By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power
Author: Marden, Orison Swett, 1850-1924
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Frontispiece: Phillips Brooks]

"The best-loved man in New England."

"The ideal life, the life full of completion, haunts us all.  We feel
the thing we ought to be beating beneath the thing we are."

"_First, be a man._"








  "All are architects of fate
  Working in these walls of time."

  "Our to-days and yesterdays
  Are the blocks with which we build."

  "Let thy great deed be thy prayer to thy God."







Copyright, 1895,


_All rights reserved._


The demand for more than a dozen editions of "Pushing to the Front"
during its first year and its universally favorable reception, both at
home and abroad, have encouraged the author to publish this companion
volume of somewhat similar scope and purpose.  The two books were
prepared simultaneously, and the story of the first, given in its
preface, applies equally well to this.

Inspiration to character-building and worthy achievement is the keynote
of the present volume, its object, to arouse to honorable exertion
youth who are drifting without aim, to awaken dormant ambitions in
those who have grown discouraged in the struggle for success, to
encourage and stimulate to higher resolve those who are setting out to
make their own way, with perhaps neither friendship nor capital other
than a determination to get on in the world.

Nothing is so fascinating to a youth with high purpose, life, and
energy throbbing in his young blood as stories of men and women who
have brought great things to pass.  Though these themes are as old as
the human race, yet they are ever new, and more interesting to the
young than any fiction.  The cry of youth is for life! more life!  No
didactic or dogmatic teaching, however brilliant, will capture a
twentieth-century boy, keyed up to the highest pitch by the pressure of
an intense civilization.  The romance of achievement under
difficulties, of obscure beginnings and triumphant ends; the story of
how great men started, their struggles, their long waitings, amid want
and woe, the obstacles overcome, the final triumphs; examples, which
explode excuses, of men who have seized common situations and made them
great, of those of average capacity who have succeeded by the use of
ordinary means, by dint of indomitable will and inflexible purpose:
these will most inspire the ambitious youth.  The author teaches that
there are bread and success for every youth under the American flag who
has the grit to seize his chance and work his way to his own loaf; that
the barriers are not yet erected which declare to aspiring talent,
"Thus far and no farther"; that the most forbidding circumstances
cannot repress a longing for knowledge, a yearning for growth; that
poverty, humble birth, loss of limbs or even eyesight, have not been
able to bar the progress of men with grit; that poverty has rocked the
cradle of the giants who have wrung civilization from barbarism, and
have led the world up from savagery to the Gladstones, the Lincolns,
and the Grants.

The book shows that it is the man with one unwavering aim who cuts his
way through opposition and forges to the front; that in this electric
age, where everything is pusher or pushed, he who would succeed must
hold his ground and push hard; that what are stumbling-blocks and
defeats to the weak and vacillating, are but stepping-stones and
victories to the strong and determined.  The author teaches that every
germ of goodness will at last struggle into bloom and fruitage, and
that true success follows every right step.  He has tried to touch the
higher springs of the youth's aspiration; to lead him to high ideals;
to teach him that there is something nobler in an occupation than
merely living-getting or money-getting; that a man may make millions
and be a failure still; to caution youth not to allow the maxims of a
low prudence, dinned daily into his ears in this money-getting age, to
repress the longings for a higher life; that the hand can never safely
reach higher than does the heart.

The author's aim has been largely through concrete illustrations which
have pith, point, and purpose, to be more suggestive than dogmatic, in
a style more practical than elegant, more helpful than ornate, more
pertinent than novel.

The author wishes to acknowledge valuable assistance from Mr. Arthur W.
Brown, of W. Kingston, R. I.

O. S. M.


December 2, 1896.




God after a _man_.  Wealth is nothing, fame is nothing.  _Manhood is


Dare to live thy creed.  Conquer your place in the world.  All things
serve a brave soul.


Find a way or make one.  Everything is either pusher or pushed.  The
world always listens to a man with a will in him.


There is scarcely a great truth or doctrine but has had to fight its
way to recognition through detraction, calumny, and persecution.


The Great Sculptor cares little for the human block as such; it is the
statue He is after; and He will blast, hammer, and chisel with poverty,
hardships, anything to get out the man.


Find your purpose and fling your life out to it.  Try to be somebody
with all your might.


What is put into the first of life is put into the whole of life.
_Start right_.


Self-made or never made.  The greatest men have risen from the ranks.


Don't risk a life's superstructure upon a day's foundation.


The goddess of fame or of fortune has been won by many a poor boy who
had no friends, no backing, or anything but pure grit and invincible
purpose to commend him.


Manhood is above all riches and overtops all titles; character is
greater than any career.


"Hunger, rags, cold, hard work, contempt, suspicion, unjust reproach,
are disagreeable; but debt is infinitely worse than all."


To have nothing is not poverty.  Whoever uplifts civilization is rich
though he die penniless, and future generations will erect his monument.


"How speaks the present hour?  _Act_."  Don't wait for great
opportunities.  _Seize common occasions and make them great_.


There is nothing small in a world where a mud-crack swells to an
Amazon, and the stealing of a penny may end on the scaffold.


Guard your weak point.  Be lord over yourself.



    I. Phillips Brooks . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_
   II. Oliver Hazard Perry
  III. Walter Scott
   IV. William Hickling Prescott
    V. John Bunyan
   VI. Richard Arkwright
  VII. Victor Hugo
 VIII. James A. Garfield (missing from book)
   IX. Thomas Alva Edison
    X. Andrew Jackson
   XI. John Greenleaf Whittier (missing from book)
  XII. Alexander Hamilton
 XIII. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  XIV. Thomas Jefferson
   XV. Louis Agassiz
  XVI. James Russell Lowell




  "Wanted; men:
  Not systems fit and wise,
  Not faiths with rigid eyes,
  Not wealth in mountain piles,
  Not power with gracious smiles,
  Not even the potent pen:
  Wanted; men."

Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and
know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a

All the world cries, Where is the man who will save us?  We want a man!
Don't look so far for this man.  You have him at hand.  This man,--it
is you, it is I, it is each one of us! . . .  How to constitute one's
self a man?  Nothing harder, if one knows not how to will it; nothing
easier, if one wills it.--ALEXANDRE DUMAS.

  "'Tis life, not death for which we pant!
  'Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant:
  More life and fuller, that we want."

I do not wish in attempting to paint a man to describe an air-fed,
unimpassioned, impossible ghost.  My eyes and ears are revolted by any
neglect of the physical facts, the limitations of man.--EMERSON.

  But nature, with a matchless hand, sends forth her nobly born,
  And laughs the paltry attributes of wealth and rank to scorn;
  She moulds with care a spirit rare, half human, half divine,
  And cries exulting, "Who can make a gentleman like mine?"
        ELIZA COOK.

"In a thousand cups of life," says Emerson, "only one is the right
mixture.  The fine adjustment of the existing elements, where the
well-mixed man is born with eyes not too dull, nor too good, with fire
enough and earth enough, capable of receiving impressions from all
things, and not too susceptible, then no gift need be bestowed on him.
He brings his fortune with him."

Diogenes sought with a lantern at noontide in ancient Athens for a
perfectly honest man, and sought in vain.  In the market place he once
cried aloud, "Hear me, O men;" and, when a crowd collected around him,
he said scornfully: "I called for men, not pygmies."

The world has a standing advertisement over the door of every
profession, every occupation, every calling; "Wanted--A Man."

Wanted, a man who will not lose his individuality in a crowd, a man who
has the courage of his convictions, who is not afraid to say "No,"
though all the world say "Yes."

Wanted, a man who, though he is dominated by a mighty purpose, will not
permit one great faculty to dwarf, cripple, warp, or mutilate his
manhood; who will not allow the over-development of one facility to
stunt or paralyze his other faculties.

Wanted, a man who is larger than his calling, who considers it a low
estimate of his occupation to value it merely as a means of getting a
living.  Wanted, a man who sees self-development, education and
culture, discipline and drill, character and manhood, in his occupation.

A thousand pulpits vacant in a single religious denomination, a
thousand preachers standing idle in the market place, while a thousand
church committees scour the land for men to fill those same vacant
pulpits, and scour in vain, is a sufficient indication, in one
direction at least, of the largeness of the opportunities of the age,
and also of the crying need of good men.

Wanted, a man who is well balanced, who is not cursed with some little
defect or weakness which cripples his usefulness and neutralizes his
powers.  Wanted, a man of courage, who is not a coward in any part of
his nature.

Wanted, a man who is symmetrical, and not one-sided in his development,
who has not sent all the energies of his being into one narrow
specialty, and allowed all the other branches of his life to wither and
die.  Wanted, a man who is broad, who does not take half views of
things.  Wanted, a man who mixes common sense with his theories, who
does not let a college education spoil him for practical, every-day
life; a man who prefers substance to show, who regards his good name as
a priceless treasure.

Wanted, a man "who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire, but
whose passions are trained to heed a strong will, the servant of a
tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of
nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as

God calls a man to be upright and pure and generous, but he also calls
him to be intelligent and skillful and strong and brave.

The world wants a man who is educated all over; whose nerves are
brought to their acutest sensibility, whose brain is cultured, keen,
incisive, penetrating, broad, liberal, deep; whose hands are deft;
whose eyes are alert, sensitive, microscopic, whose heart is tender,
broad, magnanimous, true.

The whole world is looking for such a man.  Although there are millions
out of employment, yet it is almost impossible to find just the right
man in almost any department of life.  Every profession and every
occupation has a standing advertisement all over the world: "Wanted--A

Rousseau, in his celebrated essay on education, says: "According to the
order of nature, men being equal, their common vocation is the
profession of humanity; and whoever is well educated to discharge the
duty of a man cannot be badly prepared to fill any of those offices
that have a relation to him.  It matters little to me whether my pupil
be designed for the army, the pulpit, or the bar.  Nature has destined
us to the offices of human life antecedent to our destination
concerning society.  To live is the profession I would teach him.  When
I have done with him, it is true he will be neither a soldier, a
lawyer, nor a divine.  _Let him first be a man_; Fortune may remove him
from one rank to another as she pleases, he will be always found in his

A little, short doctor of divinity in a large Baptist convention stood
on a step and said he thanked God he was a Baptist.  The audience could
not hear and called "Louder."  "Get up higher," some one said.  "I
can't," he replied.  "To be a Baptist is as high as one can get."  But
there is something higher than being a Baptist, and that is being a

As Emerson says, Talleyrand's question is ever the main one; not, is he
rich? is he committed? is he well-meaning? has he this or that faculty?
is he of the movement? is he of the establishment? but is he anybody?
does he stand for something?  He must be good of his kind.  That is all
that Talleyrand, all that State Street, all that the common sense of
mankind asks.

When Garfield was asked as a young boy, "what he meant to be," he
answered: "First of all, I must make myself a man, if I do not succeed
in that, I can succeed in nothing."

Montaigne says our work is not to train a soul by itself alone, nor a
body by itself alone, but to train a man.

One great need of the world to-day is for men and women who are good
animals.  To endure the strain of our concentrated civilization, the
coming man and woman must have an excess of animal spirits.  They must
have a robustness of health.  Mere absence of disease is not health.
It is the overflowing fountain, not the one half full, that gives life
and beauty to the valley below.  Only he is healthy who exults in mere
animal existence; whose very life is a luxury; who feels a bounding
pulse throughout his body, who feels life in every limb, as dogs do
when scouring over the field, or as boys do when gliding over fields of

Pope, the poet, was with Sir Godfrey Kneller, the artist, one day, when
the latter's nephew, a Guinea slave-trader, came into the room.
"Nephew," said Sir Godfrey, "you have the honor of seeing the two
greatest men in the world."  "I don't know how great men you may be,"
said the Guinea man, "but I don't like your looks.  I have often bought
a much better man than either of you, all muscles and bones, for ten

Sydney Smith said, "I am convinced that digestion is the great secret
of life, and that character, virtue and talents, and qualities are
powerfully affected by beef, mutton, pie crust, and rich soups.  I have
often thought I could feed or starve men into virtues or vices, and
affect them more powerfully with my instruments of torture than
Timotheus could do formerly with his lyre."

What more glorious than a magnificent manhood, animated with the
bounding spirits of overflowing health?

It is a sad sight to see thousands of students graduated every year
from our grand institutions, whose object is to make stalwart,
independent, self-supporting men, turned out into the world saplings
instead of stalwart oaks, "memory-glands" instead of brainy men,
helpless instead of self-supporting, sickly instead of robust, weak
instead of strong, leaning instead of erect.  "So many promising
youths, and never a finished man!"

The character sympathizes with and unconsciously takes on the nature of
the body.  A peevish, snarling, ailing man cannot develop the vigor and
strength of character which is possible to a healthy, robust, jolly
man.  There is an inherent love in the human mind for wholeness, a
demand that man shall come up to the highest standard; and there is an
inherent protest or contempt for preventable deficiency.  Nature too
demands that man be ever at the top of his condition.  The giant's
strength with the imbecile's brain will not be characteristic of the
coming man.

Man has been a dwarf of himself, but a higher type of manhood stands at
the door of this age knocking for admission.

As we stand upon the seashore while the tide is coming in, one wave
reaches up the beach far higher than any previous one, then recedes,
and for some time none that follows comes up to its mark, but after a
while the whole sea is there and beyond it, so now and then there comes
a man head and shoulders above his fellow-men, showing that Nature has
not lost her ideal, and after a while even the average man will overtop
the highest wave of manhood yet given to the world.

Apelles hunted over Greece for many years, studying the fairest points
of beautiful women, getting here an eye, there a forehead and there a
nose, here a grace and there a turn of beauty, for his famous portrait
of a perfect woman which enchanted the world.  So the coming man will
be a composite, many in one.  He will absorb into himself not the
weakness, not the follies, but the strength and the virtues of other
types of men.  He will be a man raised to the highest power.  He will
be self-centred, equipoised, and ever master of himself.  His
sensibility will not be deadened or blunted by violation of nature's
laws.  His whole character will be impressible, and will respond to the
most delicate touches of nature.

What a piece of work--this coming man!  "How noble in reason.  How
infinite in faculties.  In form and motion how express and admirable,
in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.  The
beauty of the world.  The paragon of animals."

The first requisite of all education and discipline should be
man-timber.  Tough timber must come from well grown, sturdy trees.
Such wood can be turned into a mast, can be fashioned into a piano or
an exquisite carving.  But it must become timber first.  Time and
patience develop the sapling into the tree.  So through discipline,
education, experience, the sapling child is developed into hardy
mental, moral, physical timber.

What an aid to character building would be the determination of the
young man in starting out in life to consider himself his own bank;
that his notes will be accepted as good or bad, and will pass current
everywhere or be worthless, according to his individual reputation for
honor and veracity; that if he lets a note go to protest, his bank of
character will be suspected; if he lets two or three go to protest,
public confidence will be seriously shaken; that if they continue to go
to protest, his reputation will be lost and confidence in him ruined.

If the youth should start out with the fixed determination that every
statement he makes shall be the exact truth; that every promise he
makes shall be redeemed to the letter; that every appointment shall be
kept with the strictest faithfulness and with full regard for other
men's time, if he should hold his reputation as a priceless treasure,
feel that the eyes of the world are upon him, that he must not deviate
a hair's breadth from the truth and right; if he should take such a
stand at the outset, he would, like George Peabody, come to have almost
unlimited credit and the confidence of all, and would have developed
into noble man-timber.

What are palaces and equipages; what though a man could cover a
continent with his title-deeds, or an ocean with his commerce, compared
with conscious rectitude, with a face that never turns pale at the
accuser's voice, with a bosom that never throbs with the fear of
exposure, with a heart that might be turned inside out and disclose no
stain of dishonor?  To have done no man a wrong; to have put your
signature to no paper to which the purest angel in heaven might not
have been an attesting witness; to walk and live, unseduced, within
arm's length of what is not your own, with nothing between your desire
and its gratification but the invisible law of rectitude;--_this is to
be a man_.

  "He that of such a height hath built his mind,
  And reared the dwelling of his thought so strong
  As neither fear nor hope can shake the frame
  Of his resolved powers; nor all the wind
  Of vanity or malice pierce to wrong
  His settled peace, or to disturb the same;
  What a fair seat hath he; from whence he may
  The boundless wastes and wilds of man survey."
    [_Lines found in one of the books of Beecher's Library._]

A man is never so happy as when he is _totus in se_; as when he
suffices to himself, and can walk without crutches or a guide.  Said
Jean Paul Richter: "I have made as much out of myself as could be made
of the stuff, and no man should require more."

Man is the only great thing in the universe.  All the ages have been
trying to produce a perfect model.  Only one complete man has yet been
evolved.  The best of us are but prophecies of what is to come.

    What constitutes a state?
  Not high-raised battlement or labored mound,
    Thick wall or moated gate;
  Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned;
    Not bays and broad-armed ports,
  Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
    Not starred and spangled courts,
  Where low-browed baseness wafts perfume to pride.
    No: men, high-minded men,
  With powers as far above dull brutes endued
    In forest, brake, or den,
  As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude,--
    Men who their duties know,
  But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain,
    Prevent the long-aimed blow,
  And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain.

  God give us men.  A time like this demands
  Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands:
  Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
  Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
  Men who possess opinions and a will;
  Men who have honor--men who will not lie;
  Men who can stand before a demagogue
  And scorn his treacherous flatteries without winking;
  Tall men sun-crowned, who live above the fog
  In public duty, and in private thinking.

  Open thy bosom, set thy wishes wide,
  And let in manhood--let in happiness;
  Admit the boundless theatre of thought
  From nothing up to God . . . which makes a man!

  "The wisest man could ask no more of fate
  Than to be simple, modest, manly, true."

  In speech right gentle, yet so wise; princely of mien,
  Yet softly mannered; modest, deferent,
  And tender-hearted, though of fearless blood.



The Spartans did not inquire how many the enemy are, but where they
are.--AGIS II.

What's brave, what's noble, let's do it after the high Roman fashion,
and make death proud to take us.--SHAKESPEARE.

  Better, like Hector, in the field to die,
  Than, like a perfumed Paris, turn and fly.

Let me die facing the enemy.--BAYARD.

Who conquers me, shall find a stubborn foe.--BYRON.

Courage in danger is half the battle.--PLAUTUS.

  No great deed is done
  By falterers who ask for certainty.

Fortune befriends the bold.--DRYDEN.

  Tender handed stroke a nettle,
    And it stings you for your pains;
  Grasp it like a man of mettle,
    And it soft as silk remains.
        AARON HILL.

We make way for the man who boldly pushes past us.--BOVÉE.

  Man should dare all things that he knows is right,
  And fear to do nothing save what is wrong.
        PHEBE CARY.

  Soft-heartedness, in times like these,
  Shows softness in the upper story.

O friend, never strike sail to fear.  Come into port grandly, or sail
with God the seas.--EMERSON.

To stand with a smile upon your face against a stake from which you
cannot get away--that, no doubt, is heroic.  But the true glory is
resignation to the inevitable.  To stand unchained, with perfect
liberty to go away, held only by the higher claims of duty, and let the
fire creep up to the heart,--this is heroism.--F. W. ROBERTSON.

"Steady, men!  Every man must die where he stands!" said Colin Campbell
to the Ninety-third Highlanders at Balaklava, as an overwhelming force
of Russian cavalry came sweeping down.  "Ay, ay, Sir Colin! we'll do
that!" was the cordial response from men many of whom had to keep their
word by thus obeying.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: COMMODORE PERRY]

"We have met the enemy and they are ours."

  "He either fears his fate too much
    Or his deserts too small,
  That dares not put it to the touch,
    To gain or lose it all."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

"Bring back the colors," shouted a captain at the battle of the Alma,
when an ensign maintained his ground in front, although the men were
retreating.  "No," cried the ensign, "bring up the men to the colors."
"To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare," was Danton's
noble defiance to the enemies of France.

"The Commons of France have resolved to deliberate," said Mirabeau to
De Breze, who brought an order from the king for them to disperse, June
23, 1789.  "We have heard the intentions that have been attributed to
the king; and you, sir, who cannot be recognized as his organ in the
National Assembly,--you, who have neither place, voice, nor right to
speak,--you are not the person to bring to us a message of his.  Go,
say to those who sent you that we are here by the power of the people,
and that we will not be driven hence, save by the power of the bayonet."

When the assembled senate of Rome begged Regulus not to return to
Carthage to fulfill an illegal promise, he calmly replied: "Have you
resolved to dishonor me?  Torture and death are awaiting me, but what
are these to the shame of an infamous act, or the wounds of a guilty
mind?  Slave as I am to Carthage, I still have the spirit of a Roman.
I have sworn to return.  It is my duty.  Let the gods take care of the

The courage which Cranmer had shown since the accession of Mary gave
way the moment his final doom was announced.  The moral cowardice which
had displayed itself in his miserable compliance with the lust and
despotism of Henry displayed itself again in six successive
recantations by which he hoped to purchase pardon.  But pardon was
impossible; and Cranmer's strangely mingled nature found a power in its
very weakness when he was brought into the church of St. Mary at Oxford
on the 21st of March, to repeat his recantation on the way to the
stake.  "Now," ended his address to the hushed congregation before
him,--"now I come to the great thing that troubleth my conscience more
than any other thing that ever I said or did in my life, and that is
the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth; which here I now
renounce and refuse as things written by a hand contrary to the truth
which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death to save my
life, if it might be.  And, forasmuch as my hand offended in writing
contrary to my heart, my hand therefore shall be the first punished;
for if I come to the fire it shall be the first burned."  "This was the
hand that wrote it," he again exclaimed at the stake, "therefore it
shall suffer first punishment;" and holding it steadily in the flame,
"he never stirred nor cried till life was gone."

"Oh, if I were only a man!" exclaimed Rebecca Bates, a girl of
fourteen, as she looked from the window of a lighthouse at Scituate,
Mass., during the War of 1812, and saw a British warship anchor in the
harbor.  "What could you do?" asked Sarah Winsor, a young visitor.
"See what a lot of them the boats contain, and look at their guns!" and
she pointed to five large boats, filled with soldiers in scarlet
uniforms, who were coming to burn the vessels in the harbor and destroy
the town.  "I don't care, I'd fight," said Rebecca.  "I'd use father's
old shotgun--anything.  Think of uncle's new boat and the sloop!  And
how hard it is to sit here and see it all, and not lift a finger to
help.  Father and uncle are in the village and will do all they can.
How still it is in the town!  There is not a man to be seen."  "Oh,
they are hiding till the soldiers get nearer," said Sarah, "then we'll
hear the shots and the drum."  "The drum!" exclaimed Rebecca, "how can
they use it?  It is here.  Father brought it home last night to mend.
See! the first boat has reached the sloop.  Oh! they are going to burn
her.  Where is that drum?  I've a great mind to go down and beat it.
We could hide behind the sandhills and bushes."  As flames began to
rise from the sloop the ardor of the girls increased.  They found the
drum and an old fife, and, slipping out of doors unnoticed by Mrs.
Bates, soon stood behind a row of sandhills.  "Rub-a-dub-dub,
rub-a-dub-dub," went the drum, and "squeak, squeak, squeak," went the
fife.  The Americans in the town thought that help had come from
Boston, and rushed into boats to attack the redcoats.  The British
paused in their work of destruction; and, when the fife began to play
"Yankee Doodle," they scrambled into their boats and rowed in haste to
the warship, which weighed anchor and sailed away as fast as the wind
would carry her.

A woman's piercing shriek suddenly startled a party of surveyors at
dinner in a forest of northern Virginia on a calm, sunny day in 1750.
The cries were repeated in quick succession, and the men sprang through
the undergrowth to learn their cause.  "Oh, sir," exclaimed the woman
as she caught sight of a youth of eighteen, but a man in stature and
bearing; "you will surely do something for me!  Make these friends
release me.  My boy,--my poor boy is drowning, and they will not let me
go!"  "It would be madness; she will jump into the river," said one of
the men who was holding her; "and the rapids would dash her to pieces
in a moment!"  Throwing on his coat, the youth sprang to the edge of
the bank, scanned for a moment the rocks and whirling currents, and
then, at sight of part of the boy's dress, plunged into the roaring
rapids.  "Thank God, he will save my child!" cried the mother, and all
rushed to the brink of the precipice; "there he is!  Oh, my boy, my
darling boy!  How could I leave you?"

But all eyes were bent upon the youth struggling with strong heart and
hope amid the dizzy sweep of the whirling currents far below.  Now it
seemed as if he would be dashed against a projecting rock, over which
the water flew in foam, and anon a whirlpool would drag him in, from
whose grasp escape would seem impossible.  Twice the boy went out of
sight, but he had reappeared the second time, although frightfully near
the most dangerous part of the river.  The rush of waters here was
tremendous, and no one had ever dared to approach it, even in a canoe,
lest he should be dashed to pieces.  The youth redoubled his exertions.
Three times he was about to grasp the child, when some stronger eddy
would toss it from him.  One final effort he makes; the child is held
aloft by his strong right arm, but a cry of horror bursts from the lips
of every spectator as boy and man shoot over the falls and vanish in
the seething waters below.

"There they are!" shouted the mother a moment later, in a delirium of
joy.  "See! they are safe!  Great God, I thank Thee!"  And sure enough
they emerged unharmed from the boiling vortex, and in a few minutes
reached a low place in the bank and were drawn up by their friends, the
boy senseless, but still alive, and the youth almost exhausted.  "God
will give you a reward," solemnly spoke the grateful woman.  "He will
do great things for you in return for this day's work, and the
blessings of thousands besides mine will attend you."

The youth was George Washington.

"Your Grace has not the organ of animal courage largely developed,"
said a phrenologist, who was examining Wellington's head.  "You are
right," replied the Iron Duke, "and but for my sense of duty I should
have retreated in my first fight."  That first fight, on an Indian
field, was one of the most terrible on record.

In the reverses which followed Napoleon, he met the allies at Arcis.  A
live shell having fallen in front of one of his young battalions, which
recoiled and wavered in expectation of an explosion, Napoleon, to
reassure them, spurred his charger toward the instrument of
destruction, made him smell the burning match, waited unshaken for the
explosion, and was blown up.  Rolling in the dust with his mutilated
steed, and rising without a wound amid the plaudits of his soldiers, he
calmly called for another horse, and continued to brave the grape-shot,
and to fly into the thickest of the battle.

When General Jackson was a judge and was holding court in a small
settlement, a border ruffian, a murderer and desperado, came into the
court-room with brutal violence and interrupted the court.  The judge
ordered him to be arrested.  The officer did not dare to approach him.
"Call a posse," said the judge, "and arrest him."  But they also shrank
in fear from the ruffian.  "Call me, then," said Jackson; "this court
is adjourned for five minutes."  He left the bench, walked straight up
to the man, and with his eagle eye actually cowed the ruffian, who
dropped his weapons, afterwards saying, "There was something in his eye
I could not resist."

One of the last official acts of the late President Carnot, of France,
was the sending of a medal of the French Legion of Honor to a little
American girl, who lives in Indiana.  While a train on the Pan Handle
Railroad, having on board several distinguished Frenchmen, was bound to
Chicago and the World's Fair, Jennie Carey, who was then ten years old,
discovered that a trestle was on fire, and that if the train, which was
nearly due, entered it a dreadful wreck would take place.  Thereupon
she ran out upon the track to a place where she could be seen from some
little distance.  Then she took off her red flannel skirt and, when the
train came in view, waved it back and forth across the track.  It was
seen, and the train stopped.  On board of it were seven hundred people,
many of whom must have suffered death but for Jennie's courage and
presence of mind.  When they returned to France, the Frenchmen brought
the occurrence to the notice of President Carnot, and the result was
the sending of the medal of this famous French society, the purpose of
which is the honoring of bravery and merit, wherever they may be found.

After the battle of Fort Donelson, the wounded were hauled down the
hill in rough board wagons, and most of them died before they reached
St. Louis.  One blue-eyed boy of nineteen, with both arms and both legs
shattered, had lain a long time and was neglected.  He said, "Why, you
see they couldn't stop to bother with us because they had to take the
fort.  When they took it we all forgot our sufferings and shouted for
joy, even to the dying."

Louis IX. of France was captured by the Turks at the battle of
Mansoora, during the Seventh Crusade, and his wife Marguerite, with a
babe at the breast, was in Damietta, many miles away.  The Infidels
surrounded the city, and pressed the garrison so hard that it was
decided to capitulate.  The queen summoned the knights, and told them
that she at least would die in armor upon the ramparts before the enemy
should become masters of Damietta.

  "Before her words they thrilled like leaves
    When winds are in the wood;
  And a deepening murmur told of men
    Roused to a loftier mood."

Grasping lance and shield, they vowed to defend their queen and the
cross to the last.  Damietta was saved.

Pyrrhus marched to Sparta to reinstate the deposed Cleonymus, and
quietly pitched his tents before Laconia, not anticipating resistance.
In consternation, the Spartans in council decided to send their women
to Crete for safety.  But the women met and asked Queen Archidamia to
remonstrate.  She went to the council, sword in hand, and told the men
that their wives did not care to live after Sparta was destroyed.

  "We are brave men's mothers, and brave men's wives;
    We are ready to do and dare;
  We are ready to man your walls with our lives,
    And string your bows with our hair."

They hurried to the walls and worked all night, aiding the men in
digging trenches.  When Pyrrhus attacked the city next day, his repulse
was so emphatic that he withdrew from Laconia.

Charles V. of Spain passed through Thuringia in 1547, on his return to
Swabia after the battle of Muehlburg.  He wrote to Catherine, Countess
Dowager of Schwartzburg, promising that her subjects should not be
molested in their persons or property if they would supply the Spanish
soldiers with provisions at a reasonable price.  On approaching
Eudolstadt, General Alva and Prince Henry of Brunswick, with his sons,
invited themselves, by a messenger sent forward, to breakfast with the
Countess, who had no choice but to ratify so delicate a request from
the commander of an army.  Just as the guests were seated at a generous
repast, the Countess was called from the hall and told that the
Spaniards were using violence and driving away the cattle of the

Quietly arming all her retinue, she bolted and barred all the gates and
doors of the castle, and returned to the banquet to complain of the
breach of faith.  General Alva told her that such was the custom of
war, adding that such trifling disorders were not to be heeded.  "That
we shall presently see," said Catharine; "my poor subjects must have
their own again, or, as God lives, prince's blood for oxen's blood!"
The doors were opened, and armed men took the places of the waiters
behind the chairs of the guests.  Henry changed color; then, as the
best way out of a bad scrape, laughed loudly, and ended by praising the
splendid acting of his hostess, and promising that Alva should order
the cattle restored at once.  Not until a courier returned, saying that
the order had been obeyed, and all damages settled satisfactorily, did
the armed waiters leave.  The Countess then thanked her guests for the
honor they had done her castle, and they retired with protestations of
their distinguished consideration.

It was the heroic devotion of an Indian girl that saved the life of
Captain John Smith, when the powerful King Powhatan had decreed his
death.  Ill could the struggling colony spare him at that time.

When the consul shouted that the bridge was tottering, Lartius and
Herminius sought safety in flight.  But Horatius strode still nearer
the foe, the single champion of his country and liberty, and dared the
ninety thousand to come on.  Dead stillness fell upon the Tuscans, so
astonished were they at the audacity of the Roman.  He first broke the
awful silence, so deep that his clear, strong voice could be heard by
thousands in both armies, between which rolled the Tiber, as he
denounced the baseness and perfidy of the invaders.  Not until his
words were drowned by the loud crash of fiercely disrupturing timbers,
and the sullen splash of the dark river, did his enemies hurl their
showers of arrows and javelins.  Then, dexterously warding off the
missiles with his shield, he plunged into the Tiber.  Although stabbed
in the hip by a Tuscan spear which lamed him for life, he swam in
safety to Rome.

"It is a bad omen," said Eric the Red, when his horse slipped and fell
on the way to his ship, moored on the coast of Greenland, in readiness
for a voyage of discovery.  "Ill-fortune would be mine should I dare
venture now upon the sea."  So he returned to his house, but his young
son Leif decided to go, and, with a crew of thirty-five men, sailed
southward in search of the unknown shore upon which Captain Biarni had
been driven by a storm, while sailing in another Viking ship two or
three years before.  The first land that they saw was probably
Labrador, a barren, rugged plain.  Leif called this country Heluland,
or the land of flat stones.  Sailing onward many days, he came to a
low, level coast thickly covered with woods, on account of which he
called the country Markland, probably the modern Nova Scotia.  Sailing
onward, they came to an island which they named Vinland on account of
the abundance of delicious wild grapes in the woods.  This was in the
year 1000.  Here where the city of Newport, R. I., stands, they spent
many months, and then returned to Greenland with their vessel loaded
with grapes and strange kinds of wood.  The voyage was successful, and
no doubt Eric was sorry he had been frightened by the bad omen.

May 10, 1796, Napoleon carried the bridge at Lodi, in the face of the
Austrian batteries.  Fourteen cannon--some accounts say thirty--were
trained upon the French end of the structure.  Behind them were six
thousand troops.  Napoleon massed four thousand grenadiers at the head
of the bridge, with a battalion of three hundred carbineers in front.
At the tap of the drum the foremost assailants wheeled from the cover
of the street wall under a terrible hail of grape and canister, and
attempted to pass the gateway to the bridge.  The front ranks went down
like stalks of grain before a reaper; the column staggered and reeled
backward, and the valiant grenadiers were appalled by the task before
them.  Without a word or a look of reproach, Napoleon placed himself at
their head, and his aids and generals rushed to his side.  Forward
again, this time over heaps of dead that choked the passage, and a
quick run, counted by seconds only, carried the column across two
hundred yards of clear space, scarcely a shot from the Austrians taking
effect beyond the point where the platoons wheeled for the first leap.
So sudden and so miraculous was it all that the Austrian artillerists
abandoned their guns instantly, and their supports fled in a panic
instead of rushing to the front and meeting the French onslaught.  This
Napoleon had counted on in making the bold attack.  The contrast
between Napoleon's slight figure and the massive grenadiers suggested
the nickname "Little Corporal."

The great secret of the success of Joan of Arc was the boldness of her

When Stephen of Colonna fell into the hands of base assailants, and
they asked him in derision, "Where is now your fortress?"  "Here," was
his bold reply, placing his hand upon his heart.

It was after the Mexican War when General McClellan was employed as a
topographical engineer in surveying the Pacific coast.  From his
headquarters at Vancouver he had gone south to the Columbia River with
two companions, a soldier and a servant.  One evening he received word
that the chiefs of the Columbia River tribes desired to confer with
him.  From the messenger's manner he suspected that the Indians meant
mischief.  He warned his companions that they must be ready to leave
camp at a moment's notice.  Mounting his horse, he rode boldly into the
Indian village.  About thirty chiefs were holding council.  McClellan
was led into the circle, and placed at the right hand of Saltese.  He
was familiar with the Chinook jargon, and could understand every word
spoken in the council.  Saltese made known the grievance of the tribes.
Two Indians had been captured by a party of white pioneers and hanged
for theft.  Retaliation for this outrage seemed indispensable.  The
chiefs pondered long, but had little to say.  McClellan had been on
friendly terms with them, and was not responsible for the forest
executions.  Still, he was a white man, and the chiefs had vowed
vengeance against the race.  The council was prolonged for hours before
sentence was passed, and then Saltese, in the name of the head men of
the tribes, decreed that McClellan should immediately be put to death
in retaliation for the hanging of the two Indian thieves.

McClellan had said nothing.  He had known that argument and pleas for
justice or mercy would be of no avail.  He had sat motionless,
apparently indifferent to his fate.  By his listlessness he had thrown
his captors off their guard.  When the sentence was passed he acted
like a flash.  Flinging his left arm around the neck of Saltese, he
whipped out his revolver and held it close to the chief's temple.
"Revoke that sentence, or I shall kill you this instant!" he cried,
with his fingers clicking the trigger.  "I revoke it!" exclaimed
Saltese, fairly livid from fear.  "I must have your word that I can
leave this council in safety."  "You have the word of Saltese," was the
quick response.  McClellan knew how sacred was the pledge which he had
received.  The revolver was lowered.  Saltese was released from the
embrace of the strong arm.  McClellan strode out of the tent with his
revolver in his hand.  Not a hand was raised against him.  He mounted
his horse and rode to his camp, where his two followers were ready to
spring into the saddle and to escape from the villages.  He owed his
life to his quickness of perception, and to his accurate knowledge of
Indian character.

In 1866, Rufus Choate spoke to an audience of nearly five thousand in
Lowell in favor of the candidacy of James Buchanan for the presidency.
The floor of the great hall began to sink, settling more and more as he
proceeded with his address, until a sound of cracking timber below
would have precipitated a stampede with fatal results but for the
coolness of B. F. Butler, who presided.  Telling the people to remain
quiet, he said that he would see if there were any cause for alarm.  He
found the supports of the floor in so bad a condition that the
slightest applause would be likely to bury the audience in the ruins of
the building.  Returning rather leisurely to the platform, he whispered
to Choate as he passed, "We shall all be in ---- in five minutes," then
he told the crowd that there was no immediate danger if they would
slowly disperse, although he thought it prudent to adjourn to a place
where there would be no risk whatever.  The post of danger, he added,
was on the platform, which was most weakly supported, therefore he and
those with him would be the last to leave.  No doubt many lives were
saved by his coolness.

Many distinguished foreign and American statesmen were present at a
fashionable dinner party where wine was freely poured, but Schuyler
Colfax, then vice-president of the United States, declined to drink
from a proffered cup.  "Colfax dares not drink," sneered a Senator who
had already taken too much.  "You are right," said the Vice-President,
"I dare not."

When Grant was in Houston several years ago, he was given a rousing
reception.  Naturally hospitable, and naturally inclined to like a man
of Grant's make-up, the Houstonites determined to go beyond any other
Southern city in the way of a banquet and other manifestations of their
good-will and hospitality.  They made great preparations for the
dinner, the committee taking great pains to have the finest wines that
could be procured for the table that night.  When the time came to
serve the wine, the head-waiter went first to Grant.  Without a word
the general quietly turned down all the glasses at his plate.  This
movement was a great surprise to the Texans, but they were equal to the
occasion.  Without a single word being spoken, every man along the line
of the long tables turned his glasses down, and there was not a drop of
wine taken that night.

A deep sewer at Noyon, France, had been opened for repairs, and
carelessly left at night without covering or lights to warn people of
danger.  Late at night four men stumbled in, and lay some time before
their situation was known in the town.  No one dared go to the aid of
the men, then unconscious from breathing noxious gases, except
Catherine Vassen, a servant girl of eighteen.  She insisted on being
lowered at once.  Fastening a rope around two of the men, she aided in
raising them and restoring them to consciousness.  Descending again,
she had just tied a rope around a third man, when she felt her breath
failing.  Tying another rope to her long, curly hair, she swooned, but
was drawn up with the man, to be quickly revived by fresh air and
stimulants.  The fourth man was dead when his body was pulled up, on
account of the delay from the fainting of Catherine.

Two French officers at Waterloo were advancing to charge a greatly
superior force.  One, observing that the other showed signs of fear,
said, "Sir, I believe you are frightened."  "Yes, I am," was the reply,
"and if you were half as much frightened, you would run away."

"That's a brave man," said Wellington, when he saw a soldier turn pale
as he marched against a battery; "he knows his danger, and faces it."

"There are many cardinals and bishops at Worms," said a friend to
Luther, "and they will burn your body to ashes as they did that of John
Huss."  Luther replied: "Although they should make a fire that should
reach from Worms to Wittenberg, and that should flame up to heaven, in
the Lord's name I would pass through it and appear before them."  He
said to another: "I would enter Worms though there were as many devils
there as there are tiles upon the roofs of the houses."  Another said:
"Duke George will surely arrest you."  He replied: "It is my duty to
go, and I will go, though it rain Duke Georges for nine days together."

"Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me," exclaimed Luther at
the Diet of Worms, facing his foes.

A Western paper recently invited the surviving Union and Confederate
officers to give an account of the bravest act observed by each during
the Civil War.  Colonel Thomas W. Higginson said that at a dinner at
Beaufort, S. C., where wine flowed freely and ribald jests were
bandied, Dr. Miner, a slight, boyish fellow who did not drink, was told
that he could not go until he had drunk a toast, told a story, or sung
a song.  He replied: "I cannot sing, but I will give a toast, although
I must drink it in water.  It is 'Our Mothers.'"  The men were so
affected and ashamed that some took him by the hand and thanked him for
displaying courage greater than that required to walk up to the mouth
of a cannon.

It took great courage for the commercial Quaker, John Bright, to
espouse a cause which called down upon his head the derision and scorn
and hatred of the Parliament.  For years he rested under a cloud of
obloquy, but Bright was made of stern stuff.  It was only his strength
of character and masterly eloquence, which saved him from political
annihilation.  To a man who boasted that his ancestors came over with
the Conquerors, he replied, "I never heard that they did anything
else."  A Tory lordling said, when Bright was ill, that Providence had
inflicted upon Bright, for the measure of his talents, disease of the
brain.  When Bright went back into the Commons he replied: "This may be
so, but it will be some consolation to the friends and family of the
noble lord to know that that disease is one which even Providence
cannot inflict upon him."

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the World,
and takes him boldly by the beard," says Holmes, "he is often surprised
to find it come off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare
away timid adventurers."

It takes courage for a young man to stand firmly erect while others are
bowing and fawning for praise and power.  It takes courage to wear
threadbare clothes while your comrades dress in broadcloth.  It takes
courage to remain in honest poverty when others grow rich by fraud.  It
takes courage to say "No" squarely when those around you say "Yes."  It
takes courage to do your duty in silence and obscurity while others
prosper and grow famous although neglecting sacred obligations.  It
takes courage to unmask your true self, to show your blemishes to a
condemning world, and to pass for what you really are.

It takes courage and pluck to be outvoted, beaten, laughed at, scoffed,
ridiculed, derided, misunderstood, misjudged, to stand alone with all
the world against you, but

  "They are slaves who dare not be
  In the right with two or three."

"There is never wanting a dog to bark at you."

"An honest man is not the worse because a dog barks at him."

  "Let any man show the world that he feels
  Afraid of its bark, and 'twill fly at his heels.
  Let him fearlessly face it, 't will leave him alone,
  And 't will fawn at his feet if he fling it a bone."

We live ridiculously for fear of being thought ridiculous.

  "'Tis he is the coward who proves false to his vows,
  To his manhood, his honor, for a laugh or a sneer:
  'Tis he is the hero who stands firm, though alone,
  For the truth and the right without flinching or fear."

The youth who starts out by being afraid to speak what he thinks will
usually end by being afraid to think what he wishes.

How we shrink from an act of our own.  We live as others live.  Custom
or fashion dictates, or your doctor or minister, and they in turn dare
not depart from their schools.  Dress, living, servants, carriages,
everything must conform, or be ostracized.  Who dares conduct his
household or business affairs in his own way, and snap his fingers at
Dame Grundy?

Many a man has marched up to the cannon's mouth in battle who dared not
face public opinion or oppose Mrs. Grundy.

It takes courage for a public man not to bend the knee to popular
prejudice.  It takes courage to refuse to follow custom when it is
injurious to his health and morals.  To espouse an unpopular cause in
Congress requires more courage than to lead a charge in battle.  How
much easier for a politician to prevaricate and dodge an issue than to
stand squarely on his feet like a man.

As a rule, eccentricity is a badge of power, but how many women would
not rather strangle their individuality than be tabooed by Mrs. Grundy?
Yet fear is really the only thing to fear.

"Whoever you may be," said Sainte-Beuve, "great genius, distinguished
talent, artist honorable or amiable, the qualities for which you
deserve to be praised will all be turned against you.  Were you a
Virgil, the pious and sensible singer _par excellence_, there are
people who will call you an effeminate poet.  Were you a Horace, there
are people who will reproach you with the very purity and delicacy of
your taste.  If you were a Shakespeare, some one will call you a
drunken savage.  If you were a Goethe, more than one Pharisee will
proclaim you the most selfish of egotists."

As the strongest man has a weakness somewhere, so the greatest hero is
a coward somewhere.  Peter was courageous enough to draw his sword to
defend his master, but he could not stand the ridicule and the finger
of scorn of the maidens in the high priest's hall, and he actually
denied even the acquaintance of the master he had declared he would die

"I will take the responsibility," said Andrew Jackson, on a memorable
occasion, and his words have become proverbial.  Not even Congress
dared to oppose the edicts of John Quincy Adams.

If a man would accomplish anything in this world, he must not be afraid
of assuming responsibilities.  Of course it takes courage to run the
risk of failure, to be subjected to criticism for an unpopular cause,
to expose one's self to the shafts of everybody's ridicule, but the man
who is not true to himself, who cannot carry out the sealed orders
placed in his hands at his birth, regardless of the world's yes or no,
of its approval or disapproval, the man who has not the courage to
trace the pattern of his own destiny, which no other soul knows but his
own, can never rise to the true dignity of manhood.  All the world
loves courage; youth craves it; they want to hear about it, they want
to read about it.  The fascination of the "blood and thunder" novels
and of the cheap story papers for youth are based upon this idea of
courage.  If the boys cannot get the real article, they will take a

Don't be like Uriah Heep, begging everybody's pardon for taking the
liberty of being in the world.  There is nothing attractive in
timidity, nothing lovable in fear.  Both are deformities and are
repulsive.  Manly courage is dignified and graceful.  The worst manners
in the world are those of persons conscious "of being beneath their
position, and trying to conceal it or make up for it by style."

Bruno, condemned to be burned alive in Rome, said to his judge: "You
are more afraid to pronounce my sentence than I am to receive it."
Anne Askew, racked until her bones were dislocated, never flinched, but
looked her tormentor calmly in the face and refused to abjure her faith.

"We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid
of each other."  "Half a man's wisdom goes with his courage," said
Emerson.  Physicians used to teach that courage depends on the
circulation of the blood in the arteries, and that during passion,
anger, trials of strength, wrestling or fighting, a large amount of
blood is collected in the arteries, and does not pass to the veins.  A
strong pulse is a fortune in itself.

"Rage," said Shaftesbury, "can make a coward forget himself and fight."

"I should have thought fear would have kept you from going so far,"
said a relative who found the little boy Nelson wandering a long
distance from home.  "Fear?" said the future admiral, "I don't know

"Doubt indulged becomes doubt realized."  To determine to do anything
is half the battle.  "To think a thing is impossible is to make it so."
_Courage is victory, timidity is defeat_.

That simple shepherd-lad, David, fresh from his flocks, marching
unattended and unarmed, save with his shepherd's staff and sling, to
confront the colossal Goliath with his massive armor, is the sublimest
audacity the world has ever seen.

"Dent, I wish you would get down, and see what is the matter with that
leg there," said Grant, when he and Colonel Dent were riding through
the thickest of a fire that had become so concentrated and murderous
that his troops had all been driven back.  "I guess looking after your
horse's legs can wait," said Dent; "it is simply murder for us to sit
here."  "All right," said Grant, "if you don't want to see to it, I
will."  He dismounted, untwisted a piece of telegraph wire which had
begun to cut the horse's leg, examined it deliberately, and climbed
into his saddle.  "Dent," said he, "when you've got a horse that you
think a great deal of, you should never take any chances with him.  If
that wire had been left there for a little time longer he would have
gone dead lame, and would perhaps have been ruined for life."

Wellington said that at Waterloo the hottest of the battle raged round
a farmhouse, with an orchard surrounded by a thick hedge, which was so
important a point in the British position that orders were given to
hold it at any hazard or sacrifice.  At last the powder and ball ran
short and the hedges took fire, surrounding the orchard with a wall of
flame.  A messenger had been sent for ammunition, and soon two loaded
wagons came galloping toward the farmhouse.  "The driver of the first
wagon, with the reckless daring of an English boy, spurred his
struggling and terrified horses through the burning heap; but the
flames rose fiercely round, and caught the powder, which exploded in an
instant, sending wagon, horses, and rider in fragments into the air.
For an instant the driver of the second wagon paused, appalled by his
comrade's fate; the next, observing that the flames, beaten back for
the moment by the explosion, afforded him one desperate chance, sent
his horses at the smouldering breach and, amid the deafening cheers of
the garrison, landed his terrible cargo safely within.  Behind him the
flames closed up, and raged more fiercely than ever."

At the battle of Friedland a cannon-ball came over the heads of the
French soldiers, and a young soldier instinctively dodged.  Napoleon
looked at him and smilingly said: "My friend, if that ball were
destined for you, though you were to burrow a hundred feet under ground
it would be sure to find you there."

When the mine in front of Petersburg was finished, the fuse was
lighted, and the Union troops were drawn up ready to charge the enemy's
works as soon as the explosion should make a breach.  But seconds,
minutes, and tens of minutes passed, without a sound from the mine, and
the suspense became painful.  Lieutenant Doughty and Sergeant Kees
volunteered to examine the fuse.  Through the long subterranean
galleries they hurried in silence, not knowing but they were advancing
to a horrible death.  They found the defect, fired the train anew, and
soon a terrible upheaval of earth gave the signal to march to victory.

At the battle of Copenhagen, as Nelson walked the deck slippery with
blood and covered with the dead, he said: "This is warm work, and this
day may be the last to any of us in a moment.  But, mark me, I would
not be elsewhere for thousands."  At the battle of Trafalgar, when
Nelson was shot and was being carried below, he covered his face, that
those fighting might not know their chief had fallen.

In a skirmish at Salamanca, while the enemy's guns were pouring shot
into his regiment, Sir William Napier's men became disobedient.  He at
once ordered a halt, and flogged four of the ringleaders under fire.
The men yielded at once, and then marched three miles under a heavy
cannonade as coolly as if it were a review.

Execute your resolutions immediately.  Thoughts are but dreams till
their effects be tried.  Does competition trouble you? work away; what
is your competitor but a man?  _Conquer your place in the world_, for
all things serve a brave soul.  Combat difficulty manfully; sustain
misfortune bravely; endure poverty nobly; encounter disappointment
courageously.  The influence of the brave man is a magnetism which
creates an epidemic of noble zeal in all about him.  Every day sends to
the grave obscure men, who have only remained in obscurity because
their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort; and who,
if they could have been induced to begin, would, in all probability,
have gone great lengths in the career of usefulness and fame.  "No
great deed is done," says George Eliot, "by falterers who ask for
certainty."  The brave, cheerful man will survive his blighted hopes
and disappointments, take them for just what they are, lessons and
perhaps blessings in disguise, and will march boldly and cheerfully
forward in the battle of life.  Or, if necessary, he will bear his ills
with a patience and calm endurance deeper than ever plummet sounded.
He is the true hero.

  Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
  Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 't is prosperous to be just;
  Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
  Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified.

            Our doubts are traitors,
  And make us lose the good we oft might win,
  By fearing to attempt.

After the great inward struggle was over, and he had determined to
remain loyal to his principles, Thomas More walked cheerfully to the
block.  His wife called him a fool for staying in a dark, damp, filthy
prison when he might have his liberty by merely renouncing his
doctrines, as some of the bishops had done.  But he preferred death to
dishonor.  His daughter allowed the power of love to drive away fear.
She remained true to her father when all others, even her mother, had
forsaken him.  After his head had been cut off and exhibited on a pole
on London Bridge, the poor girl begged it of the authorities, and
requested that it be buried in the coffin with her.  Her request was
granted, for her death occurred soon.

When Sir Walter Raleigh came to the scaffold he was very faint, and
began his speech to the crowd by saying that during the last two days
he had been visited by two ague fits.  "If, therefore, you perceive any
weakness in me, I beseech you ascribe it to my sickness rather than to
myself."  He took the axe and kissed the blade, and said to the
sheriff: "'T is a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all diseases."

Don't waste time dreaming of obstacles you may never encounter, or in
crossing bridges you have not reached.  Don't fool with a nettle!
Grasp with firmness if you would rob it of its sting.  To half will and
to hang forever in the balance is to lose your grip on life.

Abraham Lincoln's boyhood was one long struggle with poverty, with
little education, and no influential friends.  When at last he had
begun the practice of law, it required no little daring to cast his
fortune with the weaker side in politics, and thus imperil what small
reputation he had gained.  Only the most sublime moral courage could
have sustained him as President to hold his ground against hostile
criticism and a long train of disaster; to issue the Emancipation
Proclamation; to support Grant and Stanton against the clamor of the
politicians and the press; and through it all to do the right as God
gave him to see the right.

Lincoln never shrank from espousing an unpopular cause when he believed
it to be right.  At the time when it almost cost a young lawyer his
bread and butter to defend the fugitive slave, and when other lawyers
had refused, Lincoln would always plead the cause of the unfortunate
whenever an opportunity presented.  "Go to Lincoln," people would say,
when these hounded fugitives were seeking protection; "he's not afraid
of any cause, if it's right."

As Salmon P. Chase left the court room after making an impassioned plea
for the runaway slave girl Matilda, a man looked at him in surprise and
said: "There goes a fine young fellow who has just ruined himself."
But in thus ruining himself Chase had taken the first important step in
a career in which he became Governor of Ohio, United States Senator
from Ohio, Secretary of the United States Treasury, and Chief Justice
of the United States Supreme Court.

At the trial of William Penn for having spoken at a Quaker meeting, the
recorder, not satisfied with the first verdict, said to the jury: "We
will have a verdict by the help of God, or you shall starve for it."
"You are Englishmen," said Penn; "mind your privileges, give not away
your right."  At last the jury, after two days and two nights without
food, returned a verdict of "Not guilty."  The recorder fined them
forty marks apiece for their independence.

What cared Christ for the jeers of the crowd?  The palsied hand moved,
the blind saw, the leper was made whole, the dead spake, despite the
ridicule and scoffs of the spectators.

What cared Wendell Phillips for rotten eggs, derisive scorn, and
hisses?  In him "at last the scornful world had met its match."  Were
Beecher and Gough to be silenced by the rude English mobs that came to
extinguish them?  No! they held their ground and compelled unwilling
thousands to hear and to heed.  Did Anna Dickinson leave the platform
when the pistol bullets of the Molly Maguires flew about her head?  She
silenced those pistols by her courage and her arguments.

"What the world wants is a Knox, who dares to preach on with a musket
leveled at his head, a Garrison, who is not afraid of a jail, or a mob,
or a scaffold erected in front of his door.

  "Storms may howl around thee,
    Foes may hunt and hound thee:
  Shall they overpower thee?
    Never, never, never."

When General Butler was sent with nine thousand men to quell the New
York riots, he arrived in advance of his troops, and found the streets
thronged with an angry mob, which had already hanged more than one man
to lamp-posts.  Without waiting for his men, Butler went to the place
where the crowd was most dense, overturned an ash barrel, stood upon
it, and began: "Delegates from Five Points, fiends from hell, you have
murdered your superiors," and the blood-stained crowd quailed before
the courageous words of a single man in a city which Mayor Fernando
Wood could not restrain with the aid of police and militia.

"Our enemies are before us," exclaimed the Spartans at Thermopylae.
"And we are before them," was the cool reply of Leonidas.  "Deliver
your arms," came the message from Xerxes.  "Come and take them," was
the answer Leonidas sent back.  A Persian soldier said: "You will not
be able to see the sun for flying javelins and arrows."  "Then we will
fight in the shade," replied a Lacedemonian.  What wonder that a
handful of such men checked the march of the greatest host that ever
trod the earth.

"It is impossible," said a staff officer, when Napoleon gave directions
for a daring plan.  "Impossible!" thundered the great commander,
"_impossible_ is the adjective of fools!"  Napoleon went to the edge of
his possibility.

Grant never knew when he was beaten.  When told that he was surrounded
by the enemy at Belmont, he quietly replied: "Well, then we must cut
our way out."

The courageous man is an example to the intrepid.  His influence is
magnetic.  He creates an epidemic of nobleness.  Men follow him, even
to the death.

The spirit of courage will transform the whole temper of your life.
"The wise and active conquer difficulties by daring to attempt them.
Sloth and folly shiver and sicken at the sight of trial and hazard, and
make the impossibility they fear."

"The hero," says Emerson, "is the man who is immovably centred."

Emin Pasha, the explorer of Africa, was left behind by his exploring
party under circumstances that were thought certainly fatal, and his
death was reported with great assurance.  Early the next winter, as his
troop was on its toilsome but exciting way through Central Africa, it
came upon a most wretched sight.  A party of natives had been kidnapped
by the slave-hunters, and dragged in chains thus far toward the land of
bondage.  But small-pox had set in, and the miserable company had been
abandoned to their fate.  Emin sent his men ahead, and stayed behind in
this camp of death to act as physician and nurse.  How many lives he
saved is not known, though it is known that he nearly lost his own.
The age of chivalry is not gone by.  This is as knightly a deed as poet
ever chronicled.

A mouse that dwelt near the abode of a great magician was kept in such
constant distress by its fear of a cat, that the magician, taking pity
on it, turned it into a cat itself.  Immediately it began to suffer
from its fear of a dog, so the magician turned it into a dog.  Then it
began to suffer from fear of a tiger.  The magician therefore turned it
into a tiger.  Then it began to suffer from fear of hunters, and the
magician said in disgust: "Be a mouse again.  As you have only the
heart of a mouse, it is impossible to help you by giving you the body
of a nobler animal."

