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

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  1. Several misprints corrected. A complete list of corrections may be
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                    HOW TO SUCCEED;

         Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune.



                       Author of

 "Pushing to the Front; or, Success Under Difficulties," and
    "Architects of Fate; or, Steps to Success and Power."

            *       *       *       *       *

                      PUBLISHED BY
                 THE CHRISTIAN HERALD,
                LOUIS KLOPSCH, Proprietor,
                 BIBLE HOUSE, NEW YORK.

                    Copyright, 1896,
                    BY LOUIS KLOPSCH.


     CHAPTER.                           PAGE.

         I. First, Be a Man,                5
        II. Seize Your Opportunity,        14
       III. How Did He Begin?              27
        IV. Out of Place,                  49
         V. What Shall I Do?               58
        VI. Will You Pay the Price?        66
       VII. Foundation Stones,             81
      VIII. The Conquest of Obstacles,     99
        IX. Dead in Earnest,              115
         X. To Be Great, Concentrate,     128
        XI. At Once,                      140
       XII. Thoroughness,                 149
      XIII. Trifles,                      160
       XIV. Courage,                      169
        XV. Will Power,                   183
       XVI. Guard Your Weak Point,        192
      XVII. Stick,                        209
     XVIII. Save,                         220
       XIX. Live Upward,                  229
        XX. Sand,                         238
       XXI. Above Rubies,                 256
      XXII. Moral Sunshine,               275
     XXIII. Hold Up Your Head,            287
      XXIV. Books and Success,            296
       XXV. Riches Without Wings,         318




     The great need at this hour is manly men. We want no
     goody-goody piety; we have too much of it. We want men who will
     do right, though the heavens fall, who believe in God, and who
     will confess Him.
     --REV. W. J. DAWSON.

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

"I thank God I am a Baptist," said a little, short Doctor of Divinity,
as he mounted a step at a convention. "Louder! louder!" shouted a man in
the audience; "we can't hear." "Get up higher," said another. "I can't,"
replied the doctor, "to be a Baptist is as high as one can get."

But there is something higher than being a Baptist, and that is being a

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

"First of all," replied the boy James A. Garfield, when asked what he
meant to be, "I must make myself a man; if I do not succeed in that, I
can succeed in nothing."

"Hear me, O men," cried Diogenes, in the market place at Athens; and,
when a crowd collected around him, he said scornfully, "I called for
men, not pigmies."

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

Dispense with the doctor by being temperate; the lawyer by keeping out
of debt; the demagogue, by voting for honest men; and poverty, by being

"Nephew," said Sir Godfrey Kneller, the artist, to a Guinea slave
trader, who entered the room where his uncle was talking with Alexander
Pope, "you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world."
"I don't know how great men you may be," said the Guinea man, as he
looked contemptuously upon their diminutive physical proportions, "but I
don't like your looks; I have often bought a much better man than either
of you, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas."

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

"The body of an athlete and the soul of a sage," wrote Voltaire to
Helvetius; "these are what we require to be happy."

Although millions are out of employment in the United States, how
difficult it is to find a thorough, reliable, self-dependent,
industrious man or woman, young or old, for any position, whether as a
domestic servant, an office boy, a teacher, a brakeman, a conductor, an
engineer, a clerk, a bookkeeper, or whatever we may want. It is almost
impossible to find a really _competent_ person in any department, and
oftentimes we have to make many trials before we can get a position
fairly well filled.

It is a superficial age; very few prepare for their work. Of thousands
of young women trying to get a living at typewriting, many are so
ignorant, so deficient in the common rudiments even, that they spell
badly, use bad grammar, and know scarcely anything of punctuation. In
fact, they murder the English language. They can copy, "parrot like,"
and that is about all.

The same superficiality is found in nearly all kinds of business. It is
next to impossible to get a first-class mechanic; he has not learned his
trade; he has picked it up, and botches everything he touches, spoiling
good material and wasting valuable time.

In the professions, it is true, we find greater skill and faithfulness,
but usually they have been developed at the expense of mental and moral

The merely professional man is narrow; worse than that, he is in a sense
an artificial man, a creature of technicalities and specialties, removed
alike from the broad truth of nature and from the healthy influence of
human converse. In society, the most accomplished man of mere
professional skill is often a nullity; he has sunk his personality in
his dexterity.

"The aim of every man," said Humboldt, "should be to secure the highest
and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and
consistent whole."

Some men impress us as immense possibilities. They seem to have a sweep
of intellect that is grand; a penetrative power that is phenomenal; they
seem to know everything, to have read everything, to have seen
everything. Nothing seems to escape the keenness of their vision. But
somehow they are forever disappointing our expectations. They raise
great hopes only to dash them. They are men of great promise, but they
never pay. There is some indefinable want in their make-up.

What the world needs is a clergyman who is broader than his pulpit, who
does not look upon humanity with a white neckcloth ideal, and who would
give the lie to the saying that the human race is divided into three
classes: men, women and ministers. Wanted, a clergyman who does not look
upon his congregation from the standpoint of old theological books, and
dusty, cobweb creeds, but who sees the merchant as in his store, the
clerk as making sales, the lawyer pleading before the jury, the
physician standing over the sick bed; in other words, who looks upon the
great throbbing, stirring, pulsing, competing, scheming, ambitious,
impulsive, tempted, mass of humanity as one of their number, who can
live with them, see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and
experience their sensations.

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

Wanted, a lawyer, who has not become the victim of his specialty, a mere
walking bundle of precedents.

Wanted, a shopkeeper who does not discuss markets wherever he goes. A
man should be so much larger than his calling, so broad and symmetrical
in his culture, that he would not talk shop in society, that no one
would suspect how he gets his living.

Nothing is more apparent in this age of specialties than the dwarfing,
crippling, mutilating influence of occupations or professions.
Specialties facilitate commerce, and promote efficiency in the
professions, but are often narrowing to individuals. The spirit of the
age tends to doom the lawyer to a narrow life of practice, the business
man to a mere money-making career.

Think of a man, the grandest of God's creations, spending his life-time
standing beside a machine for making screws. There is nothing to call
out his individuality, his ingenuity, his powers of balancing, judging,

He stands there year after year, until he seems but a piece of
mechanism. His powers, from lack of use, dwindle to mediocrity, to
inferiority, until finally he becomes a mere part of the machine he

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

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

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

As Nature tries every way to induce us to obey her laws by rewarding
their observance with health, pleasure and happiness, and punishes their
violation by pain and disease, so she resorts to every means to induce
us to expand and develop the great possibilities she has implanted
within us. She nerves us to the struggle, beneath which all great
blessings are buried, and beguiles the tedious marches by holding up
before us glittering prizes, which we may almost touch, but never quite
possess. She covers up her ends of discipline by trial, of character
building through suffering by throwing a splendor and glamour over the
future; lest the hard, dry facts of the present dishearten us, and she
fail in her great purpose. How else could Nature call the youth away
from all the charms that hang around young life, but by presenting to
his imagination pictures of future bliss and greatness which will haunt
his dreams until he resolves to make them real. As a mother teaches her
babe to walk, by holding up a toy at a distance, not that the child may
reach the toy, but that it may develop its muscles and strength,
compared with which the toys are mere baubles; so Nature goes before us
through life, tempting us with higher and higher toys, but ever with one
object in view--the development of the man.

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

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



     "The blowing winds are but our servants
     When we hoist a sail."

     You must come to know that each admirable genius is but a
     successful diver in that sea whose floor of pearls is all your

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

     The secret of success in life is for a man _to be ready for his
     opportunity_ when it comes.

     Do the best you can where you are; and, when that is
     accomplished, God will open a door for you, and a voice will
     call, "Come up hither into a higher sphere."

     Our grand business is, not to see what lies dimly at a
     distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

"When I was a boy," said General Grant, "my mother one morning found
herself without butter for breakfast, and sent me to borrow some from a
neighbor. Going into the house without knocking, I overheard a letter
read from the son of a neighbor, who was then at West Point, stating
that he had failed in examination and was coming home. I got the butter,
took it home, and, without waiting for breakfast ran to the office of
the congressman for our district. 'Mr. Hamer,' I said, 'will you
appoint me to West Point?' 'No, ---- is there, and has three years to
serve.' 'But suppose he should fail, will you send me?' Mr. Hamer
laughed. 'If he don't go through, no use for you to try, Uly.' 'Promise
me you will give me the chance, Mr. Hamer, anyhow.' Mr. Hamer promised.
The next day the defeated lad came home, and the congressman, laughing
at my sharpness, gave me the appointment. Now," said Grant, "it was my
mother's being without butter that made me general and president." But
he was mistaken. It was his own shrewdness to see the chance, and the
promptness to seize it, that urged him upward.

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

The utmost which can be said about the matter is, that circumstances
will, and do combine to help men at some periods of their lives, and
combine to thwart them at others. Thus much we freely admit; but there
is no fatality in these combinations, neither any such thing as "luck"
or "chance," as commonly understood. They come and go like all other
opportunities and occasions in life, and if they are seized upon and
made the most of, the man whom they benefit is fortunate; but if they
are neglected and allowed to pass by unimproved, he is unfortunate.

"Charley," says Moses H. Grinnell to a clerk born in New York City,
"take my overcoat tip to my house on Fifth Avenue." Mr. Charley takes
the coat, mutters something about "I'm not an errand boy. I came here to
learn business," and moves reluctantly. Mr. Grinnell sees it, and at the
same time one of his New England clerks says, "I'll take it up." "That
is right, do so," says Mr. G., and to himself he says, "that boy is
smart, he will work," and he gives him plenty to do. He gets promoted,
gets the confidence of business men as well as of his employers, and is
soon known as a successful man.

The youth who starts out in life determined to make the most of his eyes
and let nothing escape him which he can possibly use for his own
advancement, who keeps his ears open for every sound that can help him
on his way, who keeps his hands open that he may clutch every
opportunity, who is ever on the alert for everything which can help him
to get on in the world, who seizes every experience in life and grinds
it up into paint for his great life's picture, who keeps his heart open
that he may catch every noble impulse and everything which may inspire
him, will be sure to live a successful life; there are no ifs or ands
about it. If he has his health, nothing can keep him from success.

_Zion's Herald_ says that Isaac Rich, who gave one million and three
quarters to found Boston University of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
began business thus: at eighteen he went from Cape Cod to Boston with
three or four dollars in his possession, and looked about for something
to do, rising early, walking far, observing closely, reflecting much.
Soon he had an idea: he bought three bushels of oysters, hired a
wheelbarrow, found a piece of board, bought six small plates, six iron
forks, a three-cent pepper-box, and one or two other things. He was at
the oyster-boat buying his oysters at three o'clock in the morning,
wheeled them three miles, set up his board near a market, and began
business. He sold out his oysters as fast as he could get them, at a
good profit. In that same market he continued to deal in oysters and
fish for forty years, became king of the business, and ended by founding
a college. His success was won by industry and honesty.

"Give me a chance," says Haliburton's Stupid, "and I will show you." But
most likely he has had his chance already and neglected it.

"Well, boys," said Mr. A., a New York merchant, to his four clerks one
winter morning in 1815, "this is good news. Peace has been declared. Now
_we_ must be up and doing. We shall have our hands full, but we can do
as much as anybody."

He was owner and part owner of several ships lying dismantled during the
war, three miles up the river, which was covered with ice an inch thick.
He knew that it would be a month before the ice yielded for the season,
and that thus the merchants in other towns where the harbors were open,
would have time to be in the foreign markets before him. His decision
therefore was instantly taken.

"Reuben," he continued, addressing one of his clerks, "go and collect as
many laborers as possible to go up the river. Charles, do you find
Mr.----, the rigger, and Mr.----, the sailmaker, and tell them I want
them immediately. John, engage half-a-dozen truckmen for to-day and
to-morrow. Stephen, do you hunt up as many gravers and caulkers as you
can, and hire them to work for me." And Mr. A. himself sallied forth to
provide the necessary implements for icebreaking. Before twelve o'clock
that day, upward of an hundred men were three miles up the river,
clearing the ships and cutting away ice, which they sawed out in large
squares, and then thrust under the main mass to open up the channel. The
roofing over the ships was torn off, and the clatter of the caulkers'
mallets was like to the rattling of a hail-storm, loads of rigging were
passed up on the ice, riggers went to and fro with belt and knife,
sailmakers busily plied their needles, and the whole presented an
unusual scene of stir and activity and well-directed labor. Before night
the ships were afloat, and moved some distance down the channel; and by
the time they had reached the wharf, namely, in some eight or ten days,
their rigging and spars were aloft, their upper timbers caulked, and
everything ready for them to go to sea.

Thus Mr. A. competed on equal terms with the merchants of open seaports.
Large and quick gains rewarded his enterprise, and then his neighbors
spoke depreciatingly of his "good luck." But, as the writer from whom we
get the story says, Mr. A. was equal to his opportunity, and this was
the secret of his good fortune.

A Baltimore lady lost a valuable diamond bracelet at a ball, and
supposed it was stolen from the pocket of her cloak. Years afterward,
she walked the streets near the Peabody Institute to get money to
purchase food. She cut up an old, worn out, ragged cloak to make a hood
of, when lo! in the lining of the cloak, she discovered the diamond
bracelet. During all her poverty she was worth thirty-five hundred
dollars, but did not know it.

Many of us who think we are poor are rich in opportunities if we could
only see them, in possibilities all about us, in faculties worth more
than diamond bracelets, in power to do good.

In our large eastern cities it has been found that at least ninety-four
out of every hundred found their first fortune at home, or near at hand,
and in meeting common everyday wants. It is a sorry day for a young man
who cannot see any opportunities where he is, but thinks he can do
better somewhere else. Several Brazilian shepherds organized a party to
go to California to dig gold, and took along a handful of clear pebbles
to play checkers with on the voyage. They discovered after arriving at
Sacramento, after they had thrown most of the pebbles away, that they
were all diamonds. They returned to Brazil only to find that the mines
had been taken up by others and sold to the government.

The richest gold and silver mine in Nevada was sold for forty-two
dollars by the owner, to get money to pay his passage to other mines
where he thought he could get rich.

Professor Agassiz told the Harvard students of a farmer who owned a farm
of hundreds of acres of unprofitable woods and rocks, and concluded to
sell out and try some more remunerative business.

He studied coal measures and coal oil deposits, and experimented for a
long time. He sold his farm for two hundred dollars and went into the
oil business two hundred miles away. Only a short time afterward the man
who bought the farm discovered a great flood of coal oil, which the
farmer had ignorantly tried to drain off.

A man was once sitting in an uncomfortable chair in Boston talking with
a friend as to what he could do to help mankind. "I should think it
would be a good thing," said the friend, "to begin by getting up an
easier and cheaper chair."

"I will do it," he exclaimed, leaping up and examining the chair. He
found a great deal of rattan thrown away by the East India merchant
ships, whose cargoes were wrapped in it. He began the manufacture of
rattan chairs and other furniture, and has astonished the world by what
he has done with what was before thrown away. While this man was
dreaming about some far off success, he at that very time had fortune
awaiting only his ingenuity and industry.

If you want to get rich, study yourself and your own wants. You will
find millions of others have the same wants, the same demands. The
safest business is always connected with men's prime necessities. They
must have clothing, dwellings; they must eat. They want comforts,
facilities of all kinds, for use and pleasure, luxury, education,
culture. Any man who can supply a great want of humanity, improve any
methods which men use, supply any demand or contribute in any way to
their well-being, can make a fortune.

But it is detrimental to the highest success to undertake anything
merely because it is profitable. If the vocation does not supply a human
want, if it is not healthful, if it is degrading, if it is narrowing,
don't touch it.

A selfish vocation never pays. If it belittles the manhood, blights the
affections, dwarfs the mental life, chills the charities and shrivels
the soul, don't touch it. Choose that occupation, if possible, which
will be the most helpful to the largest number.

It is estimated that five out of every seven of the millionaire
manufacturers began by making with their own hands the articles on which
they made their fortune.

One of the greatest hindrances to advancement and promotion in life is
the lack of observation and the disinclination to take pains. A keen,
cultivated observation will see a fortune where others see only poverty.
An observing man, the eyelets of whose shoes pulled out, but who could
ill afford to get another pair, said to himself, "I will make a metallic
lacing hook, which can be riveted into the leather." He succeeded in
doing so and now he is a very rich man.

An observing barber in Newark, N. J., thought he could make an
improvement on shears for cutting hair, and invented "clippers" and
became very rich. A Maine man was called from the hayfield to wash out
the clothes for his invalid wife. He had never realized what it was to
wash before. He invented the washing-machine and made a fortune. A man
who was suffering terribly with toothache, said to himself, "There must
be some way of filling teeth to prevent them aching;" he invented gold
filling for teeth.

The great things of the world have not been done by men of large means.
Want has been the great schoolmaster of the race: necessity has been the
mother of all great inventions. Ericsson began the construction of a
screw-propeller in a bath-room. John Harrison, the great inventor of the
marine chronometer, began his career in the loft of an old barn. Parts
of the first steamboat ever run in America were set up in the vestry of
an old church in Philadelphia by Fitch. McCormick began to make his
famous reaper in an old grist-mill. The first model dry-dock was made in
an attic. Clark, the founder of Clark University of Worcester, Mass.,
began his great fortune by making toy wagons in a horse-shed.

Opportunities? They crowd around us. Forces of nature plead to be used
in the service of man, as lightning for ages tried to attract his
attention to electricity, which would do his drudgery and leave him to
develop the God-given powers within him.

There is power lying latent everywhere, waiting for the observant eye to
discover it.

First find out what the people need and then supply that want. An
invention to make the smoke go the wrong way in a chimney might be a
very ingenious thing, but it would be of no use to humanity. The patent
office at Washington is full of wonderful devices, ingenious mechanism;
not one in hundreds is of earthly use to the inventor or to the world,
and yet how many families have been impoverished and have struggled for
years mid want and woe, while the father has been working on useless
inventions. These men did not study the wants of humanity. A. T.
Stewart, as a boy, lost eighty-seven cents when his capital was one
dollar and a half, in buying buttons and thread which people would not
purchase. After that he made it a rule never to buy anything which
people did not want.

The first thing a youth, entering the city to make his home there, needs
to do is to make himself a necessity to the person who employs him,
according to the Boston _Herald_. Whatever he may have been at home, it
counts for nothing until he has done something that makes known the
quality of the stuff that is in him. If he shirks work, however humble
it may be, the work will soon be inclined to shirk him. But the youth
who comes into a city to make his way in the world, and is not afraid of
doing his best whether he is paid for it or not, is not long in finding
remunerative employment. The people who seem so indifferent to employing
young people from the country are eagerly watching for the newcomers,
but they look for qualities of character and service in actual work
before they manifest confidence or give recognition. It is the youth who
is deserving that wins his way to the front, and when once he has been
tested his promotion is only a question of time. It is the same with
young women. There are seemingly no places for them where they can earn
a decent living, but the moment they fill their places worthily there is
room enough for them, and progress is rapid. What the city people desire
most is to find those who have ability to take important places, and the
question of gaining a position in the city resolves itself at once into
the question of what the young persons have brought with them from home.
It is the staying qualities that have been in-wrought from childhood
which are now in requisition, and the success of the boy or girl is
determined by the amount of energetic character that has been developed
in the early years at home. Take up the experience of every man or
woman who has made a mark in the city for the last hundred years, and it
has been the sterling qualities of the home training that have
constituted the success of later years.

Don't think you have no chance in life because you have no capital to
begin with. Most of the rich men of to-day began poor. The chances are
you would be ruined if you had capital. You can only use to advantage
what has become a part of yourself by your earning it. It is estimated
that not one rich man's son in ten thousand dies rich. God has given
every man a capital to start with; we are born rich. He is rich who has
good health, a sound body, good muscles; he is rich who has a good head,
a good disposition, a good heart; he is rich who has two good hands,
with five chances on each. Equipped? Every man is equipped as only God
could equip him. What a fortune he possesses in the marvelous mechanism
of his body and mind. It is individual effort that has accomplished
everything worth accomplishing in this world. Money to start with is
only a crutch, which, if any misfortune knocks it from under you, would
only make your fall all the more certain.



     There can be no doubt that the captains of industry to-day,
     using that term in its broadest sense, are men who began life
     as poor boys.
     --SETH LOW.

     Poverty is very terrible, and sometimes kills the very soul
     within us, but it is the north wind that lashes men into
     Vikings; it is the soft, luscious south wind which lulls them
     to lotus dreams.

     'Tis a common proof,
     That lowliness is young ambition's ladder

"Fifty years ago," said Hezekiah Conant, the millionaire manufacturer
and philanthropist of Pawtucket, R. I., "I persuaded my father to let me
leave my home in Dudley, Mass., and strike out for myself. So one
morning in May, 1845, the old farm horse and wagon was hitched up, and,
dressed in our Sunday clothes, father and I started for Worcester. Our
object was to get me the situation offered by an advertisement in the
Worcester County _Gazette_ as follows:


     WANTED IMMEDIATELY.--At the _Gazette_ Office, a well disposed
     boy, able to do heavy rolling. Worcester, May 7.

"The financial inducements were thirty dollars the first year,
thirty-five the next, and forty dollars the third year and board in the
employer's family. These conditions were accepted, and I began work the
next day. The _Gazette_ was an ordinary four-page sheet. I soon learned
what 'heavy rolling' meant for the paper was printed on a 'Washington'
hand-press, the edition of about 2000 copies requiring two laborious
intervals of about ten hours each, every week. The printing of the
outside was generally done Friday and kept me very busy all day. The
inside went to press about three or four o'clock Tuesday afternoon, and
it was after three o'clock on Wednesday morning before I could go to
bed, tired and lame from the heavy rolling. In addition, I also had the
laborious task of carrying a quantity of water from the pump behind the
block around to the entrance in front, and then up two flights of
stairs, usually a daily job. I was at first everybody's servant. I was
abused, called all sorts of nicknames, had to sweep out the office,
build fires in winter, run errands, post bills, carry papers, wait on
the editor, in fact I led the life of a genuine printer's devil; but
when I showed them at length that I had learned to set type and run the
press, I got promoted, and another boy was hired to succeed to my task,
with all its decorations. That was my first success, and from that day
to this I have never asked anybody to get me a job or situation, and
never used a letter of recommendation; but when an important job was in
prospect the proposed employers were given all facilities to learn of my
abilities and character. If some young men are easily discouraged, I
hope they may gain encouragement and strength from my story. It is a
long, rough road at first, but, like the ship on the ocean, you must lay
your course for the place where you hope to land, and take advantage of
all favoring circumstances."

"Don't go about the town any longer in that outlandish rig. Let me give
you an order on the store. Dress up a little, Horace." Horace Greeley
looked down on his clothes as if he had never before noticed how seedy
they were, and replied: "You see, Mr. Sterrett, my father is on a new
place, and I want to help him all I can." He had spent but six dollars
for personal expenses in seven months, and was to receive one hundred
and thirty-five from Judge J. M. Sterrett of the Erie _Gazette_ for
substitute work. He retained but fifteen dollars and gave the rest to
his father, with whom he had moved from Vermont to Western Pennsylvania,
and for whom he had camped out many a night to guard the sheep from
wolves. He was nearly twenty-one; and, although tall and gawky, with
tow-colored hair, a pale face and whining voice, he resolved to seek
his fortune in New York City. Slinging his bundle of clothes on a stick
over his shoulder, he walked sixty miles through the woods to Buffalo,
rode on a canal boat to Albany, descended the Hudson in a barge, and
reached New York, just as the sun was rising, August 18, 1831.

For days Horace wandered up and down the streets, going into scores of
buildings and asking if they wanted "a hand;" but "no" was the
invariable reply. His quaint appearance led many to think he was an
escaped apprentice. One Sunday at his boarding-place he heard that
printers were wanted at "West's Printing-office." He was at the door at
five o'clock Monday morning, and asked the foreman for a job at seven.
The latter had no idea that the country greenhorn could set type for the
Polyglot Testament on which help was needed, but said: "Fix up a case
for him and we'll see if he _can_ do anything." When the proprietor came
in, he objected to the newcomer and told the foreman to let him go when
his first day's work was done. That night Horace showed a proof of the
largest and most correct day's work that had then been done. In ten
years Horace was a partner in a small printing-office. He founded the
_New Yorker_, the best weekly paper in the United States, but it was not
profitable. When Harrison was nominated for President in 1840, Greeley
started _The Log Cabin_, which reached the then fabulous circulation of
ninety thousand. But on this paper at a penny a copy, he made no money.
His next venture was the New York _Tribune_, price one cent. To start it
he borrowed a thousand dollars and printed five thousand copies of the
first number. It was difficult to give them all away. He began with six
hundred subscribers, and increased the list to eleven thousand in six
weeks. The demand for the _Tribune_ grew faster than new machinery could
be obtained to print it. It was a paper whose editor always tried to be

At the World's Fair in New York in 1853 President Pierce might have been
seen watching a young man exhibiting a patent rat trap. He was attracted
by the enthusiasm and diligence of the young man, but never dreamed that
he would become one of the richest men in the world. It seemed like
small business for Jay Gould to be exhibiting a rat trap, but he did it
well and with enthusiasm. In fact he was bound to do it as well as it
could be done. Young Gould supported himself by odd jobs at surveying,
paying his way by erecting sundials for farmers at a dollar apiece,
frequently taking his pay in board. Thus he laid the foundation for the
business career in which he became so rich.

