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a web of many textures

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Page 328


When the life of Daniel Webster — that grand drama
— was about drawing to a close, he is represented to
have said, “Life — Life — how curious it is!” The
word curious was deemed a strange one, but it expressed
the very thing. How curious life is, from
the cradle to the grave! The forming mind of childhood,
busy with the present, and unable to guess the
secret of its own existence, is curious. The hopes of
youth are curious, reaching forward into the future, and
building castles in the perspective for those who entertain
them, that will fade away in the sunlight of an
older experience. How curious is the first dawning of
love, when the young heart surrenders itself to its
dreams of bliss, illumined with — moonshine! How curious
it is, when marriage crowns the wishes, to find the
cares of life but begun, and the path all strewn with
anxieties, that romance had depicted as a road of
flowers! How curious it is, says the young mother, as
she spreads upon her own the tiny hand of her child,
and endeavors to read, in its dim lines, the fortune
there hidden! Curious, indeed, would such revealing
be. How curious is the greed for gain that controls
too much the life of man, leading him away after
strange gods, forgetting all the object and good of life
in a chase for a phantom light, that ends at last in three-fold
Egyptian darkness! How curious is the love of life
that clings to the old, and draws them back imploringly
to earth, begging for a longer look at time and its frivolities,
with eternity and all its joys within their reach!
How curious it is, when at length the great end draws
nigh, — the glazing eye, the struggle, the groan, proclaiming
dissolution, and the still clay — so still! — that


Page 329
lately stood by our side in the pride of health and happiness!
How curious it is that the realities of the immortal
world should be based upon the crumbling
vanities of this, and that the path to infinite life should
be through the dark shadow of the grave! How curious
it is, in its business and its pleasures, its joys and
its sorrows, its hopes and its fears, its temptations and
its triumphs; and, as we contemplate life in all its manifestations,
we needs must exclaim, “How curious
it is!”