terms, and return to me my village and the graves of my
If the young aspirant is not rich enough for Parliament, and is deterred by the basilisks or otherwise from entering on Law or Church, and cannot altogether reduce his human intellect to the beaverish condition, or satisfy himself with the prospect of making money,--what becomes of him in such case, which is naturally the case of very many, and ever of more? In such case there remains but one outlet for him, and notably enough that too is a talking one: the outlet of Literature, of trying to write Books. Since, owing to preliminary basilisks, want of cash, or superiority to cash, he cannot mount aloft by eloquent talking, let him try it by dexterous eloquent writing. Here happily, having three fingers, and capital to buy a quire of paper, he can try it to all lengths and in spite of all mortals: in this career there is happily no public impediment that can turn him back; nothing but private starvation--which is itself a _finis_ or kind of goal--can pretend to hinder a British man from prosecuting Literature to the very utmost, and wringing the final secret from her: "A talent is in thee; No talent is in thee." To the British subject who fancies genius may be lodged in him, this liberty remains; and truly it is, if well computed, almost the only one he has.
A crowded portal this of Literature, accordingly! The haven of expatriated spiritualisms, and alas also of expatriated vanities and prurient imbecilities: here do the windy aspirations, foiled activities, foolish ambitions, and frustrate human energies reduced to the vocable condition, fly as to the one refuge left; and the Republic of Letters increases in population at a faster rate than even the Republic of America. The strangest regiment in her Majesty's service, this of the Soldiers of Literature:--would your Lordship much like to march through Coventry with them? The immortal gods are there (quite irrecognizable under these disguises), and also the lowest broken valets;--an extremely miscellaneous regiment. In fact the regiment, superficially viewed, looks like an immeasurable motley flood of discharged play-actors, funambulists, false prophets, drunken ballad-singers; and marches not as a regiment, but as a boundless canaille,--without drill, uniform, captaincy or billet; with huge over-proportion of drummers; you would say, a regiment gone wholly to the drum, with hardly a good musket to be seen in it,--more a canaille than a regiment. Canaille of all the loud-sounding levities, and general winnowings of Chaos, marching through the world in a most ominous manner; proclaiming, audibly if you have ears: "Twelfth hour of the Night; ancient graves yawning; pale clammy Puseyisms screeching in their winding-sheets; owls busy in the City regions; many goblins abroad! Awake ye living; dream no more; arise to judgment! Chaos and Gehenna are broken loose; the Devil with his Bedlams must be flung in chains again, and the Last of the Days is about to dawn!" Such is Literature to the reflective soul at this moment.
But what now concerns us most is the circumstance that here too the demand is, Vocables, still vocables. In all appointed courses of activity and paved careers for human genius, and in this unpaved, unappointed, broadest career of Literature, broad way that leadeth to destruction for so many, the one duty laid upon you is still, Talk, talk. Talk well with pen or tongue, and it shall be well with you; do not talk well, it shall be ill with you. To wag the tongue with dexterous acceptability, there is for human worth and faculty, in our England of the Nineteenth Century, that one method of emergence and no other. Silence, you would say, means annihilation for the Englishman of the Nineteenth Century. The worth that has not spoken itself, is not; or is potentially only, and as if it were not. Vox is the God of this Universe. If you have human intellect, it avails nothing unless you either make it into beaverism, or talk with it. Make it into beaverism, and gather money; or else make talk with it, and gather what you can. Such is everywhere the demand for talk among us: to which, of course, the supply is proportionate.
From dinners up to woolsacks and divine mitres, here in England, much may be gathered by talk; without talk, of the human sort nothing. Is Society become wholly a bag of wind, then, ballasted by guineas? Are our interests in it as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal?--In Army or Navy, when unhappily we have war on hand, there is, almost against our will, some kind of demand for certain of the silent talents. But in peace, that too passes into mere demand of the ostentations, of the pipeclays and the blank cartridges; and,--except that Naval men are occasionally, on long voyages, forced to hold their tongue, and converse with the dumb elements, and illimitable oceans, that moan and rave there without you and within you, which is a great advantage to the Naval man,--our poor United Services have to make conversational windbags and ostentational paper-lanterns of themselves, or do worse, even as the others.
My friends, must I assert, then, what surely all men know, though all men seem to have forgotten it, That in the learned professions as in the unlearned, and in human things throughout, in every place and in every time, the true function of intellect is not that of talking, but of understanding and discerning with a view to performing! An intellect may easily talk too much, and perform too little. Gradually, if it get into the noxious habit of talk, there will less and less performance come of it, talk being so delightfully handy in comparison with work; and at last there will no work, or thought of work, be got from it at all. Talk, except as the preparation for work, is worth almost nothing;--sometimes it is worth infinitely less than nothing; and becomes, little conscious of playing such a fatal part, the general summary of pretentious nothingnesses, and the chief of all the curses the Posterity of Adam are liable to in this sublunary world! Would you discover the Atropos of Human Virtue; the sure Destroyer, "by painless extinction," of Human Veracities, Performances, and Capabilities to perform or to be veracious,--it is this, you have it here.
