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Title: Cheerfulness as a Life Power
Author: Marden, Orison Swett, 1850-1924
Language: English
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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.

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Author of "Pushing to the Front," "The Secret of
Achievement," etc.; and Editor of "Success."

Tenth Thousand

New York
Thomas Y. Crowell & Company
Copyright, 1899
By Orison Swett Marden


The soul-consuming and friction-wearing tendency of this hurrying,
grasping, competing age is the excuse for this booklet. Is it not an
absolute necessity to get rid of all irritants, of everything which
worries and frets, and which brings discord into so many lives?
Cheerfulness has a wonderful lubricating power. It lengthens the life of
human machinery, as lubricants lengthen the life of inert machinery.
Life's delicate bearings should not be carelessly ground away for mere
lack of oil. What is needed is a habit of cheerfulness, to enjoy every
day as we go along; not to fret and stew all the week, and then expect
to make up for it Sunday or on some holiday. It is not a question of
mirth so much as of cheerfulness; not alone that which accompanies
laughter, but serenity,--a calm, sweet soul-contentment and inward
peace. Are there not multitudes of people who have the "blues," who yet
wish well to their neighbors? They would say kind words and make the
world happier--but they "haven't the time." To lead them to look on the
sunny side of things, and to take a little time every day to speak
pleasant words, is the message of the hour.

                                                            THE AUTHOR.

In the preparation of these pages, amid the daily demands of
journalistic work, the author has been assisted by Mr. E. P. Tenney, of


     THE LAUGH CURE                                              9
     A CHEAP MEDICINE                                           13
     WHY DON'T YOU LAUGH?                                       14

II.  THE CURE FOR AMERICANITIS                                  16
     A WORRYING WOMAN                                           19
     OUR HAWAIIAN PARADISE                                      22
     A WEATHER BREEDER                                          24
     "WHAT IS AN OPTIMIST?"                                     27
     LIVING UP THANKSGIVING AVENUE                              29

III. OILING YOUR BUSINESS MACHINERY                             31
     SINGING AT YOUR WORK                                       33
     GOOD HUMOR                                                 35
     "LE DIABLE EST MORT"                                       38

     UNWORKED JOY MINES                                         44
     THE QUEEN OF THE WORLD                                     45

V.   FINDING WHAT YOU DO NOT SEEK                               51
     CHARLES LAMB                                               53
     JOHN B. GOUGH                                              55
     PHILLIPS BROOKS                                            60

     WORTH FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS                                 66
     THE "DON'T WORRY" SOCIETY                                  67
     A PLEASURE BOOK                                            69

VII. THE SUNSHINE-MAN                                           73



William K. Vanderbilt, when he last visited Constantinople, one day
invited Coquelin the elder, so celebrated for his powers as a mimic, who
happened to be in the city at the time, to give a private recital on
board his yacht, lying in the Bosphorus. Coquelin spoke three of his
monologues. A few days afterwards Coquelin received the following
memorandum from the millionaire:--

"You have brought tears to our eyes and laughter to our hearts. Since
all philosophers are agreed that laughing is preferable to weeping, your
account with me stands thus:--

      "For tears, six times    .  .  .  $600
      "For laughter, twelve times .  . 2,400

"Kindly acknowledge receipt of enclosed check."

"I find nonsense singularly refreshing," said Talleyrand. There is good
philosophy in the saying, "Laugh and grow fat." If everybody knew the
power of laughter as a health tonic and life prolonger the tinge of
sadness which now clouds the American face would largely disappear, and
many physicians would find their occupation gone.

The power of laughter was given us to serve a wise purpose in our
economy. It is Nature's device for exercising the internal organs and
giving us pleasure at the same time.

Laughter begins in the lungs and diaphragm, setting the liver, stomach,
and other internal organs into a quick, jelly-like vibration, which
gives a pleasant sensation and exercise, almost equal to that of
horseback riding. During digestion, the movements of the stomach are
similar to churning. Every time you take a full breath, or when you
cachinnate well, the diaphragm descends and gives the stomach an extra
squeeze and shakes it. Frequent laughing sets the stomach to dancing,
hurrying up the digestive process. The heart beats faster, and sends the
blood bounding through the body. "There is not," says Dr. Green, "one
remotest corner or little inlet of the minute blood-vessels of the human
body that does not feel some wavelet from the convulsions occasioned by
a good hearty laugh." In medical terms, it stimulates the vasomotor
centers, and the spasmodic contraction of the blood-vessels causes the
blood to flow quickly. Laughter accelerates the respiration, and gives
warmth and glow to the whole system. It brightens the eye, increases the
perspiration, expands the chest, forces the poisoned air from the
least-used lung cells, and tends to restore that exquisite poise or
balance which we call health, which results from the harmonious action
of all the functions of the body. This delicate poise, which may be
destroyed by a sleepless night, a piece of bad news, by grief or
anxiety, is often wholly restored by a good hearty laugh.

There is, therefore, sound sense in the caption,--"Cheerfulness as a
Life Power,"--relating as it does to the physical life, as well as the
mental and moral; and what we may call

                               THE LAUGH CURE

is based upon principles recognized as sound by the medical
profession--so literally true is the Hebrew proverb that "a merry heart
doeth good like a medicine."

"Mirth is God's medicine," said Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes; "everybody
ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety,--all the rust of
life,--ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth." Elsewhere he says:
"If you are making choice of a physician be sure you get one with a
cheerful and serene countenance."

Is not a jolly physician of greater service than his pills? Dr. Marshall
Hall frequently prescribed "cheerfulness" for his patients, saying that
it is better than anything to be obtained at the apothecary's.

In Western New York, Dr. Burdick was known as the "Laughing Doctor." He
always presented the happiest kind of a face; and his good humor was
contagious. He dealt sparingly in drugs, yet was very successful.

The London "Lancet," the most eminent medical journal in the world,
gives the following scientific testimony to the value of jovialty:--

"This power of 'good spirits' is a matter of high moment to the sick and
weakly. To the former, it may mean the ability to survive; to the
latter, the possibility of outliving, or living in spite of, a disease.
It is, therefore, of the greatest importance to cultivate the highest
and most buoyant frame of mind which the conditions will admit. The same
energy which takes the form of mental activity is vital to the work of
the organism. Mental influences affect the system; and a joyous spirit
not only relieves pain, but increases the momentum of life in the body."

Dr. Ray, superintendent of Butler Hospital for the Insane, says in one
of his reports, "A hearty laugh is more desirable for mental health than
any exercise of the reasoning faculties."

Grief, anxiety, and fear are great enemies of human life. A depressed,
sour, melancholy soul, a life which has ceased to believe in its own
sacredness, its own power, its own mission, a life which sinks into
querulous egotism or vegetating aimlessness, has become crippled and
useless. We should fight against every influence which tends to depress
the mind, as we would against a temptation to crime. It is undoubtedly
true that, as a rule, the mind has power to lengthen the period of
youthful and mature strength and beauty, preserving and renewing
physical life by a stalwart mental health.

I read the other day of a man in a neighboring city who was given up to
die; his relatives were sent for, and they watched at his bedside. But
an old acquaintance, who called to see him, assured him smilingly that
he was all right and would soon be well. He talked in such a strain that
the sick man was forced to laugh; and the effort so roused his system
that he rallied, and he was soon well again.

Was it not Shakespere who said that a light heart lives long?

The San Francisco "Argonaut" says that a woman in Milpites, a victim of
almost crushing sorrow, despondency, indigestion, insomnia, and kindred
ills, determined to throw off the gloom which was making life so heavy a
burden to her, and established a rule that she would laugh at least
three times a day, whether occasion was presented or not; so she trained
herself to laugh heartily at the least provocation, and would retire to
her room and make merry by herself. She was soon in excellent health and
buoyant spirits; her home became a sunny, cheerful abode.

It was said, by one who knew this woman well, and who wrote an account
of the case for a popular magazine, that at first her husband and
children were amused at her, and while they respected her determination
because of the griefs she bore, they did not enter into the spirit of
the plan. "But after awhile," said this woman to me, with a smile, only
yesterday, "the funny part of the idea struck my husband, and he began
to laugh every time we spoke of it. And when he came home, he would ask
me if I had had my 'regular laughs;' and he would laugh when he asked
the question, and again when I answered it. My children, then very
young, thought 'mamma's notion very queer,' but they laughed at it just
the same. Gradually, my children told other children, and they told
their parents. My husband spoke of it to our friends, and I rarely met
one of them but he or she would laugh and ask me, 'How many of your
laughs have you had to-day?' Naturally, they laughed when they asked,
and of course that set me laughing. When I formed this apparently
strange habit I was weighed down with sorrow, and my rule simply lifted
me out of it. I had suffered the most acute indigestion; for years I
have not known what it is. Headaches were a daily dread; for over six
years I have not had a single pain in the head. My home seems different
to me, and I feel a thousand times more interest in its work. My husband
is a changed man. My children are called 'the girls who are always
laughing,' and, altogether, my rule has proved an inspiration which has
worked wonders."

The queen of fashion, however, says that we must never laugh out loud;
but since the same tyrannical mistress kills people by corsets, indulges
in cosmetics, and is out all night at dancing parties, and in China
pinches up the women's feet, I place much less confidence in her views
upon the laugh cure for human woes. Yet in all civilized countries it is
a fundamental principle of refined manners not to be ill-timed and
unreasonably noisy and boisterous in mirth. One who is wise will never
violate the proprieties of well-bred people.

"Yet," says a wholesome writer upon health, "we should do something more
than to simply cultivate a cheerful, hopeful spirit,--we should
cultivate a spirit of mirthfulness that is not only easily pleased and
smiling, but that indulges in hearty, hilarious laughter; and if this
faculty is not well marked in our organization we should cultivate it,
being well assured that hearty, body-shaking laughter will do us good."

Ordinary good looks depend on one's sense of humor,--"a merry heart
maketh a cheerful countenance." Joyfulness keeps the heart and face
young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody
around us, and puts us into closer touch with what is best and brightest
in our lot in life.

Physiology tells the story. The great sympathetic nerves are closely
allied; and when one set carries bad news to the head, the nerves
reaching the stomach are affected, indigestion comes on, and one's
countenance becomes doleful. Laugh when you can; it is

                           A CHEAP MEDICINE.

Merriment is a philosophy not well understood. The eminent surgeon
Chavasse says that we ought to begin with the babies and train children
to habits of mirth:--

"Encourage your child to be merry and laugh aloud; a good hearty laugh
expands the chest and makes the blood bound merrily along. Commend me to
a good laugh,--not to a little snickering laugh, but to one that will
sound right through the house. It will not only do your child good, but
will be a benefit to all who hear, and be an important means of driving
the blues away from a dwelling. Merriment is very catching, and spreads
in a remarkable manner, few being able to resist its contagion. A hearty
laugh is delightful harmony; indeed, it is the best of all music."
"Children without hilarity," says an eminent author, "will never amount
to much. Trees without blossoms will never bear fruit."

Hufeland, physician to the King of Prussia, commends the ancient custom
of jesters at the king's table, whose quips and cranks would keep the
company in a roar.

Did not Lycurgus set up the god of laughter in the Spartan eating-halls?
There is no table sauce like laughter at meals. It is the great enemy of

How wise are the words of the acute Chamfort, that the most completely
lost of all days is the one in which we have not laughed!

"A crown, for making the king laugh," was one of the items of expense
which the historian Hume found in a manuscript of King Edward II.

"It is a good thing to laugh, at any rate," said Dryden, the poet, "and
if a straw can tickle a man, it is an instrument of happiness."

"I live," said Laurence Sterne, one of the greatest of English
humorists, "in a constant endeavor to fence against the infirmities of
ill health and other evils by mirth; I am persuaded that, every time a
man smiles,--but much more so when he laughs,--it adds something to his
fragment of life."

"Give me an honest laugher," said Sir Walter Scott, and he was himself
one of the happiest men in the world, with a kind word and pleasant
smile for every one, and everybody loved him.

