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obstacles. It is useful in all places, and at all times ; it is useful in solitude, for it shows a man into the world; it is useful in society, for it shows him his way through the world.
Talent is power, tact is skill; talent is weight, tact is momentum ; talent knows what to do, tact knows how to do it; talent makes a man respectable, tact will make him respected; talent is wealth, tact is ready money. For all the practical purposes, tact carries it against talent ten to one.
Take them to the theater, and put them against each other on the stage, and talent shall produce you a tragedy that shall scarcely live long enough to be condemned, while tact keeps the house in a roar, night after night, with its successful farces. There is no want of dramatic talent, there is no want of dramatic tact; but they are seldom together: so we have successful pieces which are not respectable, and respectable pieces which are not successful.
Take them to the bar, and let them shake their learned curls at each other in legal rivalry; talent sees its way clearly, but tact is first at its journey's end. Talent has many a compliment from the bench, but tact touches fees. Talent makes the world wonder that it gets on no faster, tact arouses astonishment that it gets on so fast. And the secret is, that it has no weight to carry ; it makes no false steps;
it hits the right nail on the head ; it loses no time; it takes all hints; and by keeping its eye on the weather-cock, is ready to take advantage of every wind that blows.
Take them into the church : talent has always something worth hearing, tact is sure of abundance of hearers ; talent may obtain a living, tact will make one; talent gets a good name, tact a great one; talent convinces, tact converts; talent is an honor to the profession, tact gains honor from the profession.
Take them to court : talent feels its weight, tact finds its way; talent commands, tact is obeyed; talent is honored with approbation, and tact is blessed by preferment. Place them in the senate: talent has the ear of the house, but tact wins its heart, and has its votes; talent is fit for employment, but tact is fitted for it.
Tact seems to know everything, without learning anything. It has served an extemporary apprenticeship; it wants no drilling; it never ranks in the awkward squad ; it has no left hand, no deaf ear, no blind side. It puts on no look of wondrous wisdom, it has no air of profundity, but plays with the details of place as dexterously as a well-taught hand flourishes over the keys of the pianoforte.
From “ London Atlas."
THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY
PHILIP NOLAN was as fine a young officer as there was in the “Legion of the West,” as the western division of our army was then called. When Aaron Burr made his first dashing expedition down to New Orleans, he met this gay, bright young fellow. Burr marked him, talked to him, walked with him, took him a day or two's voyage in his flatboat, and, in short, fascinated him. Under this baneful influence poor
Nolan became sick of the service and in time turned traitor to his country. He was tried before a court martial for treason, and found guilty enough ; yet you and I would never have heard of him, reader, but that when the president of the court asked him if he wished to say anything to show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried out in a fit of frenzy :
“ Curse the United States ! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!” I suppose
he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who was holding the court. Half the officers who sat in it had served through the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly cursed in his madness.
Old Morgan was, indeed, terribly shocked. If Nolan had compared George Washington to Benedict Arnold, or had cried, “God save King George,” Morgan would not have felt worse. He called the court into his private room, and returned in fifteen minutes, with a face like a sheet, to say :
“Prisoner, hear the sentence of the Court! The Court decides, subject to the approval of the President, that you never hear the name of the United States again.”
Nolan laughed. But nobody else laughed. Old Morgan was too solemn, and the whole room was hushed dead as night for a minute.
Then Morgan added, “Mr. Marshal, take the prisoner to Orleans in an armed boat, and deliver him to the naval commander there." The marshal gave his orders and the prisoner was taken out of court.
“ Mr. Marshal,” continued old Morgan,“ see that no one mentions the United States to the prisoner. Mr. Marshal, make my respects to
Lieutenant Mitchell at Orleans, and request him to order that no one shall mention the United States to the prisoner while he is on board ship. The Court is adjourned without day.”
President Jefferson approved the sentence of the court, and Philip Nolan was man without a country. The secretary of the navy was requested
to put him on board a government vessel, and to direct that under no circumstances was the prisoner ever to hear of his country or to see any information regarding it. Otherwise he had the freedom of the ship on which he was confined. No mess liked to have him permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home, or of the prospect of return, of politics or letters, of peace or of war, cut off more than half the talk men liked to have at sea.
As he was almost never permitted to go on shore, even though the vessel lay in port for months, his time at the best hung heavy; and everybody was permitted to lend him books, if they were not published in America and made no allusion to it. He had almost all the foreign papers that came into the ship, sooner or later; only somebody must go over thern first, and cut out any advertisement or stray paragraph that alluded to America. Among these books was the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel,” which they had all of them heard of, but which most of them had never seen. Nobody thought there could be
any risk of anything national in that, so Nolan was permitted to join the circle one afternoon when a lot of them sat on deck smoking and reading aloud.
Well, it so happened that in his turn Nolan took the book and read to the others; and he read very