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While his friends were doing their best to make him President, Old Stony Phiz set out on a visit to the valley where he was born. Of course, he had no other object than to shake hands with his fellow-citizens, and neither thought nor cared about any effect 5 which his progress through the country might have upon the election. Magnificent preparations were made to receive the illustrious statesman; a cavalcade of horsemen set forth to meet him at the boundary line of the State, and all the people left their
business and gathered along the wayside to see him pass. Among 10 these was Ernest. Though more than once disappointed, as we
have seen, he had such a hopeful and confiding nature, that he was always ready to believe in whatever seemed beautiful and good. He kept his heart continually open, and thus was sure to catch the
blessing from on high, when it should come. So now again, as 15 buoyantly as ever, he went forth to behold the likeness of the Great Stone Face.
The cavalcade came prancing along the road with a great clattering of hoofs and a mighty cloud of dust, which rose up so
dense and high that the visage of the mountain-side was com20 pletely hidden from Ernest's eyes. All the great men of the
neighborhood were there on horseback: militia officers in uniform; the member of Congress; the sheriff of the county; the editors of newspapers; and many a farmer too, had mounted his patient steed,
with his Sunday coat upon his back. It really was a very brilliant 25 spectacle, especially as there were numerous banners flaunting
over the cavalcade on some of which were gorgeous portraits of the illustrious statesman and the Great Stone Face, smiling familiarly at one another, like two brothers. If the pictures were
to be trusted, the mutual resemblance, it must be confessed, was 30 marvellous. We must not forget to mention that there was a
band of music, which made the echoes of the mountains ring and reverberate with the loud triumph of its strains; so that airy and soul-thrilling melodies broke out among all the heights and hollows,
as if every nook of his native valley had found a voice, to welcome 35 the distinguished guest. But the grandest effect was when the
far-off mountain precipice flung back the music; for then the Great Stone Face itself seemed to be swelling the triumphant chorus in acknowledgment that, at length, the man of prophecy was come.
All this while the people were throwing up their hats and shouting with enthusiasm so contagious that the heart of Ernest kindled up, and he likewise threw up his hat, and shouted as loudly as the
loudest, “Huzza for the great man! Huzza for Old Stony Phiz!” But as yet he had not seen him.
“Here he is, now!” cried those who stood near Ernest. “There There! Look at Old Stony Phiz and then at the Old Man of the 5 Mountain, and see if they are not as like as two twin-brothers!”
In the midst of all this gallant array came an open barouche drawn by four white horses; and in the barouche, with his massive head uncovered, sat the illustrious statesman, Old Stony Phiz himself.
“Confess it,” said one of Ernest's neighbors to him, “the Great Stone Face has met its match at last!”
Now, it must be owned that, at his first glimpse of the countenance which was bowing and smiling from the barouche, Ernest
did fancy that there was a resemblance between it and the old 15 familiar face upon the mountain-side. The brow, with its massive
depth and loftiness, and all the other features, indeed, were boldly and strongly hewn, as if in emulation of a more than heroic, of a Titanic model. But the sublimity and stateliness, the grand expression
of a divine sympathy, that illuminated the mountain visage, and 20 etherealized its ponderous granite substance into spirit, might here
be sought in vain. Something had been originally left out, or had departed. And therefore the marvellously gifted statesman had always a weary gloom in the deep caverns of his eyes, as of a child
that has outgrown its playthings, or a man of mighty faculties and 25 little aims, whose life, with all its high performances, was vague and empty, because no high purpose had endowed it with reality.
Still, Ernest's neighbor was thrusting his elbow into his side, and pressing him for an answer.
“Confess! Confess! Is not he the very picture of your Old 30 Man of the Mountain ?"
“No!” said Ernest, bluntly, “I see little or no likeness." “Then so much the worse for the Great Stone Face!” answered his neighbor; and again he set up a shout for Old Stony Phiz.
But Ernest turned away, melancholy, and almost despondent: 35 for this was the saddest of his disappointments, to behold a man
who might have fulfilled the prophecy and had not willed to do so. Meantime, the cavalcade, the banners, the music, and the barouches, swept past him, with the vociferous crowd in the rear,
leaving the dust to settle down, and the Great Stone Face to be 40 revealed again, with the grandeur that it had worn for untold centuries.
“Lo, here I am, Ernest!” the benign lips seemed to say. “I
have waited longer than thou, and am not yet weary. Fear not; the man will come.”