"How much lies in laughter!" exclaimed the critic Carlyle. "It is the
cipher-key wherewith we decipher the whole man. Some men wear an
everlasting barren simper; in the smile of others lies the cold glitter,
as of ice; the fewest are able to laugh what can be called laughing, but
only sniff and titter and snicker from the throat outward, or at least
produce some whiffing, husky cachinnation, as if they were laughing
through wool. Of none such comes good."

"The power to laugh, to cease work and begin to frolic and make merry in
forgetfulness of all the conflict of life," says Campbell Morgan, "is a
divine bestowment upon man."

Happy, then, is the man, who may well laugh to himself over his good
luck, who can answer the old question, "How old are you?" by Sambo's

"If you reckon by the years, sah, I'se twenty-five; but if you goes by
the fun I's 'ad, I guess I's a hundred."

                             WHY DON'T YOU LAUGH?

                         _From the "Independent"_

    "Why don't you laugh, young man, when troubles come,
    Instead of sitting 'round so sour and glum?
       You cannot have all play,
       And sunshine every day;
    When troubles come, I say, why don't you laugh?

    "Why don't you laugh? 'T will ever help to soothe
    The aches and pains. No road in life is smooth;
       There's many an unseen bump,
       And many a hidden stump
    O'er which you'll have to jump. Why don't you laugh?

    "Why don't you laugh? Don't let your spirits wilt;
    Don't sit and cry because the milk you've spilt;
       If you would mend it now,
       Pray let me tell you how:
    Just milk another cow! Why don't you laugh?

    "Why don't you laugh, and make us all laugh, too,
    And keep us mortals all from getting blue?
       A laugh will always win;
       If you can't laugh, just grin,--
    Come on, let's all join in! Why don't you laugh?"


Prince Wolkonsky, during a visit to this country, declared that
"Business is the alpha and omega of American life. There is no pleasure,
no joy, no satisfaction. There is no standard except that of profit.
There is no other country where they speak of a man as worth so many
dollars. In other countries they live to enjoy life; here they exist for
business." A Boston merchant corroborated this statement by saying he
was anxious all day about making money, and worried all night for fear
he should lose what he had made.

"In the United States," a distinguished traveler once said, "there is
everywhere comfort, but no joy. The ambition of getting more and
fretting over what is lost absorb life."

"Every man we meet looks as if he'd gone out to borrow trouble, with
plenty of it on hand," said a French lady, upon arriving in New York.

"The Americans are the best-fed, the best-clad, and the best-housed
people in the world," says another witness, "but they are the most
anxious; they hug possible calamity to their breasts."

"I question if care and doubt ever wrote their names so legibly on the
faces of any other population," says Emerson; "old age begins in the

How quickly we Americans exhaust life! With what panting haste we pursue
everything! Every man you meet seems to be late for an appointment.
Hurry is stamped in the wrinkles of the national face. We are men of
action; we go faster and faster as the years go by, speeding our
machinery to the utmost. Bent forms, prematurely gray hair, restlessness
and discontent, are characteristic of our age and people. We earn our
bread, but cannot digest it; and our over-stimulated nerves soon become
irritated, and touchiness follows,--so fatal to a business man, and so
annoying in society.

"It is not work that kills men," says Beecher; "it is worry. Work is
healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is
rust upon the blade. It is not movement that destroys the machinery, but

It is not so much the great sorrows, the great burdens, the great
hardships, the great calamities, that cloud over the sunshine of life,
as the little petty vexations, insignificant anxieties and fear, the
little daily dyings, which render our lives unhappy, and destroy our
mental elasticity, without advancing our life-work one inch. "Anxiety
never yet bridged any chasm."

"What," asks Dr. George W. Jacoby, in an "Evening Post" interview, "is
the ultimate physical effect of worry? Why, the same as that of a fatal
bullet-wound or sword-thrust. Worry kills as surely, though not so
quickly, as ever gun or dagger did, and more people have died in the
last century from sheer worry than have been killed in battle."

Dr. Jacoby is one of the foremost of American brain doctors. "The
investigations of the neurologists," he says, "have laid bare no secret
of Nature in recent years more startling and interesting than the
discovery that worry kills." This is the final, up-to-date word. "Not
only is it known," resumes the great neurologist, counting off his
words, as it were, on his finger-tips, "that worry kills, but the most
minute details of its murderous methods are familiar to modern
scientists. It is a common belief of those who have made a special study
of the science of brain diseases that hundreds of deaths attributed to
other causes each year are due simply to worry. In plain, untechnical
language, worry works its irreparable injury through certain cells of
the brain life. The insidious inroads upon the system can be best
likened to the constant falling of drops of water in one spot. In the
brain it is the insistent, never-lost idea, the single, constant
thought, centered upon one subject, which in the course of time destroys
the brain cells. The healthy brain can cope with occasional worry; it is
the iteration and reiteration of disquieting thoughts which the cells of
the brain cannot successfully combat.

"The mechanical effect of worry is much the same as if the skull were
laid bare and the brain exposed to the action of a little hammer beating
continually upon it day after day, until the membranes are disintegrated
and the normal functions disabled. The maddening thought that will not
be downed, the haunting, ever-present idea that is not or cannot be
banished by a supreme effort of the will, is the theoretical hammer
which diminishes the vitality of the sensitive nerve organisms, the
minuteness of which makes them visible to the eye only under a powerful
microscope. The 'worry,' the thought, the single idea grows upon one as
time goes on, until the worry victim cannot throw it off. Through this,
one set or area of cells is affected. The cells are intimately
connected, joined together by little fibres, and they in turn are in
close relationship with the cells of the other parts of the brain.

"Worry is itself a species of monomania. No mental attitude is more
disastrous to personal achievement, personal happiness, and personal
usefulness in the world, than worry and its twin brother, despondency.
The remedy for the evil lies in training the will to cast off cares and
seek a change of occupation, when the first warning is sounded by Nature
in intellectual lassitude. Relaxation is the certain foe of worry, and
'don't fret' one of the healthiest of maxims."

In a life of constant worrying, we are as much behind the times as if we
were to go back to use the first steam engines that wasted ninety per
cent. of the energy of the coal, instead of having an electric dynamo
that utilizes ninety per cent. of the power. Some people waste a large
percentage of their energy in fretting and stewing, in useless anxiety,
in scolding, in complaining about the weather and the perversity of
inanimate things. Others convert nearly all of their energy into power
and moral sunshine. He who has learned the true art of living will not
waste his energies in friction, which accomplishes nothing, but merely
grinds out the machinery of life.

It must be relegated to the debating societies to determine which is the
worse--A Nervous Man or

                            A WORRYING WOMAN.

"I'm awfully worried this morning," said one woman. "What is it?" "Why,
I thought of something to worry about last night, and now I can't
remember it."

A famous actress once said: "Worry is the foe of all beauty." She might
have added: "It is the foe to all health."

"It seems so heartless in me, if I do not worry about my children," said
one mother.

Women nurse their troubles, as they do their babies. "Troubles grow
larger," said Lady Holland, "by nursing."

The White Knight who carried about a mousetrap, lest he be troubled with
mice upon his journeys, was not unlike those who anticipate their

"He grieves," says Seneca, "more than is necessary, who grieves before
it is necessary."

"My children," said a dying man, "during my long life I have had a great
many troubles, most of which never happened." A prominent business man
in Philadelphia said that his father worried for twenty-five years over
an anticipated misfortune which never arrived.

We try to grasp too much of life at once; since we think of it as a
whole, instead of living one day at a time. Life is a mosaic, and each
tiny piece must be cut and set with skill, first one piece, then

A clock would be of no use as a time-keeper if it should become
discouraged and come to a standstill by calculating its work a year
ahead, as the clock did in Jane Taylor's fable. It is not the troubles
of to-day, but those of to-morrow and next week and next year, that
whiten our heads, wrinkle our faces, and bring us to a standstill.

"There is such a thing," said Uncle Eben, "as too much foresight. People
get to figuring what might happen year after next, and let the fire go
out and catch their death of cold, right where they are."

Nervous prostration is seldom the result of present trouble or work, but
of work and trouble anticipated. Mental exhaustion comes to those who
look ahead, and climb mountains before reaching them. Resolutely build a
wall about to-day, and live within the inclosure. The past may have been
hard, sad, or wrong,--but it is over.

Why not take a turn about? Instead of worrying over unforeseen
misfortune, set out with all your soul to rejoice in the unforeseen
blessings of all your coming days. "I find the gayest castles in the air
that were ever piled," says Emerson, "far better for comfort and for use
than the dungeons in the air that are daily dug and caverned out by
grumbling, discontented people."

What is this world but as you take it? Thackeray calls the world a
looking-glass that gives back the reflection of one's own face. "Frown
at it, and it will look sourly upon you; laugh at it, and it is a jolly

"There is no use in talking," said a woman. "Every time I move, I vow
I'll never move again. Such neighbors as I get in with! Seems as though
they grow worse and worse." "Indeed?" replied her caller; "perhaps you
take the worst neighbor with you when you move."

"In the sudden thunder-storm of Independence Day," says a news
correspondent, "we were struck by the contrast between two women, each
of whom had had some trying experience with the weather. One came
through the rain and hail to take refuge at the railway station, under
the swaying and uncertain shelter of an escorting man's umbrella. Her
skirts were soaked to the knees, her pink ribbons were limp, the purple
of the flowers on her hat ran in streaks down the white silk. And yet,
though she was a poor girl and her holiday finery must have been
relatively costly, she made the best of it with a smile and cheerful
words. The other was well sheltered; but she took the disappointment of
her hopes and the possibility of a little spattering from a leaky window
with frowns and fault-finding."

       "Cries little Miss Fret,
       In a very great pet:
    'I hate this warm weather; it's horrid to tan!
       It scorches my nose,
       And it blisters my toes,
    And wherever I go I must carry a fan.'

       "Chirps little Miss Laugh:
       'Why, I couldn't tell half
    The fun I am having this bright summer day!
       I sing through the hours,
       I cull pretty flowers,
    And ride like a queen on the sweet-smelling hay.'"

Happily a new era has of late opened for our worried housekeepers, who
spend their time in "the half-frantic dusting of corners, spasmodic
sweeping, impatient snatching or pushing aside obstacles in the room,
hurrying and skurrying upstairs and down cellar." "It is not," says
Prentice Mulford, "the work that exhausts them,--it is the mental
condition they are in that makes so many old and haggard at forty." All
that is needful now to ease up their burdens is to go to

                          OUR HAWAIIAN PARADISE.

A newspaper correspondent, Annie Laurie, has told us all about the new
kind of American girls just added to our country:--

"They are as straight as an arrow, and walk as queens walk in fairy
stories; they have great braids of sleek, black hair, soft brown eyes,
and gleaming white teeth; they can swim and ride and sing; and they are
brown with a skin that shines like bronze ... There isn't a worried
woman in Hawaii. The women there can't worry. They don't know how. They
eat and sing and laugh, and see the sun and the moon set, and possess
their souls in smiling peace.

"If a Hawaii woman has a good dinner, she laughs and invites her friends
to eat it with her; if she hasn't a good dinner, she laughs and goes to
sleep,--and forgets to be hungry. She doesn't have to worry about what
the people in the downstairs flat will think if they don't see the
butcher's boy arrive on time. If she can earn the money, she buys a
nice, new, glorified Mother Hubbard; and, if she can't get it, she
throws the old one into the surf and washes it out, puts a new wreath of
fresh flowers in her hair, and starts out to enjoy the morning and the
breezes thereof.

