THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY

The Biographical Memoir from Poems and prose sketches, with a biographical memoir of Paul Charles Morphy
by Louis Albert Morphy

PAUL CHARLES MORPHY.
A Study of His Person. *

     "On a beautiful sunshiny day in June, 1858, I was talking to the late Mr. Barnes, of Simpson's Divan, when the door opened, and Paul Morphy entered the room. Unlike some other notabilities, he did not immediately unbonnet himself to display his capacious forehead, nor did he pause and look around to attract and gratify his admirers, but quietly and unobtrusively walked up the room to the place where we were sitting, and, having shaken hands with my companion, sat down to play him a game of chess. He was, literally speaking, canopied with a huge, broad, Panama hat, and wore a light suit of clothes, seemingly of fine grey linen; he was neat in his dress and gentlemanly in demeanor. Upon taking his seat at the board, he doffed his hat and revealed to my sight a large and well proportioned head. His brow was remarkably fine and massive, broad, as well as lofty. His eyes were dark, neither prominent nor deeply set, but very luminous, and, better still, very pleasant in expression. Just above them rose those bumps which are supposed to betoken the possession of the calculating faculty. The lower part of the face, and particularly the firmly set jaw, indicated, if not, obstinacy, considerable determination of character. His smile was delightful; it seemed to kindle up the brain-fuel that fed his eyes with light, and it made them shoot forth most brilliant rays. Morphy was short of stature, but well, and even gracefully, proportioned, save that his hands and feet were preternaturally small, the former being very white and well shaped."
     "Although, like Buckle, Morphy generally kept his eyes fixed intently upon the board whilst he was playing, yet, like that gentle man, he always looked up from it as soon as he had a winning game, but never with an exulting or triumphant gaze. He seldom, in fact, in my presence never, expended more than a minute or two over his best and deepest combinations. He never seemed to exert himself, much less to cudgel his brains, but played with consummate ease, as though his moves were the result of inspiration. I fancy he always discerned the right move at a glance, and only paused before making it, partly out of respect for his antagonist and partly to certify himself of its correctness, to make assurance doubly sure, and to accustom himself to sobriety of demeanor in all circumstances."

*Note. The above description of Morphy's general appearance and style of play is taken from a book, entitled Chess Life-Pictures, written by G. A. MacDonnell, and published in London in 1883. As the observations are Mr. MacDonnell s personal ones, and are couched in such graceful style, the writer has concluded he could not do better, than to quote the extracts, in full. It is desired, therefore, to acknowledge distinctly the indebtedness to Mr. MacDonnell s work.

 

PAUL CHARLES MORPHY.
A Biographical Memoir.
 

The subject of this sketch was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 22nd, 1837, and he died in that city on the afternoon of July 10th, 1884, in the bath-room of the "House,"  now known as No. 417 Royal Street, which had been the family home for very many years, having been bought by Morphy's father in 1841 . From a death-notice of July 11th, 1884, it appears that Morphy died about half-past two o'clock in  the afternoon, of the 10th. It is assumed by the writer that this was fixed on as the approximate time of Morphy's death, as far as such could be determined under the precise circumstances of his death. It had been Morphy's daily custom for many years to take the walk from his home, up Royal Street to Canal Street, and then about Canal Street and the vicinity, and then back home again, down Royal Street; and he some times did this several times during one day. Most of those, who recalled Morphy in the later years of his life, almost always thought of him taking this walk, scrupulously dressed, and his only companion his slender walking-stick. It was approximately in the neighborhood of two o'clock, on July 10th, when Morphy returned from one of these walks, and, being very warm, he imprudently went to the bath-room, for a cold bath. As he remained there longer than seemed natural to his mother, she became alarmed. Going to the bath-room, she called to her son, from whom she received no answer. Finding the door locked, she then hurried to one of the neighbors for assistance. The door of the bath-room was forced, and Morphy was found in the tub, dead. The death is generally attributed to a congestion, thought produced by Morphy's taking this bath too soon after this walk, in his overheated condition.*

*For the benefit of the curiously Inclined, the writer obtained the reports of the Weather Bureau for that day, July 10th, 1884. These reports showed a temperature, under Observatory conditions, that is, not in the sun, of 90 degrees at 3 p. m., the nearest period of observation at that time, with the sky then partly cloudy. The reports also showed two thunderstorms during the day, one in the morning and one in the evening, both attended by rainfall, indicating the presence of much humidity in the atmosphere throughout the day.


     Morphy was born in the residence, now known as No. 1113 Chartres Street, which subsequently acquired additional distinction as the home of General Beauregard, one of the more distinguished generals of the Confederacy, in the Civil War. This house can still be seen. It sits directly opposite the original Convent, erected for the order of the Ursuline Nuns, of which they took possession in the year 1734, and in which they remained until the middle of the year 1824. It shortly after became the official residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, stationed at New Orleans, or, as it is termed, the Archbishopric of this territory, which it continued to be until a few years ago. It is now permanently attached to St. Mary s Roman Catholic Church, adjoining. It was in this building that the Nuns prayed for the defeat of the British in the year 1815, when the Battle of New Orleans was being fought only a few miles away, between the British troops and the Americans, under "old" Andrew Jackson, helped by some of the "tiger-like" fighters of the pirate band of Jean Lafitte, whom Jackson had "pardoned", as it were, for the purpose of this battle. It is said that the bravery of these pirates, in this battle, so impressed Jackson, whose admiration for a fighter was characteristic, that he never failed to stop and chat with any one of them, that he might come upon. Two facts, in passing, connected with this battle, not invariably known, might be interesting to the reader. One is, that
the American troops did not fight in the Battle of New Orleans from behind cotton bales, some current supposition, a little romance, and some "history", to the contrary. A few bales of cotton were used originally in places, supposedly to strengthen parts of the earthworks, hurriedly thrown up by the Americans, about a mile long, but the fire of the British soon set these aflame, and the troops quickly threw the bales aside, as evident sources of danger rather than protection, finding, as we regret to have to comment, from experiences only too recent, that "terra firma" was the real protection. The paraphernalia of the battle was the usual "fodder", men, weapons, horses, possibly some mules, an embankment, in which, as stated, a few bales of cotton had originally been placed, but which were soon taken out, the open field, and some trees. The use of the few bales started the romances, together with the pictures, even, where the guns protrude from between, and behind, cotton bales, and men are engaged in mortal combat on their tops. The other observation, to which the histories do not always specifically direct attention, is that the battle was actually fought about two weeks after the Treaty of Peace had been signed by Great Britain and the United States, the news not actually reaching Jackson until February 13th, 1815, over a month after the fighting of the battle, and a month and a half after the actual signing of the Articles of Peace, an interesting testimonial to the speed with which news traveled in those days, as compared with the present. The house, in which Morphy died, is, of course, directly opposite the building, known as the New Courthouse. Among other public uses, to which the building is put, is that of "housing" the Supreme Court of the State, the building, in this way, becoming the State's "Temple of Justice."  Morphy's birth, therefore, from its "religious setting," as it were, passes, in the thought of the house in which he died, to the "judicial setting," with but one distinction, apparent to the observer, that the building, in which Morphy had his birth, sits opposite, and on a substantial level with, the religious edifice it faces, while the house, in which he died, also sits opposite, but rather in the "shadow", as it were, of the "Temple of Justice."
