2^6 A Young Scholar. 

rises. This half-year I have only three regular lectures 
and one public — that is, one which only occupies one 
hour in the week. It is by a noted professor of aes- 
thetics and on a subject of very great literary interest ; 
the works, lives, and literary associations of Goethe 
and Schiller. My three regular or private lectures, 
which occupy together thirteen hours a week, are on 
the history of Greek literature ; the political and eccle- 
siastical reformations in the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries ; the development of philosophy since Kant. 
On each of these extremely interesting subjects we 
have the most thorough men. Their names would not 
be known to you, but scholars mention them with 

I wish I could give you an idea of what a lecture 
here really is. I do not know what notion you have 
of the development of philosophy since Kant, or of the 
manner in which a professor would try to give a stud- 
ent an idea of this great intellectual process. But 
what you will be most likely to err in is the under-esti- 
mation of the details ; the innumerable cross influences 
of thought ; the minute and often obscure anticipations 
of one thinker by another ; the genesis of each system 
as laid down in the successive works of an author ; 
their mutual dependence and their relation to the pop- 
ular creeds and notions of their time. Besides these 
matters, which are more strictly philosophical, such a 
lecture cannot overlook the literary labors, more prop- 
erly speaking, of men not philosophers, but who are on 
one side on the border-line between aesthetics and spec- 
ulation — heaux-esprits, men of genius and originality, 
but not actual founders of systems. The number of 
such in Germany has been legion. If a lecture finished 
the matter, it were well ; but the professor does little 

Letters. 237 

more than tell one how and what one must read, and 
what to look for. 

Your last letter is full of interest. 

I know numbers of young Americans here who hear 
from home once in three months, and write as often 
themselves. Those must be homes where they come 
from ! When it comes to that I would not write home 
at all. Not to have a home, or, worse, not to have had 
a home, is an excuse for any villany whatever. When 
the communists get us all to live in ranches then we 
will be brutes indeed. It is the greatest evil of German 
life that the home is so little cherished. You have a 
divided aflfection, and speak of the little weather-stained 
house at Island Creek still as your home, but that is a 
sort of cat-like instinct of locality it seems, or perhaps 
it is true that home is always with father and mother. 
I can easily think so. The only worthy motive I can 
discover for a man's marrying after the minstrel days 
of youth are behind him, and this occurs now-a-days 
most astonishingly soon, is to secure a home for his age, 
when father and mother are no more. It is, however, 
much more worthy of our respect and more compatible 
with a high conception of life's most sacred relation, 
when an old bachelor gathers a home about him from 
the cast-off little ones of the world, and preserves in 
their love the fresh sensibilities that wither without 
a home, than when he stoops to marry out of such 
meditated grounds of convenience. So it seems to me. 

I am anxious to know how father considers the 
period of age which is for him and you still some way 
off, but yet all too near. There is something in his 
character which always makes me fear that a suspen- 
sion of the vigorous, ambitious functions of life, will 
make him comfortless. This is a dangerous age. 

238 A Young Scholar. 

The world is in the crucible of new ideas, new comfort, 
and the old are losing power and these new are hard to 
reach. There is a genuine, homely comfort that does 
not change with the eras. It is the love of others — the 
presence in age of words and acts of tenderness from 
the stronger and younger. These cheer us without 
our eflFort. The more comfortless the world appears 
— the hollower, colder, emptier of gods — the more we 
must cling together. The less we can afford to live 
for ourselves the less it pays to do so. You will be 
tired of this moral lecture, and perhaps all think that 
my advice is that of a speculator, sitting on the banks of 
Isar and imagining a case in America. 


The condition of France ; Slavishness of Germans to 
monarchy ; American freedom. 

Munich, Dec. 4th, 1870. 

. . . The war is drawing, so we all think, to a close. 
The fighting about Paris has been heavy for several days, 
not however so gallant as one would expect of French- 
men animated by despair. The army of one hundred 
and fifty thousand men runs away when it has lost 
seven or eight thousand in killed and wounded. These 
are not Spartans. All credit to the incomparable 
exertions of the few republican leaders who really 
animate and direct France at this time, but their sup- 
port is very luke-warm where nothing but the most 
absolute self-sacrifice on the part of the whole country 
can save her. 

Monarchy is far from exploded in Europe yet. If 
Gambetta should succeed in maintaining himself 

Letters. 239 

against the German army, he would fall before the 
selfish and conservative majority in France. The 
country is so worthless in every sense that, bad as the 
precedent would be, I could almost wish to see it re- 
duced to a second-rate power — made the peer of Spain 
and Portugal. The Germans have not yet dreamed of 
what free government means. The government sends 
men to prison for saying that the forcible annexation 
of foreign territory, the very outrage which Germany 
had to fear from France, is wrong, and the nation 
laughs at the ridiculous figure which it thinks a man cuts 
by going to prison for his sentiments. ** Why did n't 
the fool hold his tongue ? *' For the same sentiments 
representatives of the people, who have always been con- 
sidered as clothed with tribunitial sanctity, are threat- 
ened with expulsion from Parliament and stormed down. 
O, America, I often think how grandly you contrast 
with these emblazoned monarchies in your suit of 
simple, civil drab, powerful enough to defy the con- 
federated world on your storm-bound shores, rich 
enough to bless with homes the pariahs of all Europe, 
and free enough to scorn with the scorn of scorn these 
miserable idolaters of power ! There never was such a 
hater of monarchy as I am. But I will not make this 
letter any longer. 

English and American political economists ; time for 
side-work ; plans for study in Athens; Mormon poly- 
gamy in America ; the calamity of a war between 
America and England; Schelling's metaphysics glori- 
fied (Esthetics, 

MiJNCHKN, Dec. loth, 1870. 

I make all haste to acknowledge the receipt of your 
much-desired letter of Nov. 15th, which with Wsprom- 

240 A Young Scholar, 

ise of bread gladdened my eyes this morning. Not 
long ago I read the great Malthus on the Principle of 
Populatio7i, a work of two portly volumes, and am at 
present deep in our Carey's very famous work on 
Social Science, There are a half dozen or so great 
English and American political economists, classics in 
their way, whom I have undertaken to read this win- 
ter. It is by no means so abstruse as generally sup- 
posed ; at least a student of Spinoza and Hegel does not 
find it so. A mathematical head is, however, a condi- 
tion sine qua non of all intelligible study of this kind. 

My acquaintances are bothered to know where I get 
the time for so much side- work, and you too may per- 
haps think that my academical studies must suflFer, but 
it is not the case. I make a specialty of Greek, but 
only in this way, that I continue steadily to make my- 
self master of the field without being in a hurry to get 
over it all at once. While I take up one subject, run 
through it in a few months, and then lay it down, I 
keep steadily at my Greek, and shall continue to do so 
as long as I am here. The study of art, as I now pur- 
sue it, takes scarcely any time. Last winter, while I 
was putting myself straight in the general history of 
the fine arts, I was obliged to read a great deal, but now 
I continue the subject chiefly by the occasional inspec- 
tion of new works and the perusal of lectures, pam- 
phlets, etc., on single topics which appear from the 
press in Germany in considerable numbers. 

I have a proposition to make which I very much 
hope will meet your approval. The next half-year 
I desire, as I believe I have already signified, to 
spend at Vienna. Instead of going from there directly 
to Italy, it seems to me that a residence of six months 
at the University of Athens, in Greece, would be for 

Letters. 241 

my purposes of the utmost advantage. The climate 
in Athens is extremely healthy, which cannot be 
said of all parts of modern Greece. The school is 
good ; or, rather, I should desire nothing except prac- 
tice in speaking Greek, and the opportunity of living 
myself, so to speak, into the idiom. Modern Greek, 
it is true, diflfers considerably from ancient Greek, but 
not so much as to make it anything else than Greek. 
Besides this practical advantage, the ideal advantage 
would be incalculable. Think of speculating on the 
archetypes of the ** Good and Beautiful '* in the mus- 
ical idiom of Plato beneath the shades of the Athenian 
Academy ! Besides, I have two very good friends who 
are going to Athens at the same time, so I should not 
be alone. As to the robbers, they make a much greater 
noise away from than at home. People think in Germany 
that Greece is bad, but Kansas worse. An English lord 
runs a chance of being gobbled up on an excursion 
through the mountains, but hundreds of poor students 
go over Greece every year without accident. There is 
a fine library at Athens, and of course my studies in 
literature, philosophy, criticism, history, would not 
rest. From Greece it is a short flight to Italy over the 
waters where the tireless Ulysses and his charming 
companions furrowed the sounding sea-fields a thou- 
sand and more years before Christ. Say what you 
think of my plan, but this is some time ahead, farther, 
indeed, than wise men count with certainty. 

It would interest me to hear what a civilized man in 
this century could say for polygamy. Perhaps Pratt 
is only an eccentric adherent of Malthus*s doctrine of 
over-population, and would attempt in his way to 
check the evil of all communities. But Malthus is 

generally so abominably misunderstood that one dis- 

242 A Young Scholar. 

likes to name him in society for fear some one who 
does understand him will think one is another igno- 
ramus. It seems to me that if a serious set of people 
declare themselves attached to polygamy, and if they 
find it does not run counter to the finest instincts of 
their nature, there is nothing to be said which can re- 
fute their position. There are some serious matters of 
taste, but I cannot prove from my ** inner conscious- 
ness,*' as they say, that a race of beings is impossible 
who would normally practice polygamy. Nature pro- 
duces even greater apparent monstrosities. Think, for 
instance, of the spiders and their method of procrea- 
tion. All one can positively say is, that it is impossi- 
ble to be a conscientious polygamist and take any part 
in that wonderful inheritance of beauty which artist's 
hand and poet's pen, inspired by the religion of a sin- 
gle love, have produced and lefl to all times. An 
argument from the Bible can, I think, be made as usual 
for both sides, and a not less strong one for celibacy. 
The necessity, however, of disputing at all upon such a 
question in America is humiliation, and not less so the 
fact that the greater part of the nation would rest the 
issue on the authority of an old Jewish codex of super- 
stition. One ray of the white light of truth falling in 
this world of prismatic colors and gaudy opinions, re- 
wards us with the sober certainty of day for years of 
seeking. Spectres, which in the dark or gloom are 
lords of fear, shake their innocent rags in the light to 
keep oflF the crows. There is scarcely anything so pro- 
foundly ridiculous to him who has comprehended that 
necessity which is in the nature of Nature and het 
mysterious development, as the impotent responsibility 
felt by certain persons for the progress of history and 

Letters. 243 

What do you think about the probability of a war 
with England ? * It would be a tremendous calamity ; 
beyond compare with this lamentable affair with 
France, bad as it is. The political world had nothing 
to expect from either France or Germany. They count 
nothing in the forces of good. But the devastation 
which would follow, and the hatred which would be 
engendered by a war with England between the free 
nations of the world, would indeed be a serious check. 
Peace on almost any conditions must be the wish of 
every friend of his race who comprehends the situation. 
The event of such a war would be the almost entire 
destruction of England, and the world can poorly af- 
ford to lose her influence. On the other side, America 
would sufier a serious ideal loss in the estrangement 
at this moment of our civilization from the influence of 
the English mind. Besides, it would cost us untold 
money and leave us involved in relations with Canada 
and perhaps other parts of the world that would be 
detrimental in the. extreme to the purity of our politi- 
cal institutions and maxims. If England and America 
cannot get along without war, how are we to lecture a 
Nicholas of Russia, a Bismarck, or a Napoleon for 
breaking the peace ? 

I must thank mother for her letter. It was full of 
good things, as usual, especially her estimate of art as 
a lever of culture. If the language were German, the 
thoughts a little closer and the illustrations not quite 
so grotesque, I could easily imagine myself reading 

^The ** Alabama claims,'' and the Canadian fisheries were 
questions at that time in somewhat acrimonious dispute be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain. The " Treaty of 
Washington," prescribing the basis of their settlement, was 
ratified the next year. 

244 A Young Scholar. 

Schelling, whose metaphysics were only glorified 
aesthetics. But the gem of the bundle was sister's 
picture. I am so proud of it I shall show it to-day at 
dinner to all my friends. I am pleased to hear that 
she and brother dance. Not long ago a friend per- 
suaded me to take dancing lessons at the school where 
he was, and I had consented, but, as the time drew 
near, the undertaking appeared every day more ab- 
surd ; so I broke it oflF. That is as near, I suppose, as 
I shall come to knowing how to dance. The weather 
is bitter cold. 

Patience is Tvillingness to sacrifice ; the French estimate 
of political liberty ; quality of French aid to the Ameri- 
can Revolution; Bismarck's war policy ; commufiism 
the foe of liberty ; mental equipment of a statesman, 

Munich, Dec. 29th, 1870. 

I had finished a letter last evening, after waiting 
several days for one due me. This morning I was to 
post it, but here is your favor of the first of December 
just arrived and it demands a new sheet. You seem 
to accuse me of impatience under trouble and think 
a serious misfortune would quite break my spirits. 
There are certain qualities in my character (no doubt 
you'll laugh as you read) which have always been 
hidden under the majsk of their very opposites, and 
which have had both the fortune and the misfortune to 
be successfully concealed from my nearest friends, not 
to mention others. I aver that, however restless I may 
appear under the constraint of illness or disappointment 
for a time, scarcely any one has a profounder fund of 
patience than I. It is a willingness to sacrifice — 

Letters. 245 

phrenologists would call it lack of vitativeness. To 
such a character, small disappointments are as trouble- 
some as great ones. Your firmness under the afflictions 
of disease and the oppressive consciousness that the 
entire welfare of loved ones depends on you, has a 
much sounder source. It springs from the all-conquer- 
ing sense of life and the necessity of living. 

The greater part of your letter was taken up by a 
criticism of my ideas of French character. No doubt 
I wrote a little bitterly of them, for I had indulged the 
hope that this national misfortune would work a salu- 
tary change in their way of thinking. I do not deny 
the French genius, or even generosity. They are un- 
doubtedly brave, but always more gallant where glory 
is to be acquired, than where the simple duty of de- 
fending their rights requires their exertions. That 
genius and social refinement of a certain kind can co- 
exist with political slavery is certain. Germany herself, 
if no other country, would prove this. The fact is as 
I have stated it. The French do not consider political 
liberty as one of the conditions of moral dignity and 
worth. It is for other than moral reasons that they 
desire to be free, but no other motive can exist as a 
pledge of the continuance of democratic liberty. The 
French dislike an unsuccessful despot, or one who in- 
terferes with their social license, or who insults their 
vanity by an overbearing behavior, but, if he can con- 
tribute to the prestige of the nation and add something 
to their luxury and magnificence, thej' will immolate 
their liberty at his altar over and over again. I accuse 
them of ingratitude not without grounds. One can 
liken the French nation to a brilliant dandy, who can 
be generous on occasions, but who is too isolated in 
his vanity to feel real gratitude for sympathy. It 

246 A Young Scholar. 

would seem to him an acknowledgment of weakness, 
and to be weak, is, with such a person, the first of 
crimes. Such people, says the great Roman historian, 
Tacitus, can never forgive a benefit. Any one ac- 
quainted with the European history of our Revolution 
knows that it was seldom sympathy with the little 
band of British colonies which sent noble adventurers 
to our standards, but a desire to make a test with us 
of democratic government. The idea of republican 
liberty was at that time beginning to seethe in the 
blood of Europe. America and Americans will not 
forget such men as La Fayette, although the French 
neither then deserved, nor now deserve, a grateful re- 
membrance. The Bourbons were our allies to injure 
England, certainly not from any admiration of colonial 
democracies. The French cherish a mean envy and 
spite toward us, because we were successful in main- 
taining in grand repose that freedom which they have 
several times acquired by spasmodic efforts, and as 
often lost by a frivolous want of principle. Napoleon 
III. would have laid more firmly the foundations of 
his dynasty in the heart of the French people had he 
been successful in destroying our nationality by an in- 
terference in our late Civil War. There were men in 
France who accused him of trying in this way to curry 
popular aflFection. 

The only sort of excuse which the Germans have for 
continuing this deplorable war for the acquisition of 
Fretich territory is that trait of the French character 
which could never forgive Germany her success in 
warding oflF their murderous aggression. The Ger- 
mans know they will have to fight again and are deter- 
mined the next time to have the advantage of the 
ground. This I say is their real excuse. They pre- 

Letters. 247 

tend however to have others. Bismarck does not 
exactly fight to destroy the republic, but he is no 
doubt glad to be able to kill two birds with one stone. 
I am still of the opinion that a nobler policy on the 
part of the Germans would have been to their and the 
world's advantage. It would have enabled them to 
take the initiative in a great European alliance for the 
maintenance of national integrity, and every one 
knows what a contribution this idea would be to the 
infant code of international law. A really great states- 
manship, it seems to me, would have secured these re- 
sults from the situation, but Bismarck is a powerful 
man, not a great man. He lacks that insight which 
comes of universal love. Germany, as you say, is set- 
ting a precedent which may oppress herself sometime. 

As to the commimism of European radicals, and 
especially of the French, I can only say that there are 
two sorts of equal laws — those which regulate every- 
thing for everybody alike, and those which simply 
make it possible for every one to regulate what concerns 
him as he likes. These gentlemen believe in the first 
class ; I in the second. We agree thus far, viz. : that 
all monopolies and franchises are bad. But they wotdd 
destroy all such corporations by making the state one 
all-absorbing commune^ while I desire to see the talents 
and faculties of men find their normal exercise and 
that reward which the laws of competitive industry 
will secure them. The association of labor is a grand 
principle whose beneficent effects are yet to be per- 
ceived, but it can be a practical success only under the 
form of voluntary co-operation. So much of poUtics. 

My political studies have not as yet been very con- 
siderable. An extensive acquaintance with the work- 
ing of different civil institutions and the state of society 

248 A Young Scholar. 

under them, as well as an intimate knowledge of his- 
tory, must unite in the mind of a philosopher before 
we produce a statesman. It would be difficult for a 
person to be more favored than I by the circumstances 
of my life for forming sound political views. The 
result, however, will depend on my capacity. No 
quantity of light will make things clear to the blind. 
Perhaps I am too much an idealist. I always loved 
mathematics too much to be intelligible to certain per- 

I do not know what to say of your intention of not 
making Humboldt a permanent home, save that you 
will know best what to do and that my home shall 
ever be where you and mother are. I shall be glad to 
see anything from your pen whatever, if it is only the 
report of a railroad dinner. I do not consider such 
things, as mother does, to be nonsense, for I know 
they are necessary in the economy of society, as society 
is. They serve a very considerable purpose in calling 
every one's attention to what are the material interests 
of a community, and preserve men from a close-fisted, 
miserly, everybody-look-out-for-himself way of doing 
business. Thanks to Billy for his warm-hearted lines. 
We are having a Christmas vacation of two weeks. 
This letter has managed to get behind. 


Formal logic ; the principle of all things ; need of phi- 
losophy ; truth of Thales and Anaximander ; the 
nobility of pantheism ; plans for the future ; zeal 
of the French under Gambetta. 

Munich, Jan. 8, 1871. 

It scarcely seems to me two weeks since I answered 
father's last letter which lectured me so severely for 

Letters. 249 

my, perhaps, over-unkindjudgment of the poor French. 
I pity them now with all my heart and would gladly 
forget that they were ever the reckless suitors of la 
gloire at the cost of the world's peace. 

Your metaphysical catechism without the answers 
came to hand yesterday. You wish to know, if I un- 
derstand you, whether the method of speculative think- 
ing is that of formal logic, or whether it obeys peculiar 
canons of its own. Formal logic, as I have studied it 
in the Analytics of Aristotle and the text-books of the 
modems, is not a method of thought but a test of 
conclusions. The discoveries of the sciences which 
are called exact, as well as the philosophemes of the 
metaphysicians, are not the products of logical think- 
ing but oi general hypothesis. Formal logic has no re- 
gard to the soundness of the premises, but solely to 
their form and the legitimacy of the conclusions. A 
system of speculative philosophy cannot be developed 
without the aid of syllogistic reasoning, but the specu- 
lative thought is not so derived. The real speculative 
element is the hypothesis. 

The phenomena of mind and being point alike tow- 
ard a great unseen principle, and the measure of a 
philosopher's ability to approach this is the compre- 
hension which he possesses of all the data of being in 
their unity. The first chapter in the history of specu- 
lation will illustrate this. Thales, the first philosopher, 
taught that the principle of all things is water. This 
seemed to him the commonest and simplest of all the 
elements, to be itself characterless and, as moisture, 
the principle of growth. Solids are formed of fluids 
and gases of fluids. The sea, that seemed to him 
boundless and bottomless, embraced in his system in 
its bosom the world as a kernel formed of itself. 

250 A Young Scholar. 

These were no doubt all reasons why he taught the 
elementary character of water. But what has formal 
logic to do with such reasons or with that first philo- 
sophic necessity of unity in the mind of Thales, which 
made these appearances reasons to him ? Speculation 
is of the nature of induction, but formal logic begins 
where the induction is complete. 

I cannot deny myself some further remarks on this 
subject than may seem necessary to answer your ques- 
tion. Philosophy is, in the estimation of the world to- 
day, below par, and, as is usual in such times, the 
world has the greatest need of universal ideas. * * What 
is the use,*' cry these ** fingering slaves," as Words- 
worth calls them, ** of a hypothesis which it will only 
require one generation to outgrow ! Truth, truth ; 
give us the plain truth ; a metaphj^sical system is no 
better than a fable.*' If I were to be bullied out of 
my better senses, as many persons have been by the 
clamor of public opinion, I should close my Plato and 
Spinoza forever. To do what ? Why, to applaud such 
men as Ben Butler and Bismarck, and in my old days 
join the Methodist church. 

Let us see of what sort of use philosophy has been. 
Did not Thales, who took the first tottering steps in 
that sublime march of mind that has led the human 
soul upon so many glorious heights, advance the wis- 
dom of the race when he simplified the phenomena of 
change and growth — which so utterly confused his co- 
temporaries as to seem to them constant miracles— by 
the supposition, false enough as regards its direct object, 
that water is the principle of all matter, but profoundly 
wise and true as regards the great doctrine of the unity 
of substance ? Anaximander, Thales' s scholar, saw the 
insufficiency of water as a principle. He saw that it 
too had qualities, and only belonged to a class of 

Letters. 251 

bodies which must all be accounted for by a higher 
hypothesis. He taught that there must exist a sub- 
stance infinite in quantity and absolutely without qual- 
ity which he called the ** Indefinite.'* 

Many modern chemists speculate in the same way — 
namely, that the atoms of which the elementary mole- 
cules, or smallest chemical factors, are composed, are 
in all the elements homogeneous and without quality, 
for quality is simply the product of their peculiar com- 
bination. What an advance on the first thought of 
Thales's ! Who will venture to say that these specula- 
tions are false? What is truth, if that which brings 
light into darkness and order into chaos is false ? 

Soon it occurred to thinkers that mind must be ac- 
counted for as well as matter. The necessity of a higher 
hypothesis was created, and we come to Parmenides 
and Plato. For my part I am not ashamed to admit 
that it is as much the divine activity of thought itself, 
as any imaginary coincidence of thought and thing 
called truth, that gives for me worth to ideas. In this 
sense of truth there are many things which are true 
that are not worth knowing, and there are many things 
to which no thing answers that constitute wisdom. 
Indeed this servile realism, which I hate, is the un- 
natural child of an absurd and debasing theory, viz. : 
the dogma that denies man any participation in the 
divine essence of things, — that makes him an image 
and piece of manufacture whose whole being and 
activity consist in a miserable effort to reflect the facts 
of a soulless and material nature. I am a pantheist. 
It is our strength, our glory, our salvation to carry in 
our bosoms the imperishable sense of our identity at 
heart with that transcendent life which is not subject 
to, but which involves, necessity. 

It seems to me from your letter, that neither your 

252 A Young Scholar. 

young lawyer nor yourself were any too clear on the 
matter of your dispute. Formal logic does not deal 
with abstractions, but with the relation of statements, 
be they indifferently true or false. No man can im- 
agine that he arrives at the truth by any other than 
the method of induction, and it is Mill's great service 
to the science of logic, to have shown that the major 
premise of every syllogism is the result of a prior in- 
duction. Formal logic, however, as a science, deals 
with the exact quantities of the syllogism, and leaves 
the induction of her premises to the inventive and com- 
bining intellect. When rightly understood your quest- 
ion falls to the ground. 

We shall have to agree upon my movements for the 
coming year pretty soon. I wish to go to Vienna in 
the spring and attend the university there through the 
summer term ; then to go down the Danube and Black 
Sea to Constantinople and on to Athens, where I am 
certain it will be to my interest to spend six months or 
more. There is a university and fine library there, 
and living is not more expensive than in Germany. 
Travel might make it cost a trifle more, but if need be 
I can see less and get along with what I receive. The 
climate in the city of Athens is excellent. This winter 
I have had another spell of a little home-sickness. I 
only stay because I hope to enjoy home and make 
home so much more by what I gather here. I dbn*t 
know where Humboldt is, but the place has more in- 
terest for me than Rome or Venice. Where shall we 
make our home when I return? On the Pacific? or 
shall we go east to the centres of Puritan civilization ? 
Do you want to live in the city or country when you 
are old ? What does father think of all these things ? 
Of one thing I am determined — that is, that we shall 

Letters. 253 

live together, but that is yet some years oflF, and such 
fancies only make me more discontented to stay in 
Europe alone, alone ! 

Another heavy reserve of men has been ordered to 
take the field. This morning troops of hussars and 
gigantic cuirassiers passed with sounding bugles by 
my window to the depot. The French have given the 
Germans their hands full. Gambetta, with his repub- 
lican zeal, energy, and sonorous lies, has really done 
wonders. He is one of the first men of the age. The 
event of the struggle looks more uncertain every day, 
although the fall of Paris, which cannot be far dis- 
tant, will turn things, I think, overwhelmingly in 
favor of the Germans. It will relieve a half million of 


Bohemian life and idealists ; wants of the gods ; the 
nebulous mass of political economy ; the general hypo- 
thesis ; misery of France. 

Munich, Jan. 24^ 1871. 