"They are not earnest workers; they haven't the slightest idea that they
were put upon earth to reform the universe,--they're just happy. They
run across great stretches of clear, white sand, washed with resplendent
purple waves, and, when the little brown babies roll in the surf, their
brown mothers run after them, laughing and splashing like a lot of
children. Or, perhaps we see them in gay cavalcades mounted upon
garlanded ponies, adorned by white jasmine wreaths with roses and pinks.
And here in this paradise of laughter and light hearts and gentle music,
there's absolutely nothing to do but to care for the children and old
people and to swim or ride. You couldn't start a 'reform circle' to save
your life; there isn't a jail in the place, nor a tenement quarter, and
there are no outdoor poor. There isn't a woman's club in Honolulu,--not
a club. There was a culture circle once for a few days; a Boston woman
who went there for her health organized it, but it interfered with
afternoon nap-time, so nobody came."

When, hereafter, we talk about worrying women, we must take into
account our Hawaiian sisters, if we will average up the amount of worry
_per capita_, in our nation.

                           A WEATHER BREEDER.

It is probably quite within bounds to say that one out of three of our
American farming population, women and men, never enjoy a beautiful day
without first reminding you that "It is one of those infernal weather

Habitual fretters see more trouble than others. They are never so well
as their neighbors. The weather never suits them. The climate is trying.
The winds are too high or too low; it is too hot or too cold, too damp
or too dry. The roads are either muddy or dusty.

"I met Mr. N. one wet morning," says Dr. John Todd; "and, bound as I was
to make the best of it, I ventured:

"'Good morning. This rain will be fine for your grass crop.'

'Yes, perhaps,' he replied, 'but it is very bad for corn; I don't think
we'll have half a crop.'

"A few days later, I met him again. 'This is a fine sun for corn, Mr.

"'Yes,' said he, 'but it's awful for rye; rye wants cold weather.'

"One cool morning soon after, I said: 'This is a capital day for rye.'

"'Yes,' he said, 'but it is the worst kind of weather for corn and
grass; they want heat to bring them forward.'"

There are a vast number of fidgety, nervous, and eccentric people who
live only to expect new disappointments or to recount their old ones.

"Impatient people," said Spurgeon, "water their miseries, and hoe up
their comforts."

"Let's see," said a neighbor to a farmer, whose wagon was loaded down
with potatoes, "weren't we talking together last August?" "I believe
so." "At that time, you said corn was all burnt up." "Yes." "And
potatoes were baking in the ground." "Yes." "And that your district
could not possibly expect more than half a crop." "I remember." "Well,
here you are with your wagon loaded down. Things didn't turn out so
badly, after all,--eh?" "Well, no-o," said the farmer, as he raked his
fingers through his hair, "but I tell you my geese suffered awfully for
want of a mud-hole to paddle in."

What is a pessimist but "a man who looks on the sun only as a thing that
casts a shadow"?

In Pepys's "Diary" we learn the difference between "eyes shut and ears
open," and "ears shut and eyes open." In going from John o' Groat's
House to Land's End, a blind man would hear that the country was going
to destruction, but a deaf man with eyes open could see great

"I dare no more fret than curse or swear," said John Wesley.

"A discontented mortal is no more a man than discord is music."

    "Why should a man whose blood is warm within
    Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster?
    Sleep when he wakes? and creep into the jaundice
    By being peevish?"

Who are the "lemon squeezers of society"? They are people who predict
evil, extinguish hope, and see only the worst side,--"people whose very
look curdles the milk and sets your teeth on edge." They are often
worthy people who think that pleasure is wrong; people, said an old
divine, who lead us heavenward and stick pins into us all the way. They
say depressing things and do disheartening things; they chill
prayer-meetings, discourage charitable institutions, injure commerce,
and kill churches; they are blowing out lights when they ought to be
kindling them.

A man without mirth is like a wagon without springs, in which one jolts
over every pebble; with mirth, he is like a chariot with springs, riding
over the roughest roads and scarcely feeling anything but a pleasant
rocking motion.

"Difficulties melt away before the man who carries about a cheerful
spirit and persistently refuses to be discouraged, while they accumulate
before the one who is always groaning over his hard luck and scanning
the horizon for clouds not yet in sight."

"To one man," says Schopenhauer, "the world is barren, dull, and
superficial; to another, rich, interesting, and full of meaning." If one
loves beauty and looks for it, he will see it wherever he goes. If there
is music in his soul, he will hear it everywhere; every object in nature
will sing to him. Two men who live in the same house and do the same
work may not live in the same world. Although they are under the same
roof, one may see only deformity and ugliness; to him the world is out
of joint, everything is cross-grained and out of sorts: the other is
surrounded with beauty and harmony; everybody is kind to him; nobody
wishes him harm. These men see the same objects, but they do not look
through the same glasses; one looks through a smoked glass which drapes
the whole world in mourning, the other looks through rose-colored lenses
which tint everything with loveliness and touch it with beauty.

Take two persons just home from a vacation. "One has positively seen
nothing, and has always been robbed; the landlady was a harpy, the
bedroom was unhealthy, and the mutton was tough. The other has always
found the coziest nooks, the cheapest houses, the best landladies, the
finest views, and the best dinners."

                        "WHAT IS AN OPTIMIST?"

This is the question a farmer's boy asked of his father.

"Well, John," replied his father, "you know I can't give ye the
dictionary meanin' of that word any more 'n I can of a great many
others. But I've got a kind of an idee what it means. Probably you don't
remember your Uncle Henry; but I guess if there ever was an optimist, he
was one. Things was always comin' out right with Henry, and especially
anything hard that he had to do; it wa' n't a-goin' to be hard,--'t was
jest kind of solid-pleasant.

"Take hoein' corn, now. If anything ever tuckered me out, 'twas hoein'
corn in the hot sun. But in the field, 'long about the time I begun to
lag back a little, Henry he'd look up an' say:--

"'Good, Jim! When we get these two rows hoed, an' eighteen more, the
piece'll be half done.' An' he'd say it in such a kind of a cheerful way
that I couldn't 'a' ben any more tickled if the piece had been all
done,--an' the rest would go light enough.

"But the worst thing we had to do--hoein corn was a picnic to it--was
pickin' stones. There was no end to that on our old farm, if we wanted
to raise anything. When we wa'n't hurried and pressed with somethin'
else, there was always pickin' stones to do; and there wa'n't a plowin'
but what brought up a fresh crop, an' seems as if the pickin' had all to
be done over again.

"Well, you'd' a' thought, to hear Henry, that there wa'n't any fun in
the world like pickin' stones. He looked at it in a different way from
anybody I ever see. Once, when the corn was all hoed, and the grass
wa'n't fit to cut yet, an' I'd got all laid out to go fishin', and
father he up and set us to pickin' stones up on the west piece, an' I
was about ready to cry, Henry he says:--

"'Come on, Jim. I know where there's lots of nuggets.'

"An' what do you s'pose, now? That boy had a kind of a game that that
there field was what he called a plasser mining field; and he got me
into it, and I could 'a' sworn I was in Californy all day,--I had such a
good time.

"'Only,' says Henry, after we'd got through the day's work, 'the way you
get rich with these nuggets is to get rid of 'em, instead of to get

"That somehow didn't strike my fancy, but we'd had play instead of work,
anyway, an' a great lot of stones had been rooted out of that field.

"An', as I said before, I can't give ye any dictionary definition of
optimism; but if your Uncle Henry wa'n't an optimist, I don't know what
one is."

At life's outset, says one, a cheerful optimistic temperament is worth
everything. A cheerful man, who always "feels first-rate," who always
looks on the bright side, who is ever ready to snatch victory from
defeat, is the successful man.

Everybody avoids the company of those who are always grumbling, who are
full of "ifs" and "buts," and "I told you so's." We like the man who
always looks toward the sun, whether it shines or not. It is the
cheerful, hopeful man we go to for sympathy and assistance; not the
carping, gloomy critic,--who always thinks it is going to rain, and that
we are going to have a terribly hot summer, or a fearful thunder-storm,
or who is forever complaining of hard times and his hard lot. It is the
bright, cheerful, hopeful, contented man who makes his way, who is
respected and admired.

Gloom and depression not only take much out of life, but detract greatly
from the chances of winning success. It is the bright and cheerful
spirit that wins the final triumph.


"I see our brother, who has just sat down, lives on Grumbling street,"
said a keen-witted Yorkshireman. "I lived there myself for some time,
and never enjoyed good health. The air was bad, the house bad, the water
bad; the birds never came and sang in the street; and I was gloomy and
sad enough. But I 'flitted.' I got into Thanksgiving avenue; and ever
since then I have had good health, and so have all my family. The air is
pure, the house good; the sun shines on it all day; the birds are always
singing; and I am happy as I can live. Now, I recommend our brother to
'flit.' There are plenty of houses to let on Thanksgiving avenue; and he
will find himself a new man if he will only come; and I shall be right
glad to have him for a neighbor."

This world was not intended for a "vale of tears," but as a sweet Vale
of Content. Travelers are told by the Icelanders, who live amid the cold
and desolation of almost perpetual winter, that "Iceland is the best
land the sun shines upon." "In the long Arctic night, the Eskimo is
blithe, and carolsome, far from the approach of the white man; while
amid the glorious scenery and Eden-like climate of Central America, the
native languages have a dozen words for pain and misery and sorrow, for
one with any cheerful signification."

When a Persian king was directed by his wise men to wear the shirt of a
contented man, the only contented man in the kingdom had no shirt. The
most contented man in Boston does not live on Commonwealth avenue or do
business on State street: he is poor and blind, and he peddles needles
and thread, buttons and sewing-room supplies, about the streets of
Boston from house to house. Dr. Minot J. Savage used to pity this man
very much, and once in venturing to talk with him about his condition,
he was utterly amazed to find that the man was perfectly happy. He said
that he had a faithful wife, and a business by which he earned
sufficient for his wants; and, if he were to complain of his lot, he
should feel mean and contemptible. Surely, if there are any "solid men"
in Boston, he is one.

Content is the magic lamp, which, according to the beautiful picture
painted for us by Goethe, transforms the rude fisherman's hut into a
palace of silver; the logs, the floors, the roof, the furniture,
everything being changed and gleaming with new light.

    "My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
    Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones,
    Nor to be seen; my crown is called content;
    A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy."


Business is king. We often say that cotton is king, or corn is king, but
with greater propriety we may say that the king is that great machine
which is kept in motion by the Law of Supply and Demand: the destinies
of all mankind are ruled by it.

"Were the question asked," says Stearns, "what is at this moment the
strongest power in operation for controlling, regulating, and inciting
the actions of men, what has most at its disposal the condition and
destinies of the world, we must answer at once, it is business, in its
various ranks and departments; of which commerce, foreign and domestic,
is the most appropriate representation. In all prosperous and advancing
communities,--advancing in arts, knowledge, literature, and social
refinement,--business is king. Other influences in society may be
equally indispensable, and some may think far more dignified, but
_Business is King_. The statesman and the scholar, the nobleman and the
prince, equally with the manufacturer, the mechanic, and the laborer,
pursue their several objects only by leave granted and means furnished
by this potentate."

Oil is better than sand for keeping this vast machinery in good running
condition. Do not shovel grit or gravel stones upon the bearings. A tiny
copper shaving in a wheel box, or a scratch on a journal, may set a
railway train on fire. The running of the business world is damaged by
whatever creates friction.

Anxiety mars one's work. Nobody can do his best when, fevered by worry.
One may rush, and always be in great haste, and may talk about being
busy, fuming and sweating as if he were doing ten men's duties; and yet
some quiet person alongside, who is moving leisurely and without anxious
haste, is probably accomplishing twice as much, and doing it better.
Fluster unfits one for good work.

Have you not sometimes seen a business manager whose stiffness would
serve as "a good example to a poker?" He acts toward his employees as
the father of Frederick the Great did toward his subjects, caning them
on the streets, and shouting, "I wish to be loved and not feared."
"Growl, Spitfire and Brothers," says Talmage, "wonder why they fail,
while Messrs. Merriman and Warmheart succeed."

There is no investment a business man can make that will pay him a
greater per cent, than patience and amiability. Good humor will sell the
most goods.

