Prue and I

George William Curtis
Prue and I

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Title: Prue and I
Author: George William Curtis
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"Knitters in the sun." _Twelfth Night._

An old book-keeper, who wears a white cravat and black trowsers in
the morning, who rarely goes to the opera, and never dines out, is
clearly a person of no fashion and of no superior sources of information.
His only journey is from his house to his office; his only satisfaction is
in doing his duty; his only happiness is in his Prue and his children.
What romance can such a life have? What stories can such a man tell?
Yet I think, sometimes, when I look up from the parquet at the opera,
and see Aurelia smiling in the boxes, and holding her court of love, and
youth, and beauty, that the historians have not told of a fairer queen,
nor the travellers seen devouter homage. And when I rememember that
it was in misty England that quaint old George Herbert Sang of the--
"Sweet day so cool, so calm, so bright-- The bridal of the earth and
I am sure that I see days as lovely in our clearer air, and do not believe
that Italian sunsets have a more gorgeous purple or a softer gold.
So, as the circle of my little life revolves, I console myself with
believing, what I cannot help believing, that a man need not be a
vagabond to enjoy the sweetest charm of travel, but that all countries
and all times repeat themselves in his experience. This is an old
philosophy, I am told, and much favored by those who have travelled;
and I cannot but be glad that my faith has such a fine name and such

competent witnesses. I am assured, however, upon the other hand, that
such a faith is only imagination. But, if that be true, imagination is as
good as many voyages--and how much cheaper!--a consideration which
an old book-keeper can never afford to forget.
I have not found, in my experience, that travellers always bring back
with them the sunshine of Italy or the elegance of Greece. They tell us
that there are such things, and that they have seen them; but, perhaps,
they saw them, as the apples in the garden of the Hesperides were
sometimes seen--over the wall. I prefer the fruit which I can buy in the
market to that which a man tells me he saw in Sicily, but of which there
is no flavor in his story. Others, like Moses Primrose, bring us a gross
of such spectacles as we prefer not to see; so that I begin to suspect a
man must have Italy and Greece in his heart and mind, if he would ever
see them with his eyes.
I know that this may be only a device of that compassionate
imagination designed to comfort me, who shall never take but one other
journey than my daily beat. Yet there have been wise men who taught
that all scenes are but pictures upon the mind; and if I can see them as I
walk the street that leads to my office, or sit at the office-window
looking into the court, or take a little trip down the bay or up the river,
why are not my pictures as pleasant and as profitable as those which
men travel for years, at great cost of time, and trouble, and money, to
For my
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