Fred. Douglass started in life with less than nothing, for he did not
own his own body, and he was pledged before his birth to pay his
master's debts. To reach the starting-point of the poorest white boy, he
had to climb as far as the distance which the latter must ascend if he
would become President of the United States. He saw his mother but two
or three times, and then in the night, when she would walk twelve miles
to be with him an hour, returning in time to go into the field at dawn.
He had no chance to study, for he had no teacher, and the rules of the
plantation forbade slaves to learn to read and write. But somehow,
unnoticed by his master, he managed to learn the alphabet from scraps of
paper and patent medicine almanacs, and no limits could then be placed
to his career. He put to shame thousands of white boys. He fled from
slavery at twenty-one, went North and worked as a stevedore in New York
and New Bedford. At Nantucket he was given an opportunity to speak in an
anti-slavery meeting, and made so favorable an impression that he was
made agent of the Anti-Slavery Society of Massachusetts. While traveling
from place to place to lecture, he would study with all his might. He
was sent to Europe to lecture, and won the friendship of several
Englishmen, who gave him $750, with which he purchased his freedom. He
edited a paper in Rochester, N. Y., and afterward conducted the _New
Era_ in Washington. For several years he was Marshal of the District of
Columbia. He became the first colored man in the United States, the peer
of any man in the country, and died honored by all in 1895.

"What has been done can be done again," said the boy with no chance who
became Lord Beaconsfield, England's great prime minister. "I am not a
slave, I am not a captive, and by energy I can overcome greater
obstacles." Jewish blood flowed in his veins, and everything seemed
against him, but he remembered the example of Joseph, who became prime
minister of Egypt four thousand years before, and that of Daniel, who
was prime minister to the greatest despot of the world five centuries
before the birth of Christ. He pushed his way up through the lower
classes, up through the middle classes, up through the upper classes,
until he stood a master, self-poised upon the topmost round of political
and social power. Rebuffed, scorned, ridiculed, hissed down in the House
of Commons, he simply said, "The time will come when you shall hear me."
The time did come, and the boy with no chance but a determined will,
swayed the sceptre of England for a quarter of a century.

"I learned grammar when I was a private soldier on the pay of sixpence a
day," said William Cobbett. "The edge of my berth, or that of the
guard-bed, was my seat to study in; my knapsack was my bookcase; a bit
of board lying on my lap was my writing table, and the task did not
demand anything like a year of my life. I had no money to purchase
candles or oil; in winter it was rarely that I could get any evening
light but that of the fire, and only my turn, even of that. To buy a pen
or a sheet of paper I was compelled to forego some portion of my food,
though in a state of half starvation. I had no moment of time that I
could call my own, and I had to read and write amidst the talking,
laughing, singing, whistling, and bawling of at least half a score of
the most thoughtless of men, and that, too, in the hours of their
freedom from all control. Think not lightly of the _farthing_ I had to
give, now and then, for pen, ink, or paper. That farthing was, alas! a
great sum to me. I was as tall as I am now, and I had great health and
great exercise. The whole of the money not expended for us at market was
_twopence a week_ for each man. I remember, and well I may! that upon
one occasion I had, after all absolutely necessary expenses, on a
Friday, made shift to have a half-penny in reserve, which I had destined
for the purchase of a red herring in the morning, but when I pulled off
my clothes at night, so hungry then as to be hardly able to endure life,
I found that I had lost my half-penny. I buried my head under the
miserable sheet and rug, and cried like a child.

"If I, under such circumstances, could encounter and overcome this
task," he added, "is there, can there be in the world, a youth to find
any excuse for its non-performance?"

"I have talked with great men," Lincoln told his fellow-clerk and
friend, Greene, according to _McClure's Magazine_, "and I do not see how
they differ from others."

He made up his mind to put himself before the public, and talked of his
plans to his friends. In order to keep in practice in speaking he walked
seven or eight miles to debating clubs. "Practicing polemics," was what
he called the exercise.

He seems now for the first time to have begun to study subjects. Grammar
was what he chose. He sought Mentor Graham, the schoolmaster, and asked
his advice.

"If you are going before the public," Mr. Graham told him, "you ought to
do it."

But where could he get a grammar? There was but one in the neighborhood,
Mr. Graham said, and that was six miles away.

Without waiting for more information the young man rose from the
breakfast-table, walked immediately to the place, borrowed this rare
copy of Kirkham's Grammar, and before night was deep in its mysteries.
From that time on for weeks he gave every moment of his leisure to
mastering the contents of the book. Frequently he asked his friend
Greene to "hold the book" while he recited, and when puzzled by a point
he would consult Mr. Graham.

Lincoln's eagerness to learn was such that the whole neighborhood became
interested. The Greenes lent him books, the schoolmaster kept him in
mind and helped him as he could, and even the village cooper let him
come into his shop and keep up a fire of shavings sufficiently bright to
read by at night. It was not long before the grammar was mastered.

"Well," Lincoln said to his fellow-clerk, Greene, "if that's what they
call science, I think I'll go at another."

He had made another discovery--that he could conquer subjects.

The poor and friendless lad, George Peabody, weary, footsore and hungry,
called at a tavern in Concord, N. H., and asked to be allowed to saw
wood for lodging and breakfast. Half a century later he called there
again, but then George Peabody was one of the greatest millionaire
bankers of the world. Bishop Fowler says: "It is one of the greatest
encouragements of our age, that ordinary men with extraordinary industry
reach the highest stations."

Greeley's father, because the boy tried to yoke the off ox on the near
side, said: "Ah! that boy will never get along in the world. He'll
never know enough to come in when it rains."

He was too poor to wear stockings. But Horace persevered, and became one
of the greatest editors of his century.

Handel's father hated music, and would not allow a musical instrument in
the house; but the boy with an aim secured a little spinet, hid it in
the attic, where he practiced every minute he could steal without
detection, until he surprised the great players and composers of Europe
by his wonderful knowledge of music. He was very practical in his work,
and studied the taste and sensitiveness of audiences until he knew
exactly what they wanted; then he would compose something to supply the
demand. He analyzed the effect of sounds and combinations of sounds upon
the senses, and wrote directly to human needs. His greatest work, "The
Messiah," was composed in Dublin for the benefit of poor debtors who
were imprisoned there. The influence of this masterpiece was tremendous.
It was said it out-preached the preacher, out-prayed prayers, reformed
the wayward, softened stony hearts, as it told the wonderful story of
redemption, in sound.

A. T. Stewart began life as a teacher in New York at $300 a year. He
soon resigned and began that career as a merchant in which he achieved a
success almost without precedent. Honesty, one price, cash on delivery,
and business on business principles were his invariable rules. Absolute
regularity and system reigned in every department. In fifty years he
made a fortune of from thirty to forty million dollars. He was nominated
as Secretary of the Treasury in 1869, but it was found that the law
forbids a merchant to occupy that position. He offered to resign, or to
give the entire profits of his business to the poor of New York as long
as he should remain in office. President Grant declined to accept such
an offer.

Poor Kepler struggled with constant anxieties, and told fortunes by
astrology for a livelihood, saying that astrology as the daughter of
astronomy ought to keep her mother; but fancy a man of science wasting
precious time over horoscopes. "I supplicate you," he writes to
Moestlin, "if there is a situation vacant at Tübingen, do what you can
to obtain it for me, and let me know the prices of bread and wine and
other necessaries of life, for my wife is not accustomed to live on
beans." He had to accept all sorts of jobs; he made almanacs, and served
anyone who would pay him.

Who could have predicted that the modest, gentle boy, Raphael, without
either riches or noted family, would have worked his way to such renown,
or that one of his pictures, but sixty-six and three-quarter inches
square (the Mother of Jesus), would be sold to the Empress of Russia,
for $66,000? His Ansedei Madonna, was bought by the National Gallery for
$350,000. Think of Michael Angelo working for six florins a month, and
eighteen years on St. Peter's for nothing!

Dr. Johnson was so afflicted with king's-evil that he lost the use of
one eye. The youth could not even engage in the pastimes of his mates,
as he could not see the gutter without bending his head down near the
street. He read and studied terribly. Finally a friend offered to send
him to Oxford, but he failed to keep his promise, and the boy had to
leave. He returned home, and soon afterward his father died insolvent.
He conquered adverse fortune and bodily infirmities with the fortitude
of a true hero.

Ichabod Washburn, a poor boy born near Plymouth Rock, was apprenticed to
a blacksmith in Worcester, Mass., and was so bashful that he scarcely
dared to eat in the presence of others; but he determined that he would
make the best wire in the world, and would contrive ways and means to
manufacture it in enormous quantities. At that time there was no good
wire made in the United States. One house in England had the monopoly of
making steel wire for pianos for more than a century. Young Washburn,
however, had grit, and was bound to succeed. His wire became the
standard everywhere. At one time he made 250,000 yards of iron wire
daily, consuming twelve tons of metal, and requiring the services of
seven hundred men. He amassed an immense fortune, of which he gave away
a large part during his life, and bequeathed the balance to charitable

John Jacob Astor left home at seventeen to acquire a fortune. His
capital consisted of two dollars, and three resolutions,--to be honest,
to be industrious and not to gamble. Two years later he reached New
York, and began work in a fur store at two dollars a week and his board.
Soon learning the details of the business, he began operations on his
own account. By giving personal attention to every purchase and sale,
roaming the woods to trade with the Indians, or crossing the Atlantic to
sell his furs at a great profit in England, he soon became the leading
fur dealer in the United States. His idea of what constitutes a fortune
expanded faster than his acquisitions. At fifty he owned millions; at
sixty his millions owned him. He invested in land, becoming in time the
richest owner of real estate in America. Generous to his family, he
seldom gave much for charity. He once subscribed fifty dollars for some
benevolent purpose, when one of the committee of solicitation said, "We
did hope for more, Mr. Astor. Your son gave us a hundred dollars." "Ah!"
chuckled the rich furrier, "William has a rich father. Mine was poor."

Elihu Burritt wrote in a diary kept at Worcester, whither he went to
enjoy its library privileges, such entries as these: "Monday, June 18,
headache, 40 pages Cuvier's 'Theory of the Earth,' 64 pages of French,
11 hours' forging. Tuesday, June 19, 60 lines Hebrew, 30 Danish, 10
lines Bohemian, 9 lines Polish, 15 names of stars, 10 hours' forging.
Wednesday, June 20, 25 lines Hebrew, 8 lines Syriac, 11 hours' forging."
He mastered eighteen languages and thirty-two dialects. He became
eminent as the "Learned Blacksmith," and for his noble work in the
service of humanity. Edward Everett said of the manner in which this boy
with no chance acquired great learning: "It is enough to make one who
has good opportunities for education hang his head in shame."

"I was born in poverty," said Vice-President Henry Wilson. "Want sat by
my cradle. I know what it is to ask a mother for bread when she has none
to give. I left my home at ten years of age, and served an
apprenticeship of eleven years, receiving a month's schooling each year,
and, at the end of eleven years of hard work, a yoke of oxen and six
sheep, which brought me eighty-four dollars. I never spent the sum of
one dollar for pleasure, counting every penny from the time I was born
till I was twenty-one years of age. I know what it is to travel weary
miles and ask my fellow-men to give me leave to toil. * * * In the
first month after I was twenty-one years of age, I went into the woods,
drove a team, and cut mill-logs. I rose in the morning before daylight
and worked hard till after dark, and received the magnificent sum of six
dollars for the month's work! Each of these dollars looked as large to
me as the moon looks to-night."

"Many a farmer's son," says Thurlow Weed, "has found the best
opportunities for mental improvement in his intervals of leisure while
tending 'sap-bush.' Such, at any rate, was my own experience. At night
you had only to feed the kettles and keep up the fires, the sap having
been gathered and the wood cut before dark. During the day we would
always lay in a good stock of 'fat-pine' by the light of which, blazing
bright before the sugar-house, in the posture the serpent was condemned
to assume, as a penalty for tempting our first grandmother, I passed
many a delightful night in reading. I remember in this way to have read
a history of the French Revolution, and to have obtained from it a
better and more enduring knowledge of its events and horrors and of the
actors in that great national tragedy, than I have received from all
subsequent reading. I remember also how happy I was in being able to
borrow the books of a Mr. Keyes after a two-mile tramp through the snow,
shoeless, my feet swaddled in remnants of rag carpet."

"That fellow will beat us all some day," said a merchant, speaking of
John Wanamaker and his close attention to his work. What a prediction to
make of a young man who started business with a little clothing in a
hand cart in the streets of Philadelphia. But this youth had _the
indomitable spirit of a conqueror in him_, and you could not keep him
down. General Grant said to George W. Childs, "Mr. Wanamaker could
command an army." His great energy, method, industry, economy, and high
moral principle, attracted President Harrison, who appointed him

Jacques Aristide Boucicault began his business life as an employé in a
dry goods house in a small provincial town in France. After a few years
he went to Paris, where he prospered so rapidly that in 1853 he became a
partner and later the sole proprietor of the Bon Marché, then only a
small shop, which became under his direction the most unique
establishment in the world. His idea was to establish a combined
philanthropic and commercial house on a large scale. Every one who
worked for him was advanced progressively, according to his length of
employment and the value of the services he rendered. He furnished free
tuition, free medical attendance, and a free library for employés; a
provident fund affording a small capital for males and a marriage
portion for females at the expiration of ten or fifteen years of
service; a free reading room for the public; and a free art gallery for
artists to exhibit their paintings or sculptures. After his sudden death
in 1877, his only son carried forward his father's projects until he,
too, died in 1879, when his widow, Marguerite Guerin, continued and
extended his business and beneficent plans until her death in 1887. So
well did this family lay the foundations of a building covering 108,000
square feet, with many accessory buildings of smaller size, and of a
business employing 3600 persons with sales amounting to nearly
$20,000,000 annually, that every department is still conducted with all
its former success in accordance with the instructions of the founders.
They are here no longer in their bodily presence, but their spirit,
their ideas, still pervade the vast establishment. Everything is still
sold at a small profit and at a price plainly marked, and any article
which may have ceased to please the purchaser can, without the slightest
difficulty, be exchanged or its value refunded.

When James Gordon Bennett was forty years old, he collected all his
property, three hundred dollars, and in a cellar with a board upon two
barrels for a desk, himself his own type setter, office boy, publisher,
newsboy, clerk, editor, proof-reader and printer's devil, he started the
New York _Herald_. In all his literary work up to this time he had
tried to imitate Franklin's style; and, as is the fate of all imitators,
he utterly failed.

He lost twenty years of his life trying to be somebody else. He first
showed the material he was made of in the "Salutatory," of the _Herald_,
viz., "Our only guide shall be good, sound and practical common-sense
applicable to the business and bosoms of men engaged in everyday life.
We shall support no party, be the organ of no faction or coterie, and
care nothing for any election or any candidate from President down to
constable. We shall endeavor to record facts upon every public and
proper subject stripped of verbiage and coloring, with comments when
suitable, just, independent, fearless and good-tempered."

Joseph Hunter was a carpenter, Robert Burns a ploughman, Keats a
druggist, Thomas Carlyle a mason, Hugh Miller a stone mason. Rubens, the
artist, was a page, Swedenborg, a mining engineer. Dante and Descartes
were soldiers. Ben Johnson was a brick layer and worked at building
Lincoln Inn in London with trowel in hand and a book in his pocket.
Jeremy Taylor was a barber. Andrew Johnson was a tailor. Cardinal Wolsey
was a butcher's son. So were Defoe and Kirke White. Michael Faraday was
the son of a blacksmith. He even excelled his teacher, Sir Humphry Davy,
who was an apprentice to an apothecary.

Virgil was the son of a porter, Homer of a farmer, Pope of a merchant,
Horace of a shopkeeper, Demosthenes of a cutler, Milton of a money
scrivener, Shakespeare of a wool stapler, and Oliver Cromwell of a

John Wanamaker's first salary was $1.25 per week. A. T. Stewart began
his business life as a school teacher. James Keene drove a milk wagon in
a California town. Joseph Pulitzer, proprietor of the New York _World_,
once acted as stoker on a Mississippi steamboat. When a young man, Cyrus
Field was a clerk in a New England store. George W. Childs was an errand
boy for a bookseller at $4 a month. Andrew Carnegie began work in a
Pittsburg telegraph office at $3 a week. C. P. Huntington sold butter
and eggs for what he could get a pound or dozen. Whitelaw Reid was once
a correspondent of a newspaper in Cincinnati at $5 per week. Adam
Forepaugh was once a butcher in Philadelphia.

Sarah Bernhardt was a dressmaker's apprentice. Adelaide Neilson began
life as a child's nurse. Miss Braddon, the novelist, was a utility
actress in the provinces. Charlotte Cushman was the daughter of poor

Mr. W. O. Stoddard, in his "Men of Business," tells a characteristic
story of the late Leland Stanford. When eighteen years of age his father
purchased a tract of woodland, but had not the means to clear it as he
wished. He told Leland that he could have all he could make from the
timber if he would leave the land clear of trees. A new market had just
then been created for cord wood, and Leland took some money that he had
saved, hired other choppers to help him, and sold over two thousand
cords of wood to the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad at a net profit of
$2600. He used this sum to start him in his law studies, and thus, as
Mr. Stoddard says, chopped his way to the bar.

It is said that the career of Benjamin Franklin is full of inspiration
for any young man. When he left school for good he was only twelve years
of age. At first he did little but read. He soon found, however, that
reading, alone, would not make him an educated man, and he proceeded to
act upon this discovery at once. At school he had been unable to
understand arithmetic. Twice he had given it up as a hopeless puzzle,
and finally left school almost hopelessly ignorant upon the subject. But
the printer's boy soon found his ignorance of figures extremely
inconvenient. When he was about fourteen he took up for the _third time_
the "_Cocker's Arithmetic_," _which had baffled him at school_, and
_ciphered all through it with ease and pleasure_. He then mastered a
work upon navigation, which included the rudiments of geometry, and thus
tasted "the inexhaustible charm of mathematics." He pursued a similar
course, we are told, in acquiring the art of composition, in which, at
length, he excelled most of the men of his time. When he was but a boy
of sixteen, he wrote so well that the pieces which he slyly sent to his
brother's paper were thought to have been written by some of the most
learned men in the colony.

Henry Clay, the "mill-boy of the slashes," was one of seven children of
a widow too poor to send him to any but a common country school, where
he was drilled only in the "three R's." But he used every spare moment
to study without a teacher, and in after years he was a king among
self-made men.

The most successful man is he who has triumphed over obstacles,
disadvantages and discouragements.

It is Goodyear in his rude laboratory enduring poverty and failure until
the pasty rubber is at length hardened; it is Edison biding his time in
baggage car and in printing office until that mysterious light and power
glows and throbs at his command; it is Carey on his cobbler's bench
nourishing the great purpose that at length carried the message of love
to benighted India;--these are the cases and examples of true success.



     The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be
     born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment
     and happiness.

     The art of putting the right man in the right place is perhaps
     the first in the science of government, but the art of finding
     a satisfactory position for the discontented is the most

     It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the
     misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order
     to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who
     now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share
     they are already possessed of, before that which would fall to
     them by such a division.

     I was born to other things.

     How many a rustic Milton has passed by,
     Stifling the speechless longings of his heart,
     In unremitting drudgery and care!
     How many a vulgar Cato has compelled
     His energies, no longer tameless then,
     To mould a pin, or fabricate a nail.

"But I'm good for something," pleaded a young man whom a merchant was
about to discharge for his bluntness. "You are good for nothing as a
salesman," said his employer. "I am sure I can be useful," said the
youth. "How? Tell me how." "I don't know, sir, I don't know." "Nor do
I," said the merchant, laughing at the earnestness of his clerk. "Only
don't put me away, sir, don't put me away. Try me at something besides
selling. I cannot sell; I know I cannot sell." "I know that, too," said
the principal; "that is what is wrong." "But I can make myself useful
somehow," persisted the young man; "I know I can." He was placed in the
counting-house, where his aptitude for figures soon showed itself, and
in a few years he became not only chief cashier in the large store, but
an eminent accountant.

"Out of an art," says Bulwer, "a man may be so trivial you would mistake
him for an imbecile--at best, a grown infant. Put him into his art, and
how high he soars above you! How quietly he enters into a heaven of
which he has become a denizen, and unlocking the gates with his golden
key, admits you to follow, an humble reverent visitor."

A man out of place is like a fish out of water. Its fins mean nothing,
they are only a hindrance. The fish can do nothing but flounder out of
its element. But as soon as the fins feel the water, they mean
something. Fifty-two per cent of our college graduates studied law, not
because, in many cases, they have the slightest natural aptitude for it,
but because it is put down as the proper road to promotion.

A man never grows in personal power and moral stamina when out of his
place. If he grows at all, it is a narrow, one-sided, stunted growth,
not a manly growth. Nature abhors the slightest perversion of natural
aptitude or deviation from the sealed orders which accompany every soul
into this world.

A man out of place is not half a man. He feels unmanned, unsexed. He
cannot respect himself, hence he cannot be respected.

You can enter all kinds of horses for a race, but only those which have
natural adaptation for speed will make records; the others will only
make themselves ridiculous by their lumbering, unnatural exertions to
win. How many truck and family-horse lawyers make themselves ridiculous
by trying to speed on the law track, where courts and juries only laugh
at them. The effort to redeem themselves from scorn may enable them by
unnatural exertions to become fairly passable, but the same efforts
along the line of their strength or adaptation would make them kings in
their line.

"Jonathan," said Mr. Chace, when his son told of having nearly fitted
himself for college, "thou shalt go down to the machine-shop on Monday
morning." It was many years before Jonathan escaped from the shop to
work his way up to the position of a man of great influence as a United
States Senator from Rhode Island.

Galileo was sent to the university at Pisa at seventeen, with the
strict injunction not to neglect medical subjects for the alluring study
of philosophy or literature. But when he was eighteen he discovered the
great principle of the pendulum by a lamp left swinging in the

John Adams' father was a shoemaker; and, trying to teach his son the
art, gave him some "uppers" to cut out by a pattern which had a
three-cornered hole in it to hang it up by. The future statesman
followed the pattern, hole and all.

There is a tradition that Tennyson's first poems were published at the
instigation of his father's coachman. His grandfather gave the lad ten
shillings for writing an elegy on his grandmother. As he handed it to
him, he said; "There, that's the first money you ever earned by your
poetry, and take my word for it, it will be the last."

Murillo's mother had marked her boy for a priest, but nature had already
laid her hand upon him and marked him for her own. His mother was
shocked on returning from church one day to find that the child had
taken down the sacred family picture, "Jesus and the Lamb," and had
painted his own hat on the Saviour's head, and had changed the lamb into
a dog.

The poor boy's home was broken up, and he started out on foot and alone
to seek his fortune. All he had was courage and determination to make
something of himself. He not only became a famous artist, but a man of
great character.

"Let us people who are so uncommonly clever and learned," says
Thackeray, "have a great tenderness and pity for the folks who are not
endowed with the prodigious talents which we have. I have always had a
regard for dunces,--those of my own school days were among the
pleasantest of the fellows, and have turned out by no means the dullest
in life; whereas, many a youth who could turn off Latin hexameters by
the yard, and construe Greek quite glibly, is no better than a feeble
prig now, with not a pennyworth more brains than were in his head before
his beard grew."

"In the winter of 1824, there set in a great flood upon the town of
Sidmouth, the tide rose to a terrible height. In the midst of this
sublime and terrible storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach,
was seen at the door of her house, with mop and pattens, trundling her
mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the
Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused. Mrs. Partington's spirit was
up: but I need not tell you the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean
beat Mrs. Partington. She was excellent at a slop or a puddle, but she
should not have meddled with a tempest."

How many Dame Partingtons there are of both sexes, and in every walk of

The young swan is restless and uneasy until she finds the element she
has never before seen. Then,

           "With archéd neck
     Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
     Her state with oary feet."

What a wretched failure was that of Haydon the painter. He thought he
failed through the world's ingratitude or injustice, but his failure was
due wholly to his being out of place. His bitter disappointments at his
half successes were really pitiable because to him they were more than
failures. He had not the slightest sense of color, yet went through life
under the delusion that he was an artist.

"If it is God's will to take any of my children by death, I hope it may
be Isaac," said the father of Dr. Isaac Barrow. "Why do you tell that
blockhead the same thing twenty times over?" asked John Wesley's father.
"Because," replied his mother, "if I had told him but nineteen times,
all my labor would have been lost, while now he will understand and

A man out of place may manage to get a living, but he has lost the
buoyancy, energy and enthusiasm which are as natural to a man in his
place as his breath. He is industrious, but he works mechanically and
without heart. It is to support himself and family, _not because he
cannot help it_. Dinner time does not come two hours before he realizes
it; a man out of place is constantly looking at his watch and thinking
of his salary.

If a man is in his place he is happy, joyous, cheerful, energetic,
fertile in resources. The days are all too short for him. All his
faculties give their consent to his work; say "yes" to his occupation.
He is a man; he respects himself and is happy because all his powers are
at play in their natural sphere. There is no compromising of his
faculties, no cramping of legal acumen upon the farm; no suppressing of
forensic oratorical powers at the shoemaker's bench; no stifling of
exuberance of physical strength, of visions of golden crops and blooded
cattle amid the loved country life in the dry clergyman's study,
composing sermons to put the congregation to sleep.

To be out of place is demoralizing to all the powers of manhood. We
can't cheat nature out of her aim; if she has set all the currents of
your life toward medicine or law, you will only be a botch at anything
else. Will-power and application cannot make a farmer of a born painter
any more than a lumbering draught horse can be changed into a race
horse. When the powers are not used along the line of their strength
they become demoralized, weakened, deteriorated. Self-respect,
enthusiasm and courage ooze out; we become half-hearted and success is

Scott was called the great blockhead while in Edinburgh College. Grant's
mother called the future General and President, "Useless Grant," because
he was so unhandy and dull.

