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BY HENRY D. THOREAU.
Under the one word, house, are inclu- genial a human nature, that he would ded the school house, the alms house, fain sacrifice the tender but narrow ties the jail, the tavern, the dwelling house ; of private friendship, to a broad, sunand the meanest shed or cave in which shiny, fair-weather-and foul friendship men live, contains the elements of all for his race; who loves men, not as these. But no where on the earth a philosopher, with philanthropy, nor sands the entire and perfect house. as an overseer of the poor, with charity, The Parthenon, St. Peter's, the Gothic but by a necessity of his nature, as he minster, the palace, the hovel, are but loves dogs and horses; and standing at imperfect executions of an imperfect his open door from morning till night, idea. Who would dwell in them? would fain see more and more of them Perhaps to the eye of the gods, the cot- come along the highway, and is never satage is more holy than the Parthenon, tiated. To him the sun and moon are but for they look down with no especial travellers, the one by day and the other favor upon the shrines formally dedi- by night; and they too patronise his cated to them, and that should be the house. To his imagination all things most sacred roof which shelters most travel save his sign-post and himself; of humanity. Surely, then, the gods and though you may be his neighbor who are most interested in the human for years, he will show you only the race preside over the Tavern, where es- civilities of the road. But on the other pecially men congregate. Methinks I hand, while nations and individuals are see the thousand shrines erected to alike selfish and exclusive, he loves all Hospitality shining afar in all countries, men equally ; and if he treats his nearas well Mahometan and Jewish, as est neighbor as a stranger, since he has Christian, khans, and caravansaries, invited all nations to share his hospiand inns, whither all pilgrims without tality, the farthest travelled is in some distinction resort.
measure kindred to him who takes him Likewise we look in vain east or into the bosom of his family. west over the earth to find the perfect He keeps a house of entertainment man; but each represents only some at the sign of the Black Horse or the particular excellence. The Landlord is Spread Eagle, and is known far and a man of more open and general sym- wide, and his fame travels with increaspathies, who possesses a spirit of hos- ing radius every year. All the neighpitality which is its own reward, and borhood is in his interest, and if the feeds and shelters men from pure love traveller ask how far to a tavern, he of the creatures. To be sure, this receives some such answer as this : profession is as often filled by imper- "Well, sir, there's a house about three fect characters, and such as have sought miles from here, where they haven't it from unworthy motives, as any other, taken down their sign yet; but it's but so much the more should we prize only ten miles to Slocum's, and that's a the true and honest Landlord when we capital house, both for man and beast." meet with him.
At three miles he passes a cheerless Who has not imagined to himself a barrack, standing desolate behind its country inn, where the traveller shall sign-post, neither public nor private, really feel in, and at home, and at his and has glimpses of a discontented public house, who was before at his pri- couple who have mistaken their callvate house; whose host is indeed a host, ing. At ten miles see where the Tavern and a lord of the land, a self-appointed stands,--really an entertaining prosbrother of his race; called to his place, pect, --so public and inviting that only beside, by all the winds of heaven and the rain and snow do not enter. It is his good genius, as truly as the preach- no gay pavilion, made of bright stuffs, er is called to preach ; a man of such and furnished with nuts and gingeruniversal sympathies, and so broad and bread, but as plain and sincere as a
caravansary ; located in no Tarrytown, the whole, a man may not be so little where you receive only the civilities ashamed of any other part of his house, of commerce, but far in the fields it for here is his sincerity and earnest, at exercises a primitive hospitality, amid least. It may not be here that the the fresh scent of new hay and rasp- besoms are plied most-it is not here berries, if it be summer time, and the that they need to be, for dust will not tinkling of cow-bells from invisible settle on the kitchen floor more than in pastures; for it is a land flowing with nature. milk and honey, and the newest milk Hence it will not do for the Landlord courses in a broad deep stream across to possess too fine a nature. He must the premises.
have health above the common acciIn these retired places the tavern is dents of life, subject to no modern first of all a house–elsewhere, last of fashionable diseases; but no taste, raall, or never-and warms and shelters ther a vast relish or appetite. His senits inhabitants. It is as simple and timents on all subjects will be delivered sincere in its essentiais as the caves in as freely as the wind blows; there is which the first men dwelt, but it is also nothing private or individual in them, as open and public. The traveller though still original, but they are public, steps across the threshold, and lo! he and of the hue of the heavens over his too is master, for he only can be called house,-a certain out-of-door obviousproprietor of the house here who be ness and transparency not to be disputed. haves with most propriety in it. The What he does, his manners are not to be Landlord stands clear back in nature, to complained of, though abstractly offenmy imagination, with his axe and spade sive, for it is what man does, and in felling trees and raising potatoes with him the race is exhibited. When he the vigor of a pioneer ; with Prome- eats, he is liver and bowels, and the thean energy making nature yield her whole digestive apparatus to the comincrease to supply the wants of so pany, and so all admit the thing is done. many; and he is not so exhausted, nor He must have no idiosyncracies, no of so short a stride, but that he comes particular bents or tendencies to this or forward even to the highway to this that, but a general, uniform, and healthy wide hospitality and publicity. Surely, development, such as his portly person he has solved some of the problems of indicates, offering himself equally on life. He comes in at his back door, all sides to men. He is not one of your holding a log fresh cut for the hearth peaked and inhospitable men of genius, upon his shoulder with one hand, while with particular tastes, but, as we said he greets the newly arrived traveller before, has one uniform relish, and with the other.