Your letter containing a duplicate of my last draft 
was received day before yesterday. I wish nothing 
more devoutly than that I could myself take hold of 
this heavy machine of expense which father and you 
have dragged so far, and draw it alone. It seems to 
me that business, after my severe labors in Europe, 
would be mere play. This Bohemian life of mine 
appears at times almost unendurably irksome, mere 
headwork where every other function of being is in 
suspension. Again I think, when I am in clearer spir- 
its and see some Philistine with his prosy family enjoy- 
ing an afternoon in a coflFee-house, or taking an idyllic 

254 -^ Young Scholar. 

stroll in standing collar and stove-pipe hat, that it is 
certainly a great privilege to be allowed for some years of 
our youth to contemplate this flat existence from the 
windy height of the schools, before descending into it, 
where every man ** walks with his head in a cloud of 

The German schools make idealists for the simple 
reason that where men are cut oflf from all healthy, 
beautiful life in nature, and their minds still crowded 
with the images of the world's most splendid life of all 
times, they must necessarily grow estranged to the 
reality about them and deal with it only as the vile in- 
strument of necessity. I learn to trust more and more 
to the all-adapting influence of time. In time what is 
painful or irksome, or even disgusting, ceases to be so. 
How many heaven-scaling spirits at twenty, have taken 
office and grown round paunched at forty ! Poets la- 
ment this mighty falling-ofF, but I think it rather great 
gain to be rid of so many comfortless desires. It is an- 
cient wisdom that to have few wants is to be like the 
gods, who have none ; and is a man not all but one of the 
Happy Ones whose whole necessities are toasted toes 
and a good meal ? To the likeness of this favor we 
all come at last, whatever we may have been when the 
blood \^as in flower and the soul as bright and full of 
hidden stars as a June sky. O for the divine repose 
of a Spinoza, that more than earthly mood which 
lightens through my soul in short gleams, and which 
was poured out upon the great saints of the race as the 
sunlight ! They saw the infinite in the smallest, and 
wandered in glorious self-forgetfulness and holiest ador- 
ation through this life, from silence to silence. But 
now is the season of work and the din of work over- 
cries the music of the spheres and I fed myself alone. 

Letters. 255 

My studies have been this winter successful and 
even more attractive than they were in Berlin. I have 
acquired a great taste for political economy and am 
determined to leave nothing undone that can help me 
to as full a comprehension of this extremely important 
matter as is at this time possible. One has some read- 
ing to do. Smith and Malthus, Ricardo, McCulloch, 
Mill, Carey, Say, List, Bastiat, and their like, did not 
live in vain, but wrote abundantly whatever thing 
they thought, be it a wise thing or otherwise. Mathe- 
matical combination and analysis, keen and compre- 
hensive, are the requisites for gaining ground in these 
nebulous masses of figures and facts and theoretical 

My last letter I hope will have been intelligible and 
have satisfied you as to the real nature of speculative 
thinking, viz., the general hypothesis, which is the 
same as the inventive faculty in minor matters, or the 
gift by which a Newton arrived at the single laws of 
Nature. In the positive sciences, however, these hy- 
potheses can be subject to the test of experiment and 
supplementary observation, which soon determines 
their value. In speculative philosophy proper, this is 
generally not the case, and, where it is possible, it can 
only be from an advanced universal standpoint, and the 
advance of this is the slow movement of history. 

The course of the war has become extremely painful 
to me. It is impossible for any but the blindest par- 
tisan to behold, unmoved, a spectacle such as France 
presents to-day, although what they are suffering is 
still not equal to what they intended to inflict. Yet 
our pity is moved ; it is that god-like pity of human 
nature which sees nothing but the misery. You re- 
ceive, I think, very colored accounts of affairs in 

256 A Young Scholar. 

France. The cold hopelessness of their position and 
the ironical self-possession of their enemies make one's 
heart bleed for them. They are so proud and must 
fall so low, that I, for one, find no satisfaction at the 
spectacle of their humiliated vanity, because it is too 
painful. Historj'', however, will call it just ; but jus- 
tice is only a sonorous euphemism for necessary misery, 
and the sooner we all feel this the better. The German 
armies have been tremendous sufferers in their extended 
operations, and have melted down forty per cent, or 
near about. 

P. S. — Greet dear Grandmother for me, and tell her 
I wish her all the joy of her new home. 


German self-glorification; localization the profoundest 
principle of political wisdom ; French Constitutional 
Assembly; American war with England is political 

MuNCHEN, Feb. 6, 1871. 

In spite of the great occurrences which have fallen 
between my last letter and this writing, I am at some 
loss to-day for a subject. Decoration and illumination 
are the order of the day. Public joy, which you know 
is always so noisy and so little joyful, has hung our 
city with flags, — ^flags of courtesy, imperial flags, grate- 
ful Prussian flags, patriotic Bavarian flags, etc., till the 
place resembles a vast shop of calico for negroes' wear. 
Should I succeed in describing these festivities of 
national vanity, it is to be doubted whether such an 
achievement would rank among the classics of our 
future epistolary literature. We cannot sympathize 
with individuals in their triumphs over the weakness 

Letters. 257 

of others ; how much less then can we be expected to 
take part in the brutal self-glorification of headless and 
heartless masses, to whom every occasion of victory is 
an occasion of satisfaction, even should it seal their 
own political degradation and restore their enemies to 
the self-respect of freemen. The profoundest principle 
of political wisdom demands a constant localization 
and decentralization of social action in the interests of 
civilization, of pubUc prosperity and, above all, of pub- 
lic morality ; for so only can communities be made 
sensible of their responsibility. So long as men herd, 
they are cattle. Political science cannot be better 
defined than as the science which enables men to dis- 
pense with politics. 

All the world awaits in suspense the meeting of the 
French Constitutional Assembly. There is not so 
much anxiety as to their action in regard to the terms 
of peace, for it is thought that they will have no choice 
in the matter, but as to the form of government with 
which they will be pleased to present France. The 
Government of National Defense has, in the name and 
in the forms of republican liberty, urged the country to 
greater eflForts .than could have been eflFected by the 
most popular prince. But we must not forget that 
these efforts have still wanted success and France is 
said never to forgive a failure. 

I am willing to confess my political insight at a loss 
to divine the course affairs will take in this unhappy 
country. If the nation has learned the lesson which 
this calamity is so well calculated to teach, the people 
will have benefited by their reverses, as the Austrian 
state was liberalized immensely by its military disasters 
in 1866. 

You speak with great confidence of the event of a 


258 A Young Scholar. 

war between Great Britain and the Union. I think, 
too, that there could be no doubt of the final annihila- 
tion of England's foreign influence and the loss of her 
transmarine possessions, as the result of such a war. 
We would lose nothing but money, character, and civ- 
ilization by the enterprise. The present administra- 
tion of personal jealousies and littleness would not 
hesitate at such trifles, I fear. There is nothing more 
certain in the world than that the English people do 
not wish to quarrel with us, and that they are willing 
to make almost any concessions which can be de- 
manded with a show of justice. But our government, 
for the sake of a political handle, has declined to take 
any decisive steps toward a settlement of the difficulties 
between the countries, preferring, for political capital, 
to keep things in a dangerous suspense. 

In your last letter father gives his consent to my 
going to Greece. I can assure him that it will be 
greatly in the interest of my actual studies, and is not 
by any means the gratification of a scholar's dream. 
Vienna is on my way to Athens, and I see no reason 
why I should not rather spend the summer there than 
at Munich, where there is nothing new to see. I must 
close here if I am not to miss my 10 o'clock morning 
lecture, for I have a mile's walk to the university and 
only fifteen minutes to do it in. 


Reflections on a grandmother^ s death ; personality only 

phenomenal; superficiality of men^ s thought ; longing 

to lose self; the pathos and tinted fancy of Tennyson ; 

the debt of France, 

MuNCHKN, Feb. 26, 1871. 

I was living in hope that, after so many poorly filled 
small sheets, your next letter would come freighted 

Letters. 259 

like a rich argosy of the post, but it, too, was late and 
thin, and weighted with the shadow of death. Grand- 
mother is no more. She will sleep soundly after her 
unquiet life. See, it is left for the living to fashion 
regrets and to stand troubled at the grassy portals of 
peace ! Would you know with what eyes we, the 
latest children of the world's thought, contemplate 
this ever-dreadful death? After long and painful 
wanderings of the soul in search of fabulous joys and 
potent incantations to turn the stars in their courses 
and bring life to the veins of death, the human Psyche 
is returning to the beautiful ways of health from which 
she went out in the heroic morning of the world. Ours 
is again the epic quiet of that time, deepened, it is 
true, with infinite pity of all life and a profounder joy in 
all being than even the emotion of Hellenic days, yet 
akin to it, and we can comprehend in all their sublime 
comfort the simple Homeric words : ** As the race of 
leaves, so is the race of men ; the wind scatters them 
earthward, and the budding forest bears them anew.*' 

This is wisdom in a man, to contemplate the nothing- 
ness of his particular life midst the infinity of life. 
It is the awfulest revelation of philosophic thought, 
that personality is only phenomenal. Think ! what 
assurance have we of ourselves, what proof from min- 
ute to minute of our identity ? Might it not be the 
freak of a god to substitute every night for me another 
soul, with my form and memory, while I pass away ? 
And what if I knew that what might be were so, and 
that he who rises is not he who lies down, should I be 
afraid to sleep? But this is death and personality. 
Certain am I that there is but one life, and that this 
is the transcendent life of the divine whole, which is 
mine by as good a title as that which is called my 
proper life aiid is only phenomenal in the other true 

26o A Young Scholar. 

life which we live in our innermost soul of contempla- 
tion where all things are one. I know I stammer in 
pronouncing these almost incommunicable thoughts, 
but my tongue may grow stronger. 

It is true that the greater part of the world still lives 
so superficially that they have no interest in the con- 
templation of such things. What meaning has it to 
most men that personality is phenomenal ? Can such 
a thought break their selfishness, banish their fear, 
inspire them with a consciousness of divinity ? They 
feel themselves in a world of space and impenetrabil- 
ity, where one thing must move to give another place. 
It is a beautiful world, and one in which a philosopher 
can have his delight, but it is not a good world to 
teach pantheistic ideas. But I feel that there is so 
much for me to live through in my own being, so 
much darkness to dispel, so much that is hard which 
must be softened before I can speak as one having 

All sorrow is inconsolable, at least mine is so. I 
take life, with its sorrows and all its nameless bitter- 
ness and all its joys, to live it, not for the sake of these 
things, nor for anything, for in the end there is no 
purpose. Go out beneath the stars and all alone, look 
up into this wilderness of worlds, which are from eter- 
nity to eternity, feel in your heart the bitterness of 
some great loss or unfulfilled desire, and feel besides 
the infinite insignificance of your most serious endeav- 
ors and expectations, and you will be of harder stuff 
than I, if you are not overcome by an almost irresisti- 
ble longing for the end, to cease from being, to lose 
this feverish, painful self in the eternal coolness and 
stillness and rest of the universe, ** to be blown about 
the desert dust or sealed within the iron hills.'' 

Letters. 261 

This quotation from Tennyson reminds me that you 
mentioned you were reading his poems in order. I 
studied him, you know, at Heidelberg, and since have 
often turned over my favorite pages with great pleas- 
ure. What delights in Tennyson is his fine pathos and 
exquisitely tinted fancy of the vast problems of being 
as they absorb Wordsworth, or overwhelm Swinburne, 
as they themselves seem solved under the magic touch 
of Shakespeare, or as they stand with sphinx-like, 
inexplicable significance before the soul of Dante. 
His In Memoriam is more like the petulant upbraiding 
of a misunderstood necessity by a dogmatical super- 
naturalist than thegrief of a wisepoet in deepest accord 
with the secret heart of things. But it is an ungrateful 
task to find fault where there is so much of sweetness 
and freshness and vivid color. The Lottis-Eaters^ 
Aylmet's Fields Guinevere^ In Memoriam^ and much 
else will insure their author a lasting name. Contem- 
porary German poetry contains nothing equal to these 

The armistice expires to-day and we expect confid- 
ently to hear that peace has been concluded in to-mor- 
row's journals. The money indemnity, in addition to 
the territory required, makes it hard for France. Her 
debt previous to the war and her debt contracted by the 
war, plus the enormous sum demanded by Bismarck, 
will tax to the utmost her resources, diminished by the 
terrible devastations which she has suffered and the 
direct subtraction of two millions of her population in 
the annexed provinces. War is a costly entertainment, 
as the glory-loving French have found out. 

262 A Young Scholar. 

The character of Munich ; of Salzburg and Vienna ; 
want of English works of historic philosophical interest; 
pantheism the ground of voluntary self-sacrifice, 

Vienna, March 16, 1871. 

In my last letter I promised you that you would pro- 
bably next hear from me at Vienna. You see I go 
when I have a mind to. I enjoy that supreme freedom 
which all boys so ardently desire, and which most men 
find in the end of so little moment as to barter it away 
on the altar of Hymen. 

I bade Munich adieu, — Munich with its monuments 
of high endeavor and small achievement, with its 
beautiful pictures and ugly women, pious processions 
and unequalled beer, with its professors and apple- 
women. It requires less exertion to live in Munich 
than in any place I have ever seen. As in the lotus- 
eater's land, it seems there always afternoon. You go 
from your room to your lecture, to the park, to the 
caffe, to the concert hall, to a friend's, — but all so stilly, 
without anxiety or hurry, that, work as you may, you 
can scarcely call yourself in Munich at work. But the 
truth is, one cannot do so much under such narcotic 
influences, as, for instance, in Berlin, where I was wider 
awake than ever before in my life. 

My trip to Vienna has been without any disturbing 
incident. I stayed over a day at the old city of Salz- 
burg, the most beautiful seat of the formerly so power- 
ful archbishops of Salzburg in the Austrian Tyrol. It 
is a mountain city, the birthplace of Mozart, Haydn, 
and Paracelsus, commanded by a mighty castle-fort- 
ress. To describe the panorama of snowy mountain 

Letters, 263 

tops in a girdle about the city, as I saw them break- 
ing the azure splendor of a spring sky, would take a 
more graphic pen than mine. The scenery of Salzburg, 
although of quite different type, rivals the picturesque 
environs of Heidelberg. There is nothing of note to be 
seen between Salzburg and Vienna. 

I arrived here yesterday and before night was quar- 
tered in a comfortable room not far from the famous 
Prater, the magnificent park of Vienna, which is said 
to make so brave a show in fine weather when it is 
frequented by the gorgeously appointed equipages of 
the Austrian nobility, the most exclusive and the most 
powerful on the continent. It is little I can say as yet 
of the city from personal examination, but the first 
impression is extremely favorable. One thing forces 
itself, however disagreeably, on the stranger's notice, 
that is, the impudence and extortion of coachmen, 
carriers, and servants of all sorts. Money goes a mighty 
short way here, if one does not abbreviate one's connec- 
tions with these creatures to a minimum. 

I shall hear but few lectures this summer ; on the 
other hand, however, I shall do a much greater amount 
of reading than usual. I shall have access to the Royal 
Library, the University Library, and the libraries of 
several cloisters. My greatest want, and one which I 
can find no way of removing, is English books. 
Scarcely the classics are to be had, and as to works of 
historic philosophical interest, they might as well not 
exist for me. To buy them is out of the question. If 
I were simply a German scholar, I might get along 
with the German summaries and accounts of English 
works to be found in special treatises in German on 
different topics of English literature, but I desire a 
special detailed acquaintance with the books them- 

264 A Young Scholar. 

selves. I shall be obliged, I suppose, finally to go to 
England for this. 

You understood me aright in my request not to show 
my verses about. I shall never be ashamed of panthe- 
ism, nor shall I ever conceal for fear sentiments which, 
in greater or in less measure, have made all the heroes 
history records. Without a sense of that absolute 
solidarity of interests which pantheism alone explains^ 
but does not necessarily create, or, as a belief, accom- 
panies (for consequence in thinking is not everybody's 
strong point), without this sense, I say, there is no 
such thing thinkable as voluntary self-sacrifice for the 
good of others. And this alone is heroic. There is no 
merit in good which is done for the sake of heaven ; 
there is merit alone in love which has another for its 
object and end. What I feared was the verses would not 
be understood, and consequently, I be misunderstood. 
When the day comes for supporting my ideas with my 
voice, I shall not be afiraid even of being thought a 
fool, but there is no use of earning gratuitously be- 
forehand this reputation. I know perfectly how the 
world thinks, what it thinks foolishness and what scan- 
dal. What I shall then have to say must be maturely 
considered in all its relations to life, and must be de- 
veloped as the organic product of the world's thinking 
in the past, if it be said at all. For I have patience 
and know that I live in a universe of unlimited time, 
and that my personality makes no computable part of 
it. First of all, I must realize in my own spirit all the 
majestic repose and heavenly self-forgetfulness which 
I discern so clearly in my idea. It is a work of self- 
correction and self-control in which the disuse of every 
trivial manner, every hurried or passionate word, even 
every personal uncleanliness, not to mention vices and 

Letters. 265 

falsehoods of action which stick to us long after we 
have given over lying, that can be of the greatest 
service. Blamelessness in life is not the end which 
I seek, but is a negative condition of this end. 

You may expect in my next an account of Vienna, 
and what I'shall have managed to see between now 
and then. I think, on maturer consideration, you will 
agree with me, that to spend an idle year at home just 
in the midst of my work, would be, in every sense 
save that of the heart, lost time, but one year from 
home is as hard as another, and if I followed my first 
inclination, I should not stay here at all. 


A day's study; Vienna; jealousies of the peoples of 
Austria ; the Germans lose their freedom in the glori- 
fication of a successful despotism ; tlie Assembly at 
Versailles and Thiers; apostrophe of a Greek to 

Vienna, April 2, 1871. 

Since in Vienna, the weather has been so indescriba- 
bly bad that I have scarcely ventured to go out, save 
to the University reading-room at nine in the morning 
and back again, taking dinner by the way at two in 
the afternoon. At home I read modern Greek and the 
minne-singers, play my flute, and when these resources 
give out, I either absorb myself in transcendental specu- 
lation, or think of what I shall next have to eat, or I 
go to sleep on the sofa. The eating question is at pre- 
sent a chief of my concerns. My appetite is insatiable. 

To-day we have good weather and the city is turned 
out to enjoy the long-desired sunshine, notwithstanding 
the high wind and blinding sand. This seems to be 
an infinitely greater nuisance here than I found it in 

266 A Young Scholar. 

Berlin, where, you know, the people are called in sum- 
mer the Bedouins of Prussia and are supposed to eat 
sand without any injurious efiFects, all from long habit. 
But Vienna is a magnificent city, far more imposing 
than the Prussian capital although considerably less 
populous. There is a cheerful aspect to» everything, 
united with greater pomp. The inhabitants are much 
more southern in character, fonder of amusement and 
less industrious. The politics of Austria, at present, 
present a most instructive spectacle. The efforts of 
the state are to get safely through a transition from 
an unlimited to a constitutional monarchy and to retain 
in it a half-dozen jealous and ambitious nationalities. 
Austria threatens to cease to be a state and to go to 
pieces ; that is, to dissolve into the national elements 
of which the great conglomerate Empire is composed. 
The fact is the Germans in Austria, about one fifth the 
entire population, aspire to rule the roost alone, and 
will not listen to any rectification or adjustment which 
would rob them of a preponderance of influence in the 
councils of the state. There exists a hatred and con- 
tempt of the Slavonic and other nationalities here that 
is only exceeded by the negrophobia at home. This 
brotherly sentiment is not lost on the Slavs. They 
return everything with interest after their fashion, as, 
for instance, lately in Prague where the Bohemian 
students made a riotous attempt to terrorize a German 
professor for writing a I^tin ode in celebration of the 
German victories. 

Prussia and all Germany, as was foreseen by every 
one acquainted with the history of the last eighty years, 
have entered upon a period of decided reaction. The 
church and monarchy have been strengthened enor- 
mously by the late national successes, as must ever be 

Letters. 267 

the case where a people feels that it is led and led suc- 
cessfully. The feeble efforts that may have been made 
to get the control of government into the people's hands 
are given over, and, in the glorification of successful 
despotism, the interests of freedom are forgotten. 

The lamentable state of affairs in Paris, too, contrib- 
utes to dishearten Republicans all over Europe. I fear 
a bloody end awaits the madmen of Montmartre and 
Belleville, who seem to utterly forget that they are com- 
pletely in the hands of the German forces, and that 
Bismarck will never entrust to them and such as they 
the government of a state which owes him five thou- 
sand million francs. Their insane communism would 
bankrupt the wealthiest country in the world in two 
years. But, on the other hand, it must be allowed that 
the revolt in Paris did not take place without great 
reason. That infamous and cowardly Assembly at 
Versailles has no other desire than to murder the Re- 
public on the first opportunity. Thiers, much against 
his will, but in hopes to soothe the excitement in Paris, 
pledged himself to the Republic, and pretended that 
he could speak for the Assembly as well ; but this 
body observed on all such occasions an ominous re- 
serve, or broke it only to give expression to its bitter 
hostility to all democracy in France, and to its inten- 
tion to take things into its own hands so soon as peace 
had been fairly concluded, and the odium of the affair 
been devolved upon the Republic. Who can wonder if 
Frenchmen grew wild at the thought that, after all the 
infamy of the Empire, France must again be bridled 
and bestrid by some pretender to divine right ? 

Well, it is a fearful abyss of monarchy and corrup- 
tion to which the French nation has sunk under the 
Empire and war, or rather from which it never ascended 

268 A Young Scholar. 

since the Reign of Terror iu 1793. Indeed, when one 
surveys the gloomy stage of European politics, one is 
inclined to think the enthusiastic apostrophe of a mod- 
ern Greek statesman to the American people not exag- 
gerated. **0 blessed people of America,** he says, 
** we have, but you exercise, the wisdom of the ancients. 
We celebrate, you enjoy, the golden gifts of liberty 
alone ! ** In my opinion, there exists no other people, 
that is, sovereign community, which is not held to- 
gether by some foreign pressure save the American 
people. All others are either simply great herds of 
individuals, or narrow-hearted little communities of 
half barbarians, as the so-called peoples of South 
America. My sheet you see is full, so adieu. 


Pantheism the religion of absolute love; Viennese laborers; 

Dbllinger's stand against the ultramontane policy ; 

Viennese society; the ^^ Independent s^^ estimate of 


Vi:bnna, April 16, 1871. 

An oversight at the post-oflSce in Munich occasioned 
a delay of ten days in the forwarding and delivery of 
the letter which, as you will remember, I thought pos- 
sibly lost. Your last, of March 22d, has come direct, 
so that ** communications are re-established,'* as the 
war bulletin has it. Father, you say, thinks pantheism 
destitute of all power to animate and inspire ; he fears 
it leaves me nothing to live for ; that it is onlj'' another 
name for nihilism, etc. ; but he shall see when I come 
home if I have become a philosophical blasS, or if I 
have not rather first acquired my mental and emotional 
health in Europe. Pantheism, as a system of speculat- 
ive philosophy has purely theoretical, not pathologi- 

Letters. 269 

cal power, but pantheism, as the religion of absolute 
love which penetrates all being with the ichor of 
divine significance, alone can raise man above himself, 
and, while it does not, as all other religions, obscure 
his mental vision and lull him in the fatal slumber of 
bigoted error, it fills his life with heroic cheerfulness, 
and teaches him to despise whatever has only self for 
its end and aim. But it is no religion for the great 
mass of men. Who does not feel within him some 
stirring of divine might, the might of self-sacrifice, let 
him keep afar from the sacred light of truth, and 
aspire at most to be only a favorite creature of the 
great gods, but never feel his blood-kinship with them. 

My life shall be a witness of my faith. I have 
passed forever the valley of the shadow of death, and 
from henceforth, live with a strength and a comfort 
which nothing can take from me. I dedicate my life 
to labor, while my soul rests in the certainty of di\dne 
accomplishment. **Not we act,*' says Fichte, **but 
the universe acts through w^.*' How many compan- 
ions of my purpose shall I find in life ? Shall I be 
utterly alone in this region above the turmoil and 
feverish strife of men, of a world for which I must 
labor and which I love ? But loneliness is for me no 
more isolation, for I do not live with God but in God. 
I should not write these almost wordless thoughts of 
my soul to you, if I did not reckon upon their finding 
some echo in you. To all the rest of the world I ob- 
serve a silence on these things. 

Now I must not take up all this letter in such effus- 
ions. You propose a half-dozen subjects for me to 
write about when I run short of matter ; the prices of 
labor, of goods, etc. ; whether I made any lady ac- 
quaintances in Munich, etc. In Vienna, the costliest 

2 70 A Young Scholar. 

city with the exception of Paris, on the continent 
laborers* wages range from forty to seventy-five cents 
per day. The half of this is not paid in the country. 
The poor live on brown bread, onions, a little side- 
meat or sausage, and cheap beer. They dwell like 
rooks in a sea-cave, and wear patches, second-hand 
garments, or the coarsest imaginable material when 
they are able to buy it new. In the price of provisions 
there is not much diflFerence between the markets of 
Europe and America. There are used here, however, 
far less sugar and spices in the cookery than at home. 
Vienna is growing with a rapidity only exceeded by 
our western cities. 

As I wrote you before, the aspect of political affairs 
is very discouraging. The papers do nothing but la- 
ment over the impending ruin, the dissolution of the 
Empire. You will, no doubt, have heard of the excite- 
ment which the Munich professor of theology, Dol- 
linger, has created in Austria and Catholic Germany 
by his resolute refusal to accept the new dogma of 
papal infallibility. The young king of Bavaria has 
taken his part against his bishop ; the factdty of the 
University congratulated him on his manly and power- 
ful defense. In fact, there threatens a new Reformation 
in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The Common- 
Council of Vienna has voted him the thanks of the city 
for daring to take up the glove which the Jesuits of 
the nineteenth century have hurled down in defiance 
of all reason, human and divine. It is something un- 
heard of since I^uther. DoUinger is an old man, the 
preceptor of nearly all the bishops of the church in 
Germany, the first scholar in ecclesiastical history liv- 
ing. You see the Jesuits will have their hands full to 
prevent an open schism. 

Letters. 271 

— ^i» III! 

In France things seem to have reached the bottom 
of hopelessness. Whatever may happen, one thing 
seems certain to be the end of all, a restoration of the 
monarchy and a political reaction, a new reign of the 
police, etc. — the next morning's headache after a drunk. 

The lyondon Conference seems to have given Russia 
courage to begin a series of agitations and interferences 
in the East which she may hope will lead to a war and 
the acquisition of new territory. 