Erskine had at length found his place as a lawyer; he carried everything
before him at the bar. Had he remained in the navy he would probably
never have been heard from. When elected to Parliament, his lofty spirit
was chilled by the cold sarcasm and contemptuous indifference of Pitt,
whom he was expected by his friends to annihilate. But he was again out
of his place; he was shorn of his magic power and his eloquent tongue
faltered from a consciousness of being out of his place.

Gould failed as a storekeeper, tanner and surveyor and civil engineer,
before he got into a railroad office where he "struck his gait."

When extracts from James Russell Lowell's poem at Harvard were shown his
father at Rome, instead of being pleased the latter said, "James
promised me when I left home, that he would give up poetry and stick to
books. I had hoped that he had become less flighty." The world is full
of people at war with their positions.

Man only grows when he is developing along the lines of his own
individuality, and not when he is trying to be somebody else. All
attempts to imitate another man, when there is no one like you in all
creation, as the pattern was broken when you were born, is not only to
ruin your own pattern, but to make only an echo of the one imitated.
There is no strength off the lines of our own individuality.

Anywhere else we are dwarfs, weaklings, echoes, and the echo even of a
great man is a sorry contrast to even the smallest human being who is



     No man ever made an ill-figure who understood his own talents,
     nor a good one who mistook them.

     Blessed is he who has found his work,--let him ask no other

     Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line
     of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will
     succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times
     worse than nothing.

     He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom,
     and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.

     I am glad to think
     I am not bound to make the world go round;
     But only to discover and to do,
     With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints.

"Do that which is assigned you," says Emerson, "and you cannot hope too
much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance
brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of
the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses or Dante, but different from all

"I felt that I was in the world to do something, and thought I must,"
said Whittier, thus giving the secret of his great power. It is the man
who must enter law, literature, medicine, the ministry, or any other of
the overstocked professions, who will succeed. His certain call--that
is, his love for it, and his fidelity to it--are the imperious factors
of his career. If a man enters a profession simply because his
grandfather made a great name in it, or his mother wants him to, with no
love or adaptability for it, it were far better for him to be a day
laborer. In the humbler work, his intelligence may make him a leader; in
the other career he might do as much harm as a boulder rolled from its
place upon a railroad track, a menace to the next express.

Lowell said: "It is the vain endeavor to make ourselves what we are not,
that has strewn history with so many broken purposes, and lives left in
the rough."

"The age has no aversion to preaching as such," said Phillips Brooks,
"it may not listen to your preaching." But though it may not listen to
your preaching, it will wear your boots, or buy your flour, or see stars
through your telescope. It has a use for every person, and it is his
business to find out what that use is.

The following advertisement appeared several times in a paper without
bringing a letter:

     "WANTED.--Situation by a Practical Printer, who is competent to
     take charge of any department in a printing and publishing
     house. Would accept a professorship in any of the academies.
     Has no objection to teach ornamental painting and penmanship,
     geometry, trigonometry, and many other sciences. Has had some
     experience as a lay preacher. Would have no objection to form a
     small class of young ladies and gentlemen to instruct them in
     the higher branches. To a dentist or chiropodist he would be
     invaluable; or he would cheerfully accept a position as bass or
     tenor singer in a choir."

At length there appeared this addition to the notice:

     "P.S. Will accept an offer to saw and split wood at less than
     the usual rates."

This secured a situation at once, and the advertisement was seen no

Don't wait for a higher position or a larger salary. Enlarge the
position you already occupy; put originality of method into it. Fill it
as it never was filled before. Be more prompt, more energetic, more
thorough, more polite than your predecessor or fellow-workmen. Study
your business, devise new modes of operation, be able to give your
employer points. The art lies not in giving satisfaction merely, not in
simply filling your place, but in doing better than was expected, in
surprising your employer; and the reward will be a better place and a
larger salary.

"He that hath a trade," says Franklin, "hath an estate; and he that hath
a calling hath a place of profit and honor. A ploughman on his legs is
higher than a gentleman on his knees."

_Follow your bent._ You cannot long fight successfully against your
aspirations. Parents, friends, or misfortune may stifle and suppress the
longings of the heart, by compelling you to perform unwelcome tasks;
but, like a volcano, the inner fire will burst the crusts which confine
it and pour forth its pent-up genius in eloquence, in song, in art, or
in some favorite industry. Beware of "a talent which you cannot hope to
practice in perfection." Nature hates all botched and half-finished
work, and will pronounce her curse upon it.

Your talent is your _call_. Your legitimate destiny speaks in your

If you have found your place, your occupation has the consent of every
faculty of your being.

If possible, choose that occupation which focuses the largest amount of
your experience and tastes. You will then not only have a congenial
vocation, but will utilize largely your skill and business knowledge,
which is your true capital.

There is no doubt that every person has a special adaptation for his own
peculiar part in life. A very few--the geniuses, we call them--have this
marked in an unusual degree, and very early in life.

A man's business does more to make him than anything else. It hardens
his muscles, strengthens his body, quickens his blood, sharpens his
mind, corrects his judgment, wakes up his inventive genius, puts his
wits to work, starts him on the race of life, arouses his ambition,
makes him feel that he is a man and must fill a man's shoes, do a man's
work, bear a man's part in life, and show himself a man in that part. No
man feels himself a man who is not doing a man's business. A man without
employment is not a man. He does not prove by his works that he is a
man. A hundred and fifty pounds of bone and muscle do not make a man. A
good cranium full of brains is not a man. The bone and muscle and brain
must know how to do a man's work, think a man's thoughts, mark out a
man's path, and bear a man's weight of character and duty before they
constitute a man.

Whatever you do in life, be greater than your calling. Most people look
upon an occupation or calling as a mere expedient for earning a living.
What a mean, narrow view to take of what was intended for the great
school of life, the great man-developer, the character-builder; that
which should broaden, deepen, heighten, and round out into symmetry,
harmony and beauty, all the God-given faculties within us! How we shrink
from the task and evade the lessons which were intended for the
unfolding of life's great possibilities into usefulness and power, as
the sun unfolds into beauty and fragrance the petals of the flower.

"Girls, you cheapen yourselves by lack of purpose in life," says Rena
L. Miner. "You show commendable zeal in pursuing your studies; your
alertness in comprehending and ability in surmounting difficult problems
have become proverbial; nine times out of ten you outrank your brothers
thus far; but when the end is attained, the goal reached, whether it be
the graduating certificate from a graded school, or a college diploma,
for nine out of every ten it might as well be added thereto, 'dead to
further activity,' or, 'sleeping until marriage shall resurrect her.'

"Crocheting, placquing, dressing, visiting, music, and flirtations, make
up the sum total for the expense and labor expended for your existence.
If forced to earn your support, you are content to stand behind a
counter, or teach school term after term in the same grade, while the
young men who graduated with you walk up the grades, as up a ladder, to
professorship and good salary, from which they swing off into law,
physics, or perhaps the legislative firmament, leaving difficulties and
obstacles like nebulæ in their wake.--You girls, satisfied with
mediocrity, have an eye mainly for the 'main chance'--marriage. If you
marry wealthy,--which is marrying well according to the modern popular
idea,--you dress more elegantly, cultivate more fashionable society,
leave your thinking for your husband and your minister to do for you,
and become in the economy of life but a sentient nonentity. If you are
true to the grand passion, and accept with it poverty, you bake, brew,
scrub, spank the children, and talk with your neighbor over the back
fence for recreation, spending the years literally like the horse in a
treadmill, all for the lack of a purpose,--a purpose sufficiently potent
to convert the latent talent into a gem of living beauty, a creative
force which makes all adjuncts secondary, like planets to their central
sun. Choose some one course or calling, and master it in all its
details, sleep by it, swear by it, work for it, and, if marriage crowns
you, it can but add new glory to your labor."

Dr. Hall says that the world has urgent need of "girls who are mother's
right hand; girls who can cuddle the little ones next best to mamma, and
smooth out the tangles in the domestic skein when things get twisted;
girls whom father takes comfort in for something better than beauty, and
the big brothers are proud of for something that outranks the ability to
dance or shine in society. Next, we want girls of sense,--girls who have
a standard of their own regardless of conventionalities, and are
independent enough to live up to it; girls who simply won't wear a
trailing dress on the street to gather up microbes and all sorts of
defilement; girls who don't wear a high hat to the theatre, or lacerate
their feet with high heels and endanger their health with corsets;
girls who will wear what is pretty and becoming and snap their fingers
at the dictates of fashion when fashion is horrid and silly. And we want
good girls,--girls who are sweet, right straight out from the heart to
the lips; innocent and pure and simple girls, with less knowledge of sin
and duplicity and evil-doing at twenty than the pert little schoolgirl
of ten has all too often. And we want careful girls and prudent girls,
who think enough of the generous father who toils to maintain them in
comfort, and of the gentle mother who denies herself much that they may
have so many pretty things, to count the cost and draw the line between
the essentials and non-essentials; girls who strive to save and not to
spend; girls who are unselfish and eager to be a joy and a comfort in
the home rather than an expense and a useless burden. We want girls with
hearts,--girls who are full of tenderness and sympathy, with tears that
flow for other people's ills, and smiles that light outward their own
beautiful thoughts. We have lots of clever girls, and brilliant girls,
and witty girls. Give us a consignment of jolly girls, warm-hearted and
impulsive girls; kind and entertaining to their own folks, and with
little desire to shine in the garish world. With a few such girls
scattered around, life would freshen up for all of us, as the weather
does under the spell of summer showers."



     The gods sell anything and to everybody at a fair price.

     All desire knowledge, but no one is willing to pay the price.

     There is no royal path which leads to geometry.

     There is no road to success but through a clear, strong
     purpose. A purpose underlies character, culture, position,
     attainment of whatever sort.
     --T. T. MUNGER.

     Remember you have not a sinew whose law of strength is not
     action; you have not a faculty of body, mind, or soul, whose
     law of improvement is not energy.
     --E. B. HALL.

     "We have but what we make, and every good
     Is locked by nature in a granite hand,
     Sheer labor must unclench."

"Oh, if I could thus put a dream on canvas!" exclaimed an enthusiastic
young artist, pointing to a most beautiful painting. "Dream on canvas!"
growled the master, "it is the ten thousand touches with the brush you
must learn to put on canvas that make your dream."

"There is but one method of attaining excellence," said Sydney Smith,
"and that is hard labor."

"If only Milton's imagination could have conceived his visions," says
Waters, "his consummate industry alone could have carved the immortal
lines which enshrine them. If only Newton's mind could reach out to the
secrets of nature, even his genius could only do it by the homeliest
toil. The works of Bacon are not midsummer-night's dreams, but, like
coral islands, they have risen from the depths of truth, and formed
their broad surfaces above the ocean by the minutest accretions of
persevering labor. The conceptions of Michael Angelo would have perished
like a night's phantasy, had not his industry given them permanence."

Salvini contributes the following to the _Century_ as to his habits of
study before he had established himself as a past master of tragedy: "I
imposed upon myself a new method of study. While I was busying myself
with the part of Saul, I read and reread the Bible, so as to become
impregnated with the appropriate sentiments, manners and local color.
When I took up Othello, I pored over the history of the Venetian
Republic and that of the Moorish invasion of Spain. I studied the
passions of the Moors, their art of war, their religious beliefs, nor
did I overlook the romance of Giraldi Cinthio, in order the better to
master that sublime character. I did not concern myself about a
superficial study of the words, or of some point of scenic effect, or of
greater or less accentuation of certain phrases with a view to win
passing applause; a vaster horizon opened out before me--an infinite sea
on which my bark could navigate in security, without fear of falling in
with reefs."

His method was not new, but he considered it so, and gives his opinion
in quotation-marks. He speaks of characters with which, his name is not
always associated by writers on the stage, but is correct, I think, in
the main.

Many years ago a little boy entered Harrow school and was put in a class
beyond his years, wherein all the other boys had the advantage of
previous instruction. His master used to reprove his dullness, but all
his efforts could not raise him from the lowest place in the class. The
boy finally procured the elementary books which the other boys had
studied. He devoted the hours of play and many of the hours of sleep to
mastering the elementary principles of these books. This boy was soon at
the head of his class and the pride of Harrow. The statue of that boy,
Sir William Jones, stands to-day in St. Paul's Cathedral; for he lived
to be the greatest Oriental scholar of Europe.

"What is the secret of success in business?" asked a friend of Cornelius
Vanderbilt. "Secret! there is no secret about it," replied the
commodore; "all you have to do is to attend to your business and go
ahead." If you would adopt Vanderbilt's method, know your business,
attend to it, and keep down expenses until your fortune is safe from
business perils.

"Work or starve," is nature's motto,--and it is written on the stars and
the sod alike,--starve mentally, starve morally, starve physically. It
is an inexorable law of nature that whatever is not used, dies. "Nothing
for nothing," is her maxim. If we are idle and shiftless by choice, we
shall be nerveless and powerless by necessity.

The mottoes of great men often give us glimpses of the secret of their
characters and success. "Work! work! work!" was the motto of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, David Wilkie, and scores of other men who have left their mark
upon the world. Voltaire's motto was "Toujours au travail" (always at
work). Scott's maxim was "Never be doing nothing." Michael Angelo was a
wonderful worker. He even slept in his clothes ready to spring to his
work as soon as he awoke. He kept a block of marble in his bedroom that
he might get up in the night and work when he could not sleep. His
favorite device was an old man in a go-cart, with an hour-glass upon it,
bearing this inscription: "Ancora imparo" (still I'm learning). Even
after he was blind he would ask to be wheeled into the Belvidere, to
examine the statues with his hands. Cobden used to say, "I'm working
like a horse without a moment to spare." It was said that Handel, the
musician, did the work of a dozen men. Nothing ever daunted him. He
feared neither ridicule nor defeat. Lord Palmerston worked like a slave,
even in his old age. Being asked when he considered a man in his prime,
he replied, "Seventy-nine," that being his own age. Humboldt was one of
the world's great workers. In summer he arose at four in the morning for
thirty years. He used to say work was as much of a necessity as eating
or sleeping. Sir Walter Scott was a phenomenal worker. He wrote the
"Waverley Novels" at the rate of twelve volumes a year. He averaged a
volume every two months during his whole working life. What an example
is this to the young men of to-day, of the possibilities of an earnest
life! Edmund Burke was one of the most prodigious workers that ever

George Stephenson used to work at meal time, getting out loads of coal
while the miners were at dinner in order that he might earn a few extra
shillings to buy a spelling-book and an arithmetic. His associates
thought he was very foolish, and asked him what good it would do to
learn to read and cipher. He told them he was determined to improve his
mind; so he studied whenever he could snatch a minute before the
engine's fire, and in every possible situation until he had a good,
practical, common-sense education.

Garibaldi's father decided that Guiseppe should be a minister, because
the boy was so sorry for a cricket which lost its leg. Samuel Morse's
father concluded that his son would preach well because he could not
keep his head above water in a dangerous attempt to catch bait in the
Mystic River. President Dwight told young Morse he would never make a
painter, and hinted that he never would amount to much any way if he did
not study more. Although under the teaching of West and Allston in
London, he became a tolerable portrait painter, he did not find his
sphere until returning from England on a sailing vessel, he heard
Professor Jackson explain an electrical experiment in Paris, when the
thought of the telegraph flashed into his mind and he found no rest,
until he flashed over the wire the first message, "What hath God
wrought!" on the experimental line between Baltimore and Washington:
this was May 24, 1844.

William H. Vanderbilt was by far the wealthiest man in the world.
Chauncey M. Depew estimated his fortune at two hundred millions. He left
his eight children ten millions each, except Cornelius and William K.,
who had sixty-five millions each. Commodore Vanderbilt, his father,
amassed a fortune of eighty millions of dollars in his own lifetime, and
that too at a time when it was more difficult to make money than it is

Mr. C. P. Huntington is a good example of a self-made man. His father
was a Connecticut farmer. The farm was left to him, but he traded it off
for a lot of clocks which he peddled in mining districts for gold dust
and nuggets. He and Mark Hopkins formed a partnership and opened a
hardware store in California. They united with Leland Stanford in the
construction of a railroad, and they all got rich rapidly. Mr.
Huntington is one of the greatest railroad operators of the country. He
always acted upon the principle that he would control the stock of any
road in which he was interested. He is one of the most methodical men of
all the millionaires of this country. He is very plain in his manner,
strictly temperate, and very abstemious in his living. He said he never
knew what it was to be tired.

Russell Sage used to keep a grocery store in Troy, N. Y. He finally
associated himself with Jay Gould, who used to be a constant borrower of
money of him. Mr. Sage probably keeps more ready money on hand than any
other millionaire. He can nearly always control ten millions or more at
call. He has never speculated in stocks to any extent. Mr. Sage's word
is as good as any bond. He has no taste for ordinary diversions, except

Philip D. Armour, who has the appearance of a prosperous farmer, was
born on a farm near Watertown, N. J. He became fired with a desire to
see the "Boundless West." His mind seemed to run to hogs, and with a
financial instinct he made up his mind that there was a fortune in
transporting the hogs from where they were so plenty to where there were
so few of them and so many to eat them. He could now purchase every hog
in the world and then have money left to buy a railroad or two.

Mrs. Hetty Green is probably the richest woman in the world. Her fortune
has grown from the little industry of her father in New Bedford, Mass.
She has raised the nine millions left her by her father and nine
millions left her by her aunt to thirty millions. She is a woman of
great ability and courage. She once took with her five millions of
dollars of securities in a satchel on a street car to deposit with her
banker on Wall street.

The probabilities are that billionaires will be as plentiful in the
twentieth century as millionaires are to-day, through hard work,
self-denial, rigid economy, method, accuracy, and strict temperance, for
not one of the self-made millionaires are intemperate. John D.
Rockefeller never tastes intoxicating liquor. He seems as unvarying in
his method and system as the laws of the universe. Jay Gould did not use
wine or intoxicating liquor of any kind. Mr. Huntington does not even
drink coffee, while William Waldorf Astor merely takes a sip of wine
for courtesy's sake. Not one of the leading millionaires uses tobacco,
and not one of them is profane. Very rich men are almost always honest
in their dealings, so far as their word is concerned. William Waldorf
Astor, until recently, has been considered the richest man in the world,
but John D. Rockefeller surpasses him now, it is said. The whole wealth
of Croesus was little more than the income of this modern Croesus
for one year. Mr. Rockefeller controls about eighty or ninety millions
of capital stock in the Standard Oil Trust. The Standard Oil Company is
one of the best managed corporations in the world.

Two centuries and a quarter ago, a little, tempest-tossed,
weather-beaten bark, barely escaped from the jaws of the wild Atlantic,
landed upon the bleakest shore of New England. From her deck disembarked
a hundred and one careworn exiles.

To the casual observer no event could seem more insignificant. The
contemptuous eye of the world scarcely deigned to notice it. Yet the
famous vessel that bore Cæsar and his fortunes, carried but an ignoble
freight compared with that of the Mayflower. Though landed by a
treacherous pilot upon a barren and inhospitable coast, they sought
neither richer fields nor a more congenial climate, but liberty and

A lady once asked Turner the secret of his great success.

"I have no secret, madam, but hard work."

"This is a secret that many never learn, and they don't succeed because
they fail to learn it. Labor is the genius that changes the world from
ugliness to beauty, and the great curse to a great blessing."

See Balzac, in his lonely garret, toiling, toiling, waiting, waiting,
amid poverty and hunger, but neither hunger, debt, poverty nor
discouragement could induce him to swerve a hair's breadth from his
purpose. He could wait, even while a world scoffed.

"Mankind is more indebted to industry than to ingenuity," says Addison;
"the gods set up their favors at a price and industry is the purchaser."

Rome was a mighty nation while industry led her people, but when her
great conquests of wealth and slaves placed her citizens above work,
that moment her glory began to fade, and vice and corruption, induced by
idleness, doomed the proud city to an ignominious history. Even Cicero,
Rome's great orator, said, "All artisans are engaged in a disgraceful
occupation;" and Aristotle said, "The best regulated states will not
permit a mechanic to be a citizen, for it is impossible for one who
lives the life of a mechanic, or hired servant, to practice a life of
virtue. Some were born to be slaves." But, fortunately there came a
mightier than Rome, Cicero or Aristotle, whose magnificent life and
example forever lifted the false ban from labor and redeemed it from
disgrace. He gave dignity to the most menial service, and significance
to labor.

Christ did not say, "Come unto me all ye pleasure hunters, ye indolent
and ye lazy;" but "Come all ye that _labor_ and are _heavy laden_."

Columbus was a persistent and practical, as well as an intellectual
hero. He went from one state to another, urging kings and emperors to
undertake the first visiting of a world which his instructed spirit
already discerned in the far-off seas. He first tried his own countrymen
at Genoa, but found none ready to help him. He then went to Portugal,
and submitted his project to John II., who laid it before his council.
It was scouted as extravagant and chimerical. Nevertheless, the king
endeavored to steal Columbus's idea. A fleet was sent forth in the
direction indicated by the navigator, but, being frustrated by storms
and winds, it returned to Lisbon after four days' voyaging.

Columbus returned to Genoa, and again renewed his propositions to the
Republic, but without success. Nothing discouraged him. The finding of
the New World was the irrevocable object of his life. He went to Spain,
and landed at the town of Palos, in Andalusia. He went by chance to a
convent of Franciscans, knocked at the door and asked for a little bread
and water. The prior gratefully received the stranger, entertained him,
and learned from him the story of his life. He encouraged him in his
hopes, and furnished him with an admission to the Court of Spain, then
at Cordova. King Ferdinand received him graciously, but before coming to
a decision he desired to lay the project before a council of his wisest
men at Salamanca. Columbus had to reply, not only to the scientific
arguments laid before him, but to citations from the Bible. The Spanish
clergy declared that the theory of the antipodes was hostile to the
faith. The earth, they said, was an immense flat disk; and if there was
a new earth beyond the ocean, then all men could not be descended from
Adam. _Columbus was considered a fool._

Still bent on his idea, he wrote to the King of England, then to the
King of France, without effect. At last, in 1492, Columbus was
introduced by Louis de Saint Angel to Queen Isabella of Spain. The
friends who accompanied him pleaded his cause with so much force and
conviction that he at length persuaded the queen to aid him.

Lord Ellenborough was a great worker. He had a very hard time in getting
a start at the bar, but was determined never to relax his industry until
success came to him. When he was worked down to absolute exhaustion, he
had this card which he kept constantly before his eyes, lest he might be
tempted to relax his efforts: "Read or Starve."

Show me a man who has made fifty thousand dollars, and I will show you
in that man an equivalent of energy, attention to detail,
trustworthiness, punctuality, professional knowledge, good address,
common sense, and other marketable qualities. The farmer respects his
savings bank book not unnaturally, for it declares with all the
solemnity of a sealed and stamped document that for a certain length of
time he rose at six o'clock each morning to oversee his labors, that he
patiently waited upon seasonable weather, that he understood buying and
selling. To the medical man, his fee serves as a medal to indicate that
he was brave enough to face small pox and other infectious diseases, and
his self-respect is fostered thereby.

The barrister's brief is marked with the price of his legal knowledge,
of his eloquence, or of his brave endurance during a period of
hope-deferred brieflessness.

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

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

Virgil seems to have accomplished about four lines a week; but then they
have lasted eighteen hundred years and will last eighteen hundred more.

Seven years Virgil is said to have expended in the composition of the
Georgics, and they could all be printed in about seven columns of an
ordinary newspaper. Tradition reports that he was in the habit of
composing a few lines in the morning and spending the rest of the day in
polishing them. Campbell used to say that if a poet made one good line a
week, he did very well indeed; but Moore thought that if a poet did his
duty, he could get a line done every day.

What an army of young men enters the success-contest every year as raw
recruits! Many of them are country youths flocking to the cities to buy
success. Their young ambitions have been excited by some book, or fired
by the story of some signal success, and they dream of becoming Astors
or Girards, Stewarts or Wanamakers, Vanderbilts or Goulds, Lincolns or
Garfields, until their innate energy impels them to try their own
fortune in the magic metropolis. But what are you willing to pay for
"success," as you call it, young man? Do you realize what that word
means in a great city in the nineteenth century, where men grow gray at
thirty and die of old age at forty,--where the race of life has become
so intense that the runners are treading on the heels of those before
them; and "woe to him who stops to tie his shoestring?" Do you know that
only two or three out of every hundred will ever win permanent success,
and only because they have kept everlastingly at it; and that the rest
will sooner or later fail and many die in poverty because they have
given up the struggle.

There are multitudes of men who never rely wholly upon themselves and
achieve independence. They are like summer vines, which never grow even
ligneous, but stretch out a thousand little hands to grasp the stronger
shrubs; and if they cannot reach them, they lie dishevelled in the
grass, hoof-trodden, and beaten of every storm. It will be found that
the first real movement upward will not take place until, in a spirit of
resolute self-denial, indolence, so natural to almost every one, is
mastered. Necessity is, usually, the spur that sets the sluggish
energies in motion. Poverty, therefore, is often of inestimable value as
an incentive to the best endeavors of which we are capable.



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

     How great soever a genius may be, ... certain it is that he
     will never shine in his full lustre, nor shed the full
     influence he is capable of, unless to his own experience he
     adds that of other men and other ages.

     It is for want of the little that human means must add to the
     wonderful capacity for improvement, born in man, that by far
     the greatest part of the intellect, innate in our race,
     perishes undeveloped and unknown.