John Wanamaker's clerks have been heard to say: "We can work better for
a week after a pleasant 'Good morning' from Mr. Wanamaker."

This kindly disposition and cheerful manner, and a desire to create a
pleasant feeling and diffuse good cheer among those who work for him,
have had a great deal to do with the great merchant's remarkable
success. On the other hand, a man who easily finds fault, and is never
generous-spirited, who never commends the work of subordinates when he
can do so justly, who is unwilling to brighten their hours, fails to
secure the best of service. "Why not try love's way?" It will pay
better, and be better.

A habit of cheerfulness, enabling one to transmute apparent misfortunes
into real blessings, is a fortune to a young man or young woman just
crossing the threshold of active life. There is nothing but ill fortune
in a habit of grumbling, which "requires no talent, no self-denial, no
brains, no character." Grumbling only makes an employee more
uncomfortable, and may cause his dismissal. No one would or should wish
to make him do grudgingly what so many others would be glad to do in a
cheerful spirit.

If you dislike your position, complain to no one, least of all to your
employer. Fill the place as it was never filled before. Crowd it to
overflowing. Make yourself more competent for it. Show that you are
abundantly worthy of better things. Express yourself in this manner as
freely as you please, for it is the only way that will count.

No one ever found the world quite as he would like it. You will be sure
to have burdens laid upon you that belong to other people, unless you
are a shirk yourself; but don't grumble. If the work needs doing and you
can do it, never mind about the other one who ought to have done it and
didn't; do it yourself. Those workers who fill up the gaps, and smooth
away the rough spots, and finish up the jobs that others leave
undone,--they are the true peacemakers, and worth a regiment of

"Oh, what a sunny, winsome face she has!" said a Christian Endeavorer,
in reporting of a clerk whom he saw in a Bay City store. "The customers
flocked about her like bees about a honey-bush in full bloom."

                        SINGING AT YOUR WORK.

"Give us, therefore,"--let us cry with Carlyle,--"oh, give us the man
who sings at his work! He will do more in the same time, he will do it
better, he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue
whilst he marches to music. The very stars are said to make harmony as
they revolve in their spheres. Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness,
altogether past calculation its powers of endurance. Efforts, to be
permanently useful, must be uniformly joyous, a spirit all sunshine,
graceful from very gladness, beautiful because bright."

"It is a good sign," says another writer, "when girlish voices carol
over the steaming dish-pan or the mending-basket, when the broom moves
rhythmically, and the duster flourishes in time to some brisk melody. We
are sure that the dishes shine more brightly, and that the sweeping and
dusting and mending are more satisfactory because of this running
accompaniment of song. Father smiles when he hears his girl singing
about her work, and mother's tired face brightens at the sound. Brothers
and sisters, without realizing it, perhaps, catch the spirit of the
cheerful worker."

There are singing milkers in Switzerland; a milkmaid or man gets better
wages if gifted with a good voice, for a cow will yield one-fifth more
milk when soothed by a pleasing melody.

It was said by Buffon that even sheep fatten better to the sound of
music. And when field-hands are singing, as you sometimes hear them in
the old country, you may be sure the labor is lightened.

It is Mrs. Howitt who has told us of the musical bells of the farm teams
in a rural district in England:--"It was no regular tune, but a
delicious melody in that soft, sunshiny air, which was filled at the
same time with the song of birds. Angela had heard all kinds of music in
London, but this was unlike anything she had heard before, so soft, and
sweet, and gladsome. On it came, ringing, ringing as softly as flowing
water. The boys and grandfather knew what it meant. Then it came in
sight,--the farm team going to the mill with sacks of corn to be ground,
each horse with a little string of bells to its harness. On they came,
the handsome, well-cared-for creatures, nodding their heads as they
stepped along; and at every step the cheerful and cheering melody rang

"'Do all horses down here have bells?' asked Angela.

"'By no means,' replied her grandfather. 'They cost something; but if we
can make labor easier to a horse by giving him a little music, which he
loves, he is less worn by his work, and that is a saving worth thinking
of. A horse is a generous, noble-spirited animal, and not without
intellect, either; and he is capable of much enjoyment from music.'"

A spirit of song, if not the singing itself, is a constant delight to
us. "It is like passing sweet meadows alive with bobolinks."

"Some men," says Beecher, "move through life as a band of music moves
down the street, flinging out pleasures on every side, through the air,
to every one far and near who can listen; others fill the air with harsh
clang and clangor. Many men go through life carrying their tongue, their
temper, their whole disposition so that wherever they go, others dread
them. Some men fill the air with their presence and sweetness, as
orchards in October days fill the air with the perfume of ripe fruit."

                              GOOD HUMOR.

"Health and good humor," said Massillon, "are to the human body like
sunshine to vegetation."

The late Charles A. Dana fairly bubbled over with the enjoyment of his
work, and was, up to his last illness, at his office every day. A
Cabinet officer once said to him: "Well, Mr. Dana, I don't see how you
stand this infernal grind."

"Grind?" said Mr. Dana. "You never were more mistaken. I have nothing
but fun."

"Bully" was a favorite word with him; a slang word used to express
uncommon pleasure, such as had been afforded by a trip abroad, or by a
run to Cuba or Mexico, or by the perusal of something especially
pleasing in the "Sun's" columns.

"One of my neighbors is a very ill-tempered man," said Nathan
Rothschild. "He tries to vex me, and has built a great place for swine
close to my walk. So, when I go out, I hear first, 'Grunt, grunt,' then
'Squeak, squeak.' But this does me no harm. I am always in good humor."

Offended by a pungent article, a gentleman called at the "Tribune"
office and inquired for the editor. He was shown into a little
seven-by-nine sanctum, where Greeley sat, with his head close down to
his paper, scribbling away at a two-forty rate. The angry man began by
asking if this was Mr. Greeley. "Yes, sir; what do you want?" said the
editor quickly, without once looking up from his paper. The irate
visitor then began using his tongue, with no reference to the rules of
propriety, good breeding, or reason. Meantime Mr. Greeley continued to
write. Page after page was dashed off in the most impetuous style, with
no change of features, and without paying the slightest attention to the
visitor. Finally, after about twenty minutes of the most impassioned
scolding ever poured out in an editor's office, the angry man became
disgusted, and abruptly turned to walk out of the room. Then, for the
first time, Mr. Greeley quickly looked up, rose from his chair, and,
slapping the gentleman familiarly on his shoulder, in a pleasant tone of
voice said: "Don't go, friend; sit down, sit down, and free your mind;
it will do you good,--you will feel better for it. Besides, it helps me
to think what I am to write about. Don't go."

"One good hearty laugh," says Talmage, "is like a bomb-shell exploding
in the right place, and spleen and discontent like a gun that kicks over
the man shooting it off."

"Every one," says Lubbock, "likes a man who can enjoy a laugh at his own
expense,--and justly so, for it shows good humor and good sense. If you
laugh at yourself, other people will not laugh at you."

People differ very much in their sense of humor. As some are deaf to
certain sounds and blind to certain colors, so there are those who seem
deaf and blind to certain pleasures. What makes me laugh until I almost
go into convulsions moves them not at all.

Is it not worth while to make an effort to see the funny side of our
petty annoyances? How could the two boys but laugh, after they had
contended long over the possession of a box found by the wayside, when
they agreed to divide its contents, and found nothing in it?

The ability to get on with scolding, irritating people is a great art in
doing business. To preserve serenity amid petty trials is a happy gift.

A sunny temper is also conducive to health. 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
passions;" that men and women have frequently lived to an advanced age
in spite of these; but that instances are very rare in which people of
irascible tempers live to extreme old age.

Poultney Bigelow, in "Harper's Magazine," in relating the story of
Jameson's raid upon the Boers of South Africa, says that the triumphant
Boers fell on their knees, thanking God for their victory; and that they
prayed for their enemies, and treated their prisoners with the utmost
kindness. Our foreign missionary books relate similar anecdotes, it
being a characteristic feature of their childlike piety for new converts
to take literally the words of our Lord,--"Love your enemies."

It is not true that the devil has his tail in everything. A stalwart
confidence in God, and faith in the happy outcome of life, will do more
to lubricate the creaking machinery of our daily affairs than anything

                       "LE DIABLE EST MORT."

"_Courage, ami, le diable est mort!_" "Courage, friend, the devil is
dead!" was Denys's constant countersign, which he would give to
everybody. "They don't understand it," he would say, "but it wakes them
up. I carry the good news from city to city, to uplift men's hearts."
Once he came across a child who had broken a pitcher. "_Courage, amie,
le diable est mort!_" said he, which was such cheering news that she
ceased crying, and ran home to tell it to her grandma.

Give me the man who, like Emerson, sees longevity in his cause, and who
believes there is a remedy for every wrong, a satisfaction for every
longing soul; the man who believes the best of everybody, and who sees
beauty and grace where others see ugliness and deformity. Give me the
man who believes in the ultimate triumph of truth over error, of harmony
over discord, of love over hate, of purity over vice, of light over
darkness, of life over death. Such men are the true nation-builders.

Jay Cooke, many times a millionaire at the age of fifty-one, at
fifty-two practically penniless, went to work again and built another
fortune. The last of his three thousand creditors was paid, and the
promise of the great financier was fulfilled. To a visitor who once
asked him how he regained his fortune, Mr. Cooke replied, "That is
simple enough: by never changing the temperament I derived from my
father and mother. From my earliest experience in life I have always
been of a hopeful temperament, never living in a cloud; I have always
had a reasonable philosophy to think that men and times are better than
harsh criticism would suppose. I believed that this American world of
ours is full of wealth, and that it was only necessary to go to work and
find it. That is the secret of my success in life. Always look on the
sunny side."

"Everything has gone," said a New York business man in despair, when he
reached home. But when he came to himself he found that his wife and his
children and the promises of God were left to him. Suffering, it was
said by Aristotle, becomes beautiful when any one bears great calamities
with cheerfulness, not through insensibility, but through greatness of

When Garrison was locked up in the Boston city jail he said he had two
delightful companions,--a good conscience and a cheerful mind.

    "To live as always seeing
      The invisible Source of things,
    Is the blessedest state of being,
      For the quietude it brings."

"Away with those fellows who go howling through life," wrote Beccher,
"and all the while passing for birds of paradise! He that cannot laugh
and be gay should look to himself. He should fast and pray until his
face breaks forth into light."

Martin Luther has told us that he was once sorely discouraged and vexed
at himself, the world, and the church, and at the small success he then
seemed to be having; and he fell into a despondency which affected all
his household. His good wife could not charm it away by cheerful speech
or acts. At length she hit upon this happy device, which proved
effectual. She appeared before him in deep mourning.

"Who is dead?" asked Luther.

"Oh, do you not know, Martin? God in heaven is dead."

"How can you talk such nonsense, Käthe? How can God die? Why, He is
immortal, and will live through all eternity."

"Is that really true?" persisted she, as if she could hardly credit his
assertion that God still lived.

"How can you doubt it? So surely as there is a God in heaven," asserted
the aroused theologian, "so sure is it that He can never die."

"And yet," said she demurely, in a tone which made him look up at her,
"though you do not doubt there is a God, you become hopeless and
discouraged as if there were none. It seemed to me you acted as if God
were dead."

The spell was broken; Luther heartily laughed at his wife's lesson, and
her ingenious way of presenting it. "I observed," he remarked, "what a
wise woman my wife was, who mastered my sadness."

Jean Paul Richter's dream of "No God" is one of the most somber things
in all literature,--"tempestuous chaos, no healing hand, no Infinite
Father. I awoke. My soul wept for joy that it could again worship the
Infinite Father.... And when I arose, from all nature I heard flowing
sweet, peaceful tones, as from evening bells."


