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tion, and the embarrassing perplexity of the problem it is called to solve, it would welcome every honest suggestion likely to throw light upon the case, and even court that collision of opinion out of which the truth is gradually struck. But it does no such thing: it repels every approach as an insolence and an invasion of its rights: and blindly surrenders itself to the darkness of fate. It is fortunate that all slaveholders are not of the same temper, that there are men among them too liberal and intelligent to fall into such unreasoning bigotry, who, on the contrary, study with an intense solicitude the bearings of their social structure, and eagerly seize upon every view of it which may afford them hope for the future. It is to them that we look for the wise management of their fearful trusts, and the eventual extinction of what they must confess to be a most undesirable relation. They are as yet sadly overborne by the pressure of opinions instigated by interest, but will soon acquire a strength which will place the control of events in their hands.
Now, in respect to the several forms of despotism which we have briefly enumerated, we shall not dwell upon their radical inconsistency with the life and spirit our entire polity; for this consideration is too obvious to require pressing. Nor is there any occasion, now, to show the inherent weakness of any cause, or position, which shrinks from the fullest and fairest examination. But we cannot forbear remarking upon the deep and abiding injury which every man, who is unwilling to bring his actions or his sentiments to the test of scrutiny, does to himself, and the rest of mankind. He shuts himself and society out from the only means of correcting error and attaining knowledge. We know of no method of arriving at the true relations. of a subject, but the frank and candid discussion of it in every aspect. The time is past for believing in the existence of any infallible authority, whether pope or king, whose decrees are to be considered the final arbitrament of truth. There is no class or rank of men to whom we may look for a fixed and irrevocable standard of what it is right to think or proper to do. Our individual judgments are contracted, uncertain, warped by prejudices; and the more profoundly we have penetrated into the complex problems of life which solicit solution, the more familiar we become
with the vast extent and variety of human error, the more distrustful we grow of the authenticity and correctness of our own decisions. Yet, in the midst of the almost overwhelming multiplicity of crude and preposterous speculations, in the wild chaos of conflicting beliefs which storm around us, we do discover that the general mind is slowly eliminating one truth after another; the immense laboratory of seething and fermenting thought is ever turning up some valuable and brilliant product; and keen research and grappling argument secure us substantial conquests from the realms of ancient Night. Discussion-free, open, manly, patient discussion-is the key which opens the treasure-chambers of nature and revelation, and the deep human soul. Like the cradles of the Californians, it sifts the golden metal from the common filth and dust. Summoning every variety of intellectual instruments to its aid, contemplating things in all their aspects, exposing falsehood, detecting fraud, baffling selfishness, overwhelming ignorance, and rectifying hallucination, it opens the way for the slow but majestic and beneficent march of the human intellect towards the mastery of the world.
No sensible man will now dispute the gigantic advances which the civilized races have made in the various departments of mathematical and physical science, since they were committed to the hands of free inquirers, nor wish to revert to those political institutions and religious scruples by which their progress was so long fettered. But it would be no less absurd to despair of the speedy success of the moral and political sciences, once emancipated from the despotisms by which they are checked. The very triumphs of the former sciences are a ground of hope for the rapid and extensive improvement of the latter, when these shall have adopted the methods, and be prosecuted in the spirit of those. "The practice of rejecting mere gratuitous hypotheses," says the able author of "The Letters of an Egyptian Kafir,” “ demanding facts, of requiring every step of reasoning to be clearly exhibited, of looking with perfect precision to the use of terms, of discarding rhetorical illusions, and mere phrases, of scouting pretensions to infallibility, or exemption from rigorous scrutiny, are all required as indispensable in physical research, but cannot possibly be confined to the department of material philosophy. They
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will necessarily be extended to moral inquiries; and, supposing that, in consequence of social proscription, or priestly or political tyranny, these latter subjects. were totally abandoned, received no direct examination, were exposed to no discussion for even a long period, were withheld (if we can conceive it possible), from the very thoughts of men, for half a century, yet the influence of physical investigation upon them could not, in the end, be prevented. All the correct principles of reasoning, all the improved methods of research, all the habits of comparison and discrimination, all the love of truth, which the pursuit of any science has a tendency to establish or engender, all the impatience of vagueness, and obscurity, and assumption, which the prosecution of inquiry superinduces in the spirit of men, would gather round the prohibited subjects, ready, like hungry lions, to rush on what they had been withheld from, by the bars, and chains, and bolts of social or political despotism.' With the frequent admonitions of that paragraph, which we commend to all in the United States, who wish to obstruct the advances of opinion, on any subject, we dismiss our theme.
