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    I live in the angle of a leaden wall, into whose composition was poured a little alloy of bell-metal.  Often, in the repose of my mid-day, there reaches my ears a confused tintinnabulum from without.  It is the noise of my contemporaries.  My neighbors tell me of their adventures with famous gentlemen and ladies, what notabilities they met at the dinner-table; but I am no more interested in such things than in the contents of the Daily Times. The interest and the conversation are about costume and manners chiefly; but a goose is a goose still, dress it as you will.  They tell me of California and Texas, of England and the Indies, of the Hon. Mr. --- of Georgia or of Massachusetts, all transient and fleeting phenomena, till I am ready to leap from their court-yard like the Mameluke bey.  I delight to come to my bearings -- not walk in procession with pomp and parade, in a conspicuous place, but to walk even with the Builder of the universe, if I may -- not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century, but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by.  What are men celebrating?  They are all on a committee of arrangements, and hourly expect a speech from somebody.  God is only the president of the day, and Webster is his orator.  I love to weigh, to settle, to gravitate toward that which most strongly and rightfully attracts me -- not hang by the beam of the scale and try to weigh less -- not suppose a case, but take the case that is; to travel the only path I can, and that on which no power can resist me.  It affords me no satisfaction to commerce to spring an arch before I have got a solid foundation.  Let us not play at kittly-benders.  There is a solid bottom everywhere.  We read that the traveller asked the boy if the swamp before him had a hard bottom.  The boy replied that it had. But presently the traveller's horse sank in up to the girths, and he observed to the boy, "I thought you said that this bog had a hard bottom."  "So it has," answered the latter, "but you have not got half way to it yet."  So it is with the bogs and quicksands of society; but he is an old boy that knows it.  Only what is thought, said, or done at a certain rare coincidence is good.  I would not be one of those who will foolishly drive a nail into mere lath and plastering; such a deed would keep me awake nights.  Give me a hammer, and let me feel for the furring.  Do not depend on the putty.  Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction -- a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse.  So will help you God, and so only.  Every nail driven should be as another rivet in the machine of the universe, you carrying on the work.
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