Part 6 out of 6
She says this park would make a tidy summer resort if there was
any custom for it. Summer resort--another invention of hers--
just words, without any meaning. What is a summer resort?
But it is best not to ask her, she has such a rage for explaining.
FRIDAY.--She has taken to beseeching me to stop going over the Falls.
What harm does it do? Says it makes her shudder. I wonder why;
I have always done it--always liked the plunge, and coolness.
I supposed it was what the Falls were for. They have no other
use that I can see, and they must have been made for something.
She says they were only made for scenery--like the rhinoceros and
I went over the Falls in a barrel--not satisfactory to her.
Went over in a tub--still not satisfactory. Swam the Whirlpool and
the Rapids in a fig-leaf suit. It got much damaged. Hence, tedious
complaints about my extravagance. I am too much hampered here.
What I need is a change of scene.
SATURDAY.--I escaped last Tuesday night, and traveled two days,
and built me another shelter in a secluded place, and obliterated my
tracks as well as I could, but she hunted me out by means of a beast
which she has tamed and calls a wolf, and came making that pitiful
noise again, and shedding that water out of the places she looks with.
I was obliged to return with her, but will presently emigrate again
when occasion offers. She engages herself in many foolish things;
among others; to study out why the animals called lions and tigers
live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they
wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other.
This is foolish, because to do that would be to kill each other,
and that would introduce what, as I understand, is called "death";
and death, as I have been told, has not yet entered the Park.
Which is a pity, on some accounts.
MONDAY.--I believe I see what the week is for: it is to give time
to rest up from the weariness of Sunday. It seems a good idea.
. . . She has been climbing that tree again. Clodded her out of it.
She said nobody was looking. Seems to consider that a sufficient
justification for chancing any dangerous thing. Told her that.
The word justification moved her admiration--and envy, too, I thought.
It is a good word.
TUESDAY.--She told me she was made out of a rib taken from my body.
This is at least doubtful, if not more than that. I have not
missed any rib. . . . She is in much trouble about the buzzard;
says grass does not agree with it; is afraid she can't raise it;
thinks it was intended to live on decayed flesh. The buzzard must
get along the best it can with what is provided. We cannot overturn
the whole scheme to accommodate the buzzard.
SATURDAY.--She fell in the pond yesterday when she was looking at
herself in it, which she is always doing. She nearly strangled,
and said it was most uncomfortable. This made her sorry for the
creatures which live in there, which she calls fish, for she continues
to fasten names on to things that don't need them and don't come
when they are called by them, which is a matter of no consequence
to her, she is such a numbskull, anyway; so she got a lot of them out
and brought them in last night and put them in my bed to keep warm,
but I have noticed them now and then all day and I don't see that
they are any happier there then they were before, only quieter.
When night comes I shall throw them outdoors. I will not sleep
with them again, for I find them clammy and unpleasant to lie among
when a person hasn't anything on.
TUESDAY.--She has taken up with a snake now. The other animals are glad,
for she was always experimenting with them and bothering them;
and I am glad because the snake talks, and this enables me to get
FRIDAY.--She says the snake advises her to try the fruit of the tree,
and says the result will be a great and fine and noble education.
I told her there would be another result, too--it would introduce
death into the world. That was a mistake--it had been better
to keep the remark to myself; it only gave her an idea--she could
save the sick buzzard, and furnish fresh meat to the despondent
lions and tigers. I advised her to keep away from the tree.
She said she wouldn't. I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.
WEDNESDAY.--I have had a variegated time. I escaped last night,
and rode a horse all night as fast as he could go, hoping to get
clear of the Park and hide in some other country before the
trouble should begin; but it was not to be. About an hour after
sun-up, as I was riding through a flowery plain where thousands
of animals were grazing, slumbering, or playing with each other,
according to their wont, all of a sudden they broke into a tempest
of frightful noises, and in one moment the plain was a frantic commotion
and every beast was destroying its neighbor. I knew what it meant--
Eve had eaten that fruit, and death was come into the world.
. . . The tigers ate my house, paying no attention when I ordered
them to desist, and they would have eaten me if I had stayed--
which I didn't, but went away in much haste. . . . I found this place,
outside the Park, and was fairly comfortable for a few days, but she
has found me out. Found me out, and has named the place Tonawanda--
says it LOOKS like that. In fact I was not sorry she came,
for there are but meager pickings here, and she brought some
of those apples. I was obliged to eat them, I was so hungry.
It was against my principles, but I find that principles have no
real force except when one is well fed. . . . She came curtained
in boughs and bunches of leaves, and when I asked her what she
meant by such nonsense, and snatched them away and threw them down,
she tittered and blushed. I had never seen a person titter
and blush before, and to me it seemed unbecoming and idiotic.
She said I would soon know how it was myself. This was correct.