Ten things are necessary for happiness in this life, the first being a
good digestion, and the other nine,--money; so at least it is said by
our modern philosophers. Yet the author of "A Gentle Life" speaks more
truly in saying that the Divine creation includes thousands of
superfluous joys which are totally unnecessary to the bare support of

He alone is the happy man who has learned to extract happiness, not from
ideal conditions, but from the actual ones about him. The man who has
mastered the secret will not wait for ideal surroundings; he will not
wait until next year, next decade, until he gets rich, until he can
travel abroad, until he can afford to surround himself with works of the
great masters; but he will make the most out of life to-day, where he

    "Why thus longing, thus forever sighing,
      For the far-off, unattained and dim,
    While the beautiful, all round thee lying,
      Offers up its low, perpetual hymn?

    "Happy the man, and happy he alone,
      He who can call to-day his own;
    He who, secure within himself, can say:
      'To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have lived to-day!'"

Paradise is here or nowhere: you must take your joy with you or you will
never find it.

It is after business hours, not in them, that men break down. Men must,
like Philip Armour, turn the key on business when they leave it, and at
once unlock the doors of some wholesome recreation. Dr. Lyman Beecher
used to divert himself with a violin. He had a regular system of what he
called "unwinding," thus relieving the great strain put upon him.

"A man," says Dr. Johnson, "should spend part of his time with the

Humor was Lincoln's life-preserver, as it has been of thousands of
others. "If it were not for this," he used to say, "I should die." His
jests and quaint stories lighted the gloom of dark hours of national

"Next to virtue," said Agnes Strickland, "the fun in this world is what
we can least spare."

"When the harness is off," said Judge Haliburton, "a critter likes to
kick up his heels."

"I have fun from morning till night," said the editor Charles A. Dana to
a friend who was growing prematurely old. "Do you read novels, and play
billiards, and walk a great deal?"

Gladstone early formed a habit of looking on the bright side of things,
and never lost a moment's sleep by worrying about public business.

There are many out-of-door sports, and the very presence of nature is to
many a great joy. How true it is that, if we are cheerful and contented,
all nature smiles with us,--the air seems more balmy, the sky more
clear, the earth has a brighter green, the trees have a richer foliage,
the flowers are more fragrant, the birds sing more sweetly, and the sun,
moon, and stars all appear more beautiful. "It is a grand thing to
live,--to open the eyes in the morning and look out upon the world, to
drink in the pure air and enjoy the sweet sunshine, to feel the pulse
bound, and the being thrill with the consciousness of strength and power
in every nerve; it is a good thing simply to be alive, and it is a good
world we live in, in spite of the abuse we are fond of giving it."

    "I love to hear the bee sing amid the blossoms sunny;
    To me his drowsy melody is sweeter than his honey:
      For, while the shades are shifting
        Along the path to noon,
      My happy brain goes drifting
        To dreamland on his tune.

    "I love to hear the wind blow amid the blushing petals,
    And when a fragile flower falls, to watch it as it settles;
      And view each leaflet falling
        Upon the emerald turf,
      With idle mind recalling
        The bubbles on the surf.

    "I love to lie upon the grass, and let my glances wander
    Earthward and skyward there; while peacefully I ponder
      How much of purest pleasure
        Earth holds for his delight
      Who takes life's cup to measure
        Naught but its blessings bright."

Upon every side of us are to be found what one has happily called--

                          UNWORKED JOY MINES.

And he who goes "prospecting" to see what he can daily discover is a
wise man, training his eye to see beauty in everything and everywhere.

"One ought, every day," says Goethe, "at least to hear a little song,
read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak
a few reasonable words." And if this be good for one's self, why not try
the song, the poem, the picture, and the good words, on some one else?

Shall music and poetry die out of you while you are struggling for that
which can never enrich the character, nor add to the soul's worth? Shall
a disciplined imagination fill the mind with beautiful pictures? He who
has intellectual resources to fall back upon will not lack for daily
recreation most wholesome.

It was a remark of Archbishop Whately that we ought not only to
cultivate the cornfields of the mind, but the pleasure-grounds also. A
well-balanced life is a cheerful life; a happy union of fine qualities
and unruffled temper, a clear judgment, and well-proportioned faculties.
In a corner of his desk, Lincoln kept a copy of the latest humorous
work; and it was frequently his habit, when fatigued, annoyed, or
depressed, to take this up, and read a chapter with great relief. Clean,
sensible wit, or sheer nonsense,--anything to provoke mirth and make a
man jollier,--this, too, is a gift from Heaven.

In the world of books, what is grand and inspiring may easily become a
part of every man's life. A fondness for good literature, for good
fiction, for travel, for history, and for biography,--what is better
than this?

                         THE QUEEN OF THE WORLD.

This title best fits Victoria, the true queen of the world, but it fits
her best because she is the best type of a noble wife, the queen of her
husband's heart, and of a queen mother whose children rise up and call
her blessed.

"I noticed," said Franklin, "a mechanic, among a number of others, at
work on a house a little way from my office, who always appeared to be
in a merry humor; he had a kind word and smile for every one he met.
Let the day be ever so cold, gloomy, or sunless, a happy smile danced on
his cheerful countenance. Meeting him one morning, I asked him to tell
me the secret of his constant flow of spirits.

"'It is no secret, doctor,' he replied. 'I have one of the best of
wives; and, when I go to work, she always has a kind word of
encouragement for me; and, when I go home, she meets me with a smile and
a kiss; and then tea is sure to be ready, and she has done so many
little things through the day to please me that I cannot find it in my
heart to speak an unkind word to anybody.'"

Some of the happiest homes I have ever been in, ideal homes, where
intelligence, peace, and harmony dwell, have been homes of poor people.
No rich carpets covered the floors; there were no costly paintings on
the walls, no piano, no library, no works of art. But there were
contented minds, devoted and unselfish lives, each contributing as much
as possible to the happiness of all, and endeavoring to compensate by
intelligence and kindness for the poverty of their surroundings. "One
cheerful, bright, and contented spirit in a household will uplift the
tone of all the rest. The keynote of the home is in the hand of the
resolutely cheerful member of the family, and he or she will set the
pitch for the rest."

"Young men," it is said, "are apt to be overbearing, imperious, brusque
in their manner; they need that suavity of manner, and urbanity of
demeanor, gracefulness of expression and delicacy of manner, which can
only be gained by association with the female character, which possesses
the delicate instinct, ready judgment, acute perceptions, wonderful
intuition. The blending of the male and female characteristics produces
the grandest character in each."

The woman who has what Helen Hunt so aptly called "a genius for
affection,"--she, indeed, is queen of the home. "I have often had
occasion," said Washington Irving, "to remark the fortitude with which
woman sustains the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those
disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the
dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give
such intrepidity and elevation to their character that at times it
approaches sublimity."

If a wife cannot make her home bright and happy, so that it shall be the
cleanest, sweetest, cheerfulest place her husband can find refuge in,--a
retreat from the toils and troubles of the outer world,--then God help
the poor man, for he is virtually homeless. "Home-keeping hearts," said
Longfellow, "are happiest." What is a good wife, a good mother? Is she
not a gift out of heaven, sacred and delicate, with affections so great
that no measuring line short of that of the infinite God can tell their
bound; fashioned to refine and soothe and lift and irradiate home and
society and the world; of such value that no one can appreciate it,
unless his mother lived long enough to let him understand it, or unless,
in some great crisis of life, when all else failed him, he had a wife to
reënforce him with a faith in God that nothing could disturb?

Nothing can be more delightful than an anecdote of Joseph H. Choate, of
New York, our Minister at the Court of St. James. Upon being asked, at a
dinner-party, who he would prefer to be if he could not be himself, he
hesitated a moment, apparently running over in his mind the great ones
on earth, when his eyes rested on Mrs. Choate at the other end of the
table, who was watching him with great interest in her face, and
suddenly replied, "If I could not be myself, I should like to be Mrs.
Choate's second husband."

"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the
bones." It is the little disputes, little fault-findings, little
insinuations, little reflections, sharp criticisms, fretfulness and
impatience, little unkindnesses, slurs, little discourtesies, bad
temper, that create most of the discord and unhappiness in the family.
How much it would add to the glory of the homes of the world if that
might be said of every one which Rogers said of Lord Holland's sunshiny
face: "He always comes to breakfast like a man upon whom some sudden
good fortune has fallen"!

The value of pleasant words every day, as you go along, is well depicted
by Aunt Jerusha in what she said to our genial friend of "Zion's

"If folks could have their funerals when they are alive and well and
struggling along, what a help it would be"! she sighed, upon returning
from a funeral, wondering how poor Mrs. Brown would have felt if she
could have heard what the minister said. "Poor soul, she never dreamed
they set so much by her!

"Mis' Brown got discouraged. Ye see, Deacon Brown, he'd got a way of
blaming everything on to her. I don't suppose the deacon meant
it,--'twas just his way,--but it's awful wearing. When things wore out
or broke, he acted just as if Mis' Brown did it herself on purpose; and
they all caught it, like the measles or the whooping-cough.

"And the minister a-telling how the deacon brought his young wife here
when 't wa'n't nothing but a wilderness, and how patiently she bore
hardship, and what a good wife she'd been! Now the minister wouldn't
have known anything about that if the deacon hadn't told him. Dear!
Dear! If he'd only told Mis' Brown herself what he thought, I do believe
he might have saved the funeral.

"And when the minister said how the children would miss their mother,
seemed as though they couldn't stand it, poor things!

"Well, I guess it is true enough,--Mis' Brown was always doing for some
of them. When they was singing about sweet rest in heaven, I couldn't
help thinking that that was something Mis' Brown would have to get used
to, for she never had none of it here.

"She'd have been awful pleased with the flowers. They was pretty, and no
mistake. Ye see, the deacon wa'n't never willing for her to have a
flower-bed. He said 't was enough prettier sight to see good cabbages
a-growing; but Mis' Brown always kind of hankered after sweet-smelling
things, like roses and such.

"What did you say, Levi? 'Most time for supper? Well, land's sake, so it
is! I must have got to meditating. I've been a-thinking, Levi, you
needn't tell the minister anything about me. If the pancakes and pumpkin
pies are good, you just say so as we go along. It ain't best to keep
everything laid up for funerals."

_It is the grand secret of a happy home to express the affection you
really have._

"He is the happiest," it was said by Goethe, "be he king or peasant, who
finds peace in his home." There are indeed many serious, too
serious-minded fathers and mothers who do not wish to advertise their
children to all the neighbors as "the laughing family." If this be so,
yet, at the very least, these solemn parents may read the Bible. Where
it is said, "provoke not your children to wrath," it means literally,
"do not irritate your children;" "do not rub them up the wrong way."

Children ought never to get the impression that they live in a hopeless,
cheerless, cold world; but the household cheerfulness should transform
their lives like sunlight, making their hearts glad with little things,
rejoicing upon small occasion.

"How beautiful would our home-life be if every little child at the
bed-time hour could look into the faces of the older ones and say:
'We've had such sweet times to-day.'"

"To love, and to be loved," says Sydney Smith, "is the greatest
happiness of existence."


Dining one day with Baron James Rothschild, Eugene Delacroix, the famous
French artist, confessed that, during some time past, he had vainly
sought for a head to serve as a model for that of a beggar in a picture
which he was painting; and that, as he gazed at his host's features, the
idea suddenly occurred to him that the very head he desired was before
him. Rothschild, being a great lover of art, readily consented to sit as
the beggar. The next day, at the studio, Delacroix placed a tunic around
the baron's shoulders, put a stout staff in his hand, and made him pose
as if he were resting on the steps of an ancient Roman temple. In this
attitude he was found by one of the artist's favorite pupils, in a brief
absence of the master from the room. The youth naturally concluded that
the beggar had just been brought in, and with a sympathetic look quietly
slipped a piece of money into his hand. Rothschild thanked him simply,
pocketed the money, and the student passed out. Rothschild then inquired
of the master, and found that the young man had talent, but very slender
means. Soon after, the youth received a letter stating that charity
bears interest, and that the accumulated interest on the amount he had
given to one he supposed to be a beggar was represented by the sum of
ten thousand francs, which was awaiting his claim at the Rothschild

This illustrates well the art of cheerful amusement even if one has
great business cares,--the entertainment of the artist, the personation
of a beggar, and an act of beneficence toward a worthy student.

