when the system of lighting was ready for use, and when
"To be sure," I replied affirmatively.
He said no more, but went and looked up the garret-stairs. They bore traces of a severe encounter, that must be confessed.
"Do you wish me to give you a bit of advice?" he asked.
"Well, then, here it is. The next time you design to bring a trunk down-stairs, you would better cut away the underpinning, and knock out the beams, and let the garret down into the cellar. It will make less uproar, and not take so much to repair damages."
He intended to be severe. His words passed by me as the idle wind. I perched on my trunk, took a pasteboard box-cover and fanned myself. I was very warm. Halicarnassus sat down on the lowest stair and remained silent several minutes, expecting a meek explanation, but not getting it, swallowed a bountiful piece of what is called in homely talk, "humble-pie," and said,--
"I should like to know what's in the wind now."
I make it a principle always to resent an insult and to welcome repentance with equal alacrity. If people thrust out their horns at me wantonly, they very soon run against a stone-wall; but the moment they show signs of contrition, I soften. It is the best way. Don't insist that people shall grovel at your feet before you accept their apology. That is not magnanimous. Let mercy temper justice. It is a hard thing at best for human nature to go down into the Valley of Humiliation; and although, when circumstances arise which make it the only fit place for a person, I insist upon his going, still no sooner does he actually begin the descent than my sense of justice is appeased, my natural sweetness of disposition resumes sway, and I trip along by his side chatting as gaily as if I did not perceive it was the Valley of Humiliation at all, but fancied it the Delectable Mountains. So, upon the first symptoms of placability, I answered cordially,--
"Halicarnassus, it has been the ambition of my life to write a book of travels. But to write a book of travels, one must first have travelled."