I^adies' society is about as unintelligible a phrase to 
me as you can well imagine. My ideas of what it is 
like are derived altogether from books, and this is a 
scanty source, as I don't read novels. I can remember 
having spoken about ten minutes to an American lady 
in a coflFee-house in Munich. One can get into society 
here, if one cares to dress, to hunt introductions through 
your professor or consul, or to improve all opportunities 
that chance throws in your way ; but it does n't pay. 
Mixed society is little cultivated here. I^adies and 
gentlemen meet at balls or at formal dinner parties, 
but seldom on any other occasions. The reason of this 
is to be found, perhaps, in the existence of a great 
class of women in these large cities called the demi- 
monde. Men seldom marry before thirty or thirty-five 
years of age, and many never. They find the satisfac- 
tion of their social wants, such as they have, easier 
outside than inside the pale of good society. A girl 
without money, however beautiful or amiable, stands 
no chance to find a husband. She goes to swell the 
ranks of social outcasts. Half the births in Vienna are 
recorded as illegitimate, and, in fact, a much larger 
proportion is so. The whole tone of society is some- 
thing of which an untravelled American can form no 
idea. Where morals are so universally loose, vice 

272 A Young Scholar. 

seems to lose a great part of those features which make 
it repulsive in more virtuous countries. At least it is 
not accompanied by such general depravity of character. 
The review of Taylor's Faust in the Independent is 
a piece of the most outrageous, presumptuous igno- 
rance and contractedness I ever read. It is below 
criticism. How imperially would the great Goethe 
have looked down and smiled upon this little masculine 
prude, with his little Sunday-school view of life and hy- 
percritical, little, verbal criticism ! Coleridge objected 
to translate Faust^ but it never occurred to him to call 
the poem ** dreary,*' and its reputation ** conven- 
tional." The devil says dirty things in /a«^/. It is 
a great pity that such geniuses as Shakespeare and 
Goethe would not be persuaded to leave oflF such 
naughty words ; that they persist in painting life 
to the life. If they had only been persuaded, then 
their works would not be called ** dreary," and might 
be read before mite-societies by young candidates for 
the ministry, and other such broad-minded individuals. 
I^ng may they wave ! 


The two great problems ; freedom of the will^ and first 
causes; the teleological argument refuted; laws of 
nature laws of mathematics ; the atom ; the divine 
significance of all life and its lesson ; culture results of 
three years ; plans for rounding out a scholar's equip- 
ment; need of further study ; the wishes ** to know^^ 
and to make others happy. 

Vienna, May 2, 1871. 

Need I say that your letter of March was received 
and read with the greatest pleasure? I cannot be 

Letters. 2 73 

sufficiently grateful for the affectionate tone in which 
it criticises my position. I should be won by it to 
give over my opposition for sweet agreement's sake, 
were it not that the subject under discussion is of the 
highest moment both to you and me, as to all men. 

My complaint that your previous letter was cruel, 
you must not take exactly. There was nothing meant 
but a mild reproach for certain polemical acridities 
that seem, after having served you so many a good 
turn in public life, to have become almost inseparable 
from your style. Perhaps I, too, have failed to observe 
all those bland proprieties of speech which soften con- 
tradiction. But then I have no ground to be so sensi- 
tive when I reflect that plain speech is justly a preroga- 
tive of parental authority. 

In reviewing your argument for its [the letter's] 
points y I discover so many things inviting a reply, 
that I must despair of refuting them all in the limited 
space of a letter. There is observable an admirable 
connection, a sequence of thought, in all you write, 
and I can for that reason hope, by attacking what 
seem to me the fundamental errors of your position, 
to bring the entire edifice to fall. 

There are two great problems which stand as land- 
marks between the exoteric and esoteric world — the 
people and the philosophers. Who has not solved 
these must be content to count with the masses, though 
he were a Napoleon, a Shakespeare, or a Newton. 
One of these is of moral, the other of theoretical 
interest. They are the so-called freedom of the will 
and the teleological argument for the existence of 

It exceeds the ordinary man's comprehension to 

understand how the voluntary character of our acts 

2 74 A Young Scholar. 

is Qo evidence that our volitions themselves are not 
the necessary products of our situation aud habit of 
mind. That I can do what I choose to do is evidence 
to him that the responsibility for the causation of ray 
acts stops with me, whereas throughout all nature we 
know that there are no first causes, that there exists 
a regresms ad infinitum. You will not need to be 
told the part this error plays in nearly all systems of 
theology. It substantiates the individual ; that is, it 
gives the individual an independent existence co-or- 
dinate with the exterior universe and with God, to 
whom he is, by virtue of his character as a creature 
and dependent, again subordinate. Reward and 
punishment are the reins by which he is directed, 
and this relation of quid pro quo is the only real one 
that exists between the Christian aud his God, or 
really can exist. You will not pretend to vindicate 
to man from this relation the quality of divinity, and 
yet, in contesting my right to use the word divine, 
you declare that "man's divinity consists in his 
relation to God and immortality." 

If endless existence can make that divine which is 
otherwise not so, then you must admit in matter a 
superior divinity to your own ; for if you have the end- 
less future before you, it has besides this the nobility 
of an infinite antiquity. What I understand by this 
word, I will explain farther on. In this digression 
about free-will, all I desire to do is to show in what 
relation this error stands to my view of the phenomen- 
ality of the individual, that is, to the doctrine of a di- 
vine whole of which all individual lives are but moods 
or expressions, whose real interests, as whose reaUty, 
are referable only to this whole. Love is the recogni- 
tion of this divine truth as all may understand it, and 

Letters. 275 

it is not necessarily accompanied with that degree of 
theoretical insight which is requisite to comprehend the 
great philosopheme of life. 

The second of these almost insurmountable diffi- 
culties, the theoretical one, takes, as in your letter, the 
form of the question, ** How else are we to account for 
the adaptations we discover in nature except by the 
assumption of a wise Creator? ** In all my reading I 
have not met with a better exposition of the insuffi- 
ciency of the solution than I myself gave in letters to 
you from Heidelberg, viz., that, as intelligence it- 
self is a product, first of a certain organism and then 
of experience of these apparent adaptations in nature, 
it can in no sense be adduced as in itself the origin and 
fountain of what we term the wisdom of a plan. In 
other words, plan and planner are alike the products of 
absolutely necessary laws. 

Since Bacon we have been taught to believe that all 
wisdom is the product of experience. An intelligence 
which exists before all experience is something of which 
we have no conception, and in fact self-contradictory. 
The blunder committed in both cases is that, in con- 
templating the world, the subject, that is the person 
so contemplating, counts himself out, and the objective 
phenomenal world is viewed as the essential world per 
se. Until this naive standpoint, which entirely ignores 
the subject, is passed, there is no use trying to infiltrate 
speculative ideas into a man. When you have referred 
the order of the world back to the wisdom of God, you 
are satisfied to ask no more questions. The divinity is 
something absolute and admits of no explanation, but 
it is just this divine character of absolute necessity 
which science and reason teach us to find in the world. 
To the philosopher the world does not seem to point to 

2 76 A Young Scholar. 

an extra-mundane Creator, but, in the infinite vicissi- 
tudes of life and growth, decay and death, he greets 
the ever-present, everlasting divinity. The laws of 
nature are but the laws of mathematics, and the 
adaptations which we admire are the product of a 
law, which Darwin has revealed, of natural selection 
by means of the struggle for existence. How this has 
worked in every case, is the question for the investigat- 
ors of coming centuries. We can trace its workings 
in nature wherever the short space of time in which our 
observations have been made embraces the genesis of 
any such adaptation. 

As to the atom, I deny neither its existence nor its 
materiality, but its substantiality ; that is, I consider it, 
too, ** phenomenal." What I showed was, the mate- 
rialist who holds to its substantiality must admit that 
it must be smaller than the smallest conceivable space, 
since the conception space is, according to him, a func- 
tion of the atom. Just as it cannot be perceived because 
it cannot reflect a vibration of two or more light-atoms, 
so it cannot be conceived by any action of atoms. 
The question is very subtile and only meant to be a 
reductio ad absurdum of raw materialism. 

My use of the word divine is consonant with my en- 
tire view of things. Kvery manifestation of the divine 
life is divine, the horse as well as the man. We are 
of and in and through the one infinite, All-god. The 
horse is not only a beast of burden with a price, but a 
being endowed with courage and beauty and might. 
But right here is the root of my aesthetics, and indeed 
it is, what all true poets and artists since Homer have 
felt, the divine significance of being independent of ac- 
cidental attributes. That a thing w, is cause of endless 
wonder, of a nameless sensation of admiration in the 

Letters. 277 

true poet. To him the whole universe is holy, is di- 
vine. There is no such thing as common, cheap, vul- 
gar, etc., virhen we feel the genial inspiration of the 
muse. One thing may be a wider manifestation of the 
divine than another, yet all are of the same absolute, 
infinite, inexpressible source. Christians were ashamed 
to recognize their relationship with the negro while 
they humbled themselves before God. The pantheist 
is infinitely glad of his kinship with all life, and feels 
himself one with the divinity. Theirs is a religion for 
slaves and masters, a religion of rewards and punish- 
ments, of hope and fear. Mine is a religion for brothers, 
of heroism and love. It seems to you ** narrow and 
semi-civilized.^' To me it seems far too heroic, far too 
pure and beautiful for many who think themselves at 
the head of civilization. 

I feel how imperfect and incomplete is everything I 
have written. A subject that requires volumes cannot 
be disposed of in two sheets, but you will see, if you 
reflect on what I have written, that I mean to attack 
the times with a different programme than reformers 
hitherto. Spinoza and Schleiermacher, my teachers, 
were satisfied, the one with the bare statement of his 
theory, the other with a lame accommodation of his 
views to the church, and consequently with an unclear- 
ness and double meaning that hindered his influence 
firom working as he really wished it to. 

A word about my stay in Europe. When I came to 
Germany I arranged a plan of study for the time of 
my expected residence abroad. It was uncommonly 
extensive. Teachers and fellow-students have warned 
me that I ran great risk of superficiality, and that only 
uncommon talent and uncommon industry could war- 
rant its completion in the time allowed. I calculated 

278 A Young Scholar. 

this, according to your own wish, at about six years. 
Following this plan I have arrived almost at the end of 
the third year and have every reason to congratulate 
myself on its success. My aim from the first has been 
culture, but I have made the important discovery (in- 
deed I made this very soon) that only a thorough and 
comprehensive knowledge of a subject contributes 
to strengthen the mind. All outside acquaintance 
with a science, a language, a literature^ a system, a 
people, or whatever else, only burdens the thinking 

My education is my profession. . I must excel in it if I 
am to be of use to the world or of advantage to myself. 
In America my life will no doubt be full of intellectual 
effort, and I shall not cease to learn because I lay off 
the academic gown, but I shall be far from those 
libraries, museums, teachers, peoples, and associations, 
which furnish us the material of our knowledge. 
Mother wishes me to come home after another year, 
but she does not comprehend how ruinous this would 
be to my future usefulness, at least to my weight as a 
scholar. I should certainly have, even then, an un- 
commonly good education, and should have no reason 
to complain, as I am only most thankful for all your 
priceless goodness to me. But, for the purposes I have 
in view, there would be still much wanting that I never 
could acquire in America. 

I have especially reserved for the last two years of 
my stay my historical studies, as also the Italian and 
French literature. I have sacrificed to my thirst for 
knowledge everything that other men hold highest. 
I have but one selfish wish, and that is to know. 
Money, fame, love, youth — all, desirable as they are, 
must go. Only the love of home will not leave me, 

Letters. 2 79 

and it still reminds me that I belong to the gentle race 
of men, and am not a scholastic abstraction. 

But my exile will come to an end, and then I shall 
be at home never to leave it again. I long to be back 
with you and mother. I think I could make our life 
so much sweeter than it was, because I have conquered 
myself completely, and should have but one thought, 
to make you happy, and when we try this with all our 
hearts we cannot fail. You must judge whether my 
stay in Europe three more years is possible. Whatever 
your decision, I shall receive it with affectionate obedi- 
ence and not regret the unattainable. How much 
have I already seen of my youthful dreams, yes, the 
warmest and most golden dreams of life, float off into 
the realms of empty and vain things ! I overcame the 
pain of this when I had no comforting faith, when I 
felt that I was losing my heart's blood. To miss a 
certain finish on my scholarship would be to me now 
a nothing. 


/n Europe and Asia a scholar a title of respect^ in 
America a scholar an object of pity ; caste feeling 
limits usefulness ; society as a source of progress ; 
Shakespeare^ s support in refuting teleological argu- 

Vienna, May 8, 1871. 

Your letter enclosing a most welcome remittance has 
been received. How could you let so brilliant an oppor- 
tunity for writing me an interesting letter as a visit 
home certainly affords, pass unemployed ? The scanty 
sheet which I received seemed only meant to enfold 
the precious bit of paper which, I must confess, dimin- 

28o A Young' Scholar. 

ished somewhat my disappointment. Why no word 
about Henry's little boys ? I loved those children with 
all my heart, which is a somewhat peculiar heart, and 
not always able to give a reason for its tender spots. 

My ** most potent, grave, and reverend seigniors *' are 
concerned lest I may foolishly waste my youth in the 
pursuit of knowledge and acquire a mighty contempt 
for the wealth of this world. Aforetime this was 
thought the sign of a noble and ingenuous disposition, 
but the times change and the world changes with them. 
In Europe and in Asia the character of a scholar 
is a title to the respect of all classes. The prince lets 
the reserve of rank fall in his presence, and the peasant 
recognizes in him with profound deference his real 
superior, not his better only in the Herald's office or at 
the banker's. If American scholars are looked upon 
as rather objects of pity than respect, they have only 
themselves to blame. Have they made the people feel 
that culture is one of the powers which control the 
affairs of state and public opinion ? They must first 
acquire that culture which gives a man the distinction 
of scholarship, and they must not be afraid to lay the 
ban of science and of taste upon many of the people's 
favorite opinions. Cliques and sects educate men in 
America to champion their creeds, and the voice of 
impartial learning is never heard. What wonder, then, 
that the scholar's gown commands no respect ? 

There is much to improve in the general character 
of the learned in Europe. They should lose a great 
part of that caste feeling which limits their influence to 
a very contracted circle. The masses are left to the 
priests, as hopelessly sunk in ignorance and barbarism. 
The result of this indiflFerence as to the fate of the great 
body of society is a visible degradation of the moral 

Letters. 281 

standard among the learned themselves. It is only 
from a great moral purpose that great moral strength 
can be derived. * * The love of truth for the truth's sake ' ' 
is one of those brilliant phrases which serve to lend a 
false light to the indiflFerence and selfishness of narrow- 
hearted students. That scholarship which neglects the 
great social and living ends of mankind is destined to 
shrink into the soulless formalism and vicious abstrus- 
ity of scholasticism, or into Byzantine pedantry. 

We owe every great increment to our insight, to 
some act of the people. Society, not the learned, is 
the source of truth. The thinker casts up the accounts 
which humanity sets down. I admit, this was not 
always my opinion. I was much rather inclined to 
ascribe the progress of mankind to the decisive deeds 
of her great minds, and to find in the masses only that 
stupidum pecus, or stupid herd, whose sole force was 
the vis inerticB with which they resist the light. There 
is a certain truth in this view, viz., that the masses 
refuse to accept all the consequences of the position 
which they may have taken, but it does not follow, 
because they do not comprehend just where they are, 
that they are not here. Within the last two years we 
have seen this doctrine of Schelling's, that conscious- 
ness is not a necessary concomitant of all psychologi- 
cal operations, developed by Hartmann into a system 
which he calls in few words, the '* Philosophy of the 

Well, I must come back from this excursion into the 
regions of social science. How surprised was I the 
other day, when reading Shakespeare, to find the sub- 
stance of that idea with which I attempted (and as I 
still think with success) to refute this argument from 
the adaptations in nature for the existence of a wUe 

282 A Young Scholar. 

author of these same. I argued that intelligence is 
a product of nature and impossible without experience 
of laws and order, which of course must exist before 
they can be the objects of experience ; therefore intelli- 
gence cannot be the primary origin of any order or 
adaptation. Shakespeare says in The Winter's Tale, 

** Yet nature is made better by no mean, 
But nature makes that mean '' ; 


*' This is an art 
Which does mend nature, — changed it rather ; but 
The art itself is nature." * 

How many men have admired the point of these 
lines without grasping their profound significance. 
Shakespeare himself was, no doubt, unconscious of the 
reach of this utterance. It is an example for Hart- 
mann's philosophy. What is it that does not come 
within the full orb of that capacious soul ! The world 
seems like an illustration to Shakespeare. 

E writes me that he hopes to stand his examina- 
tion this fall in Wiirzburg, where he now is. He then 
will make a short tour through Italy, and home. We 
shall probably manage to meet in Trieste. I think of 
going this way to Greece, as cheaper than the route 
through Constantinople. The Danube is a very mo- 
notonous stream. You must not publish criticisms 
of persons which I write home, not for the world ! 
because I am religiously opposed to giving any soul 

♦These quotations are to be found early in Scene 3 of Act IV. 
in The Winter's Tale, 


Letters. 283 


TTie poesy of the prairies ; philosophic and art studies 
quicken a love of nature ; character of western institu- 
tions of learning ; the solidarity of all interests ; prom- 
ise of co-operation ; transformations of the struggle for 

Vienna, May 25, 1871. 

Your Sunday morning letter came all the way to 
Vienna without losing the light and fragrance of a 
western Spring, the mystic charm of a blossoming 
prairie. It is true this was not on the paper, but 
woven in with the words and was for my mind's nose 
(to vary Hamlet) most sweet incense. Do you know, 
I think the poesy of our great prairies a more ethereal 
spirit even than of ocean scenery, or the bosky, shad- 
owy recesses of the German forests. The sea has 
something more elemental, I admit ; the restless, end- 
less waters and the moving pomp of clouds, the shifting 
colors of dawn and noon, and night with only the in- 
finite azure of heaven in rest, — all this lends the ocean 
a spiritual significance which no landscape possesses. 
The sea is the type of Spinoza's soul. It is panthe- 
istic, eternal change, cradled in an eternal sameness. 
But the prairie partakes largely of this elemental char- 
acter too, and, besides, it introduces, in the colorless 
region of the pure idea, the first dawn of feeling. It 
is, as when the cloudless night-ether is thrilled by the 
yet invisible sun ; for in the solitude of the elements 
we are warned by the flowers at our feet of the presence 
of that divine life which is in soul and flower alike. 
But this volatile spirit is gone when the hand of culti- 
vation stamps the mark of man's necessities upon the 

284 A Young Scholar. 

virgin soil. A higher reflection will console us; so 
cheer on the plow ! 

You can scarcely conceive how abnormally sensitive 
my, for the most part sedentary, life, pent up in great 
cities, has made me to the beauty of nature. My philo- 
sophical studies have contributed, perhaps more even 
than this deprivation, to quicken the rapport between 
me and the visible universe. You know I am a pan- 
theist ; and in addition to these causes may be reck- 
oned, as no less important, my study of art. How 
such a study elevates and purifies and intensifies the 
sensuous nature ! We grow to take a delight in mere 
tones of color, in rhythmical lines, which seem childish 
to the unimpressible rationalist. It is impossible to 
translate all feelings into ideas. 

You speak glowingly of the prosperity of your new 
State. I should be glad to identify myself with the 
interests of Kansas, even if for a long time I should 
have much uncongenial work. An institution of learn- 
ing in the West, however munificently endowed, must 
in the nature of things long remain a mere diploma 
factory for the benefit of aspirants to the learned (?) 
professions which pay ; /. ^., law, medicine, theology, 
etc. But, notwithstanding, such a point presents a 
real scholar with the best opportunities for sowing the 
seeds of genuine culture, — although he is expected 
merely to decorate with a sort of intellectual evergreen 
which has grown in other men's minds and keeps its 
color without roots. Depend upon it, the next thirty 
years will witness a revolution in the way of thinking 
with us not less important, and, in its consequences, 
even far more reaching than the results of the glorious 
agitation which has made America indeed what she 
boasts to be, the home of the free. 

Letters. 285 

European thinkers have prepared a revolution, a 
new era, which the masses here are too lethargic to 
achieve. America must accomplish in the majesty of 
strength and moral assurance, and in the sunlight of 
clear insight, what weighs upon that unhappy city, 
Paris, like a nightmare.* It is not better insight or a 
better will, which preserves the other great cities of 
Europe from the convulsions that are just drawing to 
a close in the French capital ; it is apathy, the blind 
custom of submission. 

The unequal distribution of wealth in our age is 
becoming an intolerable oppression. The poor are 
being educated, they are acquiring sensibilities, wants, 
feelings, which were strange to the pariahs of former 
times, and yet the means of gratification are beyond 
their reach. I am not a French communist. I do 
not believe that the state can remedy this evil. It 
must be the masses themselves who seize the great 
ideas of the solidarity of all interests, of the vanity 
of self, of the religious necessity of co-operation. The 
co-operation of the poor will level wealth, and that 
without a single violent interference with the natural 
laws of industry and trade ; but the world must 
undergo a new birth, such as was the regeneration 
of the pagan world by the Christian gospel, before 
co-operation in this sense is possible. 

I am no believer in a millennium, but I do believe 
that the eternal struggle for existence, which is the 
very principle of life, takes higher forms. From a 
struggle with weapons of murder, as life is among 
cannibal men, it became a struggle of business 
interests, and such is the chief content of life to-day ; 

* The aspiration for freedom, then set back by the straggle 
with the Commune. 

286 A Young Scholar. 

but the time will come when the possession of enorm- 
ous wealth will no longer be an object of universal 
desire, as we are already past that period in which 
the frame of a bruiser was the most valuable gift of 
nature. I am not sanguine as to the maturity of the 
people for this idea, — the pantheistic idea as I cherish 
it, but between its full realization and aflFairs as they 
are, are a hundred stages. Nature makes no leaps, 
she has time and she takes time, but if in my life- 
time I can see that a number of resolute spirits have 
comprehended the evil and its remedy I shall not be 
disappointed. Politics is the great school of the 
people. The political partisan is obliged to keep in 
view the interests of a great commonwealth, and it 
is impossible for him to refer these always to his own 
private ends. He learns to go out of himself, and this 
is our salvation. 

After two months of almost continuously bad 
weather we are enjoying a pleasant spell of late 
spring sunshine. My health is good. I take very 
great interest in your accounts of your work at home, 
but I can answer nothing. I have no idea what home 
looks like, where your fields are, what your stock is, 
and who your neighbors. You will perhaps have no 
better idea of my surroundings, although you only 
have to imagine a room on the ground-floor and look- 
ing out on a street of four-story houses without yards 
or trees. The parks and squares of the city are not 
visible from my window. 

I lack for nothing which can make my solitary 
existence cheerful but the society of the loved ones at 
home. I could live for less money, but it would be 
injurious to me. I make of my minor inclinations, 
which are sometimes expensive, allies against more 
dangerous ones. You will understand. 

Letters. 287 


The immortality of love; pantheism a doctrine ; divinity 
the ground oj phenomenal nature ; pure being defined; 
moral consequences of this doctrine ; a Corpus Domini 
Sunday in Vienna ; a mystic rapture and its reaction ; 
a review of fowett's '' Plato '\' a case of pedantry 
without learning ; Liberal defeat in Austria, 

Vienna, June 7, 1871. 

Dkar Mother : — How often do I pause when I 
have written these tenderest of words, and repeat 
them over and over, as if I could win from their heart- 
felt tone the matter of a whole letter ! What they do 
not convey is of but accidental importance. Yes, a 
whole life is not poor that has no other gold at heart 
than that which rings in these pure old Saxon words. 
It is not the shifting circumstance, the phenomenal 
garment of life, which we cherish ; it is our love, and 
this is eternal ; but then that is a great mystery. The 
vulgar make them carven images of the infinite or 
liken it to the endlessness of time ; but the reality of 
things is not in time. It is where the distinctions of 
before and after fall away in the reflection of Being 
upon itself, in the For-itselfoi Hegel, the closed circle 
of the Absolute. Our immortality is a quality, says 
the great dialectician of Berlin, not an endless succes- 
sion of existences that have no bond but that of an 
ever-fading memory. * 

* Suggestive of Hume's difl&culty . * * There are two principles 
which I cannot render consistent, nor is it in my power to re- 
nounce either of them, viz., that all our distinct conceptions are 
distinct existences, and that the mind never perceives any real 
connection among distinct existences. Did our perceptions either 
inhere in something simple or individual, or did the mind per- 
ceive some real connection among them, there would be no diffi- 
culty in the case." Hume's Works, vol. ii., p. 551 (1874). 

288 A Young Scholar. 

But are not these abstrusities very out of place in a 
letter ? See to it that you are not to blame, as well as 
I, by propounding such questions as in your last, 
whether, namely, pantheism be not another name for 
that popular trinity of ideas, * * the true, good, and 
beautiful.'* Do pay attention to what I am going to 
write and you cannot fail of getting a clearer concep- 
tion of what philosophical pantheism means. It is a 
doctrine which asserts that the divinity must be con- 
ceived as the reality, the ground (Spinoza says sub- 
stance) of the phenomenal world, which, as phenomenal, 
cannot have in itself the ground of its own being, for 
that which really is, and not merely exists as phenome- 
non, cannot be subject to extinction and is not pro- 
duced. Matter is the phenomenal form of this being, 
but matter is a representation of the senses, and all 
questions as to what matter is in itself, that is, what the 
atom is, are senseless, and involve a contradiction, in 
so much as they inquire after the substantial nature of 
that whose entire nature is phenomenal. Pure being, 
or the absolute^ is not an object of our thinking, so that 
we do not know about it, but it is one with thought ; 
in other words, it is the inseparable reality, which is 
one and the same in all things. It is the unthinkable, 
and yet the condition of all thought, the invisible con- 
dition of all seeing. It is the one thing which is, and 
it alone is, and is God. 

