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head, and I think that Atkinson the secret. From their very youth should know the fact. It would its importance is enforced upon serve as a wonderful advertisement. them, and they carefully train
Mal. I don't remember that Gra- themselves to remember these facts. taroli advises that exactly, but he Besides, undoubtedly such faculdoes advise those who have weak ties, after being developed continumemories to shave the head and ously, become hereditary, and are rub it with fresh butter, and to 'transmitted from generation to pour castor oil into the ears; so I generation. should suppose that bears' grease Mul. Perhaps; and yet in my on the head would also be effi own case this is not true. My cacious. Bacon, the author of father had
a very remarkable Shakespeare (or was Shakespeare memory, and mine is, to say the the author of Bacon kone is about least, a very treacherous one; at as probable as the other), also says all events, I don't remember in the that the roasted brains of hares same way, nor do I remember and hens taken in wine have an the same kind of things. It is admirable effect on the memory; really too bad that one cannot and that there are certain nuts inherit the accumulated learning and flowers, as well as spices, that stored up by one's parents, as stimulate the memory, is plain, well as their goods and chattels. for Charles of Burgundy derived It can be of comparatively little such advantage from a certain use to them in a future life, vhatmixture of these made for him by ever that may be, and, it seems a learned doctor of his Court that terrible to see it vanish with the he paid him 10,000 florins for it. breath.
Bel. There seems to be no non Bel. One of the most remarksense too great to be believed in able memories of modern days by even great men.
seems to have been that of M. de Mal. A smelling-bottle is said Lacépède, the well-known writer to be a good reviver of the mem on Natural History, who, if we ory, or anything that stimulates may trust the account given by the brain, such as cardamom, cu the Count de Ségur in his 'Mébebs, or anacardina. Yet it is moires,' composed and corrected a curious fact that even those who his works from beginning to end habitually get intoxicated do not without writing them down. This, remember better than other per- says the Count de Ségur, M. de sons, as a rule.
Lacépède himself told him was his Bel. I suppose with most per- habit even to an advanced age, sons names and numbers fade more and then ensued this conversation: readily from the memory than “Ah! probably verses ?” “No; anything else ; and I have even prose.” “What !” I rejoined jocuknown persons who could not, on larly; "your work 'Sur l'Homme,' the instant, recall their own names, for example ?” “Precisely; and much less those of their friends. to prove it to you, I will, if you
Mal. Royal memories always have time to listen to me, repeat surprise me. It seems to be a the whole of my first volume ! and special gift with royal personages not only the original copy, but all never to forget faces and names. the alterations, all the corrections. I wish I knew their secret.
I have at this moment all the Bel. They cultivate this kind of erasures in
eye, and memory assiduously; and this is yet I have not yet written a word;
and I have almost written the fast, others slowly. And it is the second volume the
same with writing, and in fact manner.”
with everything. With some the Mal. This seems amazing. I first word and the first form is can far more easily understand the best; with others it is the how a man can commit to memory last word and the most elaborate the written work of another than form. his own, especially if it be un- Mal. In speaking of remarkable written; and this for the simple memories in our l
own time, we reason that in the one case every must not omit that of Macaulay, word is fixed—in the other there who not only read very largely, is nothing absolutely fixed. Every but seems to have retained with sentence—nay, even every word— great exactness almost everything may be changed at the will of the that he had ever read. Charles author'; and until it is written Sumner, himself endowed with a down it must be, I should think, remarkable memory, in a letter to to a certain extent vague and in- George S. Hillard, written on the determinate.
16th of February 1839, says of Bel. It was, I have been told, Macaulay : “His memory is prothe practice of Mr Prescott the digious, surpassing everything I historian to compose and finish have ever known, and he pours his work in his mind, chapter by out his stores with an instrucchapter, before committing it to
ommitting it to tive but dinning prodigality. He writing
passes from the minutest dates of Mal. It would take all my power English history or biography to away from me were I forced to a discussion of the comparative exercise at the same time the merits of different ancient orators, double function of composition and gives you whole strophes from and recollection. I should “ drag the dramatists at will. He can at each remove a lengthening repeat every word of every article chain." I could not write with he has written without promptfreedom if I were obliged to ing.” exercise all the while a watch- Bel. Nor should we omit the ful guard of memory. Nor can I name of Mr Justice Story, whose understand how there can be any technical memory in law was, as I flow of thought or expression, any have been told, almost as large as enthusiasm or self-surrender, during his learning. such a process. How can one expect Mal. His knowledgo of the to “catch a grace beyond the reach law had scarcely any boundaries. of art,” and “finish more through There were, of course, in his time happiness than pains," when one far fewer books than now to be is constantly under the supervision mastered; but he had read nearly of a deliberate self-consciousness ? everything of any value in the
Bel. This is evidently not the range of jurisprudence. And he experience of others, though I remembered with wonderful acagree with you that I myself curacy what he had read. It did should be forced by such a prac- not, however, lie in his mind like tice into formality. Certainly in a dull, cumbrous load of facts, such a case, composition, one would cases, rules, and precedents, but think, must necessarily be slow. like a living organisation held But there is no rule which fits together and vivified by printo all minds. Some men think ciples. But not only this; he
remembered all the leading cases own part. I remember with my in every branch of the law, by eye inore than with ray ear, or by name and volume, and many of any other means.
