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Editor's Table, January 1852

From: Editor's Table
Creator:  A (author)
Date: January 1852
Publication: The Opal
Source: New York State Library

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Little did we think when we mentioned in our last number the purpose of the publishers of the Opal to ornament our beloved monthly with an occasional portrait of our contributors, and possibly that of the Editor himself, how near that purpose was to accomplishment. Little did we imagine that it was in the kindly hearts of said publishers to bestow that favor so speedily upon our humble self. Far was it from our thoughts while we were then writing, the artist was actually at his work, and that a "picter" so faithful and striking, was to grace the head of our Editor's Table, in the very next number of the Opal! But lo! so it was to be, thanks to the enterprise of the Opal proprietors, and to the genius of their artist, W. H. GREEN, Esq. -- One thing all will admit after scrutinizing the above portrait, viz: that the wish we expressed in this connection about our face being "a little handsomer," was not superfluous. Not that it is not better to look wise than to look handsome; and that the head which Mr. Green has furnished is a wise looking one, we would not disparage his judgment nor our physiognomy by insinua-ting. But of course, if in addition to being so wise it were also a little handsomer, few will disagree with us that it would be an im-provement, and so our wish expressed in our last editorial stands justified.


A SLIGHT MISTAKE CORRECTED. We were struck with the appearance of an intelligent gentleman who came into the business office the other day. He had evidently read our remarks in the last Opal, descriptive of the location and character of our famous library. "Ah, said he, as he cast his eyes towards the south-west corner, 'here is the Opal library." "Ah, indeed!" said he again, as he took down a good looking volume from the shelves and ran over its pages, "well, really, that does not read so very much like as if it was written by an insane man after all!" After he had retired, we had the curiosity just to see what volume it was that had gained our friend's compliment, and found, to our edification," that it was "Peveril of the Peak"! Well, that book does not read, to our eyes, very much as if it was written by a crazy head. -- That's a fact; and what we want now to say to our friend, and any others that may have fallen in to his views, is, that we never meant to assert the contrary. We are aware, that Sir Walter, the gentleman who did write 'Peveril,' would have been a very desirable contributor to the columns of a paper of high character like the Opal, but we certainly never intended to claim him. As far as we recollect, he and the first volume of the Opal was not even contemporaneous. -- We only meant to say in our last editorial, as we thought we did in our usual lucid style, that the Opal library was purchased by the income of our excellent periodical. We did not mean that it was published by us, and especially not from the original writings of our contributors. No, no; lest such a supposition might be injurious to our paper, we hasten to correct it, and to claim for the monthly issues of the Opal, the entire and undivided talent of our whole corps of contributors. There is a great deal of original composition going on within our walls, but chiefly for the benefit of our own columns. We hope now that we are understood.


Speaking of visitors to our institution, we could not help but notice how one of them was somewhat "taken in" a while since, soon after crossing the threshold. He had separated a little from the rest of the company that were being shown through the establishment, and was gazing very intently at the "register" at the further end of Hall No.--. One of our fellow-inmates, a youngster with intelligence in one eye, and mischief in the other, observing our visitor's anxious look of inquiry went forward immediately to answer it. "Now what do you call that ere thing there?" said the visitor. "That!" replied his informant, "why hav'nt you heard about it, -- what not heard about the new invention for working us up by steam!"


"By steam! by steam!!" repeated he glancing around as though he expected operations would shortly begin. Considerably sudden was the manner in which our visitor left that part of the Hall, and applied for exit through the door that let him to the stair-way, to the manifest amusement of the crazy wag who stayed behind.


The Albany Evening Journal quotes from to our article on "Kossuth and the Fugitive Slave Law," and contrasts it with the resolution of Hon. Mr. Smith, of Alabama, touching the treasonable sentiments in the speeches of the great Magyar. The Journal kindly concludes that we are the sanest man of the two, and might with advantage to ourselves and the country, change places with him. We thank the Journal for the intended compliment, but must humbly decline accepting the comparison on which he founds it. We don't feel it any favor to have precedence assigned us over such genius as that Smith at all. In fact we don't like quite to have our place of abode mentioned along with the House he lives in! Who we beg to know ever passed through the N. Y. State Asylum, from No. 11, upwards without being obliged to confess the order which reigned throughout. But who that ever stepped across the threshold of the House of Representatives that could say any thing for the order that reigns in this establishment. Who ever saw, in our institution, such a crazy head as that Smith loose, and running at large, proposing resolutions, making speeches, and expecting to have them printed in the Opal! Besides the Asylum changes some two-thirds of its inmates, yearly, and sends out a large number of them much improved upon what they were when they came in. Can as much be said of the majority of those who go to Congress when they go home again? We should doubt it, if all reports of the doings in and about Washington by Honorable gentlemen be true. Speaking of comparisons between wise folks and crazy ones, we are sometimes tempted to draw them ourselves, even when they are not suggested from the outside. Witness the one we drew the other day, and guess in whose favor, when a party of ladies passing through Hall, No.-- and noticing two of its notables, and two -- let us say, of about as shrewd and knowing men as you will find inside or outside of our walls, playing checkers with a goodly company of brother inmates looking on the game one of the ladies aforesaid inquired of another in a not very inaudible tone: "Do you suppose they understand the moves?" It was a pretty sonorous roar of laughter that followed from the spectators of the checker board on that inquiry -- and declared the quite unanimous vote of the company upon the superior sagacity, not to say superior delicacy, which prompted the question. About as wise a question as that addressed to our Cicerone by a company he was conducting through the Asylum, "Sir, do these persons know one another!" Oh wise generation! Were you only in the Asylum, too, who would know the difference between you and the rest of us!

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