N. R. Willis
'Antonio. Get me a conjuror, I say! Inquire me out a man that lets out devils!'
SUCH a night! It was like a festival of Dian,*--a burst of a summer shower at sunset, with a clap or two of thunder, had purified the air to an intoxicating rareness, and the free breathing of the flowers, and the delicious perfume from the earth and grass, and the fresh foliage of the new spring, showed the delight and sympathy of inanimate Nature in the night's beauty. There was no atmosphere--nothing between the eye and the pearly moon,--and she rode through the heavens without a veil, like a queen as she is, giving a glimpse of her nearer beauty for a festal favour to the worshipping stars.
I was a student at the famed university of Connecticut,* and the bewilderments of philosophy and poetry were strong upon me, in a place where exquisite natural beauty, and the absence of all other temptation, secure to the classic neophite an almost supernatural wakefulness of fancy. I contracted a taste for the horrible in those days, which still clings to me. I have travelled the world over, with no object but general observation, and have dwindled my hour at courts and operas with little interest, while the sacking and drowning of a woman in the Bosphorus, the impalement of a robber on the Nile, and the insane hospitals from Liverpool to Cathay, are described in my capricious journal with the vividness of the most stirring adventure.
There is a kind of crystallization in the circumstances of one's life. A peculiar turn of mind draws to itself events fitted to its particular nucleus, and it is frequently a subject of wonder why one man meets with more remarkable things than another, when it is owing merely to a difference of natural