It illustrates, too, what was said by Wilhelm von Humboldt, that "it is
worthy of special remark that when we are not too anxious about
happiness and unhappiness, but devote ourselves to the strict and
unsparing performance of duty, then happiness comes of itself." We carry
each day nobly, doing the duty or enjoying the privilege of the moment,
without thinking whether or not it will make us happy. This is quite in
accord with the saying of George Herbert, "The consciousness of duty
performed gives us music at midnight."

Are not buoyant spirits like water sparkling when it runs? "_I have
found my greatest happiness in labor_," said Gladstone. "I early formed
a habit of industry, and it has been its own reward. The young are apt
to think that rest means a cessation from all effort, but I have found
the most perfect rest in changing effort. If brain-weary over books and
study, go out into the blessed sunlight and the pure air, and give
heartfelt exercise to the body. The brain will soon become calm and
rested. The efforts of Nature are ceaseless. Even in our sleep the heart
throbs on. I try to live close to Nature, and to imitate her in my
labors. The compensation is sound sleep, a wholesome digestion, and
powers that are kept at their best; and this, I take it, is the chief
reward of industry."

"Owing to ingrained habits," said Horace Mann, "work has always been to
me what water is to a fish. I have wondered a thousand times to hear
people say, 'I don't like this business,' or 'I wish I could exchange it
for that;' for with me, when I have had anything to do, I do not
remember ever to have demurred, but have always set about it like a
fatalist, and it was as sure to be done as the sun was to set."

"_One's personal enjoyment is a very small thing, but one's personal
usefulness is a very important thing." Those only are happy who have
their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness_. "The
most delicate, the most sensible of all pleasures," says La Bruyère,
"consists in promoting the pleasures of others." And Hawthorne has said
that the inward pleasure of imparting pleasure is the choicest of all.

"Oh, it is great," said Carlyle, "and there is no other greatness,--to
make some nook of God's creation more fruitful, better, more worthy of
God,--to make some human heart a little wiser, manlier, happier, more
blessed, less accursed!" The gladness of service, of having some
honorable share in the world's work, what is better than this?

"The Lord must love the common people," said Lincoln, "for he made so
many of them, and so few of the other kind." To extend to all the cup of
joy is indeed angelic business, and there is nothing that makes one more
beautiful than to be engaged in it.

"The high desire that others may be blest savors of heaven."

The memory of those who spend their days in hanging sweet pictures of
faith and trust in the galleries of sunless lives shall never perish
from the earth.


"This," said Charles Lamb, "is the greatest pleasure I know." "Money
never yet made a man happy," said Franklin; "and there is nothing in its
nature to produce happiness." To do good with it, makes life a delight
to the giver. How happy, then, was the life of Jean Ingelow, since what
she received from the sale of a hundred thousand copies of her poems,
and fifty thousand of her prose works, she spent largely in charity; one
unique charity being a "copyright" dinner three times a week to twelve
poor persons just discharged from the neighboring hospitals! Nor was any
one made happier by it than the poet.

John Buskin inherited a million dollars. "With this money he set about
doing good," says a writer in the "Arena." "Poor young men and women who
were struggling to get an education were helped, homes for working men
and women were established, and model apartment houses were erected. He
also promoted a work for reclaiming waste land outside of London. This
land was used for the aid of unfortunate men who wished to rise again
from the state in which they had fallen through cruel social conditions
and their own weaknesses. It is said that this work suggested to General
Booth his colonization farms. Ruskin has also ever been liberal in
aiding poor artists, and has done much to encourage artistic taste among
the young. On one occasion he purchased ten fine water-color paintings
by Holman Hunt for $3,750, to be hung in the public schools of London.
By 1877 he had disposed of three-fourths of his inheritance, besides all
the income from his books. But the calls of the poor, and his plans
looking toward educating and ennobling the lives of working men, giving
more sunshine and joy, were such that he determined to dispose of all
the remainder of his wealth except a sum sufficient to yield him $1,500
a year on which to live."

Our own Peter Cooper, in his last days, was one of the happiest men in
America; his beneficence shone in his countenance.

Let the man who has the blues take a map and census table of the world,
and estimate how many millions there are who would gladly exchange lots
with him, and let him begin upon some practicable plan to do all the
good he can to as many as he can, and he will forget to be despondent;
and he need not stop short at praying for them without first giving
every dollar he can, without troubling the Lord about that. Let him
scatter his flowers as he goes along, since he will never go over the
same road again.

No man in England had a better time than did Du Maurier on that cold day
when he took the hat of an old soldier on Hampstead road, and sent him
away to the soup kitchen in Euston to get warm. The artist chalked on a
blackboard such portraits as he commonly made for "Punch," and soon
gathered a great quantity of small coins for the grateful soldier; who,
however, at once rubbed out Du Maurier's pictures and put on "the
faithful dog," and a battle scene, as more artistic.

"Chinese Gordon," after serving faithfully and valiantly in the great
Chinese rebellion, and receiving the highest honors of the Chinese
Empire, returned to England, caring little for the praise thus heaped on
him. He took some position at Gravesend, just below London, where he
filled his house with boys from the streets, whom he taught and made men
of, and then secured them places on ships,--following them all over the
world with letters of advice and encouragement.

                           HIS HEAD IN A HOLE.

"I was appointed to lecture in a town in Great Britain six miles from
the railway," said John B. Gough, "and a man drove me in a fly from the
station to the town. I noticed that he sat leaning forward in an
awkward manner, with his face close to the glass of the window. Soon he
folded a handkerchief and tied it round his neck. I asked him if he was
cold. "No, sir." Then he placed the handkerchief round his face. I asked
him if he had the toothache. "No, sir," was the reply. Still he sat
leaning forward. At last I said, "Will you please tell me why you sit
leaning forward that way with a handkerchief round your neck if you are
not cold and have no toothache?" He said very quietly, "The window of
the carriage is broke, and the wind is cold, and I am trying to keep it
from you." I said, in surprise, "You are not putting your face to that
broken pane to keep the wind from me, are you?" "Yes, sir, I am." "Why
do you do that?" "God bless you, sir! I owe everything I have in the
world to you." "But I never saw you before." "No, sir; but I have seen
you. I was a ballad-singer once. I used to go round with a half-starved
baby in my arms for charity, and a draggled wife at my heels half the
time, with her eyes blackened; and I went to hear you in Edinburgh, and
_you told me I was a man_; and when I went out of that house I said, 'By
the help of God, I'll be a man;' and now I've a happy wife and a
comfortable home. God bless you, sir! I would stick my head in any hole
under the heavens if it would do you any good."

    "Let's find the sunny side of men,
      Or be believers in it;
    A light there is in every soul
      That takes the pains to win it.
    Oh! there's a slumbering good in all,
      And we perchance may wake it;
    Our hands contain the magic wand:
      This life is what we make it."

He indeed is getting the most out of life who does most to elevate
mankind. How happy were those Little Sisters of the Poor at Tours, who
took scissors to divide their last remnant of bedclothing with an old
woman who came to them at night, craving hospitality! And how happy was
that American school-teacher who gave up the best room in the house,
which she had engaged long before the season opened, at a mountain
sanitarium, during the late war, taking instead of it the poorest room
in the house, that she might give good quarters to a soldier just out of
his camp hospital!

"Teach self-denial," said Walter Scott, "and make its practice
pleasurable, and you create for the world a destiny more sublime than
ever issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer."

Yet how many there are, ready to make some great sacrifice, who neglect
those little acts of kindness which make so many lives brighter and

"I say, Jim, it's the first time I ever had anybody ask my parding, and
it kind o' took me off my feet." A young lady had knocked him down in
hastily turning a corner. She stopped and said to the ragged
crossing-boy: "I beg your pardon, my little fellow; I am very sorry I
ran against you." He took off the piece of a cap he had on his skull,
made a low bow, and said with a broad smile: "You have my parding, Miss,
and welcome; and the next time you run agin me, you can knock me clean
down and I won't say a word."

One of the greatest mistakes of life is to save our smiles and pleasant
words and sympathy for those of "our set," or for those not now with us,
and for other times than the present.

"If a word or two will render a man happy," said a Frenchman, "he must
be a wretch indeed who will not give it. It is like lighting another
man's candle with your own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what
the other gains."

Sydney Smith recommends us to make at least one person happy every day:
"Take ten years, and you will make thirty-six hundred and fifty persons
happy; or brighten a small town by your contribution to the fund of
general joy." One who is cheerful is preeminently useful.

Dr. Baffles once said: "I have made it a rule never to be with a person
ten minutes without trying to make him happier." It was a remark of Dr.
Dwight, that "one who makes a little child happier for half an hour is a
fellow-worker with God."

A little boy said to his mother: "I couldn't make little sister happy,
nohow I could fix it. But I made myself happy trying to make her happy."
"I make Jim happy, and he laughs," said another boy, speaking of his
invalid brother; "and that makes me happy, and I laugh."

There was once a king who loved his little boy very much, and took a
great deal of pains to please him. So he gave him a pony to ride,
beautiful rooms to live in, pictures, books, toys without number,
teachers, companions, and everything that money could buy or ingenuity
devise; but for all this, the young prince was unhappy. He wore a frown
wherever he went, and was always wishing for something he did not have.
At length a magician came to the court. He saw the scowl on the boy's
face, and said to the king: "I can make your son happy, and turn his
frowns into smiles, but you must pay me a great price for telling him
this secret." "All right," said the king; "whatever you ask I will
give." The magician took the boy into a private room. He wrote something
with a white substance on a piece of paper. He gave the boy a candle,
and told him to light it and hold it under the paper, and then see what
he could read. Then the magician went away. The boy did as he had been
told, and the white letters turned into a beautiful blue. They formed
these words: "Do a kindness to some one every day." The prince followed
the advice, and became the happiest boy in the realm.

"Happiness," says one writer, "is a mosaic, composed of many smaller
stones." It is the little acts of kindness, the little courtesies, the
disposition to be accommodating, to be helpful, to be sympathetic, to be
unselfish, to be careful not to wound the feelings, not to expose the
sore spots, to be charitable of the weaknesses of others, to be
considerate,--these are the little things which, added up at night, are
found to be the secret of a happy day. How much greater are all these
than one great act of noteworthy goodness once a year! Our lives are
made up of trifles; emergencies rarely occur. "Little things,
unimportant events, experiences so small as to scarcely leave a trace
behind, make up the sum-total of life." And the one great thing in life
is to do a little good to every one we meet. Ready sympathy, a quick
eye, and a little tact, are all that are needed.

This point is happily illustrated by this report of an incident upon a
train from Providence to Boston. A lady was caring for her father, whose
mental faculties were weakened by age. He imagined that some imperative
duty called on him to leave the swift-moving train, and his daughter
could not quiet him. Just then she noticed a large man watching them
over the top of his paper. As soon as he caught her eye, he rose and
crossed quickly to her.

"I beg your pardon, you are in trouble. May I help you?"

She explained the situation to him.

"What is your father's name?" he asked.

She told him; and then with an encouraging smile, she spoke to her
venerable father who was sitting immediately in front of her. The next
moment the large man turned over the seat, and leaning toward the
troubled old man, he addressed him by name, shook hands with him
cordially, and engaged him in a conversation so interesting and so
cleverly arranged to keep his mind occupied that the old gentleman
forgot his need to leave the train, and did not think of it again until
they were in Boston. There the stranger put the lady and her charge into
a carriage, received her assurance that she felt perfectly safe, and was
about to close the carriage door, when she remembered that she had felt
so safe in the keeping of this noble-looking man that she had not even
asked his name. Hastily putting her hand against the door, she said:
"Pardon me, but you have rendered me such service, may I not know whom I
am thanking?" The big man smiled as he turned away, and answered:--

                           "PHILLIPS BROOKS."

