Return to CRS menu

Extract Book of Catharine B. Porter

May 1st, 1834

Index Page
Buanaparte's definition of happiness - - - - - - - - - - - - -1st
Miss Gould's Bridesmaid - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -1st
Extract from the Escorted Lady - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3rd
Extract from Tracy's Sermon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4th
Extract from Pilgrims of the Rhine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6th
Extract from Mclellan's Journal - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6th
Description of the Miserare - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 7th
Definition of a Scruple - J. Taylor - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8th
Extract from the Christian Ex. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9th
Remark of Mr. Simmons' - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -" "
Account of Napoleon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -" "
Extract fron Sulathaick - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -11th
Extract from Anastasia - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -13th
Skating &c. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - " "
Extract from Trial & Self Discipline - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 14.
Extract from Memoirs of Mrs. H. More - - - - - - - - - - - "
Extract from Trial & Self Discipline - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 15

Bonaparte's definition of Happiness copied for its oddity, not its truth.
"There is no such thing as happiness or misery in th world, the sole distinction is, that the life of the happy man is a picture with a silver ground, studded with stars of jet, while, on the other hand, the life of the unfortunate man is a dark ground with a few stars of silver."

Memoirs of Josephine
May 1st.

The Bridesmaid H. F. Gould
"The picture accompanying this piece, represents a lady just return- ed from a bridal. She is sitting in deep thought, and is apparently very sad. On her neck is a necklace fastened on her breast by a dove - at her feet lies a whithered wreath - by her side is a lute - on the table before her, is a vase of flowers and a string of pearls with a cross attached to it.
'Tis over! I have passed the cruel test, Methinks I earned well the mask of joy, that frequent use had fitted to my face too closely to be shaken by the throb of a torn bosom! Yes, I chose the dove to fasten at my breast this chain of pearls,a sign of peace within sad memory! The dove was all without, & formed of stone. A heart that's breaking at another's bliss should burst without a groan; & mine I think that everything has snapped so silently, quivered and bled unseen.
Ye beauteous flowers
Behold your sisters in the cast-off wreath, that pale and worthless whithers at my feet! They speak of her who wore them. Are of one who grew beside her. Yet the dew of grief ne'er touched her bloom.
My silent lute farewell! Thy broken strings will never be restored. When seraph next thy mistress sweeps the tuneful chord, may seraph voices mingle with the notes; where sorrow claims no strain!
Poor sickly pearls! How dim and pale ye look, trailed useless out? The hue of death is cast o'er everything and Vanity is marked on all I see! On all! Oh no! one blessed sign appears! A precious emblem to the eye of faith; (next page has been cut out)

"How beautiful is this hour," said Gertrude, with a low voice, "surely we do not live enough in the night - one half the beauty of the world is slept away. What in the day can equal the stillness and the loveliness which the moon now casts over the earth? These", she continued, pressing (name?)'s hand, "are hours to remember, and you - will you ever forget them?"
Something there is in recollections of such times and scenes that seem not to belong to real life, but are rather an episode in its history; they are like some wandering into a more ideal world; they refuse to blend with our ruder associations; they live in us, and alone, to be treasured ever, but not lightly to be recalled. There are none living to whom we can confide them - who can sympathise with what we then felt! - It is this that makes poetry, and that page which we create as a confidant to ourselves, necessary to the thoughts that weigh upon the breast. We write, for our writing is our friend, the inanimate paper is our confessional, we pour forth on it the thoughts that we could tell to no private ear, and we are relieved, - are consoled. And if genius has one perogative dearer than the rest, it is that which enables it to do honour to the dead - to revive the beauty, the virtue that are no more; to wreath chaplets that outlive the day, round the urn which were else forgotten by the world!
When the poet mourns, in his immortal verse for the dead, tell me not that fame is in his mind! - it is filled by thoughts, by emotions that shut the living from his soul. He is breathing to his genius - to that sole and constant friend, which has grown up with him from his cradle - the sorrow too delicate for human sympathy; and when afterward he consigns the confessions to the crowd, it is indeed from the hope of honour; - honour not for himself, but for the being that is no more."
Buliver's Pilgrims of the Rhine. August.