Yet all the world is its revelation and we are mo- 
ments in the eternal being. Necessity is its nature, love 
its realization, beauty its significance. Thus pantheism 
is not another name for these three ideas, but the stand- 
point from which alone they can be adequately con- 
ceived, and from which their inner identity appears. 
The absolute necessity or sameness in the succession 

Letters. 289 

of events is the law of truth. The phenomenality of 
the individual and necessary transfer of our interests 
from self to the absolute, whose manifestation is the 
world, is the law of love or the good. The recognition 
in the single forms of life of significance which has 
only the ground of all being for its farthest bound, is 
the law of beauty. So this is a popular definition of 
my pantheism, which is in great part that of Spinoza. 
As it is the simplest, so is it the deepest and most diflS- 
cult conception of the world. It requires of its disciple 
the profoundest inner penetration of being, the resolu- 
tion of all phenomenal existence into its absolute being 
and absolute necessity. It requires, moreover, the 
completest conquest of self, without an ascetic self-morti- 
fication, which is only another way to obtain the sweets 
of heaven. It gives its disciple the sense of divinest 
dignity and strength, and the only freedom, which is a 
harmony with the law, not a power to disobey. When 
my desires are measured by my capacity I am free. 

June 8th — ^This is a day of high solemnity in the 
Catholic world. It is the feast of Corpus Domini, and 
the ecclesiastical pomp of Austria's ancient capital has 
celebrated in long procession and mystic rite the sacred 
memory of the last supper of the first disciples with 
their beloved master. How easy for the susceptible 
mind, even of a disbeliever in the supernatural machin- 
ery of the Christian tradition, to bury itself in the 
melodious twilight, and holy calm of this festival ! 

I arose this morning at an early hour, after a delight- 
ful night's repose. In soul and body I felt the enliven- 
ing quiet of a summer dawn, glad of my innocence and 
health. I could, it seemed to me, have died for this 

beautiftil world without a murmur, without fear. 


290 A Young Scholar. 

Everything that met my eye was beautifiil, wonderfully 
significant, with a meaning which I understood, but 
could not translate in words. The flowers in my win- 
dow seemed the first I had ever seen and appeared 
imperishable, divine thoughts in light. My room 
seemed a sanctuary and my books luminous with the 
spirit of their great authors. Every passer on the street 
seemed a friend to whom I need but speak to hear the 
kindly voice of recognition. 

Why should I, in such a Sunday temper, not lay 
aside my pride of thought and my republican scorn, 
and attend the expected ceremony with the heart of a 
simple Catholic and legal subject of the imperial house 
of Hapsburg ? So I did. For two hours I forgot I was 
a disciple of Spinoza and a bom freeman who would 
bury the world in fire rather than bend the stubborn 
knee. I took my place among the spectators ; the sky 
was of the softest blue ; the sun was covered by a float- 
ing cloud ; with solemn music the procession moved past 
the great decorated altar erected in the open air, where a 
reverend bishop conducted the ceremony of high mass. 

First came the monks with innumerable banners, 
then the charitable orders of laymen, the city council- 
men, the Parliament, the ministry, the military digni- 
taries, the court oflficials, the nobility, the imperial 
majesties ; again officers, monks, courtiers. It was 
a brave show of gold and brocade, of monk*s serge 
and laymen^s broadcloth. 

But my exalted sentiments grew gradually cooler. 
I began to feel the absurdity of this military tinsel 
and royal buncombe and sacerdotal vanity. The 
multitude began to revive in me images of their real 
life, — its selfishness and lewdness. I thought of the 
horrors of Paris, the mighty injustice of our time, 

Letters. 291 

and that the same chasm which had yawned there 
and swallowed its thousands, was here covered only 
by the thinnest incrustation. It was time for me to 
go. So I slipped away and, as the sun in the mean- 
time had climbed to noon and was glowing in all his 
oppressive majesty, I sought the cool garden of a 
neighboring restaurant, where, at a quiet little table 
under green elm branches, I ate my soup and beef- 
steak and washed it down with a healthy glass of beer. 
Here I thought better of the world again, for a good 
digestion is a mighty peace-maker, and I laughed to 
myself at my sentimental experiment of the morning. 
It had been but a partial success. I had even so far 
lost my pious self-possession as to laugh inwardly at 
the idea that my fellow-devotees would have all kissed 
the pope's toe if they could. This sort of killed the 
rapport between us. 

What a diflFerence between this mummery and living 
religion, which, for the intellect of our age, is none 
other than pantheism ! The windows of the soul are 
opened ; the sound of the eternal waters of life fills 
us ; the breezy, blossoming, shining might of nature 
purifies us ; the glory of infinite love and freedom 
delivers us. So I thought, as I strode homeward 
through the crowded streets where everything was 
fast resuming its work-day exterior. Since in Europe 
I have lived too much in cities. It is here so hard 
to preserve that religious regard for strangers which 
we should never lose. The city is the home of cynics, 
misanthropists, and criminals, and in the city there 
is no hospitality. 

The Tribune's review of Jowett's Plato that you sent 
me has reached me. The reviewer evidently and con- 
fessedly knows little or nothing of Greek thought. 

292 A Young Scholar. 

He indulges in sophomorical generalities. I have not 
room to enlarge on a subject like the genius of Plato, 
I should need to fill a book, were I to commence. 

Did not R tell you that he had dropped com- 
munication with me ? He has a learned curiosity about 
the language of the Hottentots and is ignorant of 
the language of Kant and Goethe. This school-boy 
vanity to know something of many things is ridiculous 
in a man. When he ran away from his declaration, all 
he had to do, no doubt, to regain his self-respect, was 
to repeat the alphabets of forty-languages, and reassure 
himself that they were still fast in his memory. But 
he was a good fellow in spite of his vanity. It is only 
a pity he ever married. Had he come to Germany 
and seen what it takes to make a scholar, he would 
have been either cured of his notions or have set to 
w^ork and acquired some solid information. He has 
not heart enough to be happy as a husband and father. 
His controlling passion is a love of shining, not of 
seeing the light, and when he is suflSdently convinced 
that, by some dogged blunder or other, he has missed 
making a great stir in this world, he will become a 
most ardent candidate for the eternal crown in the 
next. It is against such natures that pantheism is 
powerless. It offers nothing that they desire, for their 
whole desire is self. 

The lyiberals have just suffered a stunning defeat in 
the Austrian Parliament. The Hohenwart ministry, 
which is charged with intentions hostile to the con- 
stitution and the solidarity of the German population, 
that is their predominance, by the establishment of a 
Bohemian state, ct la Hungary, has defeated the Liberal 
majority of the Reichstag on the test question of the 
budget. The majority of the Reichstag had expressed 
their lack of confidence in the present ministry in an 

Letters. 293 

address to the Crown. The Emperor, however, re- 
turned their paper of grievance with the gracious 
signification of his trust that they would co-operate 
with his ministry in restoring the country to a much- 
needed tranquillity. The I^ft, which had voted the 
address, then resolved to resort to the last means in 
the hands of a Parliament which has to deal with a 
constitutional sovereign. They resolved to refuse the 
public money to this ministry, but on the test vote 
they were deserted by a number of their party suf- 
ficient to give the Government an easy victory. In the 
address they had said A. but had not the courage to 
say B, This is a constitutional state with a vengeance. 
The blood-hounds of Versailles, who have murdered 
more poor, deluded workmen and artisans of Paris — 
men who, in the desperation of a sack and storm 
where no mercy was given, shot sixty-four hostages 
and fired the palaces of their oppressors — than the 
guillotine of the old revolution beheaded, are about 
to restore the pokey old Bourbon dynasty. France 
barters liberty for servile king-worship, as a heathen 
sells his child to purchase jewel eyes for some lop- 
eared, mahogany idol. Anathema sit I 


The sane courage of philosophic insight; Bacon and 
Comte enemies of speculation ; the moral energy of 
pantheism; virtue defined; moral responsibility; 
eradication of selfishness; nature of mysticism; a 
new faith always seems immoral; a French agri- 
culturist ; fearless and honest intellectual industry. 

Vienna, June 12, 1871, 

D^AR Father : — ^Your letter of May 28th, although 
accompanied by mother's afiectionate lines, deserves by 

294 A Young Scholar. 

reason of its more serious character to take precedence 
in my reply. I was overjoyed to receive so voluminous 
a remembrance fh)m home, after so long a period of 
slender notes, — apparent imitations of Caesar's dis- 
patches. But then there is no good thing that is 
wholly good. I was painfully affected to see how 
little you sympathize with those views which appear 
to me to be the guaranties for the future of a stronger 
and purer manhood in the world. 

Your letter contained some thoughtful remarks on 
the tendency of highly gifted men to insanity. This 
is one of the saddest of the numerous testimonies to 
the feverish and unsettled character of our epoch. 
Since the religious and intellectual revolutions, or 
rather incomplete revolutions and therefore more prop- 
erly convulsions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centu- 
ries, the ground has quaked under us as never before. 
But could Philosophy have a better title to the respect 
of the world than is the fact that she alone has shielded 
her sons from harm? Not a name on her immortal 
roll is darkened. Poets and religious thinkers have 
been blasted by these storms ; — natures whose exquisite 
sensibilities lacked the clear order and measured power 
of intellectual health, the courage and the heart which 
comes of insight. 

Bacon was the father of empiricism, which, in its 
one-sided consequence, denies philosophy the right of 
existence. The world in which he lived and which he 
studied was not the divine world of the philosopher, 
but a mere mechanism whose points and bars he ex- 
amined. No wonder then that he was not filled with 
awe and reverence for its laws. 

The eccentric Frenchman, Comte, was the arch- 
enemy of all si)eculation and all philosophy which he 

Letters. 295 

could not bring under some rubric of mathematics or 
chemistry. Of course he lacked, as all such thinkers 
must lack, the first and fundamental principle of moral 
wisdom. When materialists and positivists, who are 
the same, come to deal with social and religious ques- 
tions, they are sure to make a fiasco. 

But the serious matter in your letter is your asser- 
tion that pantheism must be destitute of all moral 
power — 2i mere theory without all truth for the inner 
man. A system of thought, you say, adapted to the 
wants of our age, must be a powerful reformatory doc- 
trine, must make men better, and this you consider 
pantheism incapable of doing. We are in this last 
opinion a whole heaven apart. To be short, I main- 
tain that there is absolutely no other principle of moral- 
ity than pantheism, that there is nothing in heaven or 
on earth morally good but that recognition of the 
identity of interest between all life which we call love, 
and which is unthinkable upon any other supposition 
than that the interest we take in the world about us is 
based on an identity of being. Everything else is but 
one form or another of selfishness, and not moral. 

The only rational definition of virtue is the disinter- 
ested interest an individual takes in others. If you 
deny the existence of such a sentiment, then how can 
you talk of morality ? There is then no distinction 
between good and bad but that of prudent and impru- 
dent selfishness. The man who does not steal for fear 
of punishment or in hope of being better rewarded for 
leaving it alone, and not out of respect and solicitude 
for his neighbor's welfare and the general security of 
society, is not a moral man ; nor is he who avoids a 
life of lewdness for reasons of the same sort, and not 
because he is prevented by that profound harmony of 

296 A Young Scholar. 

the emotiotial and sexual nature which shrinks with an 
involuntary aversion from all connections not ennobled 
and justij&ed by the devotion of the whole soul in pure 
and exclusive love. Such men may be everything else, 
they are not moral. 

Pantheism you say denies man's responsibility. I 
agree with you as to the fact, but with this difiFerence, 
that I consider this so-called responsibility of one to 
another as a very hollow conception. It serves its 
turn till we have a better. If a man is so unfortunate 
as to lack feeling for what is right and in the interest 
of society, we are obliged to bring motives to bear 
upon his conduct which are intelligible to him. He is 
to be pitied. His weakness or his contracted nature, 
which deprives him of feeling for everything but cer- 
tain selfish ends, is his misfortune. Hate, retaliation, 
revenge, condemnation, these are all afiFections of the 
mind incompatible with that philosophic insight which 
comprehends everything in its causes. All evil is a 
want, a vacancy, and not properly the object of any 
passion. Good alone is positive, a something, and the 
object of our esteem. Does a heart that beats with 
love for all life, or a spirit full of noble and heroic 
purpose, cease to be the wonderful and heavenly thing 
it is, because these qualities are directly the fruit of a 
propitious birth and education ? What impotence of 
the understanding is it which brings so many people 
constantly back to this absurd objection to ^11 rational- 
ism. **Ah, then a man is not responsible?** What 
do they want to do with a poor sinner ? 

We must understand that no individual existence is 
justified in itself. This sounds Calvinistic, but it is 
better, — pantheism. That doctrine, really polytheism, 
which makes as many independent beings as there are 

Letters. 297 

ephemeral men and which puts every creature on a 
basis of his own, is the very opposite of piety and 
sense. To refer all love to self is as false as that 
shallow idealism that denies the existence of the out- 
ward world, and transfers it all to the brain and senses 
of the observer, as if the observer together with his 
brains and senses were not parts of this same outward 
world. The mistake in both cases is that that is re- 
ferred to self which must be referred to God, For it is 
true that everything, as well our perceptions as our 
aflFections, must be referred for their reality to the one 
absolute ground of being, so that what we see and 
what we love in everything is the one divinity. 

It is a peculiarity of pantheism that it does not seek 
to work morally by holding out enticing motives to 
virtue, but by producing in mind and heart a real en- 
lightenment and fervor. It is of the essence of moral- 
ity, as of pantheism, to direct the attention away from 
self, and how can this be done where mere inducements 
to being good are presented? Pantheism inculcates 
morality in a moral way, or, in philosophical language, 
its form and content are identical. All other ethical 
doctrines make use of illegitimate and immoral means. 
These are necessary in the infancy of moral ideas, as it 
is necessary to give a little boy gingerbread to induce 
him to learn his letters, but it is expected that the 
mature scholar studies for learning's sake. 

The soul that has been seized by the truth of pan- 
theism must necessarily feel and see the vanity and 
nothingness of all selfish aims. He is accustomed to 
ascribe all things to the infinite source of life, and how 
can he take pleasure in vindicating the glory of his 
own performances, which are not his own, to himself 
who is but a transient gleam from the central source 

298 A Young Scholar. 

of all light ? He must feel the deepest kinship with 
the wonderful world of souls about him, and no less 
with those to be in all time as with those who have 
been. How absurd, then, must appear to him, arro- 
gance and pride of place, the cruelty of power and 
prejudice? And yet how sublime is that pride, or 
rather joy, he feels in his wonderful existence, in this 
very divine kinship with all being ! Were a radiant 
angel from unknown distances to visit our planet, he 
would go to greet him with the fearless consciousness 
that they carried in their souls the same life. Let 
Christians and pagans bend their knee in worship. 
My worship is a worship of strength. I do not pray 
for the eternal salvation of that which is but a husk of 
life, — the form of self. 

Every one feels that he is himself, and not another, 
and this self is in every one the same identical /. The 
difference is in the memory we must say, but as two 
things which are just alike are not the same, so we 
have no criterion of self. The individual is phenome- 
nal. How do we know but that some unknown power 
may take away our life every night and substitute an- 
other / in its place. We can well imagine that a 
memory could be produced in other ways than by ex- 
perience, as the instinct of certain animals is innate, 
and their brain, as their limbs, takes a mature form 
without that exercise necessary to develop body and 
mind in man and the higher, more complicated organ- 
isms of the animal kingdom. He who grows attached 
to self, as the one great consideration in this life, is a 
great fool, and, unless he can persuade himself of the 
truth of certain Hebrew fables, he may expect that his 
death will be the final extinction of all he has learned 
to love. But I repeat that pantheism does not wish to 

Letters. 299 

reform men by inducements of fear or reward, but by 
the innate power of enlightenment which its views 
carry with them. 

You see I am not of a mind to abandon my philo- 
sophy as a mere closet theory. Pantheism is revealed 
mysticism. The unclear efforts of deeply religious 
minds have always been to the denial of self, the glori- 
fication of God, and the abstraction from the conditions 
of time and place upon which personality depends. 
But the lack of the genuine philosophical element of 
clear conception entangled them in a net of false ideas, 
allegorical figures of speech, extreme views, and con- 
tradictory notions. One endeavors in vain to see what 
Christ meant by the kingdom of heaven. His prayer 
is that this kingdom come on earth, and that God's be 
the glory and power forever, — a genuine pantheistical 
prayer. In other places he seems to expect this king- 
dom hereafter, and in this sense it is that his disciples 
and the Christian world have understood him. 

But enough for the present of this subject. Read 
with care what I have written, and consider if it alone 
is not in harmony with the knowledge of our age and 
our ideals of moral purity and height. Remember, 
too, that every step forward costs a great exertion, and 
that a new faith always seems immoral because it is 
too moral for the taste of the masses. Remember how 
the early Christians seemed to the pagan world to be 
the scandalous despisers of all things holy and the dis- 
turbers of civil authority, while their feasts of love 
gave occasion to the most infamous suspicions and 

Your high-falutin description of all the forty black- 
birds to be baked in my philosophic pie is very 
good, only I shall not attempt the gorgeous quite to 

300 A Young Scholar. 

the degree you suppose. I have still much to learn in 
husbanding my power. There is great danger of a 
young thinker going out in a brilliant fizz^ for the 
temptation to lavish our ideas right and left is great. 
Organic rhythm in the edifice of our ideas and fine tena- 
cious consistency in all the parts, is preferable to 
gaudy ornamentation, — a barbaric splendor of detail. 
The Greek temple, not the Indian pagoda, should be 
our model. 

While I think of it, I must mention a wish of a 
friend of mine, a young Frenchman. He is a student 
of law, but by inclination and home-associations a 
farmer. His wish is to go to America and live a year 
in the family of some intelligent and prosperous 
western countryman, in order to familiarize himself 
with our system of agriculture. He would then have 
an opportunity to make a more favorable invest- 
ment in land than if he were obliged to buy within a 
short time. He has a respectable property in the 
south of France which would turn him some seven or 
eight thousand dollars. Of course he would take hold 
and be of what service he could, but not as a hired 
man, as he would expect to pay something for his 
board. Do you know a farmer whom you could, re- 
commend ? It would (this is my own opinion) be all 
the better if there were a daughter in the family who 
might like such a match. He is an exceptionally 
decent Frenchman, well educated and speaks already 
tolerably good English. 

It has grown suddenly very warm in Vienna, so that 
I do really more reading than hard continuous study, 
in order not to lose time. It is my habit to put off 
my literary studies till summer. I make no more 
verses, but I read other men's with more judgment 

Letters. 30 1 

and healthy appreciation. I take, too, more interest 
in political questions since I begin to see the conse- 
quent political tendencies of my own philosophical 
principles. These give me a mastery of the situation 
at all times that I have not had before. It is my earn- 
est endeavor to deserve the sacrifices you make for 
me by fearless and honest intellectual industry. We 
are both working, I hope, in diflFerent ways for the 
same noble end. We are allies. If it is impossible to 
support me three years longer in Europe, why then I 
shall come home, and make the best use possible of 
what I have acquired. I feel the importance of these 
years in the preparation for a life of such usefulness as 
I would propose for myself; but these great interests 
of the race do not hang upon individuals, and in all 
cases I could do my part. 

This summer I am twenty-two years of age, and I 
am still wrestling with the great questions of life, but 
already with the certainty of victory. In the past 
three years I have made, perhaps, less progress in 
knowledge than in power. I was too much absorbed, 
but from now on I shall collect with increased rapid- 
ity that abundance of knowledge which gives us in 
life a formidable ally against the misshapen births of 
errdr and ignorance. I wish to start toward the first 
of September for Greece. I have money to last till the 
first of August. I should like very much to be able to 
start with a considerable sum, because it is a little out 
of the world down there. Mother will excuse me, after 
this long letter, for not answering her in detail. 

302 A Young Scholar. 


Voices of a western summer; the harmony of the Greek 
development; study of early Christian literature; 
little love of the stage, 

Vienna, August 8, 1871. 

After several days' impatient waiting, I received, 
I believe it was last Wednesday, your letter with the 
post-mark of June 19th. Harvest time in the country 
is certainly a sufficient reason for neglecting every 
thing not involving capital consequences. The busi- 
est season with you is for me, if not the most vacant 
of the year, at least occupied in lightest work. The 
severe heat makes it impossible to continue my usual 
exertions without serious danger of injuring my 
health. I do not suffisr, as you, from the distraction 
of a summer luxury of flowers, from the stillness of 
mtu'murous woodlands and ripening wheat-fields, 
broken by the cooing of wild wood-doves. Such sopo- 
rific surroundings make a dreamer of me. I live in 
the land of Virgilian idyls. My soul floats in the 
golden haze of a Correggian chiaroscuro. 

Your letter worked these images of bucolic repose, 
but these are only images, for the plaintive murmur 
of turtle-doves in the hollow timber or about summer- 
colored wheat-fields does not reach me here. The 
storm-goaded, broad, shimmering Atlantic welters be- 
tween us. What I do hear is the sweet prattle of 
school children in the street and the million-voiced 
complaint of toil. I<abor, the inevitable lot of man, 
the oppressor of every generation, and yet our only 
protector ! Kingly labor ! I heard the rector of Ber- 
lin University, the famous physician and naturalist. 

Letters. 303 

Du Bois-Reymond,* recommend work as the tldnker's 
compensation for a heaven full of angels, which his 
syllogisms or his scalpel had abolished. I do not 
share his soulless view of life, but I shall never forget 
the grand pathos of those cold, hard words with which 
he closed our labors of a year. 

You wish to know what I expect to accomplish by 
going to Greece besides perfecting my knowledge of 
the language. That itself is a major consideration 
with me, as you know my intention is to make Greek 
a specialty, not only the language, but the entire 
cyclus of Hellenic science. The great value of the 
remains of Greek civilization for the culture of our 
time is to be found in the wonderful harmony in every 
department of Greek thought, art, politics, trade, 
morals, and manners. This is the only people in his- 
tory whose development has been normal. The other 
nations of antiquity either swamped, stagnated at an 
early period, or were from the first one-sided and con- 
tracted, as the Romans. The nations of modem times 
are still less able to give us an idea of the normal 
development of human society. Our religion is an 
Orientalism engrafted on our race. Our art is, since 
the Renaissance, a mixture of antique and Christian 
elements. The intelligence of the age and its political 
institutions are in no way reconcilable. We are in a 
transition state, or perhaps our situation may be bet- 
ter characterized as dyspeptic. The time will come 
when we shall have fully assimilated all these foreign 
elements, and then our progress will assume the 
same character of logical consequence, which is the 

*Ktnil Heinrich Du Bois-Raymond was bom in Berlin in 
1818, and at forty became professor of physiology in the Uni- 
versity there. He died 28th December, 1896. 

304 A Young Scholar. 

admiration of the thinker in the annals of Greek 

But this is not answering your question. I shall 
profit, no doubt, very much by an acquaintance with 
a people so peculiar and, in many respects, remarkable 
as the modem Greeks. Then I shall be able in Greece 
to survey, so to say, from without the edifice of German 
thought that which appears to me so grand a mass 
from within. I shall study in Greece the New Tes- 
tament and early Christian literature with the aid of 
the most valuable German investigations in this de- 
partment. My views will bring me, no doubt, in 
collision with the churchmen of America, and I can- 
not afibrd to do without the tremendous weapons 
which the philological criticism of our time has 
forged against the original documents of Christianity. 

But this is of course a minor matter. My Greek 
reading will occupy me chiefly. At present I am en- 
gaged in voluminous readings of contemporary Ger- 
man belles-lettres. A few weeks' work in this field 
will be of great value to me, as it will give me the 
last finish of a real German's education. Foreigners 
read Jean Paul, Goethe, Heine, Uhland; but these 
represent the Germany of the past. 

Our lectures are out. The semester closes here 
earlier than in Germany. The tone of the flute grows 
gradually softer and my command of bravura-pas- 
sages encouragingly better. Perfection in managing 
an instrument that is next in expression to the voice 
I find to be an extremely difficult affair. Only the 
patience of a German student is equal to the task. 
I hope you will not let me wait till the tenth of August 
for my remittance. If I get a sufficient amount I may 
leave for Greece the middle of next month. 

Letters. 305 

The notice of Billy's d^but as a clog-dancer was as 
flattering as such a performance could well deserve. 
It is very well, if brother's ambition is not bounded 
on more than one side by the reputation of Tommy 
Queen. I have a great curiosity to see sister play, 
for instance, the r61e of a sentimental boarding-school 
miss desperately in love with a lieutenant of dragoons, 
or father in the character of a pottering old house- 
tyrant who has to deal with a fast son and indulgent 
mother. I think I could play the part of a French 
dancing-master about as well. In fact I could never 
act in any capacity, and I am certain that this is your 
case. Father might carry some r61es, I think, very 
finely, but I have my serious doubts as to sister's his- 
trionic talents. Billy ought to act comedy to the life, 
and in a few years he will be able, perhaps, to person- 
ate Romeo with no less naturalness. Without being 
an enemy of the stage, I must confess that, of all 
forms of art, it is this with which I have least sym- 
pathy. My taste is most likely one-sidedly idealistic, 
but I never left the theatre in my life other than 
hugely disappointed. This letter is tardy and more- 
over poorly written. But my intention and love are 
always the same. 


To Greece; labor checks the cuMvity of the brain; of 
letters in American journalism; Greeley* s apprehen-- 
' sum of law and pantheism; the Bohemians recalci- 
trant; a SabbatVs meditation. 

Vdsnna, Aug. 10, 1871. 

Dkar Fathkr : — ^As you see, I observe the most 
strenuous equity in addressing my letters, that is, I 


3o6» A Young Scholar. 

write to you when I hear from you ; not as if only 
such letters were meant for you, but because mother, 
who has more time or patience or a greater vocabulary 
and writes oftener, writes better when she answers me 
directly. I have cashed my exchange and again feel 
the ground solid under my feet, which same feet itch 
to be on the way to Greece. Now if you understood 
I<atin, I should quote you the most beautifiil lines in 
the world from Catullus, who once made the same jour- 
ney after bidding his companions farewell. I shall not 
wait till the first of September, but break up on the 
coming twentieth. 

How glad I am to hear that you have recovered 
health and strength ! Your work is more oppressive 
than mine, even if less straining. Labor of the hands 
is dulling to the mind and sensibilities. I shall not 
forget what a torture farm-work was for me, not because 
I lacked strength or will, but because it acted as a check 
upon the restless motion of the brain. It was like a freeze 
in spring on the ground where a thousand things are 
shooting into light. To work well one must be entirely 
occupied in the business on hand.. 

