Newspaper Page Text
IM nnsil, l WEEKLY, AT HONOLULU, OAIIU,
J. J. JAKVES, L.D1TOH. I
SATURDAY, MAY 10, 1843.
NEW SERIES, Vol. 1. No. 51.
S E L E C T.E D.
THE INTELLIGENCE OFFICE.
Blf NATHANIEL HAWTHORN.
The next that entered was a man beyond
the middle age, bearing the look of ono who
knew the world and his own course in it. He
had just alighted from a handsome private car
riage, which had orders to wait in the street
while its owner transacted his business. This
person came up to the desk with a quick, de
termined step, and looked the Intelligencer
in the face with a resolute eye; though at
the samo time, some secret trouble gleamed
from it in red and dusky light.
"I have an estate to dispose of," said he,
with a brevity that seemed characteristic. '
"Describe it," said the Intelligencer.
The applicant proceeded to give the boun
daries of his property, its nature comprising
tillage, pasture, woodland, and pleasure
grounds, in ample circuit; together with a
iiiaii?iuu-uuu!;, in me construction ot which
it had been his obiect to realign natn n
the air, hardening its shadowy walls into
,n,,,"ii iiiucriug us visionary splendor
perceptible to the awakened eye. Judging
from his description, it was beautiful enough
to vanish like a dream, yet substantial enough
to endure for centuries. He spoke, tod. of
me gorgeous turniture, the refinements of
upnoistery and all the luxurious artifices that
combined to render this a residence where
life might flow onward in a stream of golden
days, undisturbed by the roggedness which
fate joves to fling into it.
"1 am a man of strong will," said he in
conclusion; "and at my first setting out in
life, as a poor, unfriended youth, I resolved
to make myself the possessor of such a man
sion and estate as this, together with the
abundant revenue necessary to uphold it. I
have succeeded to the extent of my utmost
wish. And this is the estate which I have
now concluded to dispose of."
"And your terms? " asked the Intelligencer,
after taking down the particulars with which
the stranger had supplied him.
"Easy abundantly easy!" answered the
successful man, smiling, but with a stern and
almost frightful contraction of the brow, as
if to quell an inward pang, "I have been
engaged in various sorts of business a dis
tiller, a trader to Africa, an East India mer
chant, a speculator in the stocks and, in
the course of these affairs, have contracted
an incumbrance of a certain nature. The
purchaser of the estate shall merely be re
quired to assume this burden to himself."
"I understand you," said the Man of In
telligence, putting his pen behind his ear.
"I fear that no bargain can be negotiated on
these conditions. Very probably, the next
possessor may acquire 'the estate with a simi
lar incumbrance, but it will be of his own
contracting, and will not lighten your burden
in the least."
"And am I to live on," fiercely exclaimed
the stranger, "with the dirt of these accursed
acres, and the granite of this infernal man
sion, crushing down my soul? How, if I
should turn the edifice into an almshouse or
a hospital or tear it down and build a church ? "
"You can at least make the experiment,"
said the intelligencer; "but the whole matter
is one which you must settle for yourself."
The man of deplorable success withdrew,
and got into his coach, which rattled offlight
ly over the wooden pavements, though laden
with the weight of much land, a stately house,
ponderous heaps of gold, all compressed in
to an evil conscience.
There now appeared many applicants for
places; among the most note-worthy of whom
was a small, smoke-driedfigurc, who gave
himself out to be one of the bad spirits thathad
waited upon Doctor Faustus in his laborato
ry. He pretended to show a certificate of
character, which, he averted, had been
given him by that famous necromancer, and
countersigned by several masters whom he
had subsequently served.
"J am afraid, my good friend," observed
the Intelligencer, "that your chance of get
ting a service is but poor. Now-a-days,
roen act the evil spirit for themselves and
for their neighbors, and play the part more
effectually than ninoty-nino out of a hundred
f your fraternity."
