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gerel verses, and for years oscillated from one state to
the other ; ignorant in state A of all that belonged to
or had been learned in state B, and vice versa. It is
a long story, and in print. I need not go on. The
case ended by her remaining in the abnormal state.



CHAEACTEEISTICS. 151

She was gradually sobered as time went on, and as she
acquired information through others as to her former
condition. She finally became a pleasant, useful per-
son, and lived for twenty-five years a happy, active
life as a teacher."

" Then," remarked Vincent, "like this man, she was,
at different periods, two distinct people, with quite
opposite characteristics ? "

"Yes."

"And irresponsible in one state for the crime or
foUy of the other?"

"Yes; like this man. Some people explain these
strange facts by our having two hemispheres in the
brain ; but the power to write and to speak are the
function only of the left side of the brain, and speech
is lost but in part, and writing altogether, or not at
all in other instances. I see no explanation. What-
ever be the cause, it is such as may disappear and re-
appear in a minute."

"And this may happen here in this case?"

" Or may not ; and there is nothing to be done.''

" How horrible ! And what do you advise ? "

" If we tell him the truth, and prove it, there is the
woman, his present wife, against us. Of course it
will be hard to influence a man in his mental state
commonplace, satisfied careless, at least. With the
woman against us, we shall have a suit for bigamy,
and to go into court with the defense of double con-
/ sciousness would be useless."

" I see it all. If Mrs. C will have the sense to

wait, time may settle it. I see no other resource."

When Mrs. C heard our opinion she was in-

11



152 CHARACTEEISTICS.

clined to make a further effort, but at last, on being

assured that C would be well watched, concluded

to await the result in her old home.

To conclude this story, I may add that just four

months later C appeared suddenly in her house

in great perplexity and terribly disturbed. He had
not a trace of remembrance of the past eleven months.
He recalled the fact that he had gone to the bank in

M , and there his recollection failed. The new

life, the novel employment, the locality he had lived
in, the new wife, were for him as though they had
never been. His rough dress surprised him. He was
once more the quiet, well-bred, sensitive scholar.

He declared that one day he was walking in L street
in this city, when, abruptly he was astounded and be-
wildered by the strangeness and unfamiliarity of the
surroundings. He asked some one where he was.
The second wife and home were as things dead to
memory. He said to himself that he must have been
ill. He went into a hotel, got a paper, saw that eleven
months were a blank to him, and, asking his way to
the station, went at once to his former dwelling-place.

Mrs. C adds that his ways, manners, tastes

seem to be as they once were. At first he was some-
what dazed, but by degrees improved in health, and
reassumed his studies. In answer to his uneasy ques-
tions as to his presumed illness and long loss of mem-
ory, she was able to say that vain efforts had been
made to find him. At last he showed a strong disin-
clination to hear his former mysterious condition re-
ferred to, not a rare peculiarity in persons who have
had his disorder. Now she proposes to go to the East



CHAEACTEEISTICS. 163

and travel in Oriental countries, a plan which in every-
way suits him.

Of the sum he took from home about two thousand
dollars remained in the bank, and as to this we were

embarrassed. He could not draw it out as J. C ,

and he could not as Louis Wilson. It was decided to
sacrifice it. To this day no one knows what became
of the remainder of the money he had originally de-
posited. It had been drawn upon during his life here
in large amounts, and Vincent had reason to think
was lost in foolish stock speculations.

Mrs. C , a just and generous woman, settled on

the ex- wife a sum competent to support her. She was
told that Wilson was disordered in mind and already
married, and that she herself would enjoy her income
so long as she took no steps to solve the mystery, or to
discover her lost husband. She agreed to this, and
the C s will remain for years in the East.

" It is well done," said I. " I wonder how many of
the incomprehensible disappearances depend upon a
state of mind similar to C 's. The more one con-
siders it, the more bewildering does it seem. Are we
all of us 'two single gentlemen rolled into one'!
However, some day we will talk it over again, and ask
me, too, about the cases of insanity where a man is
conscious of two personalities in his own being, and
converses for both."

" I shall not forget. Are there ever three ? "

"No; I believe not."




XI.