Hungry as I was, I laid down the apple half-eaten--certainly the
best one I ever saw, considering the lateness of the season--
and arrayed myself in the discarded boughs and branches, and then
spoke to her with some severity and ordered her to go and get some
more and not make a spectacle or herself. She did it, and after this
we crept down to where the wild-beast battle had been, and collected
some skins, and I made her patch together a couple of suits proper
for public occasions. They are uncomfortable, it is true, but stylish,
and that is the main point about clothes. . . . I find she is a
good deal of a companion. I see I should be lonesome and depressed
without her, now that I have lost my property. Another thing,
she says it is ordered that we work for our living hereafter.
She will be useful. I will superintend.
TEN DAYS LATER.--She accuses ME of being the cause of our disaster!
She says, with apparent sincerity and truth, that the Serpent assured
her that the forbidden fruit was not apples, it was chestnuts.
I said I was innocent, then, for I had not eaten any chestnuts.
She said the Serpent informed her that "chestnut" was a figurative
term meaning an aged and moldy joke. I turned pale at that,
for I have made many jokes to pass the weary time, and some of them
could have been of that sort, though I had honestly supposed
that they were new when I made them. She asked me if I had made
one just at the time of the catastrophe. I was obliged to admit
that I had made one to myself, though not aloud. It was this.
I was thinking about the Falls, and I said to myself, "How wonderful
it is to see that vast body of water tumble down there!"
Then in an instant a bright thought flashed into my head, and I let
it fly, saying, "It would be a deal more wonderful to see it tumble
UP there!"--and I was just about to kill myself with laughing at
it when all nature broke loose in war and death and I had to flee
for my life. "There," she said, with triumph, "that is just it;
the Serpent mentioned that very jest, and called it the First Chestnut,
and said it was coeval with the creation." Alas, I am indeed
to blame. Would that I were not witty; oh, that I had never had
that radiant thought!
NEXT YEAR.--We have named it Cain. She caught it while I was up country
trapping on the North Shore of the Erie; caught it in the timber a
couple of miles from our dug-out--or it might have been four, she isn't
certain which. It resembles us in some ways, and may be a relation.
That is what she thinks, but this is an error, in my judgment.
The difference in size warrants the conclusion that it is a different
and new kind of animal--a fish, perhaps, though when I put it in the
water to see, it sank, and she plunged in and snatched it out before
there was opportunity for the experiment to determine the matter.
I still think it is a fish, but she is indifferent about what it is,
and will not let me have it to try. I do not understand this.
The coming of the creature seems to have changed her whole nature
and made her unreasonable about experiments. She thinks more
of it than she does of any of the other animals, but is not able
to explain why. Her mind is disordered--everything shows it.
Sometimes she carries the fish in her arms half the night when it
complains and wants to get to the water. At such times the water
comes out of the places in her face that she looks out of, and she
pats the fish on the back and makes soft sounds with her mouth
to soothe it, and betrays sorrow and solicitude in a hundred ways.
I have never seen her do like this with any other fish, and it
troubles me greatly. She used to carry the young tigers around so,
and play with them, before we lost our property, but it was only play;
she never took on about them like this when their dinner disagreed
SUNDAY.--She doesn't work, Sundays, but lies around all tired out,
and likes to have the fish wallow over her; and she makes fool
noises to amuse it, and pretends to chew its paws, and that makes
it laugh. I have not seen a fish before that could laugh.
This makes me doubt. . . . I have come to like Sunday myself.
Superintending all the week tires a body so. There ought to be
more Sundays. In the old days they were tough, but now they
WEDNESDAY.--It isn't a fish. I cannot quite make out what it is.
It makes curious devilish noises when not satisfied, and says "goo-goo"
when it is. It is not one of us, for it doesn't walk; it is not
a bird, for it doesn't fly; it is not a frog, for it doesn't hop;
it is not a snake, for it doesn't crawl; I feel sure it is not a fish,
though I cannot get a chance to find out whether it can swim or not.
It merely lies around, and mostly on its back, with its feet up.
I have not seen any other animal do that before. I said I believed it
was an enigma; but she only admired the word without understanding it.
In my judgment it is either an enigma or some kind of a bug.
If it dies, I will take it apart and see what its arrangements are.
I never had a thing perplex me so.
THREE MONTHS LATER.--The perplexity augments instead of diminishing.
I sleep but little. It has ceased from lying around, and goes about on
its four legs now. Yet it differs from the other four legged animals,
in that its front legs are unusually short, consequently this
causes the main part of its person to stick up uncomfortably high
in the air, and this is not attractive. It is built much as we are,
but its method of traveling shows that it is not of our breed.
The short front legs and long hind ones indicate that it is a of
the kangaroo family, but it is a marked variation of that species,
since the true kangaroo hops, whereas this one never does.
Still it is a curious and interesting variety, and has not been
catalogued before. As I discovered it, I have felt justified
in securing the credit of the discovery by attaching my name to it,
and hence have called it KANGAROORUM ADAMIENSIS. . . . It must have
been a young one when it came, for it has grown exceedingly since.
It must be five times as big, now, as it was then, and when
discontented it is able to make from twenty-two to thirty-eight times
the noise it made at first. Coercion does not modify this, but has
the contrary effect. For this reason I discontinued the system.