The years hurried onward, treading in their haste on one another's heels. And now they began to bring white hairs, and 5 scatter them over the head of Ernest; they made reverend wrinkles across his forehead, and furrows in his cheeks. He was an aged man. But not in vain had he grown old: more than the white hairs on his head were the sage thoughts in his mind; his
wrinkles and furrows were inscriptions that Time had graved, 10 and in which he had written legends of wisdom that had been tested
by the tenor of a life. And Ernest had ceased to be obscure. Unsought for, undesired, had come the fame which so many seek, and made him known in the great world beyond the limits of the
valley in which he had dwelt so quietly. College professors, 15 and even the active men of cities, came from far to see and con
verse with Ernest; for the report had gone abroad that this simple husbandman had ideas unlike those of other men, not gained from books, but of a higher tone, a tranquil and familiar majesty, as if
he had been talking with the angels as his daily friends. Whether 20 it were sage, statesman, or philanthropist, Ernest received these
with the gentle sincerity that had characterized him from boyhood, and spoke freely with them of whatever came uppermost, or lay deepest in his heart or their own. While they talked together,
his face would kindle, unawares, and shine upon them, as with 25 a mild evening light. Pensive with the fulness of such a dis
course, his guests took leave and went their way, and passing up the valley, paused to look at the Great Stone Face, imagining that they had seen its likeness in a human countenance, but could not
remember where. 30 While Ernest had been growing up and growing old, a bounti
ful Providence had granted a new poet to this earth. He, like: wise, was a native of the valley, but had spent the greater part of his life at a distance from that romantic region, pouring out his
sweet music amid the bustle and din of cities. Often, however, did 35 the mountains which had been familiar to him in his childhood
lift their snowy peaks into the clear atmosphere of his poetry. Neither was the Great Stone Face forgotten, for the poet had celebrated it in an ode, which was grand enough to have been uttered
by its own majestic lips. This man of genius, we may say, had 40 come down from heaven with wonderful endowments. If he sang
of a mountain, the eyes of all mankind beheld a mightier grandeur reposing on its breast, or soaring to its summit, than had before
been seen there. If his theme were a lovely lake, a celestial smile had now been thrown over it, to gleam forever on its surface. If it were the vast old sea, even the deep immensity of its dread bosom
seemed to swell the higher, as if moved by the emotions of the song. 5 Thus the world assumed another and a better aspect from the hour
that the poet blessed it with his happy eyes. The Creator had bestowed him, as the last best touch to his own handiwork. Creation was not finished till the poet came to interpret, and so complete it.
The effect was no less high and beautiful, when his human brethren were the subject of his verse. The man or woman, sordid with the common dust of life, who crossed his daily path, and the little child who played in it, were glorified if he beheld them in his
mood of poetic faith. He showed the golden links of the great 15 chain that intertwined them with an angelic kindred; he brought
out the hidden traits of a eclestial birth that make them worthy of such kin. Some, indeed, there were, who thought to show the soundness of their judgment by affirming that all the beauty and
dignity of the natural world existed only in the poet's fancy. Let 20 such men speak for themselves, who undoubtedly appear to have
been spawned forth by Nature with a contemptuous bitterness; she having plastered them up out of her refuse stuff, after all the swine were made. As respects all things else, the poet's ideal was
the truest truth. 25 The songs of this poet found their way to Ernest. He read
them after his customary toil, seated on the bench before the cottagedoor, where for such a length of time he had filled his repose
with thought, by gazing at the Great Stone Face. And now as he
read stanzas that caused the soul to thrill within him, he lifted his 30 eyes to the vast countenance beaming on him so benignantly.
“O majestic friend,” he murmured, addressing the Great Stone Face, “is not this man worthy to resemble thee?"
The Face seemed to smile, but answered not a word.
Now it happened that the poet, though he dwelt so far away, 35 had not only heard of Ernest, but had meditated much upon his
character, until he deemed nothing so desirable as to meet this man, whose untaught wisdom walked hand in hand with the noble simplicity of his life. One summer morning, therefore, he took
passage by the railroad, and, in the decline of the afternoon, alighted 40 from the cars, at no great distance from Ernest's cottage. The
great hotel, which had formerly been the palace of Mr. Gathergold, was close at hand, but the poet, with his carpet-bag on his arm, inquired at once where Emest dwelt, and was resolved to be accepted as his guest.
Approaching the door, he there found the good old man, holding a volume in his hand, which alternately he read, and then, with 5 a finger between the leaves, looked lovingly at the Great Stone Face.
“Good evening," said the poet. "Can you give a traveler a night's lodging?"
"Willingly," answered Ernest; and then he added, smiling, 10“Methinks I never saw the Great Stone Face look so hospitably at a stranger.”
The poet sat down on the bench beside him, and he and Ernest talked together. Often had the poet held intercourse with the
wittiest and the wisest, but never before with a man like Ernest, 15 whose thoughts and feelings gushed up with such a natural free
dom, and who made great truths so familiar by his simple utterance of them. Angels, as had been so often said, seemed to have wrought with him at his labor in the fields; angels seemed to have
sat with him by the fireside; and, dwelling with angels as friend 20 with friends, he had imbibed the sublimity of their ideas, and im
bued it with the sweet and lowly charm of household words. So thought the poet. And Ernest, on the other hand, was moved and agitated by the living images which the poet flung out of his
mind, and which peopled all the air about the cottage door with 25 shapes of beauty, both gay and pensive. The sympathies of these
two men instructed them with a profounder sense than either could have attained alone. Their minds accorded into one strain, and made delightful music which neither of them could have claimed
as all his own, nor distinguish his own share from the other's. 30 They led one another, as it were, into a high pavilion of their
thoughts, so remote and hitherto so dim, that they had never entered it before, and so beautiful that they desired to be there always.
As Ernest listened to the poet, he imagined that the Great Stone 35
Face was bending forward to listen too. He gazed earnestly into the poet's glowing eyes.
“Who are you, my strangely gifted guest?” he said.
The poet laid his finger on the volume that Ernest had been reading. “You have read these poems,” said he. “You know
- for I wrote them." Again, and still more earnest than before, Ernest examined the poet's features; then turned towards the Great Stone Face; then
40 me, then