What I see them by page. A friend of nine nakes. as it were, a stamp; what I told me that on one occasion he hear Hies easily away. I see the had been engaged in hunting out words themselves oli a page that through all the cases and text. I have read, but if I hear them books the principle which governed read they do not cling to me. I a most anoinalous and contradic- remember, too, where to find what tory series of statements and half. I have read, and the general purstateinents. He had spent a week's port remains with me, when the work over this, and was still want- words have gone so that I cannot ing the clue of principle, when quote them. one afternoon he went to see the Jal. It is curious whera things Judge. He explained to him what are concealed in the memory. I he had been about, and what diffi- suppose it occurs to all of us to culty he had found in reconciling seem to have lost things sometimes the cases. The Judge at once said, absolutely, when really they are “Look into Raymond's Reports, at only obscured and hidden out of the case of So-and-so, page so-and- reach, and revive agaiu slowly after so ” (you see what sort of ineniory fixing our attention clearly upon I have, for I don't remember the them. It is like going out of the case nor the page as he did). “On light into a dark room : at first the right hand, near the top, you all seems blank, aud then little by will find an observation of Lord little we begin to discern the obMansfield which states the real jects which were shrouded from principle. It is an obiter dictim
our sight in the dark.
Sometimes, of the Court, having little to do in response to our repeated calls, with the case itself, which turned what we seek seems at last slowly upon other questions; but in a sort and unwillingly to rise out of some of aside he has stated the principle blank void beyond our reach, and which governs this whole class of gradually take distinct shape; and
You would not naturally sometimes, after persistently rehave come across this case in your fusing to respond at all, and when investigations, unless accidentally, tired out with our efforts to recall for the simple reason that the rest it, we turn our minds to some of the judgment has nothing to other subject, suddenly, without do with the subject.” My friend reason and without our will or looked, and found he was right. I call, it will flash clearly out on mention this incident to show what
What are we doing kind of a memory he had. His when we are thus seeking for somemind was not a lumber-room, with thing lost in the mind ?. What all sorts of things tumbled into it mysterious operation is then gowithout classification or order, but ing on? everything there was completely Bel. Who knows? I have the arranged and in its place. This is same experience, and I suppose the kind of memory I envy. every one has, that you speak of.
Bel. Ay, it is one tlıat any one Often, after vainly endeavouring inight envy.
What a difference to recall a fact, or a word, or name, there is between memories! Some or poem, or anything, I give it up ar! very ready, some very reten- as hopeless, and turn my mind ti re, but few are both. For my away, and after a short time,
when I am not thinking at all Bathed in the rays of the great setting about it, the thing I have been flame, seeking starts up vividly before
Hesperus with the host of heaven Sometimes I think there is
And lo! creation widened in man's nothing forgotten, but only tem
view. porarily obscured, and that here
Who could have thought such darknees after all will come forth clearly, lay concealed and stand out in the light; that Within thy beams, 0 sun? or who it is with the mind as with the
could find, photographic plate before it is Whilst sky and leaf and insect stood developed—the image is really That to such countless orbs thou mad'st
revealed, there, though dark and invisible,
us blind ? and only needs the developing Why do we thus shun death with medium to appear before us.
anxious strife ? Mal. It is not a pleasant If light can thus deceive, wherefore not thought, for the power to forget
Life?” is as blessed as the power to re
Bel. True, and admirably said. member. It would be terrible to Light hides' infinite worlds as well find that all the past was indelible as darkness, and there is more -that all that we regret and are vastness in night than in day. I ashamed of is as living as all that know nothing more mysterious, we delight to remember; that we and almost appalling, than to lie are to be haunted in the future on one's back in the summer on by all the evil thoughts to which an open plain, and look up into we have given harbour during life; the infinite sky. Our world then that all the unworthy guests of disappears, and we are lost among the spirit which we have driven the other worlds, of which we away in disgust will return to us, know nothing distinctly, that and mock at us, and accompany swim far off and sparkle in the us, despite our will.