She reconciles it by persuasion, and by giving it things which she
had previously told me she wouldn't give it. As already observed,
I was not at home when it first came, and she told me she found it
in the woods. It seems odd that it should be the only one, yet it
must be so, for I have worn myself out these many weeks trying to find
another one to add to my collection, and for this to play with;
for surely then it would be quieter and we could tame it more easily.
But I find none, nor any vestige of any; and strangest of all,
no tracks. It has to live on the ground, it cannot help itself;
therefore, how does it get about without leaving a track?
I have set a dozen traps, but they do no good. I catch all small
animals except that one; animals that merely go into the trap out
of curiosity, I think, to see what the milk is there for. They never
THREE MONTHS LATER.--The Kangaroo still continues to grow, which is
very strange and perplexing. I never knew one to be so long getting
its growth. It has fur on its head now; not like kangaroo fur,
but exactly like our hair except that it is much finer and softer,
and instead of being black is red. I am like to lose my mind over
the capricious and harassing developments of this unclassifiable
zoological freak. If I could catch another one--but that is hopeless;
it is a new variety, and the only sample; this is plain. But I
caught a true kangaroo and brought it in, thinking that this one,
being lonesome, would rather have that for company than have no kin
at all, or any animal it could feel a nearness to or get sympathy
from in its forlorn condition here among strangers who do not
know its ways or habits, or what to do to make it feel that it
is among friends; but it was a mistake--it went into such fits at
the sight of the kangaroo that I was convinced it had never seen
one before. I pity the poor noisy little animal, but there is
nothing I can do to make it happy. If I could tame it--but that is
out of the question; the more I try the worse I seem to make it.
It grieves me to the heart to see it in its little storms of sorrow
and passion. I wanted to let it go, but she wouldn't hear of it.
That seemed cruel and not like her; and yet she may be right.
It might be lonelier than ever; for since I cannot find another one,
how could IT?
FIVE MONTHS LATER.--It is not a kangaroo. No, for it supports
itself by holding to her finger, and thus goes a few steps on its
hind legs, and then falls down. It is probably some kind of a bear;
and yet it has no tail--as yet--and no fur, except upon its head.
It still keeps on growing--that is a curious circumstance,
for bears get their growth earlier than this. Bears are dangerous--
since our catastrophe--and I shall not be satisfied to have this
one prowling about the place much longer without a muzzle on.
I have offered to get her a kangaroo if she would let this one go,
but it did no good--she is determined to run us into all sorts
of foolish risks, I think. She was not like this before she lost
A FORTNIGHT LATER.--I examined its mouth. There is no danger yet:
it has only one tooth. It has no tail yet. It makes more noise
now than it ever did before--and mainly at night. I have moved out.
But I shall go over, mornings, to breakfast, and see if it has
more teeth. If it gets a mouthful of teeth it will be time for it
to go, tail or no tail, for a bear does not need a tail in order to
FOUR MONTHS LATER.--I have been off hunting and fishing a month,
up in the region that she calls Buffalo; I don't know why, unless it
is because there are not any buffaloes there. Meantime the bear
has learned to paddle around all by itself on its hind legs,
and says "poppa" and "momma." It is certainly a new species.
This resemblance to words may be purely accidental, of course,
and may have no purpose or meaning; but even in that case it is
still extraordinary, and is a thing which no other bear can do.
This imitation of speech, taken together with general absence of fur
and entire absence of tail, sufficiently indicates that this is a new
kind of bear. The further study of it will be exceedingly interesting.
Meantime I will go off on a far expedition among the forests of
the north and make an exhaustive search. There must certainly be
another one somewhere, and this one will be less dangerous when it
has company of its own species. I will go straightway; but I will
muzzle this one first.
THREE MONTHS LATER.--It has been a weary, weary hunt, yet I have
had no success. In the mean time, without stirring from the
home estate, she has caught another one! I never saw such luck.
I might have hunted these woods a hundred years, I never would
have run across that thing.
NEXT DAY.--I have been comparing the new one with the old one,
and it is perfectly plain that they are of the same breed.
I was going to stuff one of them for my collection, but she
is prejudiced against it for some reason or other; so I have
relinquished the idea, though I think it is a mistake. It would
be an irreparable loss to science if they should get away.
The old one is tamer than it was and can laugh and talk like a parrot,
having learned this, no doubt, from being with the parrot so much,
and having the imitative faculty in a high developed degree.
I shall be astonished if it turns out to be a new kind of parrot;
and yet I ought not to be astonished, for it has already been
everything else it could think of since those first days when it
was a fish. The new one is as ugly as the old one was at first;
has the same sulphur-and-raw-meat complexion and the same singular
head without any fur on it. She calls it Abel.
TEN YEARS LATER.--They are BOYS; we found it out long ago.
It was their coming in that small immature shape that puzzled us;
we were not used to it. There are some girls now. Abel is a good boy,
but if Cain had stayed a bear it would have improved him. After all
these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning;
it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it
without her. At first I thought she talked too much; but now I should
be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life.