     Paul Charles Morphy, who is known almost everywhere merely as Paul Morphy, on his father s side, came of Spanish descent, traced originally from Irish sources, the original name appearing, from the family coat of arms, to have been O Murphu, next O Murphy, and then the familiar Murphy, simply. Sometime during the eighteenth century, the writer could not state positively the exact date, but undoubtedly after the accession to the English throne of the first of the Hanoverian dynasty, and following the fall of the House of Stuart, Morphy's more immediate ancestors emigrated from Ireland, being, no doubt, among those self-exiles, whose emigration starts, substantially, with the downfall of the House of Stuart, and continues throughout the rebellious movements, that have subsequently marked Ireland s career. Many of these exiles, or refugees, whichever they might be, went to France and Spain, as is well known; and it is as a resident of Madrid, Spain, that we come upon Don Diego Morphy, Sr., Paul s grandfather. The Spaniards, having found the "u", of Murphy, troublesome to pronounce, changed it into the letter, "o", pronouncing the name as though spelled "Morfee" That is the history of the pres ent name, Morphy. The Irish associations of Morphy's grandfather are still more clearly indicated by the name of his first wife, Mollie Creagh, which would lead to an easy inference that Morphy's grandfather, with that particular wife, were the actual persons to leave Ireland, which would place that emigration somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth century, which the writer learns, on such data as can be found, to be supposedly the approximate time of this emigration. In 1 793, Morphy's grandfather appears a resident of Cape Francis, Santo Domingo; and, from there again, with his first wife, Mollie Creagh, he was driven out by the well known "San Domingo revolt", contemporaneous with the French Revolution of 1 793. This wife escaped from the Island by going aboard an English vessel, lying in the harbor, disguised as a seller of vegetables, with her infant son, Don Diego, Jr., hidden in the basket, which appeared filled with cabbages. The two sailed, with the vessel, to Philadelphia; and mother and son were later joined there by the father, Don Diego Morphy, Sr., who escaped from the Island on a vessel bound for Charleston. From Philadelphia, Don Diego Morphy, Sr., moved, with his first wife and their child, to Charleston, South Carolina, where the first wife died. Don Diego Morphy, Sr., then married Louise Peire, whom he met in Charleston, who was, herself, the descendant of a French Huguenot. By this second marriage, four children were born, and one of these children, Alonzo Michael Morphy, known generally as Alonzo Morphy, simply, became the father of Paul, the subject of this sketch. From Charleston, Don Diego Morphy, Sr., came to New Orleans, with his family, which included, at this time, Paul's father, then very young. Some of the vicissitudes of fate, therefore, as well as the fundamentally rebellious character of the "stock", from which Paul sprung, appear on the horizon at the very beginning of our first definite knowledge of his ancestry. This is added to in Paul's mother, whom Paul s father, Alonzo, met and married in New Orleans. She was of French descent, and her family had come to the United States by way of the West Indies, also. Her name, which is as sacred as that of the father, was Thelcide Louise Le Carpentier.
     The "geographical drift", as it were, of Morphy's ancestry, on his father s side, is very clearly indicated by the father s name, Alonzo Michael Morphy, in the Spanish "Alonzo", a "given" name, the Irish "Michael", and the family-name, "O Murphu", next "O Murphy", and subsequently "Murphy", with its Spanish pervert, "Morphy";. After reading law under Edward Livingston, one of Louisiana s most famous jurists, and later entering the practice of that profession, Alonzo Morphy, himself, attained to distinction in the State, twice becoming a member of the legislature, also attorney general of the State, and finally a member of the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. He died in the year 1856, just a little too early to see his son reach really to "fame" in the chess world, which might be said to begin with the son s appearance in the American Chess Congress, convened in New York in October, of 1857. It was the father, who, first noticing the son's singular interest in the game, and, gradually, his precocious powers for it, then seriously began to teach his son the moves of the game and the comparative value of the pieces. It might be interesting to ask whether he would have done so, had he been able to foresee his son s entire career, assuming, more particularly, that the unpremeditated "diversion", as so intended, of chess, turned Morphy's entire career, bringing, after the transitory flight of "chess-genius", the long years of gloom to Morphy, ending, according to the writer's judgment, in such ultimate impairment of Morphy's mind, as did appear. In the light of all Morphy's history, would a Solomon have decided this, in advance? And, who would undertake to decide such a question now? Do you suppose the individual could decide it? There is another thought to which the father is entitled, before we leave him for the son. Decided rightly or wrongly, and by premeditation or accident, he did not see, as we have indicated, anything but practically faint forebodings of powers in his son, which, in the fondest dreams of a parent, he could hardly have felt were to lead where they did, and whose development must certainly largely be attributed to the father, through his early personal encouragement, another of those ironical workings of fate, as common as they are sometimes inevitable, and almost a proper introduction to Morphy's own life. To Reality, the Thought is every thing: the Individual, nothing.  
    Paul Charles Morphy was given the usual educational advantages of his period, and he came to speak four languages fluently, French, English, Spanish, and German. He was first sent to a local institution, in New Orleans, and then to St. Joseph s College, at Spring Hill, Alabama, where he was graduated, with the highest honors, in 1854. He remained one year after that, however, during which time his attention was given almost exclusively to the study of law and mathematics, an interesting combination, even to the casual observer, and full of meaning to those familiar with his life. Morphy was graduated from the law department of the University of Louisiana in 1857, and was subsequently admitted to practice. In this way, that is, by his graduation in law and his entry in the American Chess Congress at New York, both in 1857, and within a few months of each other, Morphy launched himself, as it were, at one and the same time, into those two warring destinies of his life. Who can say whether he made the choice, or that Unseen Hand of Fate, which seems to guide the destinies of the Great, more particularly? Was that the unsuspected parting of the ways? It was. After finishing this sketch, the reader might like to ask himself what would have been his decision in such a situation. Turning now more particularly to the history of his chess development and career, we find the father, as we have previously suggested, teaching the son the moves and general principles of the game, when the boy was but ten years of age. At twelve and thirteen years of age, he had already defeated some of the strongest players of the United States, and also L÷wenthal, one of the chess masters of Europe, who at that time happened to be in New Orleans on a visit; though L÷wenthal not then being well, undue emphasis was not placed on this victory. L÷wenthal was, of course, subsequently defeated, when "in form", in the European tour of Morphy, nine years later, as with all other opponents, most decisively; and one accepts, without much difficulty, the "budding genius" of Morphy, reflected in this first defeat of L÷wenthal, who became, in time, one of the most eloquent commentators on Morphy's game and genius. In 1857, when twenty years of age, Morphy went to New York, to attend the first American Chess Congress. In summing up Morphy's accomplishment at that Congress, the chess expert would undoubtedly use stronger language than the writer of this sketch.
     Of 97 "even" games played by Morphy, that is, without giving his opponents "odds", and excluding the consultation game, Morphy lost 4, "drew" 8, and won 85. As would be gathered, the victory was so complete and brilliant that the former opponents would have nothing but that the victor, over them, must at once invade that stronghold of chess, the Old World, or Europe, and conquer the masters of that hemisphere in the same way that he had vanquished the players of America; and they seemed to have no doubt whatever that he would. And so, he did. A curious spectacle, this youth of twenty-one presented, starting to Europe in the last days of May, 1 858, after having spent the interval between the closing of the Chess Congress in New York and this departure for Europe, in New Orleans. As remarked by some observer, the thought of a chess champion from America at that time was fundamentally ludicrous, and such suggestion would undoubtedly have provoked outright derision in the European chess firmament, were it not for the earnestness with which the claims for Morphy were put forward, and the most unbelievable character of these claims. As it developed, it is interesting to read the rather delicate and graceful references, on most sides, to Morphy's anticipated coming, and the growth of criticism as Morphy's play opened out. Under the pressure of fellow-players, there fore, admiring friends and relatives, with the distinct purpose of meeting Staunton, the English player, who had declined to come to America to meet him, and with the avowed object of defeating the "old" masters of Europe, the young knight, not like, but exactly, entering a tournament, (with no "play" on the word), starts for the Old World, to do battle, his plume only freshly waving, and unheralded, as remarked substantially by one of the English journals, except  by "fugitive paragraphs" from the American press and the unbelievable claims of ardent admirers. Morphy seemed to have no doubt, himself, that he would succeed, though he advanced the thought to those more intimate with him in his characteristically modest way. The writer feels that it takes almost a genius, himself, to understand this situation, and Morphy's attitude towards it. L÷wenthal says that this European triumph could be described in three words, the celebrated Latin, of the Roman Conqueror, "Veni, vidi, vici", ("I came, I saw, I conquered"), and that it could end there. Certainly, it would express fully the accomplishment. The "tournament" was an "interesting" one, and it wound up by all of the knights "of old", except one, who was never able to get into action, except with a companion, when he was twice defeated, (Mr. Staunton), taking off their helmets, as they got down from their steeds, and saluting the victor, who was still on his, a most gracious ending to a situation, serious, as it were, while it lasted. The more generous ones, and they were much in the ascendancy, vied in the glowing character of their tributes to Morphy. The press, as might be gathered from a quotation later in this sketch, was outspoken in the recognition of Morphy's genius. The French enthusiasm wound up in a testimonial celebration, at which a bust of Morphy, the work of the sculptor Lequesne, himself a player, was crowned by the French players with laurel. In the midst of all this, contemporary publications, in England and on the Continent, found it possible to speak of any sting of defeat as being lessened by the youthful dignity, simplicity, and charm of manner, of the vanquisher.
