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their attempts to convey to others, any idea of his puns, his witticisms, and his conversation, adequate to excite the ad miration with which they speak of them. The truth is, that his puns were not conundrums, and cannot be served up cold. Even in Talfourd's and De Quincey's attempts to furnish specimens, all the aroma is exhaled in the heat of the occasions which called them forth. “Charles, did you ever hear me preach ? ” said Coleridge, one day : “I never heard you do anything else,” was the characteristic reply. Yet we have the “ Table Talk ” of Coleridge. It is easier to report a sermon than a conversation. The “informal habit” of Lamb's mind made him a talker rather than a preacher, and thereby precluded the possibility of putting in type what was intended for the person and the occasion which struck it from his fancy.
A better idea of his conversational powers may, perhaps, be derived from his letters to his friends,-this species of writing approximating closer than any other to verbal intercourse. Indeed, a familiar correspondence sometimes seems almost to annihilate time and space, and to present to us an agreeable tête a tête of friends. And here, we are not obliged to rest our faith on the personal reminiscences of friends. Talfourd's volumes, already referred to, contain numerous specimens of his epistolary correspondence, written in almost every conceivable humor, and enriched by all those graces of genial wit and affection, which won the hearts of all who knew him.
In a letter to Manning, he speaks thus of the failure of a farce he had written, but which, in the expressive language of the play-house, had been “ damned.”
“ Were you ever in the pillory, Manning? Being damned is something like that. Hang 'em, how they hissed! it was not a hiss neither, but a sort of frantic yell, like a congregation of mad geese, -with roaring sometimes like bears, mows and mops like apes; sometimes snakes, that hissed me into madness. 'T was like St. Anthony's temptations. Mercy on us, that God should give his favorite children, men, mouths to speak with, to discourse rationally, to promise smoothly, to flatter agreeably, to encourage warmly, to counsel wisely, to sing with, to drink with, and to kiss with, and that they should turn them into mouths of adders, bears, wolves, hyenas, and whistle like tempests, and emit breath through them like distillations of aspic poison, to asperse and vilify the innocent labors of their fellowcreatures who are desirous to please them! Heaven be pleased to make the teeth to rot out of them all, therefore ! make them a reproach, and all that pass by them to loll out their tongues at them!”
How much of bitterness there was in this imprecation, may be inferred from the fact, that Lamb, who was present at the representation, and who joined in the applause which greeted the epilogue, appeared to sympathize equally in the disappointment of those around him, and hissed and hooted as loudly as any of them.
It is not, however, as a writer, whose genial humor, unaffected quaintness, and delicate pathos surpass, perhaps, anything of the kind in the language, nor yet in his companionable qualities that he is entitled to our highest regard. This fanciful, punning, whimsical, companionable being, had yet stronger claims on our admiration, and such as,to the credit of humanity,--are more cheerfully accorded, than those based on mere intellectual excellence. It is now seen, since the appearance of Talfourd's “ Final Remains of Charles Lamb," that his character is glorified and embalmed by one of the most heroic struggles that ever try human nature or are crowned with moral victory.
The insanity of his sister, the terrible tragedy of his mother's death, and his life-long devotion to the “ unhappy and unconscious instrument of God's judgments,” are known now to all. No one can be more surprised by the revelation of character it produced than himself. “ Wonderful as it is to tell," he says, “I have never once been otherwise than collected and calm ; even on the dreadful day, and in the midst of the terrible scene, I preserved a tranquility which by-standers may have construed into indifference ;” adding, “ I felt that I had something else to do than to regret.”
“ Apprehending," says De Quincey, “ with the perfect grief of perfect love, that his sister's fate was sealed for life, ---viewing her as his own greatest benefactress, (which she really had been through her advantage by ten years of age), --yielding with impassioned readiness to the depth of his paternal affection, what, at any rate, he would have yielded to the sanctities of duty as interpreted by his own conscience,-he resolved forever to resign all thoughts of mar
riage, forever to abandon all ambitious prospects that might tempt him into uncertainties, humbly to content himself with the certainties of his clerkship, to dedicate himself for the future care of his desolate and prostrate sister, and leave the rest to God. These sacrifices he made in no hurry or tumult, but deliberately, and in religious tranquility.” And nobly did he redeem the pledges made while yet the awful tragedy formed a back-ground on which were traced the most fearful imaginings for the future,-by the patient and heroic struggles of forty years.
“ Will any one ” says Talfourd, “ acquainted with these secret passages in Lamb's history, wonder that with a strong physical inclination for the stimulus and support of strong drinks, he should snatch some wild pleasure - between the acts” of his distressful drama ? and, that especially during the loneliness of the solitude created by his sister's absences, he should obtain the solace of an hour's feverish dream?”