Men who have dared have moved the world, often before reaching the
prime of life.  It is astonishing what daring to begin and perseverance
have enabled even youths to achieve.  Alexander, who ascended the
throne at twenty, had conquered the known world before dying at
thirty-three.  Julius Caesar captured eight hundred cities, conquered
three hundred nations, and defeated three million men, became a great
orator and one of the greatest statesmen known, and still was a young
man.  Washington was appointed adjutant-general at nineteen, was sent
at twenty-one as an ambassador to treat with the French, and won his
first battle as a colonel at twenty-two.  Lafayette was made general of
the whole French army at twenty.  Charlemagne was master of France and
Germany at thirty.  Condé was only twenty-two when he conquered at
Rocroi.  Galileo was but eighteen when he saw the principle of the
pendulum in the swinging lamp in the cathedral at Pisa.  Peel was in
Parliament at twenty-one.  Gladstone was in Parliament before he was
twenty-two, and at twenty-four he was Lord of the Treasury.  Elizabeth
Barrett Browning was proficient in Greek and Latin at twelve; De
Quincey at eleven.  Robert Browning wrote at eleven poetry of no mean
order.  Cowley, who sleeps in Westminster Abbey, published a volume of
poems at fifteen.  N. P. Willis won lasting fame as a poet before
leaving college.  Macaulay was a celebrated author before he was
twenty-three.  Luther was but twenty-nine when he nailed his famous
thesis to the door of the bishop and defied the pope.  Nelson was a
lieutenant in the British Navy before he was twenty.  He was but
forty-seven when he received his death wound at Trafalgar.  Charles the
Twelfth was only nineteen when he gained the battle of Narva; at
thirty-six, Cortez was the conqueror of Mexico; at thirty-two, Clive
had established the British power in India.  Hannibal, the greatest of
military commanders, was only thirty when, at Cannae, he dealt an
almost annihilating blow at the republic of Rome; and Napoleon was only
twenty-seven when, on the plains of Italy, he outgeneraled and
defeated, one after another, the veteran marshals of Austria.

Equal courage and resolution are often shown by men who have passed the
allotted limit of life.  Victor Hugo and Wellington were both in their
prime after they had reached the age of threescore years and ten.
George Bancroft wrote some of his best historical work when he was
eighty-five.  Gladstone ruled England with a strong hand at
eighty-four, and was a marvel of literary and scholarly ability.

"Not every vessel that sails from Tarshish will bring back the gold of
Ophir.  But shall it therefore rot in the harbor?  No!  Give its sails
to the wind!"

Shakespeare says: "He is not worthy of the honeycomb that shuns the
hive because the bees have stings."

  "The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
    For that were stupid and irrational;
  But he whose noble soul its fear subdues
    And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from."

The inscription on the gates of Busyrane: "Be bold."  On the second
gate: "Be bold, be bold, and ever more be bold;" the third gate: "Be
not too bold."

Many a bright youth has accomplished nothing of worth simply because he
did not dare to commence.

Begin!  Begin!!  Begin!!!

Whatever people may think of you, do that which you believe to be
right.  Be alike indifferent to censure or praise.--PYTHAGORAS.

Fear makes man a slave to others.  This is the tyrant's chain.  Anxiety
is a form of cowardice embittering life.--CHANNING.

Courage is generosity of the highest order, for the brave are prodigal
of the most precious things.  Our blood is nearer and dearer to us than
our money, and our life than our estate.  Women are more taken with
courage than with generosity.--COLTON.

  Who chooses me must give and hazard all he hath.
      _Merchant of Venice_, Inscription on Leaden Casket.

  I dare to do all that may become a man:
  Who dares do more is none.

For man's great actions are performed in minor struggles.  There are
obstinate and unknown braves who defend themselves inch by inch in the
shadows against the fatal invasion of want and turpitude.  There are
noble and mysterious triumphs which no eye sees, no renown rewards, and
no flourish of trumpets salutes.  Life, misfortune, isolation,
abandonment, and poverty are battlefields which have their
heroes.--VICTOR HUGO.

  Who waits until the wind shall silent keep,
    Who never finds the ready hour to sow,
  Who watcheth clouds, will have no time to reap.

Quit yourselves like men.--1 SAMUEL iv. 9.



"The 'way' will be found by a resolute will."

"I will find a way or make one."

Nothing is impossible to the man who can will.--MIRABEAU.

A politician weakly and amiably in the right is no match for a
politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong.--E. P. WHIPPLE.

  The iron will of one stout heart shall make a thousand quail;
  A feeble dwarf, dauntlessly resolved, will turn the tide of battle,
  And rally to a nobler strife the giants that had fled.

"Man alone can perform the impossible.  They can who think they can.
Character is a perfectly educated will."

The education of the will is the object of our existence.  For the
resolute and determined there is time and opportunity.--EMERSON.

Invincible determination, and a right nature, are the levers that move

In the lexicon of youth which fate reserves for a bright manhood there
is no such word as fail.--BULWER.

Perpetual pushing and assurance put a difficulty out of countenance and
make a seeming difficulty give way.--JEREMY COLLIER.

When a firm and decisive spirit is recognized, it is curious to see how
the space clears around a man and leaves him room and freedom.--JOHN

  The star of the unconquered will,
  He rises in my breast,
  Serene, and resolute and still,
  And calm and self-possessed.

"As well can the Prince of Orange pluck the stars from the sky, as
bring the ocean to the wall of Leyden for your relief," was the
derisive shout of the Spanish soldiers when told that the Dutch fleet
would raise that terrible four months' siege of 1574.  But from the
parched lips of William, tossing on his bed of fever at Rotterdam, had
issued the command: "_Break down the dikes: give Holland back to
ocean:_" and the people had replied: "Better a drowned land than a lost
land."  They began to demolish dike after dike of the strong lines,
ranged one within another for fifteen miles to their city of the
interior.  It was an enormous task; the garrison was starving; and the
besiegers laughed in scorn at the slow progress of the puny insects who
sought to rule the waves of the sea.  But ever, as of old, heaven aids
those who help themselves.  On the first and second of October a
violent equinoctial gale rolled the ocean inland, and swept the fleet
on the rising waters almost to the camp of the Spaniards.  The next
morning the garrison sallied out to attack their enemies, but the
besiegers had fled in terror under cover of the darkness.  The next day
the wind changed, and a counter tempest brushed the water, with the
fleet upon it, from the surface of Holland.  The outer dikes were
replaced at once, leaving the North Sea within its old bounds.  When
the flowers bloomed the following spring, a joyous procession marched
through the streets to found the University of Leyden, in commemoration
of the wonderful deliverance of the city.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: WALTER SCOTT]

"The Wizard of the North."

  "So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
    So near is God to man,
  When Duty whispers low, 'Thou must,'
    The youth replies, 'I can.'"

      *      *      *      *      *      *

At a dinner party given in 1837, at the residence of Chancellor Kent,
in New York city, some of the most distinguished men in the country
were invited, and among them was a young and rather melancholy and
reticent Frenchman.  Professor Morse was one of the guests, and during
the evening he drew the attention of Mr. Gallatin, then a prominent
statesman, to the stranger, observing that his forehead indicated great
intellect.  "Yes," replied Mr. Gallatin, touching his own forehead with
his finger, "there is a great deal in that head of his: but he has a
strange fancy.  Can you believe it?  He has the idea that he will one
day be the Emperor of France.  Can you conceive anything more absurd?"

It did seem absurd, for this reserved Frenchman was then a poor
adventurer, an exile from his country, without fortune or powerful
connections, and yet, fourteen years later, his idea became a
fact,--his dream of becoming Napoleon III. was realized.  True, before
he accomplished his purpose there were long dreary years of
imprisonment, exile, disaster, and patient labor and hope, but he
gained his ambition at last.  He was not scrupulous as to the means
employed to accomplish his ends, yet he is a remarkable example of what
pluck and energy can do.

When it was proposed to unite England and America by steam, Dr. Lardner
delivered a lecture before the Royal Society "proving" that steamers
could never cross the Atlantic, because they could not carry coal
enough to produce steam during the whole voyage.  The passage of the
steamship Sirius, which crossed in nineteen days, was fatal to
Lardner's theory.  When it was proposed to build a vessel of iron, many
persons said: "Iron sinks--only wood can float:" but experiments proved
that the miracle of the prophet in making iron "swim" could be
repeated, and now not only ships of war, but merchant vessels, are
built of iron or steel.  A will found a way to make iron float.

Mr. Ingram, publisher of the "London Illustrated News," who lost his
life on Lake Michigan, walked ten miles to deliver a single paper
rather than disappoint a customer, when he began life as a newsdealer
at Nottingham, England.  Does any one wonder that such a youth
succeeded?  Once he rose at two o'clock in the morning and walked to
London to get some papers because there was no post to bring them.  He
determined that his customers should not be disappointed.  This is the
kind of will that finds a way.

There is scarcely anything in all biography grander than the saying of
young Henry Fawcett, Gladstone's last Postmaster-General, to his
grief-stricken father, who had put out both his eyes by bird-shot
during a game hunt: "Never mind, father, blindness shall not interfere
with my success in life."  One of the most pathetic sights in London
streets, long afterward, was Henry Fawcett, M. P., led everywhere by a
faithful daughter, who acted as amanuensis as well as guide to her
plucky father.  Think of a young man, scarcely on the threshold of
active life, suddenly losing the sight of both eyes and yet, by mere
pluck and almost incomprehensible tenacity of purpose, lifting himself
into eminence, in any direction, to say nothing of becoming one of the
foremost men in a country noted for its great men.  Most youth would
have succumbed to such a misfortune, and would never have been heard
from again.  But fortunately for the world, there are yet left many
Fawcetts, many Prescotts, Parkmans, Cavanaghs.

The courageous daughter who was eyes to her father was herself a
marvelous example of pluck and determination.  For the first time in
the history of Oxford College, which reaches back centuries, she
succeeded in winning the post which had only been gained before by
great men, such as Gladstone,--the post of senior wrangler.  This
achievement had had no parallel in history up to that date, and
attracted the attention of the whole civilized world.  Not only had no
woman ever held this position before, but with few exceptions it had
only been held by men who in after life became highly distinguished.
Who can deny that where there is a will, as a rule, there's a way?

When Grant was a boy he could not find "can't" in the dictionary.  It
is the men who have no "can't" in their dictionaries that make things

"Circumstances," says Milton, "have rarely favored famous men.  They
have fought their way to triumph through all sorts of opposing

The true way to conquer circumstances is to be a greater circumstance

Yet, while desiring to impress in the most forcible manner possible the
fact that will-power is necessary to success, and that, other things
being equal, the greater the will-power, the grander and more complete
the success, we cannot indorse the preposterous theory that there is
nothing in circumstances or environments, or that any man, simply
because he has an indomitable will, may become a Bonaparte, a Pitt, a
Webster, a Beecher, a Lincoln.  We must temper determination with
discretion, and support it with knowledge and common sense, or it will
only lead us to run our heads against posts.  We must not expect to
overcome a stubborn fact by a stubborn will.  We merely have the right
to assume that we can do anything within the limit of our utmost
faculty, strength, and endurance.  Obstacles permanently insurmountable
bar our progress in some directions, but in any direction we may
reasonably hope and attempt to go, we shall find that the obstacles, as
a rule, are either not insurmountable or else not permanent.  The
strong-willed, intelligent, persistent man will find or make a way
where, in the nature of things, a way can be found or made.

Every schoolboy knows that circumstances do give clients to lawyers and
patients to physicians; place ordinary clergymen in extraordinary
pulpits; place sons of the rich at the head of immense corporations and
large houses, when they have very ordinary ability and scarcely any
experience, while poor young men with extraordinary abilities, good
education, good character, and large experience, often have to fight
their way for years to obtain even very ordinary situations.  Every one
knows that there are thousands of young men, both in the city and in
the country, of superior ability, who seem to be compelled by
circumstances to remain in very ordinary positions for small pay, when
others about them are raised by money or family influence into
desirable places.  In other words, we all know that the best men do not
always get the best places: circumstances do have a great deal to do
with our position, our salaries, and our station in life.

Many young men who are nature's noblemen, who are natural leaders, are
working under superintendents, foremen, and managers infinitely their
inferiors, but whom circumstances have placed above them and will keep
there, unless some emergency makes merit indispensable.  No, the race
is not always to the swift.

Every one knows that there is not always a way where there is a will,
that labor does not always conquer all things; that there are things
impossible even to him that wills, however strongly; that one cannot
always make anything of himself he chooses; that there are limitations
in our very natures which no amount of will-power or industry can
overcome; that no amount of sun-staring can ever make an eagle out of a

The simple truth is that a will strong enough to keep a man continually
striving for things not wholly beyond his powers will carry him in time
very far toward his chosen goal.

The greatest thing a man can do in this world is to make the most
possible out of the stuff that has been given to him.  This is success,
and there is no other.

While it is true that our circumstances or environments do affect us,
in most things they do not prevent our growth.  The corn that is now
ripe, whence comes it, and what is it?  Is it not large or small,
stunted wild maize or well-developed ears, according to the conditions
under which it has grown?  Yet its environments cannot make wheat of
it.  Nor can our circumstances alter our nature.  It is part of our
nature, and wholly within our power, greatly to change and to take
advantage of our circumstances, so that, unlike the corn, we can rise
much superior to our natural surroundings simply because we can thus
vary and improve the surroundings.  In other words, man can usually
build the very road on which he is to run his race.

It is not a question of what some one else can do or become, which
every youth should ask himself, but what can I do?  How can I develop
myself into the grandest possible manhood?

So far, then, from the power of circumstances being a hindrance to men
in trying to build for themselves an imperial highway to fortune, these
circumstances constitute the very quarry out of which they are to get
paving-stones for the road.

While it is true that the will-power cannot perform miracles, yet that
it is almost omnipotent, that it can perform wonders, all history goes
to prove.  As Shakespeare says:--

  "Men at some time are masters of their fates:
  The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
  But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

"There is nobody," says a Roman Cardinal, "whom Fortune does not visit
once in his life: but when she finds he is not ready to receive her,
she goes in at the door, and out through the window."  Opportunity is
coy.  The careless, the slow, the unobservant, the lazy fail to see it,
or clutch at it when it has gone.  The sharp fellows detect it
instantly, and catch it when on the wing.

Show me a man who is, according to popular prejudice, a victim of bad
luck, and I will show you one who has some unfortunate crooked twist of
temperament that invites disaster.  He is ill-tempered, or conceited,
or trifling; lacks character, enthusiasm, or some other requisite for

Disraeli says that man is not the creature of circumstances, but that
circumstances are the creatures of men.

What has chance ever done in the world?  Has it built any cities?  Has
it invented any telephones, any telegraphs?  Has it built any
steamships, established any universities, any asylums, any hospitals?
Was there any chance in Caesar's crossing the Rubicon?  What had chance
to do with Napoleon's career, with Wellington's, or Grant's, or Von
Moltke's?  Every battle was won before it was begun.  What had luck to
do with Thermopylae, Trafalgar, Gettysburg?  Our successes we ascribe
to ourselves; our failures to destiny.

Man is not a helpless atom in this vast creation, with a fixed
position, and naught to do but obey his own polarity.

Believe in the power of will, which annihilates the sickly, sentimental
doctrine of fatalism,--you must but can't, you ought but it is

Give me the man

  "Who breaks his birth's invidious bar,
  And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
  And breasts the blows of circumstance,
  And grapples with his evil star."

It is only the ignorant and superficial who believe in fate.  "The
first step into thought lifts this mountain of necessity."  "Fate is
unpenetrated causes."  "They may well fear fate who have any infirmity
of habit or aim: but he who rests on what he is has a destiny beyond
destiny, and can make mouths at fortune."

The indomitable will, the inflexible purpose, will find a way or make
one.  There is always room for a man of force.

"He who has a firm will," says Goethe, "moulds the world to himself."
"People do not lack strength," says Victor Hugo, "they lack will."

"He who resolves upon any great end, by that very resolution has scaled
the great barriers to it, and he who seizes the grand idea of
self-cultivation, and solemnly resolves upon it, will find that idea,
that resolution, burning like fire within him, and ever putting him
upon his own improvement.  He will find it removing difficulties,
searching out, or making means; giving courage for despondency, and
strength for weakness."

Nearly all great men, those who have towered high above their fellows,
have been remarkable above all things else for their energy of will.
Of Julius Caesar it was said by a contemporary that it was his activity
and giant determination, rather than his military skill, that won his
victories.  The youth who starts out in life determined to make the
most of his eyes and let nothing escape him which he can possibly use
for his own advancement; who keeps his ears open for every sound that
can help him on his way, who keeps his hands open that he may clutch
every opportunity, who is ever on the alert for everything which can
help him to get on in the world, who seizes every experience in life
and grinds it up into paint for his great life's picture, who keeps his
heart open that he may catch every noble impulse, and everything which
may inspire him,--that youth will be sure to make his life successful;
there are no "ifs" or "ands" about it.  If he has his health, nothing
can keep him from final success.

No tyranny of circumstances can permanently imprison a determined will.

The world always stands aside for the determined man.  Will makes a
way, even through seeming impossibilities.  "It is the half a neck
nearer that shows the blood and wins the race; the one march more that
wins the campaign: the five minutes more of unyielding courage that
wins the fight."  Again and again had the irrepressible Carter Harrison
been consigned to oblivion by the educated and moral element of
Chicago.  Nothing could keep him down.  He was invincible.  A son of
Chicago, he had partaken of that nineteenth century miracle, that
phoenix-like nature of the city which, though she was burned, caused
her to rise from her ashes and become a greater and a grander Chicago,
a wonder of the world.  Carter Harrison would not down.  He entered the
Democratic Convention and, with an audacity rarely equaled, in spite of
their protest, boldly declared himself their candidate.  Every
newspaper in Chicago, save the "Times," his own paper, bitterly opposed
his election: but notwithstanding all opposition, he was elected by
twenty thousand majority.  The aristocrats hated him, the moral element
feared him, but the poor people believed in him: he pandered to them,
flattered them, till they elected him.  While we would not by any means
hold Carter Harrison up to youth as a model, yet there is a great
lesson in his will-power and wonderful tenacity of purpose.

"The general of a large army may be defeated," said Confucius, "but you
cannot defeat the determined mind of a peasant."

The poor, deaf pauper, Kitto, who made shoes in the almshouse, and who
became the greatest of Biblical scholars, wrote in his journal, on the
threshold of manhood: "I am not myself a believer in impossibilities: I
think that all the fine stories about natural ability, etc., are mere
rigmarole, and that every man may, according to his opportunities and
industry, render himself almost anything he wishes to become."

Years ago, a young mechanic took a bath in the river Clyde.  While
swimming from shore to shore he discerned a beautiful bank,
uncultivated, and he then and there resolved to be the owner of it, and
to adorn it, and to build upon it the finest mansion in all the
borough, and name it in honor of the maiden to whom he was espoused.
"Last summer," says a well-known American, "I had the pleasure of
dining in that princely mansion, and receiving this fact from the lips
of the great shipbuilder of the Clyde."  That one purpose was made the
ruling passion of his life, and all the energies of his soul were put
in requisition for its accomplishment.

Lincoln is probably the most remarkable example on the pages of
history, showing the possibilities of our country.  From the poverty in
which he was born, through the rowdyism of a frontier town, the
rudeness of frontier society, the discouragement of early bankruptcy,
and the fluctuations of popular politics, he rose to the championship
of union and freedom.

Lincoln's will made his way.  When his friends nominated him as a
candidate for the legislature, his enemies made fun of him.  When
making his campaign speeches he wore a mixed jean coat so short that he
could not sit down on it, flax and tow-linen trousers, straw hat, and
pot-metal boots.  He had nothing in the world but character and friends.

When his friends suggested law to him, he laughed at the idea of his
being a lawyer.  He said he hadn't brains enough.  He read law barefoot
under the trees, his neighbors said, and he sometimes slept on the
counter in the store where he worked.  He had to borrow money to buy a
suit of clothes to make a respectable appearance in the legislature,
and walked to take his seat at Vandalia,--one hundred miles.  While he
was in the legislature, John F. Stuart, an eminent lawyer of
Springfield, told him how Clay had even inferior chances to his, had
got all of the education he had in a log schoolhouse without windows or
doors; and finally induced Lincoln to study law.

See Thurlow Weed, defying poverty and wading through the snow two
miles, with rags for shoes, to borrow a book to read before the
sap-bush fire.  See Locke, living on bread and water in a Dutch garret.
See Heyne, sleeping many a night on a barn floor with only a book for
his pillow.  See Samuel Drew, tightening his apron strings "in lieu of
a dinner."  See young Lord Eldon, before daylight copying Coke on
Littleton over and over again.  History is full of such examples.  He
who will pay the price for victory needs never fear final defeat.  Why
were the Roman legionaries victorious?

  "For Romans, in Rome's quarrels,
  Spared neither land nor gold,
  Nor son, nor wife, nor limb nor life,
  In the brave days of old."

Fowell Buxton, writing to one of his sons, says: "I am sure that a
young man may be very much what he pleases."

Dr. Mathews has well said that "there is hardly a word in the whole
human vocabulary which is more cruelly abused than the word 'luck.'  To
all the faults and failures of men, their positive sins and their less
culpable shortcomings, it is made to stand a godfather and sponsor.  Go
talk with the bankrupt man of business, who has swamped his fortune by
wild speculation, extravagance of living, or lack of energy, and you
will find that he vindicates his wonderful self-love by confounding the
steps which he took indiscreetly with those to which he was forced by
'circumstances,' and complacently regarding himself as the victim of
ill-luck.  Go visit the incarcerated criminal, who has imbued his hands
in the blood of his fellow-man, or who is guilty of less heinous
crimes, and you will find that, joining the temptations which were easy
to avoid with those which were comparatively irresistible, he has
hurriedly patched up a treaty with conscience, and stifles its
compunctious visitings by persuading himself that, from first to last,
he was the victim of circumstances.  Go talk with the mediocre in
talents and attainments, the weak-spirited man who, from lack of energy
and application, has made but little headway in the world, being
outstripped in the race of life by those whom he had despised as his
inferiors, and you will find that he, too, acknowledges the all-potent
power of luck, and soothes his humbled pride by deeming himself the
victim of ill-fortune.  In short, from the most venial offense to the
most flagrant, there is hardly any wrong act or neglect to which this
too fatally convenient word is not applied as a palliation."

Paris was in the hands of a mob, the authorities were panic-stricken,
for they did not dare to trust their underlings.  In came a man who
said, "I know a young officer who has the courage and ability to quell
this mob."  "Send for him; send for him; send for him," said they.
Napoleon was sent for, came, subjugated the mob, subjugated the
authorities, ruled France, then conquered Europe.

What a lesson is Napoleon's life for the sickly, wishy-washy, dwarfed,
sentimental "dudes," hanging about our cities, country, and
universities, complaining of their hard lot, dreaming of success, and
wondering why they are left in the rear in the great race of life.

Success in life is dependent largely upon the willpower, and whatever
weakens or impairs it diminishes success.  The will can be educated.
That which most easily becomes a habit in us is the will.  Learn, then,
to will decisively and strongly; thus fix your floating life, and leave
it no longer to be carried hither and thither, like a withered leaf, by
every wind that blows.  "It is not talent that men lack, it is the will
to labor; it is the purpose, not the power to produce."

It was this insatiable thirst for knowledge which held to his task,
through poverty and discouragement, John Leyden, a Scotch shepherd's
son.  Barefoot and alone, he walked six or eight miles daily to learn
to read, which was all the schooling he had.  His desire for an
education defied the extremest poverty, and no obstacle could turn him
from his purpose.  He was rich when he discovered a little bookstore,
and his thirsty soul would drink in the precious treasures from its
priceless volumes for hours, perfectly oblivious of the scanty meal of
bread and water which awaited him at his lowly lodging.  Nothing could
discourage him from trying to improve himself by study.  It seemed to
him that an opportunity to get at books and lectures was all that any
man could need.  Before he was nineteen, this poor shepherd boy with no
chance had astonished the professors of Edinburgh by his knowledge of
Greek and Latin.

Hearing that a surgeon's assistant in the Civil Service was wanted,
although he knew nothing whatever of medicine, he determined to apply
for it.  There were only six months before the place was to be filled,
but nothing could daunt him, and in six months' time he actually took
his degree with honor.  Walter Scott, who thought this one of the most
remarkable illustrations of perseverance, helped to fit him out, and he
sailed for India.

Webster was very poor even after he entered Dartmouth College.  A
friend sent him a recipe for greasing his boots.  Webster wrote and
thanked him, and added: "But my boots need other doctoring, for they
not only admit water, but even peas and gravel-stones."  Yet he became
one of the greatest men in the world.  Sydney Smith said: "Webster was
a living lie, because no man on earth could be as great as he looked."
Carlyle said of him: "One would incline at sight to back him against
the world."

What seemed to be luck followed Stephen Girard all his life.  No matter
what he did, it always seemed to others to turn to his account.  His
coming to Philadelphia seemed a lucky accident.  A sloop was seen one
morning off the mouth of Delaware Bay floating the flag of France and a
signal of distress.  Young Girard was captain of this sloop, and was on
his way to a Canadian port with freight from New Orleans.  An American
skipper, seeing his distress, went to his aid, but told him the
American war had broken out, and that the British cruisers were all
along the American coast, and would seize his vessel.  He told him his
only chance was to make a push for Philadelphia.  Girard did not know
the way, and had no money.  The skipper loaned him five dollars to get
the service of a pilot who demanded his money in advance.

His sloop passed into the Delaware just in time to avoid capture by a
British war vessel.  He sold the sloop and cargo in Philadelphia, and
began business on the capital.  Being a foreigner, unable to speak
English, short, stout, and with a repulsive face, blind in one eye, it
was hard for him to get a start.  But he was not the man to give up.
He had begun as a cabin boy at thirteen, and for nine years sailed
between Bordeaux and the French West Indies.  He improved every leisure
minute at sea, mastering the art of navigation.

At the age of eight he first discovered that he was blind in one eye.
His father, evidently thinking that he would never amount to anything,
would not help him to an education beyond that of mere reading and
writing, but sent his younger brothers to college.  The discovery of
his blindness, the neglect of his father, and the chagrin of his
brothers' advancement, soured his whole life.

When he began business for himself in Philadelphia, there seemed to be
nothing he would not do for money.  He bought and sold anything, from
groceries to old junk.  He bottled wine and cider, from which he made a
good profit.  Everything he touched prospered.  In 1780, he resumed the
New Orleans and St. Domingo trade, in which he had been engaged at the
breaking out of the Revolution.  Here great success again attended him.
He had two vessels lying in one of the St. Domingo ports when the great
insurrection on that island broke out.  A number of the rich planters
fled to his vessels with their valuables, which they left for safe
keeping while they went back to their estates to secure more.  They
probably fell victims to the cruel negroes, for they never returned,
and Girard was the lucky possessor of $50,000 which the goods brought
in Philadephia.

Everybody, especially his jealous brother merchants, attributed his
great success to his luck.  While undoubtedly he was fortunate in
happening to be at the right place at the right time, yet he was
precision, method, accuracy, energy itself.  He left nothing to chance.
His plans and schemes were worked out with mathematical care.  His
letters, written to his captains in foreign ports, laying out their
routes and giving detailed instruction from which they were never
allowed to deviate under any circumstances, are models of foresight and
systematic planning.  He never left anything of importance to others.
He was rigidly accurate in his instructions, and would not allow the
slightest departure from them.  He used to say that while his captains
might save him money by deviating from instructions once, yet they
would cause loss in ninety-nine other cases.  Once, when a captain
returned and had saved him several thousand dollars by buying his cargo
of cheese in another port than that in which he had been instructed to
buy, Girard was so enraged, although he was several thousand dollars
richer, that he discharged the captain on the spot, notwithstanding the
latter had been faithful in his service for many years, and thought he
was saving his employer a great deal of money by deviating from his

Girard lived in a dingy little house, poorer than that occupied by many
of his employees.  He married a servant girl of great beauty, but she
proved totally unfitted for him, and died at last in the insane asylum.

Girard never lost a ship, and many times what brought financial ruin to
many others, as the War of 1812, only increased his wealth.  What
seemed luck with him was only good judgment and promptness in seizing
opportunities, and the greatest care and zeal in improving them to
their utmost possibilities.

Luck is not God's price for success: that is altogether too cheap, nor
does he dicker with men.

The mathematician tells you that if you throw the dice, there are
thirty chances to one against your turning up a particular number, and
a hundred to one against your repeating the same throw three times in
succession: and so on in an augmenting ratio.  What is luck?  Is it, as
has been suggested, a blind man's buff among the laws? a ruse among the
elements? a trick of Dame Nature?  Has any scholar defined luck? any
philosopher explained its nature? any chemist shown its composition?
Is luck that strange, nondescript fairy, that does all things among men
that they cannot account for?  If so, why does not luck make a fool
speak words of wisdom; an ignoramus utter lectures on philosophy?

Many a young man who has read the story of John Wanamaker's romantic
career has gained very little inspiration or help from it toward his
own elevation and advancement, for he looks upon it as the result of
good luck, chance, or fate.  "What a lucky fellow," he says to himself
as he reads; "what a bonanza he fell into."  But a careful analysis of
Wanamaker's life only enforces the same lesson taught by the analysis
of most great lives, namely, that a good mother, a good constitution,
the habit of hard work, indomitable energy, a determination which knows
no defeat, a decision which never wavers, a concentration which never
scatters its forces, courage which never falters, a self-mastery which
can say No, and stick to it, an "ignominious love of detail," strict
integrity and downright honesty, a cheerful disposition, unbounded
enthusiasm in one's calling, and a high aim and noble purpose insure a
very large measure of success.

Youth should be taught that there is something in circumstances; that
there is such a thing as a poor pedestrian happening to find no
obstruction in his way, and reaching the goal when a better walker
finds the drawbridge up, the street blockaded, and so fails to win the
race; that wealth often does place unworthy sons in high positions,
that family influence does gain a lawyer clients, a physician patients,
an ordinary scholar a good professorship; but that, on the other hand,
position, clients, patients, professorships, manager's and
superintendent's positions do not necessarily constitute success.  He
should be taught that in the long run, as a rule, _the best man does
win the best place_, and that persistent merit does succeed.

There is about as much chance of idleness and incapacity winning real
success, or a high position in life, as there would be in producing a
Paradise Lost by shaking up promiscuously the separate words of
Webster's Dictionary, and letting them fall at random on the floor.
Fortune smiles upon those who roll up their sleeves and put their
shoulders to the wheel; upon men who are not afraid of dreary, dry,
irksome drudgery, men of nerve and grit who do not turn aside for dirt
and detail.

The youth should be taught that "he alone is great, who, by a life
heroic, conquers fate;" that "diligence is the mother of good luck;"
that, nine times out of ten, what we call luck or fate is but a mere
bugbear of the indolent, the languid, the purposeless, the careless,
the indifferent; that the man who fails, as a rule, does not see or
seize his opportunity.  Opportunity is coy, is swift, is gone, before
the slow, the unobservant, the indolent, or the careless can seize

  "In idle wishes fools supinely stay:
  Be there a will and wisdom finds a way."

It has been well said that the very reputation of being strong willed,
plucky, and indefatigable is of priceless value.  It often cows enemies
and dispels at the start opposition to one's undertakings which would
otherwise be formidable.

"If Eric's in robust health, and has slept well, and is at the top of
his condition, and thirty years old at his departure from Greenland,"
says Emerson, "he will steer west and his ships will reach
Newfoundland.  But take Eric out and put in a stronger and bolder man,
and the ships will sail six hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred
miles further, and reach Labrador and New England.  There is no chance
in results."  Obstacles tower before the living man like mountain
chains, stopping his path and hindering his progress.  He surmounts
them by his energy.  He makes a new path over them.  He climbs upon
them to mountain heights.  They cannot stop him.  They do not much
delay him.  He transmutes difficulties into power, and makes temporary
failures into stepping-stones to ultimate success.

How many might have been giants who are only dwarfs.  How many a one
has died "with all his music in him."

It is astonishing what men who have come to their senses late in life
have accomplished by a sudden resolution.

Arkwright was fifty years of age when he began to learn English grammar
and improve his writing and spelling.  Benjamin Franklin was past fifty
before he began the study of science and philosophy.  Milton, in his
blindness, was past the age of fifty when he sat down to complete his
world-known epic, and Scott at fifty-five took up his pen to redeem an
enormous liability.  "Yet I am learning," said Michael Angelo, when
threescore years and ten were past, and he had long attained the
highest triumphs of his art.

Even brains are second in importance to will.  The vacillating man is
always pushed aside in the race of life.  It is only the weak and
vacillating who halt before adverse circumstances and obstacles.  A man
with an iron will, with a determination that nothing shall check his
career, if he has perseverance and grit, is sure to succeed.  We may
not find time for what we would like, but what we long for and strive
for with all our strength, we usually approximate if we do not fully
reach.  Hunger breaks through stone walls; stern necessity will find a
way or make one.

Success is also a great physical as well as mental tonic, and tends to
strengthen the will-power.  Dr. Johnson says: "Resolutions and success
reciprocally produce each other."  Strong-willed men, as a rule, are
successful men, and great success is almost impossible without it.

A man who can resolve vigorously upon a course of action, and turns
neither to the right nor the left, though a paradise tempt him, who
keeps his eyes upon the goal, whatever distracts him, is sure of
success.  We could almost classify successes and failures by their
various degrees of will-power.  Men like Sir James Mackintosh,
Coleridge, La Harpe, and many others who have dazzled the world with
their brilliancy, but who never accomplished a tithe of what they
attempted, who were always raising our expectations that they were
about to perform wonderful deeds, but who accomplished nothing worthy
of their abilities, have been deficient in will-power.  One talent with
a will behind it will accomplish more than ten without it.  The great
linguist of Bologna mastered a hundred languages by taking them singly,
as the lion fought the bulls.

I wish it were possible to show the youth of America the great part
that the will might play in their success in life and in their
happiness also.  The achievements of will-power are simply beyond
computation.  Scarcely anything in reason seems impossible to the man
who can will strong enough and long enough.

How often we see this illustrated in the case of a young woman who
suddenly becomes conscious that she is plain and unattractive; who, by
prodigious exercise of her will and untiring industry, resolves to
redeem herself from obscurity and commonness; and who not only makes up
for her deficiencies, but elevates herself into a prominence and
importance which mere personal attractions could never have given her.
Charlotte Cushman, without a charm of form or face, climbed to the very
top of her profession.  How many young men, stung by consciousness of
physical deformity or mental deficiencies, have, by a strong persistent
exercise of will-power, raised themselves from mediocrity and placed
themselves high above those who scorned them.

History is full of examples of men and women who have redeemed
themselves from disgrace, poverty, and misfortune, by the firm
resolution of an iron will.  The consciousness of being looked upon as
inferior, as incapable of accomplishing what others accomplish; the
sensitiveness at being considered a dunce in school, has stung many a
youth into a determination which has elevated him far above those who
laughed at him, as in the case of Newton, of Adam Clark, of Sheridan,
Wellington, Goldsmith, Dr. Chalmers, Curran, Disraeli, and hundreds of
others.  "Whatever you wish, that you are; for such is the force of the
human will, joined to the Divine, that whatever we wish to be
seriously, and with a true intention, that we become."  While this is
not strictly true, yet there is a deal of truth in it.

It is men like Mirabeau, who "trample upon impossibilities;" like
Napoleon, who do not wait for opportunities, but make them; like Grant,
who has only "unconditional surrender" for the enemy, who change the
very front of the world.  "We have but what we make, and every good is
locked by nature in a granite hand, sheer labor must unclench."

What cares Henry L. Bulwer for the suffocating cough, even though he
can scarcely speak above a whisper?  In the House of Commons he makes
his immortal speech on the Irish Church just the same.

"I can't, it is impossible," said a foiled lieutenant, to Alexander.
"Be gone," shouted the conquering Macedonian, "there is nothing
impossible to him who will try."

Were I called upon to express in a word the secret of so many failures
among those who started out in life with high hopes, I should say
unhesitatingly, they lacked will-power.  They could not half will.
What is a man without a will?  He is like an engine without steam, a
mere sport of chance, to be tossed about hither and thither, always at
the mercy of those who have wills.  I should call the strength of will
the test of a young man's possibilities.  Can he will strong enough,
and hold whatever he undertakes with an iron grip?  It is the iron grip
that takes the strong hold on life.  What chance is there in this
crowding, pushing, selfish, greedy world, where everything is pusher or
pushed, for a young man with no will, no grip on life?  "The truest
wisdom," said Napoleon, "is a resolute determination."  An iron will
without principle might produce a Napoleon; but with character it would
make a Wellington or a Grant, untarnished by ambition or avarice.

        "The undivided will
  'T is that compels the elements and wrings
  A human music from the indifferent air."



Victories that are easy are cheap.  Those only are worth having which
come as the result of hard fighting.--BEECHER.

Man owes his growth chiefly to that active striving of the will, that
encounter with difficulty, which we call effort; and it is astonishing
to find how often results that seemed impracticable are thus made
possible.--EPES SARGENT.

I know no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as
that tenacity of purpose which, through all change of companions, or
parties, or fortunes, changes never, bates no jot of heart or hope, but
wearies out opposition and arrives at its port.--EMERSON.

  Yes, to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
  The last result of wisdom stamps it true;
  He only earns his freedom and existence
  Who daily conquers them anew.

Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise

"I have here three teams that I want to get over to Staten Island,"
said a boy of twelve one day in 1806 to the innkeeper at South Amboy,
N. J.  "If you will put us across, I'll leave with you one of my horses
in pawn, and if I don't send you back six dollars within forty-eight
hours you may keep the horse."

The innkeeper asked the reason for this novel proposition, and learned
that the lad's father had contracted to get the cargo of a vessel
stranded near Sandy Hook, and take it to New York in lighters.  The boy
had been sent with three wagons, six horses, and three men, to carry
the cargo across a sand-spit to the lighters.  The work accomplished,
he had started with only six dollars to travel a long distance home
over the Jersey sands, and reached South Amboy penniless.  "I'll do
it," said the innkeeper, as he looked into the bright honest eyes of
the boy.  The horse was soon redeemed.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


How can you keep a determined man from success: Place stumbling-blocks
in his way, and he uses them for stepping-stones.  Imprison him, and he
produces the "Pilgrim's Progress."  Deprive him of eyesight, and he
writes the "Conquest of Mexico."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

"My son," said this same boy's mother, on the first of May, 1810, when
he asked her to lend him one hundred dollars to buy a boat, having
imbibed a strong liking for the sea; "on the twenty-seventh of this
month you will be sixteen years old.  If, by that time, you will plow,
harrow, and plant with corn the eight-acre lot, I will advance you the
money."  The field was rough and stony, but the work was done in time,
and well done.  From this small beginning Cornelius Vanderbilt laid the
foundation of a colossal fortune.  He would often work all night; and,
as he was never absent from his post by day, he soon had the best
business in New York harbor.

In 1813, when it was expected that New York would be attacked by
British ships, all the boatmen except Cornelius put in bids to convey
provisions to the military posts around New York, naming extremely low
rates, as the contractor would be exempted from military duty.  "Why
don't you send in a bid?" asked his father.  "Of what use?" replied
young Vanderbilt; "they are offering to do the work at half price.  It
can't be done at such rates."  "Well," said his father, "it can do no
harm to try for it."  So, to please his father, but with no hope of
success, Cornelius made an offer fair to both sides, but did not go to
hear the award.  When his companions had all returned with long faces,
he went to the commissary's office and asked if the contract had been
given.  "Oh, yes," was the reply; "that business is settled.  Cornelius
Vanderbilt is the man.  What?" he asked, seeing that the youth was
apparently thunderstruck, "is it you?"  "My name is Cornelius
Vanderbilt," said the boatman.  "Well," said the commissary, "don't you
know why we have given the contract to you?"  "No."  "Why, it is
because we want this business _done_, and we know you'll do it."
Character gives confidence.

In 1818 he owned two or three of the finest coasting schooners in New
York harbor, and had a capital of nine thousand dollars.  Seeing that
steam-vessels would soon win supremacy over those carrying sails only,
he gave up his fine business to become the captain of a steamboat at
one thousand dollars a year.  For twelve years he ran between New York
city and New Brunswick, N. J.  In 1829 he began business as a steamboat
owner, in the face of opposition so bitter that he lost his last
dollar.  But the tide turned, and he prospered so rapidly that he at
length owned over one hundred steamboats.  He early identified himself
with the growing railroad interests of the country, and became the
richest man of his day in America.

Barnum began the race of business life barefoot, for at the age of
fifteen he was obliged to buy on credit the shoes he wore at his
father's funeral.  He was a remarkable example of success under
difficulties.  There was no keeping him down; no opposition daunted
him, no obstacles were too great for him to overcome.  Think of a man
being ruined at fifty years of age; yes, worse than ruined, for he was
heavily in debt besides.  Yet on the very day of his downfall he begins
to rise again, wringing victory from defeat by his indomitable

"Eloquence must have been born with you," said a friend to J. P.
Curran.  "Indeed, my dear sir, it was not," replied the orator, "it was
born some three and twenty years and some months after me."  Speaking
of his first attempt at a debating club, he said: "I stood up,
trembling through every fibre, but remembering that in this I was but
imitating Tully, I took courage and had actually proceeded almost as
far as 'Mr. Chairman,' when, to my astonishment and terror, I perceived
that every eye was turned on me.  There were only six or seven present,
and the room could not have contained as many more; yet was it, to my
panic-stricken imagination, as if I were the central object in nature,
and assembled millions were gazing upon me in breathless expectation.
I became dismayed and dumb.  My friends cried, 'Hear him!' but there
was nothing to hear."  He was nicknamed "Orator Mum," and well did he
deserve the title until he ventured to stare in astonishment at a
speaker who was "culminating chronology by the most preposterous
anachronisms."  "I doubt not," said the annoyed speaker, "that 'Orator
Mum' possesses wonderful talents for eloquence, but I would recommend
him to show it in future by some more popular method than his silence."
Stung by the taunt, Curran rose and gave the man a "piece of his mind,"
speaking quite fluently in his anger.  Encouraged by this success, he
took great pains to become a good speaker.  He corrected his habit of
stuttering by reading favorite passages aloud every day slowly and
distinctly, and spoke at every opportunity.

Bunyan wrote his "Pilgrim's Progress" on the untwisted papers used to
cork the bottles of milk brought for his meals.  Gifford wrote his
first copy of a mathematical work, when a cobbler's apprentice, on
small scraps of leather; and Rittenhouse, the astronomer, first
calculated eclipses on his plow handle.

A poor Irish lad, so pitted by smallpox that boys made sport of him,
earned his living by writing little ballads for street musicians.
Eight cents a day was often all he could earn.  He traveled through
France and Italy, begging his way by singing and playing the flute at
the cottages of the peasantry.  At twenty-eight he was penniless in
London, and lived in the beggars' quarters in Axe Lane.  In his
poverty, he set up as a doctor in the suburbs of London.  He wore a
second-hand coat of rusty velvet, with a patch on the left breast which
he adroitly covered with his three-cornered hat during his visits; and
we have an amusing anecdote of his contest of courtesy with a patient
who persisted in endeavoring to relieve him of his hat, which only made
him press it more devoutly to his heart.  He often had to pawn his
clothes to keep from starving.  He sold his "Life of Voltaire" for
twenty dollars.  After great hardship he managed to publish his "Polite
Learning in Europe," and this brought him to public notice.  Next came
"The Traveller," and the wretched man in a Fleet Street garret found
himself famous.  His landlady once arrested him for rent, but Dr.
Johnson came to his relief, took from his desk the manuscript of the
"Vicar of Wakefield," and sold it for three hundred dollars.  He spent
two years revising "The Deserted Village" after it was first written.
Generous to a fault, vain and improvident, imposed on by others, he was
continually in debt; although for his "History of the Earth and
Animated Nature" he received four thousand dollars, and some of his
works, as, for instance, "She Stoops to Conquer," had a large sale.
But in spite of fortune's frown and his own weakness, he won success
and fame.  The world, which so often comes too late with its assistance
and laurels, gave to the weak, gentle, loving author of "The Vicar of
Wakefield" a monument in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

The poor, scrofulous, and almost blind boy, Samuel Johnson, was taken
by his mother to receive the touch of Queen Anne, which was supposed to
heal the "King's Evil."  He entered Oxford as a servant, copying
lectures from a student's notebooks, while the boys made sport of the
bare feet showing through great holes in his shoes.  Some one left a
pair of new shoes at his door, but he was too proud to be helped, and
threw them out of the window.  He was so poor that he was obliged to
leave college, and at twenty-six married a widow of forty-eight.  He
started a private school with his wife's money; but, getting only three
pupils, was obliged to close it.  He went to London, where he lived on
nine cents a day.  In his distress he wrote a poem in which appeared in
capital letters the line, "Slow rises worth by poverty depressed,"
which attracted wide attention.  He suffered greatly in London for
thirteen years, being arrested once for a debt of thirteen dollars.  At
forty he published "The Vanity of Human Wishes," in which were these

  "Then mark what ills the scholar's life assail;
  Toil, envy, want, the patron and the jail."

When asked how he felt about his failures, he replied:

"Like a monument,"--that is, steadfast, immovable.  He was an
indefatigable worker.  In the evenings of a single week he wrote
"Rasselas," a beautiful little story of the search for happiness, to
get money to pay the funeral expenses of his mother.  With six
assistants he worked seven years on his Dictionary, which made his
fortune.  His name was then in everybody's mouth, and when he no longer
needed help, assistance, as usual, came from every quarter.  The great
universities hastened to bestow their degrees, and King George invited
him to the palace.

Lord Mansfield raised himself by indefatigable industry from oatmeal
porridge and poverty to affluence and the Lord Chief Justice's Bench.

Of five thousand articles sent every year to "Lippincott's Magazine,"
only two hundred were accepted.  How much do you think Homer got for
his Iliad? or Dante for his Paradise?  Only bitter bread and salt, and
going up and down other people's stairs.  In science, the man who
discovered the telescope, and first saw heaven, was paid with a
dungeon: the man who invented the microscope, and first saw earth, died
from starvation, driven from his home.  It is very clear indeed that
God means all good work and talk to be done for nothing.  Shakespeare's
"Hamlet" was sold for about twenty-five dollars; but his autograph has
sold for five thousand dollars.

During the ten years in which he made his greatest discoveries, Isaac
Newton could hardly pay two shillings a week to the Royal Society of
which he was a member.  Some of his friends wanted to get him excused
from this payment, but he would not allow them to act.

There are no more interesting pages in biography than those which
record how Emerson, as a child, was unable to read the second volume of
a certain book, because his widowed mother could not afford the amount
(five cents) necessary to obtain it from the circulating library.

Linnaeus was so poor when getting his education, that he had to mend
his shoes with folded paper, and often had to beg his meals of his

Who in the days of the First Empire cared to recall the fact that
Napoleon, Emperor and King, was once forced to borrow a louis from
Talma, when he lived in a garret on the Quai Conti?

David Livingstone at ten years of age was put into a cotton factory
near Glasgow.  Out of his first week's wages he bought a Latin Grammar,
and studied in the night schools for years.  He would sit up and study
till midnight unless his mother drove him to bed, notwithstanding he
had to be at the factory at six in the morning.  He mastered Virgil and
Horace in this way, and read extensively, besides studying botany.  So
eager and thirsty for knowledge was he, that he would place his book
before him on the spinning-jenny, and amid the deafening roar of
machinery would pore over its pages.

George Eliot said of the years of close work upon her "Romola," "I
began it a young woman, I finished it an old woman."  One of Emerson's
biographers says, referring to his method of rewriting, revising,
correcting, and eliminating: "His apples were sorted over and over
again, until only the very rarest, the most perfect, were left.  It did
not matter that those thrown away were very good and helped to make
clear the possibilities of the orchard, they were unmercifully cast
aside."  Carlyle's books were literally wrung out of him.  The pains he
took to satisfy himself of a relatively insignificant fact were
incredible.  Before writing his essay on Diderot, he read twenty-five
volumes at the rate of one per day.  He tells Edward Fitzgerald that
for the twentieth time he is going over the confused records of the
battle of Naseby, that he may be quite sure of the topography.

"All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise and
wonder," says Johnson, "are instances of the resistless force of
perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that
distant countries are united with canals.  If a man was to compare the
effect of a single stroke of the pickaxe, or of one impression of the
spade, with the general design and last result, he would be overwhelmed
by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations,
incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and
mountains are leveled, and oceans bounded, by the slender force of
human beings."

The Rev. Eliphalet Nott, a pulpit orator, was especially noted for a
sermon on the death of Alexander Hamilton, the great statesman, who was
shot in a duel by Aaron Burr.  Although Nott had managed in some way to
get his degree at Brown University, he was at one time so poor after he
entered the ministry that he could not buy an overcoat.  His wife
sheared their only cosset sheep in January, wrapped it in burlap
blankets to keep it from freezing, carded and spun and wove the wool,
and made it into an overcoat for him.

Great men never wait for opportunities; they make them.  Nor do they
wait for facilities or favoring circumstances; they seize upon whatever
is at hand, work out their problem, and master the situation.  A young
man determined and willing will find a way or make one.  A Franklin
does not require elaborate apparatus; he can bring electricity from the
clouds with a common kite.  A Watt can make a model of the condensing
steam-engine out of an old syringe used to inject the arteries of dead
bodies previous to dissection.  A Dr. Black can discover latent heat
with a pan of water and two thermometers.  A Newton can unfold the
composition of light and the origin of colors with a prism, a lens, and
a piece of pasteboard.  A Humphry Davy can experiment with kitchen pots
and pans, and a Faraday can experiment on electricity by means of old
bottles, in his spare minutes while a book-binder.  When science was in
its cradle the Marquis of Worcester, an English nobleman, imprisoned in
the Tower of London, was certainly not in a very good position to do
anything for the world, but would not waste his time.  The cover of a
vessel of hot water blown on before his eyes led to a series of
observations, which he published later in a book called "Century of
Inventions."  These observations were a sort of text-book on the power
of steam, which resulted in Newcomen's steam-engine, which Watt
afterward perfected.  A Ferguson maps out the heavenly bodies, lying on
his back, by means of threads with beads stretched between himself and
the stars.

Not in his day of bodily strength and political power, but blind,
decrepit, and defeated with his party, Milton composed "Paradise Lost."

Great men have found no royal road to their triumph.  It is always the
old route, by way of industry and perseverance.

The farmer boy, Elihu B. Washburn, taught school at ten dollars per
month, and early learned the lesson that it takes one hundred cents to
make a dollar.  In after years he fought "steals" in Congress, until he
was called the "Watchdog of the Treasury."  From his long membership he
became known as the "Father of the House."  He administered the oath to
Schuyler Colfax as Speaker three times.  He recommended Grant as
colonel of a regiment of volunteers.  The latter, when President,
appointed him Secretary of State, and, later, Minister to France.
During the reign of the Commune, the representatives of nearly all
other foreign nations fled in dismay, but Washburn remained at his
post.  Shells exploded close to his office, and fell all around it, but
he did not leave even when Paris was in flames.  For a time he was
really the minister of all foreign countries, in Paris; and represented
Prussia for almost a year.  The Emperor William conferred upon him the
Order of the Red Eagle, and gave him a jeweled star of great value.

How could the poor boy, Elihu Burritt, working nearly all the daylight
in a blacksmith's shop, get an education?  He had but one book in his
library, and carried that in his hat.  But this boy with no chance
became one of America's wonders.

When teaching school, Garfield was very poor.  He tore his only blue
jean trousers, but concealed the rents by pins until night, when he
retired early that his boarding mistress might mend his clothes.  "When
you get to be a United States Senator," said she, "no one will ask what
kind of clothes you wore when teaching school."

Although Michael Angelo made himself immortal in three different
occupations, his fame might well rest upon his dome of St. Peter as an
architect, upon his "Moses" as a sculptor, and upon his "Last Judgment"
as a painter; yet we find by his correspondence now in the British
Museum, that when he was at work on his colossal bronze statue of Pope
Julius II., he was so poor that he could not have his younger brother
come to visit him at Bologna, because he had but one bed in which he
and three of his assistants slept together.

"I was always at the bottom of my purse," said Zola, in describing the
struggles of his early years of authorship.  "Very often I had not a
sou left, and not knowing, either, where to get one.  I rose generally
at four in the morning, and began to study after a breakfast consisting
of one raw egg.  But no matter, those were good times.  After taking a
walk along the quays, I entered my garret, and joyfully partaking of a
dinner of three apples, I sat down to work.  I wrote, and I was happy.
In winter I would allow myself no fire; wood was too expensive--only on
fête days was I able to afford it.  But I had several pipes of tobacco
and a candle for three sous.  A three-sous candle, only think of it!
It meant a whole night of literature to me."

James Brooks, once the editor and proprietor of the "New York Daily
Express," and later an eminent congressman, began life as a clerk in a
store in Maine, and when twenty-one received for his pay a hogshead of
New England rum.  He was so eager to go to college that he started for
Waterville with his trunk on his back, and when he was graduated he was
so poor and plucky that he carried his trunk on his back to the station
when he went home.

When Elias Howe, harassed by want and woe, was in London completing his
first sewing-machine, he had frequently to borrow money to live on.  He
bought beans and cooked them himself.  He also borrowed money to send
his wife back to America.  He sold his first machine for five pounds,
although it was worth fifty, and then he pawned his letters patent to
pay his expenses home.

The boy Arkwright begins barbering in a cellar, but dies worth a
million and a half.  The world treated his novelties just as it treats
everybody's novelties--made infinite objection, mustered all the
impediments, but he snapped his fingers at their objections, and lived
to become honored and wealthy.

There is scarcely a great truth or doctrine but has had to fight its
way to public recognition in the face of detraction, calumny, and
persecution.  "Everywhere," says Heine, "that a great soul gives
utterance to its thoughts, there also is a Golgotha."

Nearly every great discovery or invention that has blessed mankind has
had to fight its way to recognition, even against the opposition of the
most progressive men.

Even Sir Charles Napier fiercely opposed the introduction of steam
power into the Royal Navy.  In the House of Commons, he exclaimed, "Mr.
Speaker, when we enter Her Majesty's naval service and face the chances
of war, we go prepared to be hacked in pieces, to be riddled by
bullets, or to be blown to bits by shot and shell; but Mr. Speaker, we
do not go prepared to be boiled alive."  He said this with tremendous

"Will any one explain how there can be a light without a wick?" asked a
member of Parliament, when William Murdock, toward the close of the
eighteenth century, said that coal gas would give a good light, and
could be conveyed into buildings in pipes.  "Do you intend taking the
dome of St. Paul's for a gasometer?" was the sneering question of even
the great scientist, Humphry Davy.  Walter Scott ridiculed the idea of
lighting London by "smoke," but he soon used it at Abbotsford, and Davy
achieved one of his greatest triumphs by experimenting with gas until
he had invented his safety lamp.

Titian used to crush the flowers to get their color, and painted the
white walls of his father's cottage in Tyrol with all sorts of
pictures, at which the mountaineers gazed in wonder.

"That boy will beat me one day," said an old painter as he watched a
little fellow named Michael Angelo making drawings of pot and brushes,
easel and stool, and other articles in the studio.  The barefoot boy
did persevere until he had overcome every difficulty and become a
master of his art.

William H. Prescott was a remarkable example of what a boy with "no
chance" can do.  While at college, he lost one eye by a hard piece of
bread thrown during a "biscuit battle," then so common after meals;
and, from sympathy, the other eye became almost useless.  But the boy
had pluck and determination, and would not lead a useless life.  He set
his heart upon being a historian, and turned all his energies in that
direction.  By the aid of others' eyes, he spent ten years studying
before he even decided upon a particular theme for his first book.
Then he spent ten years more, poring over old archives and manuscripts,
before he published his "Ferdinand and Isabella."  What a lesson in his
life for young men!  What a rebuke to those who have thrown away their
opportunities and wasted their lives!

"Galileo with an opera-glass," said Emerson, "discovered a more
splendid series of celestial phenomena than any one since with the
great telescopes.  Columbus found the new world in an undecked boat."

Surroundings which men call unfavorable cannot prevent the unfolding of
your powers.  From the plain fields and lowlands of Avon came the
Shakespearean genius which has charmed the world.  From among the
rock-ribbed hills of New Hampshire sprang the greatest of American
orators and statesmen, Daniel Webster.  From the crowded ranks of toil,
and homes to which luxury is a stranger, have often come the leaders
and benefactors of our race.  Indeed, when Christ came upon earth, His
early abode was a place so poor and so much despised that men thought
He could not be the Christ, asking, in utter astonishment, "Can any
good thing come out of Nazareth?"

"I once knew a little colored boy," said Frederick Douglass, "whose
mother and father died when he was but six years old.  He was a slave,
and had no one to care for him.  He slept on a dirt floor in a hovel,
and in cold weather would crawl into a meal-bag head foremost, and
leave his feet in the ashes to keep them warm.  Often he would roast an
ear of corn and eat it to satisfy his hunger, and many times has he
crawled under the barn or stable and secured eggs, which he would roast
in the fire and eat.  That boy did not wear pantaloons, as you do, but
a tow-linen shirt.  Schools were unknown to him, and he learned to
spell from an old Webster's spelling-book, and to read and write from
posters on cellar and barn doors, while boys and men would help him.
He would then preach and speak, and soon became well known.  He became
presidential elector, United States marshal, United States recorder,
United States diplomat, and accumulated some wealth.  He wore
broadcloth, and didn't have to divide crumbs with the dogs under the
table.  That boy was Frederick Douglass.  What was possible for me is
possible for you.  Don't think because you are colored you can't
accomplish anything.  Strive earnestly to add to your knowledge.  So
long as you remain in ignorance, so long will you fail to command the
respect of your fellow-men."