But, just as the poor fiend was assuming a
vaporous consistency, being about to vanish
through the floor in sad disappointment and
cagrin, the editor of a political newspaper
chanced to enter the office, in quest of a
scribbler of party paragraphs. The former
irum oi doctor faustus, with some mis
givings as to his sufficiency of venom, was
allowed to try his hand in this capacity.
J cxt appeard, like-wise seeking a service,
the mysterious Man in Red, who had aided
bonaparte in his ascent to imperial power.
He was examined as to his qualifications by
an aspiring politician, but finally rejected,
as lacking familiarity with the cunning tac
tics of the present day.
People continued to succeed each other,
with as much briskness as if everybody turn
ed aside, out of the roar and tumult of the
city, to record here some want, or superflui
ty, or desire. Some had goods or posses
sions, of which they wished to negotiate the
sale. A China merchant had lost his health
by a long residence in that wasting climate;
he very liberally oiFercd his disease, and his
wealth along with it, to any physician who
would rid him of both tocrether.
A soldier offered his wreath of laurels for as
good a leg as that which it had cost him, on
uie oattie-held. One poor weary wretch de
sired nothing but to bo accomodated with
any creditable method of laying down his
life; for misfortune and pecuniary troubles
had so subdued his spirits, that he could no
longer conceive the possibility of happiness,
nor had the heart to try ior it. Neverthe
less, happening to overhear some conversa
tion in the Intelligence Office, respecting
wealth to be rapidly accumulated by a certain
mode of speculation, he resolved to live out
this one other experiment of better fortune.
Many persons desired to exchange their
youthful vices for others better suited to the
gravity of advancing age; others, we are glad
to say, made earnest efforts to exchange vice
for virtue, and, hard as the bargain was,
succeeded in effecting it. But it was re
markable that what all were the least willing
to give up, even on the most advantageous
terms, were the habits, the oddities, the
characteristic traits, the little ridiculous in
dulgences, somewhere between faults and
follies, of which nobody but themselves could
understand the fascination.
The great folio, in which the man of Intell
igence recorded all these freaks of idle
hearts, and aspirations of deep hearts, and
desperate longings of miserable hearts, and
evil prayers of perverted hearts, would be
curious reading, were it possible to obtain it
for publication. Human character in its in
dividual developments human nature in the
mass may best be studied in its wishes; and
th is was the record of them all. There was
an endless diversity of mode and circum
stance, yet withal such a similarity in the
real ground-work, that any one page of the
volume whether written in the days before
the Flood, or the yesterday that is just gone
by, or to be written on the morrow that is
close at hand, or a thousand ages hence
might serve as a specimen of the whole.
Not but that there were wild sallies of fanta
sy that could scarcely occur to more than
one man's brain, whether reasonable or lu
natic. The strangest wishes yet most in
cident to men who had gone deep into sci
entific pursuits, and attained a high intel
lectual stage, though not the loftiest
were, to contend with Nature, and wrest
from her some power, which she had seen
fit to withhold from mortal grap.
She loves to delude her aspiring students,
and mock them with mysteries that seemc
but just beyond their utmost reach. To
concoct new minerals to produce new
forms of vegetable life to create an insect,
if nothing higher in the living scale is a
sort of wish that has often revelled in the
breast of a man of science. An astronomer,
who lived far more among the distant worlds
of space than in this lower sphere, recorded a
wish to behold the opposite side of the moon,
which, unless the system of the firmament
be reversed, she can never turn towards the
earth. On the same page of the volume,
was written the wish of a little child, to have
the stars for playthings.
