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a web of many textures

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Page 199


Were you ever at Lake Winnipiseogee?” a friend
asked. We assured him that felicity was in reserve.
“Well,” said he, with animation, “I should like to go
up there with you, next summer, and show you the
greatest sights you ever saw; such beautiful hills, such
magnificent distances, such delightful sheets of water,
such splendid sunrises! Why, a sail across the lake
would reveal to you more delights than you ever
dreamt of after witnessing a fairy spectacle. You
must go.” And we resolved to go, but not with him.
Such a companion, with so much enthusiasm, would be
insufferable. Companionship is only desirable where
silence, not voice, expresses sympathy with nature and
with ourselves. The utterance of delightful adjectives
is a bore, the human voice is a bore, the officious proffering
of opinion is a worse than bore. We know
the annoyance of the concert-room when the soul is
at its acme of appreciative bliss, to have a vein of small
talk permeating the melody. The nerves, stretched on
the tuneful rack, are more susceptible then, and the
chit-chat, untimely carried on, is sadly provocative of
violence. We feel that it cannot be tolerated, and a
counteracting bitterness is excited in proportion to the
effluence of the sweet. So by the sea-shore, or on a
mountain, or a lake, or a prairie, or in a wood, the same
feeling prevails, the delights we realize fixing the measure
of the annoyance. We feel sometimes that it is
good for a man to be alone, when he lends himself
to enjoyments like those afforded by communion with

The voice of friendship sounds harsh when it disturbs
the silence of the fields; and the kindest words


Page 200
would fain be dispensed with, or deferred till a more
convenient season, if uttered when the soul is filled
with its devotion. But infinitely worse is it when the
garrulous drive of ordinary companionship chatters
about one's ears, obtruding itself upon the sacredness,
like a parrot in a church. This fastidiousness is not
peculiar to ourselves, and, though it may not be
expressed, it is very generally felt.