Nine Short Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 79 pages of information about Nine Short Essays.

Enough for me that daylight began to broaden.  “Sleep on,” I said, “O real President, real Emperor (by the grace of coup d’etat) at last, in the midst of the most virtuous court in Europe, loved of good Americans, eternally established in the hearts of your devoted Parisians!  Peace to the palace and peace to its lovely garden, of both of which I have had quite enough for one night!”

The sun came up, and, as I looked about, all the shades and concourse of the night had vanished.  Day had begun in the vast city, with all its roar and tumult; but the garden gates would not open till seven, and I must not be seen before the early stragglers should enter and give me a chance of escape.  In my circumstances I would rather be the first to enter than the first to go out in the morning, past those lynx-eyed gendarmes.  From my covert I eagerly watched for my coming deliverers.  The first to appear was a ‘chiffonnier,’ who threw his sack and pick down by the basin, bathed his face, and drank from his hand.  It seemed to me almost like an act of worship, and I would have embraced that rag-picker as a brother.  But I knew that such a proceeding, in the name even of egalite and fraternite would have been misinterpreted; and I waited till two and three and a dozen entered by this gate and that, and I was at full liberty to stretch my limbs and walk out upon the quay as nonchalant as if I had been taking a morning stroll.

I have reason to believe that the police of Paris never knew where I spent the night of the 18th of June.  It must have mystified them.


Truthfulness is as essential in literature as it is in conduct, in fiction as it is in the report of an actual occurrence.  Falsehood vitiates a poem, a painting, exactly as it does a life.  Truthfulness is a quality like simplicity.  Simplicity in literature is mainly a matter of clear vision and lucid expression, however complex the subject-matter may be; exactly as in life, simplicity does not so much depend upon external conditions as upon the spirit in which one lives.  It may be more difficult to maintain simplicity of living with a great fortune than in poverty, but simplicity of spirit—­that is, superiority of soul to circumstance—­is possible in any condition.  Unfortunately the common expression that a certain person has wealth is not so true as it would be to say that wealth has him.  The life of one with great possessions and corresponding responsibilities may be full of complexity; the subject of literary art may be exceedingly complex; but we do not set complexity over against simplicity.  For simplicity is a quality essential to true life as it is to literature of the first class; it is opposed to parade, to artificiality, to obscurity.

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Nine Short Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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