     If any man fancies that there is some easier way of gaining a
     dollar than by squarely earning it, he has lost his clue to his
     way through this mortal labyrinth and must henceforth wander as
     chance may dictate.

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

     Learn to labor and to wait.

"What avails all this sturdiness?" asked an oak tree which had grown
solitary for two hundred years, bitterly handled by frosts and wrestled
by winds. "Why am I to stand here useless? My roots are anchored in
rifts of rocks; no herds can lie down under my shadow; I am far above
singing birds, that seldom come to rest among my leaves; I am set as a
mark for storms, that bend and tear me; my fruit is serviceable for no
appetite; it had been better for me to have been a mushroom, gathered in
the morning for some poor man's table, than to be a hundred-year oak,
good for nothing."

While it yet spoke, the axe was hewing at its base. It died in sadness,
saying as it fell, "Weary ages for nothing have I lived."

The axe completed its work. By and by the trunk and root form the knees
of a stately ship, bearing the country's flag around the world. Other
parts form keel and ribs of merchantmen, and having defied the mountain
storms, they now equally resist the thunder of the waves and the murky
threat of scowling hurricanes. Other parts are laid into floors, or
wrought into wainscoting, or carved for frames of noble pictures, or
fashioned into chairs that embosom the weakness of old age. Thus the
tree, in dying, came not to its end, but to its beginning of life. It
voyaged the world. It grew to parts of temples and dwellings. It held
upon its surface the soft tread of children and the tottering steps of
patriarchs. It rocked in the cradle. It swayed the limbs of age by the
chimney corner, and heard, secure within, the roar of those old,
unwearied tempests that once surged about its mountain life. All its
early struggles and hardships had enabled it to grow tough and hard and
beautiful of grain, alike useful and ornamental.

"Sir, you have been to college, I presume?" asked an illiterate but
boastful exhorter of a clergyman. "Yes, sir," was the reply. "I am
thankful," said the former, "that the Lord opened my mouth without any
learning." "A similar event," retorted the clergyman, "happened in
Balaam's time."

Why not allow the schoolboy to erase from his list of studies all
subjects that appear to him useless? Would he not erase every thing
which taxed his pleasure and freedom? Would he not obey the call of his
blood, rather than the advice of his teacher? Ignorant men who have made
money tell him that the study of geography is useless; his tea will come
over the sea to him whether he knows where China is or not; what
difference does it make whether verbs agree with their subjects or not?
Why waste time learning geometry or algebra? Who keeps accounts by
these? Learning spoils a man for business, they tell him; they begrudge
the time and money spent in education. They want cheap and rapid transit
through college for their children. Veneer will answer every practical
purpose for them, instead of solid mahogany, or even paint and pine will

It is said that the editors of the Dictionary of American Biography
who diligently searched the records of living and dead Americans, found
15,142 names worthy of a place in their six volumes of annals of
successful men, and 5326, or more than one-third of them, were
college-educated men. One in forty of the college educated attained a
success worthy of mention, and but one in 10,000 of those not so
educated; so that the college-bred man had two hundred and fifty times
the chances for success that others had. Medical records, it is said,
show that but five per cent. of the practicing physicians of the United
States are college graduates; and yet forty-six per cent. of the
physicians who became locally famous enough to be mentioned by those
editors came from that small five per cent. of college educated persons.
Less than four per cent. of the lawyers were college-bred, yet they
furnished more than one-half of all who became successful. Not one per
cent. of the business men of the country were college educated, yet that
small fraction of college-bred men had seventeen times the chances of
success that their fellow men of business had. In brief, the
college-educated lawyer has fifty per cent. more chances for success
than those not so favored; the college-educated physician, forty-six per
cent. more; the author, thirty-seven per cent. more; the statesman,
thirty-three per cent.; the clergyman, fifty-eight per cent.; the
educator, sixty-one per cent.; the scientist, sixty-three per cent. You
should therefore get the best and most complete education that it is
possible for you to obtain.

Knowledge, then, is one of the secret keys which unlock the hidden
mysteries of a successful life.

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

"You are a fool to stick so close to your work all the time," said one
of Vanderbilt's young friends; "we are having our fun while we are
young, for when will we if not now?" But Cornelius was either earning
more money by working overtime, or saving what he had earned, or at home
asleep, recruiting for the next day's labor and preparing for a large
harvest later. Like all successful men, he made finance a study. When he
entered the railroad business, it was estimated that his fortune was
thirty-five or forty million dollars.

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

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

"On to Berlin," was the shout of the French army in July, 1870; but, to
the astonishment of the world, the French forces were cut in two and
rolled as by a tidal wave into Metz and around Sedan. Soon two French
armies and the Emperor surrendered, and German troopers paraded the
streets of captured Paris.

But as men thought it out, as Professor Wells tells us, they came to see
that it was not France that was beaten, but only Louis Napoleon and a
lot of nobles, influential only because they bore titles or were
favorites. Louis Napoleon, the feeble bearer of a great name, was
emperor because of that name and criminal daring. By a series of happy
accidents he had gained credit in the Crimean War, and at Magenta and
Solferino. But the unmasking time came in the Franco-Prussian War, as it
always comes when sham, artificial toy-men meet genuine self-made men.
And such were the German leaders,--William, strong, upright, warlike,
"every inch a king;" Von Roon, Minister of War, a master of
administrative detail; Bismarck, the master mind of European politics;
and, above all, Von Moltke, chief of staff, who hurled armies by
telegraph, as he sat at his cabinet, as easily as a master moves
chessmen against a stupid opponent.

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

"A rare man this Von Moltke!" exclaims Professor Wells; "one who made
himself ready for his opportunities beyond all men known to the modern
world. Of an impoverished family, he rose very slowly and by his own
merit. He yielded to no temptation, vice, or dishonesty, of course, nor
to the greater and ever present temptation to idleness, for he
constantly worked to the limit of human endurance. He was ready for
every emergency, not by accident, but because he made himself ready by
painstaking labor, before the opportunity came. His favorite motto was,
'_Help yourself and others will help you_.' Hundreds of his age in the
Prussian army were of nobler birth, thousands of greater fortune, but he
made himself superior to them all by extraordinary fidelity and

"The greatest master of strategy the world has ever seen was sixty-six
years at school to himself before he was ready for his task. Though born
with the century, and an army officer at nineteen, he was an old man
when, in 1866, as Prussian chief of staff, he crushed Austria at Sadowa
and drove her out of Germany. Four years later the silent, modest
soldier of seventy, ready for the still greater opportunity, smote
France, and changed the map of Europe. Glory and the field-marshal's
baton, after fifty-one years of hard work! No wonder Louis Napoleon was
beaten by such men as he. All Louis Napoleons have been, and always will
be. Opportunity always finds out frauds. It does not make men, but shows
the world what they have made of themselves."

Sir Henry Havelock joined the army of India in his twenty-eighth year,
and waited till he was sixty-two for the opportunity to show himself
fitted to command and skillful to plan. During those four and thirty
years of waiting, he was busy preparing himself for that march to
Lucknow which was to make him famous as a soldier.


     "The viking of our western clime
     Who made his mast a throne,"

began his naval career as a mere boy, and was sixty-four years old
before he had an opportunity to distinguish himself; but when the great
test of his life came, the reserve of half a century's preparation made
him master of the situation.

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

"Fill up the cask! fill up the cask!" said old Dr. Bellamy when asked by
a young clergyman for advice about the composition of sermons. "Fill up
the cask! and then if you tap it anywhere you will get a good stream.
But if you put in but little, it will dribble, dribble, dribble, and
you must tap, tap, tap, and then you get but a small stream, after all."

"The merchant is in a dangerous position," says Dr. W. W. Patton, "whose
means are in goods trusted out all over the country on long credits, and
who in an emergency has no money in the bank upon which to draw. A heavy
deposit, subject to a sight-draft, is the only position of strength. And
he only is intellectually strong, who has made heavy deposits in the
bank of memory, and can draw upon his faculties at any time, according
to the necessities of the case."

They say that more life, if not more labor, was spent on the piles
beneath the St. Petersburg church of St. Isaac's, to get a foundation,
than on all the magnificent marbles and malachite which have since been
lodged in it.

Fifty feet of Bunker Hill Monument is under ground, unseen, and
unappreciated by the thousands who tread about that historic shaft. The
rivers of India run under ground, unseen, unheard, by the millions who
tramp above, but are they therefore lost? Ask the golden harvest waving
above them if it feels the water flowing beneath? The superstructure of
a lifetime cannot stand upon the foundation of a day.

C. H. Parkhurst says that in manhood, as much as in house-building, the
foundation keeps asserting itself all the way from the first floor to
the roof. The stones laid in the underpinning may be coarse and
inelegant, but, even so, each such stone perpetuates itself in silent
echo clear up through to the finial. The body is in that respect like an
old Stradivarius violin, the ineffable sweetness of whose music is
outcome and quotation from the coarse fibre of the case upon which its
strings are strung. It is a very pleasant delusion that what we call the
higher qualities and energies of a person maintain that self-centered
kind of existence that enables them to discard and contemn all
dependence upon what is lower and less refined than themselves, but it
is a delusion that always wilts in an atmosphere of fact. Climb high as
we like our ladder will still require to rest on the ground; and it is
probable that the keenest intellectual intuition, and the most delicate
throb of passion would, if analysis could be carried so far, be
discovered to have its connections with the rather material affair that
we know as the body.

Lincoln took the postmastership for the sake of reading all the papers
that came to town. He read everything he could lay his hands on; the
Bible, Shakespeare, Pilgrim's Progress, Life of Washington and Life of
Franklin, Life of Henry Clay, Æsop's Fables; he read them over and over
again until he could almost repeat them by heart; but he never read a
novel in his life. His education came from the newspapers and from his
contact with men and things. After he read a book he would write out an
analysis of it. What a grand sight to see this long, lank, backwoods
student, lying before the fire in a log cabin without floor or windows,
after everybody else was abed, devouring books he had borrowed but could
not afford to buy!

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

It is better to deserve success than to merely have it; few deserve it
who do not attain it. There is no failure in this country for those
whose personal habits are good, and who follow some honest calling
industriously, unselfishly, and purely. If one desires to succeed, he
must pay the price, work.

No matter how weak a power may be, rational use will make it stronger.
No matter how awkward your movements may be, how obtuse your senses, or
how crude your thought, or how unregulated your desires, you may by
patient discipline acquire, slowly indeed but with infallible certainty,
grace and freedom of action, clearness and acuteness of perception,
strength and precision of thought, and moderation of desire.

It would go very far to destroy the absurd and pernicious association of
genius and idleness, to show that the greatest poets, orators,
statesmen, and historians--men of the most imposing and brilliant
talents--have actually labored as hard as the makers of dictionaries and
arrangers of indexes; and the most obvious reason why they have been
superior to other men, is, that they have taken more pains.

Even the great genius, Lord Bacon, left large quantities of material
entitled "Sudden thoughts set down for use." John Foster was an
indefatigable worker. "He used to hack, split, twist, and pull up by the
roots, or practice any other severity on whatever did not please him."
Chalmers was asked in London what Foster was doing. "Hard at it" he
said, "at the rate of a line a week."

When a young lawyer, Daniel Webster once looked in vain through all the
libraries near him, and then ordered at an expense of $50 the necessary
books, to obtain authorities and precedents in a case in which his
client was a poor blacksmith. He won his case, but, on account of the
poverty of his client, only charged $15, thus losing heavily on the
books bought, to say nothing of his time. Years after, as he was passing
through New York city, he was consulted by Aaron Burr on an important
but puzzling case then pending before the Supreme Court. Webster saw in
a moment that it was just like the blacksmith's case, an intricate
question of title, which he had solved so thoroughly that it was to him
simple as the multiplication table. Going back to the time of Charles
II., he gave the law and precedents involved with such readiness and
accuracy of sequence that Burr asked, in great surprise: "Mr. Webster,
have you been consulted before in this case?"

"Most certainly not. I never heard of your case till this evening."

"Very well," said Burr, "proceed." And when he had finished, Webster
received a fee that paid him liberally for all the time and trouble he
had spent for his early client.

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

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



     Nature, when she adds difficulties, adds brains.

     Exigencies create the necessary ability to meet and conquer

     Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous

     The rugged metal of the mine
     Must burn before its surface shine.

     When a man looks through a tear in his own eye, that is a lens
     which opens reaches in the unknown, and reveals orbs no
     telescope could do.

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

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

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

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

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

"Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better
things," said Beecher. "Far up the mountain side lies a block of
granite, and says to itself, 'How happy am I in my serenity--above the
winds, above the trees, almost above the flight of birds! Here I rest,
age after age, and nothing disturbs me.'

"Yet what is it? It is only a bare block of granite, jutting out of the
cliff, and its happiness is the happiness of death.

"By and by comes the miner, and with strong and repeated strokes he
drills a hole in its top, and the rock says, 'What does this mean?' Then
the black powder is poured in, and with a blast that makes the mountain
echo, the block is blown asunder, and goes crashing down into the
valley. 'Ah!' it exclaims as it falls, 'why this rending?' Then come
saws to cut and fashion it; and humbled now, and willing to be nothing,
it is borne away from the mountain and conveyed to the city. Now it is
chiseled and polished, till, at length, finished in beauty, by block and
tackle it is raised, with mighty hoistings, high in air, to be the
top-stone on some monument of the country's glory."

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

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

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

There is a beautiful tale of Scandinavian mythology. A hero, under the
promise of becoming a demi-god, is bidden in the celestial halls to
perform three test-acts of prowess. He is to drain the drinking-horn of
Thor. Then he must run a race with a courser so fleet that he fairly
spurns the ground under his flying footsteps. Then he must wrestle with
a toothless old woman, whose sinewy hands, as wiry as eagle claws in the
grapple, make his very flesh to quiver. He is victorious in them all.
But as the crown of success is placed upon his temples, he discovers for
the first time that he has had for his antagonist the three greatest
forces of nature. He raced with thought, he wrestled with old age, he
drank the sea. Nature, like the God of nature, wrestles with us as a
friend, not an enemy, wanting us to gain the victory, and wrestles with
us that we may understand and enjoy her best blessings. Every greatest
and highest earthly good has come to us unfolded and enriched by this
terrible wrestling with nature.

A curious society still exists in Paris composed of dramatic authors who
meet once a month and dine together. Their number has no fixed limit,
only every member to be eligible must have been hissed. An eminent
dramatist is selected for chairman and holds the post for three months.
His election generally follows close upon a splendid failure. Some of
the world-famous ones have enjoyed this honor. Dumas, Jr., Zola and
Offenbach have all filled the chair and presided at the monthly dinner.
These dinners are given on the last Friday of the month, and are said to
be extraordinarily hilarious.

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

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

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

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

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

Strong characters, like the palm tree, seem to thrive best when most
abused. Men who have stood up bravely under great misfortune for years
are often unable to bear prosperity. Their good fortune takes the spring
out of their energy, as the torrid zone enervates races accustomed to a
vigorous climate. Some people never come to themselves until baffled,
rebuffed, thwarted, defeated, crushed, in the opinion of those around
them. Trials unlock their virtues; defeat is the threshold of their

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

"What is defeat?" asked Wendell Phillips. "Nothing but education." And a
life's disaster may become the landmark from which there has begun a new
era, a broader life for man.

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

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

"Obstacles," says Mitchell, "are great incentives. I lived for whole
years upon Virgil and found myself well off." Poverty, Horace tells us,
drove him to poetry.

Nothing more unmans a man than to take away from him the spur of
necessity, which urges him onward and upward to the goal of his
ambition. Man is naturally lazy, and wealth induces indolence. The great
object of life is development, the unfolding and drawing out of our
powers, and whatever tempts us to a life of indolence or inaction, or to
seek pleasure merely, whatever furnishes us a crutch when we can develop
our muscles better by walking, all helps, guides, props, whatever tempts
to a life of inaction, in whatever guise it may come, is a curse. I
always pity the boy or girl with inherited wealth, for the temptation to
hide their talents in a napkin, undeveloped, is very, very great. It is
not natural for them to walk when they can ride, to go alone when they
can be helped.

Quentin Matsys was a blacksmith at Antwerp. When in his twentieth year
he wished to marry the daughter of a painter. The father refused his
consent. "Wert thou a painter," said he, "she should be thine; but a
blacksmith--never!" "_I will be_ a painter," said the young man. He
applied to his new art with so much perseverance that in a short time he
produced pictures which gave a promise of the highest excellence. He
gained for his reward the fair hand for which he sighed, and rose ere
long to a high rank in his profession.

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

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

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

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

The athlete does not carry the gymnasium away with him, but he carries
the skill and muscle which give him his reputation.

The lessons you learn at school will give you strength and skill in
after life, and power, just in proportion to the accuracy, the clearness
of perception with which you learn your lessons. The school was your
gymnasium. You do not carry away the Greek and Latin text-books, the
geometry and algebra into your occupations any more than the athlete
carries the apparatus of the gymnasium, but you carry away the skill and
the power if you have been painstaking, accurate and faithful.

"It is in me, and it _shall_ come out!" And it did. For Richard
Brinsley Sheridan became the most brilliant, eloquent and amazing
statesman of his day. Yet if his first efforts had been but moderately
successful, he might have been content with mere mediocrity. It was his
defeats that nerved him to strive for eminence and win it. But it took
hard, persistent work in his case to secure it, just as it did in that
of so many others.

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

Where the sky is gray and the climate unkindly, where the soil yields
nothing save to the diligent hand, and life itself cannot be supported
without incessant toil, man has reached his highest range of physical
and intellectual development.

The most beautiful and the strongest animals, as a rule, have come from
the same narrow belt of latitude which has produced the heroes of the

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

The law of adaptation by which conditions affect an organism is simple
and well known. It is that which callouses the palm of the oarsman,
strengthens the waist of the wrestler, fits the back to its burden. It
inexorably compels the organism to adapt itself to its conditions, to
like them, and so to survive them.

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

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

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

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

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

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



     It is the live coal that kindles others, not the dead. What
     made Demosthenes the greatest of all orators was that he
     appeared the most entirely possessed by the feelings he wished
     to inspire. The effect produced by Charles Fox, who by the
     exaggerations of party spirit, was often compared to
     Demosthenes, seems to have arisen wholly from this earnestness,
     which made up for the want of almost every grace, both of
     manner and style.

     Twelve poor men taken out of boats and creeks, without any help
     of learning, should conquer the world to the cross.

     For his heart was in his work, and the heart
     Giveth grace unto every art.

     He did it with all his heart and prospered.

     The only conclusive evidence of a man's sincerity is that he
     gives himself for a principle. Words, money, all things else
     are comparatively easy to give away; but when a man makes a
     gift of his daily life and practice, it is plain that the
     truth, whatever it may be, has taken possession of him.

"The emotions," says Whipple, "may all be included in the single word
'enthusiasm,' or that impulsive force which liberates the mental power
from the ice of timidity as spring loosens the streams from the grasp
of winter, and sends them forth in a rejoicing rush. The mind of youth,
when impelled by this original strength and enthusiasm of Nature, is
keen, eager, inquisitive, intense, audacious, rapidly assimilating facts
into faculties and knowledge into power, and above all teeming with that
joyous fullness of creative life which radiates thoughts as
inspirations, and magnetizes as well as informs."

"Columbus, my hero," exclaims Carlyle, "royalist sea-king of all! It is
no friendly environment this of thine, in the waste, deep waters; around
thee mutinous discouraged souls, behind thee disgrace and ruin, before
thee the unpenetrated veil of night. Brother, these wild
water-mountains, bounding from their deep bases (ten miles deep, I am
told), are not there on thy behalf! Meseems _they_ have other work than
floating thee forward:--and the huge winds, that sweep from Ursa Major
to the tropics and equator, dancing their giant-waltz through the
kingdoms of chaos and immensity, they care little about filling rightly
or filling wrongly the small shoulder-of-mutton sails in this cockle
skiff of thine! Thou art not among articulate-speaking friends, my
brother; thou art among immeasurable dumb monsters, tumbling, howling
wide as the world here. Secret, far-off, invisible to all hearts but
thine, there lies a help in them: see how thou wilt get at that.
Patiently thou wilt wait till the mad southwester spend itself, saving
thyself by dexterous science of defence the while: valiantly, with swift
decision, wilt thou strike in, when the favoring east wind, the
possible, springs up. Mutiny of men thou wilt sternly repress; weakness,
despondency, thou wilt cheerily encourage: thou wilt swallow down
complaint, unreason, weariness, weakness of others and thyself;--how
much wilt thou swallow down? There shall be a depth of silence in thee,
deeper than this sea, which is but ten miles deep: a silence
unsoundable; known to God only. Thou shalt be a great man. Yes, my
world-soldier, thou of the world marine-service,--thou wilt have to be
greater than this tumultuous unmeasured world here round thee is: thou,
in thy strong soul, as with wrestler's arms, shall embrace it, harness
it down; and make it bear thee on,--to new Americas, or whither God

With what concentration of purpose did Washington put the whole weight
of his character into the scales of our cause in the Revolution! With
what earnest singleness of aim did Lincoln in the cabinet, Grant in the
field, throw his whole soul into the contest of our civil war?

The power of Phillips Brooks, at which men wondered, lay in his
tremendous earnestness.

"No matter what your work is," says Emerson, "let it be yours; no matter
if you are a tinker or preacher, blacksmith or president, let what you
are doing be organic, let it be in your bones, and you open the door by
which the affluence of heaven and earth shall stream into you." Again,
he says: "God will not have His works made manifest by cowards. A man is
relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his
best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace.
It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt, his genius
deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope."

"I do not know how it is with others when speaking on an important
question," said Henry Clay; "but on such occasions I seem to be
unconscious of the external world. Wholly engrossed by the subject
before me, I lose all sense of personal identity, of time, or of
surrounding objects."

"I have been so busy for twenty years trying to save the souls of other
people," said Livingstone, "that I had forgotten that I have one of my
own until a savage auditor asked me if I felt the influence of the
religion I was advocating."

"Well, I've worked hard enough for it," said Malibran when a critic
expressed his admiration of her D in alt, reached by running up three
octaves from low D; "I've been chasing it for a month. I pursued it
everywhere,--when I was dressing, when I was doing my hair; and at last
I found it on the toe of a shoe that I was putting on."

"People smile at the enthusiasm of youth," said Charles Kingsley; "that
enthusiasm which they themselves secretly look back at with a sigh,
perhaps unconscious that it is partly their own fault that they ever
lost it."

"Should I die this minute," said Nelson at an important crisis, "want of
frigates would be found written on my heart."

Said Dr. Arnold, the celebrated instructor: "I feel more and more the
need of intercourse with men who take life in earnest. It is painful to
me to be always on the surface of things. Not that I wish for much of
what is called religious conversation. That is often apt to be on the
surface. But I want a sign which one catches by a sort of masonry, that
a man knows what he is about in life. When I find this it opens my heart
with as fresh a sympathy as when I was twenty years younger."

Archimedes, the greatest geometer of antiquity, was consulted by the
king in regard to a gold crown suspected of being fraudulently alloyed
with silver. While considering the best method of detecting any fraud,
he plunged into a full bathing tub; and, with the thought that the water
that overflowed must be equal in weight to his body, he discovered the
method of obtaining the bulk of the crown compared with an equally
heavy mass of pure gold. Excited by the discovery, he ran through the
streets undressed, crying, "I have found it."

Equally celebrated is his remark, "Give me where to stand and I will
move the world."

His only remark to the Roman soldier who entered his room while engaged
in geometrical study, was, "Don't step on my circle."

Refusing to follow the soldier to Marcellus, who had captured the city,
he was killed on the spot. He is said to have remarked, "My head, but
not my circle."

"Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world," says
Emerson, "is the triumph of some enthusiasm. The victories of the Arabs
after Mahomet, who, in a few years, from a small and mean beginning,
established a larger empire than that of Rome, is an example. They did
they knew not what. The naked Derar, horsed on an idea, was found an
overmatch for a troop of cavalry. The women fought like men and
conquered the Roman men. They were miserably equipped, miserably fed.
They were temperance troops. There was neither brandy nor flesh needed
to feed them. They conquered Asia and Africa and Spain on barley. The
Caliph Omar's walking-stick struck more terror into those who saw it
than another man's sword."

Horace Vernet's enthusiasm and devotion to the one idea of his life knew
no bounds. He had himself lashed to the mast in a terrible gale on the
Mediterranean when all others on board were seized with terror, and with
great delight sketched the towering waves which threatened every minute
to swallow the vessel. Several writers tell the story that a great
artist, Giotto, about to paint the crucifixion, induced a poor man to
let him bind him upon a cross in order that he might get a better idea
of the terrible scene that he was about to put upon the canvas. He
promised faithfully that he would release his model in an hour, but to
the latter's horror the painter seized a dagger and plunged it into his
heart; and, while the blood was streaming from the ghastly wound,
painted his death agony.

Beecher was a very dull boy and was the last member of the family of
whom anything was expected. He had a weak memory, and disliked study. He
shunned society and wanted to go to sea. Even when he went to college
many of his classmates stood ahead of him, who have fallen into
oblivion. But when he was converted his whole life changed: he was full
of enthusiasm, hopefulness and zeal. Nothing was too menial for him to
undertake to carry his purpose. He chopped wood, built the fire in his
little church in Lawrenceburg, Ind., of only eighteen members, cleaned
the lamps, swept the floor and washed the windows. He built the fire,
baked, washed, when his wife was ill. The pent-up enthusiasm of his
ambitious life burst the barriers of his inhospitable surroundings until
he blossomed out into America's greatest pulpit orator.