"What a gift it is," said Beecher, who was the great preacher of
cheerfulness, "to make all men better and happier without knowing it! We
do not suppose that flowers know how sweet they are. These roses and
carnations have made me happy for a day. Yet they stand huddled together
in my pitcher, without seeming to know my thoughts of them, or the
gracious work they are doing. And how much more is it, to have a
disposition that carries with it involuntarily sweetness, calmness,
courage, hope, and happiness. Yet this is the portion of good nature in
a large-minded, strong-natured man. When it has made him happy, it has
scarcely begun its office. God sends a natural heart-singer--a man whose
nature is large and luminous, and who, by his very carriage and
spontaneous actions, calms, cheers, and helps his fellows. God bless
him, for he blesses everybody!" This is just what Mr. Beecher would have
said about Phillips Brooks.

And what better can be said than to compare the heart's good cheer to a
floral offering? _Are not flowers appropriate gifts to persons of all
ages, in any conceivable circumstances in which they are placed? So the
heart's good cheer and deeds of kindness are always acceptable to
children and youth, to busy men and women, to the aged, and to a world
of invalids._

"Thus live and die, O man immortal," says Dr. Chalmers. "Live for
something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue, which the
storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and
mercy, on the hearts of those who come in contact with you, and you will
never be forgotten. Good deeds will shine as brightly on earth as the
stars of heaven."

What is needed to round out human happiness is a well-balanced life. Not
ease, not pleasure, not happiness, but a man, Nature is after. "There
is," says Robert Waters, "no success without honor; no happiness without
a clear conscience; no use in living at all if only for one's self. It
is not at all necessary for you to make a fortune, but it is necessary,
absolutely necessary, that you should become a fair-dealing, honorable,
useful man, radiating goodness and cheerfulness wherever you go, and
making your life a blessing."

"When a man does not find repose in himself," says a French proverb, "it
is vain for him to seek it elsewhere." Happy is he who has no sense of
discord with the harmony of the universe, who is open to the voices of
nature and of the spiritual realm, and who sees the light that never was
on sea or land. Such a life can but give expression to its inward
harmony. Every pure and healthy thought, every noble aspiration for the
good and the true, every longing of the heart for a higher and better
life, every lofty purpose and unselfish endeavor, makes the human spirit
stronger, more harmonious, and more beautiful. It is this alone that
gives a self-centered confidence in one's heaven-aided powers, and a
high-minded cheerfulness, like that of a celestial spirit. It is this
which an old writer has called the paradise of a good conscience.

    "I count this thing to be grandly true,
      That a noble deed is a step toward God;
      Lifting the soul from the common clod
    To a purer air and a broader view.

    "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."

"My body must walk the earth," said an ancient poet, "but I can put
wings on my soul, and plumes to my hardest thought." The splendors and
symphonies and the ecstacies of a higher world are with us now in the
rudimentary organs of eye and ear and heart. Much we have to do, much
we have to love, much we have to hope for; and our "joy is the grace we
say to God." "When I think upon God," said Haydn to Carpani, "my heart
is so full of joy that the notes leap from my pen."

Says Gibbons:--

        "Our lives are songs:
      God writes the words,
    And we set them to music at leisure;
      And the song is sad, or the song is glad,
    As we choose to fashion the measure.

        "We must write the song
      Whatever the words,
    Whatever its rhyme or meter;
      And if it is sad, we must make it glad,
    And if sweet, we must make it sweeter."


Acting on a sudden impulse, an elderly woman, the widow of a soldier who
had been killed in the Civil War, went into a photographer's to have her
picture taken. She was seated before the camera wearing the same stern,
hard, forbidding look that had made her an object of fear to the
children living in the neighborhood, when the photographer, thrusting
his head out from the black cloth, said suddenly, "Brighten the eyes a

She tried, but the dull and heavy look still lingered.

"Look a little pleasanter," said the photographer, in an unimpassioned
but confident and commanding voice.

"See here," the woman retorted sharply, "if you think that an old woman
who is dull can look bright, that one who feels cross can become
pleasant every time she is told to, you don't know anything about human
nature. It takes something from the outside to brighten the eye and
illuminate the face."

"Oh, no, it doesn't! _It's something to be worked from the inside._ Try
it again," said the photographer good-naturedly.

Something in his manner inspired faith, and she tried again, this time
with better success.

"That's good! That's fine! You look twenty years younger," exclaimed the
artist, as he caught the transient glow that illuminated the faded face.

She went home with a queer feeling in her heart. It was the first
compliment she had received since her husband had passed away, and it
left a pleasant memory behind. When she reached her little cottage, she
looked long in the glass and said, "There may be something in it. But
I'll wait and see the picture."

When the picture came, it was like a resurrection. The face seemed alive
with the lost fires of youth. She gazed long and earnestly, then said in
a clear, firm voice, "If I could do it once, I can do it again."

Approaching the little mirror above her bureau, she said, "Brighten up,
Catherine," and the old light flashed up once more.

"Look a little pleasanter!" she commanded; and a calm and radiant smile
diffused itself over the face.

Her neighbors, as the writer of this story has said, soon remarked the
change that had come over her face: "Why, Mrs. A., you are getting
young. How do you manage it?"

"_It is almost all done from the inside. You just brighten up inside and
feel pleasant._"

    "Fate served me meanly, but I looked at her and laughed,
    That none might know how bitter was the cup I quaffed.
    Along came Joy and paused beside me where I sat,
    Saying, 'I came to see what you were laughing at.'"

_Every emotion tends to sculpture the body into beauty or into
ugliness._ Worrying, fretting, unbridled passions, petulance,
discontent, every dishonest act, every falsehood, every feeling of envy,
jealousy, fear,--each has its effect on the system, and acts
deleteriously like a poison or a deformer of the body. Professor James
of Harvard, an expert in the mental sciences, says, "Every small stroke
of virtue or vice leaves its ever so little scar. Nothing we ever do is,
in strict literalness, wiped out." _The way to be beautiful without is
to be beautiful within._


It is related that Dwight L. Moody once offered to his Northfield pupils
a prize of five hundred dollars for the best thought. This took the
prize: "Men grumble because God put thorns with roses; wouldn't it be
better to thank God that he put roses with thorns?"

We win half the battle when we make up our minds to take the world as we
find it, including the thorns. "It is," says Fontenelle, "a great
obstacle to happiness to expect too much." This is what happens in real
life. Watch Edison. He makes the most expensive experiments throughout a
long period of time, and he expects to make them, and he never worries
because he does not succeed the first time.

"I cannot but think," says Sir John Lubbock, "that the world would be
better and brighter if our teachers would dwell on the duty of happiness
as well as on the happiness of duty."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, in advanced years, acknowledged his debt of
gratitude to the nurse of his childhood, who studiously taught him to
ignore unpleasant incidents. If he stubbed his toe, or skinned his knee,
or bumped his nose, his nurse would never permit his mind to dwell upon
the temporary pain, but claimed his attention for some pretty object, or
charming story, or happy reminiscence. To her, he said, he was largely
indebted for the sunshine of a long life. It is a lesson which is easily
mastered in childhood, but seldom to be learned in middle life, and
never in old age.

"When I was a boy," says another author, "I was consoled for cutting my
finger by having my attention called to the fact that I had not broken
my arm; and when I got a cinder in my eye, I was expected to feel more
comfortable because my cousin had lost his eye by an accident."

"We should brave trouble," says Beecher, "as the New England boy braves
winter. The school is a mile away over the hill, yet he lingers not by
the fire; but, with his books slung over his shoulder, he sets out to
face the storm. When he reaches the topmost ridge, where the snow lies
in drifts, and the north wind comes keen and biting, does he shrink and
cower down by the fences, or run into the nearest house to warm himself?
No; he buttons up his coat, and rejoices to defy the blast, and tosses
the snow-wreaths with his foot; and so, erect and fearless, with strong
heart and ruddy cheek, he goes on to his place at school."

Children should be taught the habit of finding pleasure everywhere; and
to see the bright side of everything. "Serenity of mind comes easy to
some, and hard to others. It can be taught and learned. We ought to have
teachers who are able to educate us in this department of our natures
quite as much as in music or art. Think of a school or classes for
training men and women to carry themselves serenely amid all the trials
that beset them!"

    "Joy is the mainspring in the whole
    Of endless Nature's calm rotation.
    Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll
    In the great timepiece of Creation."

                      THE "DON'T WORRY" SOCIETY

was organized not long ago in New York; it is, however, just as well
suited to other latitudes and longitudes. It is intended for people who
"cannot help worrying."

If really you can't help it, you are in an abnormal condition, you have
lost self-control,--it is a mild type of mental derangement. You must
attack your bad habit of worrying as you would a disease. It is
definitely something to be overcome, an infirmity that you are to get
rid of.

"Be good and you will be happy," is a very old piece of advice. Mrs.
Mary A. Livermore now proposes to reverse it,--"Be happy and you will be
good." If unhappiness is a bad habit, you are to turn about by sheer
force of will and practice cheerfulness. "Happiness is a thing to be
practiced like a violin."

Not work, but worry, fretfulness, friction,--these are our foes in
America. You should not go here and there, making prominent either your
bad manners or a gloomy face. Who has a right to rob other people of
their happiness? "Do not," says Emerson, "hang a dismal picture on your
wall; and do not deal with sables and glooms in your conversation."

If you are not at the moment cheerful,--look, speak, act, as if you
were. "You know I had no money, I had nothing to give but myself," said
a woman who had great sorrows to bear, but who bore them cheerfully. "I
formed a resolution never to sadden any one else with my troubles. I
have laughed and told jokes when I could have wept. I have always smiled
in the face of every misfortune. I have tried never to let any one go
from my presence without a happy word or a bright thought to carry away.
And happiness makes happiness. I myself am happier than I should have
been had I sat down and bemoaned my fate."

    "'T is easy enough to be pleasant,
      When life flows along like a song;
    But the man worth while is the one who will smile
      When everything goes dead wrong;
    For the test of the heart is trouble,
      And it always comes with the years;
    And the smile that is worth the praise of the earth
      Is the smile that comes through tears."

                        A PLEASURE BOOK.

"She is an aged woman, but her face is serene and peaceful, though
trouble has not passed her by. She seems utterly above the little
worries and vexations which torment the average woman and leave lines of
care. The Fretful Woman asked her one day the secret of her happiness;
and the beautiful old face shone with joy.

"'My dear,' she said, 'I keep a Pleasure Book.'

"'A what?'

"'A Pleasure Book. Long ago I learned that there is no day so dark and
gloomy that it does not contain some ray of light, and I have made it
one business of my life to write down the little things which mean so
much to a woman. I have a book marked for every day of every year since
I left school. It is but a little thing: the new gown, the chat with a
friend, the thoughtfulness of my husband, a flower, a book, a walk in
the field, a letter, a concert, or a drive; but it all goes into my
Pleasure Book, and, when I am inclined to fret, I read a few pages to
see what a happy, blessed woman I am. You may see my treasures if you

"Slowly the peevish, discontented woman turned over the book her friend
brought her, reading a little here and there. One day's entries ran
thus: 'Had a pleasant letter from mother. Saw a beautiful lily in a
window. Found the pin I thought I had lost. Saw such a bright, happy
girl on the street. Husband brought some roses in the evening.'

"Bits of verse and lines from her daily reading have gone into the
Pleasure Book of this world-wise woman, until its pages are a storehouse
of truth and beauty.[1]

"'Have you found a pleasure for every day?' the Fretful Woman asked.

"'For every day,' the low voice answered; 'I had to make my theory come
true, you know.'"

The Fretful Woman ought to have stopped there, but did not; and she
found that page where it was written--"He died with his hand in mine,
and my name upon his lips." Below were the lines from Lowell:--

    "Lone watcher on the mountain height:
      It is right precious to behold
    The first long surf of climbing light
      Flood all the thirsty eat with gold;

    "Yet God deems not thine aeried sight
      More worthy than our twilight dim,
    For meek obedience, too, is light,
      And following that is finding Him."

