Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 420 pages of information about Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us.

One of the most singular of these was that adopted by Histaus, the Milesian, as related by Herodotus.  Histaus was “kept by Darius at Susa, under an honorable pretence, and, despairing of his return home, unless he could find out some way that he might be sent to sea, he purposed to send to Aristagoras, who was his substitute at Miletum, to persuade his revolt from Darius; but, knowing that all passages were stopped and studiously watched, he took this course:  he got a trusty servant of his, the hair of whose head he caused to be shaved off, and then, upon his bald head, he wrote his mind to Aristagoras; kept him privately about him, till his hair was somewhat grown, and then bid him haste to Aristagoras, and bid him cause him to be shaved again, and then upon his head he should find what his lord had written to him.”

A volume might be written of the Curiosities of Letter-writing, and it would be by no means an uninteresting production.  Years ago, when New England missionaries first taught the wild men of the South Sea Islands, it so happened that one of the teachers wished to communicate with a friend, and having no pen, ink and paper at hand, he picked up a chip and wrote with a pencil his message.  A native conveyed it, and, receiving some article in return, he thought the chip endowed with some miraculous power, and could he have obtained it would doubtless have treasured it as a god, and worshipped it.  And so would seem to us this invaluable art of letter-writing, were we in like ignorance.  We forget to justly appreciate a blessing while we have it in constant use; but let us be for a short time deprived of it, and then we lament its loss and realize its worth.  Deprive mankind of pen, ink and paper, obliterate from the human mind all knowledge of letter-writing,—­then estimate, if you can, thee loss that would accrue.

The good resulting from a general intercommunication of thought among the people has brought about a great reduction in the rates of postage.  We look forward to the time when the tens of millions now expended in war, and invested in the ammunition of death, shall be directed into other channels, and postage shall be free.  What better defence for our nation than education?  It is better than forts and vessels of war; better than murderous guns, powder and ball.  Hail to the day when there shall be no direct tax on the means of education!


    I had a dream:  Methought one came
        And bade me with him go;
    I followed, till, above the world,
        I wondering gazed below. 
    One moment, horror filled my breast;
        Then, shrinking from the sight,
    I turned aside, and sought for rest,
        Half dying with affright. 
    My guide with zeal still urged me on;
    “See, see!” said he, “what sin hath done;
    How mad ambition fills each breast,
    And mortals spurn their needed

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Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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