Where shall we find an illustration more impressive than in Abraham
Lincoln, whose life, career, and death might be chanted by a Greek
chorus as at once the prelude and the epilogue of the most imperial
theme of modern times?  Born as lowly as the Son of God, in a hovel; of
what real parentage we know not, reared in penury, squalor, with no
gleam of light, nor fair surrounding; a young manhood vexed by weird
dreams and visions; with scarcely a natural grace; singularly awkward,
ungainly even among the uncouth about him: it was reserved for this
remarkable character, late in life, to be snatched from obscurity,
raised to supreme command at a supreme moment, and intrusted with the
destiny of a nation.  The great leaders of his party were made to stand
aside; the most experienced and accomplished men of the day, men like
Seward, and Chase, and Sumner, statesmen famous and trained, were sent
to the rear, while this strange figure was brought by unseen hands to
the front, and given the reins of power.

The story is told of a man in London deprived of both legs and arms,
who managed to write with his mouth and perform other things so
remarkable as to enable him to earn a fair living.  He would lay
certain sheets of paper together, pinning them at the corner to make
them hold.  Then he would take a pen and write some verses; after which
he would proceed to embellish the lines by many skillful flourishes.
Dropping the pen from his mouth, he would next take up a needle and
thread, also with his mouth, thread the needle, and make several
stitches.  He also painted with a brush, and was in many other ways a
wonderful man.  Instead of being a burden to his family he was the most
important contributor to their welfare.

Arthur Cavanagh, M. P., was born without arms or legs, yet it is said
that he was a good shot, a skillful fisherman and sailor, and one of
the best cross country riders in Ireland.  He was a good
conversationalist, and an able member of Parliament.  He ate with his
fork attached to his stump of an arm, and wrote holding his pen in his
teeth.  In riding he held the bridle in his mouth, his body being
strapped to the saddle.  He once lost his means of support in India,
but went to work with his accustomed energy, and obtained employment as
a carrier of dispatches.

People thought it strange that Gladstone should appoint blind Henry
Fawcett Postmaster-General of Great Britain; but never before did any
one fill the office so well.

John B. Herreshoff, of Bristol, R. I., although blind since he was
fifteen years old, is the founder and head of one of the most noted
shipbuilding establishments in the world.  He has superintended the
construction of some of the swiftest torpedo boats and steam and
sailing yachts afloat.  He frequently takes his turn at the wheel in
sailing his vessels on trial trips.  He is aided greatly by his younger
brother Nathaniel, but can plan vessels and conduct business without
him.  After examining a vessel's hull or a good model of it, he will
give detailed instructions for building another just like it, and will
make a more accurate duplicate than can most boat-builders whose sight
is perfect.

The Rev. William H. Milburn, who lost his sight when a child, studied
for the ministry, and was ordained before he attained his majority.  In
ten years he traveled about 200,000 miles in missionary work.  He has
written half a dozen books, among them a very careful history of the
Mississippi Valley.  He has long been chaplain of the lower house of

Blind Fanny Crosby, of New York, was a teacher of the blind for many
years.  She has written nearly three thousand hymns, among which are
"Pass Me not, O Gentle Saviour," "Rescue the Perishing," "Saviour more
than Life to Me," and "Jesus keep Me near the Cross."

Nor are these by any means the only examples of blind people now doing
their full share of the world's work.  In the United States alone there
are engaged in musical occupation one hundred and fifty blind piano
tuners, one hundred and fifty blind teachers of music in schools for
the blind, five hundred blind private teachers, one hundred blind
church organists, fifteen or more blind composers and publishers of
music, and several blind dealers in musical instruments.

_There is no open door to the temple of success_.  Every one who enters
makes his own door, which closes behind him to all others, not even
permitting his own children to pass.

Nearly forty years ago, on a rainy, dreary day in November, a young
widow in Philadelphia sat wondering how she could feed and clothe three
little ones left dependent by the death of her husband, a naval
officer.  Happening to think of a box of which her husband had spoken,
she opened it, and found therein an envelope containing directions for
a code of colored light signals to be used at night on the ocean.  The
system was not complete, but she perfected it, went to Washington, and
induced the Secretary of the Navy to give it a trial.  An admiral soon
wrote that the signals were good for nothing, although the idea was
valuable.  For months and years she worked, succeeding at last in
producing brilliant lights of different colors.  She was paid $20,000
for the right to manufacture them in our navy.  Nearly all the blockade
runners captured in the Civil War were taken by the aid of the Coston
signals, which are also considered invaluable in the Life Saving
Service.  Mrs. Coston introduced them into several European navies, and
became wealthy.

A modern writer says that it is one of the mysteries of our life that
genius, that noblest gift of God to man, is nourished by poverty.  Its
greatest works have been achieved by the sorrowing ones of the world in
tears and despair.  Not in the brilliant salon, not in the tapestried
library, not in ease and competence, is genius usually born and
nurtured; but often in adversity and destitution, amidst the harassing
cares of a straitened household, in bare and fireless garrets, with the
noise of squalid children, in the turbulence of domestic contentions,
and in the deep gloom of uncheered despair.  This is its most frequent
birthplace, and amid scenes like these unpropitious, repulsive,
wretched surroundings, have men labored, studied, and trained
themselves, until they have at last emanated from the gloom of that
obscurity the shining lights of their times; have become the companions
of kings, the guides and teachers of their kind, and exercised an
influence upon the thought of the world amounting to a species of
intellectual legislation.

Chauncey Jerome's education was limited to three months in the district
school each year until he was ten, when his father took him into his
blacksmith shop at Plymouth, Conn., to make nails.  Money was a scarce
article with young Chauncey.  He once chopped a load of wood for one
cent, and often chopped by moonlight for neighbors at less than a dime
a load.  His father died when he was eleven, and his mother was forced
to send Chauncey out, with tears in his eyes and a little bundle of
clothes in his hand, to earn a living on a farm.  His new employer kept
him at work early and late chopping down trees all day, his shoes
sometimes full of snow, for he had no boots until he was nearly
twenty-one.  At fourteen he was apprenticed for seven years to a
carpenter, who gave him only board and clothes.  Several times during
his apprenticeship he carried his tools thirty miles on his back to his
work at different places.  After he had learned his trade he frequently
walked thirty miles to a job with his kit upon his back.  One day he
heard people talking of Eli Terry, of Plymouth, who had undertaken to
make two hundred clocks in one lot.  "He'll never live long enough to
finish them," said one.  "If he should," said another, "he could not
possibly sell so many.  The very idea is ridiculous."  Chauncey
pondered long over this rumor, for it had long been his dream to become
a great clock-maker.  He tried his hand at the first opportunity, and
soon learned to make a wooden clock.  When he got an order to make
twelve at twelve dollars apiece he thought his fortune was made.  One
night he happened to think that a cheap clock could be made of brass as
well as of wood, and would not shrink, swell, or warp appreciably in
any climate.  He acted on the idea, and became the first great
manufacturer of brass clocks.  He made millions at the rate of six
hundred a day, exporting them to all parts of the globe.

"The History of the English People" was written while J. R. Green was
struggling against a mortal illness.  He had collected a vast store of
materials, and had begun to write, when his disease made a sudden and
startling progress, and his physicians said they could do nothing to
arrest it.  In the extremity of ruin and defeat he applied himself with
greater fidelity to his work.  The time that might still be left to him
for work must henceforth be wrested, day by day, from the grasp of
death.  The writing occupied five months, while from hour to hour and
day to day his life was prolonged, his doctors said, by the sheer force
of his own will and his inflexible determination to finish the "Making
of England."  He lay, too weak to lift a book, or to hold a pen,
dictating every word, sometimes through hours of intense suffering.
Yet so conscientious was he that, driven by death as he was, the
greater part of the book was rewritten five times.  When it was done he
began the "Conquest of England," wrote it, reviewed it, and then,
dissatisfied with it, rejected it all and began again.  As death laid
its cold fingers on his heart, he said: "I still have some work to do
that I know is good.  I will try to win but one week more to write it
down."  It was not until he was actually dying that he said, "I can
work no more."

"What does he know," said a sage, "who has not suffered?"  Schiller
produced his greatest tragedies in the midst of physical suffering
almost amounting to torture.  Handel was never greater than when,
warned by palsy of the approach of death, and struggling with distress
and suffering, he sat down to compose the great works which have made
his name immortal in music.  Mozart composed his great operas, and last
of all his "Requiem," when oppressed by debt and struggling with a
fatal disease.  Beethoven produced his greatest works amidst gloomy
sorrow, when oppressed by almost total deafness.

Perhaps no one ever battled harder to overcome obstacles which would
have disheartened most men than Demosthenes.  He had such a weak voice,
and such an impediment in his speech, and was so short of breath, that
he could scarcely get through a single sentence without stopping to
rest.  All his first attempts were nearly drowned by the hisses, jeers,
and scoffs of his audiences.  His first effort that met with success
was against his guardian, who had defrauded him, and whom he compelled
to refund a part of his fortune.  He was so discouraged by his defeats
that he determined to give up forever all attempts at oratory.  One of
his auditors, however, believed the young man had something in him, and
encouraged him to persevere.  He accordingly appeared again in public,
but was hissed down as before.  As he withdrew, hanging his head in
great confusion, a noted actor, Satyrus, encouraged him still further
to try to overcome his impediment.  He stammered so much that he could
not pronounce some of the letters at all, and his breath would give out
before he could get through a sentence.  Finally, he determined to be
an orator cost what it might.  He went to the seashore and practiced
amid the roar of the breakers with small pebbles in his mouth, in order
to overcome his stammering, and at the same time accustom himself to
the hisses and tumults of his audience.  He overcame his short breath
by practicing speaking while running up steep and difficult places on
the shore.  His awkward gestures were also corrected by long and
determined drill before a mirror.

Disheartened by the expense of removing the troublesome seeds, Southern
planters were seriously considering the abandonment of cotton culture.
To clean a pound of cotton required the labor of a slave for a day.
Eli Whitney, a young man from New England, teaching school in Georgia,
saw the state of affairs, and determined to invent a machine to do the
work.  He worked in secret for many months in a cellar, and at last
made a machine which cleaned the cotton perfectly and rapidly.  Just as
success crowned his long labor thieves broke into the cellar and stole
his model.  He recovered the model, but the principle was stolen, and
other machines were made without his consent.  In vain he tried to
protect his right in the courts, for Southern juries would almost
invariably decide against him.  He had started the South in a great
industry, and added millions to her wealth, yet the courts united with
the men who had infringed his patents to rob him of the reward of his
ingenuity and industry.  At last he abandoned the whole thing in
disgust, and turned his attention to making improvements in firearms,
and with such success that he accumulated a fortune.

Robert Collyer, who brought his bride in the steerage when he came to
America at the age of twenty-seven, worked at the anvil nine years in
Pennsylvania, and then became a preacher, soon winning national renown.

A shrewd observer says of John Chinaman: "No sooner does he put his
foot among strangers than he begins to work.  No office is too menial
or too laborious for him.  He has come to make money, and he will make
it.  His frugality requires but little: he barely lives, but he saves
what he gets; commences trade in the smallest possible way, and is
continually adding to his store.  The native scorns such drudgery, and
remains poor; the Chinaman toils patiently on, and grows rich.  A few
years pass by, and he has warehouses; becomes a contractor for produce;
buys foreign goods by the cargo; and employs his newly imported
countrymen, who have come to seek their fortune as he did.  He is not
particularly scrupulous in matters of opinion.  He never meddles with
politics, for they are dangerous and not profitable; but he will adopt
any creed, and carefully follow any observances, if, by so doing, he
can confirm or improve his position.  He thrives with the Spaniard, and
works while the latter sleeps.  He is too quick for the Dutchman, and
can smoke and bargain at the same time.  He has harder work with the
Englishman, but still he is too much for him, and succeeds.  Climate
has no effect on him: it cannot stop his hands, unless it kills him;
and if it does, he dies in harness, battling for money till his last
breath.  Whoever he may be, and in whatever position, whether in his
own or a foreign country, he is diligent, temperate, and uncomplaining.
He keeps the word he pledges, pays his debts, and is capable of noble
and generous actions.  It has been customary to speak lightly of him,
and to judge a whole people by a few vagabonds in a provincial seaport,
whose morals and manners have not been improved by foreign society."

Columbus was dismissed as a fool from court after court, but he pushed
his suit against an incredulous and ridiculing world.  Rebuffed by
kings, scorned by queens, he did not swerve a hair's breadth from the
overmastering purpose which dominated his soul.  The words "New World"
were graven upon his heart; and reputation, ease, pleasure, position,
life itself if need be, must be sacrificed.  Threats, ridicule,
ostracism, storms, leaky vessels, mutiny of sailors, could not shake
his mighty purpose.

You cannot keep a determined man from success.  Place stumbling-blocks
in his way and he takes them for stepping-stones, and on them will
climb to greatness.  Take away his money, and he makes spurs of his
poverty to urge him on.  Cripple him, and he writes the Waverley
Novels.  Lock him up in a dungeon, and he composes the immortal
"Pilgrim's Progress."  Put him in a cradle in a log cabin in the
wilderness of America, and in a few years you will find him in the
Capitol at the head of the greatest nation on the globe.

Would it were possible to convince the struggling youth of to-day that
all that is great and noble and true in the history of the world is the
result of infinite pains-taking, perpetual plodding, of common
every-day industry!

When Lavoisier the chemist asked that his execution might be postponed
for a few days in order to ascertain the results of the experiments he
was conducting in prison, the communists refused to grant the request,
saying: "The Republic has no need of philosophers."  Dr. Priestley's
house was burned and his chemical library destroyed by a mob shouting:
"No philosophers," and he was forced to flee from his country.  Bruno
was burned in Rome for revealing the heavens, and Versalius
[Transcriber's note: Vesalius?] was condemned for dissecting the human
body; but their names shall live as long as time shall last.  Kossuth
was two years in prison at Buda, but he kept on working, undaunted.
John Hunter said: "The few things I have been enabled to do have been
accomplished under the greatest difficulties, and have encountered the
greatest opposition."

Roger Bacon, one of the profoundest thinkers the world has produced,
was terribly persecuted for his studies in natural philosophy, yet he
persevered and won success.  He was accused of dealing in magic, his
books were burned in public, and he was kept in prison for ten years.
Even our own revered Washington was mobbed in the streets because he
would not pander to the clamor of the people and reject the treaty
which Mr. Jay had arranged with Great Britain.  But he remained firm,
and the people adopted his opinion.  The Duke of Wellington was mobbed
in the streets of London and his windows were broken while his wife lay
dead in the house; but the "Iron Duke" never faltered in his course, or
swerved a hair's breadth from his purpose.

William Phips, when a young man, heard some sailors on the street, in
Boston, talking about a Spanish ship, wrecked off the Bahama Islands,
which was supposed to have money on board.  Young Phips determined to
find it.  He set out at once, and, after many hardships, discovered the
lost treasure.  He then heard of another ship, wrecked off Port De La
Plata many years before.  He set sail for England and importuned
Charles II. for aid.  To his delight the king fitted up the ship Rose
Algier for him.  He searched and searched for a long time in vain.  He
had to return to England to repair his vessel.  James II. was then on
the throne, and he had to wait for four years before he could raise
money to return.  His crew mutinied and threatened to throw him
overboard, but he turned the ship's guns on them.  One day an Indian
diver went down for a curious sea plant and saw several cannon lying on
the bottom.  They proved to belong to the wreck for which he was
looking, sunk fifty years before.  He had nothing but dim traditions to
guide him, but he returned to England with $1,500,000.  The King made
him High Sheriff of New England, and he was afterward made Governor of
Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Ben Jonson, when following his trade of a mason, worked on Lincoln's
Inn in London with trowel in hand and a book in his pocket.  Joseph
Hunter was a carpenter in youth, Robert Burns a plowman, Keats a
druggist, Thomas Carlyle and Hugh Miller masons.  Dante and Descartes
were soldiers.  Andrew Johnson was a tailor.  Cardinal Wolsey, Defoe,
and Kirke White were butchers' sons.  Faraday was the son of a
blacksmith, and his teacher, Humphry Davy, was an apprentice to an
apothecary.  Kepler was a waiter boy in a German hotel, Bunyan a
tinker, Copernicus the son of a Polish baker.  The boy Herschel played
the oboe for his meals.  Marshal Ney, the "bravest of the brave," rose
from the ranks.  His great industry gained for him the name of "The
Indefatigable."  Soult served fourteen years before he was made a
sergeant.  When made Foreign Minister of France he knew very little of
geography, even.  Richard Cobden was a boy in a London warehouse.  His
first speech in Parliament was a complete failure; but he was not
afraid of defeat, and soon became one of the greatest orators of his
day.  Seven shoemakers sat in Congress during the first century of our
government: Roger Sherman, Henry Wilson, Gideon Lee, William Graham,
John Halley, H. P. Baldwin, and Daniel Sheffey.

A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from
inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements.

The man who has not fought his way up to his own loaf, and does not
bear the scar of desperate conflict, does not know the highest meaning
of success.

The money acquired by those who have thus struggled upward to success
is not their only, or indeed their chief reward.  When, after years of
toil, of opposition, of ridicule, of repeated failure, Cyrus W. Field
placed his hand upon the telegraph instrument ticking a message under
the sea, think you that the electric thrill passed no further than the
tips of his fingers?  When Thomas A. Edison demonstrated in Menlo Park
that the electric light had at last been developed into a commercial
success, do you suppose those bright rays failed to illuminate the
inmost recesses of his soul?  Edward Everett said: "There are occasions
in life in which a great mind lives years of enjoyment in a single
moment.  I can fancy the emotion of Galileo when, first raising the
newly constructed telescope to the heavens, he saw fulfilled the grand
prophecy of Copernicus, and beheld the planet Venus crescent like the
moon.  It was such another moment as that when the immortal printers of
Mentz and Strasburg received the first copy of the Bible into their
hands, the work of their divine art; like that when Columbus, through
the gray dawn of the 12th of October, 1492, beheld the shores of San
Salvador; like that when the law of gravitation first revealed itself
to the intellect of Newton; like that when Franklin saw, by the
stiffening fibres of the hemp cord of his kite, that he held the
lightning in his grasp, like that when Leverrier received back from
Berlin the tidings that the predicted planet was found."

"Observe yon tree in your neighbor's garden," says Zanoni to Viola in
Bulwer's novel.  "Look how it grows up, crooked and distorted.  Some
wind scattered the germ, from which it sprung, in the clefts of the
rock.  Choked up and walled round by crags and buildings, by nature and
man, its life has been one struggle for the light.  You see how it has
writhed and twisted,--how, meeting the barrier in one spot, it has
labored and worked, stem and branch, towards the clear skies at last.
What has preserved it through each disfavor of birth and
circumstances--why are its leaves as green and fair as those of the
vine behind you, which, with all its arms, can embrace the open
sunshine?  My child, because of the very instinct that impelled the
struggle,--because the labor for the light won to the light at length.
So with a gallant heart, through every adverse accident of sorrow, and
of fate, to turn to the sun, to strive for the heaven; this it is that
gives knowledge to the strong and happiness to the weak."

          "Each petty hand
  Can steer a ship becalmed; but he that will
  Govern her and carry her to her ends, must know
  His tides, his currents; how to shift his sails;
  What she will bear in foul, what in fair weathers;
  What her springs are, her leaks, and how to stop them;
  What strands, what shelves, what rocks to threaten her;
  The forces and the natures of all winds,
  Gusts, storms, and tempests; when her keel plows hell,
  And deck knocks heaven; then to manage her
  Becomes the name and office of a pilot."



Nature, when she adds difficulties, adds brains.--EMERSON.

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous

  The good are better made by ill,
  As odors crushed are sweeter still.

  Aromatic plants bestow
  No spicy fragrance while they grow;
  But crushed or trodden to the ground,
  Diffuse their balmy sweets around.

As night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.--YOUNG.

There is no possible success without some opposition as a fulcrum:
force is always aggressive and crowds something.--HOLMES.

The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the
more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous
circumstances would have lain dormant.--HORACE.

For gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of

  Though losses and crosses be lessons right severe,
  There's wit there ye'll get there, ye'll find no other where.

Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens

"Adversity is the prosperity of the great."

No man ever worked his way in a dead calm.--JOHN NEAL.

"Kites rise against, not with, the wind."

"Many and many a time since," said Harriet Martineau, referring to her
father's failure in business, "have we said that, but for that loss of
money, we might have lived on in the ordinary provincial method of
ladies with small means, sewing and economizing and growing narrower
every year; whereas, by being thrown, while it was yet time, on our own
resources, we have worked hard and usefully, won friends, reputation,
and independence, seen the world abundantly, abroad and at home; in
short, have truly lived instead of vegetating."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: JOHN BUNYAN]

  "Sculptor of souls, I lift to Thee
    Encumbered heart and hands;
  Spare not the chisel, set me free,
    However dear the bands.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

"I do believe God wanted a grand poem of that man," said George
Macdonald of Milton, "and so blinded him that he might be able to write

Two of the three greatest epic poets of the world were blind,--Homer
and Milton; while the third, Dante, was in his later years nearly, if
not altogether, blind.  It almost seems as though some great characters
had been physically crippled in certain respects so that they would not
dissipate their energy, but concentrate it all in one direction.

"I have been beaten, but not cast down," said Thiers, after making a
complete failure of his first speech in the Chamber of Deputies.  "I am
making my first essay in arms.  In the tribune, as under fire, a defeat
is as useful as a victory."

A distinguished investigator in science said that when he encountered
an apparently insuperable obstacle, he usually found himself upon the
brink of some discovery.

"Returned with thanks" has made many an author.  Failure often leads a
man to success by arousing his latent energy, by firing a dormant
purpose, by awakening powers which were sleeping.  Men of mettle turn
disappointments into helps as the oyster turns into pearl the sand
which annoys it.

"Let the adverse breath of criticism be to you only what the blast of
the storm wind is to the eagle,--a force against him that lifts him

A kite would not fly unless it had a string tying it down.  It is just
so in life.  The man who is tied down by half a dozen blooming
responsibilities and their mother will make a higher and stronger
flight than the bachelor who, having nothing to keep him steady, is
always floundering in the mud.  If you want to ascend in the world tie
yourself to somebody.

"It was the severe preparation for the subsequent harvest," said
Pemberton Leigh, the eminent English lawyer, speaking of his early
poverty and hard work.  "I learned to consider indefatigable labor as
the indispensable condition of success, pecuniary independence as
essential alike to virtue and happiness, and no sacrifice too great to
avoid the misery of debt."

When Napoleon's companions made sport of him on account of his humble
origin and poverty he devoted himself entirely to books, and soon
rising above them in scholarship, commanded their respect.  Soon he was
regarded as the brightest ornament of the class.

"To make his way at the bar," said an eminent jurist, "a young man must
live like a hermit and work like a horse.  There is nothing that does a
young lawyer so much good as to be half starved."

Thousands of men of great native ability have been lost to the world
because they have not had to wrestle with obstacles, and to struggle
under difficulties sufficient to stimulate into activity their dormant
powers.  No effort is too dear which helps us along the line of our
proper career.

Poverty and obscurity of origin may impede our progress, but it is only
like the obstruction of ice or debris in the river temporarily forcing
the water into eddies, where it accumulates strength and a mighty
reserve which ultimately sweeps the obstruction impetuously to the sea.
Poverty and obscurity are not insurmountable obstacles, but they often
act as a stimulus to the naturally indolent, and develop a firmer fibre
of mind, a stronger muscle and stamina of body.  If the germ of the
seed has to struggle to push its way up through the stones and hard
sod, to fight its way up to sunlight and air, and then to wrestle with
storm and tempest, with snow and frost, the fibre of its timber will be
all the tougher and stronger.

"Do you wish to live without a trial?" asks a modern teacher.  "Then
you wish to die but half a man.  Without trial you cannot guess at your
own strength.  Men do not learn to swim on a table.  They must go into
deep water and buffet the waves.  Hardship is the native soil of
manhood and self-reliance.  Trials are rough teachers, but rugged
schoolmasters make rugged pupils.  A man who goes through life
prosperous, and comes to his grave without a wrinkle, is not half a
man.  Difficulties are God's errands.  And when we are sent upon them
we should esteem it a proof of God's confidence.  We should reach after
the highest good."

"If you wish to rise," said Talleyrand, "make enemies."

There is good philosophy in the injunction to love our enemies, for
they are often our best friends in disguise.  They tell us the truth
when friends flatter.  Their biting sarcasm and scathing rebuke are
often mirrors which reveal us to ourselves.  These unkind stings and
thrusts are spurs which urge us on to grander success and nobler
endeavor.  Friends cover our faults and rarely rebuke; enemies drag out
to the light all our weaknesses without mercy.  We dread these thrusts
and exposures as we do the surgeon's knife, but are the better for
them.  They reach depths before untouched, and we are led to resolve to
redeem ourselves from scorn and inferiority.

We are the victors of our opponents.  They have developed in us the
very power by which we overcome them.  Without their opposition we
could never have braced and anchored and fortified ourselves, as the
oak is braced and anchored for its thousand battles with the tempests.
Our trials, our sorrows, and our griefs develop us in a similar way.

The man who has triumphed over difficulties bears the signs of victory
in his face.  An air of triumph is seen in every movement.

John Calvin, who made a theology for the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, was tortured with disease for many years, and so was Robert
Hall.  The great men who have lifted the world to a higher level were
not developed in easy circumstances, but were rocked in the cradle of
difficulties and pillowed on hardships.

"The gods look on no grander sight than an honest man struggling with

"Then I must learn to sing better," said Anaximander, when told that
the very boys laughed at his singing.  Strong characters, like the
palm-tree, seem to thrive best when most abused.  Men who have stood up
bravely under great misfortune for years are often unable to bear
prosperity.  Their good fortune takes the spring out of their energy,
as the torrid zone enervates races accustomed to a vigorous climate.
Some people never come to themselves until baffled, rebuffed, thwarted,
defeated, crushed, in the opinion of those around them.  Trials unlock
their virtues; defeat is the threshold of their victory.

It is defeat that turns bone to flint; it is defeat that turns gristle
to muscle; it is defeat that makes men invincible; it is defeat that
has made those heroic natures that are now in the ascendency, and that
has given the sweet law of liberty instead of the bitter law of

Difficulties call out great qualities, and make greatness possible.
How many centuries of peace would have developed a Grant?  Few knew
Lincoln until the great weight of the war showed his character.  A
century of peace would never have produced a Bismarck.  Perhaps
Phillips and Garrison would never have been known to history had it not
been for slavery.

"Will he not make a great painter?" was asked in regard to an artist
fresh from his Italian tour.  "No, never," replied Northcote.  "Why
not?"  "Because he has an income of six thousand pounds a year."  In
the sunshine of wealth a man is, as a rule, warped too much to become
an artist of high merit.  A drenching shower of adversity would
straighten his fibres out again.  He should have some great thwarting
difficulty to struggle against.

The best tools receive their temper from fire, their edge from
grinding; the noblest characters are developed in a similar way.  The
harder the diamond, the more brilliant the lustre, and the greater the
friction necessary to bring it out.  Only its own dust is hard enough
to make this most precious stone reveal its full beauty.

The spark in the flint would sleep forever but for friction; the fire
in man would never blaze but for antagonism.  The friction which
retards a train upon the track, robbing the engine of a fourth of its
power, is the very secret of locomotion.  Oil the track, remove the
friction, and the train will not move an inch.  The moment man is
relieved of opposition or friction, and the track of his life is oiled
with inherited wealth or other aids, that moment he often ceases to
struggle and therefore ceases to grow.

"It is this scantiness of means, this continual deficiency, this
constant hitch, this perpetual struggle to keep the head above water
and the wolf from the door, that keeps society from falling to pieces.
Let every man have a few more dollars than he wants, and anarchy would

Suddenly, with much jarring and jolting, an electric car came to a
standstill just in front of a heavy truck that was headed in an
opposite direction.  The huge truck wheels were sliding uselessly round
on the car tracks that were wet and slippery from rain.  All the urging
of the teamster and the straining of the horses in vain,--until the
motorman quietly tossed a shovelful of sand on the track under the
heavy wheels, then the truck lumbered on its way.  "Friction is a very
good thing," remarked a passenger.

The philosopher Kant observes that a dove, inasmuch as the only
obstacle it has to overcome is the resistance of the air, might suppose
that if only the air were out of the way it could fly with greater
rapidity and ease.  Yet if the air were withdrawn, and the bird should
try to fly in a vacuum, it would fall instantly to the ground unable to
fly at all.  The very element that offers the opposition to flying is
at the same time the condition of any flight whatever.

Rough seas and storms make sailors.  Emergencies make giant men.  But
for our Civil War the names of its grand heroes would not be written
among the greatest of our time.

The effort or struggle to climb to a higher place in life has strength
and dignity in it, and cannot fail to leave us stronger for the
struggle, even though we miss the prize.

From an aimless, idle, and useless brain, emergencies often call out
powers and virtues before unknown and suspected.  How often we see a
young man develop astounding ability and energy after the death of a
parent, or the loss of a fortune, or after some other calamity has
knocked the props and crutches from under him.  The prison has roused
the slumbering fire in many a noble mind.  "Robinson Crusoe" was
written in prison.  The "Pilgrim's Progress" appeared in Bedford Jail.
The "Life and Times" of Baxter, Eliot's "Monarchia of Man," and Penn's
"No Cross, No Crown," were written by prisoners.  Sir Walter Raleigh
wrote "The History of the World" during his imprisonment of thirteen
years.  Luther translated the Bible while confined in the Castle of
Wartburg.  For twenty years Dante worked in exile, and even under
sentence of death.  His works were burned in public after his death;
but genius will not burn.

Take two acorns from the same tree, as nearly alike as possible; plant
one on a hill by itself, and the other in the dense forest, and watch
them grow.  The oak standing alone is exposed to every storm.  Its
roots reach out in every direction, clutching the rocks and piercing
deep into the earth.  Every rootlet lends itself to steady the growing
giant, as if in anticipation of fierce conflict with the elements.
Sometimes its upward growth seems checked for years, but all the while
it has been expending its energy in pushing a root across a large rock
to gain a firmer anchorage.  Then it shoots proudly aloft again,
prepared to defy the hurricane.  The gales which sport so rudely with
its wide branches find more than their match, and only serve still
further to toughen every minutest fibre from pith to bark.

The acorn planted in the deep forest shoots up a weak, slender sapling.
Shielded by its neighbors, it feels no need of spreading its roots far
and wide for support.

Take two boys, as nearly alike as possible.  Place one in the country
away from the hothouse culture and refinements of the city, with only
the district school, the Sunday-school, and a few books.  Remove wealth
and props of every kind; and, if he has the right kind of material in
him, he will thrive.  Every obstacle overcome lends him strength for
the next conflict.  If he falls, he rises with more determination than
before.  Like a rubber ball, the harder the obstacle he meets the
higher he rebounds.  Obstacles and opposition are but apparatus of the
gymnasium in which the fibres of his manhood are developed.  He compels
respect and recognition from those who have ridiculed his poverty.  Put
the other boy in a Vanderbilt family.  Give him French and German
nurses; gratify every wish.  Place him under the tutelage of great
masters and send him to Harvard.  Give him thousands a year for
spending money, and let him travel extensively.

The two meet.  The city lad is ashamed of his country brother.  The
plain, threadbare clothes, hard hands, tawny face, and awkward manner
of the country boy make sorry contrast with the genteel appearance of
the other.  The poor boy bemoans his hard lot, regrets that he has "no
chance in life," and envies the city youth.  He thinks that it is a
cruel Providence that places such a wide gulf between them.  They meet
again as men, but how changed!  It is as easy to distinguish the
sturdy, self-made man from the one who has been propped up all his life
by wealth, position, and family influence, as it is for the shipbuilder
to tell the difference between the plank from the rugged mountain oak
and one from the sapling of the forest.  If you think there is no
difference, place each plank in the bottom of a ship, and test them in
a hurricane at sea.

When God wants to educate a man, he does not send him to school to the
Graces, but to the Necessities.  Through the pit and the dungeon Joseph
came to a throne.  We are not conscious of the mighty cravings of our
half divine humanity; we are not aware of the god within us until some
chasm yawns which must be filled, or till the rending asunder of our
affections forces us to become conscious of a need.  Paul in his Roman
cell; John Huss led to the stake at Constance; Tyndale dying in his
prison at Amsterdam; Milton, amid the incipient earthquake throes of
revolution, teaching two little boys in Aldgate Street; David
Livingstone, worn to a shadow, dying in a negro hut in Central Africa,
alone,--what failures they might all to themselves have seemed to be,
yet what mighty purposes was God working out by their apparent

Two highwaymen chancing once to pass a gibbet, one of them exclaimed:
"What a fine profession ours would be if there were no gibbets!"  "Tut,
you blockhead," replied the other, "gibbets are the making of us; for,
if there were no gibbets, every one would be a highwayman."  Just so
with every art, trade, or pursuit; it is the difficulties that scare
and keep out unworthy competitors.

"Success grows out of struggles to overcome difficulties," says Smiles.
"If there were no difficulties, there would be no success.  In this
necessity for exertion we find the chief source of human
advancement,--the advancement of individuals as of nations.  It has led
to most of the mechanical inventions and improvements of the age."

"Stick your claws into me," said Mendelssohn to his critics when
entering the Birmingham orchestra.  "Don't tell me what you like but
what you don't like."

John Hunter said that the art of surgery would never advance until
professional men had the courage to publish their failures as well as
their successes.

"Young men need to be taught not to expect a perfectly smooth and easy
way to the objects of their endeavor or ambition," says Dr. Peabody.
"Seldom does one reach a position with which he has reason to be
satisfied without encountering difficulties and what might seem
discouragements.  But if they are properly met, they are not what they
seem, and may prove to be helps, not hindrances.  There is no more
helpful and profiting exercise than surmounting obstacles."

It is said that but for the disappointments of Dante, Florence would
have had another prosperous Lord Mayor; and the ten dumb centuries
continued voiceless, and the ten other listening centuries (for there
will be ten of them, and more) would have had no "Divina Commedia" to

It was in the Madrid jail that Cervantes wrote "Don Quixote."  He was
so poor that he could not even get paper during the last of his
writing, and had to write on scraps of leather.  A rich Spaniard was
asked to help him, but the rich man replied: "Heaven forbid that his
necessities should be relieved, it is his poverty that makes the world

"A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from
inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements."

"She sings well," said a great musician of a promising but passionless
cantatrice, "but she wants something, and in that something,
everything.  If I were single, I would court her, I would marry her; I
would maltreat her; I would break her heart, and in six months she
would be the greatest singer in Europe."

"He has the stuff in him to make a good musician," said Beethoven of
Rossini, "if he had only been well flogged when a boy; but he is
spoiled by the ease with which he composes."

We do our best while fighting desperately to attain what the heart
covets.  Martin Luther did his greatest work, and built up his best
character, while engaged in sharp controversy with the Pope.  Later in
life his wife asks, "Doctor, how is it that whilst subject to Papacy we
prayed so often and with such fervor, whilst now we pray with the
utmost coldness and very seldom?"

When Lord Eldon was poor, Lord Thurlow withheld a promised
commissionership of bankruptcy, saying that it was a favor not to give
it then.  "What he meant was," said Eldon, "that he had learned I was
by nature very indolent, and it was only want that could make me very

Waters says that the struggle to obtain knowledge and to advance one's
self in the world strengthens the mind, disciplines the faculties,
matures the judgment, promotes self-reliance, and gives one
independence of thought and force of character.

"The gods in bounty work up storms about us," says Addison, "that give
mankind occasion to exert their hidden strength, and throw out into
practice virtues that shun the day, and lie concealed in the smooth
seasons and the calms of life."

The hothouse plant may tempt a pampered appetite or shed a languid
odor, but the working world gets its food from fields of grain and
orchards waving in the sun and free air, from cattle that wrestle on
the plains, from fishes that struggle with currents of river or ocean;
its choicest perfumes from flowers that bloom unheeded, and in
wind-tossed forests finds its timber for temples and for ships.

"I do not see," says Emerson, "how any man can afford, for the sake of
his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake.
It is pearls and rubies to his discourse.  Drudgery, calamity,
exasperation, want, are instructors in eloquence and wisdom.  The true
scholar grudges every opportunity of action passed by as a loss of

Kossuth called himself "a tempest-tossed soul, whose eyes have been
sharpened by affliction."

Benjamin Franklin ran away, and George Law was turned out of doors.
Thrown upon their own resources, they early acquired the energy and
skill to overcome difficulties.

As soon as young eagles can fly the old birds tumble them out and tear
the down and feathers from their nest.  The rude and rough experience
of the eaglet fits him to become the bold king of birds, fierce and
expert in pursuing his prey.

Boys who are bound out, crowded out, kicked out, usually "turn out,"
while those who do not have these disadvantages frequently fail to
"come out."

"It was not the victories but the defeats of my life which have
strengthened me," said the aged Sidenham Poyntz.

Almost from the dawn of history, oppression has been the lot of the
Hebrews, yet they have given the world its noblest songs, its wisest
proverbs, its sweetest music.  With them persecution seems to bring
prosperity.  They thrive where others would starve.  They hold the
purse-strings of many nations.  To them hardship has been "like spring
mornings, frosty but kindly, the cold of which will kill the vermin,
but will let the plant live."

In one of the battles of the Crimea a cannon-ball struck inside the
fort, crashing through a beautiful garden.  But from the ugly chasm
there burst forth a spring of water which ever afterward flowed a
living fountain.  From the ugly gashes which misfortunes and sorrows
make in our hearts, perennial fountains of rich experience and new joys
often spring.

Don't lament and grieve over lost wealth.  The Creator may see
something grand and mighty which even He cannot bring out as long as
your wealth stands in the way.  You must throw away the crutches of
riches and stand upon your own feet, and develop the long unused
muscles of manhood.  God may see a rough diamond in you which only the
hard hits of poverty can polish.

God knows where the richest melodies of our lives are, and what drill
and what discipline are necessary to bring them out.  The frost, the
snows, the tempests, the lightnings, are the rough teachers that bring
the tiny acorn to the sturdy oak.  Fierce winters are as necessary to
it as long summers.  It is its half-century's struggle with the
elements for existence, wrestling with the storm, fighting for its life
from the moment that it leaves the acorn until it goes into the ship,
that gives it value.  Without this struggle it would have been
character-less, stamina-less, nerve-less, and its grain would have
never been susceptible of high polish.  The most beautiful as well as
the strongest woods are found not in tropical climates, but in the
severe climates, where they have to fight the frosts and the winter's

Many a man has never found himself until he has lost his all.
Adversity stripped him only to discover him.  Obstacles, hardships are
the chisel and mallet which shape the strong life into beauty.  The
rough ledge on the hillside complains of the drill, of the blasting
powder which disturbs its peace of centuries: it is not pleasant to be
rent with powder, to be hammered and squared by the quarryman.  But
look again: behold the magnificent statue, the monument, chiseled into
grace and beauty, telling its grand story of valor in the public square
for centuries.

The statue would have slept in the marble forever but for the blasting,
the chiseling, and the polishing.  The angel of our higher and nobler
selves would remain forever unknown in the rough quarries of our lives
but for the blastings of affliction, the chiseling of obstacles, and
the sand-papering of a thousand annoyances.

Who has not observed the patience, the calm endurance, the sweet
loveliness chiseled out of some rough life by the reversal of fortune
or by some terrible affliction.

How many business men have made their greatest strides toward manhood,
have developed their greatest virtues, when the reverses of fortune
have swept away everything they had in the world; when disease had
robbed them of all they held dear in life.  Often we cannot see the
angel in the quarry of our lives, the statue of manhood, until the
blasts of misfortune have rent the ledge, and difficulties and
obstacles have squared and chiseled the granite blocks into grace and

Many a man has been ruined into salvation.  The lightning which smote
his dearest hopes opened up a new rift in his dark life, and gave him
glimpses of himself which, until then, he had never seen.

The grave buried his dearest hopes, but uncovered possibilities in his
nature of patience, endurance, and hope which he never dreamed he
possessed before.

"Adversity is a severe instructor," says Edmund Burke, "set over us by
one who knows us better than we do ourselves, as he loves us better
too.  He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our
skill.  Our antagonist is our helper.  This conflict with difficulty
makes us acquainted with our object, and compels us to consider it in
all its relations.  It will not suffer us to be superficial."

Men who have the right kind of material in them will assert their
personality, and rise in spite of a thousand adverse circumstances.
You cannot keep them down.  Every obstacle seems only to add to their
ability to get on.

"Under different circumstances," says Castelar, "Savonarola would
undoubtedly have been a good husband, a tender father, a man unknown to
history, utterly powerless to print upon the sands of time and upon the
human soul the deep trace which he has left, but misfortune came to
visit him, to crush his heart, and to impart that marked melancholy
which characterizes a soul in grief, and the grief that circled his
brows with a crown of thorns was also that which wreathed them with the
splendor of immortality.  His hopes were centred in the woman he loved,
his life was set upon the possession of her, and when her family
finally rejected him, partly on account of his profession, and partly
on account of his person, he believed that it was death that had come
upon him, when in truth it was immortality."

The greatest men will ever be those who have risen from the ranks.  It
is said that there are ten thousand chances to one that genius, talent,
and virtue shall issue from a farmhouse rather than from a palace.

The youth Opie earned his bread by sawing wood, but he reached a
professorship in the Royal Academy.  When but ten years old he showed
the material he was made of by a beautiful drawing on a shingle.
Antonio Canova was the son of a day laborer.  Thorwaldsen's parents
were poor, but, like hundreds of others, they did with their might what
their hands found to do, and ennobled their work.  They rose by being
greater than their calling, as Arkwright rose above mere barbering,
Bunyan above tinkering, Wilson above shoemaking, Lincoln above
rail-splitting, and Grant above tanning.  By being first-class barbers,
tinkers, shoemakers, rail-splitters, tanners, they acquired the power
which enabled them to become great inventors, authors, statesmen,

Adversity exasperates fools, dejects cowards, draws out the faculties
of the wise and industrious, puts the modest to the necessity of trying
their skill, awes the opulent, and makes the idle industrious.  Neither
do uninterrupted success and prosperity qualify men for usefulness and
happiness.  The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the
faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill, and fortitude of
the voyager.  The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to
outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism
worth a lifetime of softness and security.  A man upon whom continuous
sunshine falls is like the earth in August: he becomes parched and dry
and hard and close-grained.  Men have drawn from adversity the elements
of greatness.  If you have the blues, go and see the poorest and
sickest families within your knowledge.  The darker the setting, the
brighter the diamond.  Don't run about and tell acquaintances that you
have been unfortunate; people do not like to have unfortunate men for

Beethoven was almost totally deaf and burdened with sorrow when he
produced his greatest works.  Schiller wrote his best books in great
bodily suffering.  He was not free from pain for fifteen years.  Milton
wrote his leading productions when blind, poor, and sick.  "Who best
can suffer," said he, "best can do."  Bunyan said that, if it were
lawful, he could even pray for greater trouble, for the greater
comfort's sake.

"Do you know what God puts us on our backs for?" asked Dr. Payson,
smiling, as he lay sick in bed.  "No," replied the visitor.  "In order
that we may look upward."  "I am not come to condole but to rejoice
with you," said the friend, "for it seems to me that this is no time
for mourning."  "Well, I am glad to hear that," said Dr. Payson, "it is
not often I am addressed in such a way.  The fact is I never had less
need of condolence, and yet everybody persists in offering it; whereas,
when I was prosperous and well, and a successful preacher, and really
needed condolence, they flattered and congratulated me."

A German knight undertook to make an immense Aeolian harp by stretching
wires from tower to tower of his castle.  When he finished the harp it
was silent; but when the breezes began to blow he heard faint strains
like the murmuring of distant music.  At last a tempest arose and swept
with fury over his castle, and then rich and grand music came from the
wires.  Ordinary experiences do not seem to touch some lives--to bring
out any poetry, any higher manhood.

Not until the breath of the plague had blasted a hundred thousand
lives, and the great fire had licked up cheap, shabby, wicked London,
did she arise, phoenix-like, from her ashes and ruin, a grand and
mighty city.

True salamanders live best in the furnace of persecution.

"Every man who makes a fortune has been more than once a bankrupt, if
the truth were known," said Albion Tourgée.  "Grant's failure as a
subaltern made him commander-in-chief, and for myself, my failure to
accomplish what I set out to do led me to what I never had aspired to."

The appeal for volunteers in the great battle of life, in exterminating
ignorance and error, and planting high on an everlasting foundation the
banner of intelligence and right, is directed to _you_.  Burst the
trammels that impede your progress, and cling to hope.  Place high thy
standard, and with a firm tread and fearless eye press steadily onward.

Not ease, but effort, not facility, but difficulty, makes men.
Toilsome culture is the price of great success, and the slow growth of
a great character is one of its special necessities.  Many of our best

  "Are cradled into poetry by wrong,
  And learn in suffering what they teach in song."

Byron was stung into a determination to go to the top by a scathing
criticism of his first book, "Hours of Idleness," published when he was
but nineteen years of age.  Macaulay said, "There is scarce an instance
in history of so sudden a rise to so dizzy an eminence as Byron
reached."  In a few years he stood by the side of such men as Scott,
Southey, and Campbell, and died at thirty-seven, that age so fatal to
genius.  Many an orator like "stuttering Jack Curran," or "Orator Mum,"
as he was once called, has been spurred into eloquence by ridicule and

This is the crutch age.  "Helps" and "aids" are advertised everywhere.
We have institutes, colleges, universities, teachers, books, libraries,
newspapers, magazines.  Our thinking is done for us.  Our problems are
all worked out in "explanations" and "keys."  Our boys are too often
tutored through college with very little study.  "Short roads" and
"abridged methods" are characteristic of the century.  Ingenious
methods are used everywhere to get the drudgery out of the college
course.  Newspapers give us our politics, and preachers our religion.
Self-help and self-reliance are getting old fashioned.  Nature, as if
conscious of delayed blessings, has rushed to man's relief with her
wondrous forces, and undertakes to do the world's drudgery and
emancipate him from Eden's curse.

But do not misinterpret her edict.  She emancipates from the lower only
to call to the higher.  She does not bid the world go and play while
she does the work.  She emancipates the muscles only to employ the
brain and heart.

The most beautiful as well as the strongest characters are not
developed in warm climates, where man finds his bread ready made on
trees, and where exertion is a great effort, but rather in a trying
climate and on a stubborn soil.  It is no chance that returns to the
Hindoo ryot a penny and to the American laborer a dollar for his daily
toil; that makes Mexico with its mineral wealth poor, and New England
with its granite and ice rich.  It is rugged necessity, it is the
struggle to obtain, it is poverty the priceless spur, that develops the
stamina of manhood, and calls the race out of barbarism.  Labor found
the world a wilderness and has made it a garden.

As the sculptor thinks only of the angel imprisoned in the marble
block, so Nature cares only for the man or woman shut up in the human
being.  The sculptor cares nothing for the block as such; Nature has
little regard for the mere lump of breathing clay.  The sculptor will
chip off all unnecessary material to set free the angel.  Nature will
chip and pound us remorselessly to bring out our possibilities.  She
will strip us of wealth, humble our pride, humiliate our ambition, let
us down from the ladder of fame, will discipline us in a thousand ways,
if she can develop a little character.  Everything must give way to
that.  Wealth is nothing, position is nothing, fame is nothing,
_manhood is everything_.

Not ease, not pleasure, not happiness, but a _man_, Nature is after.
In every great painting of the masters there is one idea or figure
which stands out boldly beyond everything else.  Every other idea or
figure on the canvas is subordinate to it, but pointing to the central
idea, finds its true expression there.  So in the vast universe of God,
every object of creation is but a guideboard with an index-finger
pointing to the central figure of the created universe--Man.  Nature
writes this thought upon every leaf, she thunders it in every creation.
It is exhaled from every flower; it twinkles in every star.

Oh, what price will Nature not pay for a man!  Ages and aeons were
nothing for her to spend in preparing for his coming, or to make his
existence possible.  She has rifled the centuries for his development,
and placed the universe at his disposal.  The world is but his
kindergarten, and every created thing but an object-lesson from the
unseen universe.  Nature resorts to a thousand expedients to develop a
perfect type of her grandest creation.  To do this she must induce him
to fight his way up to his own loaf.  She never allows him once to lose
sight of the fact that it is the struggle to attain that develops the
man.  The moment we put our hand upon that which looks so attractive at
a distance, and which we struggled so hard to reach, Nature robs it of
its charm by holding up before us another prize still more attractive.

"Life," says a philosopher, "refuses to be so adjusted as to eliminate
from it all strife and conflict and pain.  There are a thousand tasks
that, in larger interests than ours, must be done, whether we want them
or no.  The world refuses to walk upon tiptoe, so that we may be able
to sleep.  It gets up very early and stays up very late, and all the
while there is the conflict of myriads of hammers and saws and axes
with the stubborn material that in no other way can be made to serve
its use and do its work for man.  And then, too, these hammers and axes
are not wielded without strain or pang, but swung by the millions of
toilers who labor with their cries and groans and tears.  Nay, our
temple-building, whether it be for God or man, exacts its bitter toll,
and fills life with cries and blows.  The thousand rivalries of our
daily business, the fiercer animosities when we are beaten, the even
fiercer exultation when we have beaten, the crashing blows of disaster,
the piercing scream of defeat,--these things we have not yet gotten rid
of, nor in this life ever will.  Why should we wish to get rid of them?
We are here, my brother, to be hewed and hammered and planed in God's
quarry and on God's anvil for a nobler life to come."  Only the muscle
that is used is developed.

The constantly cheerful man, who survives his blighted hopes and
disappointments, who takes them just for what they are, lessons, and
perhaps blessings in disguise, is the true hero.

  There is a strength
  Deep bedded in our hearts of which we reck
  But little, till the shafts of heaven have pierced
  Its fragile dwelling.  Must not earth be rent
  Before her gems are found?
        MRS. HEMANS.

  "If what shone afar so grand
  Turns to ashes in the hand,
  On again, the virtue lies
  In the struggle, not the prize."

  "The hero is not fed on sweets,
    Daily his own heart he eats;
  Chambers of the great are jails,
    And head-winds right for royal sails."

          "So many great
  Illustrious spirits have conversed with woe,
  Have in her school been taught, as are enough
  To consecrate distress, and make ambition
  Even wish the frown beyond the smile of fortune."

  Then welcome each rebuff,
  That turns earth's smoothness rough,
  Each sting, that bids not sit nor stand but go.



  Life is an arrow--therefore you must know
  What mark to aim at, how to use the bow--
  Then draw it to the head and let it go.

The important thing in life is to have a great aim, and to possess the
aptitude and perseverance to attain it.--GOETHE.

Concentration alone conquers.--C. BUXTON.

"He who follows two hares is sure to catch neither."

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."

Let every one ascertain his special business and calling, and then
stick to it if he would be successful.--FRANKLIN.

"Digression is as dangerous as stagnation in the career of a young man
in business."

Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows
unconsciously into genius.--BULWER.

Genius is intensity.--BALZAC.

"Why do you lead such a solitary life?" asked a friend of Michael
Angelo.  "Art is a jealous mistress," replied the artist; "she requires
the whole man."  During his labors at the Sistine Chapel, according to
Disraeli, he refused to meet any one, even at his own house.

"That day we sailed westward, which was our course," were the simple
but grand words which Columbus wrote in his journal day after day.
Hope might rise and fall, terror and dismay might seize upon the crew
at the mysterious variations of the compass, but Columbus, unappalled,
pushed due west and nightly added to his record the above words.

"Cut an inch deeper," said a member of the Old Guard to the surgeon
probing his wound, "and you will find the Emperor,"--meaning his heart.
By the marvelous power of concentrated purpose Napoleon had left his
name on the very stones of the capital, had burned it indelibly into
the heart of every Frenchman, and had left it written in living letters
all over Europe.  France to-day has not shaken off the spell of that
name.  In the fair city on the Seine the mystic "N" confronts you

Oh, the power of a great purpose to work miracles!  It has changed the
face of the world.  Napoleon knew that there were plenty of great men
in France, but they did not know the might of the unwavering aim by
which he was changing the destinies of Europe.  He saw that what was
called the "balance of power" was only an idle dream; that, unless some
master-mind could be found which was a match for events, the millions
would rule in anarchy.  His iron will grasped the situation; and like
William Pitt, he did not loiter around balancing the probabilities of
failure or success, or dally with his purpose.  There was no turning to
the right nor to the left; no dreaming away time, nor building
air-castles; but one look and purpose, forward, upward and onward,
straight to his goal.  He always hit the bull's-eye.  His great success
in war was due largely to his definiteness of aim.  He was like a great
burning-glass, concentrating the rays of the sun upon a single spot; he
burned a hole wherever he went.  The secret of his power lay in his
ability to concentrate his forces upon a single point.  After finding
the weak place in the enemy's ranks, he would mass his men and hurl
them like an avalanche upon the critical point, crowding volley upon
volley, charge upon charge, till he made a breach.  What a lesson of
the power of concentration there is in this man's life!  He was able to
focus all his faculties upon the smallest detail, as well as upon an
empire.  But, alas!  Napoleon was himself defeated by violation of his
own tactics,--the constantly repeated crushing force of heavy
battalions upon one point.

To succeed to-day a man must concentrate all the faculties of his mind
upon one unwavering aim, and have a tenacity of purpose which means
death or victory.  Every other inclination which tempts him from his
aim must be suppressed.

New Jersey has many ports, but they are so shallow and narrow that the
shipping of the entire state amounts to but little.  On the other hand,
New York has but one ocean port, and yet it is so broad, deep, and
grand, that it leads America in its enormous shipping trade.  She sends
her vessels into every port of the world, while the ships of her
neighbor are restricted to local voyages.

A man may starve on a dozen half-learned trades or occupations; he may
grow rich and famous upon one trade thoroughly mastered, even though it
be the humblest.

Even Gladstone, with his ponderous yet active brain, says he cannot do
two things at once; he throws his entire strength upon whatever he
does.  The intensest energy characterizes everything he undertakes,
even his recreation.  If such concentration of energy is necessary for
the success of a Gladstone, what can we common mortals hope to
accomplish by "scatteration?"

All great men have been noted for their power of concentration which
makes them oblivious of everything outside their aim.  Victor Hugo
wrote his "Notre Dame" during the revolution of 1830, while the bullets
were whistling across his garden.  He shut himself up in one room,
locking his clothes up, lest they should tempt him to go out into the
street, and spent most of that winter wrapped in a big gray comforter,
pouring his very life into his work.

Genius is intensity.  Abraham Lincoln possessed such power of
concentration that he could repeat quite correctly a sermon to which he
had listened in his boyhood.  Dr. O. W. Holmes, when an Andover
student, riveted his eyes on the book he was studying as though he were
reading a will that made him heir to a million.

A New York sportsman, in answer to an advertisement, sent twenty-five
cents for a sure receipt to prevent a shotgun from scattering, and
received the following; "Dear Sir: To keep a gun from scattering put in
but a single shot."

It is the men who do one thing in this world who come to the front.
Who is the favorite actor?  It is a Jefferson, who devotes a lifetime
to a "Rip Van Winkle," a Booth, an Irving, a Kean, who plays one
character until he can play it better than any other man living, and
not the shallow players who impersonate all parts.  It is the man who
never steps outside of his specialty or dissipates his individuality.
It is an Edison, a Morse, a Bell, a Howe, a Stephenson, a Watt.  It is
Adam Smith, spending ten years on the "Wealth of Nations."  It is
Gibbon, giving twenty years to his "Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire."  It is a Hume, writing thirteen hours a day on his "History of
England."  It is a Webster, spending thirty-six years on his
dictionary.  It is a Bancroft, working twenty-six years on his "History
of the United States."  It is a Field, crossing the ocean fifty times
to lay a cable, while the world ridicules.  It is a Newton, writing his
"Chronology of Ancient Nations" sixteen times.  It is a Grant, who
proposes to "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."  These
are the men who have written their names prominently in the history of
the world.

A one-talent man who decides upon a definite object accomplishes more
than the ten-talent man who scatters his energies and never knows
exactly what he will do.  The weakest living creature, by concentrating
his powers upon one thing, can accomplish something; the strongest, by
dispersing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.  Drop after
drop, continually falling, wears a passage through the hardest rock.
The hasty tempest, as Carlyle points out, rushes over it with hideous
uproar and leaves no trace behind.

A great purpose is cumulative; and, like a great magnet, it attracts
all that is kindred along the stream of life.

A Yankee can splice a rope in many different ways; an English sailor
only knows one way, but that is the best one.  It is the one-sided man,
the sharp-edged man, the man of single and intense purpose, the man of
one idea, who turns neither to the right nor to the left, though a
paradise tempt him, who cuts his way through obstacles and forges to
the front.  The time has gone forever when a Bacon can span universal
knowledge; or when, absorbing all the knowledge of the times, a Dante
can sustain arguments against fourteen disputants in the University of
Paris, and conquer in them all.  The day when a man can successfully
drive a dozen callings abreast is a thing of the past.  Concentration
is the keynote of the century.