taste which never aspires higher than Here at length we have free range, a tavern sign, or the cut of a weatheras not in palaces, nor cottages, nor cock. The man of genius, like a dog temples, and intrude no where. All with a bone, or the slave who has the secrets of housekeeping are exhib- swallowed a diamond, or a patient ited to the eyes of men, above and with the gravel, sits afar and retired, below, before and behind. This is the off the road, hangs out no sign of renecessary way to live, men have con- freshment for man and beast, but says, fessed, in these days, and shall he skulk by all possible hints and signs, I wish and hide ? And why should we have to be alone-good-bye--farewell. But any serious disgust at kitchens? Per- the landlord can afford to live without haps they are the holiest recess of the privacy. He entertains no private house. There is the hearth, after all, thought, he cherishes no solitary hour, and the settle, and the faggots, and no sabbath day, but thinks-enough to the kettle, and the crickets. We have assert the dignity of reason-and talks, pleasant reminiscences of these. They and reads the newspaper. What he are the heart, the left ventricle, the very does not tell to one traveller, he tells to vital part of the house. Here the real another. He never wants to be alone, and sincere life which we meet in the but sleeps, wakes, eats, drinks, sociably, streets was actually fed and sheltered. still remembering his race. He walks Here burns the taper that cheers the abroad through the thoughts of men, lonely traveller by night, and from this and the Iliad and Shakspeare are tame hearth ascends the smokes that popu to him, who hears the rude but home. late the valley to his eyes by day. On ly incidents of the road from every
traveller. The mail might drive care of you, but if you will break your through his brain in the midst of his neck, he will even give you the best most lonely soliloquy, without disturb- advice as to the method. ing his equanimity, provided it brought The great poets have not been unplenty of news and passengers. There grateful to their landlords. Mine host can be no pro-fanity where there is no of the Tabard inn, in the Prologue to fane behind, and the whole world may the Canterbury Tales, was an honor to see quite round him. Perchance his his profession : lines have fallen to him in dustier places, and he has heroically sat down where two roads meet, or at the Four For to han been an marshal in an halle.
“A semely man our Hoste was, with alle, Corners, or the Five Points, and his A large man he was, with eyen stepe; life is sublimely trivial for the good of A fairer burgeis is ther non in Chepe: mén. The dust of travel blows ever Bold of his speche, and wise, and well in his eyes, and they preserve their ytaught, clear, complacent look. The hourlies And of manhood him lacked righte and half-hourlies, the dailies and week naught. lies, whirl on well worn tracks, round Eke thereto, was '
he right a mery man, and round his house, as if it were the And after souper plaien he began, goal in the stadium, and still he sits and spake of mirthe amonges Other within in unruffled serenity, with no
thinges, show of retreat. His neighbor dwells Whan that we hadden made our reckontimidly behind a screen of poplars and
inges.” willows, and a fence with sheafs of spears at regular intervals, or defended He is the true house-band, and cenagainst the tender palms of visitors by tre of the company—of greater fellowsharp spikes, but the traveller's wheels ship and practical social talent than
He it is, that proposes that rattle over the door-step of the tavern,
any. and he cracks his whip in the entry.
each shall tell a tale to while away the He is truly glad to see you, and sincere time to Canterbury, and leads them as the bull's-eye over his door. The himself, and concludes with his own traveller seeks to find, wherever he
tale : goes, some one who will stand in this
“Now, by my fader's soule that is ded, broad and catholic relation to him, who But ye be mery, smiteth of my hed: will be an inhabitant of the land to him Hold up your hondes withouten more a stranger, and represent its human speche." nature, as the rock stands for its inanimate nature ; and this is he. As his If we do not look up to the Landlord, we crib furnishes provender for the travel. look round for him on all emergencies, ler's horse, and his larder provisions for he is a man of infinite experience, for his appetite, so his conversation fur- who unites hands with wit. He is a nishes the necessary aliment to his more public character than a statesspirits. He knows very well what a man-a publican, and not consequently man wants, for he is a man himself, and a sinner; and surely, he, if any, should as it were the farthest travelled, though be exempted from taxation and military he has never stirred from his door. He duty. understands his needs and destiny. He Talking with our host is next best would be well fed and lodged, there can and instructive to talking with one's be no doubt, and have the transient self. It is a more conscious soliloquy; as sympathy of a cheerful companion, and it were, to speak generally, and try what of a heart which always prophesies we would say provided we had an aufair weather. And after all the great- dience. He has indulgent and open est men, even, want much more the sym- ears, and does not require petty and pathy which every one can give, than particular statements. Heigho!" that which the great only can im- exclaims the traveller. part. If he is not the most upright, sentiments, thinks mine host, and let us allow him this praise, that he is stands ready for what may come next, the most downright of men. He has expressing the purest sympathy by his a hand to shake and to be shaken, and demeanor. "Hot as blazes !” says the takes a sturdy and unquestionable in- other,--Hard weather, sir,—not terest in you, as if he had assumed the much stirring now-a-days,” says he.