UNDAY was, both of choice and of
necessity, the day when we were
apt to make holiday together. The
matchless weather of early Novem-
ber was also a temptation to be out
of doors, and the wide hospitality
of the park assured us of comparative solitude. And
now it was an hour before set of sun, and about us
the margin of a great wood, with a deep stillness in
the cool autumn air, through which the leaves fell
lazily, drifting earthward one by one. Far away be-
low us many people lay on the slopes, quietly enjoying
the rest and the sunlit river gay with boats.

On the forest verge, and in and out, St. Clair
walked, his cap in his hand, and kicked the rustling
leaves as he went, pleased like a child with the noise
and with their colors.

It was rarely that Clayborne could be made to join
our walking parties. He hated exercise, affirming it
to be needless for health, illustrating his theory by his
own example of perfect soundness. He, too, as he lay
and watched the distant carriages and the quiet enjoy-
ment of the groups below us, amused himself by stir-
ring up the drifted leaves with his stick. At last he
turned to Vincent. "I sometimes wish," said he,



CHAEACTERISTTCS. 155

"that men were like books, so that one could take
them down from a shelf and read them at will."

"And then put them back when you have had
enough," returned Vincent. " But then, my books are
men, and they do vastly entertain me on the whole,
and vary from day to day, which your tedious volumes
do not."

" Oh, don't they ? " cried Clayborne.

"By George!" said St. Clair. "This is the first
time in my life I ever agreed with you. Vincent
thinks books are just mere changeless things. My
books, at least, do alter. I have suspected them of
moving about on the shelves, and of course their
dress, their associations, affect their power over men.
Do not a man's clothes influence your, estimate of
him?"

" What do you mean ? " cried Vincent, pretending
not to understand.

" And," added St. Clair, " would you as lief read a
paper-bound Leipsic ' Horace ' as my Elzevir, with the
thumb-marks of Sir Thomas Browne ? Would it be
the same to you ? "

" Why not ? " said Vincent. " The book is the book,
that is all. Nonsense ! The print should be clear, and
the volume clean. I ask no more. Go on."

"Oh, we could fit all this truth to the books you
call men," said St. Clair. "North has a little old
Huguenot Bible. On its dainty binding are the signs
of long and reverent use. It has the psalms for those
who are about to go into battle, and for such as are
condemned to the ax. It is just about the date of the
massacre of St. Bartholomew. Is n't it, North ? n



156 CHARACTERISTICS.

" Yes," I answered ; " and when it came to me there
was in it a rose faded gray."

" Oh," continued St. Clair, " and I know of a little
volume of Shakspere which is faintly smirched here
and there with the touch of finger-tips, now dark-
red. It belonged to Keats, and as you all know
how he died, you may know what were these red
stains."

" And," said Clayborne, " in the great French library
there is that rare book, the ' De Trinitatis Erroribus '
of Servetus. Calvin burned him and his books, and
it is thought, and I like to believe, that the slight
marks of fire on this copy are evidence that it was
rescued by some disciple, who came at nightfall to
grieve where the smoldering ashes lay."

" Thanks," said St. Clair, simply. " That is a thing
to make one think. "Would you mind my using that
little poem ? "

"Poem! Who! I! What !" cried Clayborne.

"Yes. What a tragedy!" And the poet slowly
moved aside into the verge of the woodland.

"I, too, have a book," I said, "which is to me
strangely interesting. It is the copy of his ' De G-en-
eratione,' which William Harvey gave to one Francis
Bernard, a London doctor. Men do not seem, in
those days, to have inscribed their names in presenta-
tion copies. It is a modern fashion, I suspect. But
this Bernard is clearly aware of the honor done him.
He writes on a blank leaf, 'Donum Eruditissimi et
Perspicacissimi Autoris, May 1, 1651.' "

"And why did you chance to say, Clayborne, that



CHARACTERISTICS. 157

you wished men were like books ? Why, just now, I
mean ? " said Vincent.

" I had a woman's curiosity about these people on
the hillside. I wanted to see their table of contents.
They seemed to me, as we walked among them, to be
chiefly Americans mechanics I take it mostly, a class
I never can get near to in talk, I mean. Men of
business, professional folks, the people of our own
class, seem transparent enough."

Vincent smiled at me furtively. Clayborne was a
bad judge of living character. His intelligence was,
indeed, of a rare order of excellence. His lack of
sympathy was complete, and sympathy is one of the
keys to character.