Scientists estimate that there is energy enough in less than fifty
acres of sunshine to run all the machinery in the world, if it could be
concentrated.  But the sun might blaze out upon the earth forever
without setting anything on fire; although these rays focused by a
burning-glass would melt solid granite, or even change a diamond into
vapor.  There are plenty of men who have ability enough; the rays of
their faculties, taken separately, are all right, but they are
powerless to collect them, to bring them all to bear upon a single
spot.  Versatile men, universal geniuses, are usually weak, because
they have no power to concentrate their talents upon one point, and
this makes all the difference between success and failure.

Chiseled upon the tomb of a disappointed, heart-broken king, Joseph II.
of Austria, in the Royal Cemetery at Vienna, a traveler tells us, is
this epitaph: "Here lies a monarch who, with the best of intentions,
never carried out a single plan."

Sir James Mackintosh was a man of remarkable ability.  He excited in
every one who knew him the greatest expectations.  Many watched his
career with much interest, expecting that he would dazzle the world.
But there was no purpose in his life.  He had intermittent attacks of
enthusiasm for doing great things, but his zeal all evaporated before
he could decide what to do.  This fatal defect in his character kept
him balancing between conflicting motives; and his whole life was
almost thrown away.  He lacked power to choose one object and persevere
with a single aim, sacrificing every interfering inclination.  He
vacillated for weeks trying to determine whether to use "usefulness" or
"utility" in a composition.

One talent utilized in a single direction will do infinitely more than
ten talents scattered.  A thimbleful of powder behind a ball in a rifle
will do more execution than a carload of powder unconfined.  The
rifle-barrel is the purpose that gives direct aim to the powder, which
otherwise, no matter how good it might be, would be powerless.  The
poorest scholar in school or college often, in practical life, far
outstrips the class leader or senior wrangler, simply because what
little ability he has he employs for a definite object, while the
other, depending upon his general ability and brilliant prospects,
never concentrates his powers.

"A sublime self-confidence," says E. P. Whipple, "springing not from
self-conceit, but from an intense identification of the man with his
object, lifts him altogether above the fear of danger and death, and
communicates an almost superhuman audacity to his will."

      *      *      *      *      *      *


What a sublime spectacle is that of a man going straight to his goal,
cutting his way through difficulties, and surmounting obstacles which
dishearten others, as though they were stepping-stones.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

It is fashionable to ridicule the man of one idea, but the men who have
changed the front of the world have been men of a single aim.  No man
can make his mark on this age of specialties who is not a man of one
idea, one supreme aim, one master passion.  The man who would make
himself felt on this bustling planet, who would make a breach in the
compact conservatism of our civilization, must play all his guns on one
point.  A wavering aim, a faltering purpose, has no place in the
nineteenth century.  "Mental shiftlessness" is the cause of many a
failure.  The world is full of unsuccessful men who spend their lives
letting empty buckets down into empty wells.

"Mr. A. often laughs at me," said a young American chemist, "because I
have but one idea.  He talks about everything, aims to excel in many
things; but I have learned that, if I ever wish to make a breach, I
must play my guns continually upon one point."  This great chemist,
when an obscure schoolmaster, used to study by the light of a pine knot
in a log cabin.  Not many years later he was performing experiments in
electro-magnetism before English earls, and subsequently he was at the
head of one of the largest scientific institutes of this country.  This
man was the late Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution,

Douglas Jerrold once knew a man who was familiar with twenty-four
languages but could not express a thought in one of them.

We should guard against a talent which we cannot hope to practice in
perfection, says Goethe.  Improve it as we may, we shall always, in the
end, when the merit of the matter has become apparent to us, painfully
lament the loss of time and strength devoted to such botching.  An old
proverb says: "The master of one trade will support a wife and seven
children, and the master of seven will not support himself."

_It is the single aim that wins_.  Men with monopolizing ambitions
rarely live in history.  They do not focus their powers long enough to
burn their names indelibly into the roll of honor.  Edward Everett,
even with his magnificent powers, disappointed the expectations of his
friends.  He spread himself over the whole field of knowledge and
elegant culture; but the mention of the name of Everett does not call
up any one great achievement as does that of names like Garrison and
Phillips.  Voltaire called the Frenchman La Harpe an oven which was
always heating, but which never cooked anything.  Hartley Coleridge was
splendidly endowed with talent, like Sir James Mackintosh, but there
was one fatal lack in his character--he had no definite purpose, and
his life was a failure.  Unstable as water, he could not excel.
Southey, his uncle, says:

"Coleridge has two left hands."  He was so morbidly shy from living
alone in his dreamland that he could not open a letter without
trembling.  He would often rally from his purposeless life, and resolve
to redeem himself from the oblivion he saw staring him in the face;
but, like Mackintosh, he remained a man of promise merely to the end of
his life.

The world always makes way for the man with a purpose in him, like
Bismarck or Grant.  Look at Rufus Choate, concentrating all his
attention first on one juryman, then on another, going back over the
whole line again and again, until he has burned his arguments into
their souls; until he has hypnotized them with his purpose; until they
see with his eyes, think his thoughts, feel his sensations.  He never
stopped until he had projected his mind into theirs, and permeated
their lives with his individuality.  There was no escape from his
concentration of purpose, his persuasive rhetoric, his convincing
logic.  "Carry the jury at all hazards," he used to say to young
lawyers; "move heaven and earth to carry the jury, and then fight it
out with the judge on the law questions as best you can."

The man who succeeds has a programme.  He fixes his course and adheres
to it.  He lays his plans and executes them.  He goes straight to his
goal.  He is not pushed this way and that every time a difficulty is
thrown in his path; if he can't get over it he goes through it.
Constant and steady use of the faculties under a central purpose gives
strength and power, while the use of faculties without an aim or end
only weakens them.  The mind must be focused on a definite end, or,
like machinery without a balance-wheel, it will rack itself to pieces.

This age of concentration calls, not for educated men merely, not for
talented men, not for geniuses, not for jacks-of-all-trades, but for
men who are trained to do one thing as well as it can be done.
Napoleon could go through the drill of his soldiers better than any one
of his men.

_Stick to your aim_.  The constant changing of one's occupation is
fatal to all success.  After a young man has spent five or six years in
a dry goods store, he concludes that he would rather sell groceries,
thereby throwing away five years of valuable experience which will be
of very little use to him in the grocery business; and so he spends a
large part of his life drifting around from one kind of employment to
another, learning part of each, but all of none, forgetting that
experience is worth more to him than money, and that the years devoted
to learning his trade or occupation are the most valuable.
Half-learned trades, no matter if a man has twenty, will never give him
a good living, much less a competency, while wealth is absolutely out
of the question.

How many young men fail to reach the point of efficiency in one line of
work before they get discouraged and venture into something else.  How
easy to see the thorns in one's own profession or vocation, and only
the roses in that of another.  A young man in business, for instance,
seeing a physician riding about town in his carriage, visiting his
patients, imagines that a doctor must have an easy, ideal life, and
wonders that he himself should have embarked in an occupation so full
of disagreeable drudgery and hardships.  He does not know of the years
of dry, tedious study which the physician has consumed, the months and
perhaps years of waiting for patients, the dry detail of anatomy, the
endless names of drugs and technical terms.

Scientists tell us that there is nothing in nature so ugly and
disagreeable but intense light will make it beautiful.  The complete
mastery of one profession will render even the driest details
interesting.  The consciousness of thorough knowledge, the habit of
doing everything to a finish, gives a feeling of strength, of
superiority, which takes the drudgery out of an occupation.  The more
completely we master a vocation the more thoroughly we enjoy it.  In
fact, the man who has found his place and become master in it could
scarcely be induced, even though he be a farmer, or a carpenter, or
grocer, to exchange places with a governor or congressman.  To be
successful is to _find your sphere and fill it, to get into your place
and master it_.

There is a sense of great power in a vocation after a man has reached
the point of efficiency in it, the point of productiveness, the point
where his skill begins to tell and bring in returns.  Up to this point
of efficiency, while he is learning his trade, the time seems to have
been almost thrown away.  But he has been storing up a vast reserve of
knowledge of detail, laying foundations, forming his acquaintances,
gaining his reputation for truthfulness, trustworthiness, and
integrity, and in establishing his credit.  When he reaches this point
of efficiency, all the knowledge and skill, character, influence, and
credit thus gained come to his aid, and he soon finds that in what
seemed almost thrown away lies the secret of his prosperity.  The
credit he established as a clerk, the confidence, the integrity, the
friendships formed, he finds equal to a large capital when he starts
out for himself and takes the highway to fortune; while the young man
who half learned several trades, and got discouraged and stopped just
short of the point of efficiency, just this side of success, is a
failure because he didn't go far enough; he did not press on to the
point at which his acquisition would have been profitable.

In spite of the fact that nearly all very successful men have made a
life work of one thing, we see on every hand hundreds of young men and
women flitting about from occupation to occupation, trade to trade, in
one thing to-day and another to-morrow,--just as though they could go
from one thing to another by turning a switch, as if they could run as
well on another track as on the one they have left, regardless of the
fact that no two careers have the same gauge, that every man builds his
own road upon which another's engine cannot run either with speed or
safety.  This fickleness, this disposition to shift about from one
occupation to another, seems to be peculiar to American life, so much
so that, when a young man meets a friend whom he has not seen for some
time, the commonest question to ask is, "What are you doing now?"
showing the improbability or uncertainty that he is doing to-day what
he was doing when they last met.

Some people think that if they "keep everlastingly at it" they will
succeed, but this is not so.  Working without a plan is as foolish as
going to sea without a compass.  A ship which has broken its rudder in
mid-ocean may "keep everlastingly at it," may keep on a full head of
steam, driving about all the time, but it never arrives anywhere, it
never reaches any port unless by accident, and if it does find a haven,
its cargo may not be suited to the people, the climate, or conditions
among which it has accidentally drifted.  The ship must be directed to
a definite port, for which its cargo is adapted, and where there is a
demand for it, and it must aim steadily for that port through sunshine
and storm, through tempest and fog.  So a man who would succeed must
not drift about rudderless on the ocean of life.  He must not only
steer straight toward his destined port when the ocean is smooth, when
the currents and winds serve, but he must keep his course in the very
teeth of the wind and the tempest, and even when enveloped in the fogs
of disappointment and mists of opposition.  The Cunarders do not stop
for fogs or storms; they plow straight through the rough seas with only
one thing in view, their destined port, and no matter what the weather
is, no matter what obstacles they encounter, their arrival in port can
be predicted to within a few hours.  It is practically certain, too,
that the ship destined for Boston will not turn up at Fort Sumter or at
Sandy Hook.

On the prairies of South America there grows a flower that always
inclines in the same direction.  If a traveler loses his way and has
neither compass nor chart, by turning to this flower he will find a
guide on which he can implicitly rely; for no matter how the rains
descend or the winds blow, its leaves point to the north.  So there are
many men whose purposes are so well known, whose aims are so constant,
that no matter what difficulties they may encounter, or what opposition
they may meet, you can tell almost to a certainty where they will come
out.  They may be delayed by head winds and counter currents, but they
will _always head for the port_ and will steer straight towards the
harbor.  You know to a certainty that whatever else they may lose, they
will not lose their compass or rudder.

Whatever may happen to a man of this stamp, even though his sails may
be swept away and his mast stripped to the deck, though he may be
wrecked by the storms of life, the needle of his compass will still
point to the North Star of his hope.  Whatever comes, his life will not
be purposeless.  Even a wreck that makes its port is a greater success
than a full-rigged ship with all its sails flying, with every mast and
rope intact; which merely drifts into an accidental harbor.

To fix a wandering life and give it direction is not an easy task, but
a life which has no definite aim is sure to be frittered away in empty
and purposeless dreams.  "Listless triflers," "busy idlers,"
"purposeless busybodies," are seen everywhere.  A healthy, definite
purpose is a remedy for a thousand ills which attend aimless lives.
Discontent, dissatisfaction, flee before a definite purpose.  An aim
takes the drudgery out of life, scatters doubts to the winds, and
clears up the gloomiest creeds.  What we do without a purpose
begrudgingly, with a purpose becomes a delight, and no work is well
done nor healthily done which is not enthusiastically done.  It is just
that added element which makes work immortal.

Mere energy is not enough, it must be concentrated on some steady,
unwavering aim.  What is more common than "unsuccessful geniuses," or
failures with "commanding talents"?  Indeed, "unrewarded genius" has
become a proverb.  Every town has unsuccessful educated and talented
men.  But education is of no value, talent is worthless, unless it can
do something, achieve something.  Men who can do something at
everything, and a very little at anything, are not wanted in this age.
In Paris, a certain Monsieur Kenard announced himself as a "public
scribe, who digests accounts, explains the language of flowers, and
sells fried potatoes."  Jacks-at-all-trades are at war with the genius
of the times.

What this age wants is young men and women who can do one thing without
losing their identity or individuality, or becoming narrow, cramped, or
dwarfed.  Nothing can take the place of an all-absorbing purpose;
education will not, genius will not, talent will not, industry will
not, will-power will not.  The purposeless life must ever be a failure.
What good are powers, faculties, unless we can use them for a purpose?
What good would a chest of tools do a carpenter unless he could use
them?  A college education, a head full of knowledge, are worth little
to the men who cannot use them to some definite end.

The man without a purpose never leaves his mark upon the world.  He has
no individuality; he is absorbed in the mass, lost in the crowd, weak,
wavering, incompetent.  His outlines of individuality and angles of
character have been worn off, planed down to suit the common thought
until he has, as a man, been lost in the throng of humanity.

"He who would do some great thing in this short life must apply himself
to the work with such a concentration of his forces as, to idle
spectators, who live only to amuse themselves, looks like insanity."

What a great directness of purpose may be traced in the career of Pitt,
who lived--ay, and died--for the sake of political supremacy.  From a
child, the idea was drilled into him that he must accomplish a public
career worthy of his illustrious father.  Even from boyhood he bent all
his energy to this one great purpose.  He went straight from college to
the House of Commons.  In one year he was Chancellor of the Exchequer;
two years later he was Prime Minister of England, and reigned virtually
king for a quarter of a century.  He was utterly oblivious of
everything outside his aim; insensible to the claims of love, art,
literature, living and steadily working for the sole purpose of
wielding the governing power of the nation.  His whole soul was
absorbed in the overmastering passion for political power.

"Consider, my lord," said Rowland Hill to the Prime Minister of
England, "that a letter to Ireland and the answer back would cost
thousands upon thousands of my affectionate countrymen more than a
fifth of their week's wages.  If you shut the post office to them,
which you do now, you shut out warm hearts and generous affections from
home, kindred, and friends."  The lad learned that it cost to carry a
letter from London to Edinburgh, four hundred and four miles, one
eighteenth of a cent, while the government charged for a simple folded
sheet of paper twenty-eight cents, and twice as much if there was the
smallest inclosure.  Against the opposition and contempt of the
post-office department he at length carried his point, and on January
10, 1840, penny postage was established throughout Great Britain.  Mr.
Hill was chosen to introduce the system, at a salary of fifteen hundred
pounds a year.  His success was most encouraging, but at the end of two
years a Tory minister dismissed him without paying for his services, as
agreed.  The public was indignant, and at once contributed sixty-five
thousand dollars; and, at the request of Queen Victoria, Parliament
voted him one hundred thousand dollars and ten thousand dollars a year
for life.

Christ knew that one affection rules in man's life when he said, "No
man can serve two masters."  One affection, one object, will be supreme
in us.  Everything else will be neglected and done with half a heart.
One may have subordinate plans, but he can have but one supreme aim,
and from this aim all others will take their character.

It is a great purpose which gives meaning to life, it unifies all our
powers, binds them together in one cable; makes strong and united what
was weak, separated, scattered.

"Painting is my wife and my works are my children," replied Michael
Angelo when asked why he did not marry.

"Smatterers" are weak and superficial.  Of what use is a man who knows
a little of everything and not much of anything?  It is the momentum of
constantly repeated acts that tells the story.  "Let thine eyes look
straight before thee.  Ponder the path of thy feet and let all thy ways
be established.  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left."  One
great secret of St. Paul's power lay in his strong purpose.  Nothing
could daunt him, nothing intimidate.  The Roman Emperor could not
muzzle him, the dungeon could not appall him, no prison suppress him,
obstacles could not discourage him.  "This one thing I do" was written
all over his work.  The quenchless zeal of his mighty purpose burned
its way down through the centuries, and its contagion will never cease
to fire the hearts of men.

"Try and come home somebody," said the fond mother to Gambetta as she
sent him off to Paris to school.  Poverty pinched this lad hard in his
little garret study and his clothes were shabby, but what of that?  He
had made up his mind to get on in the world.  For years this youth was
chained to his desk and worked like a hero.  At last his opportunity
came.  Jules Favre was to plead a great cause on a certain day; but,
being ill, he chose this young man, absolutely unknown, rough and
uncouth, to take his place.  For many years Gambetta had been preparing
for such an opportunity, and he was equal to it, for he made one of the
greatest speeches that up to that time had ever been made in France.
That night all the papers in Paris were sounding the praises of this
ragged, uncouth Bohemian, and soon all France recognized him as the
Republican leader.  This sudden rise was not due to luck or accident.
He had been steadfastly working and fighting his way up against
opposition and poverty for just such an occasion.  Had he not been
equal to it, it would only have made him ridiculous.  What a stride;
yesterday, poor and unknown, living in a garret, to-day, deputy elect,
in the city of Marseilles, and the great Republican leader!  The
gossipers of France had never heard his name before.  He had been
expelled from the priest-making seminary as totally unfit for a priest
and an utterly undisciplinable character.  In two weeks, this ragged
son of an Italian grocer arose in the Chamber, and moved that the
Napoleon dynasty be disposed of and the Republic be declared

When Louis Napoleon had been defeated at Sedan and had delivered his
sword to William of Prussia, and when the Prussian army was marching on
Paris, the brave Gambetta went out of the besieged city in a balloon
barely grazed by the Prussian guns, landed in Amiens, and by almost
superhuman skill raised three armies of 800,000 men, provided for their
maintenance, and directed their military operations.  A German officer
said, "This colossal energy is the most remarkable event of modern
history, and will carry down Gambetta's name to remote posterity."
This youth who was poring over his books in an attic while other youths
were promenading the Champs Élysées, although but thirty-two years old,
was now virtually dictator of France, and the greatest orator in the
Republic.  What a striking example of the great reserve of personal
power, which, even in dissolute lives, is sometimes called out by a
great emergency or sudden sorrow, and ever after leads the life to
victory!  When Gambetta found that his first speech had electrified all
France, his great reserve rushed to the front, he was suddenly weaned
from dissipation, and resolved to make his mark in the world.  Nor did
he lose his head in his quick leap into fame.  He still lived in the
upper room in the musty Latin quarter, and remained a poor man, without
stain of dishonor, though he might easily have made himself a
millionaire.  When Gambetta died the "Figaro" said, "The Republic has
lost its greatest man."  American boys should study this great man, for
he loved our country, and made our Republic the pattern for France.

There is no grander sight in the world than that of a young man fired
with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim.  He is bound to
win; the world stands one side and lets him pass; it always makes way
for the man with a will in him.  He does not have one half the
opposition to overcome that the undecided, purposeless man has who,
like driftwood, runs against all sorts of snags to which he must yield,
because he has no momentum to force them out of his way.  What a
sublime spectacle it is to see a youth going straight to his goal,
cutting his way through difficulties, and surmounting obstacles, which
dishearten others, as though they were but stepping-stones!  Defeat,
like a gymnasium, only gives him new power; opposition only doubles his
exertions, dangers only increase his courage.  No matter what comes to
him, sickness, poverty, disaster, he never turns his eye from his goal.

"Duos qui sequitur lepores, neutrum capit."



Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap.--GALATIANS.

Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a
character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.--G. D. BOARDMAN.

Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.--POPE.

How use doth breed a habit in a man.--SHAKESPEARE.

  All habits gather, by unseen degrees,
  As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.

Infinite good comes from good habits which must result from the common
influence of example, intercourse, knowledge, and actual
experience--morality taught by good morals.--PLATO.

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt till they are
too strong to be broken.--SAMUEL JOHNSON.

Man is first startled by sin; then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then
delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed.  Then man is
impenitent, then obstinate, then he is damned.--JEREMY TAYLOR.

"Rogues differ little.  Each began as a disobedient son."

In the great majority of things, habit is a greater plague than ever
afflicted Egypt.--JOHN FOSTER.

You cannot in any given case, by any sudden and single effort, will to
be true if the habit of your life has been insincere.--F. W. ROBERTSON.

  The tissue of the life to be,
    We weave with colors all our own;
  And in the field of destiny,
    We reap as we have sown.

"Gentlemen of the jury, you will now consider your verdict," said the
great lawyer, Lord Tenterden, as he roused from his lethargy a moment,
and then closed his eyes forever.  "Tête d'armée" (head of the army),
murmured Napoleon faintly; and then, "on the wings of a tempest that
raged with unwonted fury, up to the throne of the only power that
controlled him while he lived, went the fiery soul of that wonderful
warrior."  "Give Dayrolles a chair," said the dying Chesterfield with
his old-time courtesy, and the next moment his spirit spread its wings.
"Young man, keep your record clean," thrilled from the lips of John B.
Gough as he sank to rise no more.  What power over the mind of man is
exercised by the dominant idea of his life "that parts not quite with
parting breath!"  It has shaped his purpose throughout his earthly
career, and he passes into the Great Unknown, moving in the direction
of his ideal; impelled still, amid the utter retrocession of the vital
force, by all the momentum resulting from his weight of character and
singleness of aim.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: VICTOR HUGO]

"Every one is the son of his own works."

"Cast forth thy act, thy word, into the ever-living, ever-working
universe: it is seed-grain that cannot die."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

 "It is a beautiful arrangement in the mental and
moral economy of our nature, that that which is performed as a duty
may, by frequent repetitions, become a habit, and the habit of stern
virtue, so repulsive to others, may hang around the neck like a wreath
of flowers."

Cholera appeared mysteriously in Toulon, and, after a careful
examination, the medical inspectors learned that the first victims were
two sailors on the Montebello, a government transport, long out of
service, anchored at the entrance to the port.  For many years the
vessel had been used for storing old, disused military equipments.
Some of these had belonged to French soldiers who had died before
Sebastopol.  The doctors learned that the two poor sailors were seized,
suddenly and mortally, a few days after displacing a pile of equipments
stored deep in the hold of the Montebello.  The cholera of Toulon came
in a direct line from the hospital of Varna.  It went to sleep,
apparently gorged, on a heap of the cast-off garments of its victims,
to awaken thirty years later to victorious and venomous life.

Professor Bonelli, of Turin, punctured an animal with the tooth of a
rattlesnake.  The head of this serpent had lain in a dry state for
sixteen years exposed to the air and dust, and, moreover, had
previously been preserved more than thirty years in spirits of wine.
To his great astonishment an hour afterward the animal died.  So
habits, good or bad, that have been lost sight of for years will spring
into a new life to aid or injure us at some critical moment, as kernels
of wheat which had been clasped in a mummy's hand four thousand years
sprang into life when planted.  They only awaited moisture, heat,
sunlight, and air to develop them.

In Jefferson's play, Rip Van Winkle, after he had "sworn off," at every
invitation to drink said, "Well, this time don't count."  True, as
Professor James says, he may not have counted it, as thousands of
others have not counted it, and a kind heaven may not count it, but it
is being counted none the less.  Down among his nerve cells and fibres
the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used
against him when the next temptation comes.  Nothing we ever do is in
strict scientific literalness wiped out.  There is a tendency in the
nervous system to repeat the same mode of action at regularly recurring
intervals.  Dr. Combe says that all nervous diseases have a marked
tendency to observe regular periods.  "If we repeat any kind of mental
effort at the same hour daily, we at length find ourselves entering
upon it without premeditation when the time approaches."

"The great thing in all education is to make our nervous system our
ally instead of our enemy.  It is to fund and capitalize our
acquisition, and live at ease upon the interest of the fund.  For this
we must make automatic and habitual, as soon as possible, as many
useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that
are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we would guard against the

The nervous system is a living phonograph, infinitely more marvelous
than that of Edison.  No sound, however feeble, however slight, can
escape being recorded in its wonderful mechanism.  Although the
molecules of this living machine may all be entirely changed many times
during a lifetime, yet these impressions are never erased or lost.
They become forever fixed in the character.  Like Rip Van Winkle, the
youth may say to himself, I will do this just once "just to see what it
is like," no one will ever know it, and "I won't count this time."  The
country youth says it when he goes to the city.  The young man says it
when he drinks "just to be social."  Americans, who are good church
people at home, say it when in Paris and Vienna.  Yes, "just to see
what it is like" has ruined many a noble life.  Many a man has lost his
balance and fallen over the precipice into the sink of iniquity while
just attempting "to see what it was like."  "If you have been pilot on
these waters twenty-five years," said a young man to the captain of a
steamer, "you must know every rock and sandbank in the river."  "No, I
don't, but I know where the deep water is."

Just one little lie to help me out of this difficulty; "I won't count
this."  Just one little embezzlement; no one will know it, and I can
return the money before it will be needed.  Just one little indulgence;
I won't count it, and a good night's sleep will make me all right
again.  Just one small part of my work slighted; it won't make any
great difference, and, besides, I am usually so careful that a little
thing like this ought not to be counted.

But, my young friend, it will be counted, whether you will or not; the
deed has been recorded with an iron pen, even to the smallest detail.
The Recording Angel is no myth; it is found in ourselves.  Its name is
Memory, and it holds everything.  We think we have forgotten thousands
of things until mortal danger, fever, or some other great stimulus
reproduces them to the consciousness with all the fidelity of
photographs.  Sometimes all one's past life will seem to pass before
him in an instant; but at all times it is really, although
unconsciously, passing before him in the sentiments he feels, in the
thoughts he thinks, in the impulses that move him apparently without

  "Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
  Our fatal shadows that walk by us still."

In a fable one of the Fates spun filaments so fine that they were
invisible, and she became a victim of her cunning, for she was bound to
the spot by these very threads.

Father Schoenmaker, missionary to the Indians, tried for years to
implant civilization among the wild tribes.  After fifteen years' labor
he induced a chief to lay aside his blanket, the token of savagery; but
he goes on to say, "It took fifteen years to get it off, and just
fifteen minutes to get it on him again."

Physiologists say that dark-colored stripes similar to those on the
zebra reappear, after a hundred or a thousand generations, on the legs
and shoulders of horses, asses, and mules.  Large birds on sea islands
where there are no beasts to molest them lose the power of flight.

After a criminal's head had been cut off his breast was irritated, and
he raised his hands several times as if to brush away the exciting
cause.  It was said that the cheek of Charlotte Corday blushed on being
struck by a rude soldier after the head had been severed from the body.

Humboldt found in South America a parrot which was the only living
creature that could speak a word of the language of a lost tribe.  The
bird retained the habit of speech after his teachers had died.

Caspar Hauser was confined, probably from birth, in a dungeon where no
light or sound from the outer world, could reach him.  At seventeen he
was still a mental infant, crying and chattering without much apparent
intelligence.  When released, the light was disagreeable to his eyes;
and, after the babbling youth had been taught to speak a few words, he
begged to be taken back to the dungeon.  Only cold and dismal silence
seemed to satisfy him.  All that gave pleasure to others gave his
perverted senses only pain.  The sweetest music was a source of anguish
to him, and he could eat only his black crust without violent vomiting.

Deep in the very nature of animate existence is that principle of
facility and inclination, acquired by repetition, which we call habit.
Man becomes a slave to his constantly repeated acts.  In spite of the
protests of his weakened will the trained nerves continue to repeat the
acts even when the doer abhors them.  What he at first chooses, at last
compels.  Man is as irrevocably chained to his deeds as the atoms are
chained by gravitation.  You can as easily snatch a pebble from
gravitation's grasp as you can separate the minutest act of life from
its inevitable effect upon character and destiny.  "Children may be
strangled," says George Eliot, "but deeds never, they have an
indestructible life."  The smirched youth becomes the tainted man.

Practically all the achievements of the human race are but the
accomplishments of habit.  We speak of the power of Gladstone to
accomplish so much in a day as something marvelous; but when we analyze
that power we find it composed very largely of the results of habit.
His mighty momentum has been rendered possible only by the law of the
power of habit.  He is now a great bundle of habits, which all his life
have been forming.  His habit of industry no doubt was irksome and
tedious at first, but, practiced so conscientiously and persistently,
it has gained such momentum as to astonish the world.  His habit of
thinking, close, persistent, and strong, has made him a power.  He
formed the habit of accurate, keen observation, allowing nothing to
escape his attention, until he could observe more in half a day in
London than a score of men who have eyes but see not.  Thus he has
multiplied himself many times.  By this habit of accuracy he has
avoided many a repetition; and so, during his lifetime, he has saved
years of precious time, which many others, who marvel at his
achievements, have thrown away.

Gladstone early formed the habit of cheerfulness, of looking on the
bright side of things, which, Sydney Smith says, "is worth a thousand
pounds a year."  This again has saved him enormous waste of energy, as
he tells us he has never yet been kept awake a single hour by any
debate or business in Parliament.  This loss of energy has wasted years
of many a useful life, which might have been saved by forming the
economizing habit of cheerfulness.

The habit of happy thought would transform the commonest life into
harmony and beauty.  The will is almost omnipotent to determine habits
which virtually are omnipotent.  The habit of directing a firm and
steady will upon those things which tend to produce harmony of thought
would produce happiness and contentment even in the most lowly
occupations.  The will, rightly drilled, can drive out all discordant
thoughts, and produce a reign of perpetual harmony.  Our trouble is
that we do not half will.  After a man's habits are well set, about all
he can do is to sit by and observe which way he is going.  Regret it as
he may, how helpless is a weak man bound by the mighty cable of habit,
twisted from the tiny threads of single acts which he thought were
absolutely within his control!

Drop a stone down a precipice.  By the law of gravitation it sinks with
rapidly increasing momentum.  If it falls sixteen feet the first
second, it will fall forty-eight feet the next second, and eighty feet
the third second, and one hundred and forty-four feet the fifth second,
and if it falls for ten seconds it will in the last second rush through
three hundred and four feet till earth stops it.  Habit is cumulative.
After each act of our lives we are not the same person as before, but
quite another, better or worse, but not the same.  There has been
something added to, or deducted from, our weight of character.

"There is no fault nor folly of my life," said Ruskin; "that does not
rise against me and take away my joy, and shorten my power of
possession, of sight, of understanding; and every past effort of my
life, every gleam of righteousness or good in it, is with me now to
help me in my grasp of this hour and its vision."

"Many men of genius have written worse scrawls than I do," said a boy
at Rugby when his teacher remonstrated with him for his bad penmanship;
"it is not worth while to worry about so trivial a fault."  Ten years
later, when he had become an officer in the Crimea, his illegible copy
of an order caused the loss of many brave men.

"Resist beginning" was an ancient motto which is needed in our day.
The folly of the child becomes the vice of the youth, and then the
crime of the man.

In 1880 one hundred and forty-seven of the eight hundred and
ninety-seven inmates of Auburn State Prison were there on a second
visit.  What brings the prisoner back the second, third, or fourth
time?  It is habit which drives him on to commit the deed which his
heart abhors and which his very soul loathes.  It is the momentum made
up from a thousand deviations from the truth and right, for there is a
great difference between going just right and a little wrong.  It is
the result of that mysterious power which the repeated act has of
getting itself repeated again and again.

When a woman was dying from the effects of her husband's cruelty and
debauchery from drink she asked him to come to her bedside, and pleaded
with him again for the sake of their children to drink no more.
Grasping his hand with her thin, long fingers, she made him promise
her: "Mary, I will drink no more till I take it out of this hand which
I hold in mine."  That very night he poured out a tumbler of brandy,
stole into the room where she lay cold in her coffin, put the tumbler
into her withered hand, and then took it out and drained it to the
bottom.  John B. Gough told this as a true story.  How powerless a man
is in the presence of a mighty habit, which has robbed him of
will-power, of self-respect, of everything manly, until he becomes its

Walpole tells of a gambler who fell at the table in a fit of apoplexy,
and his companions began to bet upon his chances of recovery.  When the
physician came they refused to let him bleed the man because they said
it would affect the bet.  When President Garfield was hanging between
life and death men bet heavily upon the issue, and even sold pools.

No disease causes greater horror or dread than cholera; yet when it is
once fastened upon a victim he is perfectly indifferent, and wonders at
the solicitude of his friends.  His tears are dried; he cannot weep if
he would.  His body is cold and clammy and feels like dead flesh, yet
he tells you he is warm, and calls for ice water.  Have you never seen
similar insensibility to danger in those whose habits are already
dragging them to everlasting death?

Etherized by the fascinations of pleasure, we are often unconscious of
pain while the devil amputates the fingers, the feet and hands, or even
the arms and legs of our character.  But oh, the anguish that visits
the sad heart when the lethe passes away, and the soul becomes
conscious of virtue sacrificed, of manhood lost.

The leper is often the last to suspect his danger, for the disease is
painless in its early stages.  A leading lawyer and public official in
the Sandwich Islands once overturned a lighted lamp on his hand, and
was surprised to find that it caused no pain.  At last it dawned upon
his mind that he was a leper.  He resigned his offices and went to the
leper's island, where he died.  So sin in its early stages is not only
painless but often even pleasant.

The hardening, deadening power of depraving habits and customs was
strikingly illustrated by the Romans.

Under Nero, the taste of the people had become so debauched and morbid
that no mere representation of tragedy would satisfy them.  Their
cold-blooded selfishness, the hideous realism of "a refined, delicate,
aesthetic age," demanded that the heroes should actually be killed on
the stage.  The debauched and sanguinary Romans reckoned life worthless
without the most thrilling experiences of horror or delight.  Tragedy
must be genuine bloodshed, comedy, actual shame.  When "The
Conflagration" was represented on the stage they demanded that a house
be actually burned and the furniture plundered.  When "Laureolus" was
played they demanded that the actor be really crucified and mangled by
a bear, and he had to fling himself down and deluge the stage with his
own blood.  Prometheus must be really chained to his rock, and Dirce in
very fact be tossed and gored by the wild bull, and Orpheus be torn to
pieces by a real bear, and Icarus was compelled to fly, even though it
was known he would be dashed to death.  When the heroism of "Mucius
Scaevola" was represented, a real criminal was compelled to thrust his
hand into the flame without a murmur, and stand motionless while it was
being burned.  Hercules was compelled to ascend the funeral pyre, and
there be burned alive.  The poor slaves and criminals were compelled to
play their parts heroically until the flames enveloped them.

The pirate Gibbs, who was executed in New York, said that when he
robbed the first vessel his conscience made a hell in his bosom; but
after he had sailed for years under the black flag, he could rob a
vessel and murder all the crew, and lie down and sleep soundly.  A man
may so accustom himself to error as to become its most devoted slave,
and be led to commit the most fearful crimes in order to defend it, or
to propagate it.

When Gordon, the celebrated California stage-driver, was dying, he put
his foot out of the bed and swung it to and fro.  When asked why he did
so, he replied, "I am on the down grade and cannot get my foot on the

In our great museums you see stone slabs with the marks of rain that
fell hundreds of years before Adam lived, and the footprint of some
wild bird that passed across the beach in those olden times.  The
passing shower and the light foot left their prints on the soft
sediment; then ages went on, and the sediment hardened into stone; and
there the prints remain, and will remain forever.  So the child, so
soft, so susceptible to all impressions, so joyous to receive new
ideas, treasures them all up, gathers them all into itself, and retains
them forever.

A tribe of Indians attacked a white settlement and murdered the few
inhabitants.  A woman of the tribe, however, carried away a very young
infant, and reared it as her own.  The child grew up with the Indian
children, different in complexion, but like them in everything else.
To scalp the greatest possible number of enemies was, in his view, the
most glorious thing in the world.  While he was still a youth he was
seen by some white traders, and by them conducted back to civilized
life.  He showed great relish for his new life, and especially a strong
desire for knowledge and a sense of reverence which took the direction
of religion, so that he desired to become a clergyman.  He went through
his college course with credit, and was ordained.  He fulfilled his
function well, and appeared happy and satisfied.  After a few years he
went to serve in a settlement somewhere near the seat of war which was
then going on between Britain and the United States, and before long
there was fighting not far off.  He went forth in his usual
dress--black coat and neat white shirt and neckcloth.  When he returned
he was met by a gentleman of his acquaintance, who was immediately
struck by an extraordinary change in the expression of his face and the
flush on his cheek, and also by his unusually shy and hurried manner.
After asking news of the battle the gentleman observed, "But you are
wounded?"  "No."  "Not wounded!  Why, there is blood upon the bosom of
your shirt!"  The young man quickly crossed his hands firmly upon his
breast; and his friend, supposing that he wished to conceal a wound
which ought to be looked to, pulled open his shirt, and saw--what made
the young man let fall his hands in despair.  From between his shirt
and his breast the friend took out--a bloody scalp!  "I could not help
it," said the poor victim of early habits, in an agonized voice.  He
turned and ran, too swiftly to be overtaken, betook himself to the
Indians, and never more appeared among the whites.

An Indian once brought up a young lion, and finding him weak and
harmless, did not attempt to control him.  Every day the lion gained in
strength and became more unmanageable, until at last, when excited by
rage, he fell upon his master and tore him to pieces.  So what seemed
to be an "innocent" sin has grown until it strangled him who was once
its easy master.

Beware of looking at sin, for at each view it is apt to become better

Habit is practically, for a middle-aged person, fate; for is it not
practically certain that what I have done for twenty years I shall
repeat to-day?  What are the chances for a man who has been lazy and
indolent all his life starting in to-morrow morning to be industrious;
or a spendthrift, frugal; a libertine, virtuous; a profane,
foul-mouthed man, clean and chaste?

A Grecian flute-player charged double fees for pupils who had been
taught by inferior masters, on the ground that it was much harder to
undo than to form habits.

Habit tends to make us permanently what we are for the moment.  We
cannot possibly hear, see, feel, or experience anything which is not
woven in the web of character.  What we are this minute and what we do
this minute, what we think this minute, will be read in the future
character as plainly as words spoken into the phonograph can be
reproduced in the future.

"The air itself," says Babbage, "is one vast library on whose pages are
written forever all that man has ever said, whispered, or done."  Every
sin you ever committed becomes your boon companion.  It rushes to your
lips every time you speak, and drags its hideous form into your
imagination every time you think.  It throws its shadow across your
path whichever way you turn.  Like Banquo's ghost, it will not down.
You are fastened to it for life, and it will cling to you in the vast
forever.  Do you think yourself free?  You are a slave to every sin you
ever committed.  They follow your pen and work their own character into
every word you write.

Rectitude is only the confirmed habit of doing what is right.  Some men
cannot tell a lie: the habit of truth telling is fixed, it has become
incorporated with their nature.  Their characters bear the indelible
stamp of veracity.  You and I know men whose slightest word is
unimpeachable; nothing could shake our confidence in them.  There are
other men who cannot speak the truth: their habitual insincerity has
made a twist in their characters, and this twist appears in their

"I never in my life committed more than one act of folly," said
Rulhière one day in the presence of Talleyrand.  "But where will it
end?" inquired the latter.  It was lifelong.  One mistake too many
makes all the difference between safety and destruction.

How many men would like to go to sleep beggars and wake up Rothschilds
or Astors?  How many would fain go to bed dunces and wake up Solomons?
You reap what you have sown.  Those who have sown dunce-seed,
vice-seed, laziness-seed, always get a crop.  They that sow the wind
shall reap the whirlwind.

Habit, like a child, repeats whatever is done before it.  Oh, the power
of a repeated act to get itself repeated again and again!  But, like
the wind, it is a power which we can use to force our way in its very
teeth as does the ship, and thus multiply our strength, or we can drift
with it without exertion upon the rocks and shoals of destruction.

What a great thing it is to "start right" in life.  Every young man can
see that the first steps lead to the last, with all except his own.
No, his little prevarications and dodgings will not make him a liar,
but he can see that they surely will in John Smith's case.  He can see
that others are idle and on the road to ruin, but cannot see it in his
own case.

There is a wonderful relation between bad habits.  They all belong to
the same family.  If you take in one, no matter how small or
insignificant it may seem, you will soon have the whole.  A man who has
formed the habit of laziness or idleness will soon be late at his
engagements; a man who does not meet his engagements will dodge,
apologize, prevaricate, and lie.  I have rarely known a perfectly
truthful man who was always behind time.

You have seen a ship out in the bay swinging with the tide and the
waves; the sails are all up, and you wonder why it does not move, but
it cannot, for down beneath the water it is anchored.  So we often see
a young man apparently well equipped, well educated, and we wonder that
he does not advance toward manhood and character.  But, alas! we find
that he is anchored to some secret vice, and he can never advance until
he cuts loose.

  "The first crime past compels us into more,
  And guilt grows _fate_ that was but _choice_ before."

  "Small habits, well pursued betimes,
  May reach the dignity of crimes."

Thousands can sympathize with David when he cried, "My sins have taken
such hold upon me that I am not able to look up; my heart faileth me."
Like the damned spot of blood on Lady Macbeth's hand, these foul spots
on the imagination will not out.  What a penalty nature exacts for
physical sins.  The gods are just, and "of our pleasant vices make
instruments to plague us."

Plato wrote over his door, "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter
here."  The greatest value of the study of the classics and mathematics
comes from the habits of accurate and concise thought which it induces.
The habit-forming portion of life is the dangerous period, and we need
the discipline of close application to hold us outside of our studies.

Washington at thirteen wrote one hundred and ten maxims of civility and
good behavior, and was most careful in the formation of all habits.
Franklin, too, devised a plan of self-improvement and character
building.  No doubt the noble characters of these two men, almost
superhuman in their excellence, are the natural result of their early
care and earnest striving towards perfection.

Fielding, describing a game of cards between Jonathan Wild, of
pilfering propensities, and a professional gambler, says: "Such was the
power of habit over the minds of these illustrious persons, that Mr.
Wild could not keep his hands out of the count's pockets, though he
knew they were empty; nor could the count abstain from palming a card,
though he was well aware Mr. Wild had no money to pay him."

"Habit," says Montaigne, "is a violent and treacherous schoolmistress.
She, by little and little, slyly and unperceived, slips in the foot of
her authority, but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the
aid of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and
tyrannic countenance against which we have no more the courage nor the
power so much as to lift up our eyes."  It led a New York man actually
to cut off his hand with a cleaver under a test of what he would resort
to, to get a glass of whiskey.  It has led thousands of nature's
noblemen to drunkards' and libertines' graves.

Gough's life is a startling illustration of the power of habit, and of
the ability of one apparently a hopeless slave to break his fetters and
walk a free man in the sunlight of heaven.  He came to America when
nine years old.  Possessed of great powers of song, of mimicry, and of
acting, and exceedingly social in his tastes, a thousand temptations

  "Widened and strewed with flowers the way
        Down to eternal ruin."

"I would give this right hand to redeem those terrible seven years of
dissipation and death," he would often say in after years when, with
his soul still scarred and battered from his conflict with blighting
passion, he tearfully urged young men to free themselves from the
chains of bestial habits.

In the laboratory of Faraday a workman one day knocked into a jar of
acid a silver cup; it disappeared, was eaten up by the acid, and could
not be found.  The question came up whether it could ever be found.
The great chemist came in and put certain chemicals into the jar, and
every particle of the silver was precipitated to the bottom.  The mass
was then sent to a silversmith, and the cup restored.  So a precious
youth who has fallen into the sink of iniquity, lost, dissolved in sin,
can only be restored by the Great Chemist.

What is put into the first of life is put into the whole of life.  "Out
of a church of twenty-seven hundred members, I have never had to
exclude a single one who was received while a child," said Spurgeon.
It is the earliest sin that exercises the most influence for evil.

Benedict Arnold was the only general in the Revolution that disgraced
his country.  He had great military talent, wonderful energy, and a
courage equal to any emergency.  But Arnold _did not start right_.
Even when a boy he was despised for his cruelty and his selfishness.
He delighted in torturing insects and birds that he might watch their
sufferings.  He scattered pieces of glass and sharp tacks on the floor
of the shop he was tending, to cut the feet of the barefooted boys.
Even in the army, in spite of his bravery, the soldiers hated him, and
the officers dared not trust him.

  Let no man trust the first false step
  Of guilt; it hangs upon a precipice,
  Whose steep descent in last perdition ends.

Years ago there was a district lying near Westminster Abbey, London,
called the "Devil's Acre,"--a school for vicious habits, where
depravity was universal; where professional beggars were fitted with
all the appliances of imposture; where there was an agency for the hire
of children to be carried about by forlorn widows and deserted wives,
to move the compassion of street-giving benevolence; where young
pickpockets were trained in the art and mystery which was to conduct
them in due course to an expensive voyage for the good of their country
to Botany Bay.

Victor Hugo describes a strange association of men in the seventeenth
century who bought children and distorted and made monstrosities of
them to amuse the nobility with; and in cultured Boston there is an
association of so-called "respectable men," who have opened thousands
of "places of business" for deforming men, women, and children's souls.
But we deform ourselves with agencies so pleasant that we think we are
having a good time, until we become so changed and enslaved that we
scarcely recognize ourselves.  Vice, the pleasant guest which we first
invited into our heart's parlor, becomes vulgarly familiar, and
intrenches herself deep in our very being.  We ask her to leave, but
she simply laughs at us from the hideous wrinkles she has made in our
faces, and refuses to go.  Our secret sins defy us from the hideous
furrows they have cut in our cheeks.  Each impure thought has chiseled
its autograph deep into the forehead, too deep for erasure, and the
glassy, bleary eye adds its testimony to our ruined character.

The devil does not apply his match to the hard coal; but he first
lights the shavings of "innocent sins," and the shavings the wood, and
the wood the coal.  Sin is gradual.  It does not break out on a man
until it has long circulated through his system.  Murder, adultery,
theft, are not committed in deed until they have been committed in
thought again and again.

"Don't write there," said a man to a boy who was writing with a diamond
pin on a pane of glass in the window of a hotel.  "Why not?" inquired
the boy.  "Because you can't rub it out."  Yet the glass might have
been broken and all trace of the writing lost, but things written upon
the human soul can never be removed, for the tablet is immortal.

"In all the wide range of accepted British maxims," said Thomas Hughes,
"there is none, take it all in all, more thoroughly abominable than
this one, as to the sowing of wild oats.  Look at it on what side you
will, and I defy you to make anything but a devil's maxim of it.  What
man, be he young, old, or middle-aged, sows, that, and nothing else,
shall he reap.  The only thing to do with wild oats is to put them
carefully into the hottest part of the fire, and get them burnt to
dust, every seed of them.  If you sow them, no matter in what ground,
up they will come with long, tough roots and luxuriant stalks and
leaves, as sure as there is a sun in heaven.  The devil, too, whose
special crop they are, will see that they thrive, and you, and nobody
else, will have to reap them."

  We scatter seeds with careless hand,
  And dream we ne'er shall see them more;
  But for a thousand years
  Their fruit appears,
  In weeds that mar the land.
        JOHN KEBLE.

Theodora boasted that she could draw Socrates' disciples away from him.
"That may be," said the philosopher, "for you lead them down an easy
descent whereas I am forcing them to mount to virtue--an arduous ascent
and unknown to most men."

"When I am told of a sickly student," said Daniel Wise, "that he is
'studying himself to death,' or of a feeble young mechanic, or clerk,
that his hard work is destroying him, I study his countenance, and
there, too often, read the real, melancholy truth in his dull, averted,
sunken eye, discolored skin, and timid manner.  These signs proclaim
that the young man is in some way violating the laws of his physical
nature.  He is secretly destroying himself.  Yet, say his unconscious
and admiring friends, 'He is falling a victim to his own diligence!'
Most lame and impotent conclusion!  He is sapping the very source of
life, and erelong will be a mind in ruins or a heap of dust.  Young
man, beware of his example!  'Keep thyself pure;' observe the laws of
your physical nature, and the most unrelaxing industry will never rob
you of a month's health, nor shorten the thread of your life; for
industry and health are companions, and long life is the heritage of

  "How shall I a habit break?"
  As you did that habit make.
  As you gathered, you must lose;
  As you yielded, now refuse.
  Thread by thread the strands we twist
  Till they bind us neck and wrist.
  Thread by thread the patient hand
  Must untwine ere free we stand.
  As we builded, stone by stone,
  We must toil, unhelped, alone,
  Till the wall is overthrown.

  But remember, as we try,
  Lighter every test goes by;
  Wading in, the stream grows deep
  Toward the centre's downward sweep;
  Backward turn, each step ashore
  Shallower is than that before.

  Ah, the precious years we waste
  Leveling what we raised in haste;
  Doing what must be undone,
  Ere content or love be won!
  First across the gulf we cast
  Kite-borne threads till lines are passed,
  And habit builds the bridge at last.



I learned that no man in God's wide earth is either willing or able to
help any other man.--PESTALOZZI.

What I am I have made myself.--HUMPHRY DAVY.

Be sure, my son, and remember that the best men always make
themselves.--PATRICK HENRY.

  Hereditary bondsmen, know ye not
  Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?

God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the
nest.--J. G. HOLLAND.

Never forget that others will depend upon you, and that you cannot
depend upon them.--DUMAS, FILS.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to

The best education in the world is that got by struggling to obtain a

Every person has two educations, one which he receives from others, and
one, more important, which he gives himself.--GIBBON.

What the superior man seeks is in himself: what the small man seeks is
in others.--CONFUCIUS.

  Who waits to have his task marked out,
  Shall die and leave his errand unfulfilled.

  In battle or business, whatever the game,
  In law, or in love, it's ever the same:
  In the struggle for power, or scramble for pelf,
  Let this be your motto, "Rely on yourself."

  Let every eye negotiate for itself,
  And trust no agent.

"Colonel Crockett makes room for himself!" exclaimed a backwoods
congressman in answer to the exclamation of the White House usher to
"Make room for Colonel Crockett!"  This remarkable man was not afraid
to oppose the head of a great nation.  He preferred being right to
being president.  Though rough, uncultured, and uncouth, Crockett was a
man of great courage and determination.

Garfield was the youngest member of the House of Representatives when
he entered, but he had not been in his seat sixty days before his
ability was recognized and his place conceded.  He stepped to the front
with the confidence of one who belonged there.  He succeeded because
all the world in concert could not have kept him in the background, and
because when once in the front he played his part with an intrepidity
and a commanding ease that were but the outward evidences of the
immense reserves of energy on which it was in his power to draw.

[Illustration: James A. Garfield (missing from book)]

"Take the place and attitude which belong to you," says Emerson, "and
all men acquiesce.  The world must be just.  It leaves every man with
profound unconcern to set his own rate."

Grant was no book soldier.  Some of his victories were contrary to all
instructions in military works.  He did not dare to disclose his plan
to invest Vicksburg, and he even cut off all communication on the
Mississippi River for seven days that no orders could reach him from
General Halleck, his superior officer; for he knew that Halleck went by
books, and he was proceeding contrary to all military theories.  He was
making a greater military history than had ever been written up to that
time.  He was greater than all books of tactics.  The consciousness of
power is everything.  That man is strongest who owes most to himself.

"Man, it is within yourself," says Pestalozzi, "it is in the inner
sense of your power that resides nature's instrument for your

Richard Arkwright, the thirteenth child, in a hovel, with no education,
no chance, gave his spinning model to the world, and put a sceptre in
England's right hand such as the queen never wielded.

"A person under the firm persuasion that he can command resources
virtually has them," says Livy.

Solario, a wandering gypsy tinker, fell deeply in love with the
daughter of the painter Coll' Antonio del Fiore, but was told that no
one but a painter as good as the father should wed the maiden.  "Will
you give me ten years to learn to paint, and so entitle myself to the
hand of your daughter?"  Consent was given, Coll' Antonio thinking that
he would never be troubled further by the gypsy.  About the time that
the ten years were to end the king's sister showed Coll' Antonio a
Madonna and Child, which the painter extolled in terms of the highest
praise.  Judge of his surprise on learning that Solario was the artist.
But later, his son-in-law surprised him even more by his rare skill.

Louis Philippe said he was the only sovereign in Europe fit to govern,
for he could black his own boots.

When asked to name his family coat-of-arms, a self-made President of
the United States replied, "A pair of shirtsleeves."

"Poverty is uncomfortable, as I can testify," said James A. Garfield;
"but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young
man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for
himself.  In all my acquaintance I have never known a man to be drowned
who was worth the saving."

It is not the men who have inherited most, except it be in nobility of
soul and purpose, who have risen highest; but rather the men with no
"start" who have won fortunes, and have made adverse circumstances a
spur to goad them up the steep mount, where

  "Fame's proud temple shines afar."

To such men, every possible goal is accessible, and honest ambition has
no height that genius or talent may tread, which has not felt the
impress of their feet.

You may leave your millions to your son, but have you really given him
anything?  You cannot transfer the discipline, the experience, the
power which the acquisition has given you; you cannot transfer the
delight of achieving, the joy felt only in growth, the pride of
acquisition, the character which trained habits of accuracy, method,
promptness, patience, dispatch, honesty of dealing, politeness of
manner have developed.  You cannot transfer the skill, sagacity,
prudence, foresight, which lie concealed in your wealth.  It meant a
great deal for you, but means nothing to your heir.  In climbing to
your fortune, you developed the muscle, stamina, and strength which
enabled you to maintain your lofty position, to keep your millions
intact.  You had the power which comes only from experience, and which
alone enables you to stand firm on your dizzy height.  Your fortune was
experience to you, joy, growth, discipline, and character; to him it
will be a temptation, an anxiety, which will probably dwarf him.  It
was wings to you, it will be a dead weight to him; it was education to
you and expansion of your highest powers; to him it may mean inaction,
lethargy, indolence, weakness, ignorance.  You have taken the priceless
spur--necessity--away from him, the spur which has goaded man to nearly
all the great achievements in the history of the world.

You thought it a kindness to deprive yourself in order that your son
might begin where you left off.  You thought to spare him the drudgery,
the hardships, the deprivations, the lack of opportunities, the meagre
education, which you had on the old farm.  But you have put a crutch
into his hand instead of a staff; you have taken away from him the
incentive to self-development, to self-elevation, to self-discipline
and self-help, without which no real success, no real happiness, no
great character is ever possible.  His enthusiasm will evaporate, his
energy will be dissipated, his ambition, not being stimulated by the
struggle for self-elevation, will gradually die away.  If you do
everything for your son and fight his battles for him, you will have a
weakling on your hands at twenty-one.

"My life is a wreck," said the dying Cyrus W. Field, "my fortune gone,
my home dishonored.  Oh, I was so unkind to Edward when I thought I was
being kind.  If I had only had firmness enough to compel my boys to
earn their living, then they would have known the meaning of money."
His table was covered with medals and certificates of honor from many
nations, in recognition of his great work for civilization in mooring
two continents side by side in thought, of the fame he had won and
could never lose.  But grief shook the sands of life as he thought only
of the son who had brought disgrace upon a name before unsullied, the
wounds were sharper than those of a serpent's tooth.

During the great financial crisis of 1857 Maria Mitchell, who was
visiting England, asked an English lady what became of daughters when
no property was left them.  "They live on their brothers," was the
reply.  "But what becomes of the American daughters," asked the English
lady, "when there is no money left?"  "They earn it," was the reply.

Men who have been bolstered up all their lives are seldom good for
anything in a crisis.  When misfortune comes, they look around for
somebody to lean upon.  If the prop is not there down they go.  Once
down, they are as helpless as capsized turtles, or unhorsed men in
armor.  Many a frontier boy has succeeded beyond all his expectations
simply because all props were knocked out from under him and he was
obliged to stand upon his own feet.

"A man's best friends are his ten fingers," said Robert Collyer, who
brought his wife to America in the steerage.  Young men who are always
looking for something to lean upon never amount to anything.

There is no manhood mill which takes in boys and turns out men.  What
you call "no chance" may be your "only chance."  Don't wait for your
place to be made for you; make it yourself.  Don't wait for somebody to
give you a lift; lift yourself.  Henry Ward Beecher did not wait for a
call to a big church with a large salary.  He accepted the first
pastorate offered him, in a little town near Cincinnati.  He became
literally the light of the church, for he trimmed the lamps, kindled
the fires, swept the rooms, and rang the bell.  His salary was only
about $200 a year,--but he knew that a fine church and great salary
cannot make a great man.  It was work and opportunity that he wanted.
He felt that if there was anything in him work would bring it out.

"Physiologists tell us," says Waters, "that it takes twenty-eight years
for the brain to attain its full development.  If this is so, why
should not one be able, by his own efforts, to give this long-growing
organ a particular bent, a peculiar character?  Why should the will not
be brought to bear upon the formation of the brain as well as of the
backbone?"  The will is merely our steam power, and we may put it to
any work we please.  It will do our bidding, whether it be building up
a character, or tearing it down.  It may be applied to building up a
habit of truthfulness and honesty, or of falsehood and dishonor.  It
will help build up a man or a brute, a hero or a coward.  It will brace
up resolution until one may almost perform miracles, or it may be
dissipated in irresolution and inaction until life is a wreck.  It will
hold you to your task until you have formed a powerful habit of
industry and application, until idleness and inaction are painful, or
it will lead you into indolence and listlessness until every effort
will be disagreeable and success impossible.