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 is still flowing. And how beautiful
it is, if our strange earthly sorrows become a blessing to others,
through our determination to live and to do for those who need our help.
Life is not given for mourning, but for unselfish service.

"Cheerfulness," says Ruskin, "is as natural to the heart of a man in
strong health as color to his cheek; and wherever there is habitual
gloom there must be either bad air, unwholesome food, improperly severe
labor, or erring habits of life." It is an erring habit of life if we
are not first of all cheerful. We are thrown into a morbid habit through
circumstances utterly beyond our control, yet this fact does not change
our duty toward God and toward man,--our duty to be cheerful. We are
human; but it is our high privilege to lead a divine life, to accept the
joy which our Lord bequeathed to his disciples.

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 tiny threads which he thought were
absolutely within his control. Yet a habit of happy thought would
transform his life into harmony and beauty. Is not the will almost
omnipotent to determine habits before they become all-powerful? What
contributes more to health or happiness than a vigorous will? A habit of
directing a firm and steady will upon those things which tend to produce
harmony of thought will bring happiness and contentment; the will,
rightly drilled,--and divinely guided,--can drive out all discordant
thoughts, and usher in the reign of perpetual harmony. It is impossible
to overestimate the importance of forming a habit of cheerfulness early
in life. The serene optimist is one whose mind has dwelt so long upon
the sunny side of life that he has acquired a habit of cheerfulness.

    "Talk happiness. The world is sad enough
    Without your woes. No path is wholly rough;
    Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
    And speak of those who rest the weary ear
    Of earth, so hurt by one continuous strain
    Of human discontent and grief and pain.

    "Talk faith. The world is better off without
    Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
    If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
    Say so; if not, push back upon the shelf
    Of silence all your thoughts till faith shall come;
    No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

    "Talk health. The dreary, never-changing tale
    Of mortal maladies is worn and stale.
    You cannot charm, or interest, or please,
    By harping on that minor chord, disease.
    Say you are well, or all is well with you.
    And God shall hear your words and make them true."[2]


[1] For this Pleasure-Book illustration I am indebted to "The Woman's
Home Companion."

[2] The three metrical pieces cited in this chapter are by ELLA WHEELER
WILCOX, who has gladdened the world by so much literary sunlight.


"There's the dearest little old gentleman," says James Buckham, "who
goes into town every morning on the 8.30 train. I don't know his name,
and yet I know him better than anybody else in town. He just radiates
cheerfulness as far as you can see him. There is always a smile on his
face, and I never heard him open his mouth except to say something kind,
courteous, or good natured. Everybody bows to him, even strangers, and
he bows to everybody, yet never with the slightest hint of presumption
or familiarity. If the weather is fine, his jolly compliments make it
seem finer; and if it is raining, the merry way in which he speaks of it
is as good as a rainbow. Everybody who goes in on the 8.30 train knows
the sunshine-man; it's his train. You just hurry up a little, and I'll
show you the sunshine-man this morning. It's foggy and cold, but if one
look at him doesn't cheer you up so that you'll want to whistle, then
I'm no judge of human nature."

"Good morning, sir!" said Mr. Jolliboy in going to the same train.

"Why, sir, I don't know you," replied Mr. Neversmile.

"I didn't say you did, sir. Good morning, sir!"

"The inborn geniality of some people," says Whipple, "amounts to
genius." "How in our troubled lives," asks J. Freeman Clarke, "could we
do without these fair, sunny natures, into which on their creation-day
God allowed nothing sour, acrid, or bitter to enter, but made them a
perpetual solace and comfort by their cheerfulness?" There are those
whose very presence carries sunshine with them wherever they go; a
sunshine which means pity for the poor, sympathy for the suffering, help
for the unfortunate, and benignity toward all. Everybody loves the sunny
soul. His very face is a passport anywhere. All doors fly open to him.
He disarms prejudice and envy, for he bears good will to everybody. He
is as welcome in every household as the sunshine.

"He was quiet, cheerful, genial," says Carlyle in his "Reminiscences"
concerning Edward Irving's sunny helpfulness. "His soul unruffled, clear
as a mirror, honestly loving and loved, Irving's voice was to me one of
blessedness and new hope."

And to William Wilberforce the poet Southey paid this tribute: "I never
saw any other man who seemed to enjoy such perpetual serenity and
sunshine of spirit."

"I resolved," said Tom Hood, "that, like the sun, so long as my day
lasted, I would look on the bright side of everything."

When Goldsmith was in Flanders he discovered the happiest man he had
ever seen. At his toil, from morning till night, he was full of song and
laughter. Yet this sunny-hearted being was a slave, maimed, deformed,
and wearing a chain. How well he illustrated that saying which bids us,
if there is no bright side, to polish up the dark one! "Mirth is like
the flash of lightning that breaks through the gloom of the clouds and
glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a daylight in the soul,
filling it with a steady and perpetual serenity." It is cheerfulness
that has the staying quality, like the sunshine changing a world of
gloom into a paradise of beauty.

The first prize at a flower-show was taken by a pale, sickly little
girl, who lived in a close, dark court in the east of London. The judges
asked how she could grow it in such a dingy and sunless place. She
replied that a little ray of sunlight came into the court; as soon as it
appeared in the morning, she put her flower beneath it, and, as it
moved, moved the flower, so that she kept it in the sunlight all day.

"Water, air, and sunshine, the three greatest hygienic agents, are free,
and within the reach of all." "Twelve years ago," says Walt Whitman, "I
came to Camden to die. But every day I went into the country, and bathed
in the sunshine, lived with the birds and squirrels, and played in the
water with the fishes. I received my health from Nature."

"It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick," said
Florence Nightingale, "that second only to their need of fresh air, is
their need of light; that, after a close room, what most hurts them is a
dark room; and that it is not only light, but direct sunshine they

"Sunlight," says Dr. L. W. Curtis, in "Health Culture," "has much to do
in keeping air in a healthy condition. No plant can grow in the dark,
neither can man remain healthy in a dark, ill-ventilated room. When the
first asylum for the blind was erected in Massachusetts, the committee
decided to save expense by not having any windows. They reasoned that,
as the patients could not see, there was no need of any light. It was
built without windows, but ventilation was well provided for, and the
poor sightless patients were domiciled in the house. But things did not
go well: one after another began to sicken, and great languor fell upon
them; they felt distressed and restless, craving something, they hardly
knew what. After two had died and all were ill, the committee decided to
have windows. The sunlight poured in, and the white faces recovered
their color; their flagging energies and depressed spirits revived, and
health was restored."

The sun, making all living things to grow, exerts its happiest influence
in cheering the mind of man and making his heart glad, and if a man has
sunshine in his soul he will go on his way rejoicing; content to look
forward if under a cloud, not bating one jot of heart or hope if for a
moment cast down; honoring his occupation, whatever it be; rendering
even rags respectable by the way he wears them; and not only happy
himself, but giving happiness to others.

How a man's face shines when illuminated by a great moral motive! and
his manner, too, is touched with the grace of light.

"Nothing will supply the want of sunshine to peaches," said Emerson,
"and to make knowledge valuable you must have the cheerfulness of

"Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness," said Carlyle; "altogether
past calculation its powers of endurance. Efforts to be permanently
useful must be uniformly joyous,--a spirit all sunshine, graceful from
very gladness, beautiful because bright."

"The cheerful man carries with him perpetually, in his presence and
personality, an influence that acts upon others as summer warmth on the
fields and forests. It wakes up and calls out the best that is in them.
It makes them stronger, braver, and happier. Such a man makes a little
spot of this world a lighter, brighter, warmer place for other people to
live in. To meet him in the morning is to get inspiration which makes
all the day's struggles and tasks easier. His hearty handshake puts a
thrill of new vigor into your veins. After talking with him for a few
minutes, you feel an exhilaration of spirits, a quickening of energy, a
renewal of zest and interest in living, and are ready for any duty or

"Great hearts there are among men," says Hillis, of Plymouth pulpit;
"they carry a volume of manhood; their presence is sunshine; their
coming changes our climate; they oil the bearings of life; their shadow
always falls behind them; they make right living easy. Blessed are the
happiness-makers: they represent the best forces in civilization!"

If refined manners reprove us a little for ill-timed laughter, a smiling
face kindled by a smiling heart is always in order. Who can ever forget
Emerson's smile? It was a perpetual benediction upon all who knew him. A
smile is said to be to the human countenance what sunshine is to the
landscape. Or a smile is called the rainbow of the face.

"This is a dark world to many people," says a suggestive modern writer,
"a world of chills, a world of fogs, a world of wet blankets.
Nine-tenths of the men we meet need encouragement. Your work is so
urgent that you have no time to stop and speak to the people, but every
day you meet scores, perhaps hundreds and thousands of persons, upon
whom you might have direct and immediate influence. 'How? How?' you
cry out. We answer: By the grace of physiognomy. There is nothing more
catching than a face with a lantern behind it, shining clear through. We
have no admiration for a face with a dry smile, meaning no more than the
grin of a false face. But a smile written by the hand of God, as an
index finger or table of contents, to whole volumes of good feeling
within, is a benediction. You say: 'My face is hard and lacking in
mobility, and my benignant feelings are not observable in the facial
proportions.' We do not believe you. Freshness and geniality of the soul
are so subtle and pervading that they will, at some eye or mouth corner,
leak out. Set behind your face a feeling of gratitude to God and
kindliness toward man, and you will every day preach a sermon long as
the streets you walk, a sermon with as many heads as the number of
people you meet, and differing from other sermons in the fact that the
longer it is the better. The reason that there are so many sour faces,
so many frowning faces, so many dull faces, is because men consent to be
acrid and petulant, and stupid. The way to improve your face is to
improve your disposition. Attractiveness of physiognomy does not depend
on regularity of features. We know persons whose brows are shaggy, eyes
oblique, noses ominously longitudinal, and mouths straggling along in
unusual and unexpected directions; and yet they are men and women of so
much soul that we love to look upon them, and their faces are sweet

It was N. P. Willis, I think, who added to the beatitudes--"Blessed are
the joy-makers." "And this is why all the world loves little children,
who are always ready to have 'a sunshine party,'--little children
bubbling over with fun, as a bobolink with song.

"How well we remember it all!--the long gone years of our own childhood,
and the households of joyous children we have known in later years.
Joy-makers are the children still,--some of them in unending scenes of
light. I saw but yesterday this epitaph at Mount Auburn,--'She was so
pleasant': sunny-hearted in life, and now alive forever more in light

"How can we then but rejoice with joy unspeakable, as the children of
immortality; living habitually above the gloom and damps of earth, and
leading lives of ministration; bestowing everywhere sweetness and
light,--radiating upon the earth something of the beauty of the unseen

What is a sunny temper but "a talisman more powerful than wealth, more
precious than rubies"? What is it but "an aroma whose fragrance fills
the air with the odors of Paradise"?

"I am so full of happiness," said a little child, "that I could not be
any happier unless I could grow." And she bade "Good morning" to her
sweet singing bird, and "Good morning" to the sun; then she asked her
mother's permission, and softly, reverently, gladly bade "Good morning
to God,"--and why should she not?

Was it not Goethe who represented a journey that followed the sunshine
round the world, forever bathed in light? And Longfellow sang:

    "'T is always morning somewhere; and above
    The awakening continents, from shore to shore,
    Somewhere the birds are singing evermore."

    "The darkness past, we mount the radiant skies,
    And changeless day is ours; we hear the songs
    Of higher spheres, the light divine our eyes
    Behold and sunlight robes of countless throngs
    Who dwell in light; we seek, with joyous quest,
    God's service sweet to wipe all tears away,
    And list we every hour, with eager zest,
    For high command to toils that God has blest:
    So fill we full our endless sunshine day."

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