     Can the writer stop to pay merited tribute to parentage, rearing, and education, and to one of the attributes of genius itself? This last thought is struck by Mr. Edge, Morphy's secretary throughout the European tour, from another side, as it were, in a sentence used by Mr. Edge in another connection, his and Morphy's first sight of Paris and the Seine, supposedly the Mecca of all Frenchmen away from there, "Morphy is never betrayed into rhapsody, and what he felt he didn't speak", a thought worth dwelling on, and characteristic of many other periods of Morphy's life. The writer supposes he is safe in saying that Anderssen, the German expert, was the strongest of the opponents Morphy met on his European tour, and possibly the strongest opponent Morphy ever met. Not being himself a player of the game, he attempts to qualify the statement, in a measure, but, he takes it, he is substantially correct. If this be true, it accords with the wonder fully generous character of Anderssen in defeat. We shall later make an extract from one of Anderssen s letters, referring to Morphy, of a more or less serious nature. For this reason, in part, the writer feels more at liberty to quote some of the humorous incidents, connected with the encounters between Anderssen and Morphy, not only as bits of pleasantry in themselves, but also as the proverbial true words, spoken in jest, strikingly illustrating Anderssen s conception of the strength of Morphy's play.
"You are not playing anything like as well as with Dufresne", remarked one individual, who had been somewhat skeptical of Morphy's superiority from the beginning.
"No", replied Anderssen, "Morphy won't let me."
He then added, with that rapid turn to the serious, of which almost every fine mind is somehow capable, "It is no use struggling against him ; he is like a piece of machinery, which is sure to come to a certain conclusion."
At another time, he remarked, "Nobody can hope to gain more than a game, now and then, from him."
To those, who offered Anderssen a consolation in defeat, for which he did not ask, telling him that he "should" have won, not an uncommon remark to the defeated, Mr. Edge says that he has seen Anderssen smilingly answer, time and again, "Tell that to Mr. Morphy." And, at another time, after defeating Harrwitz, who was one of the few to hold a "sore spot" after being defeated by Morphy, and who practically thereafter avoided him, Anderssen, on being complimented upon this victory as he was about to leave Paris, after being himself defeated by Morphy, remarked, "Oh, there is but one Morphy in the world."
These were some of Anderssen's tributes to the subject of this sketch, as true, as they were generous in character.
Journod spoke of Morphy's games as "disgustingly correct".
Boden spoke of Morphy's "diabolical steadiness", substantially the same thing.
One of L÷wenthal s tributes to Morphy's  European tour was this: "The triumph of the  young master did not produce any feeling of jealousy. His superiority was so evident, that all idea of rivalry was at once felt absurd."
With every chess master of Europe defeated, except Staunton, the English player, who declined individual competition with Morphy, placing it on the ground of temporary unfitness, which literary pre-occupation prevented his attempting to remedy, until the defense and the deferrings of a meeting with Morphy riled the press of even his own country, but whom Morphy did beat in two consultation games, the only ones played with him, and, knowing the spirit in which Morphy had started upon this European tour, is it any wonder that Mr. Edge, Morphy's secretary throughout this tour, in writing of the contemplated departure of Morphy and himself from Europe on Morphy's long delayed return "home" to enter the practice of law, should have been able to remark, Morphy then seemed to develop a "positive distaste" for the game? It was natural. The challenge must have been a mixture of friends, relatives, admirers, some French and Spanish pride, not forgetful, either, of Irish traits, all in a youth in addition; undoubtedly also the spurrings of genius, and, specifically, besides, the meeting of Staunton; in effect, a test of accomplishment, practically a feat of mind. It might be added, more particularly for the lay reader, that it is conceded, practically beyond dispute, that Morphy would have defeated Staunton in individual contest, as he had defeated him in two consultation games. Among other things, Staunton had met more or less decisive defeat at the hands of some, decisively defeated by Morphy, notably Anderssen, as in the International Chess Tournament of 1851. The general character of the play of the two men, however, as substantially testified to by Mr. MacDonnell, an English chess critic, writing in 1883, who writes of both Staunton and Morphy, and where he speaks of Morphy as "the greatest king that ever swayed the sceptre of chess" and as "Perpetual President of Our world-wide Republic", ought in itself to be, as it is generally considered, sufficient evidence of the relative strength of the two players and of what would have been the result of a contest, in individual play, between Staunton and Morphy, with Staunton at his best.
     Morphy realized more clearly than ever in Europe, the stronghold of chess, that, as illustrious a game as it was, and as exacting in its requirements as it was, the game, even there, as was sometimes demonstrated by the difficulty in arranging matches, was a gentleman's "avocation", and that it was not, and undoubtedly, to his mind, should not be made, one s vocation, or life's work. This had been passed on by him, so he thought, in taking up the study of law, and had been stamped, as it were, by his attainment to the qualifications for practice. He was, therefore, determined to get back "home", and start upon  his profession. Those, familiar with the difficulty Mr. Edge had in holding Morphy in Europe until after the closing games with Anderssen and Mongredieu [sic, as per Edge], and the almost absurd things to which Mr. Edge had to resort until after these closing games had been played, will know Morphy's attitude towards returning to New Orleans. When Edge remarked that Morphy would "not" go without playing the games, more particularly with Anderssen, and Morphy asked what would prevent him, Edge answered, "all the clubs in Europe". Morphy's answer was, that he would then be "stronger than all Europe". "Bravo", said Edge, "that s spirited, at all events". This led to Edge s subterfuges, openly admitted by him, to "dilly-dally" Morphy along, as it were, until the meeting with Anderssen could be had, in which Edge finally succeeded. This "contest" between himself and Morphy is taken up in a chapter of his work, headed, in the thought of the fight between them, "Morphy gets beaten". The reference is made here only to show Morphy's attitude towards chess, after the defeat of the European masters, and his attitude towards his profession after that time. The extent, to which Mr. Edge went in his subterfuge, is reflected in his having an attending physician advise Morphy it would be dangerous for him, in his supposed condition of health, to cross the ocean in the Winter months, in which Mr. Edge took advantage of a transitory condition. Another was to interest Morphy more intimately in the social life of Paris, particularly in music, which Mr. Edge himself knew to be one of the things for which Morphy was particularly fond, Morphy, for this purpose, being brought into the intimacy of one of the more celebrated "salons" of Paris. These remarks are inserted to show how bent Morphy was upon returning to New Orleans and entering upon the practice of his profession, and as showing his settled determination that law, and not chess, was to be his serious work in life. Where genius has decided for, or against, anything, strikingly illustrated by Morphy's final attitude towards chess, only genius, possibly, can know what that decision means. We will, therefore, merely recall the triumphal departure of Morphy from Paris on April 9th, 1859, after the crowning of his bust at the celebration on April 4th; his departure from England on April 30th; and his arrival in New York on May 10th, where he was publicly received and acclaimed, and where he was presented, at a gathering in the city of New York, with what is said to have been the most expensive chess set ever made up to that time, (the writer does not know of the "present aspect" of this situation), the pieces being of gold and silver, and the board being of rosewood, inlaid with cornelian. At Boston, a banquet was tendered Morphy, at which were present, among other notables, Holmes, Longfellow, Lowell, and Agassiz, who are reported, as could be imagined, to have offered Morphy their warmest felicitations and congratulations. The youth of twenty-two then wore the unquestioned "crown" of the chess firmament. As a mere matter of figures, Morphy's record in his European play, in individual competition, played "even", that is, without giving his opponents any "odds", as compiled by Mr. Edge, his secretary, was: lost 20, "drew" 14, and won 118. This was the record against those, pretermitting Staunton, who were admittedly the
chess masters of the world, up to Morphy's coming. Following the close of his receptions in the North, Morphy started for New Orleans, with the thought of chess undoubtedly left more and more behind, as he neared "home". Here, our story turns.
