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ties. At last he rushed to the door, saying he "would stand no such nonsense." "But you will have to stand it!" Chip was gone. Mr. Hopkins was in a state of amazement; and Millicent, if she did not swoon, seemed to herself in a trance. Neither of them could see in the cause anything to account for the effect. How could a merchant prince quail before so flimsy a piece of paper? Mr. Sterling explained. Mr. Hopkins begged the matter might not be made public,— above all things, that legal proceedings should be avoided.
"No," said Sterling,-"I shall punish him more effectually. The proof, though strong as holy writ, would probably fail
to convict him in court. Therefore I shall let him off on these conditions: He shall disgorge to Captain Grant his profits on that cotton with interest, relinquish Miss Millicent's hand, if she so pleases, and, at any rate, relieve Boston of his presence altogether and for good. He may do it as soon as he likes, and as privately."
This course at once met the approbation of all parties, and was carried out.
What became of Squire Sterling, whether he married the mistress of that mansion or her maid, this deponent saith not; though he doth say that he did marry one of them, and had no cause to regret the same.
'Tis here I only seem to be, But really sail another sea,—
Another sea, pure sky its waves,
Whose beauty hides no heaving graves,—
No hapless bark to wreck hath gone.
The winds that o'er my ocean run
Reach through all heavens beyond the sun;
Through life and death, through fate, through time, Grand breaths of God, they sweep sublime.
Eternal trades, they cannot veer,
And, blowing, teach us how to steer;
Oh, thou God's mariner, heart of mine,
For Destiny pursues us well,
By sea, by land, through heaven or hell;
Bids Life all change and chance defy.
Would earth's dark ocean suck thee down?
Life loveth life and good: then trust
A thread of Law runs through thy prayer,
Stronger than iron cables are;
And Love and Longing toward her goal
So Life must live, and Soul must sail,
And so, 'mid storm or calm, my bark
AMONG my letters is one from Dr. E. D. North, desiring me to furnish any facts within my reach, relating to the scientific character and general opinions of the late James G. Percival. This information Dr. North proposed to incorporate into a memoir, to be prefixed to a new edition of Percival's Poems. The biographer, with his task unfinished, has followed the subject of his studies to the tomb.
Dr. North's request revived in me many recollections of Percival; and finally led me to draw out the following sketch of him, as he appeared to my eyes in those days when I saw him often, and sometimes shared his pursuits. Vague and shadowy is the delineation, and to myself seems little better than the reminiscence of a phantom or a dream. Percival's life had few externalities, he related himself to society by few points of contact; and I have been compelled to paint him chiefly by glimpses of his literary and interior existence.
My acquaintance with him grew out of some conversations on geological topics, and commenced in 1828, when he was working on his translation of MalteBrun's Geography. The impression made on me by his singular person and manners was vivid and indelible. Slender in form, rather above than under the middle height, he had a narrow chest, and a peculiar stoop, which was not in the back, but high up in the shoulders. His head, without being large, was fine. His eyes were of a dark hazel, and possessed uncommon expression. His nose, mouth, and chin were symmetrically, if not elegantly formed, and came short of beauty only because of that meagreness which marked his whole person. His complexion, light without redness, inclined to sallow, and suggested a temperament somewhat bilious. His dark brown hair had become thin above the forehead, revealing to advantage that most striking
feature of his countenance. Taken all together, his appearance was that of a weak man, of delicate constitution,- an appearance hardly justified by the fact; for he endured fatigue and privation with remarkable stanchness.
Percival's face, when he was silent, was full of calm, serious meditation; when speaking, it lighted up with thought, and became noticeably expressive. He commonly talked in a mild, unimpassioned undertone, but just above a whisper, letting his voice sink with rather a pleasing cadence at the completion of each sentence. Even when most animated, he used no gesture except a movement of the first and second fingers of his right hand backward and forward across the palm of the left, meantime following their monotonous unrest with his eyes, and rarely meeting the gaze of his interlocutor. He would stand for hours, when talking, his right elbow on a mantelpiece, if there was one near, his fingers going through their strange palmistry ; and in this manner, never once stirring from his position, he would not unfrequently protract his discourse till long past midnight. An inexhaustible, undemonstrative, noiseless, passionless man, scarcely evident to you by physical qualities, and impressing you, for the most part, as a creature of pure intellect.
His wardrobe was remarkably inexpensive, consisting of little more than a single plain suit, brown or gray, which he wore winter and summer, until it became threadbare. He never used boots; and his shoes, though carefully dusted, were never blacked. A most unpretending bow fastened his cravat of colored cambric. For many years his only outer garment was a brown camlet cloak, of very scanty proportions, thinly lined, and a meagre protection against winter. His hat was worn for years before being laid aside, and put you in mind of the prevailing mode by the law of
contrast only. He was never seen with gloves, and rarely with an umbrella. The value of his entire wardrobe scarcely exceeded fifty dollars; yet he was always neat, and appeared unconscious of any peculiarity in his costume.