Blessed be the chestnut that brought us near together and taught me
to know the goodness of her heart and the sweetness of her spirit!
Translated from the Original
SATURDAY.--I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday.
That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was
a day-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I
should remember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen,
and that I was not noticing. Very well; I will be very watchful now,
and if any day-before-yesterdays happen I will make a note of it.
It will be best to start right and not let the record get confused,
for some instinct tells me that these details are going to be
important to the historian some day. For I feel like an experiment,
I feel exactly like an experiment; it would be impossible for a person
to feel more like an experiment than I do, and so I am coming to feel
convinced that that is what I AM--an experiment; just an experiment,
and nothing more.
Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not;
I think the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it,
but I think the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my
position assured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it?
The latter, perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance
is the price of supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one
Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of
finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition,
and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants
that the aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works
of art should not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world
is indeed a most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously
near to being perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time.
There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others,
but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got
loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme--
a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn't
another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable
to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better.
If we can only get it back again--
But of course there is no telling where it went to. And besides,
whoever gets it will hide it; I know it because I would do it myself.
I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already
begin to realize that the core and center of my nature is love
of the beautiful, a passion for the beautiful, and that it would
not be safe to trust me with a moon that belonged to another person
and that person didn't know I had it. I could give up a moon that I
found in the daytime, because I should be afraid some one was looking;
but if I found it in the dark, I am sure I should find some kind
of an excuse for not saying anything about it. For I do love moons,
they are so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six;
I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank
and looking up at them.
Stars are good, too. I wish I could get some to put in my hair.
But I suppose I never can. You would be surprised to find how far
off they are, for they do not look it. When they first showed,
last night, I tried to knock some down with a pole, but it didn't reach,
which astonished me; then I tried clods till I was all tired out,
but I never got one. It was because I am left-handed and cannot
throw good. Even when I aimed at the one I wasn't after I
couldn't hit the other one, though I did make some close shots,
for I saw the black blot of the clod sail right into the midst of
the golden clusters forty or fifty times, just barely missing them,
and if I could have held out a little longer maybe I could have
So I cried a little, which was natural, I suppose, for one of my age,
and after I was rested I got a basket and started for a place on the
extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground
and I could get them with my hands, which would be better, anyway,
because I could gather them tenderly then, and not break them.
But it was farther than I thought, and at last I had go give it up;
I was so tired I couldn't drag my feet another step; and besides,
they were sore and hurt me very much.
I couldn't get back home; it was too far and turning cold;
but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most
adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant,
because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before,
but I knew them in a minute by the stripes. If I could have one
of those skins, it would make a lovely gown.
Today I am getting better ideas about distances. I was so eager
to get hold of every pretty thing that I giddily grabbed for it,
sometimes when it was too far off, and sometimes when it was but
six inches away but seemed a foot--alas, with thorns between!
I learned a lesson; also I made an axiom, all out of my own head--
my very first one; THE SCRATCHED EXPERIMENT SHUNS THE THORN.
I think it is a very good one for one so young.
I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon,
at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was
not able to make out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man,
but it looked like one, and I feel sure that that is what it is.
I realize that I feel more curiosity about it than about any
of the other reptiles. If it is a reptile, and I suppose it is;
for it has frowzy hair and blue eyes, and looks like a reptile.
It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot; when it stands, it spreads
itself apart like a derrick; so I think it is a reptile, though it may
I was afraid of it at first, and started to run every time it
turned around, for I thought it was going to chase me; but by
and by I found it was only trying to get away, so after that I
was not timid any more, but tracked it along, several hours,
about twenty yards behind, which made it nervous and unhappy.
At last it was a good deal worried, and climbed a tree. I waited
a good while, then gave it up and went home.
Today the same thing over. I've got it up the tree again.
SUNDAY.--It is up there yet. Resting, apparently. But that is
a subterfuge: Sunday isn't the day of rest; Saturday is appointed
for that. It looks to me like a creature that is more interested
in resting than it anything else. It would tire me to rest so much.
It tires me just to sit around and watch the tree. I do wonder
what it is for; I never see it do anything.
They returned the moon last night, and I was SO happy! I think
it is very honest of them. It slid down and fell off again,
but I was not distressed; there is no need to worry when one has
that kind of neighbors; they will fetch it back. I wish I could
do something to show my appreciation. I would like to send them
some stars, for we have more than we can use. I mean I, not we,
for I can see that the reptile cares nothing for such things.
It has low tastes, and is not kind. When I went there yesterday
evening in the gloaming it had crept down and was trying to catch
the little speckled fishes that play in the pool, and I had
to clod it to make it go up the tree again and let them alone.
I wonder if THAT is what it is for? Hasn't it any heart?
Hasn't it any compassion for those little creature? Can it be
that it was designed and manufactured for such ungentle work?
It has the look of it. One of the clods took it back of the ear,
and it used language. It gave me a thrill, for it was the first time I
had ever heard speech, except my own. I did not understand the words,
but they seemed expressive.
