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has been nipt with a frost, yet the soul must not sit shivering in its cell, but bestir itself manfully, and kindle a genial warinth from its own exercise, against the autumnal and the wintry atmosphere. And I, in return, will bid him be of good cheer, nor take it amiss that I must blanch his locks and wrinkle him up like a wilted apple, since it shall be my endeavor so to beautify his face with intellect and mild benevolence, that he shall profit immensely by the change. But here a smile will glimmer somewhat sadly over M. du Miroir's visage.
When this subject shall have been sufficiently discussed, we may take up others as important. Reflecting upon his power of following me to the remotest regions and into the deepest privacy, I will compare the attempt to escape him to the hopeless race that men sometimes run with memory, or their own hearts, or their moral selves, which, though burthened with cares enough to crush an elephant, will never be one step behind. I will be self-con. templative, as nature bids me, and make him the picture or visi. ble type of what I muse upon, that my mind may not wander so vaguely as heretofore, chasing its own shadow through a chaos, and catching only the monsters that abide there. Then will we turn our thoughts to the spiritual world, of the reality of which my companions shall furnish me an illustration, if not an argu. ment. For, as we have only the testimony of the eye to M. du Miroir's existence, while all the other senses would fail to inform us that such a figure stands within arm's length, wherefore should there not be beings innumerable, close beside us, and filling heaven and earth with their multitude, yet of whom no corporeal perception can take cognizance? A blind man might as rea. sonably deny that M. du Miroir exists, as we, because the Creator has hitherto withheld the spiritual perception, can therefore contend that there are no spirits. Oh, there are! And, at this moment, when the subject of which I write has grown strong within me, and surrounded itself with those solemn and awful
MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE.
associations which might have seemed most alien to it, I could fancy that M. du Miroir himself is a wanderer from the spiritual world, with nothing human, except his illusive garment of visibility. Methinks I should tremble now, were his wizard power, of gliding through all impediments in search of me, to place him suddenly before my eyes.
Ha! What is yonder ? Shape of mystery, did the tremor of my heart-strings vibrate to thine own, and call thee from thy home, among the dancers of the Northern Lights, and shadows flung from departed sunshine, and giant spectres that appear on clouds at daybreak, and affright the climber of the Alps ? In truth, it startled me, as I threw a wary glance eastward across the chamber, to discern an unbidden guest, with his eyes bent on mine. The identical MONSIEUR DU Miroir! Still, there he sits, and returns my gaze with as much of awe and curiosity, as if he, too, had spent a solitary evening in fantastic musings, and made me his theme. So inimitably does he counterfeit, that I could almost doubt which of us is the visionary form, or whether each be not the other's mystery, and both twin brethren of one fate, in mutually reflected spheres. Oh, friend, canst thou not hear and answer me? Break down the barrier between us! Grasp my hand! Speak! Listen! A few words, perhaps, might satisfy the feverish yearning of my soul for some master-thought, that should guide me through this labyrinth of life, teaching wherefore I was born, and how to do my task on earth, and what is death. Alas! Even that unreal image should forget to ape me, and smile at these vain questions. Thus do mortals deify, as it were, a mere shadow of themselves, a spectre of human reason, and ask of that to unveil the mysteries, which Divine Intelligence has revealed so far as needful to our guidance, and hid the rest.
Farewell, Monsieur du Miroir. of you, perhaps, as of many men, it may be doubted wbether you are the wiser, though your whole business is REFLECTION.
THE HALL OF FANTASY.