Before quitting it entirely, however, let us add that we have been drawn to it by criticisms that we have seen, from time to time, passed upon the conduct of this magazine. A feeling of surprise has sometimes been expressed that we should mingle with our lighter entertainments, grave and thoughtful considerations of the leading political, social, scientific and religious topics of the day. But, surely they who express that feeling can neither have studied our course from the beginning, nor have thoroughly digested in their own minds the proper aims and duties of a first-class periodical. It was never our intention to issue a monthly exclusively for the milliners; we had no ambition to institute a monopoly manufacture of lovetales and sing-song verses; and, if we had, we should have despaired of success amid the brilliant successes already achieved in that line. No! we had other conceptions of the variety, the importance, the dignity, and the destiny of literature. Our thought, in establishing this enterprise, was, and it still is, that literature is the full and free expression of the nation's mind, not in belleslettres alone, nor in art alone, nor in science alone, but in all these, combined with politics and religion. It seemed to us, that the cultivated men, the literary
men of a nation, are among its best instructors, and that they feebly discharge their function, if they are not free to utter their wisest thoughts, their most beautiful inspirations, on every subject which concerns the interests, the sensibilities, and the hopes of our humanity. Whether they pour forth their sense of beauty, grace and gentleness in strains of poetry, or enlarge our knowledge of man in sketches of travel, or bring nearer to us the countless charms of our landscapes by natural descriptions, or help us to a clearer conception of great characters in biographic notices, or lift the disposition into cheerfulness and buoyancy by outgushings of humor, or refine our views of life and happiness by ideal portraitures, or snub pretension, and arrogance, and folly, by caustic satire, or unfold the magnificent vistas of science, or canvass the movements of parties and the measures of government in the light of great general principles,they still belong to that higher priesthood, whose ministrations emancipate us from the care and littleness of daily life, who enkindle in us the love of the loveliest things, who reveal the depths of our spirits, and "whose voices come down from the kingdom of God." But in order to the true manifestation of this exalted character, a free scope must be given to the action of their genius; and such we trust they will ever find in the pages of this Monthly.
Figaro said that he once conceived the project of setting up a journal, and that when he applied to the government for the necessary permit, they accepted his scheme with the warmest applause. "It will be a capital, excellent thing," said they; "and provided you never touch upon religion, nor politics, nor private society, nor the affairs of the opera, and submit each article to the decision of three censors, it shall receive our heartiest concurrence!"
Whereupon, adds Figaro, "finding that the best name for it would be Le Journal Inutile, I concluded to drop the enterprise." As for ourselves, we have no desire to publish a "useless journal," and if we cannot say our say" of what is passing, or, if we must cultivate the wonderful art by which politicians talk for a month without saying anything, we shall imitate the discretion of Figaro, and hasten to other fields, and leave journalism for those who either have no opinions of their own, or have the amiability to say one thing while they think another.
BATHING AND BODIES.
No swan-soft woman, rubbed with lucid oils, The gift of an enamored god, more fair."
E shall not set out from Damascus we shall not leave the Pearl of the Orient to glimmer through the seas of foliage wherein it lies buried-without consecrating a day to the Bath, that material agent of peace and goodwill unto men. We have bathed in the Jordan, like Naaman, and been made clean; let us now see whether Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, are better than the waters of Israel.
The Bath is the "peculiar institution" of the East. Coffee has become colonized in France and America; the Pipe is a cosmopolite, and his blue, joyous breath congeals under the Arctic Circle, or melts languidly into the soft air of the Polynesian Isles; but the Bath, that sensuous elysium which cradled the dreams of Plato, and the visions of Zoroaster, and the solemn meditations of Mahomet, is only to be found under an Oriental sky. The naked natives of the torrid zone are amphibious; they do not bathe, they live in the water. The European and Anglo-American wash themselves, and think they have bathed ; they shudder under cold showers and perforin laborious antics with coarse towels. As for the Hydropathist-the Genius of the Bath, whose dwelling is in Damascus, would be convulsed with scornful laughter, could he behold that aqueous Diogenes sitting in his tub, or stretched out in his wet wrappings, like a sodden mummy, in a catacomb of blankets and feather beds. As the rose in the East has a rarer perfume than in other lands, so does the Bath bestow a superior purification and impart a more profound enjoyment.