An accurate portrait of him at any period of his life can scarcely be said to exist. His sensitive modesty seems to have made him unwilling to let his features be exposed to the flaring notoriety of canvas. Once, indeed, he allowed himself to be painted by Mr. George A. Flagg; but the picture having been exhibited in the Trumbull Gallery of Yale College, Percival's susceptibility took alarm, and he expressed annoyance, though whether dissatisfied with the portrait or its public exposure I cannot say. The artist proposed certain alterations, and the poet listened to him with seeming assent. The picture was taken back to the studio; objectionable or questionable parts of it painted out; the likeness destroyed for the purpose of correction; and Percival was to give another sitting at his convenience. That was the last time he put himself within painting reach of Mr. Flagg's easel.*
In those days of our early acquaintance, he occupied two small chambers, one of which fronted on the business part of Chapel Street (New Haven). His books, already numerous, were piled in double tiers and in heaps against the walls, covering the floors also, and barely leaving space for his sleeping-cot, chair, and writing-table. His library was a sanctum to which the curious visitor hardly ever gained admittance. He met even his friends at the door, and generally held his interviews with them in the adjoining passage. Disinclined to borrow books, he was especially averse to lending. Dr. Guhrauer's assertion respecting Leibnitz, that "his library was numerous and valuable, and its possessor had the peculiarity that he liked to worm
I remember to have seen an excellent portrait of him, by Alexander, in the studio of that artist, in the year 1825; but in whose possession it now is, I am unable to say.
in it alone, being very reluctant to let any one see it," applies equally well to Percival.
He was rarely visible abroad except in his walks to and from the country, whither he often resorted to pass not hours only, but frequently entire days, in solitary wanderings,-partly for physical exercise, still more, perhaps, to study the botany, the geology, and the minutest geographical features of the environs; for his restless mind was perpetually observant, and could not be withheld from external Nature, even by his poetic and philosophic meditation. In these excursions, he often passed his fellow-mortals without noticing them. A friend, if observed, he greeted with a slight nod, and possibly stopped him for conversation. Once started on a subject, Percival rarely quitted it until it was exhausted; and consequently these interviews sometimes outlasted the leisure of his listener. You excused yourself, perhaps; or you were called away by some one else; but you had only put off the conclusion of the discourse, not escaped it. The next time Percival encountered you, his first words were, "As I was saying,"—and taking up the thread of his observations where it had been broken, he went straight to the end.
The excellent bookstore of the late Hezekiah Howe, one of the best in New England, and particularly rich in those rare and costly works which form a bookworm's delight, was one of Percival's best-loved lounging-places. He bought freely, and, when he could not buy, he was welcome to peruse. He read with marvellous rapidity, skipping as if by instinct everything that was unimportant; avoiding the rhetoric, the commonplaces, the falsities; glancing only at what was new, what was true, what was suggestive. He had a distinct object in view; but it was not to amuse himself, nor to compare author with author; it was simply to increase the sum of his own knowledge. Perhaps it was in these rapid forays through unbought, uncut volumes, that he acquired his singular habit of read
ing books, even his own, without subjecting them to the paper-knife. People who wanted to see Percival and obtain his views on special topics were accustomed to look for him at Mr. Howe's, and always found him willing to pour forth his voluminous information.
His income at this time was derived solely from literary jobs, and was understood to be very limited. What he earned he spent chiefly for books, particularly for such as would assist him in perfecting that striking monument of his varied and profound research, his new translation and edition of Malte-Brun. For this labor the time had been estimated, and the publishers had made him an allowance, which, if he had worked like other men, would have amounted to eight dollars a day. But Percival would let nothing go out of his hands imperfect; a typographical error, even, I have heard him say, sometimes depressed him like actual illness. He translated and revised so carefully, he corrected so many errors and added so many footnotes, that his industry actually devoured its own wages; and his eight dollars gradually diminished to a diurnal fifty
Percival made no merely ceremonial calls, few friendly visits, and attended no parties. If he dropped in upon a family of his acquaintance, he rarely addressed himself to a lady. Otherwise
there was nothing peculiar in his deportment; for, if silent, he was not embarrassed, and if he talked, it was without any appearance of self-conscious
Judging from his isolated habits, some persons supposed him misanthropic. Let me give one instance of his good-nature. One of the elder professors of Yale had fallen into a temporary misappreciation with the students, who received his instructions, to say the least, with an illconcealed indifference. They whispered during his lectures, and in other ways rendered themselves strenuously disagreeable to the sensitive nerves of the professor. Indignant at such behavior
toward a worthy and learned man, who had been his own instructor, Percival proposed a plan for stopping the annoyance. It was, that a number of old graduates, professors, and others, himself being one, should attend the lectures, listen to them with the respect they merited, and so, if possible, bring the students to a sense of propriety and of the advantages they were neglecting.
No, Percival was not a misanthrope. During an acquaintance of twenty-five years, I never knew him do an act or utter a word which could countenance this opinion. He indulged in no bitter remarks, cherished no hatred of individuals, affected no scorn of his race; on the contrary, he held large views concerning the noble destinies of mankind, and expressed deep interest in its advancement toward greater intelligence and virtue. The local affections he certainly had, for he was gratified at the prosperity of his fellow-townsmen, proud of his native State, and took a pleasure in defending her name from unjust aspersions. Patriotic, too,-none more so,—he rejoiced in the welfare of the whole country, knew its history thoroughly, and bestowed on its military heroes, in particular, a lively appreciation, which was singular, perhaps, in a man of such gentle habits and nature. I cannot forget the excited pleasure with which we visited, when on the geological survey of Connecticut, Putnam's Stairs at Horseneck, and Putnam's Wolf-Den in Pomfret. At the latter place, Percival's enthusiasm for the heroic hunter and warrior led him to carve his initials on a rock at the entrance of the chasm. was the only place during the tour where he left a similar memorial.
American statesmen he admired scarcely less than American soldiers; nor did he neglect any information within his reach concerning public men and measures. It was singular to observe with what freedom from excitement he discussed the most irritating phases of party,-speaking of the men and events of his own day with as much philosophic