The proposition youjmake,^ to the effect that I should 
contribute a series of letters to some American journal, 
meets my fullest approval. I have been considering the 
matter some time myself. Not to speak of what I 
might earn, which, however little, would in our cir- 
cumstances be a great consideration, I should profit in 
the highest degree by such an exercise of my pen. 
The first question is, what to write ! I certainly do 
not lack material, but it will require no little art to 
select from this for an American public. The usual 
subjects for foreign correspondents, descriptions of 
places, of people, of monuments of art, incidents of 

Letters. 307 

travel, etc. — are so well worn that, with my modest 
means of hunting up sensations, I should not make 
much in this way. It seems to me, as you suggest, 
that I had better confine myself more or less to the 
inner side of students' life in Europe, and endeavor to 
give an idea of the currents of thought and feeling in 
the learned world. 

Another question is, who will publish such matter ? 
I do not feel competent to write upon such subjects for 
The Nation, and the Tribune is, I fear, too deeply 
bounded by public opinion to allow me the necessary 
tether. I have radical views which, it is true, admit 
of a moderate statement, but which in any form will 
give offense. But this matter I leave to you. By my 
next letter I hope to send you a specimen contri- 
bution. It is going to be very difficult for me to get 
under way. My studies have so estranged me from 
the style of thought and exposition required by a writer 
for the periodical literature of America. 

Yesterday I received mother's letter enclosing 
Greeley's address on the occasion of laying the corner- 
stone of Buchtel College. I could not help thinking 
with what exquisite satire Prof. Prantl, the author of 
the first history of I/)gic and the keenest philosophical 
critic in Germany, would illustrate this gorgeous ad- 
dress. Such a confusion of ideas, such juggling with 
nebulous conceptions, and such thick-skinned igno- 
rance on such an occasion ! This caucus-metaphysician, 
Greeley, says that to his ** apprehension law is the dic- 
tate of an intelligent will, or it is nothing." To his 
apprehension law is certainly nothing — ^that is, he has 
never, even in a dream, had an apprehension of law. 
I should be curious to witness a repeal of the laws of 
geometry and numbers, which are the laws of mechan- 

3o8 A Young Scholar. 

ics and chemical affinities. Perhaps this great lobbyist 
will undertake to gratify me. But this is not the worst ; 
he confounds the conceptions, law and force, so that 
gravitation, magnetic-attraction, electricity, etc., -all 
appear to him enactments of an intelligent will ! ! The 
law of gravitation and the force of gravitation are two 
very different things. The first is a simple statement 
in mechanics of the geometrical theorem that the super- 
ficies varies as the square of the bounding sides ; the 
latter, the force of gravitation, is a reality, a fact that 
no more admits an explanation than a clump of mud. 

What right has he to speak of matter as * * blind ^ inert, 
unconsciotis, soulless'' ? Has ever he seen an atom of 
such matter ? He denies matter the functions which 
all matter has, and then he perorates over the empty 
conception of his own imagination. It is not surprising 
that a man, so confused in the simplest considerations 
of the material world, should be so well acquainted 
with its Author. In fact, he speaks of the moral and 
other qualities of God like a Methodist, and why not ? 
Is not this God of his as much his own work as if he 
had carved him out of box- wood ? But it is the privi- 
lege of genius and piety ** to give to airy nothing a 
local habitation and a name.** Greeley saw the time 
when he believed less, but he is another of those little 
boats which do not venture on the sea of speculation 
too far firom shore. Such men when they g^ow old, as 
Prof. Prantl says, ** go home,** that is, they return to 
the sheep-fold which they never should have quitted. 

But, if Greeley*s conception of materialism is shallow 
and confused, his definition of pantheism must be 
called maudlin. It is beneath criticism. The pan- 
theist*s God is a ** kind of God ** blended and con- 
founded with the material universe, ** a resultant of 

Letters. 309 

forces which he did not create, which he cannot modify, 
and of whose very existence he has no r^a/ perception.* ' 
Does he imagine that any rational creature, not to speak 
of a thinker like Spinoza, ever satisfied himself with 
such sop for idiots ? Pantheism would be more access- 
ible to Greeley if it were in the moon or at the centre 
of the earth than in the pages of Spinoza and Hegel. 

We are having very interesting times at present in 
Austria. The Czechs (Bohemians) persist in refusing 
to send their delegation to the national Parliament till 
their sub-nationality has received a recognition similar 
to that of Hungary. It is expected the Emperor will 
be crowned at Prague before the present ministry takes 
its hand from the work of conciliation. The Germans 
are outraged and talk of the great catastrophe with 
very significant emphasis. 

You will hear from me again before my departure 
from Vienna. I cannot as yet determine the exact 
expenses of my trip but I think I shall have money till 
the first of October. My friend the Frenchman will 
probably come to you in the spring, after making his 
examination in Paris as a doctor of law. 

(Enclosed in the foregoing letter.) 

A Sabbath Meditation, 

And after the labor of six days the world, which had 
not been, was completed. On the seventh there was 
rest, a pause after the creation of stars and flowers and 
souls, a pause of divine silence, — the profoundest being 
of divinity was realized. Six days which are time, and 
the seventh which is beyond time. Beautiful and 
thoughtful legend of the labor of the Most High ! 
How many blossoms of feeling have the poets gathered 
for us from the steeps of life, or from wonderful, hid- 

3IO A Young Scholar. 

den places accessible to the feet of genius ! What glo- 
rious insight do we not owe to the inspired meditations 
of the wise ? Life we think worthless without this 
abundance of music and light, and it is seldom we are 
seized by an overpowering sense that the worth of ex- 
istence, the significance of being, is something far other 
than can be expressed in words, or tones, or touches 
even of supremest love ; seldom that the sabbath of 
infinite peace enters our hearts, this divine goal to 
which all beauty and sorrow and joy and terror of life 
alike look ! Man may not look for happiness, nor any 
form of happiness, here or hereafter. The infinite 
hath no purpose, but saith to all life *' it is good." It 
is not forbidden us to labor and to love and to grieve ; 
nay, it is of divine necessity that we do, yet God's 
Sabbath be with us in the midst of these. 

This meditation is to be read with great indulgence, 
as regards both style and content. It is the cobweb 
of a summer Sunday afternoon. 


The beauty of the Austrian Tyrol ; enterprise of the 


(A Fragment,) 

Trieste, Italy, Aug, 25, 1871. 

You are so far away it seems almost ridiculous to 
try and keep you posted as to my whereabouts while 
on the road. When you shall have read these lines I 
hope to have been two weeks already in Athens. I 
left Vienna rather sooner than I had intended but 
when one is tired of a place and as free to move as I, 
why should one stay? The region between Vienna 
and this city, with the exception of a few miles toward 

Letters. 311 

the end, is the most beautiful I have ever seen. The 
Rhine cannot compare with it. It is known as the 
Austrian Tyrol, the Pannonia of the Romans, the high- 
way of the armies and wandering peoples whose fortunes 
established the nationalities of modem Europe. Every 
view of it is worthy the pencil of the greatest master. 

Here I am in an Italian city on the Adriatic. What 
a change from a German town ! And yet Trieste is 
under the influence of a German government. The 
harbor swarms with men from all lands, although next 
to the Italians the Greeks and Turks seem to be in the 
greatest numbers. The modern Greeks are the most 
enterprising people in the world. In every harbor city 
of Europe they compete with the natives and the Eng- 
lish. Greeks do in Europe what other people can do only 
in America — make enormous fortunes out of nothing. 
The Italians make the impression of a played-out race. 
They seem all to be dressed in dirty, old, fine clothes. 

We sail on the twenty-seventh, and, just think ! our 
voyage will last eight days ! We stop at Ancona, 
Brindisi (Italy), Corfu, Syra, and Athens. Forward 
my letter to Aunt Sallie if it pleases you. 

You will have to wait for my promised contribution. 
It is hard for me to make a start. 


Emotions of the scholar upon reaching Athens ; passage 
and companions from Trieste ; Corfu ; a night on 
the ^gean ; the reality of Athens ; a studenVs mode 
of living ; opportunities to gain the modem idiom, 

ATHiBNS, Sept. 6, *7i ; old style, Aug. 24. 

In a letter on an occasion so momentous to me as 
my arrival in Athens, you will no doubt expect to find 

312 A Young Scholar. 

some echo of those memories or emotions which must 
rise on the soul of the scholar who treads for the first 
time upon Attic soil. I call them memories for 
Athens is not strange to him. But the constitution 
of human nature is such that it does not admit of much 
concentration in our enjoyments. I have been here 
quite four days, but the shadowy hotirs of reverie 
which I expect are still to come. 

For the present I will describe my passage from 
Trieste and my arrival. We had on board a company 
of Italian opera singers, some English lords going to 
hunt in the Caucasus, and a mob of less degree of all 
nationalities and colors. But we may leave these 
wandering stars and vacant snobs to the care, the one 
party of their director, the other of their chief stand- 
by, the bottle-man, for we have the Adriatic before us, 
soft and blue as an opal. The fluctuations of its sur- 
face are too weak to ruffle. To the right we see the 
coast of Italy fade away where so many white sails 
stand out against the evening sun. They are all bound 
for Venice in whose presence and influence we seem to 
be, although the city is below the water line to the west. 

Our first sunset, the finest indeed we enjoyed, I shall 
never forget. I had not conceived the luxury of color 
which the heavens and sea can display. There were 
tints of such infinite depth and purity, such tone that 
the eye must see them to realize their possibility. The 
Arabs on board, who had preserved till evening a dig- 
nified silence sitting with crossed legs on their carpets, 
rose and looking to the east muttered their prayers, 
then bowed themselves to the deck before the great 
Allah whom they adore in the highest of many 
heavens. It was the most impressive act of worship I 
ever witnessed. 


Letters. 313 

Two days of Elysian weather brought us to Corfu. 
The breeze upon the sea had made it delightfully cool, 
but when I went ashore I was almost scorched. The 
city is built on a hill, with narrow streets crowded with 
donkeys and sun-burnt venders of ihiit, naked child- 
ren, and villainous looking Greeks and Italians. We 
left Corfu with a stiff head-wind, and for forty-eight 
hours, till we reached Syra in the Grecian Archipelago, 
I suffered the nauseous qualms of sea-sickness. Think 
of suffering in emetic spasms for two days ! But if 
these had been much worse they would have been well 
repaid by the magnificent night-passage from Syra to 
the Piraeus, the harbor of Athens. The moon was full 
and the sea in a splendid agitation, which, strange to 
say, did not affect me as usual. 

We passed the beautiful islands of the Archipelago 
while I stood till far in the small hours of the night 
alone at the prow. All hands were turned in, and 
only the firemen, who came up at turns to take the 
air, and the silent man at the wheel kept watch. 
Oh, how the waves danced and the shadows gambolled 
and ran over the sea ! How ghostly the islands rose 
and sank out of sight ! The silver masses of clouds 
melted into the wonderful Ionian heaven or drank 
up the floods of moonlight. I thought how thou- 
sands of years ago a night like this was broken on 
these seas by the dash of ten thousand Persian oars. 

I went below at last but could not sleep and at the 
first dawn was on deck again. We were rounding 
Cape Sunium, the extreme point of Attica. If any- 
thing could have heightened the impressions of the 
night it would have been this sunrise. Presently 
we were at Piraeus, and here the less poetry you bring 
with you the better. Such a pack of wolves in human 

314 -^ Young^ Scholar. 

shape as these boatmen who take you from the steamer 
I never saw before. Impudence and audacity com- 
bine to rob the stranger at every turn. 

From the harbor to Athens is about five miles, so it 
was not long till I had the Acropolis in view. Here 
I am. The city is hot and dusty. It is little of the 
groves of the Academy one sees in the modem capital 
of Greece. Even the strongest imagination is op- 
pressed by the present reality, in building up that 
Athens of another day, when the scattered rocks and 
dust of to-day were beautifiil, quiet temples, or splendid 
places of resort for the trading, debating, councilling 
Athenians of long ago. The Ilissus is dry, and the 
mountains about the city, whose names have loaded 
so many a verse with the scent of thyme and hum of 
the honey-maker, are deprived of their woods and 
fertility. Only the everlasting heavens and the blue 
Saronic Gulf in the distance still clothe the scene as 
when Cecrops settled on the Acropolis. Yet the mod- 
em town is not ill. It is clean and for the most part 
well built, and displays the greatest activity. The 
Greeks are not idle. They possess even public spirit 
in an eminent degree, and this gives the place some- 
thing of an American air. But another time more 
about Greece and the Greeks. 

I must tell you now how I am fixed here, or, rather, 
in what a fix I am. A fiimished room as in Germany 
is not to be had in Athens except under the most 
exorbitant conditions. So I was forced to secure an 
empty apartment and furnish it at my own expense. 
Bed and bedding, towels, table, chairs, wash-stand, 
and all the other indispensable requisites have cost 
me about forty dollars. I shall sell my things again 
when I leave, at not too great a sacrifice as I am told. 

Letters. 315 

On the whole living is not dearer here than in Ger- 
many, and I shall come out with the same money if it 
is regularly sent. 

Another circumstance is the threatened approach 
of cholera to Constantinople and Athens, which would 
occasion the flight, especially from here, of every- 
thing that can go. 

You must have patience with my promised contri- 
bution. I have been so harassed since my arrival 
here by all manner of cares, that I almost wish. I had 
stayed where I was. I am living at the foot of lyyca- 
bettus and have from one window a full view of the 
Parthenon. I make my own breakfast, which con- 
sists of a cup of coffee (I have a machine), a piece of 
bread, and a bunch of grapes. Dinner I have in an 
eating-house and supper as I feel, when hungry in 
the same restaurant, and when not at home. 

I have the best opportunities for speaking Greek, 
which I do not feil to improve, so that I hope in nine 
months' time to have a fluent command of the modem 
idiom. The professors of the University are educated 
in Germany and, if not exactly such as I have heard 
at Berlin and Munich, still of respectable classical 
attainments. I have been introduced already to three 
of the faculty. There are several very hospitable 
American families here, as I understand, but I have 
not met any at their houses yet. Do not forget that 
it takes a month for letters to reach me. As I have 
received no mail since coming here, I begin to grow 
uneasy about the fate of my next letter. 

Direct to me, Poste Restante^ Athens, Greece. 

3 1 6 A Young Scholar. 


The hypothesis of the deterioration of species ; the subtle 
sympathy of women ; ever-living associations of Attica ; 
the poetry of a walk to Eleusis ; social life in Greece 
and resemblances to American life, 

ATHENS, Sept. 23, 1871. 

As my last letter was almost entirely occupied with 
an account of my coming to Athens, I think to fill this 
with more particulars of my surroundings. It was 
quite a month before yotu: letter of August 8th reached 
me, being forwarded from Vienna to my address here 
with an extra charge of postage to the amount of one 
firanc. The expense of letter-writing from and to 
Greece is very great. Be careful to secure the thinnest 
paper and to write fine, tmless you suffer fi-om a 
superabundance of stamps. 

I have read many hostile criticisms of Darwinism, 
but never anything so glaringly exposed the writer's 
ignorance of the theory he had undertaken to combat 

as the paper you sent me. That G should attempt 

to construe a deterioration of species on the hypothesis 
of Darwin, is only more pitiable than ludicrous. A 
deterioration indeed could obtain, where the conditions 
of life were so modified as to deprive the nobler organ- 
ism of the means of existence. The dilemma in this 
case, however, is deterioration or extinction. The 

style of G 's remarks, too, is vulgar and unworthy 

a subject which, as he himself confesses, is occupying 
the best intellects of the world. To what purpose in 
such a case, are the frivolous and unconsidered object- 
ions which he makes ? Mrs. C 's affectionate re- 
membrances of me give me the liveliest pleasure. She 
is a woman of beautiful ideals, and no intellectual limit- 

Letters. 3 1 7 

ation can deprive these delicate instincts of their value. 
What a difference between yourself and her ! There 
is something Titanic at the heart of you, something of 
measureless power and jagged splendor. Such a wo- 
man could be the soul of a tremendous conspiracy in 
which the heroic remnants of manhood gathered to 
make a last stand against a universe of wrong. Nat- 
ures such as hers shed calm through the stormiest 
spirits; they will preserve hope like an ark through 
troubled oceans. 

Perhaps no woman is capable of a philosophy, that 
is, of squaring a whole life to the rule of impersonal 
reason, but there are women for every philosophy of 
life, natures which resound clearest to the touch of each 
particular master-thought. The value to the thinker 
of this subtle sympathy is immeasurable. It is through 
this that womanhood, whose other claims the scholar 
may evict, re-establishes her right of participation in 
our lives. What a digression ! 

You asked for particulars of life here, and it was my 
intention to give them you. How shall I modify the 
judgment, or rather sentence, passed upon Athens in 
my last letter so as to do justice to what I have since 
seen and, at the same time, not appear a hasty and su- 
perficial critic ? The peculiarities of the climate must 
excuse me, and the fact that I had not visited when I 
wrote the best points of view. The remains of the 
ancient city are not numerous, but of extreme interest, 
and, in part, still of exquisite beauty. To me the 
points of association are almost more attractive than 
the ruins, but to appreciate even these in the way they 
deserve requires much study and the affectionate brood- 
ing of a cultured imagination. 

The plain of Attica with its dear air, picturesque 

3i8 A Young Scholar. 

mountains, and sky of such ethereal tones as if bom 
of the ecstatic eye of Claude I^orraine, girt by the blue 
gulf and strait of Salamis, with bold islands in the 
distance, satisfies the greatest expectations of what 
should be the seat and cradle of ancient genius, the 
birth-place, of scienGe,'and favorite haunt of song. I 
have been over the Acropolis amidst the shattered mag- 
nificence of the Parthenon. I have seen the exquisite, 
tender tracery of the ruined Erechtheiiim, fluted column 
and capital, frieze and mighty architrave, sculptured 
metope, polishediwall and floor, the graceful strength of 
supporting 'Oaryatideis, the mournftd traces of vanished 
glories which' Polygnbtos's pencil left in the pinako- 
thekb,' or: the spot where the great bronze Athene of 
Phidias 'sfood with shield and lance. I have* sat in the 
seat of the priest of Dionysius in the great theatre 
sacred to this god, where the dramas of Sophocles were 
played before thirty thousand spectators. I have been 
in the prison where Socrates drank the hemlock of 
envious Athenians and frightened bigots. It is now a 
filthy chamber in the solid rock of a hill. Near it, 
too, are the stone steps and platform firom which De- 
mosthenes harangued his assembled fellow-citizens. 
Here is the hill of Mars where the ancient court of 
Athens sat, and where Paul warned the degenerate 
sons of Marathon* s heroes that a new light had come 
into the world. Olive trees still shade the site of 
Plato's Academy. 

I Uve in the grounds of the old Cynosarges where 
Antisthenes, the first cynic philosopher, taught the 
vanity of life and the meanness of man. Not far from 
here was the I^yceum of Aristotle. There are a hun- 
dred other places of interest and hallowed memory in 
the compass of a twenty minutes' walk. 

Letters. 319 

The other day a friend and I went to Eleusis, the 
old seat of the Mysteries. It was a walk like the road 
to heaven. We took the cars (the only ones in Greece) 
to Piraeus, the harbor of Athens, about five miles dis- 
tant. From there we then went afoot along the coast. 
We threw stones into the gulf of Salamis where the 
Persians were mustered in that glorious day against 
the little navy of Greece. It is where they were de- 
feated by Themistocles, whose tomb looks over these 
waters. What a long rest after such a day ! I found 
the spot where, in my opinion, Xerxes must have sat 
to behold the fight. We went on, and, as a shower 
came up, we hid ourselves in a cave directly opposite 
the ancient city of Salamis, from which old Telamon 
sent his son, Ajax, to Troy. No doubt the ** lubberly 
Ajax,'* as Thersites in Shakespeare calls him, has 
rested in the same shelter. 

But how shall I describe the Thriasian plain — the 
plain of Eleusis — where Ceres first planted grain for the 
use of man ? It is best not to attempt it. We stopped 
at a shepherd's lodge at noon, where a half dozen 
great, dirty figures in goat-skins, resembling the satyrs 
that followed Pan, received us and treated us to fish 
and bread and honey. They would not take money, 
but exercised hospitality as a virtue. ' At Elefusis we 
had coffee and after resting looked up the ruins of the 
great temple, the largest in Greece. But little remains 
of this work, built by the architect of the Parthenon, 
Ictinos, and representing a new principle in the con- 
struction of Grecian sacred buildings. It was two 
hundred feet square, enclosed on three sides by un- 
broken massive walls, with a portico on the fourth. 
The columns, four magnificent rows, traversed the 
interior as in the order of a Gothic cathedral. It was 

320 A Youngs Scholar. 

hypaethral, or open to the sky in the centre. The 
famous Mysteries of the "great goddesses/' Demeter 
and Persephone, were celebrated in this temple, to 
which a solemn procession from Athens yearly came 
over the sacred way through the pass of Daphne, by 
which we returned. We had made a march of twenty- 
five miles and, notwithstanding what we had seen and 
enjoyed, were glad to rest at home. So much about 
my tramp. 

I^ife in Athens resembles American life very much ; 
much more than life in the German cities does. The 
people are very fond of social parties, a thing which 
in Germany has given way to the attractions of the 
beer-houses, concert-halls, etc. Especially the men 
in Germany seek their amusement together in clubs 
and knots of old companionship, where they play 
cards, or talk politics or science, as they are of one 
class or the other. Beer, however, never fails. The 
women are left pretty much to shift for themselves. 
But here we have the American style of parties. They 
are, it must be confessed, infinitely more insipid than 
a German kneipe, 

I have several introductions which I occasionally 
make use of to hear Greek and practice my tongue. 
If we call after dinner, we are served with coffee, a 
very sweet, black decoction in small cups with the 
grounds, which the Greeks have learned of the Turks 
to make. A Greek has the greater part of the virtues 
of an American ; he is strictly religious — ^in fact, a per- 
fect ass in everything that concerns his church. He is 
very patriotic, public-spirited, disinclined to aristoc- 
racy, always dissatisfied with the men in power, and 
he is less truthful, and is more an Oriental than 
Occidental in his estimation and treatment of women. 

Letters. 321 

On the other hand he is, perhaps, more natural— that 
is, less artificial in his life and sentiments. 

Since I wrote you last I have recast and rewritten 
my promised contribution. You will begin to believe 
I don't intend to send it, but you will be wrong. The 
first article is the difficult one, for it must preface the 
series and explain as well as introduce what I intend 
to write. We are living here in fear of cholera, which 
is reported to be in Constantinople. The last time the 
Greek government kept it off, and it is hoped the same 
strict quarantine will have the same result this time. 

Write to me in care of American Consul. 

Concerning news of his sister's death. 

ATHENS, Oct., 1871. 

Dear Father : — I have just received mother's letters 
of September 15th, and your note with draft of same 
date. My heart is too full and my eyes too fiill to 
write more than these words. This is the first grief I 
ever felt. I have been two hoiurs reading mother's 
letter, and it seemed all so unreal, a nightmare of the 
soul. I will not recall your agony in mine. Heaven 
knows I did not think I cared enough for life to be 
shaken so to the depths of the soul. Oh, love ! it is 
more cruel than hate ! My sorrow is too firesh to write, 
but I must not let the only mail that goes for a week 
start without these lines. Do you let mother know I 
have gotten her news. She did not tell me how Abby 
died nor when. This is the first letter I have had 
firom home for five weeks. My soul had presentiments 
of evil. My own health is good. I shall write soon. 
Good-by, dear father. 


322 A Young Scholar. 


Grief at the loss of his sister; piety the sense of oneness 
with an almighty existence ; sacrifice the less to the 
greater ; the pen of a scholar in a newspaper article ; 
loving remembrance of kindred. 

Ah me ! for every bosom-nestling joy 
Behold some sudden doom far in llie sky. 

B. C. s., 1868. 

ATHENS, Oct. 25, 1871. 

Dear, dear Mother ! 

But see ! A half hour has fled since I have written 
these words. My soul has been out with the rays of my 
lamp in the storm that is beating upon the Acropolis. 
How it welters and thunders in the great heavens 
which for months have been seamed with purple 
mornings, glorified by Elysian days, and which have 
encompassed in their sacred infinity the choral move- 
ments of the mighty stars. Where in the heavens or 
earth is the memory of their summer felicity ? 

Two weeks have sped since that fatal messenger 
came, — came and whispered to my heart the great 
sorrow. It was but a whisper, or voiceless touch of 
speech ; no heart-rending images of death ; no kindred 
lamentation ; no farewell ; no last kiss and agony ; an 
awful whisper to me alone, far off, desolate. Oh, 
mother, I was stunned, suffocated, speechless. My 
heart burned ; the whole world grew hollow about 
me ; grief seized hold of me as I have never felt its 
agony before. Tears, when they came, were my relief. 
But tears alone, without a bosom of sympathy to shed 
them on, fall like fire. The dark hour passed only to 
come in surges at intervals of memory, with the bitter 
thought which my soul can scarcely realize. 

Letters. 323 

You do not know how in these last years the images 
of home have grown dear to me. They have grown 
with my culture to build a balance of personal interest 
to poise the great interests of science and history. I 
need this natural love far more than other men, be- 
cause it is all I have dedicated to myself in life. But 
even this is not left me ; its rose, its jewel has been 
taken away. 

But it is wrong for me thus to renew grief in you. 
In time, from a mist of tears, my higher self rises 
above the troubled waters where I was plunged. It is 
not this life, which exults and despairs with the natural 
pulses of the heart, I would abolish, but it is the higher 
life I would cherish in which, although we grieve, yet 
we view ourselves with divine equanimity as another. 
There is a calm within the storm — a retreat for the 
inmost soul, in which God*s insight abides, and that 
comfort which is without name or likeness. Let us 
then dry our tears and, coming closer to fill up the 
vacant place, say that sister, once the beautiful gift of 
God moving among us, shall be henceforth the sweet 
genius of our hearth, a sacrament of love between us, 
a spirit ever present where two of us shall meet. 

If my thoughts could serve to deaden in you the too 
quick sense of grief, I would they were well said, but 
pantheism cannot serve as a mere shelter against mis- 
fortune to which one may fly as to the false hopes of 
idle creeds. It requires that we make it our daily con- 
versation ; that we exercise piety, which is self-forget- 
fulness, not the presumption of our own immortality, 
which is foolishness. But it is piety in which we are 
all wanting, that selflessness which is all tenderness 
and unfeigned love ; which, although given to the 
creature, yet rests not in him, the single manifestation, 

324 A Young Scholar. 

but in its divine source. It is the ever present sense of 
how we are carried and sustained in the arms of an 
Almighty existence, how we are of, and one with, this 
being whose law is love, that is, whose whole mys- 
terious being is solved in our absolute selfless devotion. 