Unwise talk is matchless in unwisdom. Unwise work, if it but persist, is everywhere struggling towards correction, and restoration to health; for it is still in contact with Nature, and all Nature incessantly contradicts it, and will heal it or annihilate it: not so with unwise talk, which addresses itself, regardless of veridical Nature, to the universal suffrages; and can if it be dexterous, find harbor there till all the suffrages are bankrupt and gone to Houndsditch, Nature not interfering with her protest till then. False speech, definable as the acme of unwise speech, is capable, as we already said, of becoming the falsest of all things. Falsest of all things:--and whither will the general deluge of that, in Parliament and Synagogue, in Book and Broadside, carry you and your affairs, my friend, when once they are embarked on it as now?
Parliament, _Parliamentum_, is by express appointment the Talking Apparatus; yet not in Parliament either is the essential function, by any means, talk. Not to speak your opinion well, but to have a good and just opinion worth speaking,--for every Parliament, as for every man, this latter is the point. Contrive to have a true opinion, you will get it told in some way, better or worse; and it will be a blessing to all creatures. Have a false opinion, and tell it with the tongue of Angels, what can that profit? The better you tell it, the worse it will be!
In Parliament and out of Parliament, and everywhere in this Universe, your one salvation is, That you can discern with just insight, and follow with noble valor, what the law of the case before you is, what the appointment of the Maker in regard to it has been. Get this out of one man, you are saved; fail to get this out of the most August Parliament wrapt in the sheepskins of a thousand years, you are lost,--your Parliament, and you, and all your sheepskins are lost. Beautiful talk is by no means the most pressing want in Parliament! We have had some reasonable modicum of talk in Parliament! What talk has done for us in Parliament, and is now doing, the dullest of us at length begins to see!
- but he had not been as idle as he appeared to have been.
- with which they locked the shackles upon me. Without these,
- If he is a prisoner, what is he doing here, then? demanded
- Mpingu opened the gate and motioned Tarzan in ahead of
- of an ancient tertiary epoch) of which these islands are
- the 853rd year of Rome that, by accident, they discovered
- Below him he saw a matronly woman of the patrician class,
- knew something of the man, otherwise there is a chance
- resting the electric lamp upon one of the little ebony
- good fortune to examine had been the work of clerks or
- could not understand his words, realized that the black
- him in the village of Nyuto, and Mpingu, the black slave
- slowly toward the north—he said nothing of the party
- the history and literature of ancient Rome. For whereas
- was sending a large force to destroy the cohort and he
- torn from him, with the result that his appearance was
- to peer through the fog ahead, he turned and descended
- terrible vengeance wreaked upon his enemies, and he had
- had alighted from his litter he paused and a frown of perplexity
- has been captured, you will understand why Praeclarus is
- Into the disc of light, leaped, fantastic, the witch figure
- the glowing heart of which protruded the handle of a burning-iron.
- often and that is called Castra Sanguinarius? asked von
- that in you which inspires confidence, and, second, because
- solid wall opened before her; it was another masked door.
- East writing the history of ancient Rome in Latin with
- I understand, said Praeclarus. I do not blame you, Mpingu.
- stands none too well in the estimation of Sublatus Imperator.
- unlocked the door at the foot of the steps. He turned,
- knew something of the man, otherwise there is a chance
- for you, every day you shall come to the palace and I shall
- The officers of Caesar and Caesar's son, replied Mpingu.
- she had come to believe, since otherwise he would have
- of it was evidenced by his excited gesticulation and the
- I could put down all that I could recall, or all that
- were. He went secretly by night and was accompanied by
- forest, and utters very peculiar noises) has not cried
- such other original ancient manuscripts as he had had the
- You must be very few in numbers or very poor in spirit,
- they lived again for Erich von Harben—the quaestor who
- The other he ordered straight westward with orders to halt
- I am only a slave, wailed Mpingu. I must do what my
- library, yet he chafed at the knowledge that he was virtually
- shouted a warning to Praeclarus, and the whole detachment,
- and was clear of the oily water, now, and upon a sort of
- quick step took him behind the tree. One of the soldiers
- Maximus Praeclarus did not think it safe that you be seen
- Several of the more active soldiers scrambled into the
- in which they are here mentioned, expressing their respective
- return. Dilecta will send Mpingu there now to warn my servants