When I found it could talk I felt a new interest in it, for I
love to talk; I talk, all day, and in my sleep, too, and I am
very interesting, but if I had another to talk to I could be twice
as interesting, and would never stop, if desired.
If this reptile is a man, it isn't an IT, is it? That wouldn't
be grammatical, would it? I think it would be HE. I think so.
In that case one would parse it thus: nominative, HE; dative, HIM;
possessive, HIS'N. Well, I will consider it a man and call it he
until it turns out to be something else. This will be handier
than having so many uncertainties.
NEXT WEEK SUNDAY.--All the week I tagged around after him and tried
to get acquainted. I had to do the talking, because he was shy,
but I didn't mind it. He seemed pleased to have me around, and I
used the sociable "we" a good deal, because it seemed to flatter him
to be included.
WEDNESDAY.--We are getting along very well indeed, now, and getting
better and better acquainted. He does not try to avoid me any more,
which is a good sign, and shows that he likes to have me with him.
That pleases me, and I study to be useful to him in every way I can,
so as to increase his regard. During the last day or two I
have taken all the work of naming things off his hands, and this
has been a great relief to him, for he has no gift in that line,
and is evidently very grateful. He can't think of a rational name
to save him, but I do not let him see that I am aware of his defect.
Whenever a new creature comes along I name it before he has time
to expose himself by an awkward silence. In this way I have
saved him many embarrassments. I have no defect like this.
The minute I set eyes on an animal I know what it is. I don't
have to reflect a moment; the right name comes out instantly,
just as if it were an inspiration, as no doubt it is, for I am
sure it wasn't in me half a minute before. I seem to know just
by the shape of the creature and the way it acts what animal
When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat--I saw it
in his eye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it
in a way that could hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite
natural way of pleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming
of conveying information, and said, "Well, I do declare, if there
isn't the dodo!" I explained--without seeming to be explaining--
how I know it for a dodo, and although I thought maybe he was
a little piqued that I knew the creature when he didn't, it was
quite evident that he admired me. That was very agreeable, and I
thought of it more than once with gratification before I slept.
How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have
THURSDAY.--my first sorrow. Yesterday he avoided me and seemed
to wish I would not talk to him. I could not believe it,
and thought there was some mistake, for I loved to be with him,
and loved to hear him talk, and so how could it be that he could
feel unkind toward me when I had not done anything? But at last it
seemed true, so I went away and sat lonely in the place where I first
saw him the morning that we were made and I did not know what he
was and was indifferent about him; but now it was a mournful place,
and every little think spoke of him, and my heart was very sore.
I did not know why very clearly, for it was a new feeling; I had
not experienced it before, and it was all a mystery, and I could
not make it out.
But when night came I could not bear the lonesomeness, and went
to the new shelter which he has built, to ask him what I had done
that was wrong and how I could mend it and get back his kindness again;
but he put me out in the rain, and it was my first sorrow.
SUNDAY.--It is pleasant again, now, and I am happy; but those were
heavy days; I do not think of them when I can help it.
I tried to get him some of those apples, but I cannot learn to
throw straight. I failed, but I think the good intention pleased him.
They are forbidden, and he says I shall come to harm; but so I
come to harm through pleasing him, why shall I care for that harm?
MONDAY.--This morning I told him my name, hoping it would interest him.
But he did not care for it. It is strange. If he should tell me
his name, I would care. I think it would be pleasanter in my ears
than any other sound.
He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright,
and is sensitive about it and wishes to conceal it. It is
such a pity that he should feel so, for brightness is nothing;
it is in the heart that the values lie. I wish I could make him
understand that a loving good heart is riches, and riches enough,
and that without it intellect is poverty.
Although he talks so little, he has quite a considerable
vocabulary. This morning he used a surprisingly good word.
He evidently recognized, himself, that it was a good one, for he
worked in in twice afterward, casually. It was good casual art,
still it showed that he possesses a certain quality of perception.
Without a doubt that seed can be made to grow, if cultivated.
Where did he get that word? I do not think I have ever used it.
No, he took no interest in my name. I tried to hide my disappointment,
but I suppose I did not succeed. I went away and sat on the
moss-bank with my feet in the water. It is where I go when I hunger
for companionship, some one to look at, some one to talk to.
It is not enough--that lovely white body painted there in the pool--
but it is something, and something is better than utter loneliness.
It talks when I talk; it is sad when I am sad; it comforts me with
its sympathy; it says, "Do not be downhearted, you poor friendless girl;
I will be your friend." It IS a good friend to me, and my only one;
it is my sister.
That first time that she forsook me! ah, I shall never forget that--
never, never. My heart was lead in my body! I said, "She was all
I had, and now she is gone!" In my despair I said, "Break, my heart;
I cannot bear my life any more!" and hid my face in my hands,
and there was no solace for me. And when I took them away,
after a little, there she was again, white and shining and beautiful,
and I sprang into her arms!
That was perfect happiness; I had known happiness before, but it was
not like this, which was ecstasy. I never doubted her afterward.