You say that I must come home this year. I^t it be 
as you wish. I have learned to put such an estimate 
upon things as will sacrifice the less thing to the 
greater ; for what other object can I have in aspiring 
to the widest culture than to do well for those I love ? 
and if this cannot be without their pain, why should it 
be at all ? I do not know what poor father will do. 
Our whole future looks dark to me, and I should only 
like to have in my culture such an instrument as would 
maintain us more easily. Much depends on the two 
years I expected to stay here— just that addition which 
would lift me beyond a great deal of that competition 
in the world of letters which makes a scholar's bread 
so sour. But I say these are all considerations which 
you shall dispose of as you think you must. A thou- 
sand dollars would bring you to Europe, keep you a 
year with me, and take you home again. 

Previous letters will give you an idea of my situation 
here. There are many incidents of interest, but not 
for this letter, which is too full of sad philosophy. 

I sent father my promised contribution, but it is an 
odd piece of writing and, I fear, will find no publisher. 
How hard it is for me, whose education has been a de- 
parting from the ways of thinking that make a popular 
writer, to pen a newspaper article. The immense seri- 
ousness of my style will not be frightened away by an 
effort to be light and graceful. Practice in writing 
must help me, however, to put my ideas in a more 
gainly dress. 

Letters. 325 

A spell of bad weather has set in, but it will not last 
long. Our winters here are green and mild, every one 
says, so that fires are dispensed with pretty generally. 
My health is good, but I have a care not to take cold, 
as the ague is pretty sure to result from it. My friend 
has been shaking off and on all summer and fall. 

I must refer once more before closing, to the sad sub- 
ject which fills this letter. Why did you not tell me 
how and when sister passed away ? You give me no 
account, but said it was a sudden and not painful death. 
My flute, that I learned in order to play with Abby, 
lies untouched. I cannot endure to take it up, but I 
shall not let it be forgotten. Kiss brother for me. Oh, 
we are all desolate. When I think that I have no sis- 
ter I feel poor, almost ashamed among men, for how I 
had gloried in this treasure of my home ! 

The dear old folks, Aunt I^etty and Linny, Uncle 
Henry and all those far and near whom you will see, if 
they have not forgotten me, will care perhaps for my 
love and remembrance. Henry's little boys are not 
forgotten, Charley and Grant. Most of all I think of 
poor father, how he must be lonesome and heart-sore 
in his struggle with the world. My first wish is to take 
it from his hands on to younger shoulders. Write me 
a long letter and speak your heart freely, after consid- 
ering everything. Your wish is sacred to me. 

It is far in the night. Once more the stars look out 
on the great Acropolis, and light up with a spiritual 
gleam that ghostly wreck of beauty, the Parthenon. 
Till I write again, good-by. 

326 A Young Scholar. 


The resolution of grief ; the difficulty of poverty of spirit ; 
adayat^gina; modem Athenians ; American mis- 
sionaries ; early Christian writings; the King of 
Greece ; a consideration of the value of further study, 

Athens, Nov. loth, 1871. 

Over a week ago I thought I had gathered strength 
to write to you, not as from the shadows of desolation 
where the soul is alone with her loss, but from where 
the spirit, turning once more lightward, feels again in 
the divine presence. I was alone among the moun- 
tains, in the shadow of temple-ruins, and rocked upon 
the jewel-waters of the sea to the plaintive strains of 
brown-throated oarsmen, and I repeated in the twilight 
of the stars that wax not old, the lamentations of ages 
which were in the infancy of man, till the night of despair 
which had closed over me was rolled away, and the 
grief which seemed only mine was mingled with all 
solemn and eternal things. We all seek consolation 
according to the constitution of each. 

How bitterly in your letter of October 5th you speak 
of the world and fate ! Swinburne says, ** There is no 
help, for all these things are so, and all the world is 
bitter as a tear.*' But in the eyes of piety the world is 
other, and these words are blasphemy, even worse than 
that cowardly system which men call religion, and 
by which they endeavor to solve the great problem 
of life without giving up self, as divine necessity re-: 
quires. Nay, they rather trust to the operations of 
magic, for such are all their sacraments and ceremonies, 
to rescue them entirely from death.* There are tears 

*In the sacramentarian theory saving-grace is tied to the 
performance of ecclesiastical rites, without which there is no 

Letters. 327 

enough, and unfulfilled desires enough, one would 
think, in every life to teach us all the wisdom of self- 
limitation ; but that poverty of spirit, which is the 
wealth of the soul, is difficult to attain. 

Let me write of other things, for somehow I am only 
cheerful with strai^gers, and all love makes me serious, 
so that my letters home rather resemble sermons than 
letters. My friend and I went to^Egina together a 
couple of weeks ago. The island lies about twelve 
miles off the harbor of Athens in fair view. Once it 
was an independent state with half a million inhabi- 
tants, with depots and colonies in Egypt and Italy and 
Gaul and a navy which commanded the seas. Now a 
few goats and vineyards on the old terraces occupy 

The immediate object of our visit was the ruin of the 
old Athena temple on its northeastern angle. We landed 
from our little boat near the foot of the mountain from 
the summit of which the far-shining columns look over 
the blue Saronic Gulf. On our way up we were 
greeted by laborers in the fields with a **Well met,'* 
or ** Good hour,'* and one old man held up his water- 
jug, a double-handled amphora of antique pattern, and 
called to us to come and drink. Even the robbers of 
Greece, it is said, are hospitable and never harm the 
stranger who comes to them as a guest. On our return 
we had a propitious breeze which rested our oarsmen. 

promise of salvation. St. Augustine of Hippo was so charitable 
as to conjecture that there was a painless, changeless limbo in 
which the souls of infants who died unbaptized remained for- 
ever, but for unbaptized sinners there was never any rest. 
The Greek Church, in the presence of which this letter was 
written, no less than the Latin Church, lays fundamental stress 
on sacraments. 

328 'A Young Scholar. 

We had taken our dinner along, fish baked in olive oil, 
goats' cheese, grapes and bread, and for the boatmen a 
quart of resinous wine — that is, wine preserved by a 
strong admixture of turpentine, much used by Greeks 
of all ranks, and said to be very healthful ; — ^but I tasted 
only the turpentine in it. The day was delightful and 
not soon to be forgotten by either of us. 

The modem Greeks have, in my opinion, scarcely 
any resemblance to the ancient Hellenes, but they are 
an original and gifted race notwithstanding. They 
are envious and busy-bodies, as are the people of all 
small states. They are naturally vain-glorious, and 
double-faced in dealing with foreigners, as is natural 
for a people which has had to do with Orientals on the 
one hand and English on the other; but they are 
patriotic, brave, public-spirited, generous, true to their 
friends and curious to learn. They have no manners, 
but stare at a stranger in a most provoking manner, 
but without the intention to offend. The costumes of 
the peasants are very picturesque, and the people them- 
selves the handsomest I have ever seen. The young 
men have a port like angels, and walk with such a 
bounding elasticity that they seem rather to glide than 
go. The women of the same class have often a grace 
and fineness which elsewhere one sees only among the 
educated and refined. 

My good friend and I have attended worship several 
times at the houses of American missionaries. They 
are Greeks by birth, all three of them, with American 
wives and education. Of course they preach in Greek 
and to a little circle of simple-hearted, good people 
whom they have attracted to them from the great na- 
tional Orthodox Church. Their meetings are held in 
the houses of the respective pastors and call to mind 


Letters. 329 

the early churches of Corinth and elsewhere, which 
held service in the houses of the wealthier brethren. 
Then the language is almost the identical dialect of the 
early Christians, which could almost persuade one that 
we are in the presence of such an assembly. But 
since Paul preached here the church seems to have lost 
in talented foremen, although the heathen are certainly 
less numerous. Here and there one sees a Turk with 
his jaunty fez and bag-trousers, and then such heathen 
as we from the universities of Germany bring a slight 
reinforcement to their dwindled ranks. 

I hear a lecture on ecclesiastical history five times a 
week, and am reading up the great German work of 
Neander on the same subject. Besides, I am making 
studies in the Greek fathers, and sifting the documents 
which vouch for the New Testament writings. I wish 
I could give the great mass of honest but deluded 
Christians of America a glimpse into the character of 
the early church, such as it really was, and not as the 
mythologizing traditions of the later church make it 
appear. It would astonish many a good man to hear 
that we have not of a certainty a single word written 
by any man who even saw Christ, and that the practice 
of forging writings under the names of famous person- 
ages was at that time in the Christian and heathen 
world so universal that no credit is given by scholars 
to the accredited authorship of a work till other evidence 
establishes it. But to be able to weigh impartially the 
evidence for and against Christianity, one must have 
acquired the historical sense (it is almost a sixth sense) 
that is, an insight into the processes of historic devel- 
opment of nations and civilizations. No one is more 
convinced than I of the necessity of a religion, that is, 
a view of man* s relation to the divinity which binds him 

330 A Young Scholar. 

over to give up his subjectivity, namely, his individual 
will, to the great ends of the whole. But there are many 
religions better and worse, and among these Christ- 
ianity occupies the first historic place, more due, no 
doubt, to the fact that Indo-European races embraced it, 
than to its intrinsic superiority to Buddhism ; but it is 
antiquated for the enlightened consciousness of our age, 
which has outgrown religion of a mythological, super- 
natural character. I speak of course not of the masses 
whose tendencies are still very greatly to fetishism and 
idolatry, but of the really cultivated. 

It begins to get a little cool in Athens, but not so 
much as to make a fire even comfortable. The Na- 
tional Assembly has opened with a ministerial crisis. 
Questions of considerable interest are on the tapis for 
this session. The King is not loved and, as it appears 
to me, does not deserve to be. He takes no interest or 
pride in Greece as Greece, but merely as the little stage 
where he can lord it for his hour. He reads French 
novels, such as Paul de Kock's, and, as his enemies 
assert, does not know who built the Parthenon. His 
mother, queen of Denmark, is here on a visit. 

Now about my coming home. You know that I 
shall not murmur to do what you require, but I only 
beg of you to take a second thought, and not do what 
you will repent. The loss to me of the two years 
which I exi)ected to spend in Italy and France will be 
felt as long as I live. All my work heretofore has been 
arranged with a view to spending this time in Europe. 
Besides it would be a far greater relief to you to come 
next summer to me in Italy and spend a year with me 
abroad, than simply to have me come home with my 
work half done. As to coming back to Europe to 
study, that is out of the question, I shall require to 

Letters. 331 

go to work and carve me out a place in the world and 
a home for us all. If I have no friends to help us at 
this critical time for my future, I shall not consider 
that I have any friends at all. You must either come 
to me, or I go to you. As to which of these courses is 
the wiser, there can be no question. The only ques- 
tion is, where is a thousand dollars to come from ? 
There are a good many thousand dollars for me in the 
two years which I wish to stay here, and it is my wish 
and has always been to have you come to Europe. I 
shall feel like a stranger in the lands of my education 
till I see you here. Father no doubt, if he retains his 
health, can support me here for this time, and it can- 
not escape his clearer understanding in such matters, 
how necessary a superior education will be to me with 
my character and views, but I cannot expect that he 
can aflFord to send you. I wish to undertake this my- 
self, and to do it, I am willing to pledge my earnings 
on my return for any time. It is necessary for me as a 
man to consider, besides the tender impulses of family 
affection, the substantial interests of the future, with- 
out which no family life is shielded from the grinding 
pressure of the world. How gladly I would fly to your 
bosom now, without a moment's delay, were not these 
at stake ! But again, I submit my will to yours in this 
matter, and promise you that whatever happens, I shall 
accept the situation cheerftiUy to make the best of it 
for us all. But I beg that I be not called away from 
Greece before next April. You must take heart, and 
let your love for me, which is returned as no son ever 
loved a mother, comfort you. I shall live for you and 
for father, the object of our common love, with all my 
heart and soul. When I do return I shall come to you 
like your own youth again. It is for this that I have 

332 A Young Scholar. 

withstood every temptation and grappled with every 
difficulty that I thought might conceal treasures for 
my life, that I might be worthy one day to return to 
your bosom as pure in body and soul as when I nestled 
there as at the fountain of my life. These are words 
of love not for the ears of any, save father if you wish. 


The pain of interrupted studies ; the real priests of 


ATHENS, Dec. 9, 1871. 

Before the post leaves to-day, I shall try and finish 
these lines for the mail, the last, most probably, you 
will receive from me in Europe. I expected by yester- 
day' s steamer money and marching orders, but as they 
did not arrive, the next weekly packet must bring 
them. The letters which I have written home since 
receiving the news of our bitter loss, were intended to 
avert this catastrophe in my studies, but they were not 
received in time and it is questionable if they would 
have helped had they been read. 

I desire in this letter to state things just as they 
appear to me, for on my return I am resolved to let no 
murmur nor shadow of discontent weaken my eflForts in 
fulfilling the sacred duty of consolation. Had I not 
arranged my studies firom the very beginning with a 
view to a residence of six years abroad, I should have 
accomplished more, or rather I should have concluded 
more. I studied for culture, not for a profession ; but 
I hoped, in taking so liberal a school-time, to embrace 
in this culture the exact knowledge of a profession, 
and I should certainly have succeeded. 

What can I do now ? To take a little professorship 

Letters. 333 

in some sectarian college would cost me, I fear, my life 
in a short time. Politics are off on one side, so that I 
see no other field open but that of journalism. With 
a year's practice in the art of writing for the American 
public, perhaps I can attain such control of my pen as 
will support me in Europe for the remainder of my 
desired stay. How can I abjure my thirst for a com- 
manding culture, a standpoint over my times, and an 
insight into the remotest history of my race ? With- 
out the bonds of blood which attach me to America I 
should spend this little life of mine in the cities of 
Europe, in the atmosphere of the universities and mu- 
seums, in the society of kindred spirits. How few the 
wants of such a life, yet how immeasurable its interests 
and desires ! 

As to the usefulness of such an existence, we need 
only to reflect that those who cherish the sacred flame 
of knowledge are not less indispensable to the world 
than those who propagate its light in dark places. 
These, the real priests of truth, make less stir among 
the multitude than the heralds of her worship who call 
to sacrifice through the market-places. They remain 
in the temple's adytum to receive the inspirations of 
the divinity. But the claims upon one are such that I 
cannot follow the natural bent of my soul. It is un- 
just to charge such a disposition with selfishness, love 
of pleasure, etc. What do others do? They make 
money and seek social position and enjoy, as may be 
in their power, the luxuries of life. Does it become 
such to abuse as an egoist the poor ascetic student, 
whose claims upon the world are so few, and whose 
sympathy with all that is great and good in it is so 
deep ? The vanity of g^eat possession and the show 
of this world are beginning to be felt by the deepest 

334 -^ Vaung" Scholar. 

spirits of our own time, as once before in the histoiy 
of the race. 

But enough of this. In case my money comes all 
right, I may be at grand&ther's a week after you re- 
ceive this. 


Mountain robbers in Greece ; death a liberator ; revised 
plans for the future ; dread of American noise and 
tyranny of public opinion, 

ATHENS, Dec. 23, 1871. 

This morning I received your first letter from Ohio, 
full of a mother's inconsolable sorrow, which was far 
more eloquent in the broken, incoherent sentences of 
mental agitation and distraction, than in the language 
of grief it spoke. If what you say is true, that by 
reason of a two weeks' delay in the mails, I shall not 
likely receive my exchange before the first of Decem- 
ber, it being now the twenty-third, the letter must be 
lost, as the letter of August twenty-eighth announcing 
sister's death never came to my sight. 

I shall undertake a trip through the Peloponnesus 
which will occupy between two and three weeks. It 
is a matter of too great interest to me to let an op- 
portunity so rare pass unemployed. I have been to 
Thebes since I wrote to you last, but I will spare all 
descriptions for fire-side talk, seeing my return is so 
near at hand, and a map of Greece perhaps not in all 
Island Creek.* Only this I must not forget to men- 
tion, that in the Peloponnesus there are no robbers, 
such as those whose depredations in the north of 

* The early home of bis parents and his birthplace, where at 
this time bis mother was visiting. 

Letters. 335 

Greece are so terrible. At present the government 
forbids strangers to leave Athens in any direction for 
the provinces except by sea, as within the last few days 
a famous chief with numerous banditti is known to be 
in the vicinity. 

How sad I am to hear that you are suffering from a 
complaint of whose vicious nature I have always had 
an idea, I know not whence or with what good reason. 
Spare yourself everything, for you do not know how 
unjustly you despair of life, seeing how dear you are 
to us all and before all to me. Sister is dead, but when 
you bore her you knew you bore a mortal. It is well 
with her. With us, although all is not well, yet life 
has of everything it ever had, of love and hope and 
duty, but above all, of love. Among the many com- 
forters too, death is not the least, for it cures our aches, 
pays all our debts, releases from every wearisome obli- 
gation. The thought of death is a part of life, and for 
me it comes in still, sad hours with a power of release, 
and I bow my head full of cares and wearisome desires, 
partaking in advance of the great liberation. 

I shall return to America, but to what good end is 
hard to see, save the little service and.comfort I shall 
be to you. I/ife in America will be intolerable to 
me. I know it from what I feel in coming in contact 
with Americans here, from American journals and my 
own recollections. My own ideas and character require 
years yet of formative labor and experience. The 
hunger in my soul for knowledge, contact with the life 
and spirit of all ages and climes, the restlessness of my 
nature — such a subtile mixture of sensuous impressi- 
bility and bald intellectuality — will never let me settle 
into the grooves of a Philistine existence, as one must 
do who will live with conventional order and propriety. 

336 A Young Scholar. 

Foreseeing this in my own character, I shall keep far 
from all manner of connections which bind a man to 
regulate his life by the necessities of others. It is a 
sin for a man with my disposition to involve himself in 
any way that can hamper the growth of his own soul. 
But there are relations not of our own making, such as 
my duty to you, and in the fulfilment of this I shall 
seek a dispensation from all others. 

All this you will see only means that I return to 
America with the idea of returning to Europe, and the 
next time not for a year or so, but possibly for all my 
life. My first care is to make my pen support me, and 
to this end I am determined to devote my energies 
henceforth. My education will be broken off but not 
finally given up. For a life which is not all culture 
seems to me, by so much as it is not, lost. My home 
is in the centres of the world*s intellectual life : Berlin, 
Paris, Florence, Munich, London, and among the 
storied lands of history. As much as is possible, I 
wish you to partake of this with me. 

Do not imagine I shall be lost to the world because 
I shall be lost to the noise and fuss of life in America. 
I hate the tyranny of such an existence, the despotism 
of public opinion ; but of all these things I hope soon 
to speak with you. Do not lose hope of seeing me. 
The journey is not a matter of solicitude to me. Father*s 
election * rejoices me very greatly, as it will be the occa- 
sion of withdrawing his mind from his many troubles. 
Poor soul ! I do not know why, but a profound pity has 
seized me for him. May his hopefulness endure him 
through life ! Aunt Sallie wrote me a kind letter ad- 
vising me to read Paul. Dear soul ! she has no idea 

* He was chosen the preceding autumn to a representative's 
seat in the Kansas legislature. 

Letters. 337 

how many of those epistles are spurious, and less idea 
how little weight I can attach to even such as are not. 
My health is good, but I fear the eflFects of anxiety upon 
it. Our winter is very mild. You will not answer this 
letter in case money has been sent me ta come home. 


A modicum of hope and courage ; constitutional govern^ 
ment in Greece; renewal of mirades, 

ATHENS, Greece, Feb. 3rd, 1872. 

Such weighty matters of western politics no doubt 
will have engaged you this winter that you do not 
greatly miss the scanty spiritual refreshment afforded 
by my letters. Notwithstanding, I should have writ- 
ten oftener if the uncertainty of your movements and 
my expectation of starting home after every mail-day, 
had not hindered. This anxiety has not only hindered 
me in my correspondence, but no less in my studies. 

I have suffered very much this winter in spirit. The 
world never looked quite so hard and bitter to me. 
You know my modicum of hope and personal courage 
is very small. Where others gird themselves more 
firmly for the contest which threatens to overwhelm, 
I take refuge in the spirit of sacrifice. I am always 
ready to put the mark of my ambition a notch lower. 
** Anything for peace of mind ** is a cowardly motto 
no doubt, but one which nature has stamped upon 
every fold of my character. Last fall I was averse to 
giving up my work in Europe, because all my fiiture 
seemed to hang upon it. Now I have only one desire, 
that is to go home. I have once given up my plans 
for the immediate fiiture, and now the ground bums 


338 A Young Scholar. 

under my feet. When I get home and have gath- 
ered myself up I shall see what is still open for me to 
do, and shall take hold. 

I would I had a taste for politics. My taste for 
letters I fear is far beyond my capacity of execution. 
The only thing for which I seem eminently fitted is to 
enjoy the works of other men and the still more admir- 
able works which God has not made through the hands 
of men. But this is a confession which perhaps all the 
world would make. 

Mother's letters of Christmas and January ist reached 
me in company yesterday. She expected to be with 
you by the first of February. How I long to greet 
you both once more face to face. It seems all my mel- 
ancholy must flee when once more under the pater- 
nal roof. It is not good for a youth to be deprived for 
so many years of the fostering love of home. It is the 
milk upon which the spirit of man grows ripe and 
strong and cheerful. The comprehension of the world 
and history which I have acquired in these four years 
of absence, I should never have attained at home. 
But men grow fat on fallacies, while truth is hard of 

I wonder if the same unclear spirits of jealousy and 
lust of gain, petty ambitions and demagogism, control 
the councils of Kansas as make constitutional gov- 
ernment in Greece a painful farce. It is a wretched 
state of things where a people is too much alive to 
submit to an autocrat and too corrupt to govern them- 
selves ; but this is the state of Greece. There is a 
general feeling that the brigands in the mountains are 
the best blood of the nation ; men with the courage to 
put into practice on a heroic scale the principles upon 
which they see every one live. 

Letters. 339 

The theory of Greek politics is simple. There are 
no parties with diflFerent political, economical, or social 
theories, as elsewhere, but there are some half dozen 
party leaders — men who have succeeded in attaching 
to their persons a mob of hungry advocates and half- 
educated or unsuccessful members of other professions 
— whose ambition it is to fill a place in the civil service 
of the state. There are accordingly about six candi- 
dates for every position whose only chance of success 
depends upon the unscrupulousness with which they 
serve their party head in his efforts to balk the govern- 
ment. Nothing is left untried. Things come to a 
crisis when a ministry is no longer able to administer, 
the government being impeded on every side and hav- 
ing to do with a thoroughly unmanageable legislature. 
A change of ministries is tried ; the bear becomes bull^ 
and as Premier assumes the defensive in the identical 
position from which he has just driven his antagonist. 
But as there are some five bears to one bull all the 
time it is impossible for any government to maintain 
itself. There have been three ministries since I have 
been in Athens. You may imagine what becomes of 
the civil service in such a state of things and will not 
find it at all remarkable that a half dozen brigands 
can terrify all Attica up to the very gates of the 

You may ask, where are the great masses interested 
only in good government? They are incapable of 
conceiving the possibility of an honest administration. 
Men learn by experience, but this unfortunate people 
has had no such experience as that of an honest ruler ; 
yet instead of schools, social refinement, and good gov- 
ernment, the I/>rd has continued to them since the days 
of the Apostles his miraculous presence. Signs and 

340 A Young Scholar. 

wonders still encourage the saints. Protestant Chris- 
tians are blessed with such measures of faith that it is 
enough for them to have heard about some wonderful 
things to believe them ; but the simpler children of 
the Church, whose gifts are not so great, require their 
renewal and this of course is not withheld. Relig- 
ious liberty is a glorious thing to decorate the para- 
graphs of the constitution. In practice, however, it 
does n' t seem to succeed. American tolerance resembles 
that child's appetite who could eat anything made of 

Enough of such matter. When you receive this I 
hope you will have already sent my last draft whose 
paper wings are to carry me home. The journey is long 
and expensive, but it promises to put an end to my 
anxiety and to your pains. 

If mother is not with you, send her this letter with- 
out delay. 


Joy in returning ; a royal baptism; modem Greek reli- 
giousness ; the Turkish problem ; an epoch of political 
organization ; training for a diplomatic career. 

ATHENS, Feb. 24, 1872. 

If my anxious expectations are fulfilled, you will 
read this letter but a few days before my departure for 
home. Since I have concluded to return to America 
in the spring, my patience has all of a sudden deserted 
me. With the prospect of still two years before me I 
bore up, but the thought of an early reunion with the 
dear ones at home, it seems, has unnerved me, and I 
sufier incredibly from impatience to be off. 

How glad I was to receive your cheery letter from 

Letters. 341 

the halls of legislation ! It breathed the matter-of-fect 
air of its birthplace, and made me think of you as in 
your element, tiiat is, pushing with the world but never 
afraid to push the world when in your way. You wrote 
it seems before having received information of my 
rather suddenly taken desire to leave Europe, and men- 
tion your intercession with mother to prolong my time. 
I am far from overlooking the justice of mother's desire 
in this instance, and this it is which in the end has al- 
most convinced me that it is to my own interests to ac- 
cede to a wish which, after our great common affliction, 
must be entertained equally by all — that of seeing the 
remnants of the family once more together. I shall 
imbibe new strength from renewed contact with the 
sources of my being, the love of home, and its sacred 

I was present to-day at the baptism of a royal infant 
of Greece in the Metropolitan Church of Athens. The 
pomp of the orthodox ritual is greater than even that 
of the Catholic. It is as a fragment of the Byzantine 
empire preserved to our day with the very scent and 
lustre of the Grecian Middle- Ages upon it. The temple 
itself, a most gorgeous basilica, is an eloquent archi- 
tectural interpretation of the spirit, or better, want of 
spirit, of those times. Nothing is left unaffected which 
can be attained in architecture by a profusion of colors 
and forms. Everything is kaleidoscopic, piebald, zig- 
gag, affected, — a thousand times the effort which is 
apparent in the Parthenon, with a thousandth part of 
the latter*s aesthetic effect. The priests are in keeping, 
that is, their sacramental dress is in keeping, the priests 
themselves being neither modern nor Byzantine, but 
mere mumblers of old incantations. 

