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others, these four propositions: That they
preferred mythology to truth; that they repeated
certain common-places with too great readiness;
that they represented the dawn as something
abrupt, startling, and active, when it is
beautifully gradualnay, almost furtive; and
that they spoke of it as jocund, whereas it is
sad. Those who have watched through the
night, and marked the approach of dawn, know
that the light does not " shoot," but grows;
that, after a blacker blackness than midnight
can produce, the huge overarching dark gets
somewhat paler, though by infinitely fine
degrees; that by-and-by the blackness relents and
softens into intense purplish blue (speaking here
of mornings that are cloudless); that this deep
blue becomes more luminous every minute, yet
with a wonderful tenderness of gradation, as the
advancing glory pours into and dilutes it; that
presently the blue kindles into glowing
sapphire, like delicate coloured glass with a light
behind it, which steeps its entire substance in
augmenting radiance; that, in the midst of this
dreamy suffusion and silence, the keen gold of
the morning star hangs dreamy and silent; that
there is a progression which is allied to pausing,
by reason of its hushed unhurried march; and
that finally, as the great wave of the darkness
ebbs away in the extremest west, and "the
stars burn out in the pale blue air," all things
acquire an aspect of fresh wonder and mystery,
as if they were newly created in their own eyes
and those of others. And that sight is not
"jocund," but divinely sad: sad with the
dumbness and the enigma of the world.


THE firemen of America are all volunteers.
It is the law of the land that every citizen at a
certain age, must come and serve for a certain
specified duration of time, as either a militiaman
or a volunteer. Now, as I believe the militiaman's
term of service lasts five years, and a fireman's
only three, you may easily imagine, among
an itinerant and feverishly restless democratic
youth, which is preferred.

Besides, there are many other reasons which
I have no doubt contribute to make the fireman's
service more popular in America than the
militiaman's. In the first place, the former
service, though vexatiously frequent in its calls
upon its members, is not so restrained and
monotonous as that of the militiaman's; and
the Americans, as self-conscious freemen, are
very jealous of even the smallest and least
galling restraint. Secondly, the dress is not so
much of the character of a liverywhich a true
American always detests as a badge of serfdom;
it is more loose, careless, and picturesque.
Thirdly, the work is at night, when shops are shut
and counting-houses closed; lastly, the service
is one of stirring danger, and full of that passionate
excitement that the American, whose
Anglo-Saxon blood the suns of a new continent have
long since fired to almost the volcanic warmth of
the Indian he displaced, loves, and must have.

I will give my first impressions of the
appearance of these volunteer firemen. I had only
just landed from the faithful steamer, the Red
Arrow, that had borne me so well over the
churlish Atlantic, where Notus and Auster and
Boreas and Aquila had blown their worst at me,
and was working my way from the Battery and
the vast world of warehouses thereunto adjoining,
into Broadway.

The new region, of which I was not quite the
Columbus, lay before me, with its thin wiry
merchants, its sallow-faced and pale dyspeptic
clerks, its hairy rowdies, its Californian itinerants,
and its staring, wobegone emigrants. A
party of these last (palpably Irish) had just
jolted past me, seated on their sea-chests, and
packed in a slight-built waggon, that bumped
over the stones, built in with piles of striped
bedding, and jingling bunches of the tin-cans and
basins that emigrants use on board ship. Away
they jolted into a new world; in a few days
they would be shaping pine-logs in a cedar wood
of Florida, or lying on beds of hemlock-boughs
on the skirt of some vast prairie; the
training-ground of nations yet unborn.

Here, glide along the huge crimson omnibus
carriages of the street-railroad; those fluttering
flags over the conductor's platform, announce a
great election-meeting to-night in the City Park.
Here come some cotton bales, and here a cart
full of oysterssea fruit new gathered; but now
a stir and oscillation in the street crowds. Now
rises to the immaculate blue sky that ever smiles
on New York, a bray of brass, a clamp of
cymbals, and the piercing supplication of fifes,
and bomb tom cannonades the drum, with
expostulating groan.

Ha! there breaks through the black-panted
crowd (even the seediest American wears evening
dress) gleams of warm scarlet! It is the
rifle company of one of the New York Volunteer
Firemen Societies. Here they come, four
abreast. " FOURS," with no very severe military
air of stiff order and mathematical regularity,
but with light, gay, swinging step,
jaunty, careless, rather defiant freemen, a little
self-conscious of display, but braving it out in a
manly game-cock way. They are trailing rifles
now, the officers swinging round in the wheels
with them, glittering sword in hand.

They wear a rude sort of shako covered with
oilskin, red flannel shirts, with black silk
handkerchiefs, blowing gaily (as to the ends), tied
round their throats in jaunty sailor's knots; they
are all young men, some quite boys. It is
evidently the manner with them to affect
recklessness, so as not to appear to be drilled
or drummed about to the detriment of their
brave democratic freedom uniform. No, they
would as soon wear flamingo-plush and
bellhanging shoulder-knots.

They have been over on what the Americans
call "a target excursion" to Brooklyn, and have
been summoned together by advertisement in
the New York Herald. To-morrow, there will
be a paragraph about their excellent shooting,
the number of bull's-eyes they made, the "clam

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