When Death has set his seal on an eminent man's career, there is a not unnatural curiosity to know something of his life, as revealed by himself, particularly in letters to intimate friends. "All biography ought, as much as possible, to be autobiography," says Stevenson, and of all autobiographical material, letters are the most satisfactory. Generally written on the impulse of the moment, with no idea of subsequent publication, they come, as it were, like butter fresh from the churning with the impress of the mind of the writer stamped distinctly upon them. One letter of George Sand's written to Flaubert, or one of Goethe's to Frau von Stein, or his friend Stilling, is worth pages of embellished reminiscences.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.26(d)|
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER III TRAMORE "If you, O reader, chance to be a child of the sea; if in early childhood, you listened each morning and evening to that most ancient and mystic hymn-chant of the waves, ... if you have ever watched wonderingly, the far sails of the fishing vessels turn rosy in the blush of sunset, or once breathed as your native air the divine breath of the ocean, and learned the swimmer's art from the hoary breakers. . . . When the long, burning summer comes, and the city roars dustily around you, and your ears are filled with the droning hum of machinery, and your heart full of the bitterness of the struggle for life, does not there visit you at long intervals in the dingy office or the crowded street some memory of white breakers and vast stretches of wrinkled sand and far-fluttering breezes that seem to whisper, 'Come!'! "So that when the silent night descends, you find yourself revisiting in dreams those ocean shores thousands of miles away. The wrinkled sand, ever shifting yet ever the same, has the same old familiar patches of vari-coloured weeds and shining rocks along its level expanse: and the thunder-chant of the sea which echoes round' the world, eternal yet ever new, is rolling up to heaven. The glad waves leap up to embrace you; the free winds shout welcome in your ears; white sails are shining in the west; white sea-birds are flying over the gleaming swells. And from the infinite expanse of eternal sky and everlasting sea, there comes to you, with the heavenly ocean- breeze, a thrilling sense of unbounded freedom, a delicious feeling as of life renewed, and ecstasy as of life restored. And so you start into wakefulness with the thunder of the sea-dream inyour cars and tears of regret in your eyes, to find about you only heat and dust and toil; the awaken...