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pend its action would no doubt be a grotesque prayer. Very well ! but when a man loses faith in the efficacy of his efforts, when he says to himself, “You are incapable of realising your ideal ; happiness is a chimera, progress is an illusion, the passion for perfection is a snare; and supposing all your ambitions were gratified, everything would still be vanity,' then he comes to see that a little blindness is necessary if life is to be carried on, and that illusion is the universal spring of movement. Complete disillusion would mean absolute immobility. He who has deciphered the secret and read the riddle of finite life escapes from the great wheel of existence ; he has left the world of the living – he is already dead. Is this the meaning of the old belief that to raise the veil of Isis or to behold God face to face brought destruction upon the rash mortal who attempted it ? Egypt and Judæa had recorded the fact, Buddha gave the key to it; the individual life is a nothing ignorant of itself, and as soon as this nothing knows itself, individual life is abolished in principle. For as soon as the illusion vanishes, Nothingness resumes its eternal sway, the suffering of life is over, error has disappeared, time and form have
ceased to be for this enfranchised individuality; the coloured air-bubble has burst in the infinite space, and the misery of thought has sunk to rest in the changeless repose of all-embracing Nothing. The absolute, if it were spirit, would still be activity, and it is activity, the daughter of desire, which is incompatible with the absolute. The absolute, then, must be the zero of all determination, and the only manner of being suited to it is Non-being.
2d July 1870.- One of the vices of France is the frivolity which substitutes public conventions for truth, and absolutely ignores personal dignity and the majesty of conscience. The French are ignorant of the A B C of individual liberty, and still show an essentially catholic intolerance towards the ideas which have not attained universality or the adhesion of the majority. The nation is an army which can bring to bear mass, number, and force, but not an assembly of free men in which each individual depends for his value on himself. The eminent Frenchman depends upon others for his value ; if he possess stripe, cross, scarf, sword, or robe, - in a word, function and decoration, — then he is held to be
something, and he feels himself somebody. It is the symbol which establishes his merit; it is the public which raises him from nothing, as the Sultan creates his viziers. These highly-trained and social races have an antipathy for individual independence; everything with them must be founded upon authority military, civil, or religious, and God Himself is non-existent until He has been established by decree. Their fundamental dogma is that social omnipotence which treats the pretension of truth to be true without any official stamp, as a mere usurpation and sacrilege, and scouts the claim of the individual to possess either a separate conviction or a personal value.
20th July 1870 (Bellalpe). — A marvellous day. The panorama before me is of a grandiose splendour; it is a symphony of mountains, a cantata of sunny Alps.
I am dazzled and oppressed by it. The feeling uppermost is one of delight in being able to admire, of joy, that is to say, in a recovered power of contemplation which is the result of physical relief, in being able at last to forget myself and surrender my. self to things, as befits a man in my state of health. Gratitude is mingled with en
thusiasm. · I have just spent two hours of continuous delighi at the foot of the Spar‘renhorn, the peak behind us. A flood of sensations overpowered me. I could only look, feel, dream, and think.
Later. - Ascent of the Sparrenhorn. The peak of it is not very easy to climb, because of the masses of loose stones and the steepness of the path, which runs between two abysses. But how great is one's reward !
The view embraces the whole series of the Valais Alps from the Furka to the Combin; and even beyond the Furka one sees a few peaks of the Ticino and the Rhaetian Alps ; while if you turn you see behind you a whole Polar world of snowfields and glaciers forming the southern side of the enormous Bernese group of the Finsteraarhorn, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau. The near representative of the group is the Aletschhorn, whence diverge like so many ribbons the different Aletsch glaciers which wind about the peak from which I saw them. I could study the different zones, one above another, - fields, woods, grassy Alps, bare rock and snow, and the principal types of mountain; the pagodashaped Mischabel, with its four arêtes as
flying buttresses and its staff of nine clustered peaks; the cupola of the Fletschhorn, the dome of Monte Rosa, the pyramid of the Weisshorn, the obelisk of the Cervin.
Round me fluttered a multitude of butterflies and brilliant green-backed flies ; but nothing grew except a few' lichens. The deadness and emptiness of the upper Aletsch glacier, like some vast white street, called up the image of an icy Pompeii. All around boundless silence. On my way back I noticed some effects of sunshine, — the close elastic mountain grass, starred with gentian, forget-me-not, and anemones, the mountain cattle standing out against the sky, the rocks just piercing the soil, various circular dips in the mountain side, stone waves petrified thousands of thousands of years ago, the undulating ground, the tender quiet of the evening: and I invoked the soul of the mountains and the spirit of the heights!
22d July 1870 (Bellalpe). The sky, which was misty and overcast this morning, has become perfectly blue again, and the giants of the Valais are bathed in tranquil light.
Whence this solemn melancholy which oppresses and pursues me? I have just