"The trouble lies with you," I said. "No men are
so approachable nor so often interesting as our own
mechanics. All the lower classes in England are
struck shy at once when a stranger of a class above
them attempts to engage them in easy talk. It is not
so with our people. Their sense of difference of social
position is of other quality than that of the English-
man. The ups and downs of life are vast and com-
mon with us, and everywhere is growing a wholesome
sense of the fact that the form of labor does not de-
grade that at least it need not."

" The more the people think that, the less it will
degrade," said St. Clair. " But there will always re-
main the influential effect of occupations."

"Let us clear our heads," said Clayborne, "as to
what we mean by degradation."

" I mean," said Vincent, " or you mean, I fancy, that



158 CHAEACTERISTICS.

there are occupations which cut men off from social
relations with refined people, or shall we say with the
class in which are found the best manners ? No need
to discuss the value of these."

" Well, then," said St. Clair, " accept that ; and now
if you were to name the occupations which socially
disqualify to-day, you would find them fewer than
they were even fifty years ago."

" True, quite true," said Clayborne. " Let us each
make a personal list of the occupations which we
think ought to disqualify for the best social life.
Mine would amaze you. I have not the courage to
state it. But go on, my little saint. You are doing
it well I never knew you half so definite before."

" Confound his impudence ! " cried the poet, pleased
nevertheless to be praised. " There was a time when
to be a business man in some Southern cities was a
social degradation. It is not so now. Compare the
position of a teacher to what it once was. See how
the poorer students of New England colleges may
work in summer as waiters at hotels and go back to
their studies socially uninjured. I must have told you
before of the amazement of an Oxford Fellow when a
waiter in the White Mountains, overhearing me speak
at supper of my difficulty with a passage in an old
Italian life of Galileo, offered to translate it."

" When a man's occupation, if it does not make him
physically unpleasant, ceases to put social barriers in
his way, you think that we shall have attained the
right thing. Is that it ? " said Vincent.

" Yes," I answered.

"But now it does make him socially impossible,



CHARACTERISTICS. 159

sometimes. How can the manners of a dry-goods re-
tailing clerk ever be "

"As yours," I said, laughing.

" Well, if you like, yes." And then, gaily, " But it
would have been better manners to have left my man-
ners out of the question."

"Oh, we need a standard," I said. "The clerk's
manners do now disqualify. They need not continue
to do so."

" I doubt it," said Vincent. "And yet in some New
England towns the standard of manners and of culti-
vation is much nearer alike in all occupations than in
our cities, and is not bad by any means. However, it
is a long question to discuss here."

"I don't quite agree with you," said St. Clair. "I
rather think that mere manners are essentially and in-
variably modified by what a man's work is. It ought
not to be so, but it is. I hold a lease of my studio
from an undertaker. Now and then he comes in to
see me as to rent, or repairs, or what not. I perfectly
loathe that man. His manners are subdued, like the
dyer's hands, to what he deals in ; he talks under his
breath. He is always composing himself into attitudes
of constrained sobriety. He pays you the same lugu-
brious attention he gives to a corpse. When he comes
into a room it is always head first, and he seems to
me to crawl around the half -opened door with cautious
quietness. My workman calls him 'the measuring-
worm.' "

" A cheerful person," said Vincent. " But St. Clair
has proved his point."

"No; only illustrated his thesis," I returned.



160 CHARACTERISTICS.

" Your undertaker reminds me of a jest which ought
to be preserved. St. Claims landlord the ' ghoul,' we
used to call him once consulted a friend of mine.
The doctor said, < You seem to have something on your
mind, Mr. Maw.'

" 'I have, sir. Whenever I feel ill, and I am get-
ting on in years, I am saddened by the reflection
that possibly my own funeral obsequies will be con-
ducted with less orderly decorum than if I were here
to superintend them.' "

" That is immense ! " cried St. Clair. " I beg pardon ;
go on."

" The doctor replied, ' Well, Mr. Maw, why not have
a rehearsal ? ' "

"That seems reasonable," said Clayborne, gravely.
" But where on earth is the fun ? "

This nearly crippled the party for further talk, but
after some moments Vincent said, " Suppose we drop
the undertaker, and "

" Horrible word in its literalness," broke in St. Clair.

" Yes ; bury him," I said. " Go on, Vincent."

" I was only about to take up the broken threads of
our chat. There is the clerical manner, with its habit
of exhortative inflections, very droll when astray in
the commonplaces of every-day life. And the doctor
manner "

" Mine, for example t "

"Well, sometimes."

