Page:Pierre.djvu/375

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PIERRE, AS A JUVENILE AUTHOR 361

that for that instant success they were chiefly indebted to some rich and peculiar experience in life, embodied in a book, which because, for that cause, containing original matter, the author himself, forsooth, is to be considered original ; in this way, many very original books, being the product of very unoriginal minds. Indeed, man has only to be but a little circumspect, and away flies the last rag of his vanity. The world is forever babbling of originality ; but there never yet was an original man, in the sense intended by the world ; the first man himself—who according to the Rabbins was also the first author—not being an original ; the only original author being God. Had Milton's been the lot of Caspar Hauser, Milton would have been vacant as he. For though the naked soul of man doth assuredly contain one latent element of intellectual productiveness ; yet never was there a child born solely from one parent ; the visible world of experience being that procreative thing which impregnates the muses ; self -reciprocally efficient hermaphrodites being but a fable.

There is infinite nonsense in the world on all of these matters ; hence blame me not if I contribute my mite. It is impossible to talk or to write without apparently throwing oneself helplessly open ; the Invulnerable Knight wears his visor down. Still, it is pleasant to chat ; for it passes the time ere we go to our beds ; and speech is further incited, when like strolling improvisatores of Italy, we are paid for our breath. And we are only too thankful when the gapes of the audience dismiss us with the few ducats we earn.


II

It may have been already inferred, that the pecuniary plans of Pierre touching his independent means of sup--