Impressions of Theophrastus Such eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Impressions of Theophrastus Such.
is given me in ample measure.  My acquaintances tell me unreservedly of their triumphs and their piques; explain their purposes at length, and reassure me with cheerfulness as to their chances of success; insist on their theories and accept me as a dummy with whom they rehearse their side of future discussions; unwind their coiled-up griefs in relation to their husbands, or recite to me examples of feminine incomprehensibleness as typified in their wives; mention frequently the fair applause which their merits have wrung from some persons, and the attacks to which certain oblique motives have stimulated others.  At the time when I was less free from superstition about my own power of charming, I occasionally, in the glow of sympathy which embraced me and my confiding friend on the subject of his satisfaction or resentment, was urged to hint at a corresponding experience in my own case; but the signs of a rapidly lowering pulse and spreading nervous depression in my previously vivacious interlocutor, warned me that I was acting on that dangerous misreading, “Do as you are done by.”  Recalling the true version of the golden rule, I could not wish that others should lower my spirits as I was lowering my friend’s.  After several times obtaining the same result from a like experiment in which all the circumstances were varied except my own personality, I took it as an established inference that these fitful signs of a lingering belief in my own importance were generally felt to be abnormal, and were something short of that sanity which I aimed to secure.  Clearness on this point is not without its gratifications, as I have said.  While my desire to explain myself in private ears has been quelled, the habit of getting interested in the experience of others has been continually gathering strength, and I am really at the point of finding that this world would be worth living in without any lot of one’s own.  Is it not possible for me to enjoy the scenery of the earth without saying to myself, I have a cabbage-garden in it?  But this sounds like the lunacy of fancying oneself everybody else and being unable to play one’s own part decently—­another form of the disloyal attempt to be independent of the common lot, and to live without a sharing of pain.

Perhaps I have made self-betrayals enough already to show that I have not arrived at that non-human independence.  My conversational reticences about myself turn into garrulousness on paper—­as the sea-lion plunges and swims the more energetically because his limbs are of a sort to make him shambling on land.  The act of writing, in spite of past experience, brings with it the vague, delightful illusion of an audience nearer to my idiom than the Cherokees, and more numerous than the visionary One for whom many authors have declared themselves willing to go through the pleasing punishment of publication.  My illusion is of a more liberal kind, and I imagine a far-off, hazy, multitudinous assemblage, as in a

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Impressions of Theophrastus Such from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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