Author: Paschal Beverly Randolph
Publisher: Library of Alexandria
View: 8948And he sat him down wearily by the side of the road. Wearily, for he had journeyed far that day. He was footsore, and his bodily powers were nearly exhausted by reason of the want and privation he had undergone. His looks were haggard, and a pathetic pall, gloomy and tearful, hung and floated around him, invisible to, but sensibly felt by, all who lingered near, or gazed upon him. A sorrowful man was he. And as he sat there by the roadside, he leaned his head upon the staff which he held in his hand; and as he bowed him down, the great salt tears gushed from between his fingers, and watered the ground at his feet. In other days the cypress, plant of sorrow, sprung up there, and throve in sad and mournful beauty, as if to mark and guard the spot whereon the strong man had lifted up his voice and wept aloud—once upon a time. This was many years ago; and this was the occasion on which I became acquainted with the personage who figures so remarkably in this volume. At that time the writer practically accepted, but mentally disbelieved, all the religious and psychologic faiths of Christendom; and, had any man even hinted at certain mysterious possibilities that have since then been verified and demonstrated, I should most certainly have laughed in his face, and have reckoned him up as a first-class fool or idiot. Things have changed since then. He was a man of middle height, was neither stout nor slender, but, when in full flesh, was a happy medium between the two. His head and brain were large, and, from certain peculiarities of form, really much more massive than they appeared. The skull was long and narrow at the base, especially about the ears; but above that line the brain was deep, broad and high, indicating great powers ofendurance, with but moderate physical force, it being clearly apparent that the mental structure sustained itself to a great degree at the expense of the muscles, his nervous system, as in all such organizations, being morbidly acute and sensitive. There was, naturally or organically, nothing about him either coarse, brutal, low or vulgar, and if, in the race of life, he exhibited any of those bad qualities, it was attributable to the rough circumstances attendant upon him, and the treatment he received from the world. By nature he was open, frank, benevolent and generous to a fault, and of these traits men availed themselves to his sorrow. With abundant capacity to successfully grapple with the most profound and abstruse questions of philosophy or metaphysics, yet this man was totally incompetent to conduct matters of the least business, requiring even a very moderate financial ability. Such are nature’s contradictions, such her law of compensation.