It has happened to me, on various occasions, to find myself in a certain edifice, which would appear to have some of the charac. teristics of a public Exchange. Its interior is a spacious hall, with a pavement of white marble. Overhead is a lofty dome, supported by long rows of pillars, of fantastic architecture, the idea of which was probably taken from the Moorish ruins of the Alhambra, or perhaps from some enchanted edifice in the Arabian Tales. The windows of this hall have a breadth and grandeur of design, and an elaborateness of workmanship, that have nowhere been equalled, except in the Gothic cathedrals of the old world. Like their prototypes, too, they admit the light of heaven only through stained and pictured glass, thus filling the hall with many-colored radiance, and painting its marble floor with beautiful or grotesque designs; so that its inmates breathe, as it were, a visionary atmosphere, and tread upon the fantasies of poetic minds. These peculiarities, combining a wilder mixture of styles than even an American architect usually recognizes as allowable -Grecian, Gothic, Oriental, and nondescript-cause the whole edifice to give the impression of a dream, which might be dissi. pated and shattered to fragments, by merely stamping the fool upon the pavement. Yet, with such modifications and repairs as successive ages demand, the Hall of Fantasy is likely to endure longer than the most substantial structure that ever cumbered the earth.
It is not at all times that one can gain admittance into this
edifice; although most persons enter it at some period or other of their lives if not in their waking moments, then by the universal passport of a dream. At my last visit, I wandered thither un. awares, while my mind was busy with an idle tale, and was startled by the throng of people who seemed suddenly to rise up around me.
“Bless me! Where am I ?” cried I, with but a dim recognition of the place.
“ You are in a spot," said a friend, who chanced to be near at hand," which occupies, in the world of fancy, the same position which the Bourse, the Rialto, and the Exchange, do in the commercial world. All who have affairs in that mystic region, which lies above, below, or beyond the Actual, may here meet, and talk over the business of their dreams."
“It is a noble hall,” observed I.
“ Yes," he replied. “Yet we see but a small portion of the edifice. In its upper stories are said to be apartments, where the inhabitants of earth may hcld converse with those of the moon. And beneath our feet are gloomy cells, which communicate with the infernal regions, and where monsters and chimeras are kept in confinement, and fed with all unwholesomeness."
In niches and on pedestals, around about the hall, stood the statues or busts of men, who, in every age, have been rulers and demi-gods in the realms of imagination, and its kindred regions. The grand old countenance of Homer; the shrunken and decrepit form, but vivid face of Æsop; the dark presence of Dante; the wild Ariosto; Rabelais's smile of deep-wrought mirth; the profound, pathetic humor of Cervantes; the all-glorious Shakspeare; Spenser, meet guest for an allegoric structure; the severe divinity of Milton; and Bunyan, moulded of homeliest clay, but instinct with celestial fire-were those that chiefly attracted my eye. Fielding, Richardson, and Scott, occupied conspicuous pedestals. In an obscure and shadowy niche was deposited the bust of our countryman, the author of Arthur Mervyn.
“ Besides these indestructible memorials of real genius,” re. marked my companion, “each century has erected statues of its own ephemeral favorites, in wood.”
“I observe a few crumbling relics of such," said I. "But ever and anon, I suppose, Oblivion comes with her huge broom, and sweeps them all from the marble floor. But such will never be the fate of this fine statue of Goethe.”
“Xor of that next to it-Emanuel Swedenborg," said he. “ Were ever two men of transcendent imagination more unlike ?”
In the centre of the hall springs an ornamental fountain, the water of which continually throws itself into new shapes, and snatches the most diversified hues from the stained atmosphere around. It is impossible to conceive what a strange vivacity is imparted to the scene by the magic dance of this fountain, with its endless transformations, in which the imaginative beholder may discern what form he will. The water is supposed by some to flow from the same source as the Castalian spring, and is ex. tolled by others as uniting the virtues of the Fountain of Youth with those of many other enchanted wells, long celebrated in talo and song. Having never tasted it, I can bear no testimony to its quality.
“ Did you ever drink this water ?” I inquired of my friend.
“ A few sips, now and then," answered he. “But there are men here who make it their constant beverage-or, at least, have the credit of doing so. In some instances, it is known to have intoxicating qualities.”
“Pray let us look at these water-drinkers," said I.
So we passed among the fantastic pillars, till we came to a spot where a number of persons were clustered together, in the light of one of the great stained windows, which seemed to glorify the whole group, as well as the marble that they trod on. Most of