No! let us vague ether - vast constellated hope that we may be able to forget groups and systems that ever re: utterly all that is averse from our tain the same relation and bebetter nature, and that the good yond them, at infinite, distances, alone will survive.
pale faint veils of nebula - dust, Bel. Somehow we associate dark- whose worlds the eye cannot sepness with evil and goodness with arate, and nearer the great vivid light, though I know no sufficient planets that throb against the reason for so doing—and therefore awful silence of the night. This let us hope there is somewhat is more than the mind can bear better than reason which prompts long. The terrible unanswerable us to this feeling.
riddle of creation presses on us, Mal. Do you remember J. Blanco and its secret we cannot faintly White's remarkable sonnet about guess. Is it possible, in the light? Let me repeat it to you: midst of these almost infinite “Mysterious night I when our first worlds and systems that swing so parent knew
far away, and stretch into infinity Thee from report divine, and heard thy beyond our mortal sight, that our
name, Did he not tremble for this lovely account -or that each one of us
own little planet can be of much frame, This glorious canopy of light and blue? arrogant human beings, almost an Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent infinitely small speck in creation, dew,
can be of any special value ? After VOL. CXLVI.NO. DOCOLXXXVII.
struggling awhile with thoughts worth doing. A painter, le veaand feelings which overwhelm us, riecl of painting ; an author, he we rise and look about at the sneered at literature; a politician, trees, the rocks, the shadows, the he detested politics ; a man, he flowers, and seek consolation from laughed at love. His heart was them, and endeavour to anchor as dry as the remainder biscuit our thoughts on the familiar, and after a voyage. He was a sceptic begin to believe again that we are about everything. Nothing could something. I remember thus to be more sterile than all his life, for have been overcome by a sense he loved nothing, and no one can of our utter insignificance when do anything well till he loves it. I was first shown the nebula of Not only he loved nothing himself, Orion through the huge telescope but he jeered at all who did love at Washington. That far · off, anything. doubtful, and flickering gleam in Bel. Did you ever meet him? Orion's belt, which to the naked Mal. Yes; and for all his talent eye is scarcely visible, broke forth he did not impress me agreeably. in the field of the telescope into One day in Paris, at five great palpitant planets; and Madame Mohl's pleasant recepbehind, stretching out infinitely, tions, the conversation chanced to & vast nebulous cloud of worlds fall upon Shakespeare, and one or swept mysteriously away beyond two English were there, who exthe reach even of thought, much pressed their high admiration of less of sight. Nothing did I ever his genius. “Ah!" said M. Merrisee that was so depressing, somée, “vous autres Anglais sont rebuking to our arrogance, so al- toujours à genoux devant votre most annihilating to all our pre- Shakespeare. Certainement il & tensions, almost to all our hopes. dit des belles choses. Par exemple, There is certainly enough to do il dit qu'un beefsteak cuite auwithout wasting one's powers in jourd'hui ne vaut rien le lende vague speculations,
main.” “What do you mean?" Mal. Oh, I don't object to specu- cried several ; "where does he say lation into the future or into the this ?". “In 'Hamlet,'” said M. present—no one can prevent him- Merrimée. “Il dit, 'The funeralself from doing that; only I mean baked meats did coldly furnish that it is quite futile to expect forth the marriage tables.' Bah! to reduce them to theological c'est juste.” This, I confess, did formulas, and to damn everybody not seem to me to be witty, as he who does not agree to our special thought, and it was a kind of sneer formula. Still, anything is better that repelled me. It showed a than having faith in nothing. I desire to run athwart the opinions was reading the other day an and feelings of the company. It article about Prosper Merrimée, is rather hard, I confess, to rememwhich seemed to me to show that ber this against him, but it is the he was in almost as sad a state of only thing he said that I do remind as one could easily find. He member, probably because it made seems to have been utterly cynical so strong an impression on me. in spirit, and to have had no hearty The cynical spirit has no charms sympathy or belief in anything. for me. I care little what fun Here was a man of remarkable any one makes out of almost any. faculties who was weary of every- thing. Humour and nonsense often thing. Nothing in life seemed cover really deep enthusiasms. But