      In 1859, in writing to Lasa, a fellow chess expert, Anderssen, in offering an appreciation of Morphy's play and the impression this play created on his mind, wrote the following:
"I can not better describe the impression that Morphy made on me, than by saying that he treats chess with the earnestness and conscientiousness of an artist. With us, the exertion that a game requires is only a matter of distraction, and lasts only as long as the game gives us pleasure; with him, it is a sacred duty. Never is a game of chess a mere pastime for him, but always a work of vocation, always as if an act by which he fulfills part of his mission".
The Illustrated News, published in London, had this to say of Morphy, about the time of his leaving England for New York, on April 30th, 1859:
"Reasons, we believe, still more cogent, (that is, than the vanquishment of the European players, with the exception of Staunton, whose roll we have already noticed), pressed him, (Morphy) , to leave Europe. Mr. Morphy, as we have shown, does not look upon chess as an employment, but as an amusement, (this last word is probably a proper subject for some qualification); and he is desirous of applying his intellectual powers to the profession he has adopted. Let us hope that in such sphere he may become as widely known and as generally esteemed as he is in what passes under the description of the world of chess . His success in that sphere is without a parallel. It is little more than twelve months since he embarked at New York for England. Never was a reputation so soon and so solidly established. He came among us with a local, and returns with an universal, fame. His movements in America were recorded in fugitive paragraphs: his marvelous exploits in Europe will become matter of history. If, to the renown he has achieved as a chess player, he can add the future reputation of a great lawyer, he will supply one of the most curious and suggestive illustrations of the exceptional versatility of genius that humanity has produced. We have firm belief that a career of more than national usefulness is open to Paul Morphy".
     Could the writer convey to the reader in a moment all the facts of Morphy's life, he would then refer the reader to the quotation that is first given, from Anderssen, in the letter to Lasa, and, next, ask a careful reading of the quotation from the English journal. He would then ask a deep pondering over those two extracts, in the light of the facts that he has, in truth, not been able to convey to the reader, with reference to Morphy's life. With the combination possible, the writer feels no more satisfactory explanation of the partial impairment, in time, of Morphy's mind could be forthcoming. The analysis of the thought is this. Anderssen's extract breathes, in Morphy's attitude, the "holy fire" that "genius" always breathes, though, in Anderssen's reference, the play of this rare faculty, as would be suspected, is limited to its expression in the game of chess. What the writer wishes to emphasize, in the thought under discussion, is the "fire", in Morphy's life, rather than the particular branch of its expression. The extract from the Illustrated News clearly holds the "index finger" to that which never left Morphy's mind from earlier years, even, and the thing that became the central thought of that mind, more particularly with the vanquishing of the chess masters of Europe, the practice of his profession of law. Morphy, with all his genius, was also human, and he must certainly have looked forward, with rational and orderly contemplation, to the prospect, romantic if it then was, of in time a home, children, and his ultimate adjustment to the normal station of life. He did not expect to become a Burns or Byron, nor, from another point of view, a Paul Gauguin, with the other outlet chess, nor did he in fact attempt it, which is an observation substantially noted by some English critics, in commending his habits; and at the same time he undoubtedly admired the grace and charm of a woman s life, and what it means, rightfully used, in Nature s scheme. His so-called "admiration" for women, "empty love", whatever its character in fact, often mentioned more particularly in connection with his later life, was undoubtedly the forced reflection of the sincerer attitude of his nature. Returning now to our original suggestion, combine the absorbing fire of genius, for such it always is, with the conscious recognition of its own power and its yearning for expression, equally always present, with what were now undoubtedly the absorbing hopes and aspirations of his life ; then bring in disappointment, coming at first, no doubt, very slowly; next, a slight waking-up, as it were, to possibilities, not yet accepted, or acceptable, the "fires" of genius undoubtedly still burning; next, a growing sense of reality, on Morphy's part, of actual conditions; some physical ailment, but not of the mind; dependence upon relatives; the present, in daily contrast with the past, reflected in the very faces, words, conscious or unconscious, and the developing careers, of others, many no doubt known to him, whether intimately or not; his prospects of anything worthy the name of love, home, children, and a place of "position", as he might have thought it, among his fellow-men steadily and irretrievably going, if not already gone; carried unremittingly and unrelentlessly in Morphy's thought for not less than fifteen years, and, undoubtedly, longer : and the writer asks whether the reader is still looking for the things that could have impaired Morphy's mind, to whatever degree in fact it might have been impaired, without entirely destroying his body. It is told, as a "joke" substantially, that Morphy "cared" for one Creole "girl", in New Orleans, but that she rejected him because he was "only a chess-player", though it is added that they were probably not congenial, in any case. It could seem certainly true that they would not have been congenial if the woman could make such a remark. But, there could be thought many women who might make that remark, even if differently phrased, or not phrased at all, especially as was the case here, where there must remain the question of support for a wife and children, and home generally, which "genius" alone can not provide for, and for which it often shows, rightfully or wrongfully, a kind of contempt. Women, who would find an alliance with Morphy, under the circumstances, impracticable, would not be, and could not be, thought irrational, whether their yearning, under analysis, might run further in the direction of worldly attainment, or not.
      The writer can imagine that there were women, whose attitude towards such matters might have been different; in fact, he is quite sure that there must always be such, and women that would even work, themselves, in support of unmistakable genius. Such, however, is not the common thought, nor probably should it be. Such a thought would be galling, in the extreme, to any sensitive male mind, and, therefore, most so to any true genius; and would be calculated to impair the very efficiency of genius itself, unless that bodily impairment, which so incessantly reminds us of the mutual dependency of mind and matter, could be the only explanation. The "situation" may change some day, but the writer is not that much of a prophet. As he still sees things, the male mind might suffer alone, and let its body starve, if need be, but it would not consciously bring upon others any share of that suffering or any deprivation of their ordinarily accepted rights and claims; and, still less so, where there could be, in fact, any serious prospect that, in time, under the ordinary criteria of human conduct, such individual, for mere bodily support, might be expected, or called on, to accept a pittance of others, or accept, generously if possible, the more grateful gift of friend or relatives. For this reason, undoubtedly in the main, Morphy never knew the real meaning of a woman s love, nor the meaning of his own children, nor of his own home, with the pictures, undoubtedly, that he must have built of such, and living for how long a time no one can tell, in other words, at his death, he was, as he had been forced to be, a bachelor.
