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grip which prevented his passion from wasting itself in aimless beating of the air. As I said, I was in justice bound to quote it with all its heterodoxy; but, indeed, expositions of the current orthodoxies find so little place in any of Pelican's effusions, that they may be said, with little exaggeration, to be altogether absent. On this question of the final triumph of God the reader is likely, nay, almost certain, to hear something more before reaching the end of this volume.
During the second winter of our acquaintance I began . to make a sort of Boswell of myself, and took numberless notes of Pelican's talk, mostly of the more moderate and reasonable portion of it, which consisted in the utterance of that calm and meditative side of his nature which was only visible to those who knew him best. Until very lately I had no reason to believe that all these notes were not in existence; but on looking among a heap of papers where I expected to find them, only a few fragments reward my search. These are for the most part records of isolated remarks, the connection and application of which probably give them the greater part of their value; but as these are unfortunately forgotten, the reader must lose such help as they would give. I shall print them word for word as I find them written in these old note-books of mine, to produce such effect as they may, merely adding in particulars any words of explanation, modification, or protest that may seem absolutely necessary. Here they are; the reader must make the best of them.
I find that a man's originality is a thing of which I have subjective evidence, and I dare say your experience is the same as my own.
You talk with some men, and you come away more learned but not more wise. You have appropriated intellectual food, but no assimilating process has been at work, and the most probable consequence is a bad attack of mental indigestion. It strikes me there must always be a want of original
thought in conversation which awakens no thought in • yourself. However well-informed a man may be whose
conversation is not stimulating to your own mind, depend upon it he is one whose ideas run in a well-worn groove, and impinge upon no other ideas in their passage outwards. An original man is one who, for the time, makes you original also. You do not so much listen to the expression of his thoughts, as think for yourself. This is always my experience when I manage to secure an hour or two with L- : I find myself thinking with a rapidity and clearness that are surprising, and every moment ideas which are to me quite new, arise in my mind; in fact, so long as our talk lasts, I am as much a genius as he is, and feel quite a veneration for myself. His mind is a magnet, and makes all other minds magnetic by friction; but the misfortune is, that when the friction stops the magnetism departs, and the poor fellow who has been a genius for five-and-twenty minutes, relapses into commonplace stupidity for the next three months.
Affection has a curious multiplying, or perhaps I ought to say, enlarging, power. The moment you begin to love another, you have a double existence; you live in him and share his life. This is the one idea which helps me to realize the omnipresence of God. He loves everything He has made and lives in it; a doctrine which appears much more human than the notion of a mere mechanical extension of His being through space, which may be, and doubtless is, true enough ; but which doesn't seem of much import to us. I have not many hard words or aggressive sceptics ; but it is difficult to forgive them for having compelled Christians who have taken up their gauntlet to write natural theologies which make God the result of a logical process instead of a living Spirit.
There is undoubtedly a great deal of religious profession now-a-days that is very worthless; but this fact does not prove, as
some people think it does, that religion is getting the worst of it. For if it be true that hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue, then the fact that insincere religion is so common, shows, not that true piety is losing power, but that it is gaining it.
(This is a specimen of the paradoxes in which Pelican loved to indulge. Like most paradoxes, it has something in it: how much is hard to say. For my own part I am inclined to deem it questionable ; but there are very obvious arguments on both sides.)
I believe that colour-blindness is one of the commonest physical defects, I was reading, the other day, that out of a number of persons, of all ages and professions, who had been examined by Dr. George Wilson of Edinburgh, one in every seventeen found to be suffering under some form of it. A sort of mental or spiritual colour-blindness is even more prevalent. Just as some men are incapable of perceiving green, so other men are incapable of perceiving certain aspects of nature, or truth, or morals. You know the old anecdote of the man who, when he saw for the first time the falls of Niagara, exclaimed, “What a number of mills that would drive." That man was afflicted with moral colour-blindness; everything was to him yellow and white, like the gold and silver in his cash-box. Just as the word blue is meaningless to the man who cannot distinguish between a turquoise and a pearl, so the word sublime is meaningless to man of this order. He admits that there may be sublimity in the world; if he be honest, he says, I cannot deny it, for I do not understand what the word means; and until an idea assumes a form which is comprehensible to me, it is folly in me to pronounce any opinion upon it. You may say, “The falls of Niagara are sublime;"
and I reply, “ Perhaps they are.” You may say again, “ The falls of Niagara are abracadabra ;" and again I reply, “Perhaps they are ;" but neither of your assertions presents to me any intelligible idea which I either affirm or deny. Say, “The falls of Niagara are of ten thousand horse-power," and I can understand that assertion, and am ready to discuss
it with you.
To-day I looked into a mirror at the reflection of a scene I had known for years, and I was astounded at its unfamiliar aspect. It was a very old acquaintance, but when seen from a new point of view it seemed perfectly strange.
The most faithful reflection never gives us just the thing represented; there is always a diminution, or distortion, or transfiguration. Its very essence is somehow lost; we have only mere dead form, bereft of soul and significance. Even the fatal gorgon's head is powerless to harm us if we will be content to gaze at its image in the clear water. The face I see in my looking-glass every morning is not the one which my friends know. I never shall see, never can see, the face you are looking at now; and after ten thousand mirror-studies I shall be left helplessly wondering what I am like. When the mirror is not a sheet of silvered glass but the mind of a human being, the resemblance between the reflection and the object reflected is still fainter. You