To us, Charles Lamb, with all his infirmities, furnishes one of the truest specimens of moral heroism that the world has ever seen; and with De Quincey, “ We fancy that we hear, already ascending, gradually and surely swelling, -as with the solemnity of an anthem,- this man, that thought himself to be nobody, is dead, -is buried ; his life has been searched, and his memory is hallowed forever.'”
Animal Instinct and Reason.
Walking the earth, or winging the air, or inhabiting the waters, is an almost infinite variety of living creatures. Of the extent and number of their species we can form no adequate idea. We classify into families and sub-families, orders and sub-orders, genera and sub-genera, and give names to individuals. Year by year we add to our cata
maion. Unth from the tow and mosknown
logues under this classification, as the work of exploration and discovery goes on ; but the unknown is still far greater than the known, and new and most interesting facts are yet to be gleaned from the familiar spots of inquiry and observation. Untraversed and unexplored fields, within the domain of animal life, stretch away broadly beyond ; inviting an Audubon, a Cuvier, an Agassiz, a Baird, a Maury, that they may add to their revelations of the sea and the dry land, and bear to us fresh intelligence from the dark old nooks, from arctic climes, from tropical deserts, and from the paths of the ocean.
If ever we long for the wings of a dove,” it is when our thoughts are upon this subject, and the sublime achievements that are yet to be wrought on the fields of discovery. To go out from the busy world, from the dusty and weary paths of our work-day life, and to commune with nature face to face, babbling with the brook, shouting with the mountain stream, mounting up on strong pinions with the eagle, gathering with the flower a dewy freshness to our soul, learning lessons of profoundest wisdom from the insects which creep at our feet, or fill the air with the music of their busy life :— this is the nectar of existencethis is to be drunken, but not with wine! And he, who, far from the abodes of men, threading the paths of the wilderness, wraps himself in his blanket, and lies down at night in some fragrant spot, with his face to the stars, and nature's lullaby soothing him to peaceful slumber, and inviting him to pleasant dreams, will, like the patriarch, see from his Bethel fair angelic forms ascending and descending the shining pathway of the skies ; and will arise in the morning at the matin-song of birds, with the pious exclamation in his heart, This is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate of Heaven!
Objects, and the places they fill, are mutually adapted to each other. Man has his sphere, and an organization fitting him expressly for it. So, too, there is a corresponding adaptation in the surrounding circumstances and conditions of our being. In other words, man was made for the world he inhabits, and the world for man. The same may be said respecting all the tribes of animated being below man. All were created to fill the places they occupy, and are furnished with means for the accomplishment of their
ments. hof water, ared the purpoile they
destiny. They have their separate and peculiar offices, to which they are fitted by their corresponding peculiarity of organization, and in which they are sustained by peculiar external arrangements. Even the tiny inhabitants which find their world in a drop of water, are all organized with reference to the place they occupy, and the purpose they were designed to subserve. In that minute globule they find ample room for the purposes of existence, and the requisite supply for all their wants.
Of all other beings that inhabit the earth, save man, it may be said, that they enter upon their existence already taught,—with not only a supply furnished for their wants, but with the knowledge how to appropriate it, where to find it. Man is to fashion a supply out of the crude material around him. He is to subdue the earth, to develope its resources, to convert it into a fruitful garden, to adorn it with the beautiful forms of art and genius. To do this, he must himself first be developed,—must be educated,-must study, invent, and step by step attain to higher knowledge. The bee, on the contrary, is born a mathematician and a cunning architect. The hornet emerges from its cell a fullgrown and perfectly developed paper-maker, and sets about its business with all the tact and skill of an experienced workman. The beaver comes into the world with a full knowledge of the principles of his craft; and at once proceeds to apply them in all the details of his art, as though he had served a long apprenticeship under a clever master. The oriole, without any previous experience in nest-making, gathers the flaxen fibres, as every oriole has done before, weaves them together into a long pocket, lined with soft material, and hangs it pensile from the extremity of a drooping branch.
The intelligence which guides these brute creatures, and all others, in their diverse employments, and adapts them to their several spheres of activity, is said to be that of instinct. But what instinct is, we do not get a very clear idea. If it is said to be some mysterious power or impulse by which creatures are blindly and unconsciously impelled, we do not think the definition a good one. That animals think, that they calculate, and weigh probabilities, and are affected by the memory of the past, and are susceptible of cultivation, will be made plain to the commonest observer.