When Handel was a little boy he bought a clavichord, hid it in the
attic, and went there at night to play upon it, muffling the strings
with small pieces of fine woolen cloth so that the sounds should not
wake the family. Michael Angelo neglected school to copy drawings which
he dared not carry home. Murillo filled the margin of his school-book
with drawings. Dryden read Polybius before he was ten years old. Le
Brum, when a boy, drew with a piece of charcoal on the walls of the
house. Pope wrote excellent verses at fourteen. Blaise Pascal, the
French mathematician, composed at sixteen a tract on the conic sections.

Professor Agassiz was so enthusiastic in his work and so loved the
fishes, the fowl and the cattle that it is said these creatures would
die for him to give him their skeletons. His father wanted him to fit
for commercial life, but the fish haunted him day and night.

Confucius said that "he was so eager in the pursuit of knowledge that he
forgot his food;" and that, "in the joy of its attainment, he forgot his
sorrows;" and that "he did not even perceive that old age was coming

"That boy tries to make himself useful," said an employer of the errand
boy, George W. Childs. It is this trying to be useful and helpful that
promotes us in life.

Once, when Mr. Harvey, an accomplished mathematician, was in a
bookseller's shop, he saw a poor lad of mean appearance enter and write
something on a slip of paper and give it to the proprietor. On inquiry
he found this was a poor deaf boy, Kitto, who afterward became one of
the most noted Biblical scholars in the world, and who wrote his first
book in the poor-house. He had come to borrow a book. When a lad he had
fallen backward from a ladder thirty-five feet upon the pavement with a
load of slates that he was carrying to the roof. The poor lad was so
thirsty for books that he would borrow from booksellers who would loan
them to him out of pity, read them and return them.

The _Youth's Companion_ says that Mr. Edison in his new biography--his
"Life and Inventions"--describes the accidental method by which he
discovered the principle of the phonograph. There is a kind of accident
that happens only to a certain kind of man.

"I was singing to the mouthpiece of a telephone," Mr. Edison says, "when
the vibrations of the voice sent the fine steel point into my finger.
That set me to thinking. If I could record the actions of the point,
and send the point over the same surface afterward, I saw no reason why
the thing would not talk.

"I tried the experiment first on a slip of telegraph paper and found
that the point made an alphabet. I shouted the words 'Halloo! Halloo!'
into the mouthpiece, ran the paper back over the steel point, and heard
a faint 'Halloo! Halloo!' in return.

"I determined to make a machine that would work accurately, and gave my
assistants instructions, telling them what I had discovered. They
laughed at me. That's the whole story. The phonograph is the result of
the pricking of a finger."

It is one thing to hit upon an idea, however, and another thing to carry
it out to perfection. The machine would talk, but, like many young
children, it had difficulty with certain sounds--in the present case
with aspirants and sibilants. Mr. Edison's biographers say, but the
statement is somewhat exaggerated:

"He has frequently spent from fifteen to twenty hours daily, for six or
seven months on a stretch, dinning the word 'Spezia,' for example, into
the stubborn surface of the wax. 'Spezia,' roared the inventor, 'Pezia'
lisped the phonograph in tones of ladylike reserve, and so on through
thousands of graded repetitions till the desired results were obtained.

"The primary education of the phonograph was comical in the extreme. To
hear those grave and reverend signors, rich in scientific honors,
patiently reiterating:

     Mary had a little lamb,
     A little lamb, _lamb_, LAMB,

and elaborating that point with anxious gravity, was to receive a
practical demonstration of the eternal unfitness of things."

Milton, when blind, old and poor, showed a royal cheerfulness and never
"bated one jot of heart or hope, but steered right onward."

Dickens' characters seemed to possess him, and haunt him day and night
until properly portrayed in his stories.

At a time when it was considered dangerous to society in Europe for the
common people to read books and listen to lectures on any but religious
subjects, Charles Knight determined to enlighten the masses by cheap
literature. He believed that a paper could be instructive and not be
dull, cheap without being wicked. He started the _Penny Magazine_, which
acquired a circulation of 200,000 the first year. Knight projected the
_Penny Cyclopedia_, the _Library of Entertaining Knowledge_, _Half-Hours
With the Best Authors_, and other useful books at a low price. His whole
adult life was spent in the work of elevating the common people by
cheap, yet wholesome, publications. He died in poverty, but grateful
people have erected a noble monument over his ashes.

Demosthenes roused the torpid spirits of his countrymen to a vigorous
effort to preserve their independence against the designs of an
ambitious and artful prince, and Philip had just reason to say he was
more afraid of that man than of all the fleets and armies of the

Horace Greeley was a hampered genius who never had a chance to show
himself until he started the _Tribune_, into which he poured his whole
individuality, life and soul.

Emerson lost the first years of his life trying to be somebody else. He
finally came to himself and said: "If a single man plant himself
indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the whole world will come
round to him in the end." "Though we travel the world over to find the
beautiful we must carry it with us or we find it not." "The man that
stands by himself the universe stands by him also." "Take Michael
Angelo's course, 'to confide in one's self and be something of worth and
value.'" "None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or
commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him

Many unknown writers would make fame and fortune if, like Bunyan and
Milton and Dickens and George Eliot and Scott and Emerson, they would
write their own lives in their MSS., if they would write about things
they have seen, that they have felt, that they have known. It is life
thoughts that stir and convince, that move and persuade, that carry
their very iron particles into the blood. The real heaven has never been
outdone by the ideal.

Neither poverty nor misfortune could keep Linnæus from his botany.

The English and Austrian armies called Napoleon the
one-hundred-thousand-man. His presence was considered equal to that
force in battle.

The lesson he teaches is that which vigor always teaches--that there is
always room for it. To what heaps of cowardly doubts is not that man's
life an answer.



     Let every one ascertain his special business and calling, and
     then stick to it.

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

     None sends his arrow to the mark in view,
     Whose hand is feeble, or his aim untrue.

     He who wishes to fulfill his mission must be a man of one idea,
     that is, of one great overmastering purpose, overshadowing all
     his aims, and guiding and controlling his entire life.

     The shortest way to do anything is to do only one thing at a

     The power of concentration is one of the most valuable of
     intellectual attainments.

     The power of a man increases steadily by continuance in one

     Careful attention to one thing often proves superior to genius
     and art.

"It puffed like a locomotive," said a boy of the donkey engine; "it
whistled like the steam-cars, but it didn't go anywhere."

The world is full of donkey-engines, of people who can whistle and puff
and pull, but they don't go anywhere, they have no definite aim, no
controlling purpose.

The great secret of Napoleon's power lay in his marvelous ability to
concentrate his forces upon a single point. After finding the weak place
in the enemy's ranks he would mass his men and hurl them upon the enemy
like an avalanche until he made a breach. What a lesson of the power of
concentration there is in that man's life! He was such a master of
himself that he could concentrate his powers upon the smallest detail as
well as upon an empire.

When Napoleon had anything to say he always went straight to his mark.
He had a purpose in everything he did; there was no dilly-dallying nor
shilly-shallying; he knew what he wanted to say, and said it. It was the
same with all his plans; what he wanted to do, he did. He always hit the
bull's eye. His great success in war was due largely to his definiteness
of aim. He knew what he wanted to do, and did it. He was like a great
burning glass, concentrating the rays of the sun upon a single spot; he
burned a hole wherever he went.

The sun's rays scattered do no execution, but concentrated in a burning
glass, they melt solid granite; yes, a diamond, even. There are plenty
of men who have ability enough, the rays of their faculties taken
separately are all right; but they are powerless to collect them, to
concentrate them upon a single object. They lack the burning glass of a
purpose, to focalize upon one spot the separate rays of their ability.
Versatile men, universal geniuses, are usually weak, because they have
no power to concentrate the rays of their ability, to focalize them upon
one point, until they burn a hole in whatever they undertake.

This power to bring all of one's scattered forces into one focal point
makes all the difference between success and failure. The sun might
blaze out upon the earth forever without burning a hole in it or setting
anything on fire; whereas a very few of these rays concentrated in a
burning glass would, as stated, transform a diamond into vapor.

Sir James Mackintosh was a man of marvelous ability. He excited in
everybody who knew him great expectations, but there was no purpose in
his life to act as a burning glass to collect the brilliant rays of his
intellect, by which he might have dazzled the world. Most men have
ability enough, if they could only focalize it into one grand, central,
all-absorbing purpose, to accomplish great things.

"To encourage me in my efforts to cultivate the power of attention,"
said a friend of John C. Calhoun, "he stated that to this end he had
early subjected his mind to such a rigid course of discipline, and had
persisted without faltering until he had acquired a perfect control over
it; that he could now confine it to any subject as long as he pleased,
without wandering even for a moment; that it was his uniform habit,
when he set out alone to walk or ride, to select a subject for
reflection, and that he never suffered his attention to wander from it
until he was satisfied with its examination."

"My friend laughs at me because I have but one idea," said a learned
American chemist; "but I have learned that if I wish ever to make a
breach in a wall, I must play my guns continually upon one point."

"It is his will that has made him what he is," said an intimate friend
of Philip D. Armour, the Chicago millionaire. "He fixes his eye on
something ahead, and no matter what rises upon the right or the left he
never sees it. He goes straight in pursuit of the object ahead, and
overtakes it at last. He never gives up what he undertakes."

While Horace Greeley would devote a column of the New York _Tribune_ to
an article, Thurlow Weed would treat the same subject in a few words in
the Albany _Evening Journal_, and put the argument into such shape as to
carry far more conviction.

"If you would be pungent," says Southey, "be brief; for it is with words
as with sunbeams--the more they are condensed the deeper they burn."

"The only valuable kind of study," said Sydney Smith, "is to read so
heartily that dinner-time comes two hours before you expected it; to
sit with your Livy before you and hear the geese cackling that saved the
Capitol, and to see with your own eyes the Carthaginian sutlers
gathering up the rings of the Roman knights after the battle of Cannæ,
and heaping them into bushels, and to be so intimately present at the
actions you are reading of, that when anybody knocks at the door it will
take you two or three seconds to determine whether you are in your own
study or on the plains of Lombardy, looking at Hannibal's weather-beaten
face and admiring the splendor of his single eye."

"Never study on speculation," says Waters; "all such study is vain. Form
a plan; have an object; then work for it; learn all you can about it,
and you will be sure to succeed. What I mean by studying on speculation
is that aimless learning of things because they may be useful some day;
which is like the conduct of the woman who bought at auction a brass
door-plate with the name of Thompson on it, thinking it might be useful
some day!"

"I resolved, when I began to read law," said Edward Sugden, afterward
Lord St. Leonard, "to make everything I acquired perfectly my own, and
never go on to a second reading till I had entirely accomplished the
first. Many of the competitors read as much in a day as I did in a week;
but at the end of twelve months my knowledge was as fresh as on the day
it was acquired, while theirs had glided away from their recollection."

"Very often," says Sidney Smith, "the modern precept of education is,
'Be ignorant of nothing.' But my advice is, have the courage to be
ignorant of a great number of things, that you may avoid the calamity of
being ignorant of all things."

"Lord, help me to take fewer things into my hands, and to do them well,"
is a prayer recommended by Paxton Hood to an overworked man.

"Many persons seeing me so much engaged in active life," said Edward
Bulwer Lytton, "and as much about the world as if I had never been a
student, have said to me, 'When do you get time to write all your books?
How on earth do you contrive to do so much work?' I shall surprise you
by the answer I made. The answer is this--I contrive to do so much work
by never doing too much at a time. A man to get through work well must
not overwork himself; or, if he do too much to-day, the reaction of
fatigue will come, and he will be obliged to do too little to-morrow.
Now, since I began really and earnestly to study, which was not till I
had left college, and was actually in the world, I may perhaps say that
I have gone through as large a course of general reading as most men of
my time. I have traveled much and I have seen much; I have mixed much
in politics, and in the various business of life; and in addition to all
this, I have published somewhere about sixty volumes, some upon subjects
requiring much special research. And what time do you think, as a
general rule, I have devoted to study, to reading, and writing? Not more
than three hours a day; and, when Parliament is sitting, not always
that. But then, during these three hours, I have given my whole
attention to what I was about."

"The things that are crowded out of a life are the test of that life.
Not what we would like, but what we long for and strive for with all our
might we attain."

"One great cause of failure of young men in business," says Carnegie,
"is lack of concentration. They are prone to seek outside investments.
The cause of many a surprising failure lies in so doing. Every dollar of
capital and credit, every business-thought, should be concentrated upon
the one business upon which a man has embarked. He should never scatter
his shot. It is a poor business which will not yield better returns for
increased capital than any outside investment. No man or set of men or
corporation can manage a business-man's capital as well as he can manage
it himself. The rule, 'Do not put all your eggs in one basket,' does not
apply to a man's life-work. Put all your eggs in one basket and then
watch that basket, is the true doctrine--the most valuable rule of all."

"A man must not only desire to be right," said Beecher, "he must _be_
right. You may say, 'I wish to send this ball so as to kill the lion
crouching yonder, ready to spring upon me. My wishes are all right, and
I hope Providence will direct the ball.' Providence won't. You must do
it; and if you do not, you are a dead man."

The ruling idea of Milton's life and the key to his mental history is
his resolve to produce a great poem. Not that the aspiration in itself
is singular, for it is probably shared in by every poet in his turn. As
every clever schoolboy is destined by himself or his friends to become
Lord-Chancellor, and every private in the French army carries in his
haversack the baton of a marshal, so it is a necessary ingredient of the
dream of Parnassus that it should embody itself in a form of surpassing
brilliance. What distinguishes Milton from the crowd of youthful
literary aspirants, _audax juventa_, is his constancy of resolve. He not
only nourished through manhood the dream of youth, keeping under the
importunate instincts which carry off most ambitions in middle life into
the pursuit of place, profit, honor--the thorns which spring up and
smother the wheat--but carried out his dream in its integrity in old
age. He formed himself for this achievement and no other. Study at home,
travel abroad, the arena of political controversy, the public service,
the practice of the domestic virtues, were so many parts of the
schooling which was to make a poet.

Bismarck adopted it as the aim of his public life "to snatch Germany
from Austrian oppression," and to gather round Prussia, in a North
German Confederation, all the states whose tone of thought, religion,
manners and interest "were in harmony with those of Prussia." "To attain
this end," he once said in conversation, "I would brave all
dangers--exile, the scaffold itself. What matter if they hang me,
provided the rope with which I am hung binds this new Germany firmly to
the Prussian throne?"

It is related of Greeley that, when he was writing his "American
Conflict," he found it necessary to conceal himself somewhere, to
prevent constant interruptions. He accordingly took a room in the Bible
house, where he worked from ten in the morning till five in the
afternoon, and then appeared in the sanctum, seemingly as fresh as ever.

Cooper Institute is the evening school which Peter Cooper, as long ago
as 1810, resolved to found some day, when he was looking about as an
apprentice for a place where he could go to school evenings. Through all
his career in various branches of business he never lost sight of this
object; and, as his wealth increased, he was pleased that it brought
nearer the realization of his dream.

"See a great lawyer like Rufus Choate," says Dr. Storrs, "in a case
where his convictions are strong and his feelings are enlisted. He saw
long ago, as he glanced over the box, that five of those in it were
sympathetic with him; as he went on he became equally certain of seven;
the number now has risen to ten; but two are still left whom he feels
that he has not persuaded or mastered. Upon them he now concentrates his
power, summing up the facts, setting forth anew and more forcibly the
principles, urging upon them his view of the case with a more and more
intense action of his mind upon theirs, until one only is left. Like the
blow of a hammer, continually repeated until the iron bar crumbles
beneath it, his whole force comes with ceaseless percussion on that one
mind till it has yielded, and accepts the conviction on which the
pleader's purpose is fixed. Men say afterward, 'He surpassed himself.'
It was only because the singleness of his aim gave unity, intensity, and
overpowering energy to the mind."

"The foreman of the jury, however," said Whipple, "was a hard-hearted,
practical man, a model of business intellect and integrity, but with an
incapacity of understanding any intellect or conscience radically
differing from his own. Mr. Choate's argument, as far as the facts and
the law were concerned, was through in an hour. Still he went on
speaking. Hour after hour passed, and yet he continued to speak with
constantly increasing eloquence, repeating and recapitulating, without
any seeming reason, facts which he had already stated and arguments
which he had already urged. The truth was, as I gradually learned, that
he was engaged in a hand-to-hand--or rather in a brain-to-brain and a
heart-to-heart--contest with the foreman, whose resistance he was
determined to break down, but who confronted him for three hours with
defiance observable in every rigid line of his honest countenance. 'You
fool!' was the burden of the advocate's ingenious argument. 'You
rascal!' was the phrase legibly printed on the foreman's incredulous
face. But at last the features of the foreman began to relax, and at the
end the stern lines melted into acquiescence with the opinion of the
advocate, who had been storming at the defences of his mind, his heart,
and his conscience for five hours, and had now entered as victor. The
verdict was 'Not guilty.'"

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

It is generally thought that when a man is said to be dissipated in his
habits he must be a drinking man, or a gambler, or licentious, or all
three; but dissipation is of two kinds, coarse and refined. A man can
dissipate or scatter all of his mental energies and physical power by
indulging in too many respectable diversions, as easily as in habits of
a viler nature. Property and its cares make some men dissipated; too
many friends make others. The exactions of "society," the balls,
parties, receptions, and various entertainments constantly being given
and attended by the _beau monde_, constitute a most wasting species of
dissipation. Others, again, fritter away all their time and strength in
political agitations, or in controversies and gossip; others in idling
with music or some other one of the fine arts; others in feasting or
fasting, as their dispositions and feelings incline. But the man of
concentration of purpose is never a dissipated man in any sense, good or
bad. He has no time to devote to useless trifling of any kind, but puts
in as many strokes of faithful work as possible toward the attainment of
some definite good.



     Note the sublime precision that leads the earth over a circuit
     of 500,000,000 miles back to the solstice at the appointed
     moment without the loss of one second--no, not the millionth
     part of a second--for ages and ages of which it traveled that
     imperial road.

     Despatch is the soul of business.

     Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of
     clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person's money as
     his time.

     By the street of by-and-by one arrives at the house of never.

     The greatest thief this world has ever produced is
     procrastination, and he is still at large.
     --H. W. SHAW.

"Oh, how I do appreciate a boy who is always on time!" says H. C. Bowen.
"How quickly you learn to depend on him, and how soon you find yourself
intrusting him with weightier matters! The boy who has acquired a
reputation for punctuality has made the first contribution to the
capital that in after years makes his success a certainty!"

"Nothing commends a young man so much to his employers," says John
Stuart Blackie, "as accuracy and punctuality in the conduct of his
business. And no wonder. On each man's exactitude depends the
comfortable and easy going of his machine. If the clock goes fitfully
nobody knows the time of day; and, if your task is a link in the chain
of another man's work, you are his clock, and he ought to be able to
rely on you."

"The whole period of youth," said Ruskin, "is one essentially of
formation, edification, instruction. There is not an hour of it but is
trembling with destinies--not a moment of which, once passed, the
appointed work can ever be done again, or the neglected blow struck on
the cold iron."

"To-morrow, didst thou say?" asked Cotton. "Go to--I will not hear of
it. To-morrow! 't is a sharper who stakes his penury against thy
plenty--who takes thy ready cash and pays thee naught but wishes, hopes
and promises, the currency of idiots. _To-morrow!_ it is a period
nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time, unless perchance
in the fool's calendar. Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society
with those that own it. 'Tis fancy's child, and folly is its father;
wrought of such stuffs as dreams are; and baseless as the fantastic
visions of the evening." Oh, how many a wreck on the road to success
could say: "I have spent all my life in the pursuit of to-morrow, being
assured that to-morrow has some vast benefit or other in store for me."

"I give it as my deliberate and solemn conviction," said Dr. Fitch,
"that the individual who is tardy in meeting an appointment will never
be respected or successful in life."

"If a man has no regard for the time of other men," said Horace Greeley,
"why should he have for their money? What is the difference between
taking a man's hour and taking his five dollars? There are many men to
whom each hour of the business day is worth more than five dollars."

A man who keeps his time will keep his word; in truth, he cannot keep
his word unless he _does_ keep his time.

When the Duchess of Sutherland came late, keeping the court waiting, the
queen, who was always vexed by tardiness, presented her with her own
watch, saying, "I am afraid your's does not keep good time."

"Then you must get a new watch, or I another secretary," replied
Washington, when his secretary excused the lateness of his attendance by
saying that his watch was too slow.

"I have generally found that a man who is good at an excuse is good for
nothing else," said Franklin to a servant who was always late, but
always ready with an excuse.

One of the best things about school and college life is that the bell
which strikes the hour for rising, for recitations, or for lectures,
teaches habits of promptness. Every young man should have a watch which
is a good timekeeper; one that is _nearly_ right encourages bad habits,
and is an expensive investment at any price. Wear threadbare clothes if
you must, but never carry an inaccurate watch.

"Five minutes behind time" has ruined many a man and many a firm.

"He who rises late," says Fuller, "must trot all day, and shall scarcely
overtake his business at night."

Some people are too late for everything but ruin; when a nobleman
apologized to George III. for being late, and said, "better late than
never," the king replied, "No, I say, _better never than late_."

"Better late than never" is not half so good a maxim as "Better never

If Samuel Budgett was even a minute late at an appointment he would
apologize; he was as punctual as a chronometer. Punctuality is
contagious. Napoleon infused promptness into his officers every minute.
What power there is in promptness to take the drudgery out of a
disagreeable task.

"A singular mischance has happened to some of our friends," said
Hamilton. "At the instant when He ushered them into existence, God gave
them work to do, and He also gave them a competency of time; so much
that if they began at the right moment and wrought with sufficient
vigor, their time and their work would end together. But a good many
years ago a strange misfortune befell them. A fragment of their allotted
time was lost. They cannot tell what became of it, but sure enough, it
has dropped out of existence; for just like two measuring lines laid
alongside the one an inch shorter than the other, their work and their
time run parallel, but the work is always ten minutes in advance of the
time. They are not irregular. They are never too soon. Their letters are
posted the very minute after the mail is closed. They arrive at the
wharf just in time to see the steamboat off, they come in sight of the
terminus precisely as the station gates are closing. They do not break
any engagement nor neglect any duty; but they systematically go about it
too late, and usually too late by about the same fatal interval."

Of Tours, the wealthy New Orleans ship-owner, it is said that he was as
methodical and regular as a clock, and that his neighbors were in the
habit of judging of the time of the day by his movements.

"How," asked a man of Sir Walter Raleigh, "do you accomplish so much and
in so short a time?" "When I have anything do, I go and do it," was the
reply. The man who always acts promptly, even if he makes occasional
mistakes, will succeed when a procrastinator will fail--even if he have
the better judgment.

When asked how he got through so much work, Lord Chesterfield replied:
"Because I never put off till morrow what I can do to-day."

Dewitt, pensionary of Holland, answered the same question: "Nothing is
more easy; never do but one thing at a time, and never put off until
to-morrow what can be done to-day."

Walter Scott was a very punctual man. This was the secret of his
enormous achievements. He made it a rule to answer all letters the day
they were received. He rose at five. By breakfast time he had broken the
neck of the day's work, as he used to say. Writing to a youth who had
obtained a situation and asked him for advice, he gave this counsel:
"Beware of stumbling over a propensity which easily besets you from not
having your time fully employed--I mean what the women call dawdling. Do
instantly whatever is to be done, and take the hours of recreation after
business, never before it."

Frederick the Great had a maxim: "Time is the only treasure of which it
is proper to be avaricious."

Leibnitz declared that "the loss of an hour is the loss of a part of

Napoleon, who knew the value of time, remarked that it was the quarter
hours that won battles. The value of minutes has been often recognized,
and any person watching a railway clerk handing out tickets and change
during the last few minutes available must have been struck with how
much could be done in these short periods of time.

At the appointed hour the train starts and by and by is carrying
passengers at the rate of sixty miles an hour. In a second you are
carried twenty-nine yards. In one twenty-ninth of a second you pass over
one yard. Now, one yard is quite an appreciable distance, but one
twenty-ninth of a second is a period which cannot be appreciated.

The father of the Webster brothers, before going away to be gone for a
week, gave his boys a stint to cut a field of corn, telling them that
after it was done, if they had any time left, they might do what they
pleased. The boys looked the field over on Monday morning and concluded
they could do all the work in three days, so they decided to play the
first three days. Thursday morning they went to the field, but it looked
so much larger than it did on Monday morning, that they decided they
could not possibly do it in three days, and rather than not do it all,
they would not touch it. When the angry father returned, he called
Ezekiel to him and asked him why they had not harvested the corn. "What
have you been doing?" said the stern father. "Nothing, father." "And
what have you been doing, Daniel?" "Helping Zeke, sir."

How many boys, and men, too, waste hours and days "helping Zeke!"

"Remember the world was created in six days," said Napoleon to one of
his officers. "Ask for whatever you please except time."

Railroads and steamboats have been wonderful educators in promptness. No
matter who is late they leave right on the minute.

It is interesting to watch people at a great railroad station, running,
hurrying, trying to make up time, for they well know when the time
arrives the train will leave.

Factories, shops, stores, banks, everything opens and closes on the
minute. The higher the state of civilization the prompter is everything
done. In countries without railroads, as in Eastern countries,
everything is behind time. Everybody is indolent and lazy.

The world knows that the prompt man's bills and notes will be paid on
the day they are due, and will trust him. People will give him credit,
for they know they can depend upon him. But lack of promptness will
shake confidence almost as quickly as downright dishonesty. The man who
has a habit of dawdling or listlessness will show it in everything he
does. He is late at meals, late at work, dawdles on the street, loses
his train, misses his appointments, and dawdles at his store until the
banks are closed. Everybody he meets suffers more or less from his
malady, for dawdling becomes practically a disease.