"The first thing I have to impress upon you is," says J. T. Davidson,
"that a good name must be the fruit of one's own exertion.  You cannot
possess it by patrimony; you cannot purchase it with money; you will
not light on it by chance; it is independent of birth, station,
talents, and wealth; it must be the outcome of your own endeavor, and
the reward of good principles and honorable conduct.  Of all the
elements of success in life none is more vital than self-reliance,--a
determination to be, under God, the creator of your own reputation and
advancement.  If difficulties stand in the way, if exceptional
disadvantages oppose you, all the better, as long as you have pluck to
fight through them.  I want each young man here (you will not
misunderstand me) to have faith in himself and, scorning props and
buttresses, crutches and life-preservers, to take earnest hold of life.
Many a lad has good stuff in him that never comes to anything because
he slips too easily into some groove of life; it is commonly those who
have a tough battle to begin with that make their mark upon their age."

When Beethoven was examining the work of Moscheles, he found written at
the end "Finis, with God's help."  He wrote under it "Man, help

A young man stood listlessly watching some anglers on a bridge.  He was
poor and dejected.  At length, approaching a basket filled with fish,
he sighed, "If now I had these I would be happy.  I could sell them and
buy food and lodgings."  "I will give you just as many and just as
good," said the owner, who chanced to overhear his words, "if you will
do me a trifling favor."  "And what is that?" asked the other.  "Only
to tend this line till I come back; I wish to go on a short errand."
The proposal was gladly accepted.  The old man was gone so long that
the young man began to get impatient.  Meanwhile the fish snapped
greedily at the hook, and he lost all his depression in the excitement
of pulling them in.  When the owner returned he had caught a large
number.  Counting out from them as many as were in the basket, and
presenting them to the youth, the old fisherman said, "I fulfill my
promise from the fish you have caught, to teach you whenever you see
others earning what you need to waste no time in foolish wishing, but
cast a line for yourself."

A white squall caught a party of tourists on a lake in Scotland, and
threatened to capsize the boat.  When it seemed that the crisis was
really come the largest and strongest man in the party, in a state of
intense fear, said, "Let us pray."  "No, no, my man," shouted the bluff
old boatman; "_let the little man pray.  You take an oar._"  The
greatest curse that can befall a young man is to lean.

The grandest fortunes ever accumulated or possessed on earth were and
are the fruit of endeavor that had no capital to begin with save
energy, intellect, and the will.  From Croesus down to Rockefeller the
story is the same, not only in the getting of wealth, but also in the
acquirement of eminence; those men have won most who relied most upon

It has been said that one of the most disgusting sights in this world
is that of a young man with healthy blood, broad shoulders, presentable
calves, and a hundred and fifty pounds, more or less, of good bone and
muscle, standing with his hands in his pockets longing for help.

"The male inhabitants in the Township of Loaferdom, in the County of
Hatework," says a printer's squib, "found themselves laboring under
great inconvenience for want of an easily traveled road between Poverty
and Independence.  They therefore petitioned the Powers that be to levy
a tax upon the property of the entire county for the purpose of laying
out a macadamized highway, broad and smooth, and all the way down hill
to the latter place."

"It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create
themselves," says Irving, "springing up under every disadvantage, and
working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand

"Every one is the artificer of his own fortune," says Sallust.

Man is not merely the architect of his own fortune, but he must lay the
bricks himself.  Bayard Taylor, at twenty-three, wrote: "I will become
the sculptor of my own mind's statue."  His biography shows how often
the chisel and hammer were in his hands to shape himself into his
ideal.  "I have seen none, known none, of the celebrities of my time,"
said Samuel Cox.  "All my energy was directed upon one end, to improve

"Man exists for culture," says Goethe; "not for what he can accomplish,
but for what can be accomplished in him."

When young Professor Tyndall was in the government service, he had no
definite aim in life until one day a government official asked him how
he employed his leisure time.  "You have five hours a day at your
disposal," said he, "and this ought to be devoted to systematic study.
Had I at your age some one to advise me as I now advise you, instead of
being in a subordinate position, I might have been at the head of my
department."  The very next day young Tyndall began a regular course of
study, and went to the University of Marburg, where he became noted for
his indomitable industry.  He was so poor that he bought a cask, and
cut it open for a bathtub.  He often rose before daylight to study,
while the world was slumbering about him.

Labor is the only legal tender in the world to true success.  The gods
sell everything for that, nothing without it.  You will never find
success "marked down."  The door to the temple of success is never left
open.  Every one who enters makes his own door which closes behind him
to all others.

Circumstances have rarely favored great men.  They have fought their
way to triumph over the road of difficulty and through all sorts of
opposition.  A lowly beginning and a humble origin are no bar to a
great career.  The farmers' boys fill many of the greatest places in
legislatures, in syndicates, at the bar, in pulpits, in Congress,
to-day.  Boys of lowly origin have made many of the greatest
discoveries, are presidents of our banks, of our colleges, of our
universities.  Our poor boys and girls have written many of our
greatest books, and have filled the highest places as teachers and
journalists.  Ask almost any great man in our large cities where he was
born, and he will tell you it was on a farm or in a small country
village.  Nearly all of the great capitalists of the city came from the
country.  "'T is better to be lowly born."

The founder of Boston University left Cape Cod for Boston to make his
way with a capital of only four dollars.  Like Horace Greeley, he could
find no opening for a boy; but what of that?  He made an opening.  He
found a board, and made it into an oyster stand on the street corner.
He borrowed a wheelbarrow, and went three miles to an oyster smack,
bought three bushels of oysters, and wheeled them to his stand.  Soon
his little savings amounted to $130, and then he bought a horse and
cart.  This poor boy with no chance kept right on till he became the
millionaire Isaac Rich.

Chauncey Jerome, the inventor of machine-made clocks, started with two
others on a tour through New Jersey, they to sell the clocks, and he to
make cases for them.  On his way to New York he went through New Haven
in a lumber wagon, eating bread and cheese.  He afterward lived in a
fine mansion in New Haven.

Self-help has accomplished about all the great things of the world.
How many young men falter, faint, and dally with their purpose because
they have no capital to start with, and wait and wait for some good
luck to give them a lift.  But success is the child of drudgery and
perseverance.  It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is
yours.  Where is the boy to-day who has less chance to rise in the
world than Elihu Burritt, apprenticed to a blacksmith, in whose shop he
had to work at the forge all the daylight, and often by candle-light?
Yet, he managed, by studying with a book before him at his meals,
carrying it in his pocket that he might utilize every spare moment, and
studying nights and holidays, to pick up an excellent education in the
odds and ends of time which most boys throw away.  While the rich boy
and the idler were yawning and stretching and getting their eyes open,
young Burritt had seized the opportunity and improved it.  At thirty
years of age he was master of every important language in Europe and
was studying those of Asia.

What chance had such a boy for distinction?  Probably not a single
youth will read this book who has not a better opportunity for success.
Yet he had a thirst for knowledge, and a desire for self-improvement,
which overcame every obstacle in his pathway.  A wealthy gentleman
offered to pay his expenses at Harvard; but no, he said he could get
his education himself, even though he had to work twelve or fourteen
hours a day at the forge.  Here was a determined boy.  He snatched
every spare moment at the anvil and forge as though it were gold.  He
believed, with Gladstone, that thrift of time would repay him in after
years with usury, and that waste of it would make him dwindle.  Think
of a boy working nearly all the daylight in a blacksmith's shop, and
yet finding time to study seven languages in a single year!

If the youth of America who are struggling against cruel circumstances,
to do something and be somebody in the world, could only understand
that ninety per cent. of what is called genius is merely the result of
persistent, determined industry, is in most cases downright hard work,
that it is the slavery to a single idea which has given to many a
mediocre talent the reputation of being a genius, they would be
inspired with new hope.  It is interesting to note that the men who
talk most about genius are the men who like to work the least.  The
lazier the man, the more he will have to say about great things being
done by genius.

The greatest geniuses have been the greatest workers.  Sheridan was
considered a genius, but it was found that the "brilliants" and
"off-hand sayings" with which he used to dazzle the House of Commons
were elaborated, polished and repolished, and put down in his
memorandum book ready for any emergency.

Genius has been well defined as the infinite capacity for taking pains.
If men who have done great things could only reveal to the struggling
youth of to-day how much of their reputations was due to downright hard
digging and plodding, what an uplift of inspiration and encouragement
they would give.  How often I have wished that the discouraged,
struggling youth could know of the heart-aches, the head-aches, the
nerve-aches, the disheartening trials, the discouraged hours, the fears
and despair involved in works which have gained the admiration of the
world, but which have taxed the utmost powers of their authors.  You
can read in a few minutes or a few hours a poem or a book with only
pleasure and delight, but the days and months of weary plodding over
details and dreary drudgery often required to produce it would stagger

The greatest works in literature have been elaborated and elaborated,
line by line, paragraph by paragraph, often rewritten a dozen times.
The drudgery which literary men have put into the productions which
have stood the test of time is almost incredible.  Lucretius worked
nearly a lifetime on one poem.  It completely absorbed his life.  It is
said that Bryant rewrote "Thanatopsis" a hundred times, and even then
was not satisfied with it.  John Foster would sometimes linger a week
over a single sentence.  He would hack, split, prune, pull up by the
roots, or practice any other severity on whatever he wrote, till it
gained his consent to exist.  Chalmers was once asked what Foster was
about in London.  "Hard at it," he replied, "at the rate of a line a
week."  Dickens, one of the greatest writers of modern fiction, was so
worn down by hard work that he looked as "haggard as a murderer."  Even
Lord Bacon, one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived, left large
numbers of MSS. filled with "sudden thoughts set down for use."  Hume
toiled thirteen hours a day on his "History of England."  Lord Eldon
astonished the world with his great legal learning, but when he was a
student too poor to buy books, he had actually borrowed and copied many
hundreds of pages of large law books, such as Coke upon Littleton, thus
saturating his mind with legal principles which afterward blossomed out
into what the world called remarkable genius.  Matthew Hale for years
studied law sixteen hours a day.  Speaking of Fox, some one declared
that he wrote "drop by drop."  Rousseau says of the labor involved in
his smooth and lively style: "My manuscripts, blotted, scratched,
interlined, and scarcely legible, attest the trouble they cost me.
There is not one of them which I have not been obliged to transcribe
four or five times before it went to press. . . .  Some of my periods I
have turned or returned in my head for five or six nights before they
were fit to be put to paper."

It is said that Waller spent a whole summer over ten lines in one of
his poems.  Beethoven probably surpassed all other musicians in his
painstaking fidelity and persistent application.  There is scarcely a
bar in his music that was not written and rewritten at least a dozen
times.  His favorite maxim was, "The barriers are not yet erected which
can say to aspiring talent and industry 'thus far and no further.'"
Gibbon wrote his autobiography nine times, and was in his study every
morning, summer and winter, at six o'clock; and yet youth who waste
their evenings wonder at the genius which can produce "The Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire," upon which Gibbon worked twenty years.  Even
Plato, one of the greatest writers that ever lived, wrote the first
sentence in his "Republic" nine different ways before he was satisfied
with it.  Burke's famous "Letter to a Noble Lord," one of the finest
things in the English language, was so completely blotted over with
alterations when the proof was returned to the printing-office that the
compositors refused to correct it as it was, and entirely reset it.
Burke wrote the conclusion of his speech at the trial of Hastings
sixteen times, and Butler wrote his famous "Analogy" twenty times.  It
took Virgil seven years to write his Georgics, and twelve years to
write the Aeneid.  He was so displeased with the latter that he
attempted to rise from his deathbed to commit it to the flames.

Haydn was very poor; his father was a coachman and he, friendless and
lonely, married a servant girl.  He was sent away from home to act as
errand boy for a music teacher.  He absorbed a great deal of
information, but he had a hard life of persecution until he became a
barber in Vienna.  Here he blacked boots for an influential man, who
became a friend to him.  In 1798 this poor boy's oratorio, "The
Creation," came upon the musical world like the rising of a new sun
which never set.  He was courted by princes and dined with kings and
queens; his reputation was made; there was no more barbering, no more
poverty.  But of his eight hundred compositions, "The Creation"
eclipsed them all.  He died while Napoleon's guns were bombarding
Vienna, some of the shot falling in his garden.  The greatest creations
of musicians were written with an effort, to fill the "aching void" in
the human heart.

Frederick Douglass, America's most representative colored man, born a
slave, was reared in bondage, liberated by his own exertions, educated
and advanced by sheer pluck and perseverance to distinguished positions
in the service of his country, and to a high place in the respect and
esteem of the whole world.

When a man like Lord Cavanagh, without arms or legs, manages to put
himself into Parliament, when a man like Francis Joseph Campbell, a
blind man, becomes a distinguished mathematician, a musician, and a
great philanthropist, we get a hint as to what it means to make the
most possible out of ourselves and opportunities.  Perhaps ninety-nine
out of a hundred under such unfortunate circumstances would be content
to remain helpless objects of charity for life.  If it is your call to
acquire money power instead of brain power, to acquire business power
instead of professional power, double your talent just the same, no
matter what it may be.

A glover's apprentice of Glasgow, Scotland, who was too poor to afford
even a candle or a fire, and who studied by the light of the shop
windows in the streets, and when the shops were closed climbed the
lamp-post, holding his book in one hand, and clinging to the lamp-post
with the other,--this poor boy, with less chance than almost any boy in
America, became the most eminent scholar of Scotland.

Francis Parkman, half blind, became one of America's greatest
historians in spite of everything, because he made himself such.
Personal value is a coin of one's own minting; one is taken at the
worth he has put into himself.  Franklin was but a poor printer's boy,
whose highest luxury at one time was only a penny roll, eaten in the
streets of Philadelphia.  Richard Arkwright, a barber all his earlier
life, as he rose from poverty to wealth and fame, felt the need of
correcting the defects of his early education.  After his fiftieth year
he devoted two hours a day, snatched from his sleep, to improving
himself in orthography, grammar, and writing.

Michael Faraday was a poor boy, son of a blacksmith, who apprenticed
him at the age of thirteen to a bookbinder in London.  Michael laid the
foundations of his future greatness by making himself familiar with the
contents of the books he bound.  He remained at night, after others had
gone, to read and study the precious volumes.  Lord Tenterden was proud
to point out to his son the shop where his father had shaved for a
penny.  A French doctor once taunted Fléchier, Bishop of Nismes, who
had been a tallow-chandler in his youth, with the meanness of his
origin, to which he replied, "If you had been born in the same
condition that I was, you would still have been but a maker of candles."

The Duke of Argyle, walking in his garden, saw a Latin copy of Newton's
"Principia" on the grass, and supposing that it had been taken from his
library, called for some one to carry it back.  Edmund Stone, however,
the son of the duke's gardener, claimed it.  "Yours?" asked the
surprised nobleman.  "Do you understand geometry, Latin, and Newton?"
"I know a little of them," replied Edmund.  "But how," asked the duke,
"came you by the knowledge of all these things?"  "A servant taught me
to read ten years since," answered Stone.  "Does one need to know
anything more than the twenty-four letters, in order to learn
everything else that one wishes?"  The duke was astonished.  "I first
learned to read," said the lad; "the masons were then at work upon your
house.  I approached them one day and observed that the architect used
a rule and compasses, and that he made calculations.  I inquired what
might be the meaning and use of these things, and I was informed that
there was a science called arithmetic.  I purchased a book of
arithmetic and learned it.  I was told that there was another science
called geometry; I bought the necessary books and learned geometry.  By
reading I found that there were good books on these sciences in Latin,
so I bought a dictionary and learned Latin.  I understood, also, that
there were good books of the same kind in French; I bought a
dictionary, and learned French.  This, my lord, is what I have done; it
seems to me that we may learn everything when we know the twenty-four
letters of the alphabet."

Edwin Chadwick, in his report to the British Parliament, stated that
children, working on half time, that is, studying three hours a day and
working the rest of their time out of doors, really made the greatest
intellectual progress during the year.  Business men have often
accomplished wonders during the busiest lives by simply devoting one,
two, three, or four hours daily to study or other literary work.

James Watt received only the rudiments of an education at school, for
his attendance was irregular on account of delicate health.  He more
than made up for all deficiencies, however, by the diligence with which
he pursued his studies at home.  Alexander V. was a beggar; he was
"born mud, and died marble."  William Herschel, placed at the age of
fourteen as a musician in the band of the Hanoverian Guards, devoted
all his leisure to philosophical studies.  He acquired a large fund of
general knowledge, and in astronomy, a science in which he was wholly
self-instructed, his discoveries entitle him to rank with the greatest
astronomers of all time.

George Washington was the son of a widow, born under the roof of a
Westmoreland farmer; almost from infancy his lot had been the lot of an
orphan.  No academy had welcomed him to its shade, no college crowned
him with its honors; to read, to write, to cipher, these had been his
degrees in knowledge.  Shakespeare learned little more than reading and
writing at school, but by self-culture he made himself the great master
among literary men.  Burns, too, enjoyed few advantages of education,
and his youth was passed in almost abject poverty.

James Ferguson, the son of a half-starved peasant, learned to read by
listening to the recitations of one of his elder brothers.  While a
mere boy he discovered several mechanical principles, made models of
mills and spinning-wheels, and by means of beads on strings worked out
an excellent map of the heavens.  Ferguson made remarkable things with
a common penknife.  How many great men have mounted the hill of
knowledge by out-of-the-way paths.  Gifford worked his intricate
problems with a shoemaker's awl on a bit of leather.  Rittenhouse first
calculated eclipses on his plow-handle.  _A will finds a way_.

Julius Caesar, who has been unduly honored for those great military
achievements in which he appears as the scourge of his race, is far
more deserving of respect for those wonderful Commentaries, in which
his military exploits are recorded.  He attained distinction by his
writings on astronomy, grammar, history, and several other subjects.
He was one of the most learned men and one of the greatest orators of
his time.  Yet his life was spent amid the turmoil of a camp or the
fierce struggle of politics.  If he found abundant time for study, who
may not?  Frederick the Great, too, was busy in camp the greater part
of his life, yet whenever a leisure moment came, it was sure to be
devoted to study.  He wrote to a friend, "I become every day more
covetous of my time, I render an account of it to myself, and I lose
none of it but with great regret."

Columbus, while leading the life of a sailor, managed to become the
most accomplished geographer and astronomer of his time.

When Peter the Great, a boy of seventeen, became the absolute ruler of
Russia, his subjects were little better than savages, and in himself,
even, the passions and propensities of barbarism were so strong that
they were frequently exhibited during his whole career.  But he
determined to transform himself and the Russians into civilized people.
He instituted reforms with great energy, and at the age of twenty-six
started on a visit to the other countries of Europe for the purpose of
learning about their arts and institutions.  At Saardam, Holland, he
was so impressed with the sights of the great East India dockyard, that
he apprenticed himself to a shipbuilder, and helped build the St.
Peter, which he promptly purchased.  Continuing his travels, after he
had learned his trade, he worked in England in paper-mills, saw-mills,
rope-yards, watchmaker's shops, and other manufactories, doing the work
and receiving the treatment of a common laborer.

While traveling, his constant habit was to obtain as much information
as he could beforehand with regard to every place he was to visit, and
he would demand, "Let me see all."  When setting out on his
investigations, on such occasions, he carried his tablets in his hand,
and whatever he deemed worthy of remembrance was carefully noted down.
He would often leave his carriage, if he saw the country people at work
by the wayside as he passed along, and not only enter into conversation
with them, on agricultural affairs, but accompany them to their houses,
examine their furniture, and take drawings of their implements of
husbandry.  Thus he obtained much minute and correct knowledge, which
he would scarcely have acquired by other means, and which he afterward
turned to admirable account in the improvement of his own country.

The ancients said, "Know thyself;" the nineteenth century says, "Help
thyself."  Self-culture gives a second birth to the soul.  A liberal
education is a true regeneration.  When a man is once liberally
educated, he will generally remain a man, not shrink to a manikin, nor
dwindle to a brute.  But if he is not properly educated, if he has
merely been crammed and stuffed through college, if he has merely a
broken-down memory from trying to hold crammed facts enough to pass the
examination, he will continue to shrink and shrivel and dwindle, often
below his original proportions, for he will lose both his confidence
and self-respect, as his crammed facts, which never became a part of
himself, evaporate from his distended memory.  Many a youth has made
his greatest effort in his graduating essay.  But, alas! the beautiful
flowers of rhetoric blossomed only to exhaust the parent stock, which
blossoms no more forever.

In Strasburg geese are crammed with food several times a day by opening
their mouths and forcing the pabulum down the throat with the finger.
The geese are shut up in boxes just large enough to hold them, and are
not allowed to take any exercise.  This is done in order to increase
enormously the liver for _pâté de fois gras_.  So are our youth
sometimes stuffed with education.  What are the chances for success of
students who "cut" recitations or lectures, and gad, lounge about, and
dissipate in the cities at night until the last two or three weeks,
sometimes the last few days, before examination, when they employ
tutors at exorbitant prices with the money often earned by hard-working
parents, to stuff their idle brains with the pabulum of knowledge; not
to increase their grasp or power of brain, not to discipline it, not
for assimilation into the mental tissue to develop personal power, but
to fatten the memory, the liver of the brain; to fatten it with crammed
facts until it is sufficiently expanded to insure fifty per cent. in
the examination.

True teaching will create a thirst for knowledge, and the desire to
quench this thirst will lead the eager student to the Pierian spring.
"Man might be so educated that all his prepossessions would be truth,
and all his feelings virtues."

Every bit of education or culture is of great advantage in the struggle
for existence.  The microscope does not create anything new, but it
reveals marvels.  To educate the eye adds to its magnifying power until
it sees beauty where before it saw only ugliness.  It reveals a world
we never suspected, and finds the greatest beauty even in the commonest
things.  The eye of an Agassiz could see worlds which the uneducated
eye never dreamed of.  The cultured hand can do a thousand things the
uneducated hand cannot do.  It becomes graceful, steady of nerve,
strong, skillful, indeed it almost seems to think, so animated is it
with intelligence.  The cultured will can seize, grasp, and hold the
possessor, with irresistible power and nerve, to almost superhuman
effort.  The educated touch can almost perform miracles.  The educated
taste can achieve wonders almost past belief.  What a contrast this,
between the cultured, logical, profound, masterly reason of a Gladstone
and that of the hod-carrier who has never developed or educated his
reason beyond what is necessary to enable him to mix mortar and carry

"Culture comes from the constant choice of the best within our reach,"
says Bulwer.  "Continue to cultivate the mind, to sharpen by exercise
the genius, to attempt to delight or instruct your race; and, even
supposing you fall short of every model you set before you, supposing
your name moulder with your dust, still you will have passed life more
nobly than the unlaborious herd.  Grant that you win not that glorious
accident, 'a name below,' how can you tell but that you may have fitted
yourself for high destiny and employ, not in the world of men, but of
spirits?  The powers of the mind cannot be less immortal than the mere
sense of identity; their acquisitions accompany us through the Eternal
Progress, and we may obtain a lower or a higher grade hereafter, in
proportion as we are more or less fitted by the exercise of our
intellect to comprehend and execute the solemn agencies of God."

But be careful to avoid that over-intellectual culture which is
purchased at the expense of moral vigor.  An observant professor of one
of our colleges has remarked that "the mind may be so rounded and
polished by education, so well balanced, as not to be energetic in any
one faculty.  In other men not thus trained, the sense of deficiency
and of the sharp, jagged corners of their knowledge leads to efforts to
fill up the chasms, rendering them at last far better educated men than
the polished, easy-going graduate who has just knowledge enough to
prevent consciousness of his ignorance.  While all the faculties of the
mind should be cultivated, it is yet desirable that it should have two
or three rough-hewn features of massive strength.  Young men are too
apt to forget the great end of life which is to be and do, not to read
and brood over what other men have been and done."

In a gymnasium you tug, you expand your chest, you push, pull, strike,
run, in order to develop your physical self; so you can develop your
moral and intellectual nature only by continued effort.

"I repeat that my object is not to give him knowledge but to teach him
how to acquire it at need," said Rousseau.

All learning is self-teaching.  It is upon the working of the pupil's
own mind that his progress in knowledge depends.  The great business of
the master is to teach the pupil to teach himself.

"Thinking, not growth, makes manhood," says Isaac Taylor.  "Accustom
yourself, therefore, to thinking.  Set yourself to understand whatever
you see or read.  To join thinking with reading is one of the first
maxims, and one of the easiest operations."

  "How few think justly of the thinking few:
  How many never think who think they do."



What we do upon some great occasion will probably depend on what we
already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of
self-discipline.--H. P. LIDDON.

In all matters, before beginning, a diligent preparation should be

I consider a human soul without education like marble in a quarry which
shows none of its inherent beauties until the skill of the polisher
sketches out the colors, makes the surface shine, and discovers every
ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs throughout the body of

Many a genius has been slow of growth.  Oaks that flourish for a
thousand years do not spring up into beauty like a reed.--GEORGE HENRY

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what
you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.--ARNOLD.

All good abides with him who waiteth wisely.--THOREAU.

The more haste, ever the worse speed.--CHURCHILL.

Haste trips up its own heels, fetters and stops itself.--SENECA.

"Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast."

How can we expect a harvest of thought who have not had the seed-time
of character?--THOREAU.

I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to
perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously, all the offices, both
public and private, of peace and war.--MILTON.

The safe path to excellence and success, in every calling, is that of
appropriate preliminary education, diligent application to learn the
art and assiduity in practicing it.--EDWARD EVERETT.

The more you know, the more you can save yourself and that which
belongs to you, and do more work with less effort.--CHARLES KINGSLEY.

"I was a mere cipher in that vast sea of human enterprise," said Henry
Bessemer, speaking of his arrival in London in 1831.  Although but
eighteen years old, and without an acquaintance in the city, he soon
made work for himself by inventing a process of copying bas-reliefs on
cardboard.  His method was so simple that one could learn in ten
minutes how to make a die from an embossed stamp for a penny.  Having
ascertained later that in this way the raised stamps on all official
papers in England could easily be forged, he set to work and invented a
perforated stamp which could not be forged nor removed from a document.
At the public stamp office he was told by the chief that the government
was losing 100,000 pounds a year through the custom of removing stamps
from old parchments and using them again.  The chief also appreciated
the new danger of easy counterfeiting.  So he offered Bessemer a
definite sum for his process of perforation, or an office for life at
eight hundred pounds a year.  Bessemer chose the office, and hastened
to tell the good news to a young woman with whom he had agreed to share
his fortune.  In explaining his invention, he told how it would prevent
any one from taking a valuable stamp from a document a hundred years
old and using it a second time.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: THOMAS ALVA EDISON]

"The Wizard of Menlo Park."

"What the world wants is men who have the nerve and the grit to work
and wait, whether the world applaud or hiss."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

"Yes," said his betrothed, "I understand that; but, surely, if all
stamps had a date put upon them they could not at a future time be used
without detection."

This was a very short speech, and of no special importance if we omit a
single word of four letters; but, like the schoolboy's pins which saved
the lives of thousands of people annually by not getting swallowed,
that little word, by keeping out of the ponderous minds of the British
revenue officers, had for a long period saved the government the burden
of caring for an additional income of 100,000 pounds a year.  And the
same little word, if published in its connection, would render Henry's
perforation device of far less value than a last year's bird's nest.
Henry felt proud of the young woman's ingenuity, and suggested the
improvement at the stamp office.  As a result his system of perforation
was abandoned and he was deprived of his promised office, the
government coolly making use from that day to this, without
compensation, of the idea conveyed by that little insignificant word.

So Bessemer's financial prospects were not very encouraging; but,
realizing that the best capital a young man can have is a capital wife,
he at once entered into a partnership which placed at his command the
combined ideas of two very level heads.  The result, after years of
thought and experiment, was the Bessemer process of making steel
cheaply, which has revolutionized the iron industry throughout the
world.  His method consists simply in forcing hot air from below into
several tons of melted pig-iron, so as to produce intense combustion;
and then adding enough spiegel-eisen (looking-glass iron), an ore rich
in carbon, to change the whole mass to steel.  He discovered this
simple process only after trying in vain much more difficult and
expensive methods.

  "All things come round to him who will but wait."

The great lack of the age is want of thoroughness.  How seldom you find
a young man or woman who is willing to take time to prepare for his
life work.  A little education is all they want, a little smattering of
books, and then they are ready for business.

"Can't wait" is characteristic of the century, and is written on
everything; on commerce, on schools, on society, on churches.  Can't
wait for a high school, seminary, or college.  The boy can't wait to
become a youth, nor the youth a man.  Youth rush into business with no
great reserve of education or drill; of course they do poor, feverish
work, and break down in middle life, and many die of old age in the
forties.  Everybody is in a hurry.  Buildings are rushed up so quickly
that they will not stand, and everything is made "to sell."

Not long ago a professor in one of our universities had a letter from a
young woman in the West, asking him if he did not think she could teach
elocution if she could come to the university and take twelve lessons.
Our young people of to-day want something, and want it quickly.  They
are not willing to lay broad, deep foundations.  The weary years in
preparatory school and college dishearten them.  They only want a
"smattering" of an education.  But as Pope says,--

  "A little learning is a dangerous thing;
  Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
  There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
  And drinking largely sobers us again."

The shifts to cover up ignorance, and "the constant trembling lest some
blunder should expose one's emptiness," are pitiable.  Short cuts and
abridged methods are the demand of the hour.  But the way to shorten
the road to success is to take plenty of time to lay in your reserve
power.  You can't stop to forage your provender as the army advances;
if you do the enemy will get there first.  Hard work, a definite aim,
and faithfulness, will shorten the way.  Don't risk a life's
superstructure upon a day's foundation.

Unless you have prepared yourself to profit by your chance, the
opportunity will only make you ridiculous.  A great occasion is
valuable to you just in proportion as you have educated yourself to
make use of it.  Beware of that fatal facility of thoughtless speech
and superficial action which has misled many a young man into the
belief that he could make a glib tongue or a deft hand take the place
of deep study or hard work.

Patience is nature's motto.  She works ages to bring a flower to
perfection.  What will she not do for the greatest of her creation?
Ages and aeons are nothing to her, out of them she has been carving her
great statue, a perfect man.

Johnson said a man must turn over half a library to write one book.
When an authoress told Wordsworth she had spent six hours on a poem, he
replied that he would have spent six weeks.  Think of Bishop Hall
spending thirty years on one of his works.  Owens was working on the
"Commentary to the Epistle to the Hebrews" for twenty years.  Moore
spent several weeks on one of his musical stanzas which reads as if it
were a dash of genius.  Carlyle wrote with the utmost difficulty, and
never executed a page of his great histories till he had consulted
every known authority, so that every sentence is the quintessence of
many books, the product of many hours of drudging research in the great
libraries.  To-day, "Sartor Resartus" is everywhere.  You can get it
for a mere trifle at almost any bookseller's, and hundreds of thousands
of copies are scattered over the world.  But when Carlyle brought it to
London in 1851, it was refused almost contemptuously by three prominent
publishers.  At last he managed to get it into "Fraser's Magazine," the
editor of which conveyed to the author the pleasing information that
his work had been received with "unqualified disapprobation."  Henry
Ward Beecher sent a half dozen articles to the publisher of a religious
paper to pay for his subscription, but they were respectfully declined.
The publishers of the "Atlantic Monthly" returned Miss Alcott's
manuscript, suggesting that she had better stick to teaching.  One of
the leading magazines ridiculed Tennyson's first poems, and consigned
the young poet to oblivion.  Only one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's books
had a remunerative sale.  Washington Irving was nearly seventy years
old before the income from his books paid the expenses of his household.

In some respects it is very unfortunate that the old system of binding
boys out to a trade has been abandoned.  To-day very few boys learn any
trade.  They pick up what they know, as they go along, just as a
student crams for a particular examination, just to "get through,"
without any effort to see how much he may learn on any subject.

Think of an American youth spending twelve years with Michael Angelo,
studying anatomy that he might create the masterpiece of all art; or
with Da Vinci devoting ten years to the model of an equestrian statue
that he might master the anatomy of the horse.  Most young American
artists would expect, in a quarter of that time, to sculpture an Apollo
Belvidere.  While Michael Angelo was painting the Sistine Chapel he
would not allow himself time for meals or to dress or undress; but he
kept bread within reach that he might eat when hunger impelled, and he
slept in his clothes.

A rich man asked Howard Burnett to do a little thing for his album.
Burnett complied and charged a thousand francs.  "But it took you only
five minutes," objected the rich man.  "Yes, but it took me thirty
years to learn how to do it in five minutes."

"I prepared that sermon," said a young sprig of divinity, "in half an
hour, and preached it at once, and thought nothing of it."  "In that,"
said an older minister, "your hearers are at one with you, for they
also thought nothing of it."

What the age wants is men who have the nerve and the grit to work and
wait, whether the world applaud or hiss.  It wants a Bancroft, who can
spend twenty-six years on the "History of the United States;" a Noah
Webster, who can devote thirty-six years to a dictionary; a Gibbon, who
can plod for twenty years on the "Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire;" a Mirabeau, who can struggle on for forty years before he has
a chance to show his vast reserve, destined to shake an empire; a
Farragut, a Von Moltke, who have the persistence to work and wait for
half a century for their first great opportunities; a Garfield, burning
his lamp fifteen minutes later than a rival student in his academy; a
Grant, fighting on in heroic silence, when denounced by his brother
generals and politicians everywhere; a Field's untiring perseverance,
spending years and a fortune laying a cable when all the world called
him a fool; a Michael Angelo, working seven long years decorating the
Sistine Chapel with his matchless "Creation" and the "Last Judgment,"
refusing all remuneration therefor, lest his pencil might catch the
taint of avarice; a Titian, spending seven years on the "Last Supper;"
a Stephenson, working fifteen years on a locomotive; a Watt, twenty
years on a condensing engine; a Lady Franklin, working incessantly for
twelve long years to rescue her husband from the polar seas; a Thurlow
Weed, walking two miles through the snow with rags tied around his feet
for shoes, to borrow the history of the French Revolution, and eagerly
devouring it before the sap-bush fire; a Milton, elaborating "Paradise
Lost" in a world he could not see, and then selling it for fifteen
pounds; a Thackeray, struggling on cheerfully after his "Vanity Fair"
was refused by a dozen publishers; a Balzac, toiling and waiting in a
lonely garret, whom neither poverty, debt, nor hunger could discourage
or intimidate; not daunted by privations, not hindered by
discouragements.  It wants men who can work and wait.

When a young lawyer Daniel Webster once looked in vain through all the
law libraries near him, and then ordered at an expense of fifty dollars
the necessary books, to obtain authorities and precedents in a case in
which his client was a poor blacksmith.  He won his cause, but, on
account of the poverty of his client, only charged fifteen dollars,
thus losing heavily on the books bought, to say nothing of his time.
Years after, as he was passing through New York city, he was consulted
by Aaron Burr on an important but puzzling case then pending before the
Supreme Court.  He saw in a moment that it was just like the
blacksmith's case, an intricate question of title, which he had solved
so thoroughly that it was to him now as simple as the multiplication
table.  Going back to the time of Charles II. he gave the law and
precedents involved with such readiness and accuracy of sequence that
Burr asked in great surprise if he had been consulted before in the
case.  "Most certainly not," he replied, "I never heard of your case
till this evening."  "Very well," said Burr, "proceed," and, when he
had finished, Webster received a fee that paid him liberally for all
the time and trouble he had spent for his early client.

Albert Bierstadt first crossed the Rocky Mountains with a band of
pioneers in 1859, making sketches for the paintings of western scenes
for which he had become famous.  As he followed the trail to Pike's
Peak, he gazed in wonder upon the enormous herds of buffaloes which
dotted the plains as far as the eye could reach, and thought of the
time when they would have disappeared before the march of civilization.
The thought haunted him and found its final embodiment in "The Last of
the Buffaloes" in 1890.  To perfect this great work he had spent twenty

Everything which endures, which will stand the test of time, must have
a deep, solid foundation.  In Rome the foundation is often the most
expensive part of an edifice, so deep must they dig to build on the
living rock.

Fifty feet of Bunker Hill Monument is under ground; unseen and
unappreciated by those who tread about that historic shaft, but it is
this foundation, apparently thrown away, which enables it to stand
upright, true to the plumb-line through all the tempests that lash its
granite sides.  A large part of every successful life must be spent in
laying foundation stones under ground.  Success is the child of
drudgery and perseverance and depends upon "knowing how long it takes
to succeed."  Havelock joined the army at twenty-eight, and for
thirty-four years worked and waited for his opportunity; conscious of
his power, "fretting as a subaltern while he saw drunkards and fools
put above his head."

But during all these years he was fitting himself to lead that
marvelous march to Lucknow.

It was many years of drudgery and reading a thousand volumes that
enabled George Eliot to get fifty thousand dollars for "Daniel
Deronda."  How came writers to be famous?  By writing for years without
any pay at all; by writing hundreds of pages for mere practice work; by
working like galley-slaves at literature for half a lifetime.  It was
working and waiting many long and weary years that put one hundred and
twenty-five thousand dollars into "The Angelus."  Millet's first
attempts were mere daubs, the later were worth fortunes.  Schiller
"never could get done."  Dante sees himself "growing lean over his
Divine Comedy."  It is working and waiting that gives perfection.

"I do not remember," said Beecher, "a book in all the depths of
learning, nor a scrap in literature, nor a work in all the schools of
art, from which its author has derived a permanent renown, that is not
known to have been long and patiently elaborated."

Endurance is a much better test of character than any one act of
heroism, however noble.

The pianist Thalberg said he never ventured to perform one of his
celebrated pieces in public until he had played it at least fifteen
hundred times.  He laid no claim whatever to genius; he said it was all
a question of hard work.  The accomplishments of such industry, such
perseverance, would put to shame many a man who claims genius.

Before Edmund Kean would consent to appear in that character which he
acted with such consummate skill, The Gentleman Villain, he practiced
constantly before a glass, studying expression for a year and a half.
When he appeared upon the stage, Byron, who went to see him with Moore,
said he never looked upon so fearful and wicked a face.  As the great
actor went on to delineate the terrible consequences of sin, Byron

"For years I was in my place of business by sunrise," said a wealthy
banker who had begun without a dollar, "and often I did not leave it
for fifteen or eighteen hours."

_Festina lente_--hasten slowly--is a good Latin motto.  Patience, it is
said, changes the mulberry leaf to satin.  The giant oak on the
hillside was detained months or years in its upward growth while its
roots took a great turn around some rock, in order to gain a hold by
which the tree was anchored to withstand the storms of centuries.  Da
Vinci spent four years on the head of Mona Lisa, perhaps the most
beautiful ever painted, but he left therein, an artistic thought for
all time.

Said Captain Bingham: "You can have no idea of the wonderful machine
that the German army is and how well it is prepared for war.  A chart
is made out which shows just what must be done in the case of wars with
the different nations.  And every officer's place in the scheme is laid
out beforehand.  There is a schedule of trains which will supersede all
other schedules the moment war is declared, and this is so arranged
that the commander of the army here could telegraph to any officer to
take such a train and go to such a place at a moment's notice.  When
the Franco-Prussian war was declared, Von Moltke was awakened at
midnight and told of the fact.  He said coolly to the official who
aroused him, 'Go to pigeonhole No. ---- in my safe and take a paper
from it and telegraph as there directed to the different troops of the
empire.'  He then turned over and went to sleep and awoke at his usual
hour in the morning.  Every one else in Berlin was excited about the
war, but Von Moltke took his morning walk as usual, and a friend who
met him said, 'General, you seem to be taking it very easy.  Aren't you
afraid of the situation?  I should think you would be busy.'  'Ah,'
replied Von Moltke, 'all of my work for this time has been done long
beforehand and everything that can be done now has been done.'"

That is done soon enough which is done well.  Soon ripe, soon rotten.
He that would enjoy the fruit must not gather the flower.  He who is
impatient to become his own master is more likely to become his own
slave.  Better believe yourself a dunce and work away than a genius and
be idle.  One year of trained thinking is worth more than a whole
college course of mental absorption of a vast series of undigested
facts.  The facility with which the world swallows up the ordinary
college graduate who thought he was going to dazzle mankind should bid
you pause and reflect.  But just as certainly as man was created not to
crawl on all fours in the depths of primeval forests, but to develop
his mental and moral faculties, just so certainly he needs education,
and only by means of it will he become what he ought to become,--man,
in the highest sense of the word.  Ignorance is not simply the negation
of knowledge, it is the misdirection of the mind.  "One step in
knowledge," says Bulwer, "is one step from sin; one step from sin is
one step nearer to Heaven."

A learned clergyman was thus accosted by an illiterate preacher who
despised education: "Sir, you have been to college, I presume?"  "Yes,
sir," was the reply.  "I am thankful," said the former, "that the Lord
opened my mouth without any learning."  "A similar event," retorted the
clergyman, "happened in Balaam's time."

"If a cloth were drawn around the eyes of Praxiteles' statue of Love,"
says Bulwer, "the face looked grave and sad; but as the bandage was
removed, a beautiful smile would overspread the countenance.  Even so
does the removal of the veil of ignorance from the eyes of the mind
bring radiant happiness to the heart of man."

A young man just graduated told the President of Trinity College that
he had completed his education, and had come to say good-by.  "Indeed,"
said the President, "I have just begun my education."

Many an extraordinary man has been made out of a very ordinary boy; but
in order to accomplish this we must begin with him while he is young.
It is simply astonishing what training will do for a rough, uncouth,
and even dull lad, if he has good material in him, and comes under the
tutelage of a skilled educator before his habits have become confirmed.
Even a few weeks' or months' drill of the rawest and roughest recruits
in the late Civil War so straightened and dignified stooping and
uncouth soldiers, and made them so manly, erect, and courteous in their
bearing, that their own friends scarcely knew them.  If this change is
so marked in the youth who has grown to maturity, what a miracle is
possible in the lad who is taken early and put under a course of drill
and systematic training, both physical, mental, and moral.  How many a
man who is now in the penitentiary, in the poorhouse, or among the
tramps, or living out a miserable existence in the slums of our cities,
bent over, uncouth, rough, slovenly, has possibilities slumbering
within the rags, which would have developed him into a magnificent man,
an ornament to the human race instead of a foul blot and scar, had he
only been fortunate enough early in life to have come under efficient
and systematic training.

Laziness begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains.  The more business
a man has, the more he can do, for be learns to economize his time.

The industry that acquired riches, according to a wise teacher, the
patience that is required in obtaining them, the reserved self-control,
the measuring of values, the sympathy felt for fellow-toilers, the
knowledge of what a dollar costs to the average man, the memory of
it--all these things are preservative.  But woe to the young farmer who
hates farming; does not like sowing and reaping; is impatient with the
dilatory and slow path to a small though secure fortune in the
neighborhood where he was born, and comes to the city, hoping to become
suddenly rich, thinking that he can break into the palace of wealth and
rob it of its golden treasures!

Edison described his repeated efforts to make the phonograph reproduce
an aspirated sound, and added: "From eighteen to twenty hours a day for
the last seven months I have worked on this single word 'specia.'  I
said into the phonograph 'specia, specia, specia,' but the instrument
responded 'pecia, pecia, pecia.'  It was enough to drive one mad.  But
I held firm, and I have succeeded."

The road to distinction must be paved with years of self-denial and
hard work.

Horace Mann, the great author of the common school system of
Massachusetts, was a remarkable example of that pluck and patience
which can work and wait.  His only inheritance was poverty and hard
work.  But he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a
determination to get on in the world.  He braided straw to get money to
buy books which his soul thirsted for.

To Jonas Chickering there were no trifles in the manufacture of a
piano.  Others might work for salaries, but he was working for fame and
fortune.  Neither time nor pains were of any account to him compared
with accuracy and knowledge.  He could afford to work and wait, for
quality, not quantity, was his aim.  Fifty years ago the piano was a
miserable, instrument compared with the perfect mechanism of to-day.
Chickering was determined to make a piano which would yield the
fullest, richest volume of melody with the least exertion to the
player, and one which would withstand atmospheric changes and preserve
its purity and truthfulness of tone.  And he strove patiently and
persistently till he succeeded.

"Thy life, wert thou the pitifullest of all the sons of earth, is no
idle dream, but a solemn reality," said Carlyle.  "It is thy own.  It
is all thou hast to comfort eternity with.  Work then like a star,
unhasting, yet unresting."

Gladstone was bound to win; although he had spent many years of
preparation for his life work, in spite of the consciousness of
marvelous natural endowments which would have been deemed sufficient by
many young men, and notwithstanding he had gained the coveted prize of
a seat in Parliament, yet he decided to make himself master of the
situation; and amid all his public and private duties, he not only
spent eleven terms more in the study of the law, but he studied Greek
constantly and read every well written book or paper he could obtain,
so determined was he that his life should be rounded out to its fullest
measure, and that his mind should have broad and liberal culture.

Emperor William I. was not a genius, but the secret of his power lay in
tireless perseverance.  A friend says of him, "When I passed the palace
at Berlin night after night, however late, I always saw that grand
imperial figure standing beside the green lamp, and I used to say to
myself, 'That is how the imperial crown of Germany was won.'"

Ole Bull said, "If I practice one day, I can see the result.  If I
practice two days my friends can see it; if I practice three days the
great public can see it."

The habit of seizing every bit of knowledge, no matter how
insignificant it may seem at the time, every opportunity, every
occasion, and grinding them all up into experience, cannot be
overestimated.  You will find use for all of it.  Webster once repeated
an anecdote with effect which he heard fourteen years before, and which
he had not thought of in the mean time.  It exactly fitted the
occasion.  "It is an ill mason that rejects any stone."

Webster was once urged to speak on a subject of great importance, but
refused, saying he was very busy and had no time to master the subject.
"But," replied his friend, "a very few words from you would do much to
awaken public attention to it."  Webster replied, "If there be so much
weight in my words, it is because I do not allow myself to speak on any
subject until my mind is imbued with it."  On one occasion Webster made
a remarkable speech before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard, when
a book was presented to him, but after he had gone, his "impromptu"
speech, carefully written out, was found in the book which he had
forgotten to take away.

Demosthenes was once urged to speak on a great and sudden emergency,
but replied, "I am not prepared."  In fact, it was thought by many that
Demosthenes did not possess any genius whatever, because he never
allowed himself to speak on any subject without thorough preparation.
In any meeting or assembly, when called upon, he would never rise, even
to make remarks, it was said, without previously preparing himself.

Alexander Hamilton said, "Men give me credit for genius.  All the
genius I have lies just in this: when I have a subject in hand I study
it profoundly.  Day and night it is before me.  I explore it in all its
bearings.  My mind becomes pervaded with it.  Then the effort which I
make the people are pleased to call the fruit of genius; it is the
fruit of labor and thought."  The law of labor is equally binding on
genius and mediocrity.

Are the results so distant that you delay the preparation in the hope
that fortuitous good luck may make it unnecessary?  As well might the
husbandman delay sowing his seed until the spring and summer are past
and the ground hardened by the frosts of a rigorous winter.  As well
might one who is desirous of enjoying firm health inoculate his system
with the seeds of disease, and expect at such time as he may see fit to
recover from its effects, and banish the malady.  Nelaton, the great
surgeon, said that if he had four minutes in which to perform an
operation, on which a life depended, he would take one minute to
consider how best to do it.

"Many men," says Longfellow, "do not allow their principles to take
root, but pull them up every now and then, as children do flowers they
have planted, to see if they are growing."  We must not only work, but

"The spruce young spark," says Sizer, "who thinks chiefly of his
mustache and boots and shiny hat, of getting along nicely and easily
during the day, and talking about the theatre, the opera, or a fast
horse, ridiculing the faithful young fellow who came to learn the
business and make a man of himself, because he will not join in wasting
his time in dissipation, will see the day, if his useless life is not
earlier blasted by vicious indulgences, when he will be glad to accept
a situation from his fellow-clerk whom he now ridicules and affects to
despise, when the latter shall stand in the firm, dispensing benefits
and acquiring fortune."

"I have been watching the careers of young men by the thousand in this
busy city of New York for over thirty years," said Dr. Cuyler, "and I
find that the chief difference between the successful and the failures
lies in the single element of staying power.  Permanent success is
oftener won by holding on than by sudden dash, however brilliant.  The
easily discouraged, who are pushed back by a straw, are all the time
dropping to the rear--to perish or to be carried along on the stretcher
of charity.  They who understand and practice Abraham Lincoln's homely
maxim of 'pegging away' have achieved the solidest success."

"When a man has done his work," says Ruskin, "and nothing can any way
be materially altered in his fate, let him forget his toil, and jest
with his fate if he will, but what excuse can you find for willfulness
of thought at the very lime when every crisis of fortune hangs on your
decisions?  A youth thoughtless, when all the happiness of his home
forever depends on the chances or the passions of the hour!  A youth
thoughtless, when the career of all his days depends on the opportunity
of a moment!  A youth thoughtless, when his every action is a
foundation-stone of future conduct, and every imagination a foundation
of life or death!  Be thoughtless in any after years, rather than
now--though, indeed, there is only one place where a man may be nobly
thoughtless, his deathbed.  Nothing should ever be left to be done

The Duke of Wellington became so discouraged because he did not advance
in the army that he applied for a much inferior position in the customs
department, but was refused.  Napoleon had applied for every vacant
position for seven years before he was recognized, but meanwhile he
studied with all his might, supplementing what was considered a
thorough military education by researches and reflections which in
later years enabled him easily to teach the art of war to veterans who
had never dreamed of his novel combinations.

Reserves which carry us through great emergencies are the result of
long working and long waiting.  Collyer declares that reserves mean to
a man also achievement,--"the power to do the grandest thing possible
to your nature when you feel you must, or some precious thing will be
lost,--to do well always, but best in the crisis on which all things
turn; to stand the strain of a long fight, and still find you have
something left, and so to never know you are beaten, because you never
are beaten."  Every defeat is a Waterloo to him who has no reserves.

He only is independent in action who has been earnest and thorough in
preparation and self-culture.  "Not for school, but for life, we
learn;" and our habits--of promptness, earnestness, and thoroughness,
or of tardiness, fickleness, and superficiality--are the things
acquired most readily and longest retained.

"One who reads the chronicles of discoveries is struck with the
prominent part that accident has played in such annals.  For some of
the most useful processes and machinery the world is indebted to
apparently chance occurrences.  Inventors in search of one object have
failed in their quest, but have stumbled on something more valuable
than that for which they were looking.  Saul is not the only man who
has gone in search of asses and found a kingdom.  Astrologers sought to
read from the heavens the fate of men and the fortune of nations, and
they led to a knowledge of astronomy.  Alchemists were seeking for the
philosopher's stone, and from their efforts sprung the science of
chemistry.  Men explored the heavens for something to explain
irregularities in the movements of the planets, and discovered a star
other than the one for which they were looking.  A careless glance at
such facts might encourage the delusion that aimless straying in
bypaths is quite as likely to be rewarded as is the steady pressing
forward, with fixed purpose, towards some definite goal.

"But it is to be remembered that the men who made the accidental
discoveries were men who were looking for something.  The unexpected
achievement was but the return for the toil after what was attained.
Others might have encountered the same facts, but only the eye made
eager by the strain of long watching would be quick to note the
meaning.  If vain search for hidden treasure has no other recompense,
it at least gives ability to detect the first gleam of the true metal.
Men may wake at times surprised to find themselves famous, but it was
the work they did before going to sleep, and not the slumber, that gave
the eminence.  When the ledge has been drilled and loaded and the
proper connections have been made, a child's touch on the electric key
may be enough to annihilate the obstacle, but without the long
preparation the pressure of a giant's hand would be without effect.

"In the search for truth and the shaping of character the principle
remains the same as in science and literature.  Trivial causes are
followed by wonderful results, but it is only the merchantman who is on
the watch for goodly pearls who is represented as finding the pearl of
great price."

To vary the language of another, the three great essentials to success
in mental and physical labor are Practice, Patience, and Perseverance,
but the greatest of these is Perseverance.

  Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
  Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.



  I shall show the cinders of my spirits
    Through the ashes of my chance.

  What though ten thousand faint,
    Desert, or yield, or in weak terror flee!
  Heed not the panic of the multitude;
    Thine be the captain's watchword,--Victory!

      Better to stem with heart and hand
    The roaring tide of life, than lie,
      Unmindful, on its flowery strand,
    Of God's occasions drifting by!
      Better with naked nerve to hear
    The needles of this goading air,
  Than in the lap of sensual ease forego
  The godlike power to do, the godlike aim to know.

  Let fortune empty her whole quiver on me,
  I have a soul that, like an ample shield,
  Can take in all, and verge enough for more.

  There's a brave fellow!  There's a man of pluck!
  A man who's not afraid to say his say,
  Though a whole town's against him.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we

  Attempt the end and never stand to doubt;
  Nothing's so hard but search will find it out.

The barriers are not yet erected which shall say to aspiring talent,
"Thus far and no farther."--BEETHOVEN.

"Friends and comrades," said Pizarro, as he turned toward the south,
after tracing with his sword upon the sand a line from east to west,
"on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm,
desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure.  There lies Peru
with its riches; here, Panama and its poverty.  Choose, each man, what
best becomes a brave Castilian.  For my part, I go to the south."  So
saying, he crossed the line and was followed by thirteen Spaniards in
armor.  Thus, on the little island of Gallo in the Pacific, when his
men were clamoring to return to Panama, did Pizarro and his few
volunteers resolve to stake their lives upon the success of a desperate
crusade against the powerful empire of the Incas.  At the time they had
not even a vessel to transport them to the country they wished to
conquer.  Is it necessary to add that all difficulties yielded at last
to such resolute determination?

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: ANDREW JACKSON]

"Old Hickory."

  "Stick to your aim: the mongrel's hold will slip,
  But only crowbars loose the bull-dog's grip."

"The nerve that never relaxes, the eye that never blenches, the thought
that never wanders,--these are the masters of victory."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

  "Perseverance is a Roman virtue,
  That wins each godlike act, and plucks success
  E'en from the spear-proof crest of rugged danger."

At a time when abolitionists were dangerously unpopular, a crowd of
brawny Cape Cod fishermen had made such riotous demonstrations that all
the speakers announced, except Stephen Foster and Lucy Stone, had fled
from an open-air platform.  "You had better run, Stephen," said she,
"they are coming."  "But who will take care of you?" asked Foster.
"This gentleman will take care of me," she replied, calmly laying her
hand within the arm of a burly rioter with a club, who had just sprung
upon the platform.  "Wh--what did you say?" stammered the astonished
rowdy, as he looked at the little woman; "yes, I'll take care of you,
and no one shall touch a hair of your head."  With this he forced a way
for her through the crowd, and, at her earnest request, placed her upon
a stump and stood guard with his club while she delivered an address so
effective that the audience offered no further violence, and even took
up a collection of twenty dollars to repay Mr. Foster for the damage
his clothes had received when the riot was at its height.

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till
it seems as if you could not hold on a minute longer," said Harriet
Beecher Stowe, "never give up then, for that's just the place and time
that the tide'll turn."

Charles Sumner said, "Three things are necessary: first, backbone;
second, backbone; third, backbone."

While digging among the ruins of Pompeii, which was buried by the dust
and ashes from an eruption of Vesuvius, A. D. 79, the workmen found the
skeleton of a Roman soldier in the sentry-box at one of the city's
gates.  He might have found safety under sheltering rocks close by;
but, in the face of certain death, he had remained at his post, a mute
witness to the thorough discipline, the ceaseless vigilance and
fidelity which made the Roman legionaries masters of the known world.
Bulwer, describing the flight of a party amid the dust, and ashes, and
streams of boiling water, and huge hurtling fragments of scoria, and
gusty winds, and lurid lightnings, continues: "The air was now still
for a few minutes; the lamp from the gate streamed out far and clear;
the fugitives hurried on.  They gained the gate.  They passed by the
Roman sentry.  The lightning flashed over his livid face and polished
helmet, but his stern features were composed even in their awe!  He
remained erect and motionless at his post.  That hour itself had not
animated the machine of the ruthless majesty of Rome into the reasoning
and self-acting man.  There he stood amidst the crashing elements; he
had not received the permission to desert his station and escape."

The world admires the man who never flinches from unexpected
difficulties, who calmly, patiently, and courageously grapples with his
fate, who dies, if need be, at his post.

"Clear grit" always commands respect.  It is that quality which
achieves, and everybody admires achievement.  In the strife of parties
and principles, backbone without brains will carry against brains
without backbone.  "A politician weakly and amiably in the right is no
match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong."  You
cannot, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue, make him the
representative of that opinion; at the close of any battle for
principles, his name will be found neither among the dead nor among the
wounded, but among the missing.

The "London Times" was an insignificant sheet published by Mr. Walter
and was steadily losing money.  John Walter, Jr., then only
twenty-seven years old, begged his father to give him full control of
the paper.  After many misgivings, the father finally consented.  The
young journalist began to remodel the establishment and to introduce
new ideas everywhere.  The paper had not attempted to mould public
opinion, and had no individuality or character of its own.  The
audacious young editor boldly attacked every wrong, even the
government, when he thought it corrupt.  Thereupon the public customs,
printing, and the government advertisements were withdrawn.  The father
was in utter dismay.  The son he was sure would ruin the paper and
himself.  But no remonstrance could swerve him from his purpose, to
give the world a great journal which should have weight, character,
individuality, and independence.