Sometimes she stayed away--maybe an hour, maybe almost the
whole day, but I waited and did not doubt; I said, "She is busy,
or she is gone on a journey, but she will come." And it was so:
she always did. At night she would not come if it was dark, for she
was a timid little thing; but if there was a moon she would come.
I am not afraid of the dark, but she is younger than I am; she was
born after I was. Many and many are the visits I have paid her;
she is my comfort and my refuge when my life is hard--and it is
TUESDAY.--All the morning I was at work improving the estate;
and I purposely kept away from him in the hope that he would get
lonely and come. But he did not.
At noon I stopped for the day and took my recreation by flitting all
about with the bees and the butterflies and reveling in the flowers,
those beautiful creatures that catch the smile of God out of the
sky and preserve it! I gathered them, and made them into wreaths
and garlands and clothed myself in them while I ate my luncheon--
apples, of course; then I sat in the shade and wished and waited.
But he did not come.
But no matter. Nothing would have come of it, for he does not
care for flowers. He called them rubbish, and cannot tell one
from another, and thinks it is superior to feel like that. He does
not care for me, he does not care for flowers, he does not care
for the painted sky at eventide--is there anything he does care for,
except building shacks to coop himself up in from the good clean rain,
and thumping the melons, and sampling the grapes, and fingering
the fruit on the trees, to see how those properties are coming along?
I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it
with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had,
and soon I got an awful fright. A thin, transparent bluish film
rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran! I thought
it was a spirit, and I WAS so frightened! But I looked back, and it
was not coming; so I leaned against a rock and rested and panted,
and let my limps go on trembling until they got steady again;
then I crept warily back, alert, watching, and ready to fly if there
was occasion; and when I was come near, I parted the branches
of a rose-bush and peeped through--wishing the man was about,
I was looking so cunning and pretty--but the sprite was gone.
I went there, and there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole.
I put my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it
out again. It was a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth;
and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting,
I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began
I was curious to know what the pink dust was. Suddenly the name of it
occurred to me, though I had never heard of it before. It was FIRE!
I was as certain of it as a person could be of anything in the world.
So without hesitation I named it that--fire.
I had created something that didn't exist before; I had added
a new thing to the world's uncountable properties; I realized this,
and was proud of my achievement, and was going to run and find him
and tell him about it, thinking to raise myself in his esteem--
but I reflected, and did not do it. No--he would not care for it.
He would ask what it was good for, and what could I answer? for if it
was not GOOD for something, but only beautiful, merely beautiful--
So I sighed, and did not go. For it wasn't good for anything;
it could not build a shack, it could not improve melons, it could
not hurry a fruit crop; it was useless, it was a foolishness
and a vanity; he would despise it and say cutting words.
But to me it was not despicable; I said, "Oh, you fire, I love you,
you dainty pink creature, for you are BEAUTIFUL--and that is enough!"
and was going to gather it to my breast. But refrained.
Then I made another maxim out of my head, though it was so nearly
like the first one that I was afraid it was only a plagiarism:
"THE BURNT EXPERIMENT SHUNS THE FIRE."
I wrought again; and when I had made a good deal of fire-dust I emptied
it into a handful of dry brown grass, intending to carry it home
and keep it always and play with it; but the wind struck it and it
sprayed up and spat out at me fiercely, and I dropped it and ran.
When I looked back the blue spirit was towering up and stretching
and rolling away like a cloud, and instantly I thought of the name
of it--SMOKE!--though, upon my word, I had never heard of smoke before.
Soon brilliant yellow and red flares shot up through the smoke,
and I named them in an instant--FLAMES--and I was right, too,
though these were the very first flames that had ever been
in the world. They climbed the trees, then flashed splendidly
in and out of the vast and increasing volume of tumbling smoke,
and I had to clap my hands and laugh and dance in my rapture,
it was so new and strange and so wonderful and so beautiful!
He came running, and stopped and gazed, and said not a word for
many minutes. Then he asked what it was. Ah, it was too bad that he
should ask such a direct question. I had to answer it, of course,
and I did. I said it was fire. If it annoyed him that I should know
and he must ask; that was not my fault; I had no desire to annoy him.
After a pause he asked:
"How did it come?"
Another direct question, and it also had to have a direct answer.
"I made it."
The fire was traveling farther and farther off. He went to the edge
of the burned place and stood looking down, and said:
"What are these?"
He picked up one to examine it, but changed his mind and put it
down again. Then he went away. NOTHING interests him.
But I was interested. There were ashes, gray and soft and delicate
and pretty--I knew what they were at once. And the embers;
I knew the embers, too. I found my apples, and raked them out,
and was glad; for I am very young and my appetite is active.
But I was disappointed; they were all burst open and spoiled.
Spoiled apparently; but it was not so; they were better than raw ones.
Fire is beautiful; some day it will be useful, I think.
FRIDAY.--I saw him again, for a moment, last Monday at nightfall,
but only for a moment. I was hoping he would praise me for trying
to improve the estate, for I had meant well and had worked hard.