"You will never find time for anything," said Charles Buxton; "if you
want time you must make it."

The best work we ever do is that which we do now, and can never repeat.
"Too late," is the curse of the unsuccessful, who forget that "one
to-day is worth two to-morrows."

Time accepts no sacrifice; it admits of neither redemption nor
atonement. _It is the true avenger._ Your enemy may become your
friend,--your injurer may do you justice,--but Time is inexorable, and
has no mercy.

     Then stay the present instant, dear Horatio:
     Imprint the marks of wisdom on its wings.
     'Tis of more worth than kingdoms! far more precious
     Than all the crimson treasures of life's fountain.
     O! let it not elude thy grasp; but, like
     The good old patriarch upon record,
     Hold the fleet angel fast until he bless thee.



     Doing well depends upon doing completely.

     He who does well will always have patrons enough.

     If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or
     make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, though he build his
     house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his

     I hate a thing done by halves. If it be right, do it boldly; if
     it be wrong, leave it undone.

     No two things differ more than Hurry and Dispatch. Hurry is the
     mark of a weak mind, Dispatch of a strong one. * * * Like a
     turnstile, he (the weak man) is in everybody's way, but stops
     nobody; he talks a great deal, but says very little; looks into
     everything, but sees nothing; and has a hundred irons in the
     fire, but very few of them are hot, and with those few that are
     he only burns his fingers.

"Make me as good a hammer as you know how," said a carpenter to the
blacksmith in a New York village before the first railroad was built;
"six of us have come to work on the new church, and I've left mine at
home." "As good a one as I know how?" asked David Maydole, doubtfully,
"but perhaps you don't want to pay for as good a one as I know how to
make." "Yes, I do," said the carpenter, "I want a good hammer."

It was indeed a good hammer that he received, the best, probably, that
had ever been made. By means of a longer hole than usual, David had
wedged the handle in its place so that the head could not fly off, a
wonderful improvement in the eyes of the carpenter, who boasted of his
prize to his companions. They all came to the shop next day, and each
ordered just such a hammer. When the contractor saw the tools, he
ordered two for himself, asking that they be made a little better than
those for his men. "I can't make any better ones," said Maydole; "when I
make a thing, I make it as well as I can, no matter whom it is for."

The storekeeper soon ordered two dozen, a supply unheard of in his
previous business career. A New York dealer in tools came to the village
to sell his wares, and bought all the storekeeper had, and left a
standing order for all the blacksmith could make. David might have grown
very wealthy by making goods of the standard already attained; but
throughout his long and successful life he never ceased to study still
further to perfect his hammers in the minutest detail. They were usually
sold without any warrant of excellence, the word "Maydole" stamped on
the head being universally considered a guaranty of the best article the
world could produce. Character is power, and is the best advertisement
in the world.

"Yes," said he one day to the late James Parton, who told this story, "I
have made hammers in this little village for twenty-eight years."
"Well," replied the great historian, "by this time you ought to make a
pretty good hammer."

"No, I can't," was the reply, "I can't make a pretty good hammer. I make
the best hammer that's made. My only care is to make a perfect hammer.
If folks don't want to pay me what they're worth, they're welcome to buy
cheaper ones somewhere else. My wants are few, and I'm ready any time to
go back to my blacksmith's shop, where I worked forty years ago, before
I thought of making hammers. Then I had a boy to blow by bellows, now I
have one hundred and fifteen men. Do you see them over there watching
the heads cook over the charcoal furnace, as your cook, if she knows
what she is about, watches the chops broiling? Each of them is hammered
out of a piece of iron, and is tempered under the inspection of an
experienced man. Every handle is seasoned three years, or until there is
no shrink left in it. Once I thought I could use machinery in
manufacturing them; now I know that a perfect tool can't be made by
machinery, and every bit of the work is done by hand."

"In telling this little story," said Parton, "I have told thousands of
stories. Take the word 'hammer' out of it, and put 'glue' in its place,
and you have the history of Peter Cooper. By putting in other words, you
can make the true history of every great business in the world which has
lasted thirty years."

"We have no secret," said Manager Daniel J. Morrill, of the Cambria Iron
Works, employing seven thousand men, at Johnstown, Pa. "We always try to
beat our last batch of rails. That is all the secret we've got, and we
don't care who knows it."

"I don't try to see how cheap a machine I can produce, but how good a
machine," said the late John C. Whitin, of Northbridge, Mass., to a
customer who complained of the high price of some cotton machinery.
Business men soon learned what this meant; and when there was occasion
to advertise any machinery for sale, New England cotton manufacturers
were accustomed to state the number of years it had been in use and add,
as an all-sufficient guaranty of Northbridge products, "Whitin make."
Put thoroughness into your work: it pays.

"The accurate boy is always the favored one," said President Tuttle. If
a carpenter must stand at his journeyman's elbow to be sure his work is
right, or if a cashier must run over his bookkeeper's columns, he might
as well do the work himself as employ another to do it in that way.

"Mr. Girard, can you not assist me by giving me a little work?" asked
one John Smith, who had formerly worked for the great banker and
attracted attention by his activity.

"Assistance--work--ah? You want work?" "Yes sir; it's a long time since
I've had anything to do."

"Very well, I shall give you some. You see dem stone yondare?" "Yes,
sir." "Very well; you shall fetch and put them in this place; you see?"
"Yes sir." "And when you done, come to me at my bank."

Smith finished his task, reported to Mr. Girard, and asked for more
work. "Ah, ha, oui. You want more work? Very well; you shall go place
dem stone where you got him. Understandez? You take him back." "Yes,

Again Smith performed the work and waited on Mr. Girard for payment.
"Ah, ha, you all finish?" "Yes, sir." "Very well; how much money shall I
give you?" "One dollar, sir." "Dat is honest. You take no advantage.
Dare is your dollar." "Can I do anything else for you?" "Oui, come here
when you get up to-morrow. You shall have more work."

Smith was punctual, but for the third time, and yet again for the
fourth, he was ordered to "take dem stone back again." When he called
for his pay in the evening Stephen Girard spoke very cordially. "Ah,
Monsieur Smit, you shall be my man; you mind your own business and do
it, ask no questions, you do not interfere. You got one vife?" "Yes,
sir." "Ah, dat is bad. Von vife is bad. Any little chicks?" "Yes, sir,
five living."

"Five? Dat is good; I like five. I like you, Monsieur Smit; you like to
work; you mind your business. Now I do something for your five little
chicks. There: take these five pieces of paper for your five little
chicks; you shall work for them; you shall mind your own business, and
your little chicks shall never want five more." In a few years Mr. Smith
became one of the wealthiest and most respected merchants of

It is difficult to estimate the great influence upon a life of the early
formed habit of doing everything to a finish, not leaving it half done,
or pretty nearly done, but completely done. Nature finishes every little
leaf, even to every little rib, its edges and stem, as exactly and
perfectly as though it were the only leaf to be made that year. Even the
flower that blooms in the mountain dell, where no human eye will ever
behold it, is finished with the same perfection and exactness of form
and outline, with the same delicate shade of color, with the same
completeness of beauty, as though it was made for royalty in the queen's
garden. "Perfection to the finish" is a motto which every youth should

"How did you attain such excellence in your profession?" was asked of
Sir Joshua Reynolds. "By observing one simple rule, namely, to make each
picture the best," he replied.

The discipline of being exact is uplifting. Progress is never more rapid
than it is when we are studying to be accurate. The effort educates all
the powers. Arthur Helps says: "I do not know that there is anything
except it be humility, which is so valuable, as an incident of
education, as accuracy: and accuracy can be taught. Direct lies told to
the world are as dust in the balance when weighed against the falsehoods
of inaccuracy."

Too many youths enter upon their business in a languid, half-hearted
way, and do their work in a slipshod manner. The consequence is that
they inspire neither admiration nor confidence on the part of their
superiors, and cut off almost every chance of success. There is a loose,
perfunctory method of doing one's work that never merits advance, and
very rarely wins it. Instead of buckling to their task with all the
force they possess, they merely touch it with the tips of their fingers,
their rule apparently being, the maximum of ease with the minimum of
work. The principle of Strafford, the great minister of Charles I., is
indicated by his motto, the one word "Thorough." It was said of King
Hezekiah, "In every work that he began, he did it with all his heart and

The stone-cutter goes to work on a stone and most patiently shapes it.
He carves that bit of fern, putting all his skill and taste into it. And
by-and-by the master says, "Well done," and takes it away and gives him
another block and tells him to work on that. And so he works on that
from the rising of the sun till the going down of the same, and he only
knows that he is earning his bread. And he continues to put all his
skill and taste into his work. He has no idea what use will be made of
these few stones which he has been carving, until afterward, when, one
day, walking along the street, and looking up at the front of the Art
Gallery, he sees the stones upon which he has worked. He did not know
what they were for, but the architect did. And as he stands looking at
his work on that structure which is the beauty of the whole street, he
says: "I am glad I did it well." And every day as he passes that way, he
says to himself exultingly, "I did it well." He did not draw the design,
nor plan the building, and he knew nothing of what use was to be made of
his work: but he took pains in cutting those stems; and when he saw
they were a part of that magnificent structure, his soul rejoiced.

Work that is not finished, is not work at all; it is merely a botch. We
often see this defect of incompleteness in a child, which increases in
youth. All about the house, everywhere, there are half-finished things.
It is true that children often become tired of things which they begin
with enthusiasm; but there is a great difference in children about
finishing what they undertake. A boy, for instance, will start out in
the morning with great enthusiasm to dig his garden over; but, after a
few minutes, his enthusiasm has evaporated, and he wants to go fishing.
He soon becomes tired of this, and thinks he will make a boat. No sooner
does he get a saw and knife and a few pieces of board about him than he
makes up his mind that really what he wanted to do, after all, was to
play ball, and this, in turn, must give way to something else.

One watch, set right, will do to set many by; but, on the other hand,
one that goes wrong may be the means of misleading a whole neighborhood.
The same may be said of the example we individually set to those around

"Whatever I have tried to do in life," said Dickens, "I have tried with
all my heart to do well. What I have devoted myself to, I have devoted
myself to completely."

It is no disgrace to be a shoemaker, but it is a disgrace for a
shoemaker to make bad shoes.

A traveler, recently returned from Jerusalem, found, in conversation
with Humboldt, that the latter was as conversant with the streets and
houses of Jerusalem as he was himself. On being asked how long it was
since he had visited it, the aged philosopher replied: "I have never
been there; but I expected to go sixty years since, and I prepared

So noted for excellency was everything bearing the brand of George
Washington, that a barrel of flour marked "George Washington, Mount
Vernon," was exempted from the customary inspection in the West India

Pascal, the most wonderful mathematical genius of his time, whose work
on conic sections, at sixteen, Descartes refused to believe could be
produced at that age, is considered to have fixed the French language,
as Luther did the German, by his writings. None of his provincial
letters, with the exception of the last three, was more than eight
quarto pages in length, yet he devoted twenty days to the writing of a
single letter, and one of them was written no less than thirteen times.

The night the Tasmania was wrecked, the captain had given the course
north by west, sixty-seven degrees. He had taken account of eddies and
currents. The second officer, overlooking these, ordered the helmsman
to make it north by west, fifty-seven degrees, but to bring the ship
around so gently that the captain wouldn't know it. Hence her

Rev. Mr. Maley, of the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Church, had the
habit of greatly exaggerating anything he talked about. His brethren at
conference told him that this habit was growing on him, and rendering
him unpopular in the ministry. Mr. Maley heard them patiently, and then
said: "Brethren, I am aware of the truth of all you have said, and have
shed barrels of tears over it."

There is a great difference between going just right and a little



     In the elder days of Art
       Builders wrought with greatest care
     Each minute and unseen part,
       For the gods see everywhere.

     Think naught a trifle, though it small appear,
     Small sands the mountain, moments make the year,
     And trifles, life.

     The smallest hair throws its shadow.

     He that despiseth small things shall fall little by little.

     It is the little rift within the lute,
     That by and by will make the music mute,
     And ever widening slowly silence all.

     "A pebble in the streamlet scant
       Has turned the course of many a river:
     A dewdrop on the baby plant
       Has warped the giant oak forever."

     It is the close observation of little things which is the
     secret of success in business, in art, in science, and in every
     pursuit of life.

     "Only!--But then the onlys
     Make up the mighty all."

"My rule of conduct has been that whatever is worth doing at all is
worth doing well," said Nicolas Poussin, the great French painter. When
asked the reason why he had become so eminent in a land of famous
artists he replied, "Because I have neglected nothing."

"Do little things now," says a Persian proverb; "so shall big things
come to thee by and by asking to be done." God will take care of the
great things if we do not neglect the little ones.

A gentleman advertised for a boy to assist him in his office, and nearly
fifty applicants presented themselves to him. Out of the whole number he
in a short time selected one and dismissed the rest. "I should like to
know," said a friend, "on what ground you selected that boy, who had not
a single recommendation?" "You are mistaken," said the gentleman, "he
had a great many. He wiped his feet when he came in, and closed the door
after him, showing that he was careful. He gave up his seat instantly to
that lame old man, showing that he was kind and thoughtful. He took off
his cap when he came in, and answered my questions promptly and
respectfully, showing that he was polite and gentlemanly. He picked up
the book which I had purposely laid upon the floor, and replaced it on
the table, while all the rest stepped over it, or shoved it aside; and
he waited quietly for his turn, instead of pushing and crowding, showing
that he was honest and orderly. When I talked to him, I noticed that
his clothes were carefully brushed, his hair in nice order, and his
teeth as white as milk; and when he wrote his name, I noticed that his
finger-nails were clean, instead of being tipped with jet, like that
handsome little fellow's, in the blue jacket. Don't you call those
letters of recommendation? I do; and I would give more for what I can
tell about a boy by using my eyes ten minutes, than for all the fine
letters he can bring me."

"Least of all seeds, greatest of all harvests," seems to be one of the
great laws of nature. All life comes from microscopic beginnings. In
nature there is nothing small. The microscope reveals as great a world
below as the telescope above. All of nature's laws govern the smallest
atoms, and a single drop of water is a miniature ocean.

"I cannot see that you have made any progress since my last visit," said
a gentleman to Michael Angelo. "But," said the sculptor, "I have
retouched this part, polished that, softened that feature, brought out
that muscle, given some expression to this lip, more energy to that
limb, etc." "But they are trifles!" exclaimed the visitor. "It may be
so," replied the great artist, "but trifles make perfection, and
perfection is no trifle." That infinite patience which made Michael
Angelo spend a week in bringing out a muscle in a statue with more
vital fidelity to truth, or Gerhard Dow a day in giving the right effect
to a dewdrop on a cabbage leaf, makes all the difference between success
and failure.

"Of what use is it?" people asked with a sneer, when Franklin told of
his discovery that lightning and electricity are identical. "What is the
use of a child?" replied Franklin; "it may become a man."

In the earliest days of cotton spinning, the small fibres would stick to
the bobbins, and make it necessary to stop and clear the machinery.
Although this loss of time reduced the earnings of the operatives, the
father of Robert Peel noticed that one of his spinners always drew full
pay, as his machine never stopped. "How is this, Dick?" asked Mr. Peel
one day; "the on-looker tells me your bobbins are always clean." "Ay,
that they be," replied Dick Ferguson. "How do you manage it, Dick?"
"Why, you see, Meester Peel," said the workman, "it is sort o' secret!
If I tow'd ye, yo'd be as wise as I am." "That's so," said Mr. Peel,
smiling; "but I'd give you something to know. Could you make all the
looms work as smoothly as yours?" "Ivery one of 'em, meester," replied
Dick. "Well, what shall I give you for your secret?" asked Mr. Peel, and
Dick replied, "Gi' me a quart of ale every day as I'm in the mills, and
I'll tell thee all about it." "Agreed," said Mr. Peel, and Dick
whispered very cautiously in his ear, "Chalk your bobbins!" That was the
whole secret, and Mr. Peel soon shot ahead of all his competitors, for
he made machines that would chalk their own bobbins. Dick was handsomely
rewarded with money instead of beer. His little idea has saved the world
millions of dollars.

The totality of a life at any moment is the product mainly of little
things. Trifling choices, insignificant exercises of the will,
unimportant acts often repeated,--things seemingly of small
account,--these are the thousand tiny sculptors that are carving away
constantly at the rude block of our life, giving it shape and feature.
Indeed the formation of character is much like the work of an artist in
stone. The sculptor takes a rough, unshapen mass of marble, and with
strong, rapid strokes of mallet and chisel quickly brings into view the
rude outline of his design; but after the outline appears then come
hours, days, perhaps even years, of patient, minute labor. A novice
might see no change in the statue from one day to another; for though
the chisel touches the stone a thousand times, it touches as lightly as
the fall of a rain-drop, but each touch leaves a mark.

The smallest thing becomes respectable when regarded as the commencement
of what has advanced or is advancing into magnificence. The crude
settlement of Romulus would have remained an insignificant circumstance
and might have justly sunk into oblivion, if Rome had not at length
commanded the world.

Beecher says that men, in their property, are afraid of conflagrations
and lightning strokes; but if they were building a wharf in Panama, a
million madrepores, so small that only the microscope could detect them,
would begin to bore the piles down under the water. There would be
neither noise nor foam; but in a little while, if a child did but touch
the post, over it would fall as if a saw had cut it through.

Men think, with regard to their conduct, that, if they were to lift
themselves up gigantically and commit some crashing sin, they should
never be able to hold up their heads; but they will harbor in their
souls little sins, which are piercing and eating them away to inevitable

Lichens, of themselves of little value, prepare the way for important
vegetation. They deposit, in dying, an acid which wears away the rock
and prepares the mould necessary for the nourishment of superior plants.

It was but a tiny rivulet trickling down the embankment that started the
terrible Johnstown flood and swept thousands into eternity. One noble
heroic act has elevated a nation. Franklin's whole career was changed
by a torn copy of Cotton Mather's Essays to Do Good. Taking up a stone
to throw at a turtle was the turning point in Theodore Parker's life. As
he raised the stone something within him said, "Don't do it," and he
didn't. He went home and asked his mother what it was in him that said
"don't." She told him it was conscience. Small things become great when
a great soul sees them. A child, when asked why a certain tree grew
crooked, answered, "Somebody trod upon it when it was a little fellow."

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation. A little boy
in Holland saw water trickling from a small hole near the bottom of a
dike. He realized that the leak would rapidly become larger if the water
was not checked, so he held his hand over the hole for hours on a dark
and dismal night until he could attract the attention of passers-by. His
name is still held in grateful remembrance in Holland.

We may tell which way the wind blew before the Deluge by marking the
ripple and cupping of the rain in the petrified sand now preserved
forever. We tell the very path by which gigantic creatures, whom man
never saw, walked to the river's edge to find their food.

The tears of Virgilia and Volumnia saved Rome from the Volscians when
nothing else could move the vengeful heart of Coriolanus.

Not even Helen of Troy, it is said, was beautiful enough to spare the
tip of her nose; and if Cleopatra's had been an inch shorter Mark Antony
would never have become infatuated with her wonderful charms, and the
blemish would have changed the history of the world. Anne Boleyn's
fascinating smile split the great Church of Rome in twain, and gave a
nation an altered destiny. Napoleon, who feared not to attack the
proudest monarchs in their capitals, shrank from the political influence
of one independent woman in private life, Madame de Staël.

It was a little thing for a cow to kick over a lantern left in a shanty,
but it laid Chicago in ashes, and rendered homeless a hundred thousand

The discovery of glass was due to a mere accident--the building of a
fire on the sand; and the bayonet, first made at Bayonne, in France,
owes its existence to the fact that a Basque regiment, being hard
pressed by the enemy, one of the soldiers suggested that, as their
ammunition was exhausted, they should fix their long knives into the
barrels of their muskets, which was done, and the first bayonet-charge
was made.

A jest led to a war between two great nations. The presence of a comma
in a deed, lost to the owner of an estate five thousand dollars a month
for eight months. The battle of Corunna was fought and Sir John Moore's
life sacrificed, in 1809, through a dragoon stopping to drink while
bearing despatches.

"You do no work," said the scissors to the rivet. "Where would your work
be," said the rivet to the scissors, "if I didn't keep you together?"

Every day is a little life; and our whole life but a day repeated. Those
that dare lose a day are dangerously prodigal; those that dare misspend
it, desperate. What is the happiness of your life made up of? Little
courtesies, little kindnesses, pleasant words, genial smiles, a friendly
letter, good wishes, and good deeds. One in a million--once in a
lifetime--may do a heroic action.

We call the large majority of human lives _obscure_. Presumptuous that
we are! How know we what lives a single thought retained from the dust
of nameless graves may have lighted to renown?



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

     Cowards have no luck.

     He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day
     surmount a fear.

     To dare is better than to doubt,
       For doubt is always grieving;
     'Tis faith that finds the riddles out;
       The prize is for believing.

     Boldly and wisely in that light thou hast;
     There is a hand above will help thee on.

     "Have hope! Though clouds environ now,
       And gladness hides her face in scorn,
     Put thou the shadow from thy brow--
       No night but hath its morn."

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

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

Darius the Great sent ambassadors to the Athenians, to demand earth and
water, which denoted submission. The Athenians threw them into a ditch
and told them, there was earth and water enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Execute your resolutions immediately. Thoughts are but dreams till their
effects be tried. Does competition trouble you? work away; what is your
competitor but a man? _Conquer your place in the world_, for all things
serve a brave soul. Combat difficulty manfully; sustain misfortune
bravely; endure poverty nobly; encounter disappointment courageously.
The influence of the brave man is a magnetism which creates an epidemic
of noble zeal in all about him. Every day sends to the grave obscure
men, who have only remained in obscurity because their timidity has
prevented them from making a first effort; and who, if they could have
been induced to begin, would in all probability have gone great lengths
in the career of usefulness and fame. "No great deed is done," says
George Eliot, "by falterers who ask for certainty."

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

Young Commodore Oliver H. Perry, not twenty-eight years old, was
intrusted with the plan to gain control of Lake Erie. With great energy
Perry directed the construction of nine ships, carrying fifty-four guns,
and conquered Commodore Barclay, a veteran of European navies, with six
vessels, carrying sixty-three guns. Perry had no experience in naval
battles before this.

To believe a business impossible is the way to make it so. Feasible
projects often miscarry through despondency, and are strangled at birth
by a cowardly imagination. A ship on a lee shore stands out to sea to
escape shipwreck. Shrink and you will be despised.

One of Napoleon's drummer boys won the battle of Arcola. Napoleon's
little army of fourteen thousand men had fought fifty thousand Austrians
for seventy-two hours; the Austrians' position enabled them to sweep the
bridge of Arcola, which the French had gained and which they must hold
to win the battle. The drummer boy, on the shoulders of his sergeant
(who swam across the river with him), beat the drum all the way across
the river, and when on the opposite end of the bridge he beat his drum
so vigorously that the Austrians, remembering the terrible French
onslaught of the day before, fled in terror, thinking the French army
was advancing upon them. Napoleon dated his great confidence in himself
from this drum. This boy's heroic act was represented in stone on the
front of the Pantheon of Paris.

Two days before the battle of Jena Napoleon said: "My lads, you must not
fear death: when soldiers brave death they drive him into the enemy's

Arago says, in his autobiography, that when he was puzzled and
discouraged with difficulties he met with in his early studies in
mathematics some words he found on the waste leaf of his text-book
caught his attention and interested him. He found it to be a short
letter from D'Alembert to a young person, disheartened like himself, and
read: "Go on, sir, go on. The difficulties you meet with will resolve
themselves as you advance. Proceed and light will dawn and shine with
increasing clearness on your path." "That maxim," he said, "was my
greatest master in mathematics."

Overtaken near a rocky coast by a sudden storm of great violence, the
captain of a French brig gave orders to put out to sea; but in spite of
all the efforts of the crew they could not steer clear of the rocks, and
alter struggling for a whole day they felt a violent shock, accompanied
by a horrible crash. The boats were lowered, but only to be swept away
by the waves. As a last resort the captain proposed that some sailors
should swim ashore with a rope, but not a man would volunteer.

"Captain," said the little twelve-year-old cabin boy, Jacques, timidly,
"You don't wish to expose the lives of good sailors like these; it does
not matter what becomes of a little cabin boy. Give me a ball of strong
string, which will unroll as I go on; fasten one end around my body, and
I promise you that within an hour the rope shall be well fastened to the
shore or I will perish in the attempt."

Before anyone could stop him he leaped overboard. His head was soon seen
like a black point rising above the waves and then it disappeared in
the distance and mist, and but for the occasional pull upon the ball of
cord all would have thought him dead. At length it fell as if slackened
and the sailors looked at one another in silence, when a quick, violent
pull, followed by a second and a third, told that Jacques had reached
the shore. A strong rope was fastened to the cord and pulled to the
shore, and by its aid many of the sailors were rescued.