" Thanks j I shall remember that"

" The question," Vincent went on, " is whether any
business must always of need so affect a man's man-
ners and ways as to cut him off from the social life of



CHARACTERISTICS. 161

men so favored by fortune, inherited qualities, and
education as to demand a certain standard. Do I put
it fairly?"

"Yes," said Clayborne.

"Well," I said, "we must admit, I think, that all
work has its influence on character, and on what
makes for or against social charm. Are not these in-
fluences in some businesses too potent for evil to ad-
mit of their being overcome ? It would be a vast gain
to feel that merely because you do this or that you are
not set aside as of a class to which certain avenues are
closed. That alone injures, as St. Clair said, and is
competent to affect both character and manners. I
was told once in a great city of Europe that I would
find it pleasant to be received in a certain class of so-
ciety, but that it would be impossible while I con-
tinued to call myself doctor on my card. ' Of course,'
said the friend who desired for me this privilege, ' my
doctor does not dine with me. 7 And the man she
named was a physician of European celebrity. He
was not excluded because he was ill-bred, but because
it was silently accepted as a fact that he could not be
well-bred. I affirm that this alone is injurious in a
measure, and leads to his being just what they des-
potically affirm him to be."

" Yes," said Clayborne ; " however much a man may
struggle against the social peculiarities of his class, in
the end he will be apt to suffer defeat. Now as to the
doctors."

" As to them," I urged, " let me say a word. Every
occupation has its influence on character, be that what
it may. My own profession is full of temptations to



162 CHARACTERISTICS.

yield to little meannesses. It is a constant trial of
temper. It offers ample chance to win in retail ways
by disparagement of others, and by flattery and ap-
pearance of interest where little is felt. The small
man what I may call the retail nature gives way
to these temptations ; the nobler nature strengthens
in resisting them. A doctor's life-work is the best
education for the best characters. It is of the worst
for the small of soul."

" Let us return to St. Glair's dictum," said Vincent.
" I think it was that no general reverence for his mode
of work, and no example, and no desire on his part,
could ever make an undertaker socially endurable."

" Oh, sentiment comes in there," said I, " and that is
inexorable. But to-day we have false lines for social
boundaries. There is no sentiment in the way as to
the mechanic. Make it only a question of manners,
and leave that to him, but let us stand up for the
American idea. It is the business of every man to see
that his work in lif e does not put into his character
anything which lessens his powers to please and be
pleased in right ways."

"And that was what your screed about doctors
meant," said Vincent. " You are an abominably sensi-
tive breed. You abuse yourselves, but allow no one
else to do so."

"Yes; I hardly know why, except that gilds are
generally sensitive, and ours is a world- wide gild, and
the only one. The world over we keep touch of one
another, claim constantly of one another unrequited
service, and abide by a creed of morals old when
Christ was born."



-



CHARACTERISTICS. 163

"When you got off on to the doctors," said St.
Clair, "I was about to ask you not to forget your
promise to tell us about your friend the character
doctor."

" That is a new trade," said Vincent.

" I will not forget it," I returned.

" Good ! " said Clayborne. " But all this fuss about
character is rather amusing. I don't think I ever took
much pains with mine."

" Nor I," cried St. Clair.

" Nonsense ! n I replied. " If not, then you had bet-
ter begin."

"Did you ever hear the Russian account of the
moral tontine ? " said Clayborne. " I translated it for
amusement when I was learning Russian. I. can read
it to you some time, if you like. It shows how a fel-
low may acquire too much character."

" I should like to hear that. Let '& have it next
Sunday night at Vincent's. And now, suppose we walk
home along the drive ; I like to see the people."

" Oh, anywhere," grumbled Clayborne, " if you will
leave alone my poor little character, as the servant-
girls say ; it is all I have. It satisfies me, and I have
no respect for you people who have to send your char-
acters to the wash every week."

"Mine needs it," said Vincent, "and well, there
really are folks who like paper collars."

" I hardly understand your very indistinct allusion,"
said Clayborne; "I have worn paper collars myself
on a journey. I consider their inventor a benefactor
to to so much of the race as wears collars."

