Page:Pierre.djvu/373

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PIERRE, AS A JUVENILE AUTHOR 359

Yes ; Pierre was not only very unarchitectural at that time, but Pierre was very young, indeed, at that time. And it is often to be observed, that as in digging for precious metals in the mines, much earthy rubbish has first to be troublesomely handled, and thrown out ; so, in digging in one's soul for the fine gold of genius, much dulness and commonplace is first brought to light. Happy would it be, if the man possessed in himself some receptacle for his own rubbish of this sort : but he is like the occupant of a dwelling, whose refuse cannot be clapped into his own cellar, but must be deposited in the street before his own door, for the public functionaries to take care of. No commonplace is ever effectually got rid of, except by essentially emptying one's self of it into a book ; for once trapped in a book, then the book can be put into the fire, and all will be well. But they are not always put into the fire ; and this accounts for the vast majority of miserable books over those of positive merit. Nor will any thoroughly sincere man, who is an author, ever be rash in precisely defining the period, when he has completely ridded himself of his rubbish, and come to the latent gold in his mine. It holds true, in every case, that the wiser a man is, the more misgivings he has on certain points.

It is well enough known, that the best productions of the best human intellects, are generally regarded by those intellects as mere immature freshman exercises, wholly worthless in themselves, except as initiatives for entering the great University of God after death. Certain it is, that if any inferences can be drawn from observations of the familiar lives of men of the greatest mark, their finest things, those which become the foolish glory of the world, are not only very poor and inconsiderable to themselves, but often positively distasteful ; they would rather not have the book in the room. In minds com--