He is wiser than to contradict his ums,—but a good fellow, that is, good guest in any case; he lets him go on, to be associated with. Who ever he lets him travel.
thought of the religion of an innkeeper The latest sitter leaves him stand -whether he was joined to the Church, ing far in the night, prepared to live partook of the sacrament, said his right on, while suns rise and set, and prayers, feared God, or the like ? No his “ good-night” has as brisk a sound doubt he has had his experiences, has as his "good-morning," and the earliest felt a change, and is a firm believer in riser finds him tasting his liquors in the the perseverance of the saints. In bar ere flies begin to buzz, with a coun- this last, we suspect, does the pecutenance fresh as the morning star over liarity of his religion consist. But he the sanded floor,-and not as one who keeps an inn, and not a conscience. had watched all night for travellers. How many fragrant charities, and sinAnd yet, if beds be the subject of con cere social virtues are implied in this versation, it will appear that no man daily offering of himself to the public. has been a sounder sleeper in his time. He cherishes good will to all, and
Finally, as for his moral character, gives the wayfarer as good and honest we do not hesitate to say, that he has advice to direct him on his road, as the no grain of vice or meanness in him, priest. but represents just that degree of vir To conclude, the tavern will comtue which all men relish without being pare favorably with the church. The obliged to respect. He is a good man, church is the place where prayers and as his bitters are good-an unques sermons are delivered, but the tavern tionable goodness. Not what is called is where they are to take effect, and if a good man,-good to be considered, as the former are good, the latter cannot a work of art in galleries and muse be bad,
(With an engraving on steel.)
The subject of this sketch was born If ever any man was a painter in his in Charleston, S. C., November 5th, appearance, that man was Allston; his · 1779. He was fitted for college at language, the tones of his voice, his Newport, R. I., and his school-fellows gestures, were polished and refined, as remember his strong predilection for they only could be, by an unwearied his art at that early age. When he study of beauty. He impressed his was sixteen years old he entered Har- visitor by a certain patient expression, vard University, and graduated in 1800 as if he had devoted more of life to with a poem.
In college he painted labor than most men ; and had an inward several pictures, and copied some of look of industry, as if toil had been those belonging to the institution. His harmonized into the softest beauty, yet designs at this period are distinguished lost not a whit of its sternness. He for their tragic and romantic effect ; was this unwearied worker. His gesone of them, from Schiller's “Robbers," tures and frequent changes of position represents Charles de Moor, meditating were always graceful, and well illussuicide in the forest, pistol in hand. trated his conversation. He displayed
After leaving college, he disposed that high-bred courtesy, in which great of his paternal estate in South Caro- artists are not inferior to kings. He lina, and, in 1801, embarked for Lon- poured out the glass of wine, and atdon, where he spent some three years tended you to the door, with a pleasure as a student at the Royal Academy, in each little civility that showed how West at that time being President. magnificent his feelings were. He then went to Italy, where he spent a high service he did in the great court four years, and returned to America in of love, not any thing individual. This 1809. After remaining at home two elegance and polish made his society years, during which period he married enchanting, but he possessed, besides, a å sister of the late Dr. Channing, he keen and subtle intellect, a warm and sailed again for England in 1811. generous heart, and a lofty and religi
While abroad he divided his time be- ous spirit. tween London, Paris and Rome. Few Among his Poems, (for he also exAmerican artists have devoted so much celled in this art) many will remember time to preparatory studies. He quali- his “ England and America,” gratefully fied himself thoroughly in every de- inserted in the Sibylline Leaves, by partment of the art, and gained an Coleridge. In his Sylphs of the Seaexact knowledge of anatomy; he spent sons, the longest poem of his early vomuch time in modelling—a practice lume, the same minute care to polish which he continued to the last year of without weakening, which renders his his life. In 1818, he returned to Ame- pictures such monuments of artistical rica, where he afterwards remained. skill, is observable ; his later poems,
His figure was tall, commanding, like “ Rosalie," have an added delicacy well-proportioned and very erect. The and sweetness, as his later female lines of his face were softened, as if heads have. Years in him, did but the tone of the fair features he moulded deepen the creative beauty of his soul, had been reflected there. His hair in and a serene gentleness rests every his later years fell in long silver locks, where on his last works, like the latest and was very abundant, graceful, and beams of the sun over the landscape. waving. We have-seen a picture of His only published work of fiction, Fuseli which reminds us of him, though “Monaldi,” could have been composed the former wanted a certain inward re- by no one except a great painter, ligious expression peculiar to Allston. and the conceptions of master-pieces His countenance expressed with great are strewn on its pages. It is a bold animation what was passing in his tale of imaginative passion, a thrilling mind, and each emotion was mirrored narrative of the lights and shadows of there with singular fidelity.
human character. He has left a series