What astonishes the stranger most of all things in 

342 A Young Scholar. 

Greece is the incredible religious fenaticism of this 
people — that is, their attachment to their Apostolic 
Orthodox Church. The viler and lower the Greek the 
greater his pride in this hollo west of all religious forms. 
Besides the ordinary grounds of attachment to fossilized 
ideas and institutions, viz., the intellectual inertia of 
the masses, his envy of all independent spiritual life, 
and innumerable individual interests connected with 
everything established, serve to augment his regard for 
his church. 

There is in the Orient another powerful reason for 
this high esteem of the Greeks. It is the fact that their 
faith secures to them, among the numerous and scat- 
tered Christian nationalities of this part of Europe and 
Asia, a predominance which they could maintain in no 
other way. Now it is upon this predominance of the 
Grecian element that the so-called ** Great Idea ** rests — 
that is, the idea of a re-establishment of the Greek Empire 
at Constantinople in the event of an expulsion of the 
Turks. In my opinion the thing will never be. In 
fact, the last few da3'^s have seen what seems to be a 
fatal blow struck at the hopes of all those patriots who 
have dreamed of a renewal of the days of Constantine 
the Great. The despotism of the Grecian hierarchy 
has finally provoked in Constantinople among the great 
Slavic element, the Bulgarians, open opposition and 
schism, and it is in full way to divide into two irrecon- 
cilable camps the Christians of Turkey. Under such 
circumstances it is plain to every one that, in the event 
of a dissolution of the Ottoman power, the heavily 
Slavic provinces, which really comprise all of Turkey 
in Europe, will gravitate to Russia, the great centre of 
pan-Slavonistic tendencies. 

The task of reconciling nationalities is far too ad* 

Letters. 343 

vanced political business for Europe. America can 
scarcely succeed in it with her unparalleled advantages 
and political culture. The so-called Oriental question 
is a Gordian knot, admitting of no other solution than 
that which some Russian Alexander will give it with 
the sword. 

An idea has been long engaging me without as yet 
having culminated in any resolution, but at least gradu- 
ally gaining strength. It is touching my own future. 
Our epoch is decidedly an epoch of political organiza- 
tion and ideas. The philosophical thought of ttie day 
is lower than it has been for ages. The religious life, 
which always discovers correlative S3rmptoms, has been 
shorn of all its wide efiulgence and reduced to an in- 
tense but narrow Christolatry, with no other content 
than a simple ethical one. As to art, the artists them- 
selves are the first to lose faith in the miraculous pow- 
ers of their Muses. The conclusion is that I do not 
believe I shall find in any of these spheres an activity 
sufficiently profound to absorb my energies. It is im- 
possible to swim against the current. All great refor- 
mations and achievements have taken the current at its 
turn, and therefore seem to have turned //. But for 
ordinary political labor I seem to want many essentials 
of character and person. 

There is, however, a sphere of politics for which I 
feel a certain adaptability, and toward success in which 
my scholastic tendencies would only contribute. This 
is diplomacy. Every one knows how illy America is 
supplied with available diplomatic culture. My idea is 
that, upon a reformation of our civil service which 
cannot be indefinitely postponed, the system of ap- 
pointments to posts abroad will require the first and 
most rigid revision, in which case a special prepara- 

344 -^ Young- Scholar. 

tion for the duties of such a position will be indispen- 
sable. Now why should I not have a future here? 
Let me devote myself for several years yet to political 
science, international law, the minutUe of political 
history, to a perfect acquisition of the French language 
and acquaintance with all the forms of diplomacy, and 
then, perhaps, signalize myself by a work on some 
matter of special interest to my profession, and why 
should I not be able to make a start in the diplomatic 
career? I could utilize my studies in contemporary 
politics and journalistic correspondence. I would de- 
pend for success upon a more thorough acquaintance 
with my profession than could be easily found in an- 
other. Your success in a candidature for Congress 
would be by far the most propitious omen I could pray 
for in launching out. In fact it would launch me. 

To-day I expect a letter from mother ; if none comes 
I shall mail these sheets for to-morrow*s steamer. You 
will not answer this letter, I hope — ^that is, I hope to be 
with you before an answer would reach me. 


Homeward bound. 

April, 1872. 

D]BAR Fa'Thbr : — I hasten to inform you that I have 
received the draft sent by mother, February 26th, and 
that I shall embark next Friday for America. I go 
via Marseilles, Paris, Havre, New York. My health 
is first rate and I anticipate a prosperous voyage. All 
my books, save my Greek texts and dictionaries, with 
a few other exceptions, are in Vienna with my land- 
lady. I shall not pay freight on them, as they are safe 

Letters. 345 

for any length of time where they are, and should I 
return to Europe I should be saved a very considerable 
expense. I<et mother have no apprehensions about 
the dangers of a Mediterranean voyage of four days. 
I sail from Havre on the twentieth of April with a 
steamer of the Hamburg American Packet Co., whose 
boats the Ambassador highly recommends. I must 
post in great haste as the mail closes in a short time. 



WITH Byron Smith's return to his parents in 
Kansas this series of remarkable letters 
ceases. The conditions necessary to their 
production were changed. From the reveries of the 
half-cloistered student and still days of converse with 
the entombed spirits of the mighty dead, he turned to 
the task of self-maintenance and the duties of active 
life. A student he remained all his life, animated by a 
ceaseless craving ** to know,'* and with a mind recep- 
tive on all sides, but the tenor of his career was changed. 
If he cherished a plan for returning some day to Europe 
and resuming his studious diligence at the universities 
and galleries of her intellectual centres, he never 
lamented to others his deprivation of their splendid 
opportunities. He deplored nothing, but faced with 
radiance and courage the conditions of American life 
in the West, those conditions that, as his letters evince, 
he had at times contemplated from abroad with 

In the early September days of 1872 he appeared in 
Lawrence, Kansas, as the instructor of Greek in the 
University of that State. He had just entered the 
twenty-fourth year of his age. Tall and slender of 
figure he moved with the grace and elasticity of an 


Conclusion. 347 

athlete. His eye was dark and lustrous and with its 
bright gleams was a tell-tale of the man's enthusiasms 
and of his quick perceptions. His dark brown, soft 
hair clustered in ringlets about a face of unusually 
fair skin, under which the mantling blood spread hues 
of the rose. People turned to observe him a second 
time, for the beauty of youth and intelligence was upon 
him. In manner he was retiring and deferential to all 
men, even to persons of lowly gifts and acquisitions, 
but there was an alertness of attention and a lively in- 
terest in what was passing that caused him to engage 
readily in conversation. He was naturally a mental 
gladiator, skilful in the fencings of argument, brilliant 
in dialectic, impetuous with animation. Yet in the 
presence of a number of persons his bearing was so 
modest that he seldom opened conversation and seemed 
to be led rather than to lead. He was so easily master 
of his stores of knowledge, acute observations and 
genial fancies, that there was no effort, nor reflex sense 
of effectiveness, nor conscious display apparent in his 
speech ; his eloquence — and eloquent he was — ^seemed 
fall of spontaneity and child-like eagerness. But he 
was at his best when with but one or two companions, 
as by the friendly hearth, where he delighted in exposi- 
tion of a theory or an idea. In the class-room or at 
his club, when his friends sought him out and gathered 
round him, he seemed swept on by the flow of thoughts 
surging in him. Yet he was not declamatory. In 
such conditions supremacy was accorded him and even 
forced upon him, and one could not but be reminded 
of Samuel Coleridge among his friends, where conver- 
sation turned to monologue, and rejoinder to listening. 
His voice was low and mellow, his pronunciation tinged 
with a breadth of vowel sounds and a slight accent 

348 A Young Scholar. 

peculiar to himself, and he seemed like a rich organ of 
infinite parts with its matruals always uncovered for 
his companions to improvise upon and draw forth full 
chords of love, wisdom, and sentiment. Of ambition 
he displayed nothing ; the pre-eminence that came to 
him seemed unsought. Withal he had an invincible 
courage of his opinions, and no one was long left in 
doubt as to them, although he was not aggressive, and 
always had a courteous grace and tact that indisposed 
others to contradiction. What scope of influence fell 
to him when he became a teacher of young and ardent 
spirits, who revere with chivalrous devotion those who 
awaken them to new life and set the pulses of mental 
power throbbing in them ! 

At this time the University of Kansas was in her in- 
&ncy and on an American frontier. She was harassed 
with preparatory classes which, like milk teeth, were 
soon to be shed, and her foster nurse, the legislature, 
was not in those days affectionate, but rather penuri- 
ously proud of its ward. It was a time of planting 
rather than of achievement, and how well the officers 
of the University planted is shown by the present high 
standing and dignified work of that institution. In 
1872 the Chancellor, an Aberdeenshire man who had 
commanded a brigade of Pennsylvania troops in the 
Civil War, mingled teaching the necessary Greek and 
philosophy with his administrative duties. Indeed, his 
function was not tmlike a protozoan of a colonizing 
type, having in himself the potencies of the future, 
and every term he would bud and give off a depart- 
ment. Then, too, the classical side of the University 
had been most neglected, for the sentiment in the State 
was strong for science as touching practicalities, and 
sceptical as to the propriety of teaching youth dead 

Conclusion. 349 

languages that did well enough for the cultivation of 
the leisured rich, but had no adaptation to busy and 
working life. 

On the arrival of B5rron Smith at Mt. Oread, as it 
was called, — a bluff overlooking a lovely plain formed 
by the confluence of the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers, 
on the summit of which stood the just roofed and half- 
plastered great University building, — the department 
of Greek began to bud. At first he was an instructor, 
or technically an adjutant of the Chancellor, but when 
the second semester came on Smith's department was 
officially organized and he installed in a professor's 
chair. Nothing could have been more fortunate for 
the cause of classical learning in Kansas than this ar- 
rangement. The youngest of all the teachers in the 
University, he was by all odds the most versatile and 
accomplished. This radiant child of Apollo stirred 
the hearts of the young, as the spring sun does the 
earth, with quickenings of manifold and beautifiil life. 
The wonder and awe of sentient being awakened in 
them. In the womb of their own souls there were 
mysterious and fecund possibilities moving. 

Here was a man whose feet, almost from the cradle, 
had turned aside from the paths commonly adjudged 
to be practical, and had exchanged the slopes and 
glades of Parnassus only for the walks of the Academy. 
He had put the mind above the hand, seeking culture 
rather than utility. Yet what a workman he was ! 
How well-centred he stood towards nature ! From 
what poise he sped to the heart of things ! He 
knew the secrets of the laboratory and the cabinet ; 
but these were no formulas of science for him, for they 
were the records of a vitalized natural history, — not, 
as they often are to many, man's history of nature, 

350 A Young Scholar. 

but nature's history of man and man's environments. 
He was one of the most vital of men, comprehending 
his fellows, ardent to reach the veracities in them, eager 
to participate in their progress, whether that were the 
breaking of a fetter or a new achievement. To scores 
of his associates at this time he was a revelation of 
what culture and discipline could be gained on classic 
ground and of its singular worth. From his day the 
right of Greek to be a part of the student's heritage 
went unquestioned on Mt. Oread. 

In his method of instruction his character is in some 
degree disclosed. The text he taught was ever a vital 
thing. It had come from some soul of the golden past 
and it therefore was a soul itself. Hence glossary, 
grammar, and orthoepy were not ends in themselves 
but instruments, — ^keys to unlock some thought. If 
he was exacting about irregular verbs and particles, or 
chased down a dialectic form, it was not as an exercise 
of acumen, but because there was some subtle product 
of mind lurking there. His great requirement was 
that his pupils should study with understanding ; that 
thought should kindle thought, and he scorned the 
refuge of the pedant who, half-trained himself, puzzles 
his class with grammatical obscurities that are mas- 
tered only as a feat of diligence or memory, and have no 
other service. Yet it must not be inferred that he was 
patient with slovenly work. On the contrary, no man 
cared more for the refinements and elegancies of study ; 
only he looked upon details as tributary to some whole. 
Discipline had value in his eyes because it was the 
royal road to culture. 

It happened in those days of beginnings that in the 
most advanced class of his second professional year was 
one girl. The feeble impulses towards classical train- 

Conclusion. 351 

ing at that time in so new a State had borne her alone 
of all the students to her Junior year. With her he 
read in that year the entire Iliad in order that she 
might catch the Homeric spirit, saying the use of a 
literature to acquire its contents was the surest way to 
the conquest of its philological diflSlculties. He cared 
for a syntactical subtilty for the kemal of human soul 
there was within it. Here it may be recorded that to 
this pupil he pledged the surrender of that celibate free- 
dom he once thought suitable to such a scholarly life as 
seemed to await him, and not many years after, when 
a betrothal widowhood had befallen her, she in turn 
sat in his professorial chair in his old class-room and 
carried on his work in his spirit. 

Professor Smith at once took by willing consent a 
commanding position in the scholastic and social com- 
munity of Lawrence. It was the silent rising of Sirius 
into the empyrean. The fact was that a human being 
that did not engage his attention or ardor was a £ituous 
sort of soul, for he was so responsive to all real men- 
tality and especially to that of youth , that one could play 
upon his rich nature even with a perplexed look or an 
honest blunder. Contempt was a sentiment he hardly 
understood, although he had scorn of cant and pervers- 
ity. A man must be so who cherishes human life 
as a matter, not of duty, but of natural constitution. 
He would linger at his desk, or prolong a walk, or 
discourse in a room with animation, for the delight of 
contact with student or companion. And then his 
ascendency began at once under the spell of a vera- 
cious spirit and a mind skilled to touch the heart of 
a matter. 

During his first winter his whole family were together 
in I^awrence. In the spring his parents returned to 

352 A Young Scholar. 

Humboldt and the young professor had to seek a new 
dwelling-place. It is a mark of the ingenuousness of 
his nature that he sought another home with a reput- 
edly orthodox Episcopal clergyman, who was then a 
colleague of his in the University. He could not im- 
agine that truth-seeking men would be estranged by 
creeds. That Paganism or Scepticism and Christianity 
should dwell amicably under one roof, was in his eyes 
something like sisterhood, for were not both emanations 
from the one great life that filled all things ? It may 
be that he was attracted by three little children of the 
house he sought, for he was very playful and merry 
with them, as were they with him, and an outburst of 
childish glee was an indication that the ** professor" 
was with them. It came about, therefore, that the two 
young teachers sat at the same table thereafter, so long 
as they were both connected with the University. 

Here a rare malady attacked Professor Smith, and it 
was one destined to have decisive effects on his career. 
Its eventual cure proved it to have been renal neur- 
algia, but for months it was an obscure disease to his 
medical advisers, among whom were some of the most 
eminent physicians of St. lyouis and Philadelphia. It 
was overcome by the simple expedients of a man who 
was not eminent, but was a faithftil, careful family phy- 
sician of high personal character, such as prudent pa- 
tients take into their hearts and keep there ** forever 
and a day.'* The disease attacked him at intervals of 
about six weeks with paroxysms that usually lasted 
several days. During that time he was wrung with 
darting, protracted pains through the lonely watches 
of the night and the still more tedious hours of day in 
a darkened room. At such times he was utterly inca- 
pacitated and unnerved. His fortitude only availed to 

Conclusion. 353 

keep him from outcry and repining, but lie scarcely ate 
or slept until the torture wore away. When the tyranny 
of pain abated he returned to his duties, with a touch 
of weariness temporarily upon him, but with his ardor 
and strength unimpaired. There are maladies that hurt 
cruelly, but do not weaken. 

For two years and a term Professor Smith lived in 
Lawrence. His athletic form and radiant face became 
familiar in the society-meetings of the students, in the 
homes of citizens, in a social club that formed about 
him, and occasionally on thelyceum platform. Every- 
where he made the impression well depicted by one of 
his pupils in these words, '' He gathered learning as an 
absolute good, not, as a loose expression has it, * for 
the good learning will bring.* Thus it was also that 
he believed it never to be necessary to choose the least 
of two evils, considering it at all times possible to choose 
an absolute right. . . . He was radically truthful.** 

It is to be expected that a nature not given to com- 
promise, and impelled by the fine ardor of young years, 
could not entertain the unconventional views that Smith 
did without bringing upon him the resentment of dog- 
matic traditionalists. There are people who, despite 
all his sweetness and veracity, would think Jesus dis- 
loyal to himself, if he did not believe in plenary inspira- 
tion, or the imputation of sin, or the apostolic succession, 
or sacramental grace. Kansas was not destitute of 
them, and they began to whisper that scepticism was 
fostered in a State institution by the retention in it of 
an unbeliever. They did not complain of the quality 
of the Greek furnished, nor did they concern them- 
selves with the logic of their position in asserting that 
the State should exercise religious discrimination. 

They were mostly ecclesiastical politicians, of whom 

354 ^ Young Scholar. 

Methodism then furnished the West with a no incon- 
siderable number of blundering heads. While the 
young professor was on the scene they only whispered. 
He was entrenched in the respect and admiration of 
those who knew him and his fascinations dispelled per- 
sonal antagonisms. When another man took his duty 
while he was in quest of health, his adversaries were 
able to confirm the substitute in his room and to end 
his connection with the University. 


In the summer of 1874 his home was again broken 
up by the removal to Philadelphia of his clerical col- 
league and host. Upon the eve of the following Christ- 
mas Professor Smith appeared unannounced at the door 
of his friend in Philadelphia, and told how the parox- 
ysms of his malady had grown intolerable and that he 
was in quest of the best medical advice in order that he 
might either obtain relief or ascertain whether a simple 
fight of fortitude with pain was all that he could look 
forward to. His entire recovery, as has been already 
said, followed that winter, and he then became one of 
the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Press, which was 
under the management of W. W. Nevin, its proprietor 
being absent for a long time in Europe as a Commis- 
sioner for the impending Centennial Exhibition of 1876. 
He had now reached a career to which he seemed to 
have a birthright, as his father was a journalist more 
than anything else, and his life had been passed in 
acquaintance with the rural press. It was a profession, 
too, that had often seemed to him the natural sequel to 
studies as general as his had been, while his penetration 
into social, economic, and political problems, — the great 

Conclusion. 355 

staples of newspaper writing, — was enhanced by the 
truly religious sense of duty to the welfare of mankind 
he entertained. The good of mankind was the im- 
perative ethical cycle through which his intellect and 
conscience moved. 

Brief as was Professor Smith's experience in the edi- 
torial room it was unusually fortunate and happy for a 
beginner. At that time the editorial spirit had not been 
asphyxiated by the encroachments of reportorial work. 
Newspaper men talked of paragraphing as the highest 
example of editorial skill, and a clever ** scoop'* was 
regarded even then as a reporter's triumph. But ob- 
taining a bit of sensational news in advance of all com- 
petitors, with its degradations of sensationalism, had 
not yet become the sole criterion of journalistic ability. 
A ** scoop " accomplished by the use of legs was popu- 
lar in the reporter's room, but there was still a recog- 
nized "scoop," accomplished by the use of brains, for 
the editor to achieve, and men read with respect the 
"views" of their favorite paper on a wide range of 
foreign and domestic intelligence. Moreover The Press 
was then managed by a man who belonged to a disci- 
plined and gifted branch of a family prominent in 
Pennsylvania for intellectual force, and he loved ver- 
satility and culture in its columns. What is more to the 
point, its independence was not compromised under 
him by partisan log-rolling, nor deteriorated by greed for 
advertisements, nor degraded by servility to fatuous 
fancies of what the people wanted. There was in those 
days a function for an editor, and an editor was more 
than a simple manager peddling copies of the paper. 
There lingered in the American newspaper-world a 
respect for good work, judged from the standpoint of 
literary excellence and worthy matter. On The Press 

356 A Young Scholar. 

the young editor wrote with his charming lucidity and 
sparkle of insight and well-mastered erudition. He 
worked slowly, feeling keenly that his audience Jiad 
changed and there was a style suitable thereto to be 
acquired. He was fastidious, veracious, and faithful 
to that most exacting of masters, his own self-respect. 
Of his performances his superior said that in his 
journalistic experience he had encountered nothing 
more satisfactory or promising. Apparently these 
young hands had hold of the ladder of influence, &me, 
and fortune. 

The stroke of one midnight ended all this fair promise 
and Professor Smith's career was hopelessly over. It 
was the season of the year when the sun hangs lowest 
in the sky, the shadows are deepest and longest and the 
little days have a dun dreariness. One of those storms 
came on when the snow falls fast and sleety and lies, 
like a saturated sponge, deep on the ground. Every 
footprint fills with water and makes a steelly indenta- 
tion, while dripping icicles hang from the eaves and the 
trees put on a glassy coating. On that night the 
young journalist returned, as was his wont, to his new 
home in the early hours of the morning. The only 
night-cars available for him left a half-mile to be 
traversed on foot through deserted streets. He reached 
his room drenched and a gush of blood fi-om the lungs 
announced that he was in the grip of an unrelenting 
disease. The brief day of work for this brilliant spirit, 
so full of erudition and enthusiasm, so puissant in its 
skill and loveliness was over. To a friend who called 
during the day and found him in bed, he remarked 

Conclusion. 357 

with a shade of sorrow on his face, * * I have had a 
haemorrhage, and its meaning is unmistakable. I had 
thought to master the problems of political economy, 
for I wanted so to know them, but now I never shall.** 

The same medical care that had emancipated him 
from his neuralgic trouble attended him, but the phy- 
sician said the indications were of an unpromising 
character and pointed to destruction of pulmonary tis- 
sue. The kindest nursing awaited him, for he had 
found a home in Philadelphia in the comfortable 
dwelling of a homoeopathic physician who with his 
young wife was deeply under the spell of his captivat- 
ing nature. He had seemed to enter the house as the 
herald of a new life, wonderful in its possibilities, 
glorious in its power. These gentle souls felt all the 
pathos of the impending extinction of so splendid a 
life, and at times even to anguish. Nothing that solic- 
itude could supply of time or service did their hands 

The illness was not one of pain ; rather it was a 
wasting of vitality. The professor gathered books 
upon his bed and, during the tedious days of confine- 
ment, devoured them as if mindful that what he had 
to do must be done quickly. He still loved to see 
the countenances of his friends about him, was still 
alert for discourse on high themes, and his serenity 
was unruffled. For a time there seemed a chance that 
the lesions of his lung might heal, and the doctor 
talked of more favorable climates in the South where 
some years of usefulness might be in store for him. 
As spring came on a second haemorrhage dispelled 
these vague hopes and the professor abandoned all 
expectations of recovery. His mother came on and 
he nestled like a child in her soothing arms, comforted 

358 A Young Scholar. 

by the yearning love that was ceaselessly welling in 
her heart. What arms a mother's are ! What magic 
in her soft hands ! How they say to the most self- 
sufficient and matured manhood, ** Rest, child ! ** 

Balmy days came and the mother bore her precious 
charge to her Kansas home with its rare atmospheres 
and glorious azure skies. But the sick man grew 
thinner and his face more lucent with the waste of 
disease. Still further west there were foot-hills and 
parks famed for their kindness to consumptives. 
There was a faint hope that the patient's days might 
be prolonged there, or at least ameliorated. A mater- 
nal uncle invited him to Colorado, and he passed the 
winter in Boulder. In the spring he was more of a 
shadow than ever, — ^so thin, so light. Again his 
mother was with him, but he faded away painlessly, 
still talking of the high themes he loved. He did not 
solace himself with vain hopes of recovery, but faced 
death placidly and bravely. On the 4th of May, 1877, 
without distress or uneasiness, his head lay tranquilly 
on its pillow ; his breath came more and more softly, 
and then almost imperceptibly stopped. The scholar's 
life was over. Byron Caldwell Smith was dead. 

A broken-hearted woman bore the body to a broken- 
hearted father, and they laid it in a grave on the banks 
of the Neosho River, near Humboldt, by the side of 
Abby, his only sister. 

With his own estimate of life and its consummation 
let this biography close. From Berlin he sent these 
notes and verses to his father : 

** I do not know whether I do wisely in sending you 
such verses as the accompanjdng or not. I have never 
seen that any great or little poet has written such 
things, although I have read much which was calcu- 

Conclusion. 359 

lated to move the same chords as these. This feeling, 
as I have said, cannot be expressed in the music of 
numbers. It is the highest product of philosophic 
thought ; yet there is something poetic in the contem- 
plation of this supreme mood, in which the antitheses 
of feeling are overcome and the soul rests in its iden- 
tity with the Infinite. The many thousand lights and 
shades of being are swallowed up in its all-involving 
fire-gloom, that takes possession of the soul as the sky 
is filled with ether. It is the privilege of a Christ and 
Spinoza to live in this element, and of less holy men 
to taste at sacred moments its divine repose." 

** There is a mood that 's far too deep for song. 
In it are no sweet objects of desire, 
No tender visions fashioned of soft fire, 
The honeyed tongue of music must do it wrong ; 

" Nor any mighty waxing of the heart 

With beat of holy scorn, or great intent 
Which is on some supreme devotion bent, 
Or wills to take a more than mortal part ; 

" Nor such as thought of what all space contains 
Might make in Plato's vast and lucid soul. 
Where all the laws of order have control, 
And throned Beauty monoeidic* reigns. 

«< »T is the indiflference of joy and grief. 
The utter oneness of all, time creates, 
Poretouch of that deep silence, which awaits 
All spirits with the fulness of relief 

* ** Monoeidic," literally, " of one form " ; Plato's epithet of 
the First Beautiful or Ideal Beauty, which is only partiall}' ex- 
pressed in the multiform objects of beauty in the world. These 
only reflect single rays of monoeidic Beauty. 