"The heart is like a deep well, the waters are stirred, but it requires a piercing eye to discover what it is that stirs them. Oh let me not think it an angel, if it be but a serpent."
McLellan's Journal.

Description of the Miserare.
"The shadows of evening had now closed in,and we should have been left in almost total darkness, but for the dull red glare which proceeded from the hidden lights of the unseen choirsters, and, which mingling with the deepening twilight, produced a most melancholy gloom. After a deep and most impressive pause of silence, the solemn Miserare commenced, and never by mortal ear was heard a strain of such powerful, such heart-moving pathos. The accordant tones of a hundred human voices - and one which seemed more than human - ascended together to heaven for mercy to mankind - for pardon to a guilty and sinning world. It had nothing in it of this earth - nothing that breathed the ordinary feelings of our nature. It seems as if every sense and power had been concentrated into that plaintive expression of lamentation, of deep suffering and supplication, which possessed the soul. It was the strain that disembodied spirits might have used, who had just passed the boundaries of death and sought release from the mysterious weight of wo (sic), and the tremblings of mortal agony that they had suffered in the passage of the grave. It was the music of another state of being. It lasted till the shadows of evening fell deeper, and the red dusky glare, as it issued stronger from the concealed recess whence the singing proceeded, threw a partial, but strong light upon the figures near it. It ceased: a priest with a light moved across the chapel, and carried a book to the officiating cardinal, who read a few words in an awful and impressive tone. Then, again, the light disappeared; and the last, the most entrancing harmony arose, in a strain that might have moved heaven itself - a deep, more pathetic sound of lamentation than mortals ever breathed. Its effect upon the minds of those who heard it was almost too all-powerful to be borne; and nver - never can be forgotten." Rome in the 19th century.
"If scruple is a little stone in the foot; if you set it upon the ground it hurts you, if you hold it up, you cannot go forward, it is a trouble when the trouble is over, a doubt when doubts are resolved; it is a little party behind a hedge when the main army is broken, and the field cleared, and when the conscience is instructed in its warm and girded for action, a light trifling reason or an absurd fear hinders it from beginning the journey, or proceeding in the way, or resting at the journey's end."
Jeremy Taylor.

"it has been beautifully said, by one of ancient days, that the christian religion is a fountain, at which a lamb may sip, and an elephant may quench its thirst."
Christian Examiner.

Speaking of the connection between the senses and the intellect, she (Mrs Simmons) said, "The mind and the heart are the princes if you please, but the senses are their porters; nay, the princes are often captive, and the senses are their keepers."
October 12th.

" In France, at the commencement of the 19th century there existed a Consular Government - Buonaparte being First Consul - a Government raised from the ruins of a sad and memorable revolution; in 1802, Bonaparte became Consul for life; in 1804, Emperor, in 1808, he deprived the Pope, who crowned him, of his territories; in 1809 he divorced Josephine, his wife; in 1810 he married Maria Louise. Between the commencement of his career & its close, he created three kingdoms; Bavaria, Saxony, and Wirtemberg. He made his brother Joseph, king of Spain; his brother Louis, king of Holland; his brother Jerome king of Westphalia; his brother-in-law Murar, king of Naples; his son- in-law Eugene, viceroy of Italy.
In 1814, the exiled Bourbons are restored to their throne - Bonaparte is banished to Elba - his family are dethroned and degraded. From Elba he escapes and returns to Paris, is again in the ascendant; reigns for his Hundred Days, and, then, by a series of victories, crowned and consummated by that of Waterloo, is beaten down, never to rise again. Unable to escape, he makes a (illegible) of surrendering to England, and for the sake of peace in Europe, is sent to St. Helena, where he dies.

