I have an interest of my own in these forest fires, for I came so near to lynching on one occasion, that a braver man might have retained a thrill from the experience. I wished to be certain whether it was the moss, that quaint funereal ornament of Californian forests, which blazed up so rapidly when the flame first touched the tree.
The return of a certain season, which the mind has associated with a special experience, will often arouse and poignantly concentrate an old emotion, which has been almost forgotten throughout the other months of the year.
Daily experience illustrates these conclusions. It is commonly remarked, that the suppression of external signs of feeling, makes feeling more intense. The deepest grief is silent grief. Why?
Daily experience teaches us, by the whizzing of a burning torch, what a noise fire occasions in the air, and much more so when it strives and is inclosed with air, as seen in guns; and even when air alone is inclosed, as in organ pipes and other wind instruments: For wind, according to philosophers, is nothing but air vehemently moved, as when propelled by a pair of bellows, and the like.
No experience in the ways of men and maids warned her that there was another cause for the quickened pulse. Youth had looked into the eyes of youth and made the world-old call of sex to sex. In a little pocket opening from the draw Morse arranged blankets for the girl's bed.
Alas! it is one of the many drawbacks of experience that it frequently prevents our behaving with spirit. I must be content to appeal to the wiser and therefore sadder reader, of whom I have but a poor opinion if he too fails to understand me.
"I thought thee'dst be at home before me," he said, as Seth turned round to wait for him, "for I'm later than usual to-night." "Well, I'm later too, for I got into talk, after meeting, with John Barnes, who has lately professed himself in a state of perfection, and I'd a question to ask him about his experience.
All wore an air of utter weariness, as of men who had passed through some soul-shaking experience. The door opened to admit the First Lieutenant. He clumped in hastily, wearing huge leather sea-boots. Beneath his cap his head was swathed in the neat folds of bandages whose whiteness contrasted with his smoke-blackened faced and singed, begrimed uniform.
Oh, if you could but be persuaded to put off high imaginations; to strip yourself of your proud self, and to experience in yourself the wonderful change, you would live in praise and thanksgiving, instead of argument and criticism."
But my own experience is that when my books were in the hands of three publishers they sold quite as well as when one had them; and a fellow author whom I approached in question of this venerable belief, laughed at it.