Abby, his sister, 24, 30, 32, 33, 
37, 133, 141, 244 ; death of, 
321-323, 325 ; dramatic sense 
of, 305 ; letter to, 164 

Absolute, closed circle of the, 
287 ; necessity, 275, 288 ; 
unthinkable, 288 

Acrid polemics, 273 

Acropolis, a visit to the, 318 

Adriatic voyage, 312 

^gean Archipelago, voyaging 

in, 313 
iEgina, visit to, 327 
Esthetics, root of, 276 
Age, changes of, 59; coming 
of, 206, 211 ; intellectual 
provision for old, 61 ; love 
for those in old, 79 ; moods 
for old, 48, 54 ; reveries of 
old, 71 
America, a Greek's apostro- 
phe to, 268; an apostrophe 
to, 239 ; duty of, 285 ; the 
task of, 233 
American, and German char- 
acter contrasted, 176; art- 
students, Munich, 219, 220 ; 
character, disharmony of, 
220 ; metaphysician and art, 
157 ; missionaries in Athens, 
328 ; opinion, despotism of, 
336 ; Revolution, the French 
m the, 246; scholars, their 
limitations, 280; Southern 
family, 93-95 ; students in 
Germany, 76, 77, 114, 235 


Americans, immobility of, 83 
Anaximander's * * Indefinite, ** 

Antique art demands culture, 

Arabs on shipboard, 312 

Art, critical theories of, 224- 
226 ; definition of, 60 ; future 
of, 221 ; growing delight in, 
153, 284; his susceptibility 
to, 20^ ; programme of 
studies in, 81, 82, 87, 91, 92; 
revival of German, 188; 
students of, in Munich, 219 

Art-museum, metaphysical 
student in an, 157 

Artist-student, the Pomera- 
nian, 167, 178, 191 

Athens, apartments in, 314, 
315, 318; arrival in, 311; 
impressions of, 314, 317, 
315; life in, 320; proposed 
study in, 240, 252, 258 

Atoms, hypothesis of, 251, 276 

Attic plain, 317 

Australian natural history, 147 

Austria, peril of, 232 

Austrian, Liberal defeat, 292 ; 
politics, 266, 309; Tyrol, 
Deauty of the, 310 

Autumn, Heidelberg in, 28; 
reflections in, 104, 116 


Bacon's empiricism, empti- 
ness of, 2^ 
Badness a misfortune, 192 



Bailey, Mrs. Margaret L., 

verses of, 158 
Baptism, a royal, 341 
Basilica, a Greek, 341 
Bastian, Adolph, psychology 

of, 147 

Beattie on nature's charms, 23 

Beauty, description of a South- 
em, 94, 154 ; doctrine of, 288 

Beer saloon, the German, 44 

Being, ground of, 179 

Berlin, arrival in, 86, 87 ; 
Christmas in, 120; farewell 
to, 198 ; impressions of, 96, 
97, 124, 136, 167, 168; leav- 
uig, 207 ; sand of, 266 

Betrothal, Smith's, 351 

Biblical arguments, many- 
sided, 242 

Billy, his brother Gerrit, 
called, 75, 114, 117, 152, 
172, 189, 234, 305 

Bismarck, Karl Otto von. 
Prince, betrayal of France 
l>y» I95f 200, 208, 209; 
character of, 164, 189; 
French policy oif, 215 ; 
French Republic and, 247; 
love of power of, 247 

Bohemian country people, 91 

Books, and Philistia, 155 ; as a 
means of culture, 162 

Bremen, impressions of, 18 

Brocken, a night on the, 171 

Buckle, Henry Thomas, his 
history, 146 

Budding chancellor, a, 348 

Byron, Lord, 52 

Caldwells, the. See Mother 
Campbell, Rev. Alexander, 3 
Carlisle student at the Or- 

pheum, 121 
Carpet-baggers' rule, 26 
Caste, the learned, 280 
Cecrops, daughters of, sculp- 
ture, 157 

Change of life in men, 59 
Character, analysis of, 98, 99 ; 
of Professor Smith, 346-353 
Children, his love of, 197, 280, 

Christian and pantheistic 

morals, 277 
Christianity, dualism of, 74; 

place of, 329, 330 
Christolatry, 343 
Church-history studies, 329 
City the home of cynics, 291 
Civil government, develop- 
ment of, 146; limitations 

of, 27 ; Professor T on, 

60 ; simple function of, 140 ; 
unwieldmess of, 189 
Classical knowledge, compara- 
tive view of, 216 
Classics in Kansas, 348, 351 
Clerical quarters, his, 352 
Cologne cathedral, 19 
Colorado, retreat to, 358 
Comte, Auguste, loi ; failure 

of system of, 294 
Coming of age, 2to6, 211 
Communism in Europe, 247 
Co-operation, benefit of, 285 
Copyright, a theory of, 192- 

Corfu, a stop at, 313 
"Corpus Domini," feast of, 

Cost of living, Berlin, 88, 96, 

114; Munich, 217; plan to 

defray, 331 
Creation a metamorphosis, 64 
Culture, it makes men natural, 

171 ; programme of, 84, 277 ; 

progress in, 301; scheme 

broken, 332; singleness of 

aim in, 116; studies for, 

127-129, 139, 182, 235, 240 ; 

studies proposed for Italy, 



Darwinism, social effects of, 



Dealli, Abby's, 321-323 ; Aunt 
Ellen's, 126 ; beneficence of, 
78; Byron C. Smith's, 358; 
grandmother's, 259 ; grief 
at, 115; love andy 50; not a 
terror, 66, 71 
Deathbed courtship, 129, 150 
Democracy in Europe, 235 
Depression, counsels against, 

137, 138 
Design m creation considered, 

56, 62-66. See Teleology 
Deterioration of species, G 

on, 316 
Dialectics the grammar of 

thought, 67 
Diplomatic career contem- 
plated, 343 
*• Disciples of Christ," 314 
Divinity, nature of, 275, 276 
DoUinger, Ignaz, revolt of, 270 
Dramatic sense, lack of^ 305 
Dramatists, old English, a 

resource in age, 61 
Dresden, impressions of, 199, 

202, 205 ; plans for going to, 

Drunkenness, how to deal 

with, 43 
DuBois-Reymond, Emil Hein- 

rich, 150 ; on labor, 202 


Earthly Paradisey Morris's, 
32 ; tales in, 38, 39 

Easter vacation in Berlin, 152 

Economic studies, 240, 255. 
See Political studies 

.Education, as a profession, 
278; defects in American, 
24; thoroughness of Ger- 
man, 29 ; zeal for, 41, 54. See 
Culture, Scholar, Studies 

Egoism, wretchedness of, 138 

"Electra," legend of and 
verses on, 185, 186 

Eleusis, a trip to, 319 

Elsass - I/Othrin^en, German 
annexation 01; 210, 215 

Emancipation of mind, 60 
** Emanuel," the student phi- 
losopher, 165, 168, 176-177 
Emigration fever in Germany, 

Empress Frederick, a glimpse 

of, 188 
England, calamity of a war 

with, 243, 258 
Epoch, nature of this, 343 
Ethics of Spinoza, 52 
" Euphrone," a poem, *io6, 

107, 119 
Europe, restlessness of, 232 

Faith as opposed by truth, 55 ; 
his personal, 66; not a 
source of knowledge, 180 
Family, influence of, 33 
Father, his, advancing years 
of, 237; concern for, 252; 
dramatic talent of, 305 ; farm 
labors of, 302, 306; filial 
counsel to, 136-138; health 
of, 207, 217, 227 ; legislative 
career of, 341 ; resemblance 
of son to, 66; pantheism 
opposed by, 268, 273 ; refer- 
ences to, 5, 33, 37, 58, 75-76, 
113, 119, 140, 148, 161, 182, 
190, 192, 223, 234 
Faust criticised, 272 ; on hear- 
ing Gounod's opera of, 36 
Feeling and intellect, 51 ; 

formation of, 73 
Feuerbach, I/. A., aims of, 81 
Fiction, reading, 88, 97 
Flute-playing, 164, 183, 222, 

Force, material view of, 142 
France, guilt in Prussian war 
of, 195, 231 ; humiliation 
by Germany of, 215, 256, 
271 ; war-debt of, 261 
Franco-Prussian war, ending 
of, 538; French misery in, 
255; French debt incurred 
in, 261 ; frivolity of, 195 ; 




German pnrpose in, 246; 
guilt of parties to, 1 99-201, 
21^ ; opening of, 182, 189 ; 
origin of, 208 ; surrender of 
Metz, 241 

Frederick the Great, 187 

Freedom, is harmony with law, 
289 ; of the Will, 273-274 ; 
preservation of personal, 5^6 

Fremont campaign of 1856 m 
Wheeling, o 

French, character, 231, 238, 
245-247 ; Constitutional As- 
sembly, 257, 267 ; farmer, a, 
300, 300 ; Republic* duty in 
1870 of, 214-215 ; Republic, 
throttling the, 267 

Fuller, lynching of Dick, 198 

Gambetta, Iy6on, 238; his 

leadership, 253 
Gautier-Dagoty, Jacques, 94 
George, King of Greece, 330 
German, arrogance in Austria, 
266 ; art revival, 188 ; ^^//^j- 
/^//rif5 reading, 304; burgher 
tourist, 169 ; character, 
catholicity of, 29 ; character, 
national, 245-247; emigra- 
tion fever, 31 ; idealists, how 
made, 254 ; love of children, 
30; morals, 271; Pennsyl- 
vania stock, 3, 4 ; policy in 
Franco-Prussian war, 215, 
231 ; politics, 35 ; resolve 
for nationality, 197 ; room- 
mate, 133, 141, 166, 174-176 ; 
scholarly thoroughness, 128 ; 
sobriety, 45 ; three friendly 
students, 165-167, 174-179; 
tyranny, 239; women, con- 
dition of, 31 
Germany, American students 
in, 76-77, 114; political re- 
action in, 266; unity of, 210 
God, not the creature of law, 
146 ; not a person, 179 ; pan- 

theistic doctrine of, 288; 
presence of, 323 

Gods above wants, 254 

Goethe, catholicity of, 70-71 ; 
his Faust under criticism, 
272 ; his lyrics not poetical, 

Goodness, how made moral, 
295-299 ; when real, 264 

Government. See Civil gov- 

Grandfather, writing to, 116 

Great men, 99 

Greece, object of visiting, 303 

Greek, character, modem, 311, 
314, 320, 328, 338; culture 
through, 25; ^litics, 330, 
339 J progress m study of, 
46 ; student in Munich, 219- 

220, 224; studies, aim in, 

221, 240 

Greeks, religious fanaticism 

of the, 342 
Greeley at Buchtel College, 

Grief, contest with, 326; the 

retreat from, 323, See Sor- 
Ground of being, 179 


Hartmann's philosophy, 281, 

Harz Forest, a tramp in the, 

150, 163, 167, 168-172 
Hate, no place for, 119 
Haupt, Moritz, 114, 171 
Hebraic ideas of immortality, 

Hegel, G. W. F., his view of 

history, 135 
Heidelberg, longing for, 131, 

149; Lyceum at, 24, 27, 29, 

34 ; impressions of, 46, 53 ; 

rationalism at, 109 
Heidelberg Castle, ruins of, 21 
Heine, Heinrich, quotations 

from, 83, 172 



Hemorrhages, 356, 357 
Herakleitos the Dark, 137 
Heroes, weaknesses of, 177 
Hohen wart's ministry, 292, 309 
*' Holy Alliance," 233 
Homage inquired into, 66 
Home, desire to return, 337, 
340; freedom in writing, 
186; love of, 24, 162, 182, 
190, 237, 278, 323 ; strange- 
ness of a remote, 286 
Home-coming, consequences 
of, 324, 330, 335 ; motives to 
delay, 301 ; plans for, 279, 
Homer, his epic sense, 171 ; 
his heroes, 137; quotation 
from, 259 
Homesickness, 24, 162, 182, 

252, 265 
Homeward bound, 344 
Hopes, extravagant religious, 

57 ; feebleness of his, 337 
Hiibner, Bmil, 114 
Human-nature, synthesis of, 


Hume's diflEiculty, 287 
Hymn to Proserpina^ loi 
Hypothesis, function of, 249- 
252, 255 

Ideals, degeneration of, 254 
Identity, persistence of, 298 
Idyllic Philistine, 253 
Ignorance, boldness of, 155 ; 

deformity of, 171 ; genuine 

and acquired, 112 
Illegitimate births in Vienna, 

''Illinois College" days, 11, 

Illness, fatal, 366 ; in Munich, 

228, 230 
Use river. 172 
Immortality, a quality, 287 ; 

moral eflfect of, 78, 79, 103 ; 

origin of doctrine of, 118 ' 

Independent^ The^ on Faust^ 

Individuality, phenomenal, 

274, 289; polytheistic, 296, 

Industry a goddess, 35. See 
Labor, Work 

"In Excelsis," 107 

In Memorianiy Tennyson's, 
48-52, 261 ; verses on, 107 

Insanity, exemption of phi- 
losophy from, 294 

Instruction, character of his, 

Intelligence, a product, 179, 

275, 282 ; as cause, 64, 65 ; 
in nature, 143-146. See 

Interment, his, 358 
Inward senses denied, 180 
Italian anticipations, 76, 81, 
182, 216 

Jacksonville Journal^ 7, 11, 26 
Jacksonville, memories of, 172 
Jesus of Nazareth, 123, 180, 

Johnson, Samuel, on seasons, 

Jones, Col. Charles, lynching 

of, 154 
Journalistic, career, 354 ; cor- 
respondence discussed, 34, 
36, 42, 306, 315, 324 


Kant, Immanuel, influence of, 

139. 142 
Klops, 165 

Labor, compensations of, ^ ; 
manual, repressive to mmd, 
89, 306. See Industry, 



Landing at the month of the 

Weser, i8 
Landlady, daughter of the, 211; 

polUrabendofy 130 
Landscape painting, 225 
Laws of natnre necessary, 64- 

66, 276 ; not made, 142, 143 ; 

prevalence of, 145, 147 ; state 

IS under, 189 
Lenau, Nikolaus, translation 

of, no 
Learned caste, 280 
Learning as a German insti- 
tution, 40 
Lawrence, Kansas, life in, 346- 

Learning, degradation of, 

280, 281 
Liberty and superstition, 67 ; 
effect on women of, 31 ; not 
conventional, 146 
Library, Berlin Royal, 124, 139 
Life, aesthetic realm of, 125; 
blind forces of, 104 ; in God, 
269, 277, 297, 298 ; maturing 
impressions of, 83 ; mystery 
and awe of, 183; plans for 
settlement in, 252, 332, 336, 
34^ ; sweeter for its limita- 
tations, 1 15 ; transcendency 
of, 259 
Liquor question, 42-44 
Logic, function 01, 249-252 
Loni's Prater pantheistic, 299 
Louis I. of Bavaria, 213 
Love, as a doctrine, 2^ ; com- 
fort of unselfish, 79, 103, 
104 ; confronting death, 50 ; 
home, 162 ; insight of, 274, 
277 ; not self-referable, 297- 
299 ; of children, 197 ; puri- 
fication of, 73-75, 99-101 ; 
sufficiency of, 130 

Love-passion, strength of the, 

Luxembourg (Lothringen), 

barter for, 200, 208 
Lyceum work, Heidelbuig, 

24, 27, 29, 34 

LycidaSy and Tennyson, 52; 
quotation from, 35 


Madonna, a Munich shrine 
to the, 226 ; Sistine, 202, 

Magdeburg cathedral, 169 
Man's insignificance, 259 
Marriage, ideal of, 125 ; land- 
lady's, 130 ; motives to, 


Materialism and faith, com- 
bat of, 139 

Materialist, the hopes of a, 
102, 103 

Mathematical studies, 10, 11 

Matter, dynamic, 142, 179; 
phenomenal, 288 

Metaphysics, modem German, 
80. See Philosophy, Spec- 

Methodists in Germany, 132 

Metz, capitulation of, 2^1 

Mexico City, population of 
ancient, no 

Mill, JTohn Stuart, 146; his 
Logic, 252 

Miracles, Greek and Protest- 
ant, 339 

Missionaries, Athenian, 328 

Monarchy, how perpetuated, 

Monotony of study, effect of» 

I33» 134 
Moral responsibility, 296 

Morris, William, characteris- 
tics of, 38; his Earthly 
Paradise, 32 

Mother, charm of the name, 
287 ; solicitudes and mental- 
ity of his, 222, 223, 243, 317 ; 
sorrow and sickness of, 335 ; 
references to his, 8, 22, 29, 
37, 61, 72, 73, 98, 116, 124, 
149, 192, 234 

M 's courtship, 130, 150 



Munich, art in, 87, 91 ; art- 
students in, 219; impres- 
sions of, 217, 262; lectures 
in, 236; malaria in, 228 
Music, emotion caused by, 105 
Mystic^ Thet of Tennyson, 156, 



Napoleon I., organ of his 
times, 189 

Napoleon III. in Mexico, 246 ; 
Nemesis of, 199; political 
chicanery of, 208, 209 

Nature, as a cure for depres- 
sion, 22 ; as an awakener of 
emotion, 46 ; eternal, 56, 64, 
66 ; leads to God incompre- 
hensible, 170; precedes sci- 
ence, 102; Spmoza's view 
of» 53 J synthesis of human, 
74, 75, 100, loi 

Necessi^, absolute, 144, 275, 
276, 288 

Nepomuc, Saint, 92 

Neuralgic troubles, 552 

Nevin, W. W., editor, 354, 

Newspaper enterprise, 555 

New Testament, studies of 
the, 304; uncertainties of 
the, 329 
New York street-walkers, 96 
Nuremberg, impressions of, 
2I3» 214 

Ohio valley, settlement of the 

upper, 2 
Opera, seeing, 35 
Ora pro nobis, 227 
Oriental question, the, 342, 


Orpheum," visit to the, 120, 



Pantheism, doctrine of, 288; 
glory of, 251 ; heroism of, 
264, 277; German architec- 
ture and, 20; Greeley on, 
308 ; its consolation, 323 ; 
morality of, 295-9; religion 
of life in, 291 ; religion of 
love in, 269 
Paris communal massacres, 

293 ; communism in, 267 
Parthenon sculptures, 157 
Patience, his fund of, 244 
People as reformers, the, 281 
Perpefuum mobile of the uni- 
verse, 143 
Personal appearance, 346 ; 
habits, 184. See Temper- 
ance; Puritjr 
Personality of God, 179 ; phe- 
nomenal, 259 
Phidian sculptures, 157 
Philadelphia, a home in, 357 ; 
Press, 354 ; removal to, 354 
Philosopher-student, 165, 168, 

176, 177 
Philosophic combat in Eu- 
rope, 133 
Philosophical lectures, nature 

of, 236 
Philosophy, and insanity, 294 ; 

world's estimate of, 250. See 

Pantheism ; Spectdative. 
Physical vigor, 204 
Piraeus, 313, 319 
Plan and planner in nature, 

56, 62-66, 144-146, 275. See 

Plato on immortality, 118; 

N. Y. Tribune on Jowett's 

version of, 291 
Poetical limitations, his, 61, 

96, 106, 118, 181, 226 
Poetry, personal influence of, 

Political conditions in Amer- 
ica, 233; science defined, 
257 ; studies, 247 ; views, 
originality of his, 198 



Politics, phil06ophic growth 
of, 140 ; school of the peo- 
ple, 386 
fblterabend, 130 
Polygamy, Mormon, 241 
Pomeranian artist friend, 167, 

178, 191 
Portraiture, object of, 225 
Potsdam, a visit to, 187 
Prague, impressions of, 92 ; 

riot in, 266 
Prairie, influence of the, 283 
** Primnla Veris," two render- 
ings of, 110-112 
Professors, calling on, 108 
Prohibitory laws, 42-44 
Prussian army, quality of the, 

Psychology of Bastian, 147 
Public dinners, uses of, 248 
Puritanism, its notion of 

Beauty, 214 ; rigor of, 44 
Purity, his personal, 332 


Race origin, his father on, 147 
Railway travel in Germany, 

214. See Travel 
Rank and type of character, 

98, 99 ; of mental functions, 

Ra|>hael and the Pope, 205 
Rationalism, decline through, 

Realism, degeneration in art 
of, 224 ; philosophical, 251 

Reforms, illogical, 113; prac- 
tical, 234 

Religion, fallacies in, 56, 57 ; 
impotency in, 161; justifi- 
cation of systems o^ 156; 
narrowness in, 43, 44 ; op- 
position to a new, 299 ; pain 
of changing a, 38; when 
fruitless, 326 

Removal of family to Kansas, 

Reward and punishment doc- 
trine, 274, 295, 297 

Riddle of existence, 183 
Robbers in Greece, 327, 334, 

Roommate, a German, 133, 

141, 166, 174-176 

Royal pomp, 152 

R *s egoistic pedantry, 192 

Russia in the Bast, 232 

Sabbath meditation, a, 309 
Salamis, a view of, 319 
Salzburg, impressions of, 262 
Sans Souci palace, 187 
Saviour of the world, a, 103 
Scepticism punished, 353 
Schleiermacher, F. E. D., er- 
ror of, 277 
Scholar, function of the, 333 ; 
paradise of a, 149 ; privilege 
of a, 137 ; rank in Europe 
of a, 280; sacrifices of a, 
106, 184, 278 ; true aims of a, 
25, 26, 42, 55 
School-days, 9-1 1 
Science follows nature, 102 
" Scoops," journalistic, 355 
Scotch-Irish settlers in Amer- 
ica, 2, 4 
Sea, mystery of the, 14-18, 

Seasons, influence of, 46 
Sectarian opposition, 353 
Selection, law of, 145 
Self-denial, pantheistic, 297- 

Self-love, transformation of, 

Self-mastery, 134, 264, 269, 
279 ; early struggle for, 161- 
Sensuality and its cure, 73-75, 

Sentimental experiment in 

Vienna, 290 
Sex-equality, 122 
Shakespeare's teleology, 281 
Shrine, worshippers at a 
Munich, 227 



Sistine Madonna, 202, 204 
Slavic resentments in Austria, 

Smith, Col. George P., 5. See 

Smith, Gold win, on history, 


Society, going into, 271 ; iso- 
lation from, 133-134; the 
source of reform, 281 

Solitude, endurance of, 36 ; 
revenges of, 202, 203, 211 ; 
uses of, 82, 97 

Sorrow, inconsolable, 260 ; re- 
sources of a soul in, 49. See 

Soul-growth, vicissitudes of, 

Southern Confederate States, 

reconstruction in, 26 
Spanish crown, Hohenzollem 
incident, 189, 200, 209 ; rev- 
olution of 1868, 40 
Spinoza, Baruch, lofty spirit 
of, 359 ; on nature, 52, 53 ; 
repose of, 254 ; point of view 
of; 288, 289 ; way of life of, 

Speculation and art, 226 

Speculative intellect, rank of, 
70; philosophy, derivation 
of, 249-52, 255 ; studies, 117, 
I35> I39« See Metaphysics, 

Spring, influence of, 149 ; on 
the prairie, 283 

Strength, test of physical, 109 

Struggle for existence, trans- 
formation of the, 285 

Student, energy in a, 204 ; in 
war-time, 196; mess of a, 
165 ; room of a, 173 ; sacri- 
fices of a, 106, 184, 278 

Student-friends, three, 165- 

167, 174-179 
Studies, programme for nni- 

versity, 84, 87, 95 ; progress 

in, 182 

Study, object of, 135; pain 

of interrupted, 332, 335; 

scheme of, 127-129, 229, 230, 

277 ; Viennese facilities for, 

Suicide, bankruptcy of, 163 
Summer in Vienna, 300, y>2 ; 

repression of, 194 ; vacation, 

Superficiality of the world, 260 
Swinburne, A. C, art of, 151 ; 

not a sensualist, 73-75, 99- 

loi ; quotations from, 90, 

137, 326 
Symphony in verse, 159 

Teacher's trade, 55 
Teachine period, his, 348, 354 
Telemachus, legend of, 37 
Teleological argument, 56, 

62-66, 144-146, 275-2^7 ; 

Shakespeare's, 281 
Temperance, habits of, 27, 42, 

43, 103. See Prohibitory 

Temple of Kleusis, 319 
Tennyson, Alfred, his art, 48- 

52; his Mystic^ 156, 159; 

qualities of, 261 ; quotations 

from, 72, 80. See In Me- 

Thales, his search for unity, 

249, 250 
Thinker's building rhythmic, 

Thought, materialism of, 143 ; 

the ground of things, 251 
Tilly's sack of Magdeburg, 169 
Travel, how to, 82 ; from Hei- 
delberg to Berlin, 86. See 

Trendelenburg, F. A., 102, 109; 

his sickness, 132, 141 
Trieste harbor, 312 
Truth as oppos^ to faith, 55 
Turkey, effect of dissolution 

of, 342 
"Turk's head," test of 

strength with, 109 



Type and rank of cbaracter, 
I'yrol, beauty of the, 310 


Unity, philoeophical. See 

University, lectures in Munich, 
236 ; lite in Berlin at the, 87, 
89,95, 108, 114; migratory 
way of students at a, 315 ; of 
Athens, 315 ; of Kansas, 348- 
354 ; preparation for Berlin, 

Vacation, a summer, 190 ; a 

tramp in, 68 
Venus, a modem temple of, 

Verse, a symphony in, 159 
Verses, on cure of youthful 
despondency, 22; "Electra," 
186 ; " Euphrone," 107 ; 

G *s, 154; " In Excelsis," 

108 ; In Memorianty 107 ; 
Primula Verts, no, 112 ; 
Ora pro nobis, 227 ; repose 
in sorrow, 126 ; supreme 
mood, 35Q 
Victory, celebrating, 203, 256 
Vienna, arriyal in, 263 ; im- 
pressions of, 265, 271 ; labor 
in, 269, 270 ; proposed study 
in, 252, 258 
Vigor, excess of, 204 
Vileness a misfortune, 192 
Virtue defined, 295-299 
Vital force defined, 143 
Vitatiyeness, lack of, 245 

Voya^n^ at sea, 14-18. 
Adnatic, £gean 



Wages in Vienna, 270 
Waldeck, funeral of Prince, 

War between England and 

United States, 243, 258 ; ru- 
mors of, 183. &e Franco- 
Prussian war 

Wealth, unequal distribution 
of, 285 

Western college, work of the, 

Western horror» a, 198. 

Winter* s Tale quoted, 282 

Wisdom, defined, 105 ; guide 
to content, 138 ; in nature, 

Wheeling, election campaign 
of 1856 in, 6 

Woman as an art subject, 225 ; 
defence of the American, 85 

Women, German and Ameri- 
can contrasted, 31 in Ger- 
man uniyersities, 122 ia 
Vienna, 271 ; sympathy of, 
317 ; three Southern, 93, 94, 

Wordsworth, William, art of, 

52, 69, 134 

Work, dedication to, 161 ; 

necessary to him, 123 ; the 

creed of, 150, 302, 

Yankee fellow-trayeller, 167, 

168, 170 
Youth, passing away of, 38 







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