In 1833 Miss Prudence Crandall, a Quaker schoolmistress of Canterbury,
Conn., opened her school to negro children as well as to whites. The
whole place was thrown into uproar; town meetings were called to
denounce her; the most vindictive and inhuman measures were taken to
isolate the school from the support of the townspeople; stores and
churches were closed against teacher and pupils; public conveyances were
denied them; physicians would not attend them; Miss Crandall's own
friends dared not visit her; the house was assailed with rotten eggs and
stones and finally set on fire. Yet the cause was righteous and the
opposition proved vain and fruitless. Public opinion is often radically

Staunch old Admiral Farragut--he of the true heart and the iron
will--said to another officer of the navy, "Dupont, do you know why you
didn't get into Charleston with your ironclads?" "Oh, it was because
the channel was so crooked." "No, Dupont, it was not that." "Well, the
rebel fire was perfectly horrible." "Yes, but it wasn't that." "What was
it, then?" "_It was because you didn't believe you could go in._"

"I have tried Lord Howe on most important occasions. He never asked me
_how_ he was to execute any service entrusted to his charge, but always
went straight forward and _did it_." So answered Sir Edward Hawke, when
his appointment of Howe for some peculiarly responsible duty was
criticized on the ground that Howe was the junior admiral in the fleet.

There is a tradition among the Indians that Manitou was traveling in the
invisible world and came upon a hedge of thorns, then saw wild beasts
glare upon him from the thicket, and after awhile stood before an
impassable river. As he determined to proceed, the thorns turned out
phantoms, the wild beasts powerless ghosts, and the river only a shadow.
When we march on obstacles disappear. Many distinguished foreign and
American statesmen were present at a fashionable dinner party where wine
was freely poured, but Schuyler Colfax, then Vice-President of the
United States, declined to drink from a proffered cup. "Colfax does not
drink," sneered a Senator who had already taken too much. "You are
right," said the Vice-President, "I dare not."

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

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

Don't be like Uriah Heep, begging everybody's pardon for taking the
liberty of being in the world. There is nothing attractive in timidity,
nothing lovable in fear. Both are deformities and are repulsive. Manly
courage is dignified and graceful. The worst manners in the world are
those of persons conscious "of being beneath their position, and trying
to conceal it or make up for it by style." It takes courage for a young
man to stand firmly erect while others are bowing and fawning for praise
and power. It takes courage to wear threadbare clothes while your
comrades dress in broadcloth. It takes courage to remain in honest
poverty when others grow rich by fraud. It takes courage to say "No"
squarely when those around you say "Yes." It takes courage to do your
duty in silence and obscurity while others prosper and grow famous
although neglecting sacred obligations. It takes courage to unmask your
true self, to show your blemishes to a condemning world, and to pass for
what you really are.



     In the moral world there is nothing impossible if we can bring
     a thorough will to do it.
     --W. HUMBOLDT.

     It is firmness that makes the gods on our side.

     Stand firm, don't flutter.

     People do not lack strength they lack will.

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

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

"Do you know," asked Balzac's father, "that in literature a man must be
either a king or a beggar?" "Very well," replied his son, "_I will be a
king._" After ten years of struggle with hardship and poverty, he won
success as an author.

"Why do you repair that magistrate's bench with such great care?" asked
a bystander of a carpenter who was taking unusual pains. "Because I wish
to make it easy against the time when I come to sit on it myself,"
replied the other. He did sit on that bench as a magistrate a few years

"_I will be marshal of France and a great general_," exclaimed a young
French officer as he paced his room with hands tightly clenched. He
became a successful general and a marshal of France.

"There is so much power in faith," says Bulwer, "even when faith is
applied but to things human and earthly, that let a man but be firmly
persuaded that he is born to do some day, what at the moment seems
impossible, and it is fifty to one but what he does it before he dies."

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

"Is there one whom difficulties dishearten?" asked John Hunter. "He will
do little. Is there one who will conquer? That kind of a man never

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

"We have a half belief," said Emerson, "that the person is possible who
can counterpoise all other persons. We believe that there may be a man
_who is a match for events_,--one who never found his match,--against
whom other men being dashed are broken,--one who can give you any odds
and beat you."

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

At nineteen Bayard Taylor walked to Philadelphia, thirty miles, to find
a publisher for fifteen of his poems. He wanted to see them printed in a
book; but no publisher would undertake it. He returned to his home
whistling, however, showing that his courage and resolution had not

In Europe he was often forced to live on twenty cents a day for weeks on
account of his poverty. He returned to London with only thirty cents
left. He tried to sell a poem of twelve hundred lines, which he had in
his knapsack, but no publisher wanted it. Of that time he wrote: "My
situation was about as hopeless as it is possible to conceive." But his
will defied circumstances and he rose above them. For two years he lived
on two hundred and fifty dollars a year in London, earning every dollar
of it with his pen.

His untimely death in 1879, at fifty-four, when Minister to Berlin, was
lamented by the learned and great of all countries.

We are told of a young New York inventor who about twenty years ago
spent every dollar he was worth in an experiment, which, if successful,
would introduce his invention to public notice and insure his fortune,
and, what he valued more, his usefulness. The next morning the daily
papers heaped unsparing ridicule upon him. Hope for the future seemed
vain. He looked around the shabby room where his wife, a delicate little
woman, was preparing breakfast. He was without a penny. He seemed like a
fool in his own eyes; all these years of hard work were wasted. He went
into his chamber, sat down, and buried his face in his hands.

At length, with a fiery heat flashing through his body, he stood erect.
"It _shall_ succeed!" he said, shutting his teeth. His wife was crying
over the papers when he went back. "They are very cruel," she said.
"They don't understand." "I'll make them understand," he replied
cheerfully. "It was a fight for six years," he said afterward. "Poverty,
sickness and contempt followed me. I had nothing left but the _dogged
determination_ that it should succeed." It did succeed. The invention
was a great and useful one. The inventor is now a prosperous and happy

Napoleon was a terrible example of what the power of will can
accomplish. He always threw his whole force of body and mind direct upon
his work. Imbecile rulers and the nations they governed went down before
him in succession. He was told that the Alps stood in the way of his
armies,--"There shall be no Alps," he said, and the road across the
Simplon was constructed, through a district formerly almost
inaccessible. "Impossible," said he, "is a word only to be found in the
dictionary of fools." He was a man who toiled terribly; sometimes
employing and exhausting four secretaries at a time. He spared no one,
not even himself. His influence inspired other men, and put a new life
into them. "I made my generals out of mud," he said.

To think we are able is almost to be so--to determine upon attainment,
is frequently attainment itself. Thus, earnest resolution has often
seemed to have about it almost a savor of omnipotence. The strength of
Suwarrow's character lay in his power of willing, and, like most
resolute persons, he preached it up as a system.

Before Pizarro, D'Almagro and De Luque obtained any associates or arms
or soldiers, and with a very imperfect knowledge of the country or the
powers they were to encounter, they celebrated a solemn mass in one of
the great churches, dedicating themselves to the conquest of Peru. The
people expressed their contempt at such a monstrous project, and were
shocked at such sacrilege. But these decided men continued the service
and afterward retired for their great preparation with an entire
insensibility to the expressions of contempt. Their firmness was
absolutely invincible. The world has deplored the results of this
expedition, but there is a great lesson for us in the firmness of
decision of its leaders. Such firmness would keep to its course and
retain its purpose unshaken amidst the ruins of the world.

At the battle of Marengo the French army was supposed to be defeated;
but, while Bonaparte and his staff were considering their next move,
Dessaix suggested that there was yet time to retrieve their disaster, as
it was only about the middle of the afternoon. Napoleon rallied his men,
renewed the fight, and won a great victory over the Austrians, though
the unfortunate Dessaix lost his own life on that field.

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

A vacillating man, no matter what his abilities, is invariably pushed to
the wall in the race of life by a determined will. It is he who resolves
to succeed, and who at every fresh rebuff begins resolutely again, that
reaches the goal. The shores of fortune are covered with the stranded
wrecks of men of brilliant ability, but who have wanted courage, faith
and decision, and have therefore perished in sight of more resolute but
less capable adventurers, who succeeded in making port. Hundreds of men
go to their graves in obscurity, who have been obscure only because they
lacked the pluck to make a first effort, and who, could they only have
resolved to begin, would have astonished the world by their achievements
and successes. The fact is, as Sydney Smith has well said, that in order
to do anything in this world that is worth doing, we must not stand
shivering on the bank, and thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump
in and scramble through as well as we can.

Is not this a grand privilege of man, immortal man, that though he may
not be able to stir a finger; that though a moth may crush him; that
merely by a righteous will, he is raised above the stars; that by it he
originates a good in the universe, which the universe could not
annihilate; a good which can defy extinction, though all created
energies of intelligence or matter were combined against it?

A man whose moral nature is ascendant is not the subject, but the
superior of circumstances. He is free; nay, more, he is a king; and
though this sovereignty may have been won by many desperate battles,
once on the throne, and holding the sceptre with a firm grasp, he has a
royalty of which neither time nor accident can strip him.

What can you do with a man who has an invincible purpose in him; who
never knows when he is beaten; and who, when his legs are shot off, will
fight on the stumps? Difficulties and opposition do not daunt him. He
thrives upon persecution; it only stimulates him to more determined
endeavor. Give a man the alphabet and an iron will, and who shall place
bounds to his achievements! Imprison a Galileo for his discoveries in
science, and he will experiment with the straw in his cell. Deprive
Euler of his eyesight, and he but studies harder upon mental problems,
thus developing marvelous powers of mathematical calculation. Lock up
the poor Bedford tinker in jail, and he will write the finest allegory
in the world, or will leave his imperishable thoughts upon the walls of
his cell. Burn the body of Wycliffe and throw the ashes into the Severn;
but they will be swept to the ocean, which will carry them, permeated
with his principles, to all lands. _The world always listens to a man
with a will in him._ You might as well snub the sun as such men as
Bismarck and Grant.

Hope would storm the castle of despair; it gives courage when
despondency would give up the battle of life. He is the best doctor
who can implant _hope_ and courage in the human soul. So he is the
greatest man who can inspire us to the grandest achievements.

     "Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
     Which we ascribe to heaven; the fated sky
     Gives us free scope; and only backward pulls
     Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull."

     "How much I could do if I only tried."



     He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that
     ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

     The first and best of victories is for a man to conquer
     himself: to be conquered by himself is, of all things, the most
     shameful and vile.

     The worst education which teaches self-denial is better than
     the best which teaches everything else and not that.

     Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.

     The energy which issues in growth, or assimilates knowledge,
     must originate in self and be self-directed.

     The foes with which they waged their strife
       Were passion, self and sin;
     The victories that laureled life,
       Were fought and won within.

"I'll sign it after awhile," a drunkard would reply, when repeatedly
urged by his wife to sign the pledge; "but I don't like to break off at
once, the best way is to get used to a thing." "Very well, old man,"
said his wife, "see if you don't fall into a hole one of these days,
with no one to help you out."

Not long after, when intoxicated, he did fall into a shallow well, but
his shouts for help were fortunately heard by his wife. "Didn't I tell
you so?" she asked. "It's lucky I was in hearing or you might have
drowned." He took hold of the bucket and she tugged at the windlass; but
when he was near the top her grasp slipped and down he went into the
water again. This was repeated until he screamed: "Look here, you're
doing that on purpose, I know you are." "Well, now, I am," admitted the
wife. "Don't you remember telling me it's best to get used to a thing by
degrees? I'm afraid if I bring you up sudden, you would not find it
wholesome." Finding that his case was becoming desperate, he promised to
sign the pledge at once. His wife raised him out immediately, but warned
him that if ever he became intoxicated and fell into the well again, she
would leave him there.

A man captured a young tiger and resolved to make a pet of it. It grew
up like a kitten, fond and gentle. There was no evidence of its savage,
bloodthirsty nature, and it seemed perfectly harmless. But one day while
the master was playing with his pet, the rough tongue upon his hand
started the blood from a scratch. The moment the beast tasted blood, his
ferocious tiger nature was roused, and he rushed upon his master to tear
him to pieces. Sometimes the appetite for drink, which was thought to
be buried years ago, is roused by the taste or the smell of "the devil
in solution," and the wretched victim finds himself a helpless slave to
the passion which he thought dead.

When a young man, Hugh Miller once drank the two glasses of whiskey
which fell to his share at the usual treat of drink of the masons with
whom he worked. On reaching home he tried to read Bacon's Essays, his
favorite book, but he could not distinguish the letters or comprehend
the meaning. "The condition into which I had brought myself was, I felt,
one of degradation," said he. "I had sunk, by my own act, for the time,
to a lower level of intelligence than that on which it was my privilege
to be placed; and though the state could have been no very favorable one
for forming a resolution, I in that hour determined that I should never
again sacrifice my capacity of intellectual enjoyment to a drinking
usage; and with God's help I was enabled to hold by the determination."

In a certain manufacturing town an employer one Saturday paid to his
workmen $700 in crisp new bills that had been secretly marked. On Monday
$450 of those identical bills were deposited in the bank by the
saloon-keepers. When the fact was made known, the workmen were so
startled by it that they helped to make the place a no-license town. The
times would not be so "hard" for the workmen if the saloons did not
take in so much of their wages. If they would organize a strike against
the saloons, they would find the result to be better than an increase of
wages, and to include an increase of savings.

How often we might read the following sign over the threshold of a
youthful life: "For sale, grand opportunities, for a song;" "golden
chances for beer;" "magnificent opportunities exchanged for a little
sensual enjoyment;" "for exchange, a beautiful home, devoted wife,
lovely children, for drink;" "for sale, cheap, all the magnificent
possibilities of a brilliant life, a competence, for one chance in a
thousand at the gambling table;" "for exchange, bright prospects, a
brilliant outlook, a cultivated intelligence, a college education, a
skilled hand, an observant eye, valuable experience, great tact, all
exchanged for rum, for a muddled brain, a bewildered intellect, a
shattered nervous system, poisoned blood, a diseased body, for fatty
degeneration of the heart, for Bright's disease, for a drunkard's

With almost palsied hand, at a temperance meeting, John B. Gough signed
the pledge. For six days and nights in a wretched garret, without a
mouthful of food, with scarcely a moment's sleep, he fought the fearful
battle with appetite. Weak, famished, almost dying, he crawled into the
sunlight; but he had conquered the demon which had almost killed him.
Gough used to describe the struggles of a man who tried to leave off
using tobacco. He threw away what he had, and said that was the end of
it; but no, it was only the beginning of it. He would chew camomile,
gentian, tooth-picks, but it was of no use. He bought another plug of
tobacco and put it in his pocket. He wanted a chew awfully, but he
looked at it and said, "You are a _weed_, and I am a _man_. I'll master
you if I die for it;" and he did, while carrying it in his pocket daily.

There was an abbot that desired a piece of ground that lay conveniently
for him. The owner refused to sell; yet with much persuasion he was
contented to let it. The abbot hired it and covenanted only to farm it
for one crop. He had his bargain, and sowed it with acorns--a crop that
lasted three hundred years. So Satan asks to get possession of our souls
by asking us to permit some small sin to enter, some one wrong that
seems of no great account. But when once he has entered and planted the
seeds and beginnings of evil, he holds his ground.

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

Thomas A. Edison was once asked why he was a total abstainer. He said,
"I thought I had a better use for my head."

Byron could write poetry easily, for it was merely indulging his natural
propensity; but to curb his temper, soothe his discontent, and control
his animal appetites was a very different thing. At all events, it
seemed so great to him that he never seriously attempted self-conquest.
Let every youth who would not be shipwrecked on life's voyage cultivate
this one great virtue, "self-control." There is nothing so important to
a youth starting out in life as a thoroughly trained and cultivated
will; everything depends upon it. If he has it, he will succeed; if he
does not have it, he will fail.

"The first and best of victories," says Plato, "is for a man to conquer
himself; to be conquered by himself is, of all things, the most shameful
and vile."

"Silence," says Zimmerman, "is the safest response for all the
contradiction that arises from impertinence, vulgarity, or envy."

"He is a fool who cannot be angry," says English, "but he is a wise man
who will not."

Seneca, one of the greatest of the ancient philosophers, said that "we
should every night call ourselves to account. What infirmity have I
mastered to-day? what passion opposed? what temptation resisted? what
virtue acquired?" and then he follows with the profound truth that "our
vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the
shrift." If you cannot at first control your anger, learn to control
your tongue, which, like fire, is a good servant, but a hard master.

It does no good to get angry. Some sins have a seeming compensation or
apology, a present gratification of some sort, but anger has none. A man
feels no better for it. It is really a torment, and when the storm of
passion has cleared away, it leaves one to see that he has been a fool.
And he has made himself a fool in the eyes of others too.

The wife of Socrates, Xanthippe, was a woman of a most fantastical and
furious spirit. At one time, having vented all the reproaches upon
Socrates her fury could suggest, he went out and sat before the door.
His calm and unconcerned behavior but irritated her so much the more;
and, in the excess of her rage, she ran upstairs and emptied a vessel
upon his head, at which he only laughed and said that "so much thunder
must needs produce a shower." Alcibiades, his friend, talking with him
about his wife, told him he wondered how he could bear such an
everlasting scold in the same house with him. He replied, "I have so
accustomed myself to expect it, that it now offends me no more than the
noise of carriages in the street."

It is said of Socrates, that whether he was teaching the rules of an
exact morality, whether he was answering his corrupt judges, or was
receiving sentence of death, or swallowing the poison, he was still the
same man; that is to say, calm, quiet, undisturbed, intrepid--in a word,
wise to the last.

"It is not enough to have great qualities," says La Rochefoucauld; "we
should also have the management of them." No man can call himself
educated until every voluntary muscle obeys his will.

"You ask whether it would not be manly to resent a great injury," said
Eardley Wilmot; "I answer that it would be manly to resent it, but it
would be Godlike to forgive it."

"He who, with strong passions, remains chaste; he who, keenly sensitive,
with manly power of indignation in him, can be provoked, and yet
restrain himself and forgive--these are strong men, the spiritual

To feel provoked or exasperated at a trifle, when the nerves are
exhausted, is, perhaps, natural to us in our imperfect state. But why
put into the shape of speech the annoyance which, once uttered, is
remembered; which may burn like a blistering wound, or rankle like a
poisoned arrow? If a child be crying or a friend capricious, or a
servant unreasonable, be careful what you say. Do not speak while you
feel the impulse of anger, for you will be almost certain to say too
much, to say more than your cooler judgment will approve, and to speak
in a way that you will regret. Be silent until the "sweet by and by,"
when you will be calm, rested, and self-controlled.

But self-respect must be accompanied by self-conquest, or our strong
feelings may prove but runaway horses. He who would command others must
first learn to obey, and he who would command his own powers must learn
to be submissive to the still small voice within. Discipline the
passions, curb pride and impatience, restrain all hasty impulses. Deny
yourself the gratification of any desire not sanctioned by reason. Shame
and its consequent degradation follow the loss of our own good opinion
rather than the esteem of others. Too many yield in the perpetual
conflict between temptation to gratify the coarser appetites and
aspiration for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Voices unheard by
those around us whisper "Don't," but too often self-respect is lost, the
will lies prostrate, and the debauch goes on. Such battles must be
fought by all; be ours the victory born of self-control, aided by that
Heaven which always helps him who prays while putting his own shoulder
to the wheel.

No man had a better heart or more thoroughly hated oppression than
Edmund Burke. He possessed neither experience in affairs, nor a tranquil
judgment, nor the rule over his own spirit, so that his genius, under
the impulse of his bewildering passions, wrought much evil to his
country and to Europe, even while he rendered noble service to the cause
of commercial freedom, to Ireland, and to America.

Burns could not resist the temptation to utter his clever sarcasms at
another's expense, and one of his biographers has said that he made a
hundred enemies for every ten jokes he made. But Burns could no more
control his appetite than his tongue.

     "Thus thoughtless follies laid him low
     And stained his name."

Xanthus, the philosopher, told his servant that on the morrow he was
going to have some friends to dine, and asked him to get the best thing
he could find in the market. The philosopher and his guests sat down
the next day at the table. They had nothing but tongue--four or five
courses of tongue--tongue cooked in this way, and tongue cooked in that
way, and the philosopher lost his patience, and said to his servant,
"Didn't I tell you to get the best thing in the market?" He said, "I did
get the best thing in the market. Isn't the tongue the organ of
sociality, the organ of eloquence, the organ of kindness, the organ of
worship?" Then Xanthus said, "To-morrow I want you to get the worst
thing in the market." And on the morrow the philosopher sat at the
table, and there was nothing there but tongue--four or five courses of
tongue--tongue in this shape, and tongue in that shape--and the
philosopher again lost his patience, and said, "Didn't I tell you to get
the worst thing in the market?" The servant replied, "I did; for isn't
the tongue the organ of blasphemy, the organ of defamation, the organ of

"I can reform my people," said Peter the Great, "but I cannot reform
myself." He forbade all Russians to wear beards, and to quell the
insurrection which resulted, he had 8000 revolters beheaded. With a
hatchet he began the ghastly work. He had his own son beheaded.

He who cannot resist temptation is not a man. He is wanting in the
highest attributes of humanity. The honor and nobleness of the old
"knight-errantry" consisted in defending the innocence of men and
protecting the chastity of women against the assaults of others. But the
truer and nobler knighthood protects the property and the character, the
innocence and the chastity of others against one's self. We should all
be posted upon our weak points, for after all there are many emergencies
in life when these weak points, not our strong ones, will measure our
manhood and our strength. Many a woman whom a mouse would frighten out
of her wits would not shrink from assisting in terrible surgical
operations in our city or war hospitals, and many an officer and
soldier who would walk up to the cannon's mouth without a tremor in
battle, would not dare to say his soul was his own in a society parlor.
Many a great statesman has quailed before the ringer of scorn of a
fellow-Congressman, and has been completely cowed by a hiss from the
gallery or a ridiculing paragraph in a newspaper. We all have tender
spots, weak spots, and a man can never know his strength who does not
study his weaknesses.

"Violent passions and ardent feelings are seldom found united with
complete self-command; but when they are they form the strongest
possible character, for there is all the power of clear thought and cool
judgment impelled by the resistless energy of feeling. This combination
Washington possessed; for in his impetuosity there was no foolish
rashness, and in his passion no injustice. Besides, whatever violence
there might be within, the explosion seldom came to the surface, and
when it did it was arrested at once by the stern mandate of his will. He
never lost the mastery of himself in any emergency, and in 'ruling his
spirit' showed himself greater than in 'taking a city.'

"It is one of the astonishing things in his life that, amid the perfect
chaos of feeling into which he was thrown,--amid the distracted counsels
and still more distracted affairs that surrounded him,--he never once
lost the perfect equilibrium of his own mind. The contagion of fear and
doubt and despair could not touch him. He did not seem susceptible to
the common influences which affect men. His soul poised on its own
centre, reposed calmly there through all the storms that beat for seven
years on his noble breast. The ingratitude and folly of those who should
have been his allies, the insults of his foes, and the frowns of fortune
never provoked him into a rash act, or deluded him into a single error."

Horace Mann says that there must be a time when the vista of the future,
with all its possibilities of glory and of shame, first opens to the
vision of youth. Then is he summoned to make his choice between truth
and treachery; between honor and dishonor; between purity and
profligacy; between moral life and moral death. And as he doubts or
balances between the heavenward or hellward course; as he struggles to
rise or consents to fall; is there in all the universe of God a
spectacle of higher exultation or of deeper pathos? Within him are the
appetites of a brute and the attributes of an angel; and when these meet
in council to make up the roll of his destiny and seal his fate, shall
the beast hound out the seraph? Shall the young man, now conscious of
the largeness of his sphere and of the sovereignty of his choice, wed
the low ambitions of the world, and seek, with their emptiness, to fill
his immortal desires? Because he has a few animal wants that must be
supplied, shall he become all animal,--an epicure and an inebriate,--and
blasphemously make it the first doctrine of his catechism,--"the Chief
End of Man?"--to glorify his stomach and enjoy it? Because it is the law
of self-preservation that he shall provide for himself, and the law of
religion that he shall provide for his family, when he has one, must he,
therefore, cut away all the bonds of humanity that bind him to his race,
forswear charity, crush down every prompting of benevolence, and if he
can have the palace and equipage of the prince, and the table of a
sybarite, become a blind man, and a deaf man, and a dumb man, when he
walks the streets where hunger moans and nakedness shivers?

The strong man is the one who ever keeps himself under strict
discipline, who never once allows the lower to usurp the place of the
higher in him; who makes his passions his servants and never allows them
to be his master; who is ever led by his mind and not by his
inclinations. He drills and disciplines his desires and keeps the roots
of his life under ground, and never allows them to interfere with his
character. He is never the slave of his inclinations, nor the sport of
impulse. He is the commander of himself and heads his ship due north
even in the wildest tempests of passion. He is never the slave of his
strongest desire.

A noted teacher has said that the propensities and habits are as
teachable as Latin and Greek, while they are infinitely more essential
to happiness. We are very largely the creatures of our wills. By
constantly looking on the bright side of things, by viewing everything
hopefully, by setting the face as a flint every hour of every day toward
all that is harmonious and beautiful in life, and refusing to listen to
the discord or to look at the ugly side of life, by constantly directing
the thought toward what is noble, grand and true, we can soon form
habits which will develop into a beautiful character, a harmonious and
well-rounded life. We are creatures of habit, and by knowing the laws of
its formation we can, in a little while, build up a network of habit
about us, which will protect us from most of the ugly, selfish and
degrading things of life. In fact, the only real happiness and unalloyed
satisfaction we get out of life, is the product of self-control. It is
the great guardian of all the virtues, without which none of them is
safe. It is the sentinel, which stands on guard at the door of life, to
admit friends and exclude enemies.