"And I," said St. Clair, "would like to introduce



164 CHARACTERISTICS.

the custom of erecting statues to what I call the
negative benefactors of mankind, the people who
invent tomato-cans, telegraph-poles, or paper collars.
Oh, I could write the inscriptions too. This monu-
ment is erected by an injured public to preserve for
eternal detestation the memory of Blank, Esq., who
invented a new means of desecrating the beautiful
in nature."

" We will all subscribe," I said, laughing.

" Oh, yes ; you may laugh, but, think of this. To
be alone with a friend in the forests of Maine. About
you the moss-grown trunks of a windfall's ravage a
century old. At last, you say, here no foot of man
has been. Tour friend points to a soiled paper collar
at your feet. There are some crimes I could more
easily condone than certain vulgarities, and the worst
of it is that you get used to these horrors."

" Pshaw ! " exclaimed Clayborne. " You really don't
mean what you were saying. Would a bit of news-
paper have offended your sensibilities ? "

" Yes j it would. The American newspaper editor
would have one of my tallest negative statues."

" That is rather too bad," exclaimed Clayborne, fall-
ing behind with the poet while Vincent and I went
down the hill together.

" Clayborne's incapacity to see fun in any shape is
exasperating," said I. " I consider it a real annoyance
at times."

"Why?"

"Oh, I mean if we are alone together. It limits
talk, and to have to keep too close watch on what you
say is fatal to reasonable human intercourse. Imagine



CHARACTERISTICS. 165

yourself, when with a charming young woman, being
asked every five minutes to explain your intentions.
Clayborne is every whit as bad as that."

" Who is the man yonder ? " said Vincent.

We were now near the drive, and about us were the
serious but not discontented faces of well-clad peo-
ple, chiefly Americans, and not a few Germans. The
drive was in a remote portion of the park, and was
scarcely watched by the guards, so that on it a few
men were speeding their fast horses, amidst critical
comments on the trotters by the groups on the grassy
slope. Presently came at lawless speed a perfect pair
of Morgans. Behind them, in a light wagon, sat a
stout, red-faced man, smoking as if it were a duty to
make his fairy-like equipage seem a steam-engine. He
looked straight ahead at the road.

"Who?" I said in answer. "That is Mr. O .

That pair is worth well, the value of your house.
The man has this one pleasure in life. He runs
horses, but never bets. He says that ain't business.
He has accumulated a fabulous fortune from a patent
he took for a bad debt. I happen to know him pretty
well. He rises at six, breakfasts alone, reads swiftly
two or more papers, is at work by eight o'clock, dines
standing at a restaurant counter at noon, leaves work
at four, drives until seven, eats supper, plays a little
euchre twice a week at his club, or else reads a news-
paper until ten, and goes to bed. Also, he is a bache-
lor and is clean shaven."

"Well, that is the outside the natural history.
What of the physiology?"

"He has a small house, lives plainly, has his one



166 CHARACTERISTICS.

extravagance, fast horses, and never gives away a
dollar."

" The man has then neither vices nor virtues."

" Yes, Vincent," I returned ; " he has the courage of
his convictions, like other hardened thieves."

" And does not the sentence of a kindlier world on
such as he touch him at times ? "

" Never, I fear. I once went to put before him the
needs of a great charity. He heard me patiently, and
then said : ' I object to doing that which I am taxed
for, and, besides, I am unable to give away money. I
cannot do it. Other people can. I can't do it.' "

" And that was all ? "

"Yes; almost all. He asked me to smoke, say-
ing the cigars cost half a dollar apiece. I laughed,
and said, ' How can you be willing to give me a half-
dollar?"'

" ' That 's true,' said he ; ' but it is n't money.
There 's something darned queer about money. I '11
leave your hospital something in my will, but I won't
give you a cent.' "

" The being you describe seems to me incredible."

" Oh, here are the others." And we went down to
the river, and walked homeward.

" And there is another horror," said St. Clair, point-
ing to the hideous collection of white marble tomb-
stones on the further side. We could but agree.

" Yet," said Vincent, " even a modern graveyard can
be made a fitting thing. Near a Western town a man
gave a fine old wood as a cemetery, with the condi-
tion that small spaces might be cleared ; that no grave-
stones should be other than gray ; that none should rise



CHAEACTEEISTICS. 167

over three or four inches from the earth, and that the
boundary-lines of ownerships should be marked only
in the same way. Flowers and vines might be planted,
but no tall monuments or iron fences were allowed.
I am told that it was most solemn and beautiful."


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