"Physiognomy is a true science. The man of profound thought, the man of active ability, and above all the man of genius has his character stamped on his countenance by nature; the man of violent passions and the voluptuary have it stamped by habit. But the science has its limits: it has no stamp for mere cruelty.
The features of the human monster before me, were wild and almost handsome: a heavy eye and a figure tending to fullness gave the impression of a quiet mind; and but for an occasion of restlessness of brow, and a brief glance from under it, in which the leaden eye darted suspicion, I should have pronounced Nero one of the most intolerably tranquil of mankind.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rome was an ocean of flame. Height and depth were covered with red surges, that rolled before the wind like an endless tide. The billows burst up the sides of the hills which they turned into instant volcanoes, exploding volumes of smoke and fire; then, plunged into the depths in a hundred glowing cataracts; then, climbed and consumed again. The distant sound of the city in her convulsions went to the soul. The air was filled with the steady roar of advancing flame, the crash of falling houses and the hideous outcry of the myriads flying through the sheets , or surrounded and perishing in the conflagrations. Hostile to Rome as I was, I could not restrain the exclamation, "There goes the fruit of conquest, the glory of ages, the purchase of the blood of millions. Was vanity made for man?"
P. Salathiel.

"He drew asaide a curtain that covered a superb equestrian portrait of the Emperor. I saw a countenance of incomprable shrewdness, eccentricity and self enjoyment. Every feature told the same tale, from the rounded and dimpled chin to the broad and deeply veined forehead, overhung with its rough mat of hair. The hooked nose, the deep wrinkles about the lips, the thick dark eyebrow obliquely raised, as if some jest was gathering, showed the perpetual humorist. But the eye beneath that brow - an orb black as charcoal, with a spot of intense brightness in the centre, as if a breath could turn that coal into a flame - belonged to the supreme sagacity that had raised (illegible) from a cottage to the throne.

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
(a passage filling half a page in French, from the Travels of Anastasis)

"Truly, society is like a large piece of frozen water; there are the rough places to be shunned, the very slippery ones all ready for a fall, and the holes which seem ready to drown you. All that can be done is to glide lightly over them. Skating well is the great art of social life."

"The joys of a holy life are not entirely reserved for a future state. Virtue and happiness are closely connected. Virtue is the root, happiness the flower. It is true that the blossom is sometimes whirled away, or crushed, by the various accidents to which it is exposed here; but if the root is safe, it often buds and blossoms again, even in this world."

"By the way, I pretend to have thrown light on a story of mythological antiquity, which has escaped all classical commentators; and I give it to you as an original discovery:
Prometheus, it is said, was chained to Mt. Caucasus, that is, he was confined to his bed. Its being called a rock, only means that it was a _hard_ bed, not one of our luxurious beds of down. The vulture that preyed upon his vitals, was nothing but a bad liver case. Now as the use of calomel was probably at that time not introduced into the pharmacopeia of Caucasus, it is no wonder that though his liver was constantly devoured, it was never destroyed.

Hercules, who at last killed the vulture, was, I presume some skillful physician who discovered some substitute for mercury, by which the bilious patient was, at the end of thirty years, delivered from his hard bed."
Memoirs of Mrs H. More.

"What do you do, asked Phillis, when the plant that you want to bring forward, is too much shaded?

Why, if the shoots around it are not of much value, I cut them away till the sun can come plainly at it.

So God does with a creature that he loves, said Phillis, he takes away what comes between it and the sun of his righteousness."

"Many new monastic orders were instituted in the 11th century, under various rules of discipline; but all with a view to greater regularity of manners. And monks were called from the lonely cell to the (illegible) and exalted stations, to file the papal chair, and support the (illegible) crown, or to discharge the office of prime minister in some mighty kingdom, and regulate the interests of nations. Though utterly devoid ignorant of public transactions, their reputation for superior sanctity, which was easily acquired, by real or affected austerity, in ages of rapine and superstition made them be thought fit to direct all things. This ghostly reputation even enabled them to trample upon the authority and insult the persons of the princes whose government they administered; especially if the lives of such princes, as was very commoly the case, happened to be stained with any acts of lust, violence or oppression.

In order to stay the uplifted arm of divine justice, and under the Governor of the World propitious, the king knelt at the feet of the monk and the minister - happy to commit to the favorite of Heaven the sole guidance of his spiritual and temporal concerns. And if chivalry, by awakening a spirit of enterprise, had not roused the humas powers to deeds of valour, and revived the passion for the softer sex by connecting it with arms, and separating it from gross desire, Europe might have sunk under the tyranny of a set of men, who pretended to renounce the world and its affairs, and Christendom might have become one great cloister."
Russell's Hist. of Mod. Europe.

Return to CRS menu