      The local public, also, could think of Morphy as "only a chess-player", like the sweet heart. By a poetic metaphor, the World, probably, would be charged with this attitude towards him in his chosen career. As a matter of fact, of course, the charge can be laid only at the door of his own community, and, probably with equal truth, at the very doors of some who spoke of his chess greatness, and, in that connection, were glad to claim such acquaintance as he could be thought to extend any one. The repudiation, however, to Morphy, was complete, and it accomplished, undoubtedly, its unconscious purpose. With no intention of injuring Morphy, unquestionably, but with that ever present conscious and sub-conscious regard for the individual interest, sometimes intelligently, and some times unintelligently, determined, the community ever more and more definitely repudiated Morphy as a lawyer. It did not, in fact, give Morphy an opportunity to prove whether he could have developed into a successful lawyer, or not, pretermitting any question of his rising to eminence. In Europe, Morphy's chess attainments would undoubtedly not have affected his practical outlook for life, in the least: rather, would they probably have brought him position, leaving it to him to prove his ability, or general fitness for the practice of law. The extract from the
English journal, given earlier in this sketch, very clearly reflects this attitude; and such was, of course, the general European attitude towards those accomplished in chess, as representative of a rather distinctly high type of mind. Such, however, one must regret to say, was not the attitude adopted towards Morphy by his own community, which now proudly calls his name as a chess-player, which was made to become the limit of his attainment. How much fairer it would have been, both to itself and to Morphy, had at least the opportunity been offered! At the same time, there would have been presented one of those splendid openings for a demonstration of the possible versatility of genius, also suggested by the extract from the English journal, which are seldom presented, especially in genius of the magnitude of Morphy's chess-genius. Morphy came slowly to recognize this growing isolation, and, in time, his complete divorce, substantially, from the practical affairs of life. Somewhat like his bust, which had been crowned with laurel, in Paris, by his enthusiastic fellow-players, Morphy, himself, was being placed on a pedestal, whether the "players" around him so contemplated, or not, where he must be content to remain, and, in this way, become in effect a name, particularly so, in the light of the fact that he had conclusively defeated the entire chess world, if we will be spared any unnecessary reference to Staunton. From Morphy's point of view, therefore, he was to become substantially an idler in the practical affairs of life, and a failure, living on a name. Could anyone be expected to accept this situation, especially a youth with the fire of genius within him, which, while it may burn more brightly in one direction, possibly, than in another, certainly must never burn, as an impelling force at least, only in that direction? Morphy, himself, undoubtedly recognized this, and all that it means. As substantially stated in the extract from the Illustrated News, Morphy had wished, more particularly as a youth, and in his youth, for supremacy in the world of chess; and, certainly, no one could then have harbored the thought, that even complete supremacy in the chess world was to close the door to practical aspiration, as it might be termed. Such was not the world's general attitude towards the avocation of chess, more particularly, and neither Morphy, nor anyone else, would have so figured it. From the point of view of age, Morphy was then only twenty-one years old, and it would seem that even a year, and at the outset Morphy had expected it to be not more than one-half that time, given to this aspiration to meet the world at chess, could hardly have any appreciable effect upon the beginning of his professional career. It must have been regarded as a mere "tour de force", as it were, to Morphy and all affiliated with him, or interested in him, before starting on his serious work of life, and to have no bearing, either in time or in effect, upon his subsequent career. How little any one realized what the actual price would be, whether Morphy would have been willing to pay it, or not! Morphy's complete wish, and uppermost wish, was for successful attainment in the world of practical affairs, and a worthy following in the footsteps of his father. There is a spiritual body, but there is, likewise, a material body, and human beings can never be expected to overlook the claims of each. It may be one of the considerations of genius to reconcile the two. It is not in consistent with a conception of genius, that the thought to do so might exist, nor even that the at tempt might be made. It is a part of the work of thought to reconcile the two. Poets, priests of mind, and thinkers, generally, are the indefatigable workers in that sublime trend; but, the thought must be stopped here. Without any in tended disparagement of the spiritual aspects of the practical phases of life, the more purely spiritual, or, probably better phrased, aesthetic, side of Morphy's genius, as it were, had reached in his contemplation, if not in fact, its ascendancy, as testified to by all, completely satisfying his yearnings, or ambition, in that direction; so that he not only no longer craved success in chess, but positively developed an aversion for the game. The work of life, to him, was to become law, and the attainment, through the practice of that profession, of a success which is, and which he desired to be, fundamentally worldly in character. The futility of undying effort in this life-quest, while effort remained possible, more strictly in the psychological sense, brought disaster. In the world of chess, the mind knew nothing but its own limitations. In law, there were other conditions over which Morphy had no control, conditions precedent to his success, as in every career where the opportunities for success must, substantially, be offered by others, not necessarily recognizant, as it were, of the individual potentiality. Is it any wonder that the delicate organism, expanding unrestrictedly and in its brilliancy in the first field of endeavor, where it practically measures its own power, should bring about its own impairment in the second, striving there, undoubtedly too, with a sacred fire, which must have sought to fulfill a mission, but which is repudiated at every turn! A brooding, uncommunicative melancholy, bordering almost, if not actually, on a feeling of persecution, to express it best to the lay mind, was the substantial character of that ultimate impairment, a silent reflection, itself, of the character of the struggle. Is it not natural, therefore, that no one can say, as is universally conceded, just exactly when Morphy's mind might be thought to begin to take on such impairment as did come, more especially when the lay mind, making the observation, is called on to depend upon more or less vulgar manifestations of the supposed impairment? Whatever the situation, however, it is certain the supposed impairment was long after the year 1869, when Morphy, throwing down his last defiance to fate, played deliberately his last game of chess with his friend, Charles A. de Maurian; and Morphy never again played a game of chess, which he stated to be his intention when the game was played. It was then, finally, law, and not chess: and, from the early part of the year 1859, which marked the conclusion of the European tour, to the time at which Morphy played this last game, he played comparatively little chess, and then only with persons who would certainly not have considered they were taxing his mind, if any play could ever be thought to have taxed his mind, including his "blindfold" play, which has since been repeatedly exceeded in the number of boards simultaneously at play, by others. The blindfold game was then, of course, comparatively novel, and, in this way, attracted uncommon attention. Morphy's play during this period was substantially casual. Some of it was probably consciously played by him as an outlet, such as it might be, from his growing despondency; and some of it, almost unconsciously, in the spirit of any man, fired with his spirit, who was "hoping" and "drifting", as it were, at the same time. Think of such contemplations from day to day, over years, to a mind of his type! So far as any play might be thought to have taxed Morphy's mind, one of the very few remarks ever passed by Morphy about himself, which might be deemed to border the least on egotism, was one he made in the intimacy and privacy of conversation with his friend, Mr. de Maurian, and, for this reason, it could certainly be considered privileged. That remark, made by Morphy on his return from Europe, was, that he considered he played very poorly, because he played in an imprudent manner; yet, his adversaries, (Journod, Boden, and Anderssen have been quoted to that effect), spoke of the machine-like precision of his play. Morphy assigned as a reason for his having played in the manner he did, that, had he not done so, his opponents would not have been able to make the showing they did. It is evident the remark was not intended as pure egotism, from the fact that Morphy was more or less familiar with the games of all his opponents, and that, from this, he concluded he could be, perhaps, somewhat daring, as it were. It was shown that he was correct, and some of the positions from which he extricated himself, resulting sometimes in a "drawing", and sometimes in his ultimate winning, whether through " counterplay", or not, rather corroborates Morphy's estimate of his play, as a whole, as astounding as the conclusions appear. Morphy's criticism of his play to de Maurian is substantially confirmed by the observation of Boden, undoubtedly one of the strongest of Morphy's opponents, and so considered, the writer understands, by Morphy himself. The remark of this player was, that the possibilities of Morphy's genius had never been half revealed, because only a very limited exertion of its powers had always been sufficient to ensure victory.
     Morphy's estimate of his European play was passed at the height, and, as it develops, at the close of his chess career, in 1859, after the very hardest of his chess-work, if such it could be called, was over. From that time, until the end of the year 1869, when Morphy played his last game, the play was entirely casual, as has been suggested, and no one, during that period, or at its close, would have considered for a moment Morphy was not in entire possession of his mental faculties. This statement, alone, should be sufficient to end the supposition that Morphy's mind was impaired, still less "lost", playing chess. As suggested, his mind undoubtedly did lose some of its original efficiency, though how much no one, including the writer, can, or should, attempt, to say. The fact, that his mind was to some extent impaired, coupled with the general ignorance of actual conditions on the part of outsiders, more particularly, added to the universally known fact that Morphy "played chess", was the "world s champion", as it were, using our modern well-known expression, has undoubtedly led to this very easy deduction for the outsider, with whom generally rests the reputation, that Morphy, first, "lost" his mind, and, next, that he "lost" it, "playing chess". As a matter of fact, the ease with which the thought could be constructed by the casual observer, and by those attracted by "romance", as it were, is so evident, that, as often happens in such situations,  the ultimate conclusion develops in inverse ratio, very largely, to the truth. Mr. de Maurian, possibly the most intimate of Morphy's friends, and the one with whom Morphy, as we have mentioned, played his last game of chess, always resented, so the writer is informed, the statement that Morphy's mind became impaired by chess-playing, denying the statement, first, purely on his own knowledge of fact, and, next, on the impossibility of such a thing from the number of games played by Morphy in his entire life, actually less, undoubtedly, than hundreds of players have played. One could not conceive of a serious suggestion, that Morphy's play, being of the character it was, might be thought to have taxed his mind: first, because it is too perfectly clear, on the facts, that it did not tax his mind, which ought to be enough; and, next, because on his own observation of his play, pretermitting the criticisms of others, some of which have been given, play, to Morphy, was not hard; and, finally, because such a conclusion would be absolute ly illogical, in the light of the facts, to common scientific observation, of the most ordinary character.