But he was not pleased, and turned away and left me. He was also
displeased on another account: I tried once more to persuade him
to stop going over the Falls. That was because the fire had revealed
to me a new passion--quite new, and distinctly different from love,
grief, and those others which I had already discovered--FEAR. And it
is horrible!--I wish I had never discovered it; it gives me dark moments,
it spoils my happiness, it makes me shiver and tremble and shudder.
But I could not persuade him, for he has not discovered fear yet,
and so he could not understand me.
Extract from Adam's Diary
Perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl and
make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world
is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can't speak for
delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it
and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it.
And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage,
blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains,
the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon
sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering
in the wastes of space--none of them is of any practical value,
so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty,
that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them.
If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time,
it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could
enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming
to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature--
lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once
when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder,
with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes,
watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she
MONDAY NOON.--If there is anything on the planet that she is not
interested in it is not in my list. There are animals that I am
indifferent to, but it is not so with her. She has no discrimination,
she takes to all of them, she thinks they are all treasures,
every new one is welcome.
When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded
it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good
sample of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things.
She wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the
homestead and move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind
treatment and would be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet
high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have
about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without
meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it,
for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded.
Still, her heart was set upon having that monster, and she
couldn't give it up. She thought we could start a dairy with it,
and wanted me to help milk it; but I wouldn't; it was too risky.
The sex wasn't right, and we hadn't any ladder anyway. Then she
wanted to ride it, and look at the scenery. Thirty or forty feet
of its tail was lying on the ground, like a fallen tree, and she
thought she could climb it, but she was mistaken; when she got
to the steep place it was too slick and down she came, and would
have hurt herself but for me.
Was she satisfied now? No. Nothing ever satisfies her but demonstration;
untested theories are not in her line, and she won't have them.
It is the right spirit, I concede it; it attracts me; I feel the
influence of it; if I were with her more I think I should take it
up myself. Well, she had one theory remaining about this colossus:
she thought that if we could tame it and make him friendly we could
stand in the river and use him for a bridge. It turned out that he
was already plenty tame enough--at least as far as she was concerned--
so she tried her theory, but it failed: every time she got him
properly placed in the river and went ashore to cross over him,
he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain. Like the
other animals. They all do that.
FRIDAY.--Tuesday--Wednesday--Thursday--and today: all without
seeing him. It is a long time to be alone; still, it is better
to be alone than unwelcome.
I HAD to have company--I was made for it, I think--so I made
friends with the animals. They are just charming, and they have
the kindest disposition and the politest ways; they never look sour,
they never let you feel that you are intruding, they smile at you
and wag their tail, if they've got one, and they are always ready
for a romp or an excursion or anything you want to propose.
I think they are perfect gentlemen. All these days we have had such
good times, and it hasn't been lonesome for me, ever. Lonesome! No,
I should say not. Why, there's always a swarm of them around--
sometimes as much as four or five acres--you can't count them;
and when you stand on a rock in the midst and look out over the
furry expanse it is so mottled and splashed and gay with color
and frisking sheen and sun-flash, and so rippled with stripes,
that you might think it was a lake, only you know it isn't;
and there's storms of sociable birds, and hurricanes of whirring wings;
and when the sun strikes all that feathery commotion, you have a blazing
up of all the colors you can think of, enough to put your eyes out.
We have made long excursions, and I have seen a great deal of the world;
almost all of it, I think; and so I am the first traveler,
and the only one. When we are on the march, it is an imposing sight--
there's nothing like it anywhere. For comfort I ride a tiger
or a leopard, because it is soft and has a round back that fits me,
and because they are such pretty animals; but for long distance
or for scenery I ride the elephant. He hoists me up with his trunk,
but I can get off myself; when we are ready to camp, he sits and I
slide down the back way.
The birds and animals are all friendly to each other, and there
are no disputes about anything. They all talk, and they all talk
to me, but it must be a foreign language, for I cannot make out
a word they say; yet they often understand me when I talk back,
particularly the dog and the elephant. It makes me ashamed.
It shows that they are brighter than I am, for I want to be the
principal Experiment myself--and I intend to be, too.
I have learned a number of things, and am educated, now, but I
wasn't at first. I was ignorant at first. At first it used to vex
me because, with all my watching, I was never smart enough to be
around when the water was running uphill; but now I do not mind it.
I have experimented and experimented until now I know it never
does run uphill, except in the dark. I know it does in the dark,
because the pool never goes dry, which it would, of course,
if the water didn't come back in the night. It is best to prove
things by actual experiment; then you KNOW; whereas if you depend
on guessing and supposing and conjecturing, you never get educated.
Some things you CAN'T find out; but you will never know you can't
by guessing and supposing: no, you have to be patient and go on
experimenting until you find out that you can't find out. And it is
delightful to have it that way, it makes the world so interesting.
If there wasn't anything to find out, it would be dull. Even trying
to find out and not finding out is just as interesting as trying
to find out and finding out, and I don't know but more so.
The secret of the water was a treasure until I GOT it; then the
excitement all went away, and I recognized a sense of loss.
