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[1211] that it must be so with one of any continuity of thought, or earnestness of character. ‘As to that,’ says he, I shall not like you the better for your excellence. I don't know what is the matter. I feel strongly attracted towards you; but there is a drawback in my mind,—I don't know exactly what. You will always be wanting to grow forward; now I like to grow backward, too. You are too ideal. Ideal people anticipate their lives; and they make themselves and everybody around them restless, by always being ‘beforehand with themselves.’

I listened attentively; for what he said was excellent. Following up the humor of the moment, he arrests admirable thoughts on the wing. But I cannot but see that what they say of my or other obscure lives is true of every prophetic, of every tragic character. And then I like to have them make me look on that side, and reverence the lovely forms of nature, and the shifting moods, and the clinging instincts. But I must not let them disturb me. There is an only guide, the voice in the heart, that asks, ‘Was thy wish sincere? If so, thou canst not stray from nature, nor be so perverted but she will make thee true again.’ I must take my own path, and learn from them all, without being paralyzed for the day. We need great energy, faith, and self-reliance to endure to-day. My age may not be the best, my position may be bad, my character ill-formed; but Thou, oh Spirit! hast no regard to aught but the seeking heart; and, if I try to walk upright, wilt guide me. What despair must he feel, who, after a whole life passed in trying to build up himself, resolves that it would have been far better if he had kept still as the clod of the valley, or yielded easily as the leaf to every

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