      The writer almost dislikes to digress so much on this subject, but the popular impression, that Morphy "lost his mind", and, next, that he "lost" it "playing chess", is so strong and so widespread, that, unless it is to be permitted to go on its way forever, unchallenged, and gathering undoubtedly additional strength, with those able to contradict such statements ever more rapidly themselves passing away, the writer, at the risk of tiring the reader s attention, has decided to combat this impression, somewhat as Morphy himself probably would have thought, it is hoped, to a "mate". If the "pursuit" is tire some to the reader, he may "skip", until he wishes to get back into the reading. The reader may be familiar with the life of Amiel, the Genevese "professor". If so, the reader is familiar with the tragedy, one might aptly term it, of that life, one of the most singular, if not the most singular, illustration of the effects of what, adopting M. Scherer s phrase, the writer has always since wished to call "the sterility of genius". With a capacity for thought, that no reader can fail to notice, this man yet did substantially nothing, beyond the routine of his teaching, other than to transcribe, from day to day, the flitting impressions, or observations, of his mind, ranging over almost the entire field of literature and thought. His contribution to the world of literature, therefore, is substantially only a "wonderful diary" of thoughts. Amiel offers his own explanation of his sterility in effort, but the upshot of the matter is that his mind produced so little, and that practically casual, when his mind was remark ably rich. One could speak of his genius, except that his actual accomplishment would probably not be thought to permit of so broad a term. There is enough in Amiel, however, to give a full meaning to the phrase, "sterility of genius", and the conception itself, irrespective of any particularly illustrative life, should be possible. Amiel's mind never left him, but many years before his death, which occurred at fifty-nine, with the last seven years spent practically in a struggle to preserve life, he gave up the fight for concentrated, or systematic, expression even in the field of thought, definitely contenting himself with these transitory expositions, as it were, of his personality, recorded from day to day. One must read this story of Amiel s life to know what it can mean to genius, or near-genius, to see time and life going by, and nothing accomplished. There is a mission to the world in genius, as well as to the individuality itself, an insatiable "urge", as it were, which possibly only genius, itself, can feel. In Amiel's case, this "urge", or "wrestling" for expression, in the absence of any better phraseology for the thought, did not cause Amiel to lose his mind, nor is the writer advancing the argument that such conditions must necessarily bring about a derangement of the mind. He is simply stating that such conditions can bring about an impairment of the mind, particularly, as was the case with Morphy, where the physique is fundamentally frail, and more or less inroad has also been made by sickness. Even in Amiel's  case, however, and with his death coming at fifty-nine, the latter years of his life bear clear evidences of the disintegrating processes at work. With Morphy, this disintegration went further. Morphy was not a near-genius, but a genius, and, though he did not find an outlet in literary expression, he was a genius of probably what could be safely termed the literary type of mind, except that his undoubted faculty for mathematical combination might be thought to indicate a peculiarly sensitively balanced organism, in some aspects, somewhat distinguishable from the more purely literary type; and Morphy's mind certainly represented the very highest type of individual refinement. Morphy may not have thought of the phrase, "sterility of genius", over the period of his life, beginning in the year 1859, but, whatever the exact way in which the thought may have been phrased to him, he came to know the meaning of such a concept. That is the same thing, in practical operation, which, with an original melancholy in Amiel, did ultimately impair Amiel s mind, breaking most seriously, as with Morphy, the general faculty of will, rather than volition, though not affecting,  in Amiel's case, as seriously as with Morphy, certain other more specific faculties of the mind. A careful reading of the diary, or Journal Intime, as it is ordinarily called, for the corresponding period of Amiel's life, will show rather clearly what was happening in Amiel s mind. Even as it was, however inadequate, Amiel did find some expression for himself, and he had, also, the practical outlet of his teaching, such as that was.
      Beginning with the close of his chess career, in 1859, and down to the very close of his life, Morphy had absolutely no outlet for his energies, or the "wrestling" thoughts of genius. Chess, he came to hate, as an impediment to his normal accomplishment. In an article, written in 1879, it is stated that Morphy utterly "repudiates chess", and that, when he is addressed on the subject, he either flies into a passion or denies that he knows, or ever did know, anything of the game : that, occasionally, he can be heard to admit having played chess some, but not enough to justify persons in attaching notoriety to him. Mr. Edge, the secretary of Morphy throughout the European tour, states that Morphy seemed to develop a positive distaste for the game immediately following the close of the European play, in 1859. This "hatred" of chess on Morphy's part, for such it became, especially towards the latter years of his life, is further confirmed to the writer by the personal observation of individuals still living; and it is stated that Morphy even went to the extreme of issuing a challenge to a party, to fight a duel, as a result of a discussion starting with a reference to chess, which, even though antiquated in principle in Morphy's time, was not quite so remote a method of settling disputes, as it now is. What more homely, and better, illustration could one have, of what had been going on in Morphy's mind during this fight, in his life, between chess and his establishment of him self in his chosen profession of law, with its promptings and concurrent claims, than this final attitude towards chess? One observer, in commenting to the writer on this attitude of Morphy towards chess finally, also remarked that Morphy seemed to have "sufficient control" over himself to avoid references to his chess-playing, apparently realizing such references "excited" him, using the observer s own word; and this same observer, in the course of the conversation with the writer, had, himself, indulged in the popular phrase of Morphy's having "lost his mind", apparently unconscious of the rather loose connection, in some degree at least, of his two observations.
      A gross mind might get over the practical difficulty in which Morphy found himself, but a gross mind would never be in such a situation. Turn to other pursuits, would one suggest? That would be to give up the fight. Some minds might do that, but would one think of that in Morphy? Simply as an accomplishment, of course, that is, as something that could theoretically be done, it was obviously possible; but, does the reader think this would have reflected the mind that moved to the chess-mastery of the world? It is not a matter of pride; the workings of the processes are too subtle. It is a combination. That mind holds on ; some may call it pride, some may call it conscious power: it may be a combination of both. But here, we are in the human domain again, more particularly, in which, if we are to argue there, Morphy undoubtedly felt that he could make a good lawyer, and that he was merely being penalized by his community, more particularly, for having been too great a chess player. With him only the ordinary player, the public attitude would undoubtedly have been different; and hence his decision in 1869 to play his last game of chess, and take up the very last glove of the public, when blind genius, now, must have failed to recognize that the harm, in this direction, had undoubtedly already been done. Following the human thought, however, Morphy was at that time only thirty-two years of age, and he no doubt still thought, and one experienced in the lawyer s career would say with reason, in which he may have been confirmed by relatives, if not friends, or business-minds, that he still had time in which to make good at law; and so, the fight, because that is what it was to him, not merely hope, continued. Some time after that, no one can tell exactly when, the mind begins to realize its fate, and then to go in to itself, practically to live alone, and finally the position comes to be accepted, not Morphy, but the mind whipped. After that, or rather with it, in a substantially correct psychological sense, not merely volition, but truly the will, becomes impaired, and we then have the dreary wait to the end, a correct scientific statement, a mind impaired, but undoubtedly not lost, and with no one able to say exactly how much impaired.