I he most ordinary wish, that was written
down with wearisome recurrence, was, of
course, for wealth, wealth, wealth, in sums
from a few shillings up to unrcckonable
thousands. Rut, in reality, thi! often repeat
ed expression covered as many different de
sires. Wealth is the golden essence of the
outward world, embodying almost every
thing that exists bevond the limits of the
soul; and therefore it is the natural yearn
ing for the life in the midst of which we find
ourselves, and of which gold is the condition
of enjoyment, that men abridge into this
general wish. Here and there, it is true,
the volume testified to some heart so per
verted as to desire gold for its own sake,
Many wished for power; a strange desire,
indeed, since it is but another form of slav
ery. Old people wished for the delights of
wuiiij a iop, ior aiashionauie coat; an idle
reader, for a new novel; a versifier, for a
rhyme to some stubborn word; a painter,
for Titian's secret of coloring; a prince, for
a cottage; a republican, for a kingdom and a
palace; a libertine, for his neighbor's wife;
a man of palate, for green peas; and a poor
man, for a crust of bread. The ambitious
desires of public men, elsewhere so crafty
concealed, were here expressed openly and
boldly, side by side with the unselfish wish
es of the philanthropist, for the welfare of
of the race, so beautiful, so comforting, in
contrast with the egotism that continually
weighed self against the world. Into the
darker secrets of the Rook of Wishes, we
will not penetrate.
It would be an instructive emnlnvmont V.
a student of mankind, oerusino- th I vnlnrriA
carefully, and comparing its records with
men's perfected designs, as expressed in
their deeds and daily "life, to ascertain how
far the one accorded with the other. Uu
doubtcdly, in most cases, the correspond
ence would be found remote. The holy and
generous wish, that rises like incense from
a pure heart towards heaven, often lavished
its sweet perfume on the blast of evil times.
The foul, selfish, murderous wish, that
steams forth from a corrupted heart, often
passes into the spiritual atmosphere, without
being concreted into an earthly deed. Yet
this volume is probable truer, as a represen
tation of the human heart, than is the living
drama of action, as it evolves around us.
There is more of good and more of evil in it;
more redeeming points of the bad, and more
errors of the virtuous; higher up-soarings,
and baser degradation of the soul; in short,
a more perplexing amalgamation of vice and
and virtue, than we witness in the ontward
world. Decency, and external conscience,
often produce a far fairer outside, than is
warranted by the stains within. And be it
owned, on the other hand, that a man seldom
repeats to his nearest friend, any more than
he realises in act, the purest wishes, which,
at some blessed time or other, have arisen
from the depths of his nature, and witnessed
for him in this volume. Yet there is enough,
on every leaf, to make cood man shnHrlor fir
his own wild and idle wishes, as well as for
the sinner, whoso whole life is the incarna-
uon ot a wicked desire.
Rut again the door is onened : and wn 1ipi.
the tumultuous stir of the world a deep and
uwmi sounu, expressing in another form,
some portion of what is written in the vnlnm
that lies before the Man of Intelligence. A
grandfather personage tottered hastily
into the olhce, with such an earnestness in
his infirm alacrity that his white hair floated
backward, as he hurried up to the desk;
while his dim eyes caught a momentary lus
tre from his vehemence of purpose. This
venerable figure explained that he was in
"I have spent all my life in pursuit of it,"
added the sage old gentleman, "being assur
ed that To-morrow has some vast benefit or
other in store for me. But I am now getting
a little in years, and must make haste; for
unless I overtake To-morrow soon, I begin
to be afraid it will finally escape me."
"This fugitive To-morrow, my venerable
friend," said the Man of Intelligence, "is a
stray child of Time, and is flying from his
father into the region of the infinite. Con
tinue your pursuit, and you will doubtless
come up with him; but as to the earthly
gifts which you expect, he has scattered
them all among a throng of Yesterdays."
Obliged to content himself with this enig
matical response, the grandsire hastened
forth, with a quick clatter of his staff nnon
the floor; and as he disappeared, a little boy
scampered mrougn the door in chase ot a
butterfly, which had got astray amid the bar
ren sunshino of the city. Had the old gen
tleman been shrewder, he might have de
tected To-morrow under the semblance of
that gaudy insect. The golden butterfly
glistened through the shadowy apartment,
and brushed its wings against the Rook of
Wishes, and fluttred forth again with the
ehild still in pursuit.
