bite made him sick?"
"I do n't tink noffin about it--I nose it. What make him dream bout de
goole so much, if taint cause he bit by de goole-bug? Ise heerd bout dem
goole-bugs fore dis."
"But how do you know he dreams about gold?"
"How I know? why cause he talk about it in he sleep--dat's how I nose."
"Well, Jup, perhaps you are right; but to what fortunate circumstance am
I to attribute the honor of a visit from you to-day?"
"What de matter, massa?"
"Did you bring any message from Mr. Legrand?"
"No, massa, I bring dis here pissel;" and here Jupiter handed me a note
which ran thus:
MY DEAR ----
Why have I not seen you for so long a time? I hope you have not been so
foolish as to take offence at any little _brusquerie_ of mine; but no,
that is improbable. Since I saw you I have had great cause for anxiety.
I have something to tell you, yet scarcely know how to tell it, or
whether I should tell it at all.
I have not been quite well for some days past, and poor old Jup annoys
me, almost beyond endurance, by his well-meant attentions Would you
believe it?--he had prepared a huge stick, the other day, with which
to chastise me for giving him the slip, and spending the day, _solus_,
among the hills on the main land. I verily believe that my ill looks
alone saved me a flogging.
I have made no addition to my cabinet since we met.
If you can, in any way, make it convenient, come over with Jupiter.
_Do_ come. I wish to see you to-_night_, upon business of importance. I
assure you that it is of the _highest_ importance.
Ever yours, WILLIAM LEGRAND.
There was something in the tone of this note which gave me great
uneasiness. Its whole style differed materially from that of Legrand.
What could he be dreaming of? What new crotchet possessed his excitable
brain? What "business of the highest importance" could he possibly have
to transact? Jupiter's account of him boded no good. I dreaded lest the
continued pressure of misfortune had, at length, fairly unsettled
the reason of my friend. Without a moment's hesitation, therefore, I
prepared to accompany the negro.
Upon reaching the wharf, I noticed a scythe and three spades, all
apparently new, lying in the bottom of the boat
Unity of the First Thing lies the Secondary Cause of All Things, with the Germ of their Inevitable Annihilation_.Page 6
' These and numerous similar propositions formerly accepted, without hesitation, as axioms, or undeniable truths, were, even at the period of which I speak, seen to be altogether untenable:--how absurd in these people, then, to persist in relying upon a basis, as immutable, whose mutability had become so repeatedly manifest! "But, even through evidence afforded by themselves against themselves, it is easy to convict these _a priori_ reasoners of the grossest unreason--it is easy to show the futility--the impalpability of their axioms in general.Page 12
A task _may_ be more or less difficult; but it is either possible or not possible:--there are no gradations.Page 13
But it is in the act of discontinuing the endeavor--of fulfilling (as we think) the idea--of putting the finishing stroke (as we suppose) to the conception--that we overthrow at once the whole fabric of our fancy by resting upon some one ultimate and therefore definite point.Page 17
We perceive, therefore, upon the whole, that it would be supererogatory, and consequently unphilosophical, to predicate of the atoms, in view of their purposes, any thing more than _difference of form_ at their dispersion, with particular inequidistance after it--all other differences arising at once out of these, in the very first processes of mass-constitution:--We thus establish the Universe on a purely _geometrical_ basis.Page 19
In fact, while the tendency of the diffused atoms to return into Unity, will be recognized, at once, as the principle of the Newtonian Gravity, what I have spoken of as a repulsive influence prescribing limits to the (immediate) satisfaction of the tendency, will be understood as _that_ which we have been in the practice of designating now as heat, now as magnetism, now as _electricity_; displaying our ignorance of its awful character in the vacillation of the phraseology with which we endeavor to circumscribe it.Page 20
Discarding now the two equivocal terms, "gravitation" and "electricity," let us adopt the more definite expressions, "_attraction_" and "_repulsion_.Page 24
It is not to any _point_ that the atoms are allied.Page 40
Confining himself to an _obviously limited_ region--that of our solar system with its comparatively immediate vicinity--and _merely_ assuming--that is to say, assuming without any basis whatever, either deductive or inductive--_much_ of what I have been just endeavoring to place upon a more stable basis than assumption; assuming, for example, matter as diffused (without pretending to account for the diffusion) throughout, and somewhat beyond, the space occupied by our system--diffused in a state of heterogeneous nebulosity and obedient to that omniprevalent law of Gravity at whose principle he ventured to make no guess;--assuming all this (which is quite true, although he had no logical right to its assumption) Laplace has shown, dynamically and mathematically, that the results in such case necessarily ensuing, are those and those alone which we find manifested in the actually existing condition of the system itself.Page 44
Continuing to shrink, the Sun, on becoming so small as just to fill the orbit of Mars, now discharged this planet--of course by the process repeatedly described.Page 48
Admitting what I have urged, it is clear that, from the moment of the Sun's discarding a ring, there must be a continuous diminution both of his heat and light, on account of the continuous encrustation of his surface; and that a period would arrive--the period immediately previous to a new discharge--when a _very material_ decrease of both light and heat, must become apparent.Page 52
appears in some manner to have gotten the better of the necessity, and does not quite _renounce_ the theory, although he seems to wish that he could sneer at it as "a purely hypothetical one.Page 53
Thus, their condition, as we see them now, must be referred to an epoch _far less remote_ than that to which we may refer the now-observed condition of at least the majority of the stars.Page 73
This central orb, however, should, dynamically, be greater than all the orbs, taken together, which surround it.Page 74
Admitting the thing to be so, we cannot help here picturing to ourselves how sad a puzzle the _why it is so_ must prove to all _a priori_ philosophers.Page 75
We should have been forced to regard the Universe with some such sense of dissatisfaction as we experience in contemplating an unnecessarily complex work of human art.Page 92
* * * This is one of those sterling old works which were written for "all time," full of learning, humor, and quaint conceits.Page 99