      The writer will not indulge in "literature", yet. The same mind, which might be willing to admit, as it would have to do, that a human mind can be, and has been known to be, deranged by a single shock to that mind, not by an accident to the body, might be willing to deny that it could conceive of a situation, in which, not shocks, or a single shock, but steady pressure applied to the mind, of a knowingly depressing character, over long periods of time, particularly if we must be quasi-scientific, in a more or less frail body, or "physique", would produce any mental derangement. If such person could be thought of, the insult to the reader s intelligence would be no greater than to his own. The slow dripping of water, which wears away even stone, certainly finds its parallel in the steady waste of mind, brooding over irretrievable disappointment; and, in Morphy's case, it is known that the body itself showed the emaciation of these years. A newspaper clipping, the work of a local correspondent, dating in 1 879, bears general tribute to this wasting process going on in Morphy's mind for so many years, but its "discoloration", in other respects, generally to be expected in such transitory reports, despite their own suggestions, if not statements, to the contrary, makes the article of doubtful value on the main issues of the situation. It bears unmistakable testimony, however, to this wasting process, the mind s slow feeding on itself, which is the writer's fundamental explanation of the impairment of Morphy's mind, and is also the explanation as to why it must always be difficult to hazard an opinion as to when this impairment could be thought to have begun. The next question would be, as to how far Morphy's mind was actually impaired. There are some, who would take the extreme position that they considered Morphy's "peculiarities", as it were, merely intensified in later life, and that his mind was never at any time really impaired. This would appear, from such information as the writer has been able to obtain, the other extreme.
      Morphy was always "peculiar", as these idiosyncrasies are popularly phrased; and he was never a "mixer", to use an expressive phrase of the day, which carries a more or less hidden, as well as obvious, meaning. He talked very, very little to others at all times of his life, and practically not at all to others at the close of his life. He was always susceptible of striking charm of manner, when the occasion demanded it, as could be gathered from remarks that have gone before in this sketch, and this grace of manner had not left him during the years of his supposed impairment; but, fundamentally, he always lived alone, as it were, just as he used to be seen, walking the streets, "seul, toujours seul", in the French phrase, ("alone, always alone"), save for the one object that was always with him, his slender walking-cane. With a gathering in the house, he was still always more or less off to him self. So, he was at college, when a youth, at Spring Hill. This trait, as could be supposed, never did leave Morphy, and it never does leave genius ; for the very simple reason that genius, in its essence, is originality, and originality is fundamentally, and necessarily, single, or exclusive; and, if a further reason were wished, though the genius can be polite, and, even in this work-a-day world, take time to be so with others, yet it is undeniable that constant association with the common, used in no disrespectful, but merely generic, sense, would, and must, have a positively deteriorating effect upon any mind, living in the uncommon, or moving out into the novel. The aloofness of genius, therefore, is no affected attribute of the truly great, but an absolutely true reflection of the fundamental character of genius, working true to itself. This was one of Morphy's most distinctive traits, and, in the common mind, more particularly coupled with some of his minor "idiosyncrasies", as, for example, his disinclination to be interrupted, or in any way annoyed by anybody, when his mind was occupied, which he then showed very unmistakably, hardly illogical, with others, less directly personal in their character, easily led to his acquiring a reputation for being "peculiar", which reputation grew stronger, as one might imagine, as the years went on, with a steadily growing inclination to be more alone, if such were possible. In this way, it became, and remains, a difficult proposition, more especially, to say, first, how far Morphy's mind could be considered affected; and next, for this reason, as also for the reason previously stated, namely, the slow character of the process, it becomes particularly difficult to attempt to say when this impairment might be thought to begin. He had, as suggested, very, very little to do with any one for many years before his death, beyond the most casual greetings, as also previously stated, the development of a life-habit, and it would have been a difficult thing, even then, for an observer to gather how far Morphy's mind might be thought impaired, if it then was. Nor could it be said that he guarded this supposed condition, except as reflected in his fixed determination not to discuss chess, or finally have anything whatever to do with chess. This trait of isolation, becoming more and more in tense as the years went on, presents an insuperable difficulty to any intelligent determination as to how far Morphy's mind was actually impaired. This situation has not always been clearly kept in mind; and, in this way, as has heretofore been suggested, some can be found, even yet alive, who consider that Morphy never did suffer any appreciable impairment of mind, and that the later years of his life marked only an intensifying of his "peculiarities". The other pole is, as already stated, that he "lost" his mind, which, in any reasonable concept of the word, "lost", is likewise untrue. Morphy's thinking went, first, directly to chess. His best thinking therefore, in the early part of his life was on this subject. When he put chess aside, which he substantially did in 1 859, and not even in 1 869, Morphy's thinking centered on his professional career, at law. It would be untrue to say that chess in any way occupied Morphy's mind after the middle of 1859, though he did play casual chess after that; and any supposed connection of Morphy's chess-playing with his ultimate mental impairment would unquestionably be considered, from a scientific point of view, entirely too remote to have had any connection with that ultimate impairment. He undoubtedly continued to think some of chess, but more, and most, beginning with the close of his chess career in 1859, of his practical future, and that was what then began to worry him, to use a very homely phrase. These reflections grew, and they led to unceasing thought and concern, with the growing realization of the sterility of his life, to his mind, (and who shall say him entirely wrong?), in the face of what he must have felt his claims and powers. That struggle can not go on forever, with out doing some damage; and a frail body does not help in retarding natural consequences, it must be evident. That is the explanation of Morphy's ultimate mental impairment, such as it was, leading to the very emaciation, as was to be expected, of the body, itself, a very human explanation of Morphy's ultimate condition, which should take its seat on the pedestal of truth, at the same time that it crawls out from under the altar of romance.
      A fairly accurate statement of Morphy's mental condition, towards the end of his life, would be to say that he was substantially in complete possession of all his faculties, in their simpler manifestations. They showed impairment in their co-ordinated workings, and, more particularly, in the higher processes of reasoning, purely as such, and in memory and constructive imagination. In other words, just as one should expect, and indulging in lay criticism, the mind showed evidence of the wearing-down process, years of conscious exercise, fruitlessly directed, and self-contained, in other words, years of feeding on itself. Will, therefore, in its more strictly psychological sense, as representative of the healthful working of substantially all the faculties of the mind, in co-ordination, and as distinguished from the more independent concept of volition, was likewise, and necessarily, impaired. In simpler words still, the thought could be substantially stated by saying that the general efficiency of Morphy's mind was impaired, more particularly observable as the higher ranges of thought could be considered attempted. The word, "attempted", is used, because, as a matter of fact, it is impossible to say exactly how far the mind could be thought actually impaired in these higher ranges ; for the simple reason, that, beginning with the period of Morphy's gradual isolation, the exercise of the mind in these ranges grew less and less frequent, the mind finally closing itself practically to observation by the outsider, in these respects, through Morphy's growing habit of limiting his relations with others to the most casual affairs, ultimately passing into substantially no relations at all. It, therefore, never can be said how far Morphy's mind was actually impaired, except as a pure matter of guess-work, insusceptible of intelligent corroboration.
      No professional diagnosis of Morphy's supposed condition of mind was ever at any time made, whatever such diagnosis might have been considered worth in Morphy's case. Once, the writer is informed, well-meaning relatives actually took Morphy to one of the institutions for the insane. When the door of the institution was reached, and Morphy, for the first time, became apprised of what was being attempted, he "awoke", as he could when he wished, and an argument followed right there with those in charge, who, evidently concluding Morphy was not in sane, and that the institution was possibly being made an unconscious party to some conspiracy, themselves became more or less alarmed, and refused to take Morphy into the institution. No effort was ever after made towards incarcerating him, or anything bordering on that; and, throughout the remainder of his life, as he had always done, he attended entirely to his own wants and the care of his person, in the fullest sense of the words. The "records" on this whole question of the impairment of Morphy's mind lie practically in the parole statements of contemporary lay observers, and, when a judgment of supposed impairment rests in the verdict of such minds, however honest they may be, when the person was admittedly not crazy, but rather, using the word of many of these observers themselves, "peculiar", and such person was always regarded by everybody, as "peculiar", and admittedly had very, very little to do with anyone at all times, the writer, while not discrediting the observation in toto, at the same time accepts it cautiously. Observers sometimes spoke of Morphy "mumbling" to himself, in later years more particularly, as he took his walks. The writer learns, to be more exact, that it was not strictly mumbling, that is, the emission of sound, but rather slight movements of the lips, apparently more or less unconsciously made; and that was, substantially, as far as Morphy's supposed "mumbling" went. An intensive mind, absolutely uncommunicative to others, and thinking incessantly to itself, could easily, and in fact undoubtedly would, sometimes fall into just such unconscious movements, except that they might not be entirely unconscious, and the writer would not regard this as an evidence, necessarily, of insanity, which is a statement that hardly needs argument for its support. As a matter of passing observation, it may interest the reader to know that Wordsworth, the poet, did exactly this same thing, day after day, walking along the roads of the English lake-country, in which he lived, which is a thought that the writer has attempted to commemorate in one of the poems of this volume, except that Wordsworth actually "mumbled"; and he did even more, he had a regular habit of stooping to pick up peculiarly shaped twigs, and the like, from the road, or elsewhere, which he would continue to hold in his hand, and with which he would appear to converse, as he continued on his walk. Fortunately for literature, he was not deemed insane, nor was any attempt made to incarcerate him. The natives, however, always thought of him as "peculiar"; and, to them, no doubt he was, as well as to some of higher station. Had he not found literary expression and reputation, one might hazard a guess as to the estimate of his life, indulged in by observers. It is well to recall that Morphy's life knew practically no expression, beginning with the close of his chess career, in 1859. In other words, Morphy, mentally, practically began to die, beginning with the year 1859, which is not too strong a way to put it ; and he lingered, genius that he was, in the observation of this death ever thereafter, and in steadily increasing intensity, until the mind, in part, repudiates, as it were, itself. Capacity for the contemplation of the thought will explain its terribleness, and what must be its natural consequence, whether working to that conclusion in the individual case, or not, and irrespective of the extent of the working.
      A "sardonic grin" is also sometimes spoken of, as at times to be seen on Morphy's face; and one writer then adds, apparently unconscious of the possible import of his words, that this "sardonic grin" always appeared to pass" into an air of reflection". This observation, intended to show derangement, was indulged in by the writer, in question, almost at the very close of his paper, which is undoubtedly a most sincere literary effort, prepared to be read, as it was; and, under such circumstances, the writer can often be pardoned, if such is in fact due, the exact character of one s language, or even the thought. Coldly criticized, a "sardonic grin", followed by an "air of reflection", could be one of the sanest acts in the world, particularly if accompanied, as this writer testifies was the case, by the slight "mumbling", often, or movement of the lips, that has  been noticed. The danger of such habits, as apparently borne out in this instance, is the possibility of creating in the popular mind a belief of mental derangement, particularly when the individual is generally regarded as "peculiar", and holds himself aloof from practically all, giving the observer little, or no, opportunity for the application of corrective thoughts. Fact is relative, and contemplates, therefore, most intimately the mental character of the observer. How important it is, for this reason, in working from second hand data, to know the mental traits, or capacity, of the interpreting mind, in establishing the supposed fact! Simply as a "pen-picture", to be forgotten, if necessary to avoid sullying the gilded shield of fame, and only mindful of the material claims of life, somewhat in the same spirit that Morphy's "air of reflection" could be thought to follow his "sardonic grin", which it was always said to follow, the writer constructs a picture, which the reader can easily see is gathered from Morphy's own career.
      He sees a chess-board, representing the chequered career of life. On one side is seated Morphy, youthful, full of hope, and filled with the fires of genius. On the other side sits Fate. The game begins. Almost at the start, Fate finds it self "mated". Morphy looks up, smiling, but not exultingly, as he always did, when he saw the game won.
"We must play over", says Fate, reaching for the pieces, "You took me unawares", as Morphy seemed always, in his chess, to do. Morphy smiles, and the game starts over. They fight many years through this game. Morphy knows this time that the stakes are Life. He is "mated". There had to be a "grin" at the end of that game, and it could be only a "sardonic grin". It could also have been worn by both Morphy and Fate, merciless Thing that we picture Fate. If Morphy did wear it, viewing life in its human aspects, which was the way in which Morphy did view life while that long second game went on, not from day to day, but year to year, for no telling how many years, could the "sardonic grin" be thought the expression of a rational mind ; or, must such a person be irrational? A "sardonic grin" always, and alone, might prove trouble some in argument; but, followed by an "air of reflection", the burden of proof seems to shift. The thought may be regarded as a "pen-picture", if it is wished. To the writer, it is not entirely such.
      Summing up, it would seem that the efficiency of Morphy's mind towards the close of his life was reduced, and that his mind was more or less impaired in the higher ranges of activity, which, it is believed, is a comparatively simple way of stating the situation. He did not lose his mind. How far the impairment might be thought to extend, is largely a matter of deduction from comparatively small data, because Morphy's life long habits, more and more intensified as the years went on, kept him always aloof from others. The most casual greetings were substantially all that he finally came to have with anyone. It will never, therefore, be possible to do more than hazard opinions as to how far Morphy's mind was actually impaired in effective operation, or in contemplation of such. The phrase, however, as popularly used, that he "lost his mind", and, likewise, that he "lost it playing chess", must either indicate the user s unconscious ignorance of the true facts, or must evidence a rather un pardonable carelessness of language, unfair to one, able to offer nothing in his defense, and whose habits, possibly unsuspected by himself, have contributed to an exaggerated statement, and belief generally, of his true condition. There is not much more to be said, unless it is to call attention to one distinctive, and more or less curious, feature, attendant upon Morphy's genius. Upon the assumption that Morphy is the "genius" of the chess firmament, and meaning by the word, "genius", here, substantially the "outstanding mind" of the chess world, and pretermitting, as unnecessary to the issue, any discussion of the merits of the so-called "old" and "modern" schools of chess, to neither of which, in fact, Morphy would belong, there is this one thing, that can be said about Morphy, and in which his genius would appear to be unique. Taking the words, but not the exact thought at the time, of the Illustrated News, of London, which has been quoted earlier in this sketch, Morphy, if the "genius", or "outstanding mind", of the chess firmament, both past and present, and the writer thinks, in this application of the word, "genius", the claim for Morphy would not be disputed, Morphy has then, in the words of the Illustrated News, acquired a "universal fame", that, the writer now adds, confirmed, in a measure, by Mr. MacDonnell s observations, previously quoted in this sketch, no other single individual in the world, if our hypothesis is correct, has attained. The distinguishing trait is this. Pretermitting anything bordering on the religious, which, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, "human", as hereafter used in connection with the phrase, "human activity" or "human endeavor", would be expected to be excluded, there is not another single human being, as the writer can recall the situation, in the world of art, letters, science, and invention, who has been, or would be, recognized as the " out standing mind", or "genius", as the writer has defined the term, of that particular branch, line, or department of human endeavor, or activity, the world over, without regard to language, nationality, or race, and since the complete ascendancy of such genius. This is a wonderful tribute, not only to Morphy, but to mind, itself. The next question would be as to the degree of that great ness. This, in its final analysis, can be determined only by complete comparison, extending over, and throughout, the ascendancy of that mind, up to, and if ever, its eclipse. If Morphy is the "outstanding", or supreme, mind of chess, the world over, and up to the present time, and it is assumed, in the sense of our definition, that he is, then his "genius" shines without a competitor, which can not be said, the writer thinks it can be safely ventured, as to any other life in any other department of human activity. The contemplation by the reader of a claim of unquestioned superiority for any particular individuality in any other line of human endeavor, as gathered from the arts and letters, science, or invention, or human endeavor, generally, the world over, will show the uniqueness of the distinction, applicable to Morphy's genius. There is not a name, that could be mentioned, including even the military genius, not previously specifically suggested, where the naming would not provoke a discussion, if not within that individual s own language, nationality, or race, then as the line might be imagined, crossed. The distinction seems, first, peculiar to the chess firmament, itself; and, next, within that sphere, as
peculiar to Morphy, as representing the only instance of the ascendancy of a single mind to universal pre-eminence. His successor, therefore, if, and when, he does come, must attain likewise to that singular distinction, as yet a most unique honor, in the world, and as curious, possibly, as it is unique.

Single Star,
That shines in everlasting light,
Bereft of all,
Save that which Genius left,
Take, thou,
The tribute of all humble minds,
That kneel in awe and reverence,
At the workings of Fate.