The public soon saw that a new power stood behind the "Times"; that its
articles meant business; that new life and new blood and new ideas had
been infused into the insignificant sheet; that a man with brains and
push and tenacity of purpose stood at the helm,--a man who could make a
way when he could not find one.  Among other new features foreign
dispatches were introduced, and they appeared in the "Times" several
days before their appearance in the government organs.  The "leading
article" also was introduced to stay.  But the aggressive editor
antagonized the government, and his foreign dispatches were all stopped
at the outpost, while those of the ministerial journalists were allowed
to proceed.  But nothing could daunt this resolute young spirit.  At
enormous expense he employed special couriers.  Every obstacle put in
his way, and all opposition from the government, only added to his
determination to succeed.  Enterprise, push, grit were behind the
"Times," and nothing could stay its progress.  Walter was the soul of
the paper, and his personality pervaded every detail.  In those days
only three hundred copies of the "Times" could be struck off in an hour
by the best presses, and Walter had duplicate and even triplicate types
set.  Then he set his brain to work, and finally the Walter Press,
throwing off 17,000 copies, both sides printed, per hour, was the
result.  It was the 29th of November, 1814, that the first steam
printed paper was given to the world.  Walter's tenacity of purpose was
remarkable.  He shrank from no undertaking, and neglected no detail.

"Mean natures always feel a sort of terror before great natures, and
many a base thought has been unuttered, many a sneaking vote withheld,
through the fear inspired by the rebuking presence of one noble man."
As a rule, pure grit, character, has the right of way.  In the presence
of men permeated with grit and sound in character, meanness and
baseness slink out of sight.  Mean men are uncomfortable, dishonesty
trembles, hypocrisy is uncertain.

Lincoln, being asked by an anxious visitor what he would do after three
or four years if the rebellion was not subdued, replied: "Oh, there is
no alternative but to keep pegging away."

"It is in me and it shall come out," said Sheridan, when told that he
would never make an orator, as he had failed in his first speech in
Parliament.  He became known as one of the foremost orators of his day.

When a boy Henry Clay was very bashful and diffident, and scarcely
dared recite before his class at school, but he determined to become an
orator.  So he committed speeches and recited them in the cornfields,
or in the barn with the horse and cows for an audience.

Look at Garrison reading this advertisement in a Southern paper: "Five
thousand dollars will be paid for the head of W. L. Garrison by the
Governor of Georgia."  Behold him again; a broadcloth mob is leading
him through the streets of Boston by a rope.  He is hurried to jail.
See him return calmly and unflinchingly to his work, beginning at the
point at which he was interrupted.  Note this heading in the
"Liberator," the type of which he set himself in an attic on State
Street, in Boston: "I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not
excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard."  Was
Garrison heard?  Ask a race set free largely by his efforts.  Even the
gallows erected in front of his own door did not daunt him.  He held
the ear of an unwilling world with that burning word "freedom," which
was destined never to cease its vibrations until it had breathed its
sweet secret to the last slave.

If impossibilities ever exist, popularly speaking, they ought to have
been found somewhere between the birth and the death of Kitto, that
deaf pauper and master of Oriental learning.  But Kitto did not find
them there.  In the presence of his decision and imperial energy they
melted away.  Kitto begged his father to take him out of the poorhouse,
even if he had to subsist like the Hottentots.  He told him that he
would sell his books and pawn his handkerchief, by which he thought he
could raise about twelve shillings.  He said he could live upon
blackberries, nuts, and field turnips, and was willing to sleep on a
hayrick.  Here was real grit.  What were impossibilities to such a
resolute will?  Patrick Henry voiced that decision which characterized
the great men of the Revolution when he said, "Is life so dear, or
peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but
as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Grit is a permanent, solid quality, which enters into the very
structure, the very tissues of the constitution.  A weak man, a
wavering, irresolute man, may be "spunky" upon occasion, he may be
"plucky" in an emergency; but pure "grit" is a part of the very
character of strong men alone.  Lord Erskine was a plucky man; he even
had flashes of heroism, and when he was with weaker men, he was thought
to have nerve and even grit; but when he entered the House of Commons,
although a hero at the bar, the imperiousness, the audacious scorn, and
the intellectual supremacy of Pitt disturbed his equanimity and exposed
the weak places in his armor.  In Pitt's commanding presence he lost
his equilibrium.  His individuality seemed off its centre; he felt
fluttered, weak, and uneasy.

Many of our generals in the late war exhibited heroism.  They were
"plucky," and often displayed great determination, but Grant had pure
"grit" in the most concentrated form.  He could not be moved from his
base; he was self-centred, immovable.  "If you try to wheedle out of
him his plans for a campaign, he stolidly smokes; if you call him an
imbecile and a blunderer, he blandly lights another cigar; if you
praise him as the greatest general living, he placidly returns the puff
from his regalia; and if you tell him he should run for the presidency,
it does not disturb the equanimity with which he inhales and exhales
the unsubstantial vapor which typifies the politician's promises.
While you are wondering what kind of creature this man without a tongue
is, you are suddenly electrified with the news of some splendid
victory, proving that behind the cigar, and behind the face discharged
of all tell-tale expression, is the best brain to plan and the
strongest heart to dare among the generals of the Republic."

Demosthenes was a man who could rise to sublime heights of heroism, but
his bravery was not his normal condition and depended upon his genius
being aroused.

He had "pluck" and "spunk" on occasions, but Lincoln had pure "grit."
When the illustrated papers everywhere were caricaturing him, when no
epithet seemed too harsh to heap upon him, when his methods were
criticised by his own party, and the generals in the war were
denouncing his "foolish" confidence in Grant, and delegations were
waiting upon him to ask for that general's removal, the great President
sat with crossed legs, and was reminded of a story.

Lincoln and Grant both had that rare nerve which cares not for
ridicule, is not swerved by public clamor, can bear abuse and hatred.
There is a mighty force in truth and in the sublime conviction and
supreme self-confidence behind it, in the knowledge that truth is
mighty and the conviction and confidence that it will prevail.

Pure grit is that element of character which enables a man to clutch
his aim with an iron grip, and keep the needle of his purpose pointing
to the star of his hope.  Through sunshine and storm, through hurricane
and tempest, through sleet and rain, with a leaky ship, with a crew in
mutiny, it perseveres; in fact, nothing but death can subdue it, and it
dies still struggling.

The man of grit carries in his very presence a power which controls and
commands.  He is spared the necessity of declaring himself, for his
grit speaks in his every act.  It does not come by fits and starts, it
is a part of his very life.  It inspires a sublime audacity and a
heroic courage.  Many of the failures of life are due to the want of
grit or business nerve.  It is unfortunate for a young man to start out
in business life with a weak, yielding disposition, with no resolution
or backbone to mark his own course and stick to it, with no ability to
say "No" with an emphasis, obliging this man by investing in hopeless
speculation, and rather than offend a friend, indorsing a questionable

A little boy was asked how he learned to skate.  "Oh, by getting up
every time I fell down," he replied.

Whipple tells a story of Masséna which illustrates the masterful
purpose that plucks victory out of the jaws of defeat.  "After the
defeat at Essling, the success of Napoleon's attempt to withdraw his
beaten army depended on the character of Masséna, to whom the Emperor
dispatched a messenger, telling him to keep his position for two hours
longer at Aspern.  This order, couched in the form of a request,
required almost an impossibility; but Napoleon knew the indomitable
tenacity of the man to whom he gave it.  The messenger found Masséna
seated on a heap of rubbish, his eyes bloodshot, his frame weakened by
his unparalleled exertions during a contest of forty hours, and his
whole appearance indicating a physical state better befitting the
hospital than the field.  But that steadfast soul seemed altogether
unaffected by bodily prostration; half dead as he was with fatigue, he
rose painfully and said, 'Tell the Emperor that I will hold out for two
hours.'  And he kept his word."

"Often defeated in battle," said Macaulay of Alexander the Great, "he
was always successful in war."  He might have said the same of
Washington, and, with appropriate changes, of all who win great
triumphs of any kind.

In the battle of Marengo, the Austrians considered the day won.  The
French army was inferior in numbers, and had given way.  The Austrian
army extended its wings on the right and on the left, to follow up the
French.  Then, though the French themselves thought the battle lost,
and the Austrians were confident it was won, Napoleon gave the command
to charge; and, the trumpet's blast being given, the Old Guard charged
down into the weakened centre of the enemy, cut it in two, rolled the
two wings up on either side, and the battle was won for France.

"Never despair," says Burke, "but if you do, work on in despair."

Once when Marshal Ney was going into battle, looking down at his knees
which were smiting together, he said, "You may well shake; you would
shake worse yet if you knew where I am going to take you."

It is victory after victory with the soldier, lesson after lesson with
the scholar, blow after blow with the laborer, crop after crop with the
farmer, picture after picture with the painter, and mile after mile
with the traveler, that secures what all so much desire--SUCCESS.

A promising Harvard student was stricken with paralysis of both legs.
Physicians said there was no hope for him.  The lad determined to
continue his college studies.  The examiners heard him at his bedside,
and in four years he took his degree.  He resolved to make a critical
study of Dante, to do which he had to learn Italian and German.  He
persevered in spite of repeated attacks of illness and partial loss of
sight.  He was competing for the university prize.  Think of the
paralytic lad, helpless in bed, competing for a prize, fighting death
inch by inch.  What a lesson!  Before his book was published or the
prize awarded, the brave student died, but the book was successful.  He
meant that his life should not be a burden or a failure, and he was not
only graduated from the best college in America, but competed
successfully for the university prize, and made a valuable contribution
to literature.

Professor L. T. Townsend, the famous author of "Credo," is another
triumph of grit over environment.  He had a hard struggle as a boy, but
succeeded in working his way through Amherst College, living on
forty-five cents a week.

Orange Judd was a remarkable example of success through grit.  He
earned corn by working for farmers, carried it on his back to mill,
brought back the meal to his room, cooked it himself, milked cows for
his pint of milk per day, and lived on mush and milk for months
together.  He worked his way through Wesleyan University, and took a
three years' post-graduate course at Yale.

Congressman William W. Crapo, while working his way through college,
being too poor to buy a dictionary, actually copied one, walking from
his home in the village of Dartmouth, Mass., to New Bedford to
replenish his store of words and definitions from the town library.

Oh, the triumphs of this indomitable spirit of the conqueror!  This it
was that enabled Franklin to dine on a small loaf in the
printing-office with a book in his hand.  It helped Locke to live on
bread and water in a Dutch garret.  It enabled Gideon Lee to go
barefoot in the snow, half starved and thinly clad.  It sustained
Lincoln and Garfield on their hard journeys from the log cabin to the
White House.

President Chadbourne put grit in place of his lost lung, and worked
thirty-five years after his funeral had been planned.

Lord Cavanagh put grit in the place of arms and legs, and went to
Parliament in spite of his deformity.

Henry Fawcett put grit in place of eyesight, and became the greatest
Postmaster-General England ever had.

Prescott also put grit in place of eyesight, and became one of
America's greatest historians.  Francis Parkman put grit in place of
health and eyesight, and became the greatest historian of America in
his line.  Thousands of men have put grit in place of health, eyes,
ears, hands, legs, and yet have achieved marvelous success.  Indeed,
most of the great things of the world have been accomplished by grit
and pluck.  You cannot keep a man down who has these qualities.  He
will make stepping-stones out of his stumbling-blocks, and lift himself
to success.

At fifty, Barnum was a ruined man, owing thousands more than he
possessed, yet he resolutely resumed business once more, fairly
wringing success from adverse fortune, and paying his notes at the same
time.  Again and again he was ruined, but phoenix-like, he rose
repeatedly from the ashes of his misfortune each time more determined
than before.

It was the last three days of the first voyage of Columbus that told.
All his years of struggle and study would have availed nothing if he
had yielded to the mutiny.  It was all in those three days.  But what

"It is all very well," said Charles J. Fox, "to tell me that a young
man has distinguished himself by a brilliant first speech.  He may go
on, or he may be satisfied with his first triumph; but show me a young
man who has not succeeded at first, and nevertheless has gone on, and I
will back that young man to do better than most of those who have
succeeded at the first trial."

Cobden broke down completely the first time he appeared on a platform
in Manchester, and the chairman apologized for him.  But he did not
give up speaking till every poor man in England had a larger, better,
and cheaper loaf.

See young Disraeli, sprung from a hated and persecuted race; without
opportunity, pushing his way up through the middle classes, up through
the upper classes, until he stands self-poised upon the topmost round
of political and social power.  Scoffed, ridiculed, rebuffed, hissed
from the House of Commons, he simply says, "The time will come when you
will hear me."  The time did come, and the boy with no chance swayed
the sceptre of England for a quarter of a century.

One of the most remarkable examples in history is Disraeli, forcing his
leadership upon that very party whose prejudices were deepest against
his race, and which had an utter contempt for self-made men and
interlopers.  Imagine England's surprise when she awoke to find this
insignificant Hebrew actually Chancellor of the Exchequer.  He was
easily master of all the tortures supplied by the armory of rhetoric;
he could exhaust the resources of the bitterest invective; he could
sting Gladstone out of his self-control; he was absolute master of
himself and his situation.  You can see that this young man intends to
make his way in the world.  A determined audacity is in his very face.
He is a gay fop.  Handsome, with the hated Hebrew blood in his veins,
after three defeats in parliamentary elections he was not the least
daunted, for he knew his day would come, as it did.  Lord Melbourne,
the great Prime Minister, when this gay young fop was introduced to
him, asked him what he wished to be.  "Prime Minister of England," was
his audacious reply.

One of the greatest preachers of modern times, Lacordaire, failed again
and again.  Everybody said he would never make a preacher, but he was
determined to succeed, and in two years from his humiliating failures
he was preaching in Notre Dame to immense congregations.

The boy Thorwaldsen, whose father died in the poor-house, and whose
education was so scanty that he had to write his letters over many
times before they could be posted, by his indomitable perseverance,
tenacity, and grit, fascinated the world with the genius which neither
his discouraging father, poverty, nor hardship could suppress.

William H. Seward was given a thousand dollars by his father to go to
college with; this was all he was to have.  The son returned at the end
of the freshman year with extravagant habits and no money.  His father
refused to give him more, and told him he could not stay at home.  When
the youth found the props all taken out from under him, and that he
must now sink or swim, he left home moneyless, returned to college,
graduated at the head of his class, studied law, was elected Governor
of New York, and became Lincoln's great Secretary of State during the
Civil War.

Louisa M. Alcott wrote the conclusion to "An Old-Fashioned Girl" with
her left hand in a sling, one foot up, head aching, and no voice.  She
proudly writes in her diary, "Twenty years ago I resolved to make the
family independent if I could.  At forty, that is done.  Debts all
paid, even the outlawed ones, and we have enough to be comfortable.  It
has cost me my health, perhaps."  She earned two hundred thousand
dollars by her pen.

Mrs. Frank Leslie often refers to the time she lived in her carpetless
attic while striving to pay her husband's obligations.  She has fought
her way successfully through nine lawsuits, and has paid the entire
debt.  She manages her ten publications entirely herself, signs all
checks and money-orders, makes all contracts, looks over all proofs,
and approves the make-up of everything before it goes to press.  She
has developed great business ability, which no one dreamed she

Garfield said, "If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the
best possible substitute for it."  The triumph of industry and grit
over low birth and iron fortune in America, this land of opportunity,
ought to be sufficient to put to shame all grumblers over their hard
fortune and those who attempt to excuse aimless, shiftless, successless
men because they have no chance.

The fear of ridicule and the dread of humiliation often hinder one from
taking decisive steps when it is plainly a duty, so that courage is a
very important element of decision.  In a New England academy a pupil
who was engaged to assist the teacher was unable to solve a problem in
algebra.  The class was approaching the problem, and he was mortified
because, after many trials, he was obliged to take it to the teacher
for solution.  The teacher returned it unsolved.  What could he do?  He
would not confess to the class that he could not solve it, so, after
many futile attempts, he went to a distant town to seek the assistance
of a friend who, he believed, could do the work.  But, alas! his friend
had gone away, and would not be back for a week.  On his way back he
said to himself, "What a fool! am I unable to perform a problem in
algebra, and shall I go back to my class and confess my ignorance?  I
can solve it and I will."  He shut himself in his room, determined not
to sleep until he had mastered the problem, and finally he won success.
Underneath the solution he wrote, "Obtained Monday evening, September
2, at half past eleven o'clock, after more than a dozen trials that
have consumed more than twenty hours of time."

During a winter in the war of 1812, General Jackson's troops,
unprovided for and starving, became mutinous and were going home.  But
the general set the example of living on acorns; then rode before the
rebellious line and threatened with death the first mutineer that
should try to leave.

The race is not always to the swift, the battle is not always to the
strong.  Horses are sometimes weighted or hampered in the race, and
this is taken into account in the result.  So in the race of life the
distance alone does not determine the prize.  We must take into
consideration the hindrances, the weights we have carried, the
disadvantages of education, of breeding, of training, of surroundings,
of circumstances.  How many young men are weighted down with debt, with
poverty, with the support of invalid parents or brothers and sisters,
or friends?  How many are fettered with ignorance, hampered by
inhospitable surroundings, with the opposition of parents who do not
understand them?  How many a round boy is hindered in the race by being
forced into a square hole?  How many are delayed in their course
because nobody believes in them, because nobody encourages them,
because they get no sympathy and are forever tortured for not doing
that against which every fibre of their being protests, and every drop
of their blood rebels?  How many have to feel their way to the goal,
through the blindness of ignorance and lack of experience?  How many go
bungling along from the lack of early discipline and drill in the
vocation they have chosen?  How many have to hobble along on crutches
because they were never taught to help themselves, but to lean upon a
father's wealth or a mother's indulgence?  How many are weakened for
the journey of life by self-indulgence, by dissipation, by
"life-sappers;" how many are crippled by disease, by a weak
constitution, by impaired eyesight or hearing?

When the prizes of life shall be awarded by the Supreme Judge, who
knows our weaknesses and frailties, the distance we have run, the
weights we have carried, the handicaps, will all be taken into account.
Not the distance we have run, but the obstacles we have overcome, the
disadvantages under which we have made the race, will decide the
prizes.  The poor wretch who has plodded along against unknown
temptations, the poor woman who has buried her sorrows in her silent
heart and sewed her weary way through life, those who have suffered
abuse in silence, and who have been unrecognized or despised by their
fellow-runners, will often receive the greater prize.

  "The wise and active conquer difficulties,
  By daring to attempt them: sloth and folly
  Shiver and sink at sight of toil and hazard,
  And make the impossibility they fear."

  Tumble me down, and I will sit
  Upon my ruins, smiling yet:
  Tear me to tatters, yet I'll be
  Patient in my necessity:
  Laugh at my scraps of clothes, and shun
  Me as a fear'd infection:
  Yet scare-crow like I'll walk, as one
  Neglecting thy derision.



"One ruddy drop of manly blood the surging sea outweighs."

"Manhood overtops all titles."

The truest test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of
cities, nor the crops; no, but the kind of man the country turns

Hew the block off, and get out the man.--POPE.

Eternity alone will reveal to the human race its debt of gratitude to the
peerless and immortal name of Washington.--JAMES A. GARFIELD.

  Better not be at all
  Than not be noble.

  Be noble! and the nobleness that lies
  In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
  Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.

  Virtue alone out-builds the pyramids:
  Her monuments shall last when Egypt's fall.

  Were one so tall to touch the pole,
    Or grasp creation in his span,
  He must be measured by his soul,
    The mind's the measure of the man.

  We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
    In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
  We should count time by heart-throbs.  He most lives
    Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

  "Good name in man or woman
  Is the immediate jewel of their souls."

But this one thing I know, that these qualities did not now begin to
exist, cannot be sick with my sickness, nor buried in my grave.--EMERSON.

A Moor was walking in his garden when a Spanish cavalier suddenly fell at
his feet, pleading for concealment from pursuers who sought his life in
revenge for the killing of a Moorish gentleman.  The Moor promised aid,
and locked his visitor in a summer-house until night should afford
opportunity for his escape.  Not long after the dead body of his son was
brought home, and from the description given he knew the Spaniard was the
murderer.  He concealed his horror, however, and at midnight unlocked the
summer-house, saying, "Christian, the youth whom you have murdered was my
only son.  Your crime deserves the severest punishment.  But I have
solemnly pledged my word not to betray you, and I disdain to violate a
rash engagement even with a cruel enemy."  Then, saddling one of his
fleetest mules, he said, "Flee while the darkness of night conceals you.
Your hands are polluted with blood; but God is just; and I humbly thank
Him that my faith is unspotted, and that I have resigned judgment to Him."

[Illustration: John Greenleaf Whittier (missing from book)]

Character never dies.  As Longfellow says:--

  "Were a star quenched on high,
    For ages would its light,
  Still traveling downward from the sky,
    Shine on our mortal sight.

  "So when a great man dies,
    For years beyond our ken,
  The light he leaves behind him lies
    Upon the paths of men."

The character of Socrates was mightier than the hemlock, and banished the
fear and sting of death.

Who can estimate the power of a well-lived life?  _Character is power_.
Hang this motto in every school in the land, in every home, in every
youth's room.  Mothers, engrave it on every child's heart.

You cannot destroy one single atom of a Garrison, even though he were
hanged.  The mighty force of martyrs to truth lives; the candle burns
more brilliantly than before it was snuffed.  "No varnish or veneer of
scholarship, no command of the tricks of logic or rhetoric, can ever make
you a positive force in the world;" but your character can.

When the statue of George Peabody, erected in one of the thoroughfares of
London, was unveiled, the sculptor Story was asked to speak.  Twice he
touched the statue with his hand, and said, "That is my speech.  That is
my speech."  What could be more eloquent?  Character needs no
recommendation.  It pleads its own cause.

"Show me," said Omar the Caliph to Amru the warrior, "the sword with
which you have fought so many battles and slain so many infidels."  "Ah!"
replied Amru, "the sword without the arm of the master is no sharper nor
heavier than the sword of Farezdak the poet."  So one hundred and fifty
pounds of flesh and blood without character is of no great value.

Napoleon was so much impressed with the courage and resources of Marshal
Ney, that he said, "I have two hundred millions in my coffers, and I
would give them all for Ney."

In Agra, India, stands the Taj Mahal, the acme of Oriental architecture,
said to be the most beautiful building in the world.  It was planned as a
mausoleum for the favorite wife of Shah Jehan.  When the latter was
deposed by his son Aurungzebe, his daughter Jahanara chose to share his
captivity and poverty rather than the guilty glory of her brother.  On
her tomb in Delhi were cut her dying words: "Let no rich coverlet adorn
my grave; this grass is the best covering for the tomb of the poor in
spirit, the humble, the transitory Jahanara, the disciple of the holy men
of Christ, the daughter of the Emperor Shah Jehan."  Travelers who visit
the magnificent Taj linger long by the grass-green sarcophagus in Delhi,
but give only passing notice to the beautiful Jamma Masjid, a mausoleum
afterwards erected in her honor.

Some writer has well said that David of the throne we cannot always
recall with pleasure, but David of the Psalms we never forget.  The
strong, sweet faith of the latter streams like sunlight through even the
closed windows of the soul, long after the wearied eye has turned with
disgust from all the gilded pomp and pride of the former.

Robertson says that when you have got to the lowest depths of your heart,
you will find there not the mere desire of happiness, but a craving as
natural to us as the desire for food,--the craving for nobler, higher

"Private Benjamin Owen, ---- Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, was found
asleep at his post while on picket duty last night.  The court-martial
has sentenced him to be shot in twenty-four hours, as the offense
occurred at a critical time."  "I thought when I gave Bennie to his
country," said farmer Owen as he read the above telegram with dimming
eyes, "that no other father in all this broad laud made so precious a
gift.  He only slept a minute,--just one little minute,--at his post, I
know that was all, for Bennie never dozed over a duty.  How prompt and
trustworthy he was!  He was as tall as I, and only eighteen! and now they
shoot him because he was found asleep when doing sentinel duty!"  Just
then Bennie's little sister Blossom answered a tap at the door, and
returned with a letter.  "It is from him," was all she said.

DEAR FATHER,--For sleeping on sentinel duty I am to be shot.  At first,
it seemed awful to me; but I have thought about it so much now that it
has no terror.  They say that they will not bind me, nor blind me; but
that I may meet my death like a man.  I thought, father, that it might
have been on the battlefield, for my country, and that, when I fell, it
would be fighting gloriously; but to be shot down like a dog for nearly
betraying it,--to die for neglect of duty!  Oh, father, I wonder the very
thought does not kill me!  But I shall not disgrace you.  I am going to
write you all about it; and when I am gone, you may tell my comrades; I
cannot now.

You know I promised Jemmie Carr's mother I would look after her boy; and,
when he fell sick, I did all I could for him.  He was not strong when he
was ordered back into the ranks, and the day before that night I carried
all his baggage, besides my own, on our march.  Toward night we went in
on double-quick, and the baggage began to feel very heavy.  Everybody was
tired; and as for Jemmie, if I had not lent him an arm now and then, he
would have dropped by the way.  I was all tired out when we came into
camp; and then it was Jemmie's turn to be sentry, and I could take his
place; but I was too tired, father.  I could not have kept awake if a gun
had been pointed at my head; but I did not know it until,--well, until it
was too late.

They tell me to-day that I have a short reprieve,--given to me by
circumstances,--"time to write to you," our good colonel says.  Forgive
him, father, he only does his duty; he would gladly save me if he could;
and do not lay my death up against Jemmie.  The poor boy is
broken-hearted, and does nothing but beg and entreat them to let him die
in my stead.  I can't bear to think of mother and Blossom.  Comfort them,
father!  Tell them I die as a brave boy should, and that, when the war is
over, they will not be ashamed of me, as they must be now.  God help me:
it is very hard to bear!  Good-by, father.  To-night, in the early
twilight, I shall see the cows all coming home from pasture, and precious
little Blossom standing on the back stoop, waiting for me,--but I shall
never, never come!  God bless you all!

"God be thanked!" said Mr. Owen reverently; "I knew Bennie was not the
boy to sleep carelessly."

Late that night a little figure glided out of the house and down the
path.  Two hours later the conductor of the southward mail lifted her
into a car at Mill Depot.  Next morning she was in New York, and the next
she was admitted to the White House at Washington.  "Well, my child,"
said the President in pleasant, cheerful tones, "what do you want so
bright and early this morning?"  "Bennie's life, please, sir," faltered
Blossom.  "Bennie?  Who is Bennie?" asked Mr. Lincoln.  "My brother, sir.
They are going to shoot him for sleeping at his post," said the little
girl.  "I remember," said the President; "it was a fatal sleep.  You see,
child, it was a time of special danger.  Thousands of lives might have
been lost through his culpable negligence."  "So my father said; but poor
Bennie was so tired, sir, and Jemmie so weak.  He did the work of two,
sir, and it was Jemmie's night, not his; but Jemmie was too tired, and
Bennie never thought about himself,--that he was tired, too."  "What is
that you say, child?  Come here; I do not understand."  He read Bennie's
letter to his father, which Blossom held out, wrote a few lines, rang his
bell, and said to the messenger who appeared, "Send this dispatch at
once."  Then, turning to Blossom, he continued: "Go home, my child, and
tell that father of yours, who could approve his country's sentence, even
when it took the life of a child like that, that Abraham Lincoln thinks
the life far too precious to be lost.  Go back, or--wait until to-morrow;
Bennie will need a change after he has so bravely faced death, he shall
go with you."  "God bless you, sir," said Blossom.  _Not all the queens
are crowned._

Two days later, when the young soldier came with his sister to thank the
President, Mr. Lincoln fastened the strap of a lieutenant upon his
shoulder, saying, "The soldier that could carry a sick comrade's baggage,
and die for the act without complaining, deserves well of his country."

When telegrams poured in announcing terrible carnage upon battlefields in
our late war, and when President Lincoln's heart-strings were nearly
broken over the cruel treatment of our prisoners at Andersonville, Belle
Isle, and Libby Prison, he never once departed from his famous motto,
"With malice toward none, with charity for all."  When it was reported
that among those returned at Baltimore from Southern prisons, not one in
ten could stand alone from hunger and neglect, and many were so eaten and
covered by vermin as to resemble those pitted by smallpox, and so
emaciated that they were living skeletons, not even these reports could
move the great President to retaliate in kind upon the Southern prisoners.

Among the slain on the battlefield at Fredericksburg was the body of a
youth upon which was found next the heart a photograph of Lincoln.  Upon
the back of it were these words: "God bless President Lincoln."  The
youth had been sentenced to death for sleeping at his post, but had been
pardoned by the President.

David Dudley Field said he considered Lincoln the greatest man of his
day.  Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and others were great, each in one way, but
Lincoln was great in many ways.  There seemed to be hidden springs of
greatness in this man that would gush forth in the most unexpected way.
The men about him were at a loss to name the order of his genius.  Horace
Greeley was almost as many-sided, but was a wonderful combination of
goodness and weakness, while Lincoln seemed strong in every way.  After
Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation he said, "The promise
must now be kept; I shall never recall one word."

Bishop Hamilton, of Salisbury, bears the following testimony to the
influence for good which Gladstone, when a school-fellow at Eton,
exercised upon him.  "I was a thoroughly idle boy; but I was saved from
worse things by getting to know Gladstone."  At Oxford we are told the
effect of his example was so strong that men who followed him there ten
years later declare "that undergraduates drank less in the forties
because Gladstone had been so courageously abstemious in the thirties."

The Rev. John Newton said, "I see in this world two heaps of human
happiness and misery; now if I can take but the smallest bit from one
heap and add it to the other, I carry a point; if as I go home a child
has dropped a half-penny, and by giving it another I can wipe away its
tears, I feel I have done something."

A holy hermit, who had lived for six years in a cave of the Thebaid,
fasting, praying, and performing severe penances, spending his whole life
in trying to make himself of some account with God, that he might be sure
of a seat in Paradise, prayed to be shown some saint greater than
himself, in order that he might pattern after him to reach still greater
heights of holiness.  The same night an angel came to him and said, "If
thou wouldst excel all others in virtue and sanctity, strive to imitate a
certain minstrel who goes begging and singing from door to door."  The
hermit, much chagrined, sought the minstrel and asked him how he had
managed to make himself so acceptable to God.  The minstrel hung down his
head and replied, "Do not mock me, holy father; I have performed no good
works, and I am not worthy to pray.  I only go from door to door to amuse
people with my viol and my flute."  The hermit insisted that he must have
done some good deeds.  The minstrel replied, "Nay, I know of nothing good
that I have done."  "But how hast thou become a beggar?  Hast thou spent
thy substance in riotous living?"  "Nay, not so," replied the minstrel.
"I met a poor woman running hither and thither, distracted, because her
husband and children had been sold into slavery to pay a debt.  I took
her home and protected her from certain sons of Belial, for she was very
beautiful.  I gave her all I possessed to redeem her family and returned
her to her husband and children.  Is there any man who would not have
done the same?"   The hermit shed tears, and said in all his life he had
not done as much as the poor minstrel.

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor
than silver or gold."

A gentleman, traveling through West Virginia, went to a house, and
procured food for himself and companion and their horses.  He wanted to
make payment, but the woman was ashamed to take pay for a mere act of
kindness.  He pressed the money upon her.  Finally she said, "If you
don't think I'm mean, I'll take one quarter of a dollar from you, so as
to look at it now and then, for there has been no money in this house for
a year."

Do not take the world's estimate of success.  The real height of the
Washington Monument is not measured between the capstone and the earth,
but includes the fifty feet of solid masonry below.  Many of the most
successful lives are like the rivers of India which run under ground,
unseen and unheard by the millions who tread above them.  But have these
rivers therefore no influence?  Ask the rich harvest fields if they feel
the flowing water beneath.  The greatest worth is never measured.  It is
only the nearest stars whose distances we compute.  That life whose
influence can be measured by the world's tape-line of dollars and corn is
not worth the measuring.

All the forces in nature that are the most powerful are the quietest.  We
speak of the rolling thunder as powerful; but gravitation, which makes no
noise, yet keeps orbs in their orbits, and the whole system in harmony,
binding every atom in each planet to the great centre of all attraction,
is ten thousand times ten thousand times more powerful.  We say the
bright lightning is mighty; so it is when it rends the gnarled oak into
splinters, or splits solid battlements into fragments; but it is not half
so powerful as the gentle light that comes so softly from the skies that
we do not feel it, that travels at an inconceivable speed, strikes and
yet is not felt, but exercises an influence so great that the earth is
clothed with verdure through its influence, and all nature beautified and
blessed by its ceaseless action.  The things that make no noise, make no
pretension, may be really the strongest.  The most conclusive logic that
a preacher uses in the pulpit will never exercise the influence that the
consistent piety of character will exercise over all the earth.

The old Sicilian story relates how Pythias, condemned to death through
the hasty anger of Dionysius of Syracuse, asked that he might go to his
native Greece, and arrange his affairs, promising to return before the
time appointed for his execution.  The tyrant laughed his request to
scorn, saying that when he was once safe out of Sicily no one would
answer for his reappearance.  At this juncture, Damon, a friend of the
doomed man, offered to become surety for him, and to die in his stead if
he did not come back in time.  Dionysius was surprised, but accepted the
proposition.  When the fatal day came, Pythias had not reached Syracuse,
but Damon remained firm in his faith that his friend would not fail him.
At the very last hour Pythias appeared and announced himself ready to
die.  But such touching loyalty moved even the iron heart of Dionysius;
accordingly he ordered both to be spared, and asked to be allowed to make
a third partner in such a noble friendship.  It is a grander thing to be
nobly remembered than to be nobly born.

When Attila, flushed with conquest, appeared with his barbarian horde
before the gates of Rome in 452, Pope Leo alone of all the people dared
go forth and try to turn his wrath aside.  A single magistrate followed
him.  The Huns were awed by the fearless majesty of the unarmed old man,
and led him before their chief, whose respect was so great that he agreed
not to enter the city, provided a tribute should be paid to him.

Blackie thinks there is no kind of a sermon so effective as the example
of a great man, where we see the thing done before us,--actually
done,--the thing of which we were not even dreaming.

It was said that when Washington led the American forces as commanding
officer, it "doubled the strength of the army."

When General Lee was in conversation with one of his officers in regard
to a movement of his army, a plain farmer's boy overheard the general's
remark that he had decided to march upon Gettysburg instead of
Harrisburg.  The boy telegraphed this fact to Governor Curtin.  A special
engine was sent for the boy.  "I would give my right hand," said the
governor, "to know if this boy tells the truth."  A corporal replied,
"Governor, I know that boy; it is impossible for him to lie; there is not
a drop of false blood in his veins."  In fifteen minutes the Union troops
were marching to Gettysburg, where they gained a victory.  Character is
power.  The great thing is to be a man, to have a high purpose, a noble
aim, to be dead in earnest, to yearn for the good and the true.

"Your lordships," said Wellington in Parliament, "must all feel the high
and honorable character of the late Sir Robert Peel.  I was long
connected with him in public life.  We were both in the councils of our
sovereign together, and I had long the honor to enjoy his private
friendship.  In all the course of my acquaintance with him, I never knew
a man in whose truth and justice I had greater confidence, or in whom I
saw a more invariable desire to promote the public service.  In the whole
course of my communication with him, I never knew an instance in which he
did not show the strongest attachment to truth; and I never saw in the
whole course of my life the smallest reason for suspecting that he stated
anything which he did not firmly believe to be the fact."

"The Secretary stood alone," said Grattan of the elder Pitt.  "Modern
degeneracy had not reached him.  Original and unaccommodating, the
features of his character had the hardihood of antiquity.  His august
mind overawed majesty; and one of his sovereigns thought royalty so
impaired in his presence, that he conspired to remove him, in order to be
relieved from his superiority.  No state chicanery, no narrow system of
vicious politics, sunk him to the level of the vulgar great; but,
overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his object was England, his
ambition, fame.  A character so exalted, so unsullied, so various, so
authoritative, astonished a corrupt age, and the Treasury trembled at the
name of Pitt through all the classes of venality.  Corruption imagined,
indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of
the inconsistency of his policy, and much of the ruin of his victories;
but the history of his country and the calamities of the enemy answered
and refuted her.  Upon the whole, there was in this man something that
could create, subvert, or reform; an understanding, a spirit, and an
eloquence to summon mankind to united exertion, or to break the bonds of
slavery asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded
authority; something that could establish or overwhelm an empire, and
strike a blow in the world that would resound through the universe."

Pitt was Paymaster-General for George II.  When a subsidy was voted a
foreign office, it was customary for the office to claim one half per
cent. for honorarium.  Pitt astonished the King of Sardinia by sending
him the sum without any deduction, and further astonished him by refusing
a present as a compliment to his integrity.  He was a poor man.

Washington would take no pay as commander-in-chief of the Continental
armies.  He would keep a strict account of his expenses; and these, he
doubted not, would be discharged.

Remember, the main business of life is not to do, but to become; an
action itself has its finest and most enduring fruit in character.

In 1837, after George Peabody moved to London, there came a commercial
crisis in the United States.  Many banks suspended specie payments.  Many
mercantile houses went to the wall, and thousands more were in great
distress.  Edward Everett said, "The great sympathetic nerve of the
commercial world, credit, as far as the United States were concerned, was
for the time paralyzed."  Probably not a half dozen men in Europe would
have been listened to for a moment in the Bank of England upon the
subject of American securities, but George Peabody was one of them.  His
name was already a tower of strength in the commercial world.  In those
dark days his integrity stood four-square in every business panic.
Peabody retrieved the credit of the State of Maryland, and, it might
almost be said, of the United States.  His character was the magic wand
which in many a case changed almost worthless paper into gold.  Merchants
on both sides of the Atlantic procured large advances from him, even
before the goods consigned to him had been sold.

Thackeray says, "Nature has written a letter of credit upon some men's
faces which is honored wherever presented.  You cannot help trusting such
men; their very presence gives confidence.  There is a 'promise to pay'
in their very faces which gives confidence, and you prefer it to another
man's indorsement."  _Character is credit._

With most people, as with most nations, "things are worth what they will
sell for," and the dollar is mightier than the sword.  As good as gold
has become a proverb--as though it were the highest standard of

Themistocles, having conceived the design of transferring the government
of Greece from the hands of the Lacedaemonians into those of the
Athenians, kept his thoughts continually fixed on this great project.
Being at no time very nice or scrupulous in the choice of his measures,
he thought anything which could tend to the accomplishment of the end he
had in view just and lawful.  Accordingly in an assembly of the people
one day, he intimated that he had a very important design to propose; but
he could not communicate it to the public at large, because the greatest
secrecy was necessary to its success, and he therefore desired that they
would appoint a person to whom he might explain himself on the subject.
Aristides was unanimously selected by the assembly, which deferred
entirely to his opinion.  Themistocles, taking him aside, told him that
the design he had conceived was to burn the fleet belonging to the rest
of the Grecian states, which then lay in a neighboring port, when Athens
would assuredly become mistress of all Greece.  Aristides returned to the
assembly, and declared to them that nothing could be more advantageous to
the commonwealth than the project of Themistocles, but that, at the same
time, nothing in the world could be more unfair.  The assembly
unanimously declared that, since such was the case, Themistocles should
wholly abandon his project.

A tragedy by Aeschylus was once represented before the Athenians, in
which it was said of one of the characters, "that he cared not more to be
just than to appear so."  At these words all eyes were instantly turned
upon Aristides as the man who, of all the Greeks, most merited that
distinguished reputation.  Ever after he received, by universal consent,
the surname of the Just,--a title, says Plutarch, truly royal, or rather
truly divine.  This remarkable distinction roused envy, and envy
prevailed so far as to procure his banishment for years, upon the unjust
suspicion that his influence with the people was dangerous to their
freedom.  When the sentence was passed by his countrymen, Aristides
himself was present in the midst of them, and a stranger who stood near,
and could not write, applied to him to write for him on his shell-ballot.
"What name?" asked the philosopher.  "Aristides," replied the stranger.

"Do you know him, then?" said Aristides, "or has he in any way injured
you?"  "Neither," said the other, "but it is for this very thing I would
he were condemned.  I can go nowhere but I hear of Aristides the Just."
Aristides inquired no further, but took the shell, and wrote his name on
it as desired.  The absence of Aristides soon dissipated the
apprehensions which his countrymen had so idly indulged.  He was in a
short time recalled, and for many years after took a leading part in the
affairs of the republic, without showing the least resentment against his
enemies, or seeking any other gratification than that of serving his
countrymen with fidelity and honor.  The virtues of Aristides did not
pass without reward.  He had two daughters, who were educated at the
expense of the state, and to whom portions were allotted from the public

The strongest proof, however, of the justice and integrity of Aristides
is, that notwithstanding he had possessed the highest employments in the
republic, and had the absolute disposal of its treasures, yet he died so
poor as not to leave money enough to defray the expenses of his funeral.

Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong;
they, and not the police, guarantee the execution of the laws.  Their
influence is the bulwark of good government.

It was said of the first Emperor Alexander of Russia, that his personal
character was equivalent to a constitution.  Of Montaigne, it was said
that his high reputation for integrity was a better protection for him
than a regiment of horse would have been, he being the only man among the
French gentry who, during the wars of the Fronde, kept his castle gates
unbarred.  There are men, fortunately for the world, who would rather be
right than be President.

Fisher Ames, while in Congress, said of Roger Sherman, of Connecticut:
"If I am absent during a discussion of a subject, and consequently know
not on which side to vote, when I return I always look at Roger Sherman,
for I am sure if I vote with him, I shall vote right."

Character gravitates upward, as with a celestial gravitation, while mere
genius, without character, gravitates downward.  How often we see in
school or college young men, who are apparently dull and even stupid,
rise gradually and surely above others who are without character, merely
because the former have an upward tendency in their lives, a reaching-up
principle, which gradually but surely unfolds, and elevates them to
positions of honor and trust.  There is something which everybody admires
in an aspiring soul, one whose tendency is upward and onward, in spite of
hindrances and in defiance of obstacles.

We may try to stifle the voice of the mysterious angel within, but it
always says "yes" to right actions and "no" to wrong ones.  No matter
whether we heed it or not, no power can change its decision one iota.
Through health, through disease, through prosperity and adversity, this
faithful servant stands behind us in the shadow of ourselves, never
intruding, but weighing every act we perform, every word we utter,
pronouncing the verdict "right" or "wrong."

Francis Horner, of England, was a man of whom Sydney Smith said, that
"the ten commandments were stamped upon his forehead."  The valuable and
peculiar light in which Horner's history is calculated to inspire every
right-minded youth is this: he died at the age of thirty-eight, possessed
of greater influence than any other private man, and admired, beloved,
trusted, and deplored by all except the heartless and the base.  No
greater homage was ever paid in Parliament to any deceased member.  How
was this attained?  By rank?  He was the son of an Edinburgh merchant.
By wealth?  Neither he nor any of his relatives ever had a superfluous
sixpence.  By office?  He held but one, and that for only a few years, of
no influence, and with very little pay.  By talents?  His were not
splendid, and he had no genius.  Cautious and slow, his only ambition was
to be right.  By eloquence?  He spoke in calm, good taste, without any of
the oratory that either terrifies or seduces.  By any fascination of
manner?  His was only correct and agreeable.  By what was it, then?
Merely by sense, industry, good principles and a good heart, qualities
which no well constituted mind need ever despair of attaining.  It was
the force of his character that raised him; and this character was not
impressed on him by nature, but formed, out of no peculiarly fine
elements, by himself.  There were many in the House of Commons of far
greater ability and eloquence.  But no one surpassed him in the
combination of an adequate portion of these with moral worth.  Horner was
born to show what moderate powers, unaided by anything whatever except
culture and goodness, may achieve, even when these powers are displayed
amidst the competition and jealousies of public life.

"When it was reported in Paris that the great Napoleon was dead, I passed
the Palais Royal," says a French writer, "where a public crier called,
'Here's your account of the death of Bonaparte.'  This cry which once
would have appalled all Europe fell perfectly flat.  I entered," he adds,
"several cafés, and found the same indifference,--coldness everywhere; no
one seemed interested or troubled.  This man, who had conquered Europe
and awed the world, had inspired neither the love nor the admiration of
even his own countrymen.  He had impressed the world with his
marvelousness, and had inspired astonishment but not love."

Emerson says that Napoleon did all that in him lay to live and thrive
without moral principle.  It was the nature of things, the eternal law of
man and of the world, which balked and ruined him; and the result, in a
million attempts of this kind, will be the same.  His was an experiment,
under the most favorable conditions, to test the powers of intellect
without conscience.  Never elsewhere was such a leader so endowed, and so
weaponed; never has another leader found such aids and followers.  And
what was the result of this vast talent and power, of these immense
armies, burned cities, squandered treasures, immolated millions of men,
of this demoralized Europe?  He left France smaller, poorer, feebler than
he found her.

A hundred years hence what difference will it make whether you were rich
or poor, a peer or a peasant?  But what difference may it not make
whether you did what was right or what was wrong?

"The 'Vicar of Wakefield,'" said George William Curtis, "was sold,
through Dr. Johnson's mediation, for sixty pounds; and ten years after,
the author died.  With what love do we hang over its pages!  What springs
of feeling it has opened!  Goldsmith's books are influences and friends
forever, yet the five thousandth copy was never announced, and Oliver
Goldsmith, M. D., often wanted a dinner!  Horace Walpole, the coxcomb of
literature, smiled at him contemptuously from his gilded carriage.
Goldsmith struggled cheerfully with his adverse fate, and died.  But then
sad mourners, whom he had aided in their affliction, gathered around his
bed, and a lady of distinction, whom he had only dared to admire at a
distance, came and cut a lock of his hair for remembrance.  When I see
Goldsmith, thus carrying his heart in his hand like a palm branch, I look
on him as a successful man, whom adversity could not bring down from the
level of his lofty nature."

Dr. Maudsley tells us that the aims which chiefly predominate--riches,
position, power, applause of men--are such as inevitably breed and foster
many bad passions in the eager competition to attain them.  Hence, in
fact, come disappointed ambition, jealousy, grief from loss of fortune,
all the torments of wounded self-love, and a thousand other mental
sufferings,--the commonly enumerated moral causes of insanity.  They are
griefs of a kind to which a rightly developed nature should not fall a
prey.  There need be no envy nor jealousy, if a man were to consider that
it mattered not whether he did a great thing or some one else did it,
Nature's only concern being that it should be done; no grief from loss of
fortune, if he were to estimate at its true value that which fortune can
bring him, and that which fortune can never bring him; no wounded
self-love, if he had learned well the eternal lesson of

Soon after his establishment in Philadelphia Franklin was offered a piece
for publication in his newspaper.  Being very busy, he begged the
gentleman would leave it for consideration.  The next day the author
called and asked his opinion of it.  "Well, sir," replied Franklin, "I am
sorry to say I think it highly scurrilous and defamatory.  But being at a
loss on account of my poverty whether to reject it or not, I thought I
would put it to this issue: At night, when my work was done, I bought a
two-penny loaf, on which I supped heartily, and then, wrapping myself in
my great coat, slept very soundly on the floor till morning, when another
loaf and mug of water afforded a pleasant breakfast.  Now, sir, since I
can live very comfortably in this manner, why should I prostitute my
press to personal hatred or party passion for a more luxurious living?"

One cannot read this anecdote of our American sage without thinking of
Socrates' reply to King Archelaus, who had pressed him to give up
preaching in the dirty streets of Athens, and come and live with him in
his splendid courts: "Meal, please your Majesty, is a half-penny a peck
at Athens, and water I get for nothing!"

During Alexander's march into Africa he found a people dwelling in peace,
who knew neither war nor conquest.  While he was interviewing the chief
two of his subjects brought a case before him for judgment.  The dispute
was this: the one had bought of the other a piece of ground, which, after
the purchase, was found to contain a treasure, for which he felt bound to
pay.  The other refused to receive anything, stating that when he sold
the ground he sold it with all the advantages apparent or concealed which
it might be found to afford.  The king said, "One of you has a daughter
and the other a son; let them be married and the treasure given to them
as a dowry."  Alexander was surprised, and said, "If this case had been
in our country it would have been dismissed, and the king would have kept
the treasure."  The chief said, "Does the sun shine on your country, and
the rain fall, and the grass grow?"  Alexander replied, "Certainly."  The
chief then asked, "Are there any cattle?"  "Certainly," was the reply.
The chief replied, "Then it is for these innocent cattle that the Great
Being permits the rain to fall and the grass to grow."

A good character is a precious thing, above rubies, gold, crowns, or
kingdoms, and the work of making it is the noblest labor on earth.

Professor Blackie of the University of Edinburgh said to a class of young
men: "Money is not needful; power is not needful; liberty is not needful;
even health is not the one thing needful; but character alone is that
which can truly save us, and if we are not saved in this sense, we
certainly must be damned."  It has been said that "when poverty is your
inheritance, virtue must be your capital."

During the American Revolution, while General Reed was President of
Congress, the British Commissioners offered him a bribe of ten thousand
guineas to desert the cause of his country.  His reply was, "Gentlemen, I
am poor, very poor; but your king is not rich enough to buy me."

"When Le Père Bourdaloue preached at Rouen," said Père Arrius, "the
tradesmen forsook their shops, lawyers their clients, physicians their
sick, and tavern-keepers their bars; but when I preached the following
year I set all things to rights,--every man minded his own business."

"I fear John Knox's prayers more than an army of ten thousand men," said
Mary, Queen of Scotland.

When Pope Paul IV. heard of the death of Calvin he exclaimed with a sigh,
"Ah, the strength of that proud heretic lay in--riches?  No.  Honors?
No.  But nothing could move him from his course.  Holy Virgin!  With two
such servants, our church would soon be mistress of both worlds."

Garibaldi's power over his men amounted to fascination.  Soldiers and
officers were ready to die for him.  His will power seemed to enslave
them.  In Rome he called for forty volunteers to go where half of them
would be sure to be killed and the others probably wounded.  The whole
battalion rushed forward; and they had to draw lots, so eager were all to

What power of magic lies in a great name!  There was not a throne in
Europe that could stand against Washington's character, and in comparison
with it the millions of the Croesuses would look ridiculous.  What are
the works of avarice compared with the names of Lincoln, Grant, or
Garfield?  A few names have ever been the leaven which has preserved many
a nation from premature decay.

  "But strew his ashes to the wind
    Whose sword or voice has served mankind--
  And is he dead, whose glorious mind
    Lifts thine on high?--
  To live in hearts we leave behind
    Is not to die."

Mr. Gladstone gave in Parliament, when announcing the death of Princess
Alice, a touching story of sick-room ministration.  The Princess' little
boy was ill with diphtheria, the physician had cautioned her not to
inhale the poisoned breath; the child was tossing in the delirium of
fever.  The mother took the little one in her lap and stroked his fevered
brow; the boy threw his arms around her neck, and whispered, "Kiss me,
mamma;" the mother's instinct was stronger than the physician's caution;
she pressed her lips to the child's, but lost her life.

At a large dinner-party given by Lord Stratford after the Crimean War, it
was proposed that every one should write on a slip of paper the name
which appeared most likely to descend to posterity with renown.  When the
papers were opened every one of them contained the name of Florence

Leckey says that the first hospital ever established was opened by that
noble Christian woman, Fabiola, in the fourth century.  The two foremost
names in modern philanthropy are those of John Howard and Florence
Nightingale.  Not a general of the Crimean War on either side can be
named by one person in ten.  The one name that rises instantly, when that
carnival of pestilence and blood is suggested, is that of a young woman
just recovering from a serious illness, Florence Nightingale.  A soldier
said, "Before she came there was such cussin' and swearin'; and after
that it was as holy as a church."  She robbed war of half its terrors.
Since her time the hospital systems of all the nations during war have
been changed.  No soldier was braver and no patriot truer than Clara
Barton, and wherever that noble company of Protestant women known as the
Red Cross Society,--the cross, I suppose, pointing to Calvary, and the
red to the blood of the Redeemer,--wherever those consecrated workers
seek to alleviate the condition of those who suffer from plagues,
cholera, fevers, flood, famine, there this tireless angel moves on her
pathway of blessing.  And of all heroes, what nobler ones than these,
whose names shine from the pages of our missionary history?  I never read
of Mrs. Judson, Mrs. Snow, Miss Brittain, Miss West, without feeling that
the heroic age of our race has just begun, the age which opens to woman
the privilege of following her benevolent inspirations wheresoever she
will, without thinking that our Christianity needs no other evidence.

"Duty is the cement without which all power, goodness, intellect, truth,
happiness, and love itself can have no permanence, but all the fabric of
existence crumbles away from under us and leaves us at last sitting in
the midst of a ruin, astonished at our own desolation."  A constant,
abiding sense of duty is the last reason of culture.

  "I slept and dreamed that life is beauty;
  I woke and found that life is duty."

We have no more right to refuse to perform a duty than to refuse to pay a
debt.  Moral insolvency is certain to him who neglects and disregards his
duty to his fellow-men.  Nor can we hire another to perform our duty.
The mere accident of having money does not release you from your duty to
the world.  Nay, it increases it, for it enables you to do a larger and
nobler duty.

If your money is not clean, if there is a dirty dollar in your millions,
you have not succeeded.  If there is the blood of the poor and
unfortunate, of orphans and widows, on your bank account, you have not
succeeded.  If your wealth has made others poorer, your life is a
failure.  If you have gained it in an occupation that kills, that
shortens the lives of others, that poisons their blood, or engenders
disease, if you have taken a day from a human life, if you have gained
your money by that which has debauched other lives, you have failed.

Remember that a question will be asked you some time which you cannot
evade, the right answer to which will fix your destiny forever: "How did
you get that fortune?"  Are other men's lives in it; are others' hope and
happiness buried in it; are others' comforts sacrificed to it; are
others' rights buried in it; are others' opportunities smothered in it;
others' chances strangled by it; has their growth been stunted by it;
their characters stained by it; have others a smaller loaf, a meaner
home?  If so, you have failed; all your millions cannot save you from the
curse, "thou hast been weighed in the balance and found wanting."

When Walter Scott's publisher and printer failed and $600,000 of debt
stared them in the face, friends came forward and offered to raise money
enough to allow him to arrange with his creditors.  "No," said he
proudly, "this right hand shall work it all off; if we lose everything
else, we will at least keep our honor unblemished."  What a grand picture
of manliness, of integrity in this noble man, working like a dray-horse
to cancel that great debt, throwing off at white heat the "Life of
Napoleon," "Woodstock," "The Tales of a Grandfather," articles for the
"Quarterly," and so on, all written in the midst of great sorrow, pain,
and ruin.  "I could not have slept soundly," he writes, "as I now can
under the comfortable impression of receiving the thanks of my creditors,
and the conscious feeling of discharging my duty as a man of honesty.  I
see before me a long, tedious, and dark path, but it leads to stainless
reputation.  If I die in the harness, as is very likely, I shall die with

One of the last things he uttered was, "I have been, perhaps, the most
voluminous author of my day, and it is a comfort to me to think that I
have tried to unsettle no man's faith, to corrupt no man's principles,
and that I have written nothing which, on my deathbed, I would wish
blotted out."

Although Agassiz refused to lecture even for a large sum of money, yet he
left a greater legacy to the world, and left even more money to Harvard
University ($300,000) than he would have left if he had taken the time to
lecture for money.

Faraday had to choose between a fortune of nearly a million and a life of
almost certain poverty if he pursued science.  He chose poverty and
science, and earned a name never to be erased from the book of fame.

Beecher says that we are all building a soul-house for eternity; yet with
what differing architecture and what various care!

What if a man should see his neighbor getting workmen and building
materials together, and should say to him, "What are you building?" and
he should answer, "I don't exactly know.  I am waiting to see what will
come of it."  And so walls are reared, and room is added to room, while
the man looks idly on, and all the bystanders exclaim, "What a fool he
is!"  Yet this is the way many men are building their characters for
eternity, adding room to room, without plan or aim, and thoughtlessly
waiting to see what the effect will be.  Such builders will never dwell
in "the house of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Some people build as cathedrals are built, the part nearest the ground
finished; but that part which soars towards heaven, the turrets and the
spires, forever incomplete.

Many men are mere warehouses full of merchandise--the head and heart are
stuffed with goods.  Like those houses in the lower streets of cities
which were once family dwellings, but are now used for commercial
purposes, there are apartments in their souls which were once tenanted by
taste, and love, and joy, and worship; but they are all deserted now, and
the rooms are filled with material things.



Economy is half the battle of life.--SPURGEON.

Economy is the parent of integrity, of liberty and ease, and the
beauteous sister of temperance, of cheerfulness and health.--DR. JOHNSON.

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants and to serve them one's

As much wisdom can be expended on a private economy as on an

Riches amassed in haste will diminish; but those collected by hand and
little by little will multiply.--GOETHE.

No gain is so certain as that which proceeds from the economical use of
what you have.--LATIN PROVERB.

Beware of little extravagances: a small leak will sink a big

Better go to bed supperless than rise with debts.--GERMAN PROVERB.

Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to
get out of.--H. W. SHAW.

Sense can support herself handsomely in most countries on some eighteen
pence a day; but for phantasy, planets and solar systems will not

Economy, the poor man's mint.--TUPPER.

I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse; borrowing only
lingers and lingers it out; but the disease is incurable.--SHAKESPEARE.

Whatever be your talents, whatever be your prospects, never speculate
away on the chance of a palace that which you may need as a provision
against the workhouse.--BULWER.

  Not for to hide it in a hedge,
    Nor for a train attendant,
  But for the glorious privilege
    Of being independent.