"I call that mind free," says Channing, "which jealously guards its
intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does
not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens
itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as an
angel from heaven, which, whilst consulting others, inquires still more
of the oracle within; itself, and uses instructions from abroad, not to
supersede, but to quicken and exalt its own energies. I call that mind
free which is not passively framed by outward circumstances, which is
not swept away by the torrent of events, which is not the creature of
accidental impulse, but which bends events to its own improvement, and
acts from an inward spring, from immutable principles which it has
deliberately espoused. I call that mind free which protects itself
against the usurpations of society, which does not cower to human
opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher tribunal than man's,
which respects a higher law than fashion, which respects itself too much
to be the slave or tool of the many or the few. I call that mind free
which through confidence in God and in the power of virtue has cast off
all fear but that of wrong-doing, which no menace or peril can enthrall,
which is calm in the midst of tumults, and possesses itself though all
else be lost. I call that mind free which resists the bondage of habit,
which does not mechanically repeat itself and copy the past, which does
not live on its old virtues, which does not enslave itself to precise
rules, but which forgets what is behind, listens for new and higher
monitions of conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and
higher exertions. I call that mind free which is jealous of its own
freedom, which guards itself from being merged in others, which guards
its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the world."



     Patience is the courage of the conqueror; it is the virtue,
     _par excellence_, of Man against Destiny, of the One against
     the World, and of the Soul against Matter. Therefore this is
     the courage of the Gospel; and its importance, in a social
     view--its importance to races and institutions--cannot be too
     earnestly inculcated.

     Perpetual pushing and assurance put a difficulty out of
     countenance, and make a seeming impossibility give way.

     To bear is to conquer fate.

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

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

"How long did it take you to learn to play?" asked a young man of
Geradini. "Twelve hours a day for twenty years," replied the great
violinist. Layman Beecher's father, when asked how long it took him to
write his celebrated sermon on the "Government of God," replied, "About
forty years."

"If you will study a year I will teach you to sing well," said an
Italian music teacher to a pupil who wished to know what can be hoped
for with study; "if two years, you may excel. If you will practice the
scale constantly for three years, I will make you the best tenor in
Italy; if for four years, you may have the world at your feet."

Perceiving that Caffarelli had a fine tenor voice and unusual talent, a
teacher offered to give him a thorough musical education free of charge,
provided the pupil would promise never to complain of the course of
instruction given. The first year the master gave nothing but the
scales, compelling the youth to practice them over and over again. The
second year it was the same, the third, and the fourth, the conditions
of the bargain being the only reply to any question in relation to a
change from such monotonous drill. The fifth year the teacher introduced
chromatics and thorough bass, and, at its close, when Caffarelli looked
for something more brilliant and interesting, the master said: "Go, my
son, I can teach you nothing more. You are the first singer of Italy and
of the world." The _mastery_ of scales and diatonics gave him power to
sing anything.

"Keep at the helm," said President Porter; "steer your own ship, and
remember that the great art of commanding is to take a fair share of the
work. Strike out. Assume your own position. Put potatoes in a cart,
over a rough road, and the small ones go to the bottom."

"Never depend upon your genius," said John Ruskin, in the words of
Joshua Reynolds; "if you have talent, industry will improve it; if you
have none, industry will supply the deficiency."

"The only merit to which I lay claim," said Hugh Miller, "is that of
patient research--a merit in which whoever wills may rival or surpass
me; and this humble faculty of patience when rightly developed may lead
to more extraordinary development of ideas than even genius itself."

Titian, the greatest master of color the world has seen, used to say:
"White, red and black, these are all the colors that a painter needs,
but he must know how to use them." It took fifty years of constant, hard
practice to bring him to his full mastery.

"How much grows everywhere if we do but wait!" exclaims Carlyle. "Not a
difficulty but can transfigure itself into a triumph; not even a
deformity, but if our own soul have imprinted worth on it, will grow
dear to us."

Persistency is characteristic of all men who have accomplished anything
great. They may lack in some other particular, have many weaknesses, or
eccentricities, but the quality of persistence is never absent in a
successful man. No matter what opposition he meets or what
discouragements overtake him, he is always persistent. Drudgery cannot
disgust him, obstacles cannot discourage him, labor cannot weary him. He
will persist, no matter what comes or what goes; it is a part of his
nature. He could almost as easily stop breathing.

It is not so much brilliancy of intellect or fertility of resource as
persistency of effort, constancy of purpose, that makes a great man.
Persistency always gives confidence. Everybody believes in the man who
persists. He may meet misfortunes, sorrows and reverses, but everybody
believes that he will ultimately triumph because they know there is no
keeping him down. "Does he keep at it, is he persistent?" is the
question which the world asks of a man.

Even the man with small ability will often succeed if he has the quality
of persistence, where a genius without persistence would fail.

"How hard I worked at that tremendous shorthand, and all improvement
appertaining to it," said Dickens. "I will only add to what I have
already written of my perseverance at this time of my life, and of a
patient and continuous energy which then began to be matured within me,
and which I know to be the strong point of my character, if it have any
strength at all, that there, on looking back, I find the source of my

"I am sorry to say that I don't think this is in your line," said
Woodfall the reporter, after Sheridan had made his first speech in
Parliament. "You had better have stuck to your former pursuits." With
head on his hand Sheridan mused for a time, then looked up and said, "It
is in me, and it shall come out of me." From the same man came that
harangue against Warren Hastings which the orator Fox called the best
speech ever made in the House of Commons.

"The man who is perpetually hesitating which of two things he will do
first," said William Wirt, "will do neither." The man who resolves, but
suffers his resolution to be changed by the first counter-suggestion of
a friend--who fluctuates from opinion to opinion, from plan to plan, and
veers like a weather-cock to every point of the compass, with every
breath of caprice that blows, can never accomplish anything great or
useful. Instead of being progressive in anything, he will be at best
stationary, and, more probably, retrograde in all.

Great writers have ever been noted for their tenacity of purpose. Their
works have not been flung off from minds aglow with genius, but have
been elaborated and elaborated into grace and beauty, until every trace
of their efforts has been obliterated. Bishop Butler worked twenty years
incessantly on his "Analogy," and even then was so dissatisfied that he
wanted to burn it. Rousseau says he obtained the ease and grace of his
style only by ceaseless inquietude, by endless blotches and erasures.
Virgil worked eleven years on the Æneid. The note-books of great men
like Hawthorne and Emerson are tell-tales of enormous drudgery, of the
years put into a book which may be read in an hour. Montesquieu was
twenty-five years writing his "Esprit de Louis," yet you can read it in
sixty minutes. Adam Smith spent ten years on his "Wealth of Nations." A
rival playwright once laughed at Euripides for spending three days on
three lines, when he had written five hundred lines. "But your five
hundred lines in three days will be dead and forgotten, while my three
lines will live forever," replied Euripides.

Sir Fowell Buxton thought he could do as well as others, if he devoted
twice as much time and labor as they did. Ordinary means and
extraordinary application have done most of the great things in the

Defoe offered the manuscript of Robinson Crusoe to many booksellers and
all but one refused it. Addison's first play, Rosamond, was hissed off
the stage, but the editor of the Spectator and Tattler was made of stern
stuff and was determined that the world should listen to him, and it

David Livingstone said: "Those who have never carried a book through the
press can form no idea of the amount of toil it involves. The process
has increased my respect for authors a thousand-fold. I think I would
rather cross the African continent again than undertake to write another

"For the statistics of the negro population of South America alone,"
says Robert Dale Owen, "I examined more than a hundred and fifty

Another author tells us that he wrote paragraphs and whole pages of his
book as many as fifty times.

It is said of one of Longfellow's poems that it was written in four
weeks, but that he spent six months in correcting and cutting it down.
Bulwer declared that he had rewritten some of his briefer productions as
many as eight or nine times before their publication. One of Tennyson's
pieces was rewritten fifty times. John Owen was twenty years on his
"Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews;" Gibbon on his "Decline and
Fall," twenty years; and Adam Clark, on his "Commentary," twenty-six
years. Carlyle spent fifteen years on his "Frederick the Great."

A great deal of time is consumed in reading before some books are
prepared. George Eliot read 1000 books before she wrote "Daniel
Deronda." Allison read 2000 before he completed his history. It is said
of another that he read 20,000 and wrote only two books.

Virgil spent several years on the Georgics, which could be printed in
two columns of an ordinary newspaper.

"Generally speaking," said Sydney Smith, "the life of all truly great
men has been a life of intense and incessant labor. They have commonly
passed the first half of life in the gross darkness of indigent
humility,--overlooked, mistaken, condemned by weaker men,--thinking
while others slept, reading while others rioted, feeling something
within them that told them they should not always be kept down among the
dregs of the world. And then, when their time has come, and some little
accident has given them their first occasion, they have burst out into
the light and glory of public life, rich with the spoils of time, and
mighty in all the labors and struggles of the mind."

Malibran said: "If I neglect my practice a day, I see the difference in
my execution; if for two days, my friends see it; and if for a week, all
the world knows my failure." Constant, persistent struggle she found to
be the price of her marvelous power.

"If I am building a mountain," said Confucius, "and stop before the last
basketful of earth is placed on the summit, I have failed."

"Young gentlemen," said Francis Wayland, "remember that nothing can
stand day's work."

America will never produce any great art until our resources are
developed and we get more time. As a people we have not yet learned the
art of patience. We do not know how to wait. Think of an American artist
spending seven, eight, ten, and even twelve years on a single painting
as did Titian, Michael Angelo and many of the other old masters. Think
of an American sculptor spending years and years upon a single
masterpiece, as did the Greeks and Romans. We have not yet learned the
secret of working and waiting.

"The single element in all the progressive movements of my pencil," said
the great David Wilkie, "was persevering industry."

The kind of ability which most men rank highest is that which enables
its possessor to do what he undertakes, and attain the object of his
ambition or desire.

"The reader of a newspaper does not see the first insertion of an
ordinary advertisement," says a French writer. "The second insertion he
sees, but does not read; the third insertion he reads; the fourth
insertion he looks at the price; the fifth insertion he speaks of it to
his wife; the sixth insertion he is ready to purchase, and the seventh
insertion he purchases."

The large fees which make us envy the great lawyer or doctor are not
remuneration for the few minutes' labor of giving advice, but for the
mental stores gathered during the precious spare moments of many a year
while others were sleeping or enjoying holidays. A client will
frequently object to paying fifty dollars for an opinion written in five
minutes, but such an opinion could be written only by one who has read a
hundred law books. If the lawyer had not previously read those books,
but should keep a client waiting until he could read them with care,
there would be fewer complaints that fees of this kind are not earned.

We are told that perseverance built the pyramids on Egypt's plains,
erected the gorgeous temple at Jerusalem, inclosed in adamant the
Chinese Empire, scaled the stormy, cloud-capped Alps, opened a highway
through the watery wilderness of the Atlantic, leveled the forests of
the new world, and reared in its stead a community of States and
nations. Perseverance has wrought from the marble block the exquisite
creations of genius, painted on canvas the gorgeous mimicry of nature,
and engraved on a metallic surface the viewless substance of the shadow.
Perseverance has put in motion millions of spindles, winged as many
flying shuttles, harnessed thousands of iron steeds to as many freighted
cars, and sent them flying from town to town and nation to nation;
tunneled mountains of granite, and annihilated space with the
lightning's speed. Perseverance has whitened the waters of the world
with the sails of a hundred nations, navigated every sea and explored
every land. Perseverance has reduced nature in her thousand forms to as
many sciences, taught her laws, prophesied her future movements,
measured her untrodden spaces, counted her myriad hosts of worlds, and
computed their distances, dimensions, and velocities.

"Whoever is resolved to excel in painting, or, indeed, in any other
art," said Reynolds, "must bring all his mind to bear upon that one
object from the moment that he rises till he goes to bed."

"If you work hard two weeks without selling a book," wrote a publisher
to an agent, "you will make a success of it."

"Know thy work and do it," said Carlyle; "and work at it like a
Hercules. One monster there is in the world--an idle man."



     If you want to test a young man and ascertain whether nature
     made him for a king or a subject, give him a thousand dollars
     and see what he will do with it. If he is born to conquer and
     command, he will put it quietly away till he is ready to use it
     as opportunity offers. If he is born to serve, he will
     immediately begin to spend it in gratifying his ruling

     The man who builds, and lacks wherewith to pay,
     Provides a home from which to run away.

     Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou
     shalt sell thy necessaries.

     For age and want save while you may:
     No morning sun lasts a whole day.

     Whatever be your talents, whatever be your prospects, never
     speculate away on a chance of a palace that which you may need
     as a provision against the workhouse.

"What do you do with all these books?" "Oh, that library is my 'one
cigar a day,'" was the response. "What do you mean?" "Mean! Just this:
when you bothered me so about being a man, and learning to smoke, I'd
just been reading about a young fellow who bought books with money that
others would have spent in smoke, and I thought I'd try and do the
same. You remember, I said I should allow myself one cigar a day."
"Yes." "Well, I never smoked. I just put by the price of a five-cent
cigar every day, and as the money accumulated I bought books--the books
you see there." "Do you mean to say that those books cost no more than
that? Why there are dollars' worth of them." "Yes, I know there are. I
had six years more of my apprenticeship to serve when you persuaded me
to 'be a man.' I put by the money I have told you of, which of course at
five cents a day amounted to $18.25 a year or $109.50 in six years. I
keep those books by themselves, as a result of my apprenticeship
cigar-money; and if you'd done as I did, you would by this time have
saved many, many more dollars than that, and been in business besides."

If a man will begin at the age of twenty and lay by twenty-six cents
every working day, investing at 7 per cent. compound interest, he will
have thirty-two thousand dollars when he is seventy years old. Twenty
cents a day is no unusual expenditure for beer or cigars, yet in fifty
years it would easily amount to twenty thousand dollars. Even a saving
of one dollar a week from the date of one's majority would give him one
thousand dollars for each of the last ten of the allotted years of life.
"What maintains one vice would bring up two children."

Who does not feel honored by his relationship to Dr. Franklin, whether
as a townsman or a countryman, or even as belonging to the same race?
Who does not feel a sort of personal complacency in that frugality of
his youth which laid the foundation for so much competence and
generosity in his mature age; in that wise discrimination of his
outlays, which held the culture of the soul in absolute supremacy over
the pleasures of the sense; and in that consummate mastership of the
great art of living, which has carried his practical wisdom into every
cottage in Christendom, and made his name immortal? And yet, how few
there are among us who would not disparage, nay, ridicule and contemn a
young man who should follow Franklin's example.

Washington examined the minutest expenditures of his family, even when
President of the United States. He understood that without economy none
can be rich, and with it none need be poor.

Napoleon examined his domestic bills himself, detected overcharges and

Unfortunately Congress can pass no law that will remedy the vice of
living beyond one's means.

"We are ruined," says Colton, "not by what we really want, but by what
we think we do. Therefore never go abroad in search of your wants; if
they be real wants, they will come home in search of you; for he that
buys what he does not want will soon want what he cannot buy."

"I hope that there will not be another sale," exclaimed Horace Walpole,
"for I have not an inch of room nor a farthing left." A woman once
bought an old door-plate with "Thompson" on it because she thought it
might come in handy some time. The habit of buying what you don't need
because it is cheap encourages extravagance. "Many have been ruined by
buying good pennyworths."

Barnum tells the story of one of his acquaintances, whose wife would
have a new and elegant sofa, which in the end cost him thirty thousand
dollars. When the sofa reached the house it was found necessary to get
chairs "to match," then sideboards, carpets, and tables, "to correspond"
with them, and so on through the entire stock of furniture, when at last
it was found that the house itself was quite too small and old-fashioned
for the furniture, and a new one was built "to correspond" with the sofa
and _et ceteras_: "thus," added my friend, "running up an outlay of
$30,000 caused by that single sofa, and saddling on me in the shape of
servants, equipage, and the necessary expenses attendant on keeping up a
fine 'establishment' a yearly outlay of eleven thousand dollars, and a
habit of extravagance which was a constant menace to my prosperity."

Cicero said: "Not to have a mania for buying, is to possess a revenue."
Many are carried away by the habit of bargain-buying. "Here's something
wonderfully cheap; let's buy it." "Have you any use for it?" "No, not at
present; but it is sure to come in useful, some time."

"Annual income," says Macawber, "twenty pounds; annual expenditure,
nineteen six, result--happiness. Annual income, twenty pounds; annual
expenditure, twenty pounds ought and six, result--misery."

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

"If I had but fifty cents a week to live on," said Greeley, "I'd buy a
peck of corn and parch it before I'd owe any man a dollar."

To find out uses for the persons or things which are now wasted in life
is to be the glorious work of the men of the next generation, and that
which will contribute most to their enrichment.

Economizing "in spots" or by freaks is no economy at all; it must be
done by management.

Let us learn the meaning of economy. Economy is a high, humane office, a
sacrament, when its aim is great; when it is the prudence of simple
tastes, when it is practiced for freedom, or love or devotion. Much of
the economy we see in houses is of a base origin, and is best kept out
of sight. Parched corn eaten to-day that I may have roast fowl for my
dinner on Sunday, is a baseness, but parched corn and a house with one
apartment, that I may be free of all perturbations, that I may be serene
and docile to what the mind shall speak, and girt and road-ready for the
lowest mission of knowledge or good will, is frugality for gods and

Like many other boys P. T. Barnum picked up pennies driving oxen for his
father, but unlike many other boys he would invest these earnings in
knick-knacks which he would sell to others on every holiday, thus
increasing his pennies to dollars.

The eccentric John Randolph once sprang from his seat in the House of
Representatives, and exclaimed in his piercing voice, "Mr. Speaker, I
have found it." And then, in the stillness which followed this strange
outburst, he added, "I have found the Philosopher's stone: it is _Pay as
you go_."

In France, all classes, the men as well as the women, study the economy
of cookery and practice it; and there, as many travelers affirm, the
people live at one-third the expense of Englishmen or Americans. There
they know how to make savory messes out of remnants that others would
throw away. There they cook no more for each day than is required for
that day. With them the art ranks with the fine arts, and a great cook
is as much honored and respected as a sculptor or a painter. The
consequence is, as ex-Secretary McCullough thinks, a French village of
1000 inhabitants could be supported luxuriously on the waste of one of
our large American hotels, and he believes that the entire population of
France could be supported on the food which is literally wasted in the
United States. Professor Blot, who resided for some years in the United
States, remarks, pathetically, that here, "where the markets rival the
best markets of Europe, it is really a pity to live as many do live.
There are thousands of families in moderately good circumstances who
have never eaten a loaf of really good bread, nor tasted a well-cooked
steak, nor sat down to a properly prepared meal."

There are many who think that economy consists in saving cheese parings
and candle ends, in cutting off two pence from the laundress' bill, and
doing all sorts of little, mean, dirty things. Economy is not meanness.
The misfortune is also that this class of persons let their economy
apply only in one direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully
economical in saving a half-penny, where they ought to spend two-pence,
that they think they can afford to squander in other directions.
_Punch_, in speaking of this "one idea" class of people, says, "They are
like a man who bought a penny herring for his family's dinner, and then
hired a coach and four to take it home." I never knew a man to succeed
by practicing this kind of economy. True economy consists in always
making the income exceed the out-go. Wear the old clothes a little
longer, if necessary; dispense with the new pair of gloves, live on
plainer food if need be. So that under all circumstances, unless some
unforeseen accident occurs, there will be a margin in favor of the
income. A penny here and a dollar there placed at interest go on
accumulating, and in this way the desired result is obtained.

"I wish I could write all across the sky in letters of gold," says Rev.
William Marsh, "the one word, savings bank."

Boston savings banks have $130,000,000 on deposit, mostly saved in
driblets. Josiah Quincy used to say that the servant girls built most of
the palaces on Beacon street.

"Nature uses a grinding economy," says Emerson, "working up all that is
wasted to-day into to-morrow's creation; not a superfluous grain of sand
for all the ostentation she makes of expense and public works. She flung
us out in her plenty, but we cannot shed a hair or a paring of a nail
but instantly she snatches at the shred and appropriates it to her
general stock. Last summer's flowers and foliage decayed in autumn only
to enrich the earth this year for other forms of beauty. Nature will
not even wait for our friends to see us, unless we die at home. The
moment the breath has left the body she begins to take us to pieces,
that the parts may be used again for other creations."

"So apportion your wants that your means may exceed them," says Bulwer.
"With one hundred pounds a year I may need no man's help; I may at least
have 'my crust of bread and liberty.' But with £5000 a year I may dread
a ring at my bell; I may have my tyrannical master in servants whose
wages I cannot pay; my exile may be at the fiat of the first
long-suffering man who enters a judgment against me; for the flesh that
lies nearest my heart some Shylock may be dusting his scales and
whetting his knife. Every man is needy who spends more than he has; no
man is needy who spends less. I may so ill manage, that with £5000 a
year I purchase the worst evils of poverty--terror and shame; I may so
well manage my money, that with £100 a year I purchase the best
blessings of wealth: safety and respect."



     "Do what thou dost as if the stake were heaven,
     And this thy last deed ere the judgment day."

     If you wish to reach the highest begin at the lowest.

                              What is a man,
     If his chief good, and market of his time,
     Be but to sleep, and feed? A beast, no more.
     Sure He, that made us with such large discourse,
     Looking before, and after, gave us not
     That capability and godlike Reason
     To rust in us unused.

     Ambition is the spur that makes man struggle with destiny. It
     is heaven's own incentive to make purpose great and achievement

     "Not failure, but low aim, is crime."

     "Endeavor to be first in thy calling, whatever it
     may be; neither let anyone go before thee in well

     O may I join the choir invisible
     Of those immortal dead who live again
     In minds made better by their presence; live
     In pulses stirred to generosity,
     In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
     For miserable aims that end with self,
     In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
     And with their mild persistence urge man's search
     To vaster issues.

"Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne and myself have founded empires," said
Napoleon to Montholon at St. Helena; "but upon what did we rest the
creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his
empire on love, and at this moment millions of men would die for Him. I
die before my time and my body will be given back to worms. Such is the
fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss
between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is
proclaimed, loved and adored, and which is extended over the whole
earth. Call you this dying? Is it not rather living? The death of Christ
is the death of a God."

"No true man can live a half life," says Phillips Brooks, "when he has
genuinely learned that it is a half life. The other half, the higher
half, must haunt him."

"Ideality," says Horace Mann, "is only the _avant courier_ of the mind;
and where that in a healthy and normal state goes I hold it to be a
prophecy that realization can follow."

"If the certainty of future fame bore Milton rejoicing through his
blindness, or cheered Galileo in his dungeon," writes Bulwer, "what
stronger and holier support shall not be given to him who has loved
mankind as his brothers and devoted his labors to their cause?--who has
not sought, but relinquished, his own renown?--who has braved the
present censures of men for their future benefit, and trampled upon
glory in the energy of benevolence? Will there not be for him something
more powerful than fame to comfort his sufferings and to sustain his

"If I live," wrote Rufus Choate in his diary in September, 1844, "all
blockheads which are shaken at certain mental peculiarities shall know
and feel a reasoner, a lawyer and a man of business."

I have read that none of the humbler races have the muscle by which man
turns his eye upward, though I am not anatomist enough to be sure of the

"Show me a contented slave," says Burke, "and I will show you a degraded

"They truly are faithful," says one writer, "who devote their entire
lives to amendment."

General Grant said of the Chinese Wall: "I believe that the labor
expended on this wall could have built every railroad in the United
States, every canal and highway, and most, if not all, our cities."

"The real benefactors of mankind," says Emerson, "are the men and women
who can raise their fellow beings out of the world of corn and money,
who make them forget their bank account by interesting them in their
higher selves; who can raise mere money-getters into the intellectual
realm, where they will cease to measure greatness and happiness by
dollars and cents; who can make men forget their stomachs and feast on
being's banquet."

"Men are not so much mistaken in desiring to advance themselves," said
Beecher, "as in judging what will be an advance, and what the right
method of obtaining it. An ambition which has conscience in it will
always be a laborious and faithful engineer, and will build the road and
bridge the chasms between itself and eminent success by the most
faithful and minute performances of duty. The liberty to go higher than
we are is given only when we have fulfilled amply the duty of our
present sphere. Thus men are to rise upon their performances and not
upon their discontent. And this is the secret and golden meaning of the
command to be _content_ in whatever sphere we are placed. It is not to
be the content of indifference, of indolence, of unambitious stupidity,
but the content of industrious fidelity. When men are building the
foundations of vast structures they must needs labor far below the
surface, and in disagreeable conditions. But every course of stone which
they lay raises them higher; and at length, when they reach the surface,
they have laid such solid work under them that they need not fear now to
carry up their walls, through towering stories, till they overlook the
whole neighborhood. A man proves himself fit to go higher who shows that
he is faithful where he is. A man that will not do well in his present
place, because he longs to be higher, is fit neither to be where he is
nor yet above it; he is already too high and should be put lower."

Do that which is assigned thee and thou canst not hope too much, or dare
too much. What a man does, that he has. In himself is his might. Don't
waste life on doubts and fears. Spend yourself on the work before you,
well assured that the performance of this hour's duties will be the best
preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.

Tradition says that when Solomon received the gift of an emerald vase
from the Queen of Sheba he filled it with an elixir which he only knew
how to prepare, one drop of which would prolong life indefinitely. A
dying criminal begged for a drop of the precious fluid, but Solomon
refused to prolong a wicked life. When good men asked for it they were
refused, or failed to obtain it when promised, as the king would forget
or prefer not to open the vase to get but a single drop. When at last
the king became ill, and bade his servants bring the vase, he found that
the contents had all evaporated. So it is often with our hope, our
faith, our ambition, our aspiration.

A man cannot aspire if he looks down. God has not created us with
aspirations and longings for heights to which we cannot climb. Live
upward. The unattained still beckons us toward the summit of life's
mountains, into the atmosphere where great souls live and breathe and
have their being