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THE OUTERMOST RIM.
"What an enigma then is man! What a strange chaotic, and contradictory being! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm! depository of truth, mass of uncertainty! glory and butt of the Universe! If he boast himself, I abase him; if he humble himself, I glory in him; and I always contradict him till he comprehends that he is an incomprehensible monster."-PASCAL.
ON the eastern shore of the Lake of Geneva there stands well-preserved an ancient castle, with draw bridge and moat, with turrets and donjon-keep. Time has dealt gently with Chillon, and the storms of ages have but roughened its walls for creepers and lichens. It rises from the blue waters of Leman in the foreground and contrasts with the green slopes of Villeneuve in the background-colossal, formidable and picturesque as of old.
On one summer's day, three men of different
moods strolled through its precincts and pondered its memories. The first was a disciple of utility—a statistician, who had won for himself a name for unusual common sense. He entered the ancient archway with critical eye, measuring-tape in hand; and, as he paced the courts and climbed the rude stairways and looked down from the battlements, he soliloquized thus:
"These massive walls-how they tell of an age of despotic sway over brute strength! This desolate banquet-hall-what an unkempt herd of ruffians was wont to gather around the oaken board! And this ladies' boudoir, without carpet and without pictures-how comfortless and dreary! Poor little women! how they must have twirled and tugged at these old spinning-wheels to keep their untidy menat-arms in clean homespun! How long could such a fortification as this have held out against a well-equipped force of French or Italian chivalry? So much beef and so much pork and so much grain would have been needed month by month. Water at least must have been plenty, drawn up from the profound depths under the western wall. Ah, here is the armory! These are the breast-plates, helmets, and greaves of medieval war. Very small, all of them! They could not be worn by an average soldier