"We shan't get much here," whispered a lady to her companion, as John
Murray blew out one of the two candles by whose light he had been writing
when they asked him to contribute to some benevolent object.  He listened
to their story and gave one hundred dollars.  "Mr. Murray, I am very
agreeably surprised," said the lady quoted; "I did not expect to get a
cent from you."  The old Quaker asked the reason for her opinion; and,
when told, said, "That, ladies, is the reason I am able to let you have
the hundred dollars.  It is by practicing economy that I save up money
with which to do charitable actions.  One candle is enough to talk by."

      *      *      *      *      *      *


"The Moses of Colonial Finance."

"Poverty is a condition which no man should accept, unless it is forced
upon him as an inexorable necessity or as the alternative of dishonor."

"Comfort and independence abide with those who can postpone their

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Emerson relates the following anecdote: "An opulent merchant in Boston
was called on by a friend in behalf of a charity.  At that time he was
admonishing his clerk for using whole wafers instead of halves; his
friend thought the circumstance unpropitious; but to his surprise, on
listening to the appeal, the merchant subscribed five hundred dollars.
The applicant expressed his astonishment that any person who was so
particular about half a wafer should present five hundred dollars to a
charity; but the merchant said, "It is by saving half wafers, and
attending to such little things, that I have now something to give."

"How did you acquire your great fortune?" asked a friend of Lampis, the
shipowner.  "My great fortune, easily," was the reply, "my small one, by
dint of exertion."

Four years from the time Marshall Field left the rocky New England farm
to seek his fortune in Chicago he was admitted as a partner in the firm
of Coaley, Farwell & Co.  The only reason the modest young man gave, to
explain his promotion when he had neither backing, wealth, nor influence,
was that he saved his money.

If a man will begin at the age of twenty and lay by twenty-six cents
every working day, investing at seven per cent. compound interest, he
will have thirty-two thousand dollars when he is seventy years old.
Twenty cents a day is no unusual expenditure for beer or cigars, yet in
fifty years it would easily amount to twenty thousand dollars.  Even a
saving of one dollar a week from the date of one's majority would give
him one thousand dollars for each of the last ten of the allotted years
of life.  "What maintains one vice would bring up two children."

Such rigid economy, such high courage, enables one to surprise the world
with gifts even if he is poor.  In fact, the poor and the middle classes
give most in the aggregate to missions and hospitals and to the poor.
Only frugality enables them to outdo the rich on their own ground.

But miserliness or avariciousness is a different thing from economy.  The
miserly is the miserable man, who hoards money from a love of it.  A
miser who spends a cent upon himself where another would spend a quarter
does it from parsimony, which is a subordinate characteristic of avarice.
Of this the following is an illustration: "True, I should like some soup,
but I have no appetite for the meat," said the dying Ostervalde; "what is
to become of that?  It will be a sad waste."  And so the rich Paris
banker would not let his servant buy meat for broth.

A writer on political economy tells of the mishaps resulting from a
broken latch on a farmyard gate.  Every one going through would shut the
gate, but as the latch would not hold it, it would swing open with every
breeze.  One day a pig ran out into the woods.  Every one on the farm
went to help get him back.  A gardener jumped over a ditch to stop the
pig, and sprained his ankle so badly as to be confined to his bed for two
weeks.  When the cook returned, she found that her linen, left to dry at
the fire, was all badly scorched.  The dairymaid in her excitement left
the cows untied, and one of them broke the leg of a colt.  The gardener
lost several hours of valuable time.  Yet a new latch would not have cost
five cents.

Guy, the London bookseller, and afterward the founder of the great
hospital, was a great miser, living in the back part of his shop, eating
upon an old bench, and using his counter for a table, with a newspaper
for a cloth.  He did not marry.  One day he was visited by "Vulture"
Hopkins, another well-known miser.  "What is your business?" asked Guy,
lighting a candle.  "To discuss your methods of saving money," was the
reply, alluding to the niggardly economy for which Guy was famous.  On
learning Hopkins's business he blew out the light, saying, "We can do
that in the dark."  "Sir, you are my master in the art," said the
"Vulture;" "I need ask no further.  I see where your secret lies."

Yet that kind of economy which verges on the niggardly is better than the
extravagance that laughs at it.  Either, when carried to excess, is not
only apt to cause misery, but to ruin the character.

"Lay by something for a rainy day," said a gentleman to an Irishman in
his service.  Not long afterwards he asked Patrick how much he had added
to his store.  "Faith, nothing at all," was the reply; "I did as you bid
me, but it rained very hard yesterday, and it all went--in drink."

  "Wealth, a monster gorged
  'Mid starving populations."

But nowhere and at no period were these contrasts more startling than in
Imperial Rome.  There a whole population might be trembling lest they
should be starved by the delay of an Alexandrian corn-ship, while the
upper classes were squandering fortunes at a single banquet, drinking out
of myrrhine and jeweled vases worth hundreds of pounds, and feasting on
the brains of peacocks and the tongues of nightingales.  As a
consequence, disease was rife, men were short-lived.  At this time the
dress of Roman ladies displayed an unheard-of splendor.  The elder Pliny
tells us that he himself saw Lollia Paulina dressed for a betrothal feast
in a robe entirely covered with pearls and emeralds, which had cost
40,000,000 sesterces, and which was known to be less costly than some of
her other dresses.  Gluttony, caprice, extravagance, ostentation,
impurity, rioted in the heart of a society which knew of no other means
by which to break the monotony of its weariness or alleviate the anguish
of its despair.

The expense ridiculously bestowed on the Roman feasts passes all belief.
Suetonius mentions a supper given to Vitellius by his brother, in which,
among other articles, there were two thousand of the choicest fishes,
seven thousand of the most delicate birds, and one dish, from its size
and capacity, named the aegis or shield of Minerva.  It was filled
chiefly with the liver of the scari, a delicate species of fish, the
brains of pheasants and peacocks, and the tongues of parrots, considered
desirable chiefly because of their great cost.

"I hope that there will not be another sale," exclaimed Horace Walpole,
"for I have not an inch of room nor a farthing left."  A woman once
bought an old door-plate with "Thompson" on it because she thought it
might come in handy some time.  The habit of buying what you don't need
because it is cheap encourages extravagance.  "Many have been ruined by
buying good pennyworths."

"Where there is no prudence," said Dr. Johnson, "there is no virtue."

The eccentric John Randolph once sprang from his seat in the House of
Representatives, and exclaimed in his piercing voice, "Mr. Speaker, I
have found it."  And then, in the stillness which followed this strange
outburst, he added, "I have found the Philosopher's Stone: it is _Pay as
you go_."

Many a young man seems to think that when he sees his name on a sign he
is on the highway to fortune, and he begins to live on a scale as though
there was no possible chance of failure; as though he were already beyond
the danger point.  Unfortunately Congress can pass no law that will
remedy the vice of living beyond one's means.

"The prosperity of fools shall destroy them."  "However easy it may be to
make money," said Barnum, "it is the most difficult thing in the world to
keep it."  Money often makes the mare--run away with you.

Very few men know how to use money properly.  They can earn it, lavish
it, hoard it, waste it, but to deal with it _wisely_, as a means to an
end, is an education difficult of acquirement.

After a large stained-glass window had been constructed an artist picked
up the discarded fragments and made one of the most exquisite windows in
Europe for another cathedral.  So one boy will pick up a splendid
education out of the odds and ends of time which others carelessly throw
away, or gain a fortune by saving what others waste.

It has become a part of the new political economy to argue that a debt on
a church or a house or a firm is a desirable thing to develop character.
When the young man starts out in life with the old-fashioned idea strong
in his mind that debt is bondage and a disgrace, that a mortgage is to be
shunned like the cholera, and that to owe a dollar that you cannot pay,
unless overtaken by misfortune, is nothing more or less than stealing,
then he is bound in so much at least to succeed, and save his old age
from being a burden upon his friends or the state.

To do your best you must own every bit of yourself.  If you are in debt,
part of you belongs to your creditors.  Nothing but actual sin is so
paralyzing to a young man's energies as debt.

The "loose change" which many young men throw away carelessly, or worse,
would often form the basis of a fortune and independence.  The earnings
of the people of the United States, rich and poor, old and young, male
and female, amount to an average of less than fifty cents a day.  But it
is by economizing such savings that one must get his start in business.
The man without a penny is practically helpless, from a business point of
view, except so far as he can immediately utilize his powers of body and
mind.  Besides, when a man or woman is driven to the wall, the chance of
goodness surviving self-respect and the loss of public esteem is
frightfully diminished.

"Money goes as it comes."  "A child and a fool imagine that twenty years
and twenty shillings can never be spent."

Live between extravagance and meanness.  Don't save money and starve your
mind.  "The very secret and essence of thrift consists in getting things
into higher values.  Spend upward, that is, for the higher faculties.
Spend for the mind rather than for the body, for culture rather than for
amusement.  Some young men are too stingy to buy the daily papers, and
are very ignorant and narrow."  "There is that withholdeth more than is
meet, but it tendeth to poverty."  "Don't squeeze out of your life and
comfort and family what you save."

Liberal, not lavish, is Nature's hand.  Even God, it is said, cannot
afford to be extravagant.  When He increased the loaves and fishes, He
commanded to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.

"Nature uses a grinding economy," says Emerson, "working up all that is
wasted to-day into to-morrow's creation; not a superfluous grain of sand
for all the ostentation she makes of expense and public works.  She flung
us out in her plenty, but we cannot shed a hair or a paring of a nail but
instantly she snatches at the shred and appropriates it to her general
stock."  Last summer's flowers and foliage decayed in autumn only to
enrich the earth this year for other forms of beauty.  Nature will not
even wait for our friends to see us, unless we die at home.  The moment
the breath has left the body she begins to take us to pieces, that the
parts may be used again for other creations.  Mark the following

  1772.                              1822.
  Man, to the plow;                  Man, tally-ho;
  Wife, to the cow;                  Wife, piano;
  Girl, to the sow;                  Miss, silk and satin;
  Boy, to the mow;                   Boy, Greek and Latin;
  And your rents will be netted.     And you'll all be gazetted.
        _Hone's Works._                      _The Times._

More than a lifetime has elapsed since the above was published, but
instead of returning to the style of 1772, our farmers have out-Heroded
Herod in the direction of the fashion, of 1822, and many a farmhouse,
like the home of Artemas [Transcriber's note: Artemus?] Ward, may be
known by the cupola and the mortgage with which it is decorated.

It is by the mysterious power of economy, it has been said, that the loaf
is multiplied, that using does not waste, that little becomes much, that
scattered fragments grow to unity, and that out of nothing or next to
nothing comes the miracle of something.  It is not merely saving, still
less, parsimony.  It is foresight and arrangement, insight and
combination, causing inert things to labor, useless things to serve our
necessities, perishing things to renew their vigor, and all things to
exert themselves for human comfort.

English working men and women work very hard, seldom take a holiday, and
though they get nearly double the wages of the same classes in France,
yet save very little.  The millions earned by them slip out of their
hands almost as soon as obtained to satisfy the pleasures of the moment.
In France every housekeeper is taught the art of making much out of
little.  "I am simply astonished," writes an American lady stopping in
France, "at the number of good wholesome dishes which my friend here
makes for her table from things, which at home, I always throw away.
Dainty little dishes from scraps of cold meat, from hard crusts of bread,
delicately prepared and seasoned, from almost everything and nothing.
And yet there is no feeling of stinginess or want."

"I wish I could write all across the sky, in letters of gold," says Rev.
William Marsh, "the one word, savings-bank."

Boston savings-banks have $130,000,000 on deposit, mostly saved in
driblets.  Josiah Quincy used to say that the servant girls built most of
the palaces on Beacon Street.

"So apportion your wants that your means may exceed them," says Bulwer.
"With one hundred pounds a year I may need no man's help; I may at least
have 'my crust of bread and liberty.'  But with five thousand pounds a
year I may dread a ring at my bell; I may have my tyrannical master in
servants whose wages I cannot pay; my exile may be at the fiat of the
first long-suffering man who enters a judgment against me; for the flesh
that lies nearest my heart some Shylock may be dusting his scales and
whetting his knife.  Every man is needy who spends more than he has; no
man is needy who spends less.  I may so ill manage, that with five
thousand pounds a year I purchase the worst evils of poverty,--terror and
shame; I may so well manage my money, that with one hundred pounds a year
I purchase the best blessings of wealth,--safety and respect."

Edmund Burke, speaking on Economic Reform, quoted from Cicero: "Magnum
vectigal est parsimonia," accenting the second word on the first
syllable.  Lord North whispered a correction, when Burke turned the
mistake to advantage.  "The noble lord hints that I have erred in the
quantity of a principal word in my quotation; I rejoice at it, sir,
because it gives me an opportunity of repeating the inestimable
adage,--'Magnum vectigal est parsimonia.'"  The sentiment, meaning
"Thrift is a good income," is well worthy of emphatic repetition by us

Washington examined the minutest expenditures of his family, even when
President of the United States.  He understood that without economy none
can be rich, and with it none need be poor.

"I make a point of paying my own bills," said Wellington.

John Jacob Astor said that the first thousand dollars cost him more
effort than all of his millions.  Boys who are careless with their dimes
and quarters, just because they have so few, never get this first
thousand, and without it no fortune is possible.

To find out uses for the persons or things which are now wasted in life
is to be the glorious work of the men of the next generation, and that
which will contribute most to their enrichment.

Economizing "in spots" or by freaks is no economy at all.  It must be
done by management.

Learn early in life to say "I can't afford it."  It is an indication of
power and courage and manliness.  Dr. Franklin said, "It is not our own
eyes, but other people's, that ruin us."  "Fashion wears out more apparel
than the man," says Shakespeare.

"Of what a hideous progeny of ill is debt the father," said Douglas
Jerrold.  "What meanness, what invasions of self-respect, what cares,
what double-dealing!  How in due season it will carve the frank, open
face into wrinkles; how like a knife it will stab the honest heart.  And
then its transformations,--how it has been known to change a goodly face
into a mask of brass; how with the evil custom of debt has the true man
become a callous trickster!  A freedom from debt, and what nourishing
sweetness may be found in cold water; what toothsomeness in a dry crust;
what ambrosial nourishment in a hard egg!  Be sure of it, he who dines
out of debt, though his meal be a biscuit and an onion, dines in 'The
Apollo.'  And then, for raiment, what warmth in a threadbare coat, if the
tailor's receipt be in your pocket!  What Tyrian purple in the faded
waistcoat, the vest not owed for; how glossy the well-worn hat, if it
covers not the aching head of a debtor!  Next, the home sweets, the
outdoor recreation of the free man.  The street door falls not a knell in
his heart, the foot on the staircase, though he lives on the third pair,
sends no spasm through his anatomy; at the rap of his door he can crow
'come in,' and his pulse still beats healthfully.  See him abroad!  How
he returns look for look with any passenger.  Poverty is a bitter
draught, yet may, and sometimes can with advantage, be gulped down.
Though the drinker makes wry faces, there may, after all, be a wholesome
goodness in the cup.  But debt, however courteously it may be offered, is
the Cup of Siren; and the wine, spiced and delicious though it be, is
poison.  My son, if poor, see Hyson in the running spring; see thy mouth
water at a last week's roll; think a threadbare coat the only wear; and
acknowledge a whitewashed garret the fittest housing-place for a
gentleman; do this, and flee debt.  So shall thy heart be at rest, and
the sheriff confounded."

"Whoever has sixpence is sovereign over all men to the extent of that
sixpence," says Carlyle; "commands cooks to feed him, philosophers to
teach him, kings to mount guard over him,--to the extent of that

If a man owes you a dollar, he is almost sure to owe you a grudge, too.
If you owe another money, you will be apt to regard him with uncharitable
eyes.  Why not economize before getting into debt instead of pinching

Communities which live wholly from hand to mouth never make much progress
in the useful arts.  Savings mean power.  _Comfort and independence abide
with those who can postpone their desires._

"Hunger, rags, cold, hard work, contempt, suspicion, unjust reproach, are
disagreeable," says Horace Greeley, "but debt is infinitely worse than
them all."

Many a ruined man dates his downfall from the day when he began borrowing
money.  Debt demoralized Daniel Webster, and Theodore Hook, and Sheridan,
and Fox, and Pitt.  Mirabeau's life was made wretched by duns.

"Annual income," says Micawber, "twenty pounds; annual expenditure,
nineteen six, result--happiness.  Annual income, twenty pounds; annual
expenditure, twenty pounds ought and six, result--misery."

"We are ruined," says Colton, "not by what we really want, but by what we
think we do.  Therefore never go abroad in search of your wants; if they
be real wants, they will come home in search of you; for he that buys
what he does not want will soon want what he cannot buy."

The honorable course is to give every man his due.  It is better to
starve than not to do this.  It is better to do a small business on a
cash basis than a large one on credit.  _Owe no man anything_, wrote St.
Paul.  It is a good motto to place in every purse, in every
counting-room, in every church, in every home.

Economy is of itself a great revenue.--CICERO.



Let others plead for pensions; I can be rich without money, by
endeavoring to be superior to everything poor.  I would have my
services to my country unstained by any interested motive.--LORD

  Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
  Where wealth accumulates and men decay.

Pennilessness is not poverty, and ownership is not possession; to be
without is not always to lack, and to reach is not to attain; sunlight
is for all eyes that look up, and color for those who choose.--HELEN

I ought not to allow any man, because he has broad lands, to feel that
he is rich in my presence.  I ought to make him feel that I can do
without his riches, that I cannot be bought,--neither by comfort,
neither by pride,--and although I be utterly penniless, and receiving
bread from him, that he is the poor man beside me.--EMERSON.

To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of

There is no riches above a sound body and no joy above the joy of the

  Where, thy true treasure?  Gold says, "Not in me;"
  And "Not in me," the Diamond.  Gold is poor;
  India's insolvent: seek it in thyself.

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth
of nature.--SOCRATES.

A great heart in a little house is of all things here below that which
has ever touched me most.--LACORDAIRE.

  My crown is in my heart, not on my head,
  Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones,
  Nor to be seen: my crown is called content;
  A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.

Many a man is rich without money.  Thousands of men with nothing in
their pockets, and thousands without even a pocket, are rich.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


"The Sage of Concord."

"I revere the person who is riches: so I cannot think of him as alone,
or poor, or exiled, or unhappy."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

A man born with a good, sound constitution, a good stomach, a good
heart and good limbs, and a pretty good headpiece, is rich.

Good bones are better than gold, tough muscles than silver, and nerves
that carry energy to every function are better than houses and land.

"Heart-life, soul-life, hope, joy, and love, are true riches," said

Why should I scramble and struggle to get possession of a little
portion of this earth?  This is my world now; why should I envy others
its mere legal possession?  It belongs to him who can see it, enjoy it.
I need not envy the so-called owners of estates in Boston and New York.
They are merely taking care of my property and keeping it in excellent
condition for me.  For a few pennies for railroad fare whenever I wish
I can see and possess the best of it all.  It has cost me no effort, it
gives me no care; yet the green grass, the shrubbery, and the statues
on the lawns, the finer sculptures and the paintings within, are always
ready for me whenever I feel a desire to look upon them.  I do not wish
to carry them home with me, for I could not give them half the care
they now receive; besides, it would take too much of my valuable time,
and I should be worrying continually lest they be spoiled or stolen.  I
have much of the wealth of the world now.  It is all prepared for me
without any pains on my part.  All around me are working hard to get
things that will please me, and competing to see who can give them the
cheapest.  The little I pay for the use of libraries, railroads,
galleries, parks, is less than it would cost to care for the least of
all I use.  Life and landscape are mine, the stars and flowers, the sea
and air, the birds and trees.  What more do I want?  All the ages have
been working for me; all mankind are my servants.  I am only required
to feed and clothe myself, an easy task in this land of opportunity.

A millionaire pays thousands of pounds for a gallery of paintings, and
some poor boy or girl comes in, with open mind and poetic fancy, and
carries away a treasure of beauty which the owner never saw.  A
collector bought at public auction in London, for one hundred and
fifty-seven guineas, an autograph of Shakespeare; but for nothing a
schoolboy can read and absorb the riches of "Hamlet."

Why should I waste my abilities pursuing this will-o'-the-wisp
"Enough," which is ever a little more than one has, and which none of
the panting millions ever yet overtook in his mad chase?  Is there no
desirable thing left in this world but gold, luxury, and ease?

"Want is a growing giant whom the coat of Have was never large enough
to cover."  "A man may as soon fill a chest with grace, or a vessel
with virtue," says Phillips Brooks, "as a heart with wealth."

Shall we seek happiness through the sense of taste or of touch?  Shall
we idolize our stomachs and our backs?  Have we no higher missions, no
nobler destinies?  Shall we "disgrace the fair day by a pusillanimous
preference of our bread to our freedom"?

In the three great "Banquets" of Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch the food
is not even mentioned.

What does your money say to you: what message does it bring to you?
Does it say to you, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die"?
Does it bring a message of comfort, of education, of culture, of
travel, of books, of an opportunity to help your fellow-man, or is the
message "More land, more thousands and millions"?  What message does it
bring you?  Clothes for the naked, bread for the starving, schools for
the ignorant, hospitals for the sick, asylums for the orphans, or of
more for yourself and none for others?  Is it a message of generosity
or of meanness, breadth or narrowness?  Does it speak to you of
character?  Does it mean a broader manhood, a larger aim, a nobler
ambition, or does it cry "More, more, more"?

Are you an animal loaded with ingots, or a man filled with a purpose?
He is rich whose mind is rich, whose thought enriches the intellect of
the world.  It is a sad sight to see a soul which thirsts not for truth
or beauty or the good.

A sailor on a sinking vessel in the Caribbean Sea eagerly filled his
pockets with Spanish dollars from a barrel on board while his
companions, about to leave in the only boat, begged him to seek safety
with them.  But he could not leave the bright metal which he had so
longed for and idolized, and was prevented from reaching shore by his
very riches, when the vessel went down.

"Who is the richest of men," asked Socrates?  "He who is content with
the least, for contentment is nature's riches."

In More's "Utopia" gold was despised.  Criminals were forced to wear
heavy chains of it, and to have rings of it in their ears; it was put
to the vilest uses to keep up the scorn of it.  Bad characters were
compelled to wear gold head-bands.  Diamonds and pearls were used to
decorate infants, so that the youth would discard and despise them.

"Ah, if the rich were as rich as the poor fancy riches!" exclaims

Many a rich man has died in the poorhouse.

In excavating Pompeii a skeleton was found with the fingers clenched
round a quantity of gold.  A man of business in the town of Hull,
England, when dying, pulled a bag of money from under his pillow, which
he held between his clenched fingers with a grasp so firm as scarcely
to relax under the agonies of death.

  Oh! blind and wanting wit to choose,
  Who house the chaff and burn the grain;
  Who hug the wealth ye cannot use,
  And lack the riches all may gain.

Poverty is the want of much, avarice the want of everything.

A poor man was met by a stranger while scoffing at the wealthy for not
enjoying themselves.  The stranger gave him a purse, in which he was
always to find a ducat.  As fast as he took one out another was to drop
in, but he was not to begin to spend his fortune until he had thrown
away the purse.  He takes ducat after ducat out, but continually
procrastinates and puts off the hour of enjoyment until he has got "a
little more," and dies at last counting his millions.

A beggar was once met by Fortune, who promised to fill his wallet with
gold, as much as he might please, on condition that whatever touched
the ground should turn at once to dust.  The beggar opens his wallet,
asks for more and yet more, until the bag bursts.  The gold falls to
the ground, and all is lost.

When the steamer Central America was about to sink, the stewardess,
having collected all the gold she could from the staterooms, and tied
it in her apron, jumped for the last boat leaving the steamer.  She
missed her aim and fell into the water, the gold carrying her down head

In the year 1843 a rich miser lived in Padua, who was so mean and
sordid that he would never give a cent to any person or object, and he
was so afraid of the banks that he would not deposit with them, but
would sit up nights with sword and pistol by him to guard his idol
hoard.  When his health gave way from anxiety and watching he built an
underground treasure-chamber, so arranged that if any burglar ever
entered, he would step upon a spring which would precipitate him into a
subterranean river, where he could neither escape nor be heard.  One
night the miser went to his chest to see that all was right, when his
foot touched the spring of the trap, and he was hurled into the deep,
hidden stream.

"One would think," said Boswell, "that the proprietor of all this
(Keddlestone, the seat of Lord Scarsfield) must be happy."  "Nay, sir,"
said Johnson, "all this excludes but one evil, poverty."

John Duncan, the illegitimate child of a Scottish weaver, was ignorant,
near-sighted, bent, a miserable apology for a human being, and at last
a pauper.  If he went upon the street he would sometimes be stoned by
other boys.  The farmer, for whom he watched cattle, was cruel to him,
and after a rainy day would send him cold and wet to sleep on a
miserable bed in a dark outhouse.  Here he would empty the water from
his shoes, and wring out his wet clothes and sleep as best he might.
But the boy had a desire to learn to read, and when, a little later, he
was put to weaving, he persuaded a schoolgirl, twelve years old, to
teach him.  He was sixteen when he learned the alphabet, after which
his progress was quite rapid.  He was very fond of plants, and worked
overtime for several months to earn five shillings to buy a book on
botany.  He became a good botanist, and such was his interest in the
study that at the age of eighty he walked twelve miles to obtain a new
specimen.  A man whom he met became interested at finding such a
well-stored mind in such a miserable body, poorly clad, and published
an account of his career.  Many readers sent him money, but he saved
it, and left it in his will to found eight scholarships and offer
prizes for the encouragement of the study of natural science by the
poor.  His small but valuable library was left for a similar use.

Franklin said money never made a man happy yet; there is nothing in its
nature to produce happiness.  The more a man has, the more he wants.
Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.  A great bank account can
never make a man rich.  It is the mind that makes the body rich.  No
man is rich, however much money or land he may possess, who has a poor
heart.  If that is poor, he is poor indeed, though he own and rule
kingdoms.  He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to
what he has.

Who would not choose to be a millionaire of deeds with a Lincoln, a
Grant, a Florence Nightingale, a Childs; a millionaire of ideas with
Emerson, with Lowell, with Shakespeare, with Wordsworth; a millionaire
of statesmanship with a Gladstone, a Bright, a Sumner, a Washington?

Some men are rich in health, in constant cheerfulness, in a mercurial
temperament which floats them over troubles and trials enough to sink a
shipload of ordinary men.  Others are rich in disposition, family, and
friends.  There are some men so amiable that everybody loves them; some
so cheerful that they carry an atmosphere of jollity about them.  Some
are rich in integrity and character.

One of the first great lessons of life is to learn the true estimate of
values.  As the youth starts out in his career, all sorts of wares will
be imposed upon him, and all kinds of temptations will be used to
induce him to buy.  His success will depend very largely upon his
ability to estimate properly, not the apparent but the real value of
everything presented to him.  Vulgar Wealth will flaunt her banner
before his eyes, and claim supremacy over everything else.  A thousand
different schemes will be thrust into his face with their claims for
superiority.  Every occupation and vocation will present its charms in
turn, and offer its inducements.  The youth who would succeed must not
allow himself to be deceived by appearances, but must place the
emphasis of life where it belongs.

No man, it is said, can read the works of John Ruskin without learning
that his sources of pleasure are well-nigh infinite.  There is not a
flower, nor a cloud, nor a tree, nor a mountain, nor a star; not a bird
that fans the air, nor a creature that walks the earth; not a glimpse
of sea or sky or meadow-greenery; not a work of worthy art in the
domains of painting, sculpture, poetry, and architecture; not a thought
of God as the Great Spirit presiding over and informing all things,
that is not to him a source of the sweetest pleasure.  The whole world
of matter and of spirit and the long record of human art are open to
him as the never-failing fountains of his delight.  In these pure
realms he seeks his daily food and has his daily life.

There is now and then a man who sees beauty and true riches everywhere,
and "worships the splendor of God which he sees bursting through each
chink and cranny."

Phillips Brooks, Thoreau, Garrison, Emerson, Beecher, Agassiz, were
rich without money.  They saw the splendor in the flower, the glory in
the grass, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in
everything.  They knew that the man who owns the landscape is seldom
the one who pays the taxes on it.  They sucked in power and wealth at
first hands from the meadows, fields, and flowers, birds, brooks,
mountains, and forest, as the bee sucks honey from the flowers.  Every
natural object seemed to bring them a special message from the great
Author of the beautiful.  To these rare souls every natural object was
touched with power and beauty; and their thirsty souls drank it in as a
traveler on a desert drinks in the god-sent water of the oasis.  To
extract power and real wealth from men and things seemed to be their
mission, and to pour it out again in refreshing showers upon a thirsty
humanity.  They believed that man's most important food does not enter
by the mouth.  They knew that man could not live by estates, dollars,
and bread alone, and that if he could he would only be an animal.  They
believed that the higher life demands a higher food.  They believed in
man's unlimited power of expansion, and that this growth demands a more
highly organized food product than that which merely sustains animal
life.  They saw a finer nutriment in the landscape, in the meadows,
than could be ground into flour, and which escaped the loaf.  They felt
a sentiment in natural objects which pointed upward, ever upward to the
Author, and which was capable of feeding and expanding the higher life
until it should grow into a finer sympathy and fellowship with the
Author of the beautiful.  They believed that the Creation thunders the
ten commandments, and that all Nature is tugging at the terms of every
contract to make it just.  They could feel this finer sentiment, this
soul lifter, this man inspirer, in the growing grain, in the waving
corn, in the golden harvest.  They saw it reflected in every brook, in
every star, in every flower, in every dewdrop.  They believed that
Nature together with human nature were man's great schoolmasters, that
if rightly used they would carve his rough life into beauty and touch
his rude manner with grace.

"More servants wait on man than he'll take notice of."  But if he would
enjoy Nature he must come to it from a higher level than the yardstick.
He must bring a spirit as grand and sublime as that by which the thing
itself exists.

We all live on far lower levels than we need to do.  We linger in the
misty and oppressive valleys, when we might be climbing the sunlit
hills.  God puts into our hands the Book of Life, bright on every page
with open secrets, and we suffer it to drop out of our hands unread.
Emerson says, "We have come into a world which is a living poem.
Everything is as I am."  Nature provides for us a perpetual festival;
she is bright to the bright, comforting to those who will accept
comfort.  We cannot conceive how a universe could possibly be created
which could devise more efficient methods or greater opportunities for
the delight, the happiness, and the real wealth of human beings than
the one we live in.

The human body is packed full of marvelous devices, of wonderful
contrivances, of infinite possibilities for the happiness and riches of
the individual.  No physiologist nor scientist has ever yet been able
to point out a single improvement, even in the minutest detail, in the
structure of the human body.  No inventor has ever yet been able to
suggest an improvement in this human mechanism.  No chemist has ever
been able to suggest a superior combination in any one of the elements
which make up the human structure.  One of the first things to do in
life is to learn the natural wealth of our surroundings, instead of
bemoaning our lot, for, no matter where we are placed, there is
infinitely more about us than we can ever understand, than we can ever
exhaust the meaning of.

"Thank Heaven there are still some Matthew Arnolds who prefer the
heavenly sweetness of light to the Eden of riches."  Arnold left only a
few thousand dollars, but yet was he not one of the richest of men?
What the world wants is young men who will amass golden thoughts,
golden wisdom, golden deeds, not mere golden dollars; young men who
prefer to have thought-capital, character-capital, to cash-capital.  He
who estimates his money the highest values himself the least.  "I
revere the person," says Emerson, "who is riches; so that I cannot
think of him as alone, or poor, or exiled, or unhappy."

Raphael was rich without money.  All doors opened to him, and he was
more than welcome everywhere.  His sweet spirit radiated sunshine
wherever he went.

Henry Wilson was rich without money.  So scrupulous had he been not to
make his exalted position a means of worldly gain, that when this
Natick cobbler, the sworn friend of the oppressed, whose one question
as to measures or acts was ever "Is it right; will it do good?" came to
be inaugurated as Vice-President of the country, he was obliged to
borrow of his fellow-senator, Charles Sumner, one hundred dollars to
meet the necessary expenses of the occasion.

Mozart, the great composer of the "Requiem," left barely enough money
to bury him, but he has made the world richer.

A rich mind and noble spirit will cast a radiance of beauty over the
humblest home, which the upholsterer and decorator can never approach.
Who would not prefer to be a millionaire of character, of contentment,
rather than possess nothing but the vulgar coins of a Croesus?  Whoever
uplifts civilization is rich though he die penniless, and future
generations will erect his monument.

Are we tender, loving, self-denying, and honest, trying to fashion our
frail life after that of the model man of Nazareth?  Then, though our
pockets are often empty, we have an inheritance which is as
overwhelmingly precious as it is eternally incorruptible.

An Asiatic traveler tells us that one day he found the bodies of two
men laid upon the desert sand beside the carcass of a camel.  They had
evidently died from thirst, and yet around the waist of each was a
large store of jewels of different kinds, which they had doubtless been
crossing the desert to sell in the markets of Persia.

The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is
poorer than he.  He only is rich who can enjoy without owning; he who
is covetous is poor though he have millions.  There are riches of
intellect, and no man with an intellectual taste can be called poor.
He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by
changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in
fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he purposes to remove.
He is rich as well as brave who can face poverty and misfortune with
cheerfulness and courage.

We can so educate the will power that it will focus the thoughts upon
the bright side of things, and upon objects which elevate the soul,
thus forming a habit of happiness and goodness which will make us rich.
The habit of making the best of everything and of always looking on the
bright side of everything is a fortune in itself.

He is rich who values a good name above gold.  Among the ancient Greeks
and Romans honor was more sought after than wealth.  Rome was imperial
Rome no more when the imperial purple became an article of traffic.

This is the evil of trade, as well as of partisan politics.  As Emerson
remarks, it would put everything into market,--talent, beauty, virtue,
and man himself.

Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold as a slave.  His purchaser
released him, and gave him charge of his household and of the education
of his children.  He despised wealth and affectation, and lived in a
tub.  "Do you want anything?" asked Alexander the Great, forcibly
impressed by the abounding cheerfulness of the philosopher under such
circumstances.  "Yes," replied Diogenes, "I want you to stand out of my
sunshine and not to take from me what you cannot give me."  "Were I not
Alexander," exclaimed the great conqueror, "I would be Diogenes."

Brave and honest men do not work for gold.  They work for love, for
honor, for character.  When Socrates suffered death rather than abandon
his views of right morality, when Las Casas endeavored to mitigate the
tortures of the poor Indians, they had no thought of money or country.
They worked for the elevation of all that thought, and for the relief
of all that suffered.

"I don't want such things," said Epictetus to the rich Roman orator who
was making light of his contempt for money-wealth; "and besides," said
the stoic, "you are poorer than I am, after all.  You have silver
vessels, but earthenware reasons, principles, appetites.  My mind to me
a kingdom is, and it furnishes me with abundant and happy occupation in
lieu of your restless idleness.  All your possessions seem small to
you; mine seem great to me.  Your desire is insatiate, mine is

"Do you know, sir," said a devotee of Mammon to John Bright, "that I am
worth a million sterling?"  "Yes," said the irritated but calm-spirited
respondent, "I do; and I know that it is all you are worth."

A bankrupt merchant, returning home one night, said to his noble wife,
"My dear, I am ruined; everything we have is in the hands of the
sheriff."  After a few moments of silence the wife looked into his face
and asked, "Will the sheriff sell you?"  "Oh, no."  "Will the sheriff
sell me?"  "Oh, no."  "Then do not say we have lost everything.  All
that is most valuable remains to us,--manhood, womanhood, childhood.
We have lost but the results of our skill and industry.  We can make
another fortune if our hearts and hands are left us."

What power can poverty have over a home where loving hearts are beating
with a consciousness of untold riches of head and heart?

Paul was never so great as when he occupied a prison cell; and Jesus
Christ reached the height of his success when, smitten, spat upon,
tormented, and crucified, He cried in agony, and yet with triumphant
satisfaction, "It is finished."

"Character before wealth," was the motto of Amos Lawrence, who had
inscribed on his pocket-book, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall
gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

If you make a fortune let every dollar of it be clean.  You do not want
to see in it drunkards reel, orphans weep, widows moan.  Your riches
must not make others poorer and more wretched.

Alexander the Great wandered to the gates of Paradise, and knocked for
entrance.  "Who knocks?" demanded the guardian angel.  "Alexander."
"Who is Alexander?"  "Alexander,--the Alexander,--Alexander the
Great,--the conqueror of the world."  "We know him not," replied the
angel; "this is the Lord's gate; only the righteous enter here."

Don't start out in life with a false standard; a truly great man makes
official position and money and houses and estates look so tawdry, so
mean and poor, that we feel like sinking out of sight with our cheap
laurels and gold.  _Millions look trifling beside character_.

A friend of Professor Agassiz, an eminent practical man, once expressed
his wonder that a man of such abilities should remain contented with
such a moderate income as he received.  "I have enough," was Agassiz's
reply.  "I have no time to waste in making money.  Life is not
sufficiently long to enable a man to get rich and do his duty to his
fellow-men at the same time."

How were the thousands of business men who lost every dollar they had
in the Chicago fire enabled to go into business at once, some into
wholesale business, without money?  Their record was their bank
account.  The commercial agencies said they were square men; that they
had always paid one hundred cents on a dollar; that they had paid
promptly, and that they were industrious and dealt honorably with all
men.  This record was as good as a bank account.  _They drew on their
character_.  Character was the coin which enabled penniless men to buy
thousands of dollars' worth of goods.  Their integrity did not burn up
with their stores.  The best part of them was beyond the reach of fire
and could not be burned.

What are the toil-sweated productions of wealth piled up in vast
profusion around a Girard, or a Rothschild, when weighed against the
stores of wisdom, the treasures of knowledge, and the strength, beauty,
and glory with which victorious virtue has enriched and adorned a great
multitude of minds during the march of a hundred generations?

"Lord, how many things are in the world of which Diogenes hath no
need!" exclaimed the stoic, as he wandered among the miscellaneous
articles at a country fair.

"There are treasures laid up in the heart--treasures of charity, piety,
temperance, and soberness.  These treasures a man takes with him beyond
death when he leaves this world."  (Buddhist Scriptures.)

Is it any wonder that our children start out with wrong ideals of life,
with wrong ideas of what constitutes success?  The child is "urged to
get on," to "rise in the world," to "make money."  The youth is
constantly told that nothing succeeds like success.  False standards
are everywhere set up for him, and then the boy is blamed if he makes a

It is all very well to urge youth on to success, but the great mass of
mankind can never reach or even approximate the goal constantly
preached to them, nor can we all be rich.  One of the great lessons to
teach in this century of sharp competition and the survival of the
fittest is how to be rich without money, and to learn how to do without
success, according to the popular standard.

Gold cannot make the miser rich, nor can the want of it make the beggar

In the poem, "The Changed Cross," a weary woman is represented as
dreaming that she was led to a place where many crosses lay, crosses of
divers shapes and sizes.  The most beautiful one was set in jewels of
gold.  It was so tiny and exquisite that she changed her own plain
cross for it, thinking she was fortunate in finding one so much lighter
and lovelier.  But soon her back began to ache under the glittering
burden, and she changed it for another cross very beautiful and
entwined with flowers.  But she soon found that underneath the flowers
were piercing thorns which tore her flesh.  At last she came to a very
plain cross without jewels, without carving, and with only the word,
"Love," inscribed upon it.  She took this one up and it proved the
easiest and best of all.  She was amazed, however, to find that it was
her old cross which she had discarded.  It is easy to see the jewels
and the flowers in other people's crosses, but the thorns and heavy
weight are known only to the bearers.  How easy other people's burdens
seem to us compared with our own.  We do not appreciate the secret
burdens which almost crush the heart, nor the years of weary waiting
for delayed success--the aching hearts longing for sympathy, the hidden
poverty, the suppressed emotion in other lives.

William Pitt, the great Commoner, considered money as dirt beneath his
feet compared with the public interest and public esteem.  His hands
were clean.

The object for which we strive tells the story of our lives.  Men and
women should be judged by the happiness they create in those around
them.  Noble deeds always enrich, but millions of mere money may
impoverish.  _Character is perpetual wealth_, and by the side of him
who possesses it the millionaire who has it not seems a pauper.
Compared with it, what are houses and lands, stocks and bonds?  "It is
better that great souls should live in small habitations than that
abject slaves should burrow in great houses."  Plain living, rich
thought, and grand effort are real riches.

Invest in yourself, and you will never be poor.  Floods cannot carry
your wealth away, fire cannot burn it, rust cannot consume it.

"If a man empties his purse into his head," says Franklin, "no man can
take it from him.  An investment in knowledge always pays the best

"There is a cunning juggle in riches.  I observe," says Emerson, "that
they take somewhat for everything they give.  I look bigger, but I am
less, I have more clothes, but am not so warm; more armor, but less
courage; more books, but less wit."

  Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
  'T is only noble to be good.
  Kind hearts are more than coronets,
  And simple faith than Norman blood.



  To each man's life there comes a time supreme;
    One day, one night, one morning, or one noon,
    One freighted hour, one moment opportune,
  One rift through which sublime fulfillments gleam,
  One space when fate goes tiding with the stream,
    One Once, in balance 'twixt Too Late, Too Soon,
    And ready for the passing instant's boon
  To tip in favor the uncertain beam.
  Ah, happy he who, knowing how to wait,
    Knows also how to watch and work and stand
    On Life's broad deck alert, and at the prow
  To seize the passing moment, big with fate,
    From opportunity's extended hand,
    When the great clock of destiny strikes Now!

  Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
  In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side.

What is opportunity to a man who can't use it?  An unfecundated egg,
which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.--GEORGE ELIOT.

  A thousand years a poor man watched
    Before the gate of Paradise:
  But while one little nap he snatched,
    It oped and shut.  Ah! was he wise?
        W. B. ALGER.

Our grand business is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to
do what lies clearly at hand.--CARLYLE.

  A man's best things are nearest him,
  Lie close about his feet.
        R. M. MILNES.

The secret of success in life is for a man _to be ready for his
opportunity_ when it comes.--DISRAELI.

"There are no longer any good chances for young men," complained a law
student to Daniel Webster.  "There is always room at the top," replied
the great lawyer.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: THOMAS JEFFERSON]

"The world is all gates, all opportunities to him who can use them.'

  "'T is never offered twice, seize then the hour
  When fortune smiles and duty points the way."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

No chance, no opportunities, in a land where many poor boys become rich
men, where newsboys go to Congress, and where those born in the lowest
stations attain the highest positions?  The world is all gates, all
opportunities to him who will use them.  But, like Bunyan's Pilgrim in
the dungeon of Giant Despair's castle, who had the key of deliverance
all the time with him but had forgotten it, we fail to rely wholly upon
the ability to advance all that is good for us which has been given to
the weakest as well as the strongest.  We depend too much upon outside

  "We look too high
  For things close by."

A Baltimore lady lost a valuable diamond bracelet at a ball, and
supposed that it was stolen from the pocket of her cloak.  Years
afterward she washed the steps of the Peabody Institute, pondering how
to get money to buy food.  She cut up an old, worn-out, ragged cloak to
make a hood, when lo! in the lining of the cloak she discovered the
diamond bracelet.  During all her poverty she was worth $3500, but did
not know it.

Many of us who think we are poor are rich in opportunities, if we could
only see them, in possibilities all about us, in faculties worth more
than diamond bracelets.  In our large Eastern cities it has been found
that at least ninety-four out of every hundred found their first
fortune at home, or near at hand, and in meeting common every-day
wants.  It is a sorry day for a young man who cannot see any
opportunities where he is, but thinks he can do better somewhere else.
Some Brazilian shepherds organized a party to go to California to dig
gold, and took along a handful of translucent pebbles to play checkers
with on the voyage.  After arriving in San Francisco, and after they
had thrown most of the pebbles away, they discovered that they were
diamonds.  They hastened back to Brazil, only to find that the mines
from which the pebbles had been gathered had been taken up by others
and sold to the government.

The richest gold and silver mine in Nevada was sold for $42 by the
owner to get money to pay his passage to other mines, where he thought
he could get rich.  Professor Agassiz told the Harvard students of a
farmer who owned a farm of hundreds of acres of unprofitable woods and
rocks, and concluded to sell out and get into a more profitable
business.  He decided to go into the coal-oil business; he studied coal
measures and coal-oil deposits, and experimented for a long time.  He
sold his farm for $200, and engaged in his new business two hundred
miles away.  Only a short time after the man who bought his farm
discovered upon it a great flood of coal-oil, which the farmer had
previously ignorantly tried to drain off.

Hundreds of years ago there lived near the shore of the river Indus a
Persian by the name of Ali Hafed.  He lived in a cottage on the river
bank, from which he could get a grand view of the beautiful country
stretching away to the sea.  He had a wife and children, an extensive
farm, fields of grain, gardens of flowers, orchards of fruit, and miles
of forest.  He had a plenty of money and everything that heart could
wish.  He was contented and happy.  One evening a priest of Buddha
visited him, and, sitting before the fire, explained to him how the
world was made, and how the first beams of sunlight condensed on the
earth's surface into diamonds.  The old priest told that a drop of
sunlight the size of his thumb was worth more than large mines of
copper, silver, or gold; that with one of them he could buy many farms
like his; that with a handful he could buy a province, and with a mine
of diamonds he could purchase a kingdom.  Ali Hafed listened, and was
no longer a rich man.  He had been touched with discontent, and with
that all wealth vanishes.  Early the next morning he woke the priest
who had been the cause of his unhappiness, and anxiously asked him
where he could find a mine of diamonds.  "What do you want of
diamonds?" asked the astonished priest.  "I want to be rich and place
my children on thrones."  "All you have to do is to go and search until
you find them," said the priest.  "But where shall I go?" asked the
poor farmer.  "Go anywhere, north, south, east, or west."  "How shall I
know when I have found the place?"  "When you find a river running over
white sands between high mountain ranges, in those white sands you will
find diamonds," answered the priest.

The discontented man sold the farm for what he could get, left his
family with a neighbor, took the money he had at interest, and went to
search for the coveted treasure.  Over the mountains of Arabia, through
Palestine and Egypt, he wandered for years, but found no diamonds.
When his money was all gone and starvation stared him in the face,
ashamed of his folly and of his rags, poor Ali Hafed threw himself into
the tide and was drowned.  The man who bought his farm was a contented
man, who made the most of his surroundings, and did not believe in
going away from home to hunt for diamonds or success.  While his camel
was drinking in the garden one day, he noticed a flash of light from
the white sands of the brook.  He picked up a pebble, and pleased with
its brilliant hues took it into the house, put it on the shelf near the
fireplace, and forgot all about it.  The old priest of Buddha who had
filled Ali Hafed with the fatal discontent called one day upon the new
owner of the farm.  He had no sooner entered the room than his eye
caught that flash of light from the stone.  "Here's a diamond! here's a
diamond!" the old priest shouted in great excitement.  "Has Ali Hafed
returned?" said the priest.  "No," said the farmer, "nor is that a
diamond.  That is but a stone."  They went into the garden and stirred
up the white sand with their fingers, and behold, other diamonds more
beautiful than the first gleamed out of it.  So the famous diamond beds
of Golconda were discovered.  Had Ali Hafed been content to remain at
home, had he dug in his own garden, instead of going abroad in search
for wealth, and reaping poverty, hardships, starvation, and death, he
would have been one of the richest men in the world, for the entire
farm abounded in the richest of gems.

You have your own special place and work.  Find it, fill it.  Scarcely
a boy or girl will read these lines but has much better opportunity to
win success than Garfield, Wilson, Franklin, Lincoln, Harriet Beecher
Stowe, Frances Willard, and thousands of others.  But to succeed you
must be prepared to seize and improve the opportunity when it comes.
Remember that four things come not back: the spoken word, the sped
arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.

It is one of the paradoxes of civilization that the more opportunities
are utilized, the more new ones are thereby created.  New openings are
as easy to fill as ever to those who do their best; although it is not
so easy as formerly to obtain distinction in the old lines, because the
standard has advanced so much and competition has so greatly increased.
"The world is no longer clay," said Emerson, "but rather iron in the
hands of its workers, and men have got to hammer out a place for
themselves by steady and rugged blows."

Thousands of men have made fortunes out of trifles which others pass
by.  As the bee gets honey from the same flower from which the spider
gets poison, so some men will get a fortune out of the commonest and
meanest things, as scraps of leather, cotton waste, slag, iron filings,
from which others get only poverty and failure.  There is scarcely a
thing which contributes to the welfare and comfort of humanity, not an
article of household furniture, a kitchen utensil, an article of
clothing or of food, that is not capable of an improvement in which
there may be a fortune.

Opportunities?  They are all around us.  Edison found them in a baggage
car.  Forces of nature plead to be used in the service of man, as
lightning for ages tried to attract his attention to the great force of
electricity, which would do his drudgery and leave him to develop the
God-given powers within him.  There is power lying latent everywhere
waiting for the observant eye to discover it.

First find out what the world needs and then supply that want.  An
invention to make smoke go the wrong way in a chimney might be a very
ingenious thing, but it would be of no use to humanity.  The patent
office at Washington is full of wonderful devices of ingenious
mechanism, but not one in hundreds is of use to the inventor or to the
world.  And yet how many families have been impoverished, and have
struggled for years amid want and woe, while the father has been
working on useless inventions.  A. T. Stewart, as a boy, lost
eighty-seven cents when his capital was one dollar and a half in buying
buttons and thread which shoppers did not call for.  After that he made
it a rule never to buy anything which the public did not want, and so

It is estimated that five out of every seven of the millionaire
manufacturers began by making with their own hands the articles which
made their fortunes.  One of the greatest hindrances to advancement in
life is the lack of observation and of the inclination to take pains.
An observing man, the eyelets of whose shoes pulled out, but who could
not afford to get another pair, said to himself, "I will make a
metallic lacing hook, which can be riveted into the leather;" he was so
poor that he had to borrow a sickle to cut the grass in front of his
hired tenement.  Now he is a very rich man.

An observing barber in Newark, N. J., thought he could make an
improvement in shears for cutting hair, invented clippers, and became
rich.  A Maine man was called in from the hayfield to wash clothes for
his invalid wife.  He had never realized what it was to wash before.
Finding the method slow and laborious, he invented the washing-machine,
and made a fortune.  A man who was suffering terribly with toothache
said to himself, there must be some way of filling teeth which will
prevent their aching.  So he invented the principle of gold filling for

The great things of the world have not been done by men of large means.
Ericsson began the construction of the screw propellers in a bathroom.
The cotton-gin was first manufactured in a log cabin.  John Harrison,
the great inventor of the marine chronometer, began his career in the
loft of an old barn.  Parts of the first steamboat ever run in America
were set up in the vestry of a church in Philadelphia by Fitch.
McCormick began to make his famous reaper in a gristmill.  The first
model dry dock was made in an attic.  Clark, the founder of Clark
University of Worcester, Mass., began his great fortune by making toy
wagons in a horse shed.  Farquhar made umbrellas in his sitting-room,
with his daughter's help, until he sold enough to hire a loft.  Edison
began his experiments in a baggage car on the Grand Trunk Railroad when
a newsboy.

As soon as the weather would permit, the Jamestown colonists began to
stroll about the country digging for gold.  In a bank of sand some
glittering particles were found, and the whole settlement was in a
state of excitement.  Fourteen weeks of the precious springtime, which
ought to have been given to plowing and planting, were consumed in this
stupid nonsense.  Even the Indians ridiculed the madness of the men
who, for imaginary grains of gold, were wasting their chances for a
crop of corn.

Michael Angelo found a piece of discarded Carrara marble among waste
rubbish beside a street in Florence, which some unskillful workman had
cut, hacked, spoiled, and thrown away.  No doubt many artists had
noticed the fine quality of the marble, and regretted that it should
have been spoiled.  But Michael Angelo still saw an angel in the ruin,
and with his chisel and mallet he called out from it one of the finest
pieces of statuary in Italy, the young David.

The lonely island of Nantucket would not be considered a very favorable
place to win success and fame.  But Maria Mitchell, on seventy-five
dollars a year, as librarian of the Nantucket Athenaeum, found time and
opportunity to become a celebrated astronomer.  Lucretia Mott, one of
America's foremost philanthropists and reformers, who made herself felt
over a whole continent, gained much of her reputation as a preacher on
Nantucket Island.

"Why does not America have fine sculptors?" asked a romping girl, of
Watertown, Mass., in 1842.  Her father, a physician, answered that he
supposed "an American could be a stone-cutter, but that is a very
different thing from being a sculptor."  "I think," said the plucky
maiden, "that if no other American tries it I will."  She began her
studies in Boston, and walked seven miles to and fro daily between her
home and the city.  The medical schools in Boston would not admit her
to study anatomy, so she had to go to St. Louis.  Subsequently she went
to Rome, and there, during a long residence, and afterward, modeled and
carved very beautiful statuary which made the name of Harriet G. Hosmer
famous.  Begin where you are; work where you are; the hour which you
are now wasting, dreaming of some far-off success, may be crowded with
grand possibilities.

Patrick Henry was called a lazy boy, a good-for-nothing farmer, and he
failed as a merchant.  He was always dreaming of some far-off
greatness, and never thought he could be a hero among the corn and
tobacco and saddlebags of Virginia.  He studied law six weeks, when he
put out his shingle.  People thought he would fail, but in his first
case he showed that he had a wonderful power of oratory.  It then first
dawned upon him that he could be a hero in Virginia.  From the time the
Stamp Act was passed and Henry was elected to the Virginia House of
Burgesses, and he had introduced his famous resolution against the
unjust taxation of the American colonies, he rose steadily until he
became one of the brilliant orators of America.  In one of his first
speeches upon this resolution he uttered these words, which were
prophetic of his power and courage: "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the
First his Cromwell, and George the Third--may profit by their example.
If this be treason, make the most of it."

The great natural philosopher, Faraday, who was the son of a
blacksmith, wrote, when a young man, to Humphry Davy, asking for
employment at the Royal Institution.  Davy consulted a friend on the
matter.  "Here is a letter from a young man named Faraday, he has been
attending my lectures, and wants me to give him employment at the Royal
Institution--what can I do?"  "Do? put him to washing bottles; if he is
good for anything he will do it directly; if he refuses he is good for
nothing."  But the boy who could experiment in the attic of an
apothecary shop with an old pan and glass vials during every moment he
could snatch from his work saw an opportunity in washing bottles, which
led to a professorship at the Royal Academy at Woolwich.  Tyndall said
of this boy with no chance, "He is the greatest experimental
philosopher the world has ever seen."  He became the wonder of his age
in science.

There is a legend of an artist who long sought for a piece of
sandal-wood, out of which to carve a Madonna.  He was about to give up
in despair, leaving the vision of his life unrealized, when in a dream
he was bidden to carve his Madonna from a block of oak wood which was
destined for the fire.  He obeyed, and produced a masterpiece from a
log of common firewood.  Many of us lose great opportunities in life by
waiting to find sandal-wood for our carvings, when they really lie
hidden in the common logs that we burn.  One man goes through life
without seeing chances for doing anything great, while another close
beside him snatches from the same circumstances and privileges
opportunities for achieving grand results.

Anna Dickinson began life as a school-teacher.  Adelaide Neilson was a
child's nurse.  Charlotte Cushman's parents were poor.  The renowned
Jeanne d'Arc fed swine.  Christine Nilsson was a poor Swedish peasant,
and ran barefoot in childhood.  Edmonia Lewis, the colored sculptor,
overcame the prejudice against her sex and color, and pursued her
profession in Italy.  Maria Mitchell, the astronomer, was the daughter
of a poor man who taught school at two dollars per week.  These are but
a few of the many who have struggled with fate and risen to distinction
through their own personal efforts.

Opportunities?  They are everywhere.  "America is another name for
opportunities.  Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine
Providence in behalf of the human race."  Never before were there such
grand openings, such chances, such opportunities.  Especially is this
true for girls and young women.  A new era is dawning for them.
Hundreds of occupations and professions, which were closed to them only
a few years ago, are now inviting them to enter.

When I hear of a young woman entering the medical profession, or
beginning the study of law, or entering school with a view to teaching,
I feel like congratulating her for thus asserting her individuality.

We cannot all of us perhaps make great discoveries like Newton,
Faraday, Edison, and Thompson.  We cannot all of us paint immortal
pictures like an Angelo or a Raphael.  But we can all of us make our
lives sublime, by _seizing common occasions and making them great_.
What chance had the young girl, Grace Darling, to distinguish herself,
living on those barren lighthouse rocks alone with her aged parents?
But while her brothers and sisters, who moved to the cities to win
wealth and fame, are not known to the world, she became more famous
than a princess.  This poor girl did not need to go to London to see
the nobility; they came to the lighthouse to see her.  Right at home
this young girl had won fame which the regal heirs might envy, and a
name which will never perish from the earth.  She did not wander away
into dreamy distance for fame and fortune, but did her best where duty
had placed her.

If you want to get rich, study yourself and your own wants.  You will
find that millions have the same wants.  The safest business is always
connected with man's prime necessities.  He must have clothing and a
dwelling; he must eat.  He wants comforts, facilities of all kinds for
pleasure, luxuries, education, and culture.  Any man who can supply a
great want of humanity, improve any methods which men use, supply any
demand of comfort, or contribute in any way to their well-being, can
make a fortune.

"We cannot doubt," said Edward Everett, "that truths now unknown are in
reserve to reward the patience and the labors of future lovers of
truth, which will go as far beyond the brilliant discoveries of the
last generation as these do beyond all that was known to the ancient

          The golden opportunity
  Is never offered twice; seize then the hour
  When fortune smiles and duty points the way;
  Nor shrink aside to 'scape the spectre fear,
  Nor pause, though pleasure beckon from her bower;
  But bravely bear thee onward to the goal.