By experiment I know that wood swims, and dry leaves, and feathers,
and plenty of other things; therefore by all that cumulative evidence
you know that a rock will swim; but you have to put up with simply
knowing it, for there isn't any way to prove it--up to now.
But I shall find a way--then THAT excitement will go. Such things
make me sad; because by and by when I have found out everything
there won't be any more excitements, and I do love excitements so!
The other night I couldn't sleep for thinking about it.
At first I couldn't make out what I was made for, but now I think it
was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and be happy
and thank the Giver of it all for devising it. I think there are many
things to learn yet--I hope so; and by economizing and not hurrying
too fast I think they will last weeks and weeks. I hope so. When you
cast up a feather it sails away on the air and goes out of sight;
then you throw up a clod and it doesn't. It comes down, every time.
I have tried it and tried it, and it is always so. I wonder why
it is? Of course it DOESN'T come down, but why should it SEEM to?
I suppose it is an optical illusion. I mean, one of them is.
I don't know which one. It may be the feather, it may be the clod;
I can't prove which it is, I can only demonstrate that one or the other
is a fake, and let a person take his choice.
By watching, I know that the stars are not going to last.
I have seen some of the best ones melt and run down the sky.
Since one can melt, they can all melt; since they can all melt,
they can all melt the same night. That sorrow will come--I know it.
I mean to sit up every night and look at them as long as I can
keep awake; and I will impress those sparkling fields on my memory,
so that by and by when they are taken away I can by my fancy restore
those lovely myriads to the black sky and make them sparkle again,
and double them by the blur of my tears.
After the Fall
When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was beautiful,
surpassingly beautiful, enchantingly beautiful; and now it is lost,
and I shall not see it any more.
The Garden is lost, but I have found HIM, and am content.
He loves me as well as he can; I love him with all the strength
of my passionate nature, and this, I think, is proper to my youth
and sex. If I ask myself why I love him, I find I do not know,
and do not really much care to know; so I suppose that this kind
of love is not a product of reasoning and statistics, like one's
love for other reptiles and animals. I think that this must be so.
I love certain birds because of their song; but I do not love Adam
on account of his singing--no, it is not that; the more he sings
the more I do not get reconciled to it. Yet I ask him to sing,
because I wish to learn to like everything he is interested in.
I am sure I can learn, because at first I could not stand it,
but now I can. It sours the milk, but it doesn't matter; I can get
used to that kind of milk.
It is not on account of his brightness that I love him--no, it is
not that. He is not to blame for his brightness, such as it is,
for he did not make it himself; he is as God make him, and that
is sufficient. There was a wise purpose in it, THAT I know.
In time it will develop, though I think it will not be sudden;
and besides, there is no hurry; he is well enough just as he is.
It is not on account of his gracious and considerate ways and
his delicacy that I love him. No, he has lacks in this regard,
but he is well enough just so, and is improving.
It is not on account of his industry that I love him--no, it is
not that. I think he has it in him, and I do not know why he
conceals it from me. It is my only pain. Otherwise he is frank
and open with me, now. I am sure he keeps nothing from me but this.
It grieves me that he should have a secret from me, and sometimes it
spoils my sleep, thinking of it, but I will put it out of my mind;
it shall not trouble my happiness, which is otherwise full
It is not on account of his education that I love him--no, it is
not that. He is self-educated, and does really know a multitude
of things, but they are not so.
It is not on account of his chivalry that I love him--no, it is not that.
He told on me, but I do not blame him; it is a peculiarity of sex,
I think, and he did not make his sex. Of course I would not have
told on him, I would have perished first; but that is a peculiarity
of sex, too, and I do not take credit for it, for I did not make
Then why is it that I love him? MERELY BECAUSE HE IS MASCULINE,
At bottom he is good, and I love him for that, but I could love
him without it. If he should beat me and abuse me, I should go
on loving him. I know it. It is a matter of sex, I think.
He is strong and handsome, and I love him for that, and I admire him
and am proud of him, but I could love him without those qualities.
He he were plain, I should love him; if he were a wreck, I should
love him; and I would work for him, and slave over him, and pray
for him, and watch by his bedside until I died.
Yes, I think I love him merely because he is MINE and is MASCULINE.
There is no other reason, I suppose. And so I think it is as I
first said: that this kind of love is not a product of reasonings
and statistics. It just COMES--none knows whence--and cannot
explain itself. And doesn't need to.
It is what I think. But I am only a girl, the first that has
examined this matter, and it may turn out that in my ignorance
and inexperience I have not got it right.
Forty Years Later
It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this
life together--a longing which shall never perish from the earth,
but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves,
until the end of time; and it shall be called by my name.
But if one of us must go first, it is my prayer that it shall be I;
for he is strong, I am weak, I am not so necessary to him as he is
to me--life without him would not be life; now could I endure it?
This prayer is also immortal, and will not cease from being offered up
while my race continues. I am the first wife; and in the last wife I
shall be repeated.
At Eve's Grave
ADAM: Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.