Listen not unto the lamentations of travellers, who complain of the heat, and the steam, and the dislocation of their joints. They belong to the stiffnecked generation, who resist the processes, whereunto the Oriental yields himself body and soul. He who is bathed in Damascus, must be as clay in the hands of a potter. The Syrians marvel how the Franks can walk, so difficult is it to bend their joints. Moreover, they know the difference between him who comes to the Bath out of a
mere idle curiosity, and him who has tasted its delight and holds it in due honor. Only the latter is permitted to know all its mysteries. The former is carelessly hurried through the ordinary forms of bathing, and, if any trace of the cockney remain in him, is quite as likely to be disgusted as pleased. Again, there are many second and third-rate baths, whither cheating dragomen conduct their victims, in consideration of a division of the spoils with the bathkeeper. Hence it is, that the Bath has received but partial justice at the hands of tourists in the East. If any one doubts this, let him clothe himself with Oriental passiveness and resignation, go to the Hamman el-Khyateën, at Damascus, or the bath of Mahmoud Pasha, at Constantinople, and demand that he be perfectly bathed.
Come with me, and I will show you the mysteries of the perfect bath. Here is the entrance, a heavy Saracenic arch, opening upon the crowded bazaar. We descend a few steps to the marble pavement of a lofty octagonal hall, lighted by a dome. There is a jet of sparkling water in the centre, falling into a heavy store basin. A platform about five feet in height runs around the hall, and on this are ranged a number of narrow couches, with their heads to the wall, like the pallets in a hospital ward. The platform is covered with straw matting, and from the wooden gallery which rises above it are suspended towels, with blue and crimson borders. The master of the bath receives us courteously, and conducts us to one of the vacant couches. We kick off our red slippers below, and mount the steps to the platform. Yonder traveller, in Frank dress, who has just entered, goes up with his boots on, and we know, from that fact, what sort of a bath he will get.
As the work of disrobing proceeds, a dark-eyed boy appears with a napkin, which he holds before us, ready to bind it about the waist, as soon as we regain our primitive form. Another attendant throws a napkin over our shoulders and wraps a third around our head, turban
wise. He then thrusts a pair of wooden clogs upon our feet, and, taking us by the arm, steadies our tottering and clattering steps, as we pass through a low door and a warm ante-chamber into the first hall of the bath. The light, falling dimly through a cluster of bulls'-eyes in the domed ceiling, shows, first, a silver thread of water, playing in a steamy atmosphere; next, some dark motionless objects, stretched out on a low central platform of marble. The attendant spreads a linen sheet in one of the vacant places, places a pillow at one end, takes off our clogs, deposits us gently on our back, and leaves us. The pavement is warm beneath us, and the first breath we draw gives us a sense of suffocation. But a bit of burning_aloewood has just been carried through the hall, and the steam is permeated with fragrance. The dark-eyed boy appears with a narghileh, which he places beside us, offering the amber mouth-piece to our submissive lips. The smoke we inhale has an odor of roses; and as the pipe `bubbles with our breathing, we feel that the dews of sweat gather heavily upon us. The attendant now reappears, kneels beside us, and gently kneads us with dexterous hands. Although no anatomist, he knows every muscle and sinew whose suppleness gives ease to the body, and so moulds and manipulates them that we lose the rigidity of our mechanism and become plastic in his hands. He turns us upon our face, repeats the same process upon the back, and leaves us a little longer to lie there passively, glistening in our own dew.
We are aroused from a reverie about nothing by a dark-brown shape, who replaces the clogs, puts his arm around our waist and leads us into an inner hall, with a steaming tank in the centre. Here he slips us off the brink, and we collapse over head and ears in the fiery fluid. Once-twice-we dip into the delicious heat, and then are led into a marble alcove, and seated flat upon the floor. The attendant stands behind us, and we now perceive that his hands are encased in dark hair-gloves. He pounces upon an arm, which he rubs until, like a serpent, we slough the worn-out skin, and resume our infantile smoothness and fairness. No man can be called clean, until he has bathed in the East. Let him walk directly from his accustomed bath and self-friction with towels to the Hammam-el-Khıyateën, and the
attendant will exclaim, as he shakes out his hair-gloves: "O Frank! it is a long time since you have bathed." The other arm follows, the back, the breast, the legs, until the work is complete, and we know precisely how a horse feels after he has been curried.
Now the attendant turns two cocks at the back of the alcove, and holding a basin alternately under the cold and hot streams, floods us at first with a fiery dash, that sends a delicious warm shiver through every nerve; then, with milder applications, lessening the temperature of the water by semi-tones, until, from the highest key of heat which we can bear, we glide rapturously down the gamut until we reach the lowest bass of coolness. The skin has by this time attained an exquisite sensibility, and answers to these changes of temperature with thrills of the purest physical pleas
In fact, the whole frame seems purged of its earthy nature and transformed into something of a finer and more delicate texture.
After a pause, the attendant makes his appearance with a large wooden bowl, a piece of soap, and a bunch of palm fibres. He squats down beside the bowl, and speedily creates a mass of snowy lather, which grows up to a pyramid and topples over the edge. Seizing us by the crown-tuft of hair upon our shaven head, he plants the foamy bunch of fibres full in our face. The world vanishes; sight, hearing, smell, taste (unless we open our mouth), and breathing, are cut off; we have become nebulous. Although our eyes are shut, we seem to see a blank whiteness; and, feeling nothing but a soft fleeciness, we doubt whether we be not the Olympian cloud which visited Io. But the cloud clears away before strangulation begins, and the velvety mass descends upon the body. Twice we are thus "slushed" from head to foot, and made more slippery than the anointed wrestlers of the Greek games. Then the basin comes again into play, and we glide once more musically through the scale of tempera
The brown sculptor has now nearly completed his task. The figure of clay which entered the bath is transformed into polished marble. He turns the body from side to side, and lifts the limbs to see whether the workmanship is adequate to his conception. His satisfied gaze proclaims his success. A skilful bath-attendant has a certain æsthetic
pleasure in his occupation. The bodies he polishes become to some extent his own workmanship, and he feels responsible for their symmetry or deformity. He experiences a degree of triumph in contemplating a beautiful form, which has grown more airily light and beautiful under his hands. He is a great connoisseur of bodies, and could pick you out the finest specimens with as ready an eye as an artist.
I envy those old Greek bathers, into whose hands were delivered Pericles, and Alcibiades, and the perfect models of Phidias. They had daily before their eyes the highest types of beauty which the world has ever produced; for of all things that are beautiful, the human body is the crown. Now, since the delusion of artists has been overthrown, and we know that Grecian Art is but the simple reflex of Nature-that the old masterpieces of sculpture were no miraculous embodiments of a beau ideal, but copies of living forms-we must admit that in no other age of the world has the physical Man been so perfectly developed. The nearest approach I have ever seen to the symmetry of ancient sculpture was among the Arab tribes of Ethiopia. Our Saxon race can supply the athlete, but not the Apollo.
Oriental life is too full of repose, and the Ottoman race has become too degenerate through indulgence, to exhibit many striking specimens of physical beauty. The face is generally fine, but the body is apt to be lank, and with imperfect muscular development. The best forms I saw in the baths were those of laborers, who, with a good deal of rugged strength, showed some grace and harmony of proportion. It may be received as a general rule, that the physical development of the European is superior to that of the Oriental, with the exception of the Circassians and Georgians, whose beauty well entitles them to the distinction of giving their name to our race.
So far as female beauty is concerned, the Circassian women have no superiors. They have preserved in their mountain home the purity of the Grecian models, and still display the perfect physical loveliness, whose type has descended to us in the Venus de Medici. The Frank, who is addicted to wandering about the streets of Oriental cities, can hardly fail to be favored with a sight of the faces of these beauties. More than once it has happened to me, in meeting a veiled lady, sailing along in her balloon-like
feridjee, that she has allowed the veil to drop by a skilful accident, as she passed, and has startled me with the vision of her beauty, recalling the line of the Persian poet: "Astonishment! is this the dawn of the glorious sun, or is it the full moon?" The Circassian face is a pure oval; the forehead is low and fair,
an excellent thing in woman," and the skin of an ivory whiteness, except the faint pink of the cheeks, and the ripe, roseate stain of the lips. The hair is dark, glossy, and luxuriant, exquisitely outlined on the temples; the eyebrows slightly arched, and drawn with a delicate pencil; while lashes, like "rays of darkness," shade the large, dark, humid orbs below them. The alabaster of the face, so pure as scarcely to show the blue branching of the veins on the temples, is lighted by those superb eyes—
"Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone,"
-whose wells are so dark and deep, that you are cheated into the belief that a glorious soul looks out of them.
Once, by an unforeseen chance, I beheld the Circassian form in its most beautiful development. I was on board an Austrian steamer in the harbor of Smyrna, when the harem of a Turkish pasha came out in a boat to embark for Alexandria. The sea was rather rough, and nearly all the officers of the steamer were ashore. There were six veiled and swaddled women, with a black eunuch as guard, in the boat, which lay tossing for some time at the foot of the gangway ladder, before the frightened passengers could summon courage to step out. At last the youngest of them-a Circassian girl of not more than fifteen or sixteen years of age-ventured upon the ladder, clasping the hand-rail with one hand, while with the other she held together the folds of her cumbrous feridjee. I was standing in the gangway, watching her, when a slight lurch of the steamer caused her to loose her hold of the garment, which, fastened at the neck, was blown back from her shoulders, leaving her body screened but by a single robe of light gauzy silk. Through this, the marble whiteness of her skin, the roundness, the glorious symmetry of her form, flashed upon me, as a vision of Aphrodite,
"Through leagues of shimmering water, like a star." It was but a momentary glimpse; yet that moment convinced me that forms of