A man now entered, in neglected attire,
with the aspect of a thinker, but somewhat
too rough-hewn and brawny for a scholar.
His face was full of sturdy vigor, with some
finer and keener attribute beneath; though
harsh at first, it was tempered with the glow
of a large, warm heart, which had force
enough to heat his powerful intellect through
and through. He advanced to the Intelli
gencer, and looked at him with a glance of
such stern sincerity, that perhaps few se
crets were beyond its scope.
"I seek for Truth," said he.
"It is precisely tbe most rare pursuit that
has ever come under my cognizance," re
plied the Intelligencer, as he made the new
inscription infhis volume. "Most men seek
to impose some cunning falshood upon them
selves for truth. Rut I can lend no help to
your researches, You must achieve tho
miracle for yourself. At some fortunate mo
ment, you may find Truth at your side or,
perhaps, she may be mistily discerned, far
in advance or,possibly, behind you."
"Not behind me." said the seeker, "for I
have left nothing on my track without a
through investigation. She flits before me,
passing now through a naked solitude, and
now mingling with the throng of a popular
assembly, and now writing with the pen of a
French philosopher, and now standing at the
alter of an old cathedral, in the guise of a
Catholic priest, performing the high mass.
Oh weary search! Rut I must not falter;
and surely my heart-deep quest of Truth
shall avail at last."
He paused, and fixed his eyes upon the
Intelligencer, with a depth of investigation
that seemed to hold commerce with tho in
ner nature of this being, wholly regardless
of his external development.
"And what are you?" said he. "It will
not satisfy me to point to this fantastic she.
of an Intelligence Office, and this mockery
of business. Tell me what is beneath it, and
what your real agency in life, and your in
fluence upon mankind?"
"Yours is a mind," answered the Man of
Intelligence, "before which the forma and
fantasies that conceal the inner idea from
the multitude, vanish at once, and leave the
naked reality beneath. Know, then, tho
secret. My agency in worldly action my
connection with the press, and tumult, and
intermingling, and development of human
affairs is merely delusive. The desire of
man's heart does for him whatever I seem
to do. I am no minister of action, but the
What further secrets were then spoken,
remains a mystery inasmuch as the roar of
the city, the bustle of human business, tho
outcry of the jostling masses, the rush and
tumult of man's life, in its noisy and brief
career, arose so high that it drowned the
words of these two talkers. And whether
they stood talking in the Moon, or in Vanity
Fair, or in a city of this actual world, it
more than I can say.
A Goon Rook and a Good Woman. are
excellent things for those who know how
justly to appreciate their value. There are.
men, however who judge both from tho
beauty of their covering.
Thrilling Oratory. They have some
brave orators out west that fact there is no
disputing, if we admit that the renortem
V w I "
translate them aright, and of course they
"don t do anything else," as the following
specimen of lofty and burning eloquence will
"Americans! This is a great country
wide vast and in the southwest, unlimited.
Our Republic is yet destined to reannex all
South America to occupy 'the Russian pos
sessions, and again to recover possession of
those British provinces, which, the prowess
of the old thirteen colonies won from the
French on the plains of Abraham! all right
fully ours to re-occupy. Ours is a great and
growing country. Faneuil Hall was its
Cradle! but whar whar will be found tim
ber enough for its coffin? Scoop all tho
water out of the Atlantic Ocean, and its bed
would not afford a grave sufficient for its
corpse. And yet America has scarcely
grown out of the gristle of boyhood. Eu
rope! what is Europe? She is no whar;
nothing; a circumstance; a cypher; a mcro
obsolete idea. We have faster steamboats,
swifter locomotives, larger creeks, bigger
fdantations, better mill privileges; broader
alecs, higher mountains, deeper cataracts, ,
louder thunder, forkeder lightning, braver
men, handsomer uetmen, and more money
than England dar have! Thunders of ap
plause. Who is afraid?"