We waked not until the fingers of the sunny morn touched our eyelids. We looked out and. Housatonic slept as quiet as a baby’s dream. Pillars of white cloud set up along the heavens looked like the castles of the blest, built for hierarchs of heaven on the beach of the azure sea. The trees sparkled as though there had been some great grief in heaven, and each leaf had been God-appointed to catch an angel’s tear. It seemed as if God our Father had looked down upon earth, his wayward child, and stooped to her tear-wet cheek, and kissed it.
Even so will the darkness of our country’s crime and suffering be lifted. God will roll back the night of storm, and bring in the morning of joy. Its golden light will gild the city spire, and strike the forests of Maine, and tinge the masts of Mobile; and with one end resting upon the Atlantic beach and the other on the Pacific coast, God will spring a great rainbow arch of peace, in token of everlasting covenant that the land shall never again be deluged with crime.
There are ten thousand ways of telling a lie. A man’s entire life may be a falsehood, while with his lips he may not once directly falsify. There are those who state what is positively untrue, but afterwards say, “may be,” softly. These departures from the truth are called “white lies;” but there is really no such thing as a white lie. The whitest lie that was ever told was as black as perdition. No inventory of public crimes will be sufficient that omits this gigantic abomination. There are men, high in Church and State, actually useful, self-denying, and honest in many things, who, upon certain subjects, and in certain spheres, are not at all to be depended upon for veracity. Indeed, there are multitudes of men who have their notions of truthfulness so thoroughly perverted, that they do not know when they are lying. With many it is a cultivated sin; with some it seems a natural infirmity. I have known people who seemed to have been born liars. The falsehoods of their lives extended from cradle to grave. Prevarication, misrepresentation, and dishonesty of speech appeared in their first utterances and was as natural to them as any of their infantile diseases, and was a sort of moral croup or spiritual scarlatina. But many have been placed in circumstances where this tendency has day by day, and hour by hour, been called to larger development. They have gone from attainment to attainment, and from class to class, until they have become regularly graduated liars.
The air of the city is filled with falsehoods. They hang pendent from the chandeliers of our finest residences; they crowd the shelves of some of our merchant princes; they fill the side-walk from curb-stone to brown-stone facing. They cluster around the mechanic’s hammer, and blossom from the end of the merchant’s yard-stick, and sit in the doors of churches. Some call them “fiction.” Some style them “fabrication.” You might say that they were subterfuge, disguise, delusion, romance, evasion, pretence, fable, deception, misrepresentation; but, as I am ignorant of anything to be gained by the hiding of a God-defying outrage under a lexicographer’s blanket, I shall chiefly call them what my father taught me to call them—lies.