  For the distant still thou yearnest,
    And behold the good so near;
  If to use the good thou learnest,
    Thou wilt surely find it here.

  Do not, then, stand idly waiting
    For some greater work to do;
  Fortune is a lazy goddess--
    She will never come to you.
  Go and toil in any vineyard,
    Do not fear to do or dare;
  If you want a field of labor,
    You can find it anywhere.
        ELLEN H. GATES.

  Why thus longing, thus forever sighing,
    For the far-off, unattained and dim,
  While the beautiful, all around thee lying
    Offers up its low, perpetual hymn?

  Work for the good that is nighest;
    Dream not of greatness afar:
  That glory is ever the highest
    Which shines upon men as they are.



Little strokes fell great oaks.--FRANKLIN.

  Think naught a trifle, though it small appear;
  Small sands the mountain, moments make the year,
  And trifles, life.

  "Scorn not the slightest word or deed,
    Nor deem it void of power;
  There's fruit in each wind-wafted seed,
    That waits its natal hour."

It is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in

He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and

Often from our weakness our strongest principles of conduct are born;
and from the acorn, which a breeze has wafted, springs the oak which
defies the storm.--BULWER.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.--EMERSON.

Men are led by trifles.--NAPOLEON I.

  "A pebble on the streamlet scant
    Has turned the course of many a river;
  A dewdrop on the baby plant
    Has warped the giant oak forever."

The mother of mischief is no bigger than a midge's wing.--SCOTCH

"The bad thing about a little sin is that it won't stay little."

  "A little bit of patience often makes the sunshine come,
  And a little bit of love makes a very happy home;
  A little bit of hope makes a rainy day look gay,
  And a little bit of charity makes glad a weary way."

"Arletta's pretty feet, glistening in the brook, made her the mother of
William the Conqueror," says Palgrave's "History of Normandy and
England."  "Had she not thus fascinated Duke Robert the Liberal, of
Normandy, Harold would not have fallen at Hastings, no Anglo-Norman
dynasty could have arisen, no British Empire."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: AGASSIZ]

Small things become great when a great soul sees them.  Trifles light
as air sometimes suggest to the thinking mind ideas which revolutionize
the world.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

We may tell which way the wind blew before the Deluge by marking the
ripple and cupping of the rain in the petrified sand now preserved
forever.  We tell the very path by which gigantic creatures, whom man
never saw, walked to the river's edge to find their food.

The tears of Veturia and Volumnia saved Rome from the Volscians when
nothing else could move the vengeful heart of Coriolanus.

It was little Greece that rolled back the overflowing tide of Asiatic
luxury and despotism, giving instead to Europe and America models of
the highest political freedom yet attained, and germs of limitless
mental growth.  A different result at Plataea had delayed the progress
of the human race more than ten centuries.

Among the lofty Alps, it is said, the guides sometimes demand absolute
silence, lest the vibration of the voice bring down an avalanche.

The power of observation in the American Indian would put many an
educated man to shame.  Returning home, an Indian discovered that his
venison, which had been hanging up to dry, had been stolen.  After
careful observation he started to track the thief through the woods.
Meeting a man on the route, he asked him if he had seen a little, old,
white man, with a short gun, and with a small bob-tailed dog.  The man
told him he had met such a man, but was surprised to find that the
Indian had not even seen the one he described.  He asked the Indian how
he could give such a minute description of the man whom he had never
seen.  "I knew the thief was a little man," said the Indian, "because
he rolled up a stone to stand on in order to reach the venison; I knew
he was an old man by his short steps; I knew he was a white man by his
turning out his toes in walking, which an Indian never does; I knew he
had a short gun by the mark it left on the tree where he had stood it
up; I knew the dog was small by his tracks and short steps, and that he
had a bob-tail by the mark it left in the dust where he sat."

Two drops of rain, falling side by side, were separated a few inches by
a gentle breeze.  Striking on opposite sides of the roof of a
court-house in Wisconsin, one rolled southward through the Rock River
and the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico; while the other entered
successively the Fox River, Green Bay, Lake Michigan, the Straits of
Mackinaw, Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River,
Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and
finally reached the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  How slight the influence of
the breeze, yet such was the formation of the continent that a trifling
cause was multiplied almost beyond the power of figures to express its
momentous effect upon the destinies of these companion raindrops.  Who
can calculate the future of the smallest trifle when a mud crack swells
to an Amazon, and the stealing of a penny may end on the scaffold?  Who
does not know that the act of a moment may cause a life's regret?  A
trigger may be pulled in an instant, but the soul returns never.

A spark falling upon some combustibles led to the invention of
gunpowder.  Irritable tempers have marred the reputation of many a
great man, as in the case of Edmund Burke and of Thomas Carlyle.  A few
bits of seaweed and driftwood, floating on the waves, enabled Columbus
to stay a mutiny of his sailors which threatened to prevent the
discovery of a new world.  There are moments in history which balance
years of ordinary life.  Dana could interest a class for hours on a
grain of sand; and from a single bone, such as no one had ever seen
before, Agassiz could deduce the entire structure and habits of an
animal so accurately that subsequent discoveries of complete skeletons
have not changed one of his conclusions.

A cricket once saved a military expedition from destruction.  The
commanding officer and hundreds of his men were going to South America
on a great ship, and, through the carelessness of the watch, they would
have been dashed upon a ledge of rock had it not been for a cricket
which a soldier had brought on board.  When the little insect scented
the land, it broke its long silence by a shrill note, and this warned
them of their danger.

"Strange that a little thing like that should cause a man so much
pain!" exclaimed a giant, as he rolled in his hand and examined with
eager curiosity the acorn which his friend the dwarf had obligingly
taken from the huge eye into which it had fallen just as the colossus
was on the point of shooting a bird perched in the branches of an oak.

Sometimes a conversation, or a sentence in a letter, or a paragraph in
an article, will help us to reproduce the whole character of the
author; as a single bone, a fish scale, a fin, or a tooth, will enable
the scientist and anatomist to reproduce the fish or the animal,
although extinct for ages.

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.  A little boy
in Holland saw water trickling from a small hole near the bottom of a
dike.  He realized that the leak would rapidly become larger if the
water was not checked, so he held his hand over the hole for hours on a
dark and dismal night until he could attract the attention of
passers-by.  His name is still held in grateful remembrance in Holland.

The beetling chalk cliffs of England were built by rhizopods, too small
to be clearly seen without the aid of a magnifying-glass.

What was so unlikely as that throwing an empty wine-flask in the fire
should furnish the first notion of a locomotive, or that the sickness
of an Italian chemist's wife and her absurd craving for reptiles for
food should begin the electric telegraph?

Madame Galvani noticed the contraction of the muscles of a skinned frog
which was accidentally touched at the moment her husband took a spark
from an electrical machine.  She gave the hint which led to the
discovery of galvanic electricity, now so useful in the arts and in
transmitting vocal or written language.

M. Louis Pasteur was usher in the Lyceum.  Thursdays he took the boys
to walk.  A student took his microscope to examine insects, and allowed
Pasteur to look through it.  This was the starting of the boy on the
microscopic career which has made men wonder.  He was almost wild with
enthusiasm at the new world which the microscope revealed.

A stamp act to raise 60,000 pounds produced the American Revolution, a
war that cost 100,000,000 pounds.  What mighty contests rise from
trivial things!

Congress met near a livery stable to discuss the Declaration of
Independence.  The members, in knee breeches and silk stockings, were
so annoyed by flies, which they could not keep away with their
handkerchiefs, that it has been said they cut short the debate, and
hastened to affix their signatures to the greatest document in history.

"The fate of a nation," says Gladstone, "has often depended upon the
good or bad digestion of a fine dinner."

A young man once went to India to seek his fortune, but, finding no
opening, he went to his room, loaded his pistol, put the muzzle to his
head, and pulled the trigger.  But it did not go off.  He went to the
window to point it in another direction and try it again, resolved that
if the weapon went off he would regard it as a Providence that he was
spared.  He pulled the trigger and it went off the first time.
Trembling with excitement he resolved to hold his life sacred, to make
the most of it, and never again to cheapen it.  This young man became
General Robert Clive, who, with but a handful of European soldiers,
secured to the East India Company and afterwards to Great Britain a
great and rich country with two hundred millions of people.

The cackling of a goose aroused the sentinels and saved Rome from the
Gauls, and the pain from a thistle warned a Scottish army of the
approach of the Danes.  "Had Acre fallen," said Napoleon, "I should
have changed the face of the world."

Henry Ward Beecher came within one vote of being elected superintendent
of a railway.  If he had had that vote America would probably have lost
its greatest preacher.  What a little thing fixes destiny!

In the earliest days of cotton spinning, the small fibres would stick
to the bobbins, and make it necessary to stop and clear the machinery.
Although this loss of time reduced the earnings of the operatives, the
father of Robert Peel noticed that one of his spinners always drew full
pay, as his machine never stopped.  "How is this, Dick?" asked Mr. Peel
one day; "the on-looker tells me your bobbins are always clean."  "Ay,
that they be," replied Dick Ferguson.  "How do you manage it, Dick?"
"Why, you see, Meester Peel," said the workman, "it is sort o' secret!
If I tow'd ye, yo'd be as wise as I am."  "That's so," said Mr. Peel,
smiling; "but I'd give you something to know.  Could you make all the
looms work as smoothly as yours?"  "Ivery one of 'em, meester," replied
Dick.  "Well, what shall I give you for your secret?" asked Mr. Peel,
and Dick replied, "Gi' me a quart of ale every day as I'm in the mills,
and I'll tell thee all about it."  "Agreed," said Mr. Peel, and Dick
whispered very cautiously in his ear, "Chalk your bobbins!"  That was
the whole secret, and Mr. Peel soon shot ahead of all his competitors,
for he made machines that would chalk their own bobbins.  Dick was
handsomely rewarded with money instead of beer.  His little idea has
saved the world millions of dollars.

Trifles light as air often suggest to the thinking mind ideas which
have revolutionized the world.

A poor English boy was compelled by his employer to deposit something
on board a ship about to start for Algiers, in accordance with the
merchant's custom of interesting employees by making them put something
at risk in his business and so share in the gain or loss of each common
venture.  The boy had only a cat, which he had bought for a penny to
catch mice in the garret where he slept.  In tears, he carried her on
board the vessel.  On arriving at Algiers, the captain learned that the
Dey was greatly annoyed by rats, and loaned him the cat.  The rats
disappeared so rapidly that the Dey wished to buy the cat, but the
captain would not sell until a very high price was offered.  With the
purchase-money was sent a present of valuable pearls for the owner of
Tabby.  When the ship returned the sailors were greatly astonished to
find that the boy owned most of the cargo, for it was part of the
bargain that he was to bring back the value of his cat in goods.  The
London merchant took the boy into partnership; the latter became very
wealthy, and in the course of business loaned money to the Dey who had
bought the cat.  As Lord Mayor of London, our cat merchant was
knighted, and became the second man in the city,--Sir Richard

When John Williams, the martyr missionary of Erromanga, went to the
South Sea Islands, he took with him a single banana-tree from an
English nobleman's conservatory; and now, from that single banana-tree,
bananas are to be found throughout whole groups of islands.  Before the
negro slaves in the West Indies were emancipated a regiment of British
soldiers was stationed near one of the plantations.  A soldier offered
to teach a slave to read on condition that he would teach a second, and
that second a third, and so on.  This the slave faithfully carried out,
though severely flogged by the master of the plantation.  Being sent to
another plantation, he repeated the same thing there, and when at
length liberty was proclaimed throughout the island, and the Bible
Society offered a New Testament to every negro who could read, the
number taught through this slave's instrumentality was found to be no
less than six hundred.

A famous ruby was offered to the English government.  The report of the
crown jeweler was that it was the finest he had ever seen or heard of,
but that one of the "facets" was slightly fractured.  That invisible
fracture reduced its value thousands of dollars, and it was rejected
from the regalia of England.

It was a little thing for the janitor to leave a lamp swinging in the
cathedral at Pisa, but in that steady swaying motion the boy Galileo
saw the pendulum, and conceived the idea of thus measuring time.

"I was singing to the mouthpiece of a telephone," said Edison, "when
the vibrations of my voice caused a fine steel point to pierce one of
my fingers held just behind it.  That set me to thinking.  If I could
record the motions of the point and send it over the same surface
afterward, I saw no reason why the thing would not talk.  I determined
to make a machine that would work accurately, and gave my assistants
the necessary instructions, telling them what I had discovered.  That's
the whole story.  The phonograph is the result of the pricking of a

It was a little thing for a cow to kick over a lantern left in a
shanty, but it laid Chicago in ashes, and rendered homeless a hundred
thousand people.

You turned a cold shoulder but once, you made but one stinging remark,
yet it lost you a friend forever.

Some little weakness, some self-indulgence, a quick temper, want of
decision, are little things, you say, when placed beside great
abilities, but they have wrecked many a career.  The Parliament of
Great Britain, the Congress of the United States, and representative
governments all over the world have come from King John signing the
Magna Charta.

Bentham says, "The turn of a sentence has decided many a friendship,
and, for aught we know, the fate of many a kingdom."

The sight of a stranded cuttlefish led Cuvier to an investigation which
made him one of the greatest natural historians in the world.  The web
of a spider suggested to Captain Brown the idea of a suspension bridge.
A man, looking for a lost horse, picked up a stone in the Idaho
mountains which led to the discovery of a rich gold mine.

An officer apologized to General O. M. Mitchel, the astronomer, for a
brief delay, saying he was only a few moments late.  "I have been in
the habit of calculating the value of the thousandth part of a second,"
was Mitchel's reply.

A missing marriage certificate kept the hod-carrier of Hugh Miller from
establishing his claim to the Earldom of Crawford.  The masons would
call out, "John, Yearl of Crawford, bring us anither hod o' lime."

Not long ago the great steamship Umbria was stopped in mid-Atlantic by
a flaw in her engine shaft.

The absence of a comma in a bill which passed through Congress several
years ago cost our government a million dollars.  A single misspelled
word prevented a deserving young man from obtaining a situation as
instructor in a New England college.  A cinder on the eyeball will
conquer a Napoleon.  Some little weakness, as lack of courtesy, want of
decision, a bad temper, may nullify the labor of years.

"I cannot see that you have made any progress since my last visit,"
said a gentleman to Michael Angelo.  "But," said the sculptor, "I have
retouched this part, polished that, softened that feature, brought out
that muscle, given some expression to this lip, more energy to that
limb, etc."  "But they are trifles!" exclaimed the visitor.  "It may be
so," replied the great artist, "but trifles make perfection, and
perfection is no trifle."

That infinite patience which made Michael Angelo spend a week in
bringing out a muscle in a statue with more vital fidelity to truth, or
Gerhard Dow a day in giving the right effect to a dewdrop on a cabbage
leaf, makes all the difference between success and failure.

By scattering it upon a sloping field of grain so as to form, in
letters of great size, "Effects of Gypsum," Franklin brought this
fertilizer into general use in America.  By means of a kite he
established principles in the science of electricity of such broad
significance that they underlie nearly all the modern applications of
that science, with probably boundless possibilities of development in
the future.

More than four hundred and fifty years have passed since Laurens Coster
amused his children by cutting their names in the bark of trees, in the
land of windmills, and the monks have laid aside forever their old
trade of copying books.  From that day monarchies have crumbled, and
Liberty, lifting up her head for the first time among the nations of
the earth, has ever since kept pace with the march of her sister,
Knowledge, up through the centuries.  Yet how simple was the thought
which has borne such a rich harvest of benefit to mankind.

As he carved the names of his prattling children it occurred to him
that if the letters were made in separate blocks, and wet with ink,
they would make clear printed impressions better and more rapidly than
would the pen.  So he made blocks, tied them together with strings, and
printed a pamphlet with the aid of a hired man, John Gutenberg.  People
bought the pamphlets at a slight reduction from the price charged by
the monks, supposing that the work was done in the old way.  Coster
died soon afterward, but young Gutenberg kept the secret, and
experimented with metals until he had invented the metal type.  In an
obscure chamber in Strasburg he printed his first book.

At about this time a traveler called upon Charles VII. of France, who
was so afraid somebody would poison him that he dared eat but little,
and made his servants taste of every dish of food before he ate any.
He looked with suspicion upon the stranger; but when the latter offered
a beautiful copy of the Bible for only seven hundred and fifty crowns,
the monarch bought it at once.  Charles showed his Bible to the
archbishop, telling him that it was the finest copy in the world,
without a blot or mistake, and that it must have taken the copyist a
lifetime to write it.  "Why!" exclaimed the archbishop in surprise, "I
bought one exactly like it a few days ago."  It was soon learned that
other rich people in Paris had bought similar copies.  The king traced
the book to John Faust, of Strasburg, who had furnished Gutenberg money
to experiment with.  The people said that Faust must have sold himself
to the devil, and he only escaped burning at the stake by divulging the

William Caxton, a London merchant who went to Holland to purchase
cloth, bought a few books and some type, and established a
printing-office in Westminster Chapel, where he issued, in 1474, "The
Game of Chess," the first book printed in England.

The cry of the infant Moses attracted the attention of Pharaoh's
daughter, and gave the Jews a lawgiver.  A bird alighting on the bough
of a tree at the mouth of the cave where Mahomet lay hid turned aside
his pursuers, and gave a prophet to many nations.  A flight of birds
probably prevented Columbus from discovering this continent, for when
he was growing anxious, Martin Alonzo Pinzon persuaded him to follow a
flight of parrots toward the southwest; for to the Spanish seamen of
that day it was good luck to follow in the wake of a flock of birds
when on a voyage of discovery.  But for his change of course Columbus
would have reached the coast of Florida.  "Never," wrote Humboldt, "had
the flight of birds more important consequences."

The children of a spectacle-maker placed two or more pairs of the
spectacles before each other in play, and told their father that
distant objects looked larger.  From this hint came the telescope.

"Of what use is it?" people asked with a sneer, when Franklin told of
his discovery that lightning and electricity are identical.  "What is
the use of a child?" replied Franklin; "it may become a man."

"He who waits to do a great deal of good at once," said Dr. Johnson,
"will never do any."  Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee
no good.

Every day is a little life; and our whole life but a day repeated.
Those that dare lose a day are dangerously prodigal, those that dare
misspend it, desperate.  What is the happiness of your life made up of?
Little courtesies, little kindnesses, pleasant words, genial smiles, a
friendly letter, good wishes, and good deeds.  One in a million--once
in a lifetime--may do a heroic action.  The atomic theory is the true
one.  Many think common fractions vulgar, but they are the components
of millions.

He is a great man who sees great things where others see little things,
who sees the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Ruskin sees a poem in the
rose or the lily, while the hod-carrier would perhaps not go a rod out
of his way to see a sunset which Ruskin would feed upon for a year.

Napoleon was a master of trifles.  To details which his inferior
officers thought too microscopic for their notice he gave the most
exhaustive attention.  Nothing was too small for his attention.  He
must know all about the provisions, the horse fodder, the biscuits, the
camp kettles, the shoes.  When the bugle sounded for the march to
battle, every officer had his orders as to the exact route which he
should follow, the exact day he was to arrive at a certain station, and
the exact hour he was to leave, and they were all to reach the point of
destination at a precise moment.  It is said that nothing could be more
perfectly planned than his memorable march which led to the victory of
Austerlitz, and which sealed the fate of Europe for many years.  He
would often charge his absent officers to send him perfectly accurate
returns, even to the smallest detail.  "When they are sent to me, I
give up every occupation in order to read them in detail, and to
observe the difference between one monthly return and another.  No
young girl enjoys her novel as much as I do these returns."  The
captain who conveyed Napoleon to Elba was astonished with his
familiarity with all the minute details connected with the ship.
Napoleon left nothing to chance, nothing to contingency, so far as he
could possibly avoid it.  Everything was planned to a nicety before he
attempted to execute it.

Wellington too was "great in little things."  He knew no such things as
trifles.  While other generals trusted to subordinates, he gave his
personal attention to the minutest detail.  The history of many a
failure could be written in three words, "Lack of detail."  How many a
lawyer has failed from the lack of details in deeds and important
papers, the lack of little words which seemed like surplusage, and
which involved his clients in litigation, and often great losses!  How
many wills are contested from the carelessness of lawyers in the
omission or shading of words, or ambiguous use of language!

Physicians often fail to make a reputation through their habitual
blundering, carelessness in writing prescriptions, failure to give
minute instruction.  The world is full of blunderers; business men fail
from a disregard of trifles; they go to the bank to pay a note the day
after it has gone to protest; they do not pay their bills promptly; do
not answer their letters promptly or file them away accurately; their
books do not quite balance; they do not know exactly how they stand,
they have a contempt for details.

"My rule of conduct has been that whatever is worth doing at all is
worth doing well," said Nicolas Poussin, the great French painter.
When asked the reason why he had become so eminent in a land of famous
artists he replied, "Because I have neglected nothing."

Not even Helen of Troy, it is said, was beautiful enough to spare the
tip of her nose; and if Cleopatra's had been an inch shorter Mark
Antony would never have become infatuated with her wonderful charms,
and the blemish would have changed the history of the world.  Anne
Boleyn's fascinating smile split the great Church of Rome in twain, and
gave a nation an altered destiny.  Napoleon, who feared not to attack
the proudest monarchs in their capitols, shrank from the political
influence of one independent woman in private life, Madame de Staël.
Had not Scott sprained his foot his life would probably have taken a
different direction.

Cromwell was about to sail for America when a law was passed
prohibiting emigration.  At that time he was a profligate, having
squandered all his property.  But when he found that he could not leave
England he reformed his life.  Had he not been detained who can tell
what the history of Great Britain would have been?

When one of his friends asked Scopas the Thessalian for something that
could be of little use to him, he answered, "It is in these useless and
superfluous things that I am rich and happy."

It was the little foxes that spoiled the vines in Solomon's day.  Mites
play mischief now with our meal and cheese, moths with our woolens and
furs, and mice in our pantries.  More than half our diseases are
produced by infinitesimal creatures called microbes.

Most people call fretting a minor fault, a foible, and not a vice.
There is no vice except drunkenness which can so utterly destroy the
peace, the happiness, of a home.

"We call the large majority of human lives obscure," says Bulwer,
"presumptuous that we are!  How know we what lives a single thought
retained from the dust of nameless graves may have lighted to renown?"

The theft of a diamond necklace from a French queen convulsed Europe.
From the careful and persistent accumulation of innumerable facts, each
trivial in itself, but in the aggregate forming a mass of evidence, a
Darwin extracts his law of evolution, and Linnaeus constructs the
science of botany.  A pan of water and two thermometers were the tools
by which Dr. Black discovered latent heat, and a prism, a lens, and a
sheet of pasteboard enabled Newton to unfold the composition of light
and the origin of colors.  An eminent foreign savant called on Dr.
Wollaston, and asked to be shown over those laboratories of his in
which science had been enriched by so many great discoveries, when the
doctor took him into a little study, and, pointing to an old tea tray
on the table, on which stood a few watch glasses, test papers, a small
balance, and a blow-pipe, said, "There is my laboratory."  A burnt
stick and a barn door served Wilkie in lieu of pencil and paper.  A
single potato, carried to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in the
sixteenth century, has multiplied into food for millions, driving
famine from Ireland again and again.

It seemed a small thing to drive William Brewster, John Robinson, and
the poor people of Austerfield and Scrooby into perpetual exile, but as
Pilgrims they became the founders of a mighty people.  A cloud may hide
the sun which it cannot extinguish.

"Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth."  "A look of
vexation or a word coldly spoken, or a little help thoughtlessly
withheld, may produce long issues of regret."

It was but a little dispute, a little flash of temper, the trigger was
pulled in an instant, but the soul returned never.

A few immortal sentences from Garrison and Phillips, a few poems from
Lowell and Whittier, and the leaven is at work which will not cease its
action until the whipping-post and bodily servitude are abolished

  "For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
  For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
  For want of a horse the rider was lost, and all,"

says Poor Richard, "for want of a horse-shoe nail."

A single remark dropped by an unknown person in the street led to the
successful story of "The Bread-winners."  A hymn chanted by the
barefooted friars in the temple of Jupiter at Rome led to the famous
"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

"Do little things now," says a Persian proverb; "so shall big things
come to thee by and by asking to be done."  God will take care of the
great things if we do not neglect the little ones.

"Words are things," says Byron, "and a small drop of ink, falling like
dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps
millions think."

"I give these books for the founding of a college in this colony;" such
were the words of ten ministers who in the year 1700 assembled at the
village of Branford a few miles east of New Haven.  Each of the worthy
fathers deposited a few books upon the table around which they were
sitting; such was the founding of Yale College.

"He that has a spirit of detail," says Webster, "will do better in life
than many who figured beyond him in the university."

The pyramid of knowledge is made up of little grains of information,
little observations picked up from everywhere.

For a thousand years Asia monopolized the secret of silk culture, and
at Rome the product was sold for its weight in gold.  During the sixth
century, at the request of Justinian, two Persian monks brought a few
eggs from China to Europe in a hollow cane.  The eggs were hatched by
means of heat, and Asia no longer held the monopoly of the silk

In comparison with Ferdinand, preparing to lead forth his magnificent
army in Europe's supreme contest with the Moors, how insignificant
seemed the visionary expedition of Columbus, about to start in three
small shallops across the unknown ocean.  But grand as was the triumph
of Ferdinand, it now seems hardly worthy of mention in comparison with
the wonderful achievement of the poor Genoese navigator.

Only one hundred and ninety-two Athenians perished in the battle of
Marathon, but Europe was saved from a host which is said to have drunk
rivers dry, and to have shaken the solid earth as they marched.

Great men are noted for their attention to trifles.  Goethe once asked
a monarch to excuse him, during an interview, while he went to an
adjoining room to jot down a stray thought.  Hogarth would make
sketches of rare faces and characteristics upon his finger-nails upon
the streets.  Indeed, to a truly great mind there are no little things.
"The eye of the understanding is like the eye of the sense; for as you
may see objects through small crannies or holes, so you may see great
axioms of nature through small and contemptible instances," said Bacon.
Trifles light as air suggest to the keen observer the solution of
mighty problems.  Bits of glass arranged to amuse children led to the
discovery of the kaleidoscope.  Goodyear discovered how to vulcanize
rubber by forgetting, until it became red hot, a skillet containing a
compound which he had before considered worthless.  Confined in the
house by typhoid fever, Helmholtz, with a little money which he had
saved by great economy, bought a microscope which led him into the
field of science where he became so famous.  A ship-worm boring a piece
of wood suggested to Sir Isambard Brunei the idea of a tunnel under the
Thames at London.  Tracks of extinct animals in the old red sandstone
led Hugh Miller on and on until he became the greatest geologist of his
time.  Sir Walter Scott once saw a shepherd boy plodding sturdily
along, and asked him to ride.  This boy was George Kemp, who became so
enthusiastic in his study of sculpture that he walked fifty miles and
back to see a beautiful statue.  He did not forget the kindness of Sir
Walter, and, when the latter died, threw his soul into the design of
the magnificent monument erected in Edinburgh to the memory of the
author of "Waverley."

A poor boy applied for a situation at a bank in Paris, but was refused.
As he left the door, he picked up a pin.  The bank president saw this,
called the boy back, and gave him a situation from which he rose until
he became the greatest banker of Paris,--Laffitte.

It was the turning point in Theodore Parker's life when he picked up a
stone to throw at a turtle.  Something within him said, "Don't do it,"
and he didn't.  He went home and asked his mother what it was in him
that said "Don't;" and she taught him the purpose of that inward
monitor which he ever after chose as his guide.  It is said that David
Hume became a deist by being appointed in a debating society to take
the side of infidelity.  Voltaire could not erase from his mind the
impression of a poem on infidelity committed at the age of five.  The
"Arabian Nights" aroused the genius of Coleridge.  A Massachusetts
soldier in the Civil War observed a bird hulling rice, and shot it;
taking its bill for a model, he invented a hulling machine which has
revolutionized the rice business.  A war between France and England,
costing more than a hundred thousand lives, grew out of a quarrel as to
which of two vessels should first be served with water.  The quarrel of
two Indian boys over a grasshopper led to the "Grasshopper War."
George IV. of England fell in a fit, and a village apothecary bled him,
restoring him to consciousness.  The king made him his physician, a
position of great honor and profit.

Many a noble ship has stranded because of one defective timber, when
all other parts were strong.  Guard the weak point.

No object the eye ever beheld, no sound however slight caught by the
ear, or anything once passing the turnstile of any of the senses, is
ever let go.  The eye is a perpetual camera imprinting upon the
sensitive mental plates, and packing away in the brain for future use
every face, every tree, every plant, flower, hill, stream, mountain,
every scene upon the street, in fact, everything which comes within its
range.  There is a phonograph in our natures which catches, however
thoughtless and transient, every syllable we utter, and registers
forever the slightest enunciation, and renders it immortal.  These
notes may appear a thousand years hence, reproduced in our descendants,
in all their beautiful or terrible detail.

All the ages that have been are rounded up into the small space we call
"To-day."  Every life spans all that precedes it.  To-day is a book
which contains everything that has transpired in the world up to the
present moment.  The millions of the past whose ashes have mingled with
the dust for centuries still live in their destinies through the laws
of heredity.

Nothing has ever been lost.  All the infinitesimals of the past are
amassed into the present.

The first acorn had wrapped up in it all the oak forests on the globe.

"Least of all seeds, greatest of all harvests," seems to be one of the
great laws of nature.  All life comes from microscopic beginnings.  In
nature there is nothing small.  The microscope reveals as great a world
below as the telescope above.  All of nature's laws govern the smallest
atoms, and a single drop of water is a miniature ocean.

The strength of a chain lies in its weakest link, however large and
strong all the others may be.  We are all inclined to be proud of our
strong points, while we are sensitive and neglectful of our weaknesses.
Yet it is our greatest weakness which measures our real strength.  A
soldier who escapes the bullets of a thousand battles may die from the
scratch of a pin, and many a ship has survived the shocks of icebergs
and the storms of ocean only to founder in a smooth sea from holes made
by tiny insects.  Drop by drop is instilled into the mind the poison
which blasts many a precious life.

How often do we hear people say, "Oh, it's only ten minutes, or twenty
minutes, till dinner time; there's no use doing anything," or use other
expressions of a like effect?  Why, it is just in these little spare
bits of time, these odd moments, which most people throw away, that men
who have risen have gained their education, written their books, and
made themselves immortal.

_Small things become great when a great soul sees them_.  The noble or
heroic act of one man has sometimes elevated a nation.  Many an
honorable career has resulted from a kind word spoken in season or the
warm grasp of a friendly hand.

  It is the little rift within the lute,
  That by and by will make the music mute,
  And, ever widening, slowly silence all.

  "It was only a glad 'good-morning,'
  As she passed along the way,
  But it spread the morning's glory
  Over the livelong day."

  "Only a thought in passing--a smile, or encouraging word,
  Has lifted many a burden no other gift could have stirred.
          Only!--But then the onlys
          Make up the mighty all."



          Give me that man
  That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
  In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart.

Strength of character consists of two things,--power of will and power
of self-restraint.  It requires two things, therefore, for its
existence,--strong feelings and strong command over them.--F. W.

  "Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
  These three alone lead life to sovereign power."

  The bravest trophy ever man obtained
  Is that which o'er himself himself hath gained.

Real glory springs from the conquest of ourselves; and without that the
conqueror is naught but the veriest slave.--THOMSON.

Whatever day makes man a slave takes half his worth away.--ODYSSEY.

Chain up the unruly legion of thy breast.  Lead thine own captivity
captive, and be Caesar within thyself.--THOMAS BROWNE.

He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears,
is more than a king.--MILTON.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth
his spirit than he that taketh a city.--BIBLE.

Self-trust is of the essence of heroism.--EMERSON.

  Man who man would be
  Must rule the empire of himself.
        P. B. SHELLEY.

"Ah!  Diamond, you little know the mischief you have wrought," said Sir
Isaac Newton, returning from supper to find that his dog had upset a
lighted taper upon the laborious calculations of years, which lay in
ashes before him.  Then he went calmly to work to reproduce them.  The
man who thus excelled in self-mastery surpassed all his predecessors
and contemporaries in mastering the laws of nature.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


  "We rise by the things that are under our feet;
  By what we have mastered of good or gain:
  By the pride deposed and the passion slain,
  And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

The sun was high in the heavens when a man called at the house of
Pericles to abuse him.  The man's anger knew no bounds.  He vented his
spite in violent language until he paused from sheer exhaustion, and
saw that it was quite dark without.  He turned to go home, when
Pericles calmly called a servant, and said, "Bring a lamp and attend
this man home."  Is any argument needed to show the superiority of

The gladiators who were trained to tight in the Coliseum were compelled
to practice the most graceful postures of falling and the finest
attitudes to assume in dying, in case they were vanquished.  They were
obliged to eat food which would make the blood thick in order that they
should not die quickly when wounded, thus giving the spectators
prolonged gratification by the spectacle of their agonies.  Each had to
take this oath: "We swear that we will suffer ourselves to be bound,
scourged, burned, or killed by the sword, or whatever Eumolpus ordains,
and thus, like freeborn gladiators, we religiously devote both our
souls and our bodies to our master."  They were trained to exercise
sublime self-control even when dying a cruel death.

The American Minister at St. Petersburg was summoned one morning to
save a young, dissolute, reckless American youth, Poe, from the
penalties incurred in a drunken debauch.  By the Minister's aid young
Poe returned to the United States.  Not long after this the author of
the best story and poem competed for in the "Baltimore Visitor" was
sent for, and behold, the youth who had taken both prizes was that same
dissolute, reckless, penniless, orphan youth, who had been arrested in
St. Petersburg,--pale, ragged, with no stockings, and with his
threadbare but well brushed coat buttoned to the chin to conceal the
lack of a shirt.  Young Poe took fresh courage and resolution, and for
a while showed that he was superior to the appetite which was striving
to drag him down.  But, alas, that fatal bottle! his mind was stored
with riches, yet he died in moral poverty.  This was a soldier's

  "Here lies a soldier whom all must applaud,
  Who fought many battles at home and abroad!
  But the hottest engagement he ever was in,
  Was the conquest of self, in the battle of sin."

In 1860, when a committee visited Abraham Lincoln at his home in
Springfield, Ill., to notify him of his nomination as President, he
ordered a pitcher of water and glasses, "that they might drink each
other's health in the best beverage God ever gave to man."  "Let us,"
he continued, "make it as unfashionable to withhold our names from the
temperance pledge as for husbands to wear their wives' bonnets in
church, and instances will be as rare in one case as the other."

Burns exercised no control over his appetites, but gave them the rein:--

  "Thus thoughtless follies laid him low
  And stained his name."

"The first and best of victories," says Plato, "is for a man to conquer
himself; to be conquered by himself is, of all things, the most
shameful and vile."

Self-control is at the root of all the virtues.  Let a man yield to his
impulses and passions, and from that moment he gives up his moral

"Teach self-denial and make its practice pleasurable," says Walter
Scott, "and you create for the world a destiny more sublime than ever
issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer."

Stonewall Jackson, early in life, determined to conquer every weakness
he had, physical, mental, and moral.  He held all of his powers with a
firm hand.  To his great self-discipline and self-mastery he owed his
success.  So determined was he to harden himself to the weather that he
could not be induced to wear an overcoat in winter.  "I will not give
in to the cold," he said.  For a year, on account of dyspepsia, he
lived on buttermilk and stale bread, and wore a wet shirt next his body
because his doctor advised it, although everybody else ridiculed the
idea.  This was while he was professor at the Virginia Military
Institute.  His doctor advised him to retire at nine o'clock; and, no
matter where he was, or who was present, he always sought his bed on
the minute.  He adhered rigidly through life to this stern system of
discipline.  Such self-training, such self-conquest, gives one great
power over others.  It is equal to genius itself.

It is a good plan to form the habit of ranking our various qualities,
marking our strongest point one hundred and all the others in
proportion, in order to make the lowest mark more apparent, and
enabling us to try to raise or strengthen it.  A man's industry, for
example, may be his strongest point, one hundred, his physical courage
may be fifty; his moral courage, seventy-five; his temper, twenty-five;
with but ten for self-control,--which, if he has strong appetites and
passions, will be likely to be the rock on which he will split.  He
should strive in every way to raise it from one of the weakest
qualities to one of the strongest.  It would take but two or three
minutes a day to rank ourselves in such a table by noting the exercise
of each faculty for the day.  If you have worked hard and faithfully,
mark industry one hundred.  If you have lost your temper, and, in
consequence, lost your self-control, and made a fool of yourself,
indicate it by a low mark.  This will be an incentive to try to raise
it the next day.  If you have been irritable, indicate it by a
corresponding mark, and redeem yourself on the morrow.  If you have
been cowardly where you should have been brave, hesitating where you
should have shown decision, false where you should have been true,
foolish where you should have been wise, tardy where you should have
been prompt; if you have prevaricated where you should have told the
exact truth; if you have taken the advantage where you should have been
fair, have been unjust where you should have been just, impatient where
you should have been patient, cross where you should have been
cheerful, so indicate by your marks.  You will find this a great aid to
character building.

It is a subtle and profound remark of Hegel's that the riddle which the
Sphinx, the Egyptian symbol of the mysteriousness of Nature, propounds
to Oedipus is only another way of expressing the command of the Delphic
oracle, "Know thyself."  And when the answer is given the Sphinx casts
herself down from her rock.  When man knows himself, the mysteriousness
of Nature and her terrors vanish.

The command by the ancient oracle at Delphos is of eternal
significance.  Add to it its natural complement--Help thyself--and the
path to success is open to those who obey.

_Guard your weak point_.  Moral contagion borrows fully half its
strength from the weakness of its victims.  Have you a hot, passionate
temper?  If so, a moment's outbreak, like a rat-hole in a dam, may
flood all the work of years.  One angry word sometimes raises a storm
that time itself cannot allay.  A single angry word has lost many a

A Quaker was asked by a merchant whom he had conquered by his patience
how he had been able to bear the other's abuse, and replied: "Friend, I
will tell thee.  I was naturally as hot and violent as thou art.  I
observed that men in a passion always speak loud, and I thought if I
could control my voice I should repress my passion.  I have therefore
made it a rule never to let my voice rise above a certain key, and by a
careful observance of this rule, I have, by the blessing of God,
entirely mastered my natural tongue."  Mr. Christmas of the Bank of
England explains that the secret of his self-control under very trying
circumstances was due to a rule learned from the great Pitt, never to
lose his temper during banking hours from nine to three.

When Socrates found in himself any disposition to anger, he would check
it by speaking low, in opposition to the motions of his displeasure.
If you are conscious of being in a passion, keep your mouth shut, lest
you increase it.  Many a person has dropped dead in a rage.  Fits of
anger bring fits of disease.  "Whom the gods would destroy they first
make mad."  "Keep cool," says Webster, "anger is not argument."  "Be
calm in arguing," says George Herbert, "for fierceness makes error a
fault, and truth discourtesy."

To be angry with a weak man is to prove that you are not strong
yourself.  "Anger," says Pythagoras, "begins with folly and ends with
repentance."  You must measure the strength of a man by the power of
the feelings he subdues, not by the power of those which subdue him.

De Leon, a distinguished Spanish poet, after lying years in dungeons of
the Inquisition, dreary, and alone, without light, for translating part
of the Scriptures into his native tongue, was released and restored to
his professorship.  A great crowd thronged to hear his first lecture,
out of curiosity to learn what he might say about his imprisonment.
But the great man merely resumed the lecture which had been so cruelly
broken off five years before, just where he left it, with the words
"Heri discebamus" (Yesterday we were teaching).  What a lesson in this
remarkable example of self-control for those who allow their tongues to
jabber whatever happens to be uppermost in their minds!

Did you ever see a man receive a flagrant insult, and only grow a
little pale, bite his quivering lip, and then reply quietly?  Did you
ever see a man in anguish stand as if carved out of solid rock,
mastering himself?  Have you not seen one bearing a hopeless daily
trial remain silent and never tell the world what cankered his home
peace?  That is strength.  "He who, with strong passions, remains
chaste; he who, keenly sensitive, with manly power of indignation in
him, can be provoked, and yet restrain himself and forgive,--these are
strong men, the spiritual heroes."

"You will be remembered only as the man who broke my nose," said young
Michael Angelo to the man Torrigiano, who struck him in anger.  What
sublime self-control for a quick-tempered man!

"You ask whether it would not be manly to resent a great injury," said
Eardley Wilmot: "I answer that it would be manly to resent it, but it
would be Godlike to forgive it."

That man has conquered his tongue who can allow the ribald jest or
scurrilous word to die unspoken on his lips, and maintain an indignant
silence amid reproaches and accusations and sneers and scoffs.  "He is
a fool who cannot be angry," says English, "but he is a wise man who
will not."

Peter the Great made a law in 1722 that a nobleman who should beat his
slave should be regarded as insane, and a guardian appointed to look
after his property and person.  This great monarch once struck his
gardener, who took to his bed and died.  Peter, hearing of this,
exclaimed with tears in his eyes, "Alas!  I have civilized my own
subjects; I have conquered other nations; yet have I not been able to
civilize or conquer myself."  The same monarch, when drunk, rushed upon
Admiral Le Fort with a sword.  Le Fort, with great self-possession,
bared his breast to receive the stroke.  This sobered Peter, and
afterwards he asked the pardon of Le Fort.  Peter said, "I am trying to
reform my country, and I am not yet able to reform myself."
Self-conquest is man's last and greatest victory.

A medical authority of highest repute affirms that excessive labor,
exposure to wet and cold, deprivation of sufficient quantities of
necessary and wholesome food, habitual bad lodging, sloth and
intemperance, are all deadly enemies to human life, but they are none
of them so bad as violent and ungoverned passion,--that men and women
have frequently lived to an advanced age in spite of these, but that
instances are very rare where people of irascible tempers live to
extreme old age.

It was the self-discipline of a man who had never looked upon war until
he was forty that enabled Oliver Cromwell to create an army which never
fought without annihilating, yet which retired into the ranks of
industry as soon as the government was established, each soldier being
distinguished from his neighbors only by his superior diligence,
sobriety, and regularity in the pursuits of peace.

How sweet the serenity of habitual self-command!  When does a man feel
more a master of himself than when he has passed through a sudden and
severe provocation in silence or in undisturbed good humor?

Whether teaching the rules of an exact morality, answering his corrupt
judges, receiving sentence of death, or swallowing the poison, Socrates
was still calm, quiet, undisturbed, intrepid.

It is a great thing to have brains, but it is vastly greater to be able
to command them.  The Duke of Wellington had great power over himself,
although his natural temper was extremely irritable.  He remained at
the Duchess of Richmond's ball till about three o'clock on the morning
of the 16th of June, 1815, "showing himself very cheerful," although he
knew that a desperate battle was awaiting him.  On the field of
Waterloo he gave his orders at the most critical moments without the
slightest excitement.

Napoleon, having made his arrangements for the terrible conflict of the
next day (Jena and Auerstadt), retired to his tent about midnight, and
calmly sat down to draw up a plan of study and discipline for Madame
Campan's female school.  "Keep cool, and you command everybody," says
St. Just.

  "He that would govern others first should be
  The master of himself,"

says Massinger.

He who has mastered himself, who is his own Caesar, will be stronger
than his passion, superior to circumstances, higher than his calling,
greater than his speech.  Self-control is the generalship which turns a
mob of raw recruits into a disciplined army.  The rough man has become
the polished and dignified soldier, in other words, the man has got
control of himself, and knows how to use himself.  The human race is
under constant drill.  Our occupations, difficulties, obstacles,
disappointments, if used aright, are the great schoolmasters which help
us to possess ourselves.  The man who is master of himself will not be
a slave to drudgery, but will keep in advance of his work.  He will not
rob his family of that which is worth more than money or position; he
will not be the slave of his occupation, not at the mercy of
circumstances.  His methods and system will enable him to accomplish
wonders, and yet give him leisure for self-culture.  The man who
controls himself works to live rather than lives for work.

The man of great self-control, the man who thinks a great deal and says
little, who is self-centred, well balanced, carries a thousand times
more weight than the man of weak will, always wavering and undecided.

If a man lacks self-control he seems to lack everything.  Without it he
can have no patience, no power to govern himself, he can have no
self-reliance, for he will always be at the mercy of his strongest
passion.  If he lacks self-control, the very backbone, pith, and nerve
of character are lacking also.

The discipline which is the main end in education is simply control
acquired over one's mental faculties; without this discipline no man is
a strong and accurate thinker.  "Prove to me," says Mrs. Oliphant,
"that you can control yourself, and I'll say you're an educated man;
and, without this, all other education is good for next to nothing."

The wife of Socrates, Xanthippe, was a woman of a most fantastical and
furious spirit.  At one time, having vented all the reproaches upon
Socrates her fury could suggest, he went out and sat before the door.
His calm and unconcerned behavior but irritated her so much the more;
and, in the excess of her rage, she ran upstairs and emptied a vessel
upon his head, at which he only laughed and said that "so much thunder
must needs produce a shower."  Alcibiades his friend, talking with him
about his wife, told him he wondered how he could bear such an
everlasting scold in the same house with him.  He replied, "I have so
accustomed myself to expect it, that it now offends me no more than the
noise of carriages in the street."

How many men have in their chain of character one weak link.  They may
be weak in the link of truthfulness, politeness, trustworthiness,
temper, chastity, temperance, courage, industry, or may have some other
weakness which wrecks their success and thwarts a life's endeavor.  He
who would succeed must hold all his faculties under perfect control;
they must be disciplined, drilled, until they obey the will.

Think of a young man just starting out in life to conquer the world
being at the mercy of his own appetites and passions!  He cannot stand
up and look the world in the face when he is the slave of what should
be his own servants.  He cannot lead who is led.  There is nothing
which gives certainty and direction to the life of a man who is not his
own master.  If he has mastered all but one appetite, passion, or
weakness, he is still a slave; it is the weakest point that measures
the strength of character.

Seneca, one of the greatest of the ancient philosophers, said that "we
should every night call ourselves to account.  What infirmity have I
mastered to-day? what passion opposed? what temptation resisted? what
virtue acquired?" and then he follows with the profound truth that "our
vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the
shrift."  If you cannot at first control your anger, learn to control
your tongue, which, like fire, is a good servant, but a hard master.

Five words cost Zacharias forty weeks' silence.  There is many a man
whose tongue might govern multitudes if he could only govern his
tongue.  Anger, like too much wine, hides us from ourselves, but
exposes us to others.

General von Moltke, perhaps the greatest strategist of this century,
had, as a foundation for his other talents, the power to "hold his
tongue in seven languages."  A young man went to Socrates to learn
oratory.  On being introduced, he talked so incessantly that Socrates
asked for double fees.  "Why charge me double?" asked the young fellow.
"Because," said the orator, "I must teach you two sciences: the one how
to hold your tongue, the other how to speak."  The first is the more

Half the actual trouble of life would be saved if people would remember
that silence is golden, when they are irritated, vexed, or annoyed.

To feel provoked or exasperated at a trifle, when the nerves are
exhausted, is, perhaps, natural to us in our imperfect state.  But why
put into the shape of speech the annoyance which, once uttered, is
remembered; which may burn like a blistering wound, or rankle like a
poisoned arrow?  If a child be crying or a friend capricious, or a
servant unreasonable, be careful what you say.  Do not speak while you
feel the impulse of anger, for you will be almost certain to say too
much, to say more than your cooler judgment will approve, and to speak
in a way that you will regret.  Be silent until the "sweet by and by,"
when you will be calm, rested, and self-controlled.

"Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words?  There is more hope of a
fool than of him."

"Silence," says Zimmerman, "is the safest response for all the
contradiction that arises from impertinence, vulgarity, or envy."

In rhetoric, as Emerson truly says, this art of omission is the chief
secret of power.  "Everything tells in favor of the man who talks but
little.  The presumption is that he is a superior man; and if, in point
of fact, he is not a sheer blockhead, the presumption then is that he
is very superior indeed."  Grant was master of the science of silence.

The self-controlled are self-possessed.  "Sir, the house is on fire!"
shrieked a frightened servant, running into Dr. Lawson's study.  "Go
and tell your mistress," said the preoccupied professor, without
looking up from the book he was reading; "you know I have no charge of
household matters."  A woman whose house was on fire threw a
looking-glass out of the window, and carried a pair of andirons several
rods to a safe place beside a stone wall.  "Presence of mind and
courage in distress are more than armies to procure success."

Xenophon tells us that at one time the Persian princes had for their
teachers the four best men in the kingdom.  (1) The wisest man to teach
wisdom.  (2) The bravest to teach courage.  (3) The most just to train
the moral nature.  (4) The most temperate to teach self-control.  We
have them all in the Bible, and in Christ our teacher, an example.  "If
it is a small sacrifice to discontinue the use of wine," said Samuel J.
May, "do it for the sake of others; if it is a great sacrifice, do it
for your own sake."  How many of nature's noblemen, who might be kings
if they could control themselves, drink away their honor, reputation,
and money in glasses of "wet damnation," more costly than the vinegar
in which Cleopatra dissolved her pearls.

Experience shows that, quicker than almost any other physical agency,
alcohol breaks down a man's power of self-control.  But the physical
evils of intemperance, great as they are, are slight, compared with the
moral injury it produces.  It is not simply that vices and crimes
almost inevitably follow the loss of rational self-direction, which is
the invariable accompaniment of intoxication; manhood is lowered and
finally lost by the sensual tyranny of appetite.  The drunken man has
given up the reins of his nature to a fool or a fiend, and he is driven
fast to base or unutterably foolish ends.

With almost palsied hand, at a temperance meeting, John B. Gough signed
the pledge.  For six days and nights in a wretched garret, without a
mouthful of food, with scarcely a moment's sleep, he fought the fearful
battle with appetite.  Weak, famished, almost dying, he crawled into
the sunlight; but he had conquered the demon, which had almost killed
him.  Gough used to describe the struggles of a man who tried to leave
off using tobacco.  He threw away what he had, and said that was the
end of it; but no, it was only the beginning of it.  He would chew
camomile, gentian, toothpicks, but it was of no use.  He bought another
plug of tobacco and put it in his pocket.  He wanted a chew awfully,
but he looked at it and said, "You are a weed, and I am a _man_.  I'll
master you if I die for it;" and he did, while carrying it in his
pocket daily.

Natural appetites, if given rein, will not only grow monstrous and
despotic, but artificial appetites will be created which, like a
ghastly Frankenstein, develop a kind of independent life and force, and
then turn on their creator to torment him without pity, and will mock
his efforts to free himself from this slavery.  The victim of strong
drink is one of the most pitiable creatures on earth, he becomes half
beast, or half demon.  Oh, the silent, suffering tongues that whisper
"Don't," but the will lies prostrate, and the debauch goes on.  What a
mute confession of degradation there is in the very appearance of a
confirmed sot.  Behold a man no longer in possession of himself; the
flesh is master; the spiritual nature is sunk in the mire of
sensuality, and the mental faculties are a mere mob of enfeebled powers
under bondage to a bestial or mad tyrant.  As Challis says:--

  "Once the demon enters,
    Stands within the door;
  Peace and hope and gladness
    Dwell there nevermore."

Many persons are intemperate in their feelings; they are emotionally
prodigal.  Passion is intemperance; so is caprice.  There is an
intemperance even in melancholy and mirth.  The temperate man is not
mastered by his moods; he will not be driven or enticed into excess;
his steadfast will conquers despondency, and is not unbalanced by
transient exhilarations, for ecstasy is as fatal as despair.  Temper is
subjected to reason and conscience.  How many people excuse themselves
for doing wrong or foolish acts by the plea that they have a quick
temper.  But he who is king of himself rules his temper, turning its
very heat and passion into energy that works good instead of evil.
Stephen Girard, when he heard of a clerk with a strong temper, was glad
to employ him.  He believed that such persons, taught self-control,
were the best workers.  Controlled temper is an element of strength;
wisely regulated, it expends itself as energy in work, just as heat in
an engine is transmuted into force that drives the wheels of industry.
Cromwell, William the Silent, Wordsworth, Faraday, Washington, and
Wellington were men of prodigious tempers, but they were also men whose
self-control was nearly perfect.

George Washington's faculties were so well balanced and combined that
his constitution was tempered evenly with all the elements of activity,
and his mind resembled a well organized commonwealth.  His passions,
which had the intensest vigor, owed allegiance to reason; and with all
the fiery quickness of his spirit, his impetuous and massive will was
held in check by consummate judgment.  He had in his composition a calm
which was a balance-wheel, and which gave him in moments of highest
excitement the power of self-control, and enabled him to excel in
patience, even when he had most cause for disgust.

It was said by an enemy of William the Silent that an arrogant or
indiscreet word never fell from his lips.

How brilliantly could Carlyle write of heroism, courage, self-control,
and yet fly into a rage at a rooster crowing in a neighbor's yard.

A self-controlled mind is a free mind, and freedom is power.

"I call that mind free," says Channing, "which jealously guards its
intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does
not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens
itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as
an angel from heaven, which, whilst consulting others, inquires still
more of the oracle within itself, and uses instructions from abroad,
not to supersede, but to quicken and exalt its own energies.  I call
that mind free which is not passively framed by outward circumstances,
which is not swept away by the torrent of events, which is not the
creature of accidental impulse, but which bends events to its own
improvement, and acts from an inward spring, from immutable principles
which it has deliberately espoused.  I call that mind free which
protects itself against the usurpations of society, which does not
cower to human opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher
tribunal than man's, which respects a higher law than fashion, which
respects itself too much to be the slave or tool of the many or the
few.  I call that mind free which through confidence in God and in the
power of virtue has cast off all fear but that of wrong-doing, which no
menace or peril can enthrall, which is calm in the midst of tumults,
and possesses itself though all else be lost.  I call that mind free
which resists the bondage of habit, which does not mechanically repeat
itself and copy the past, which does not live on its old virtues, which
does not enslave itself to precise rules, but which forgets what is
behind, listens for new and higher monitions of conscience, and
rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions.  I call
that mind free which is jealous of its own freedom, which guards itself
from being merged in others, which guards its empire over itself as
nobler than the empire of the world."

  Be free--not chiefly from the iron chain
  But from the one which passion forges--be
  The master of thyself.  If lost, regain
  The rule o'er chance, sense, circumstance.  Be free.

"It is not enough to have great qualities," says La Rochefoucauld; "we
should also have the management of them."  No man can call himself
educated until every voluntary muscle obeys his will.

Every human being is conscious of two natures.  One is ever reaching up
after the good, the true, and the noble,--is aspiring after all that
uplifts, elevates, and purifies.  It is the God-side of man, the image
of the Creator, the immortal side, the spiritual side.  It is the
gravitation of the soul faculties toward their Maker.  The other is the
bestial side which gravitates downward.  It does not aspire, it
grovels; it wallows in the mire of sensualism.  Like the beast, it
knows but one law, and is led by only one motive, self-indulgence,
self-gratification.  When neither hungry nor thirsty, or when gorged
and sated by over-indulgence, it lies quiet and peaceful as a lamb, and
we sometimes think it subdued.  But when its imperious passion
accumulates, it clamors for satisfaction.  You cannot reason with it,
for it has no reason, only an imperious instinct for gratification.
You cannot appeal to its self-respect, for it has none.  It cares
nothing for character, for manliness, for the spiritual.

These two natures are ever at war, one pulling heavenward, the other,
earthward.  Nor do they ever become reconciled.  Either may conquer,
but the vanquished never submits.  The higher nature may be compelled
to grovel, to wallow in the mire of sensual indulgence, but it always
rebels and enters its protest.  It can never forget that it bears the
image of its Maker, even when dragged through the slough of sensualism.
The still small voice which bids man look up is never quite hushed.  If
the victim of the lower nature could only forget that he was born to
look upward, if he could only erase the image of his Maker, if he could
only hush the voice which haunts him and condemns him when he is bound
in slavery, if he could only enjoy his indulgences without the mockery
of remorse, he thinks he would be content to remain a brute.  But the
ghost of his better self rises as he is about to partake of his
delight, and robs him of the expected pleasure.  He has sold his better
self for pleasure which is poison, and he cannot lose the consciousness
of the fearful sacrifice he has made.  The banquet may be ready, but
the hand on the wall is writing his doom.

  Give me that soul, superior power,
  That conquest over fate,
  Which sways the weakness of the hour,
  Rules little things as great:
  That lulls the human waves of strife
  With words and feelings kind,
  And makes the trials of our life
  The triumphs of our mind.

  Reader, attend--whether thy soul
    Soars fancy's flights above the pole,
    Or darkly grubs this earthly hole,
          In low pursuits:
  Know prudent, cautious self-control
          Is wisdom's root.

The king is the man who can.--CARLYLE.

I have only one counsel for you--Be master.--NAPOLEON.

  Ah, silly man, who dream'st thy honor stands
  In ruling others, not thyself.  Thy slaves
  Serve thee, and thou thy slave: in iron bands
  Thy servile spirit, pressed with wild passions, raves.
  Wouldst thou live honored?--clip ambition's wing:
  To reason's yoke thy furious passions bring:
  Thrice noble is the man who of himself is king.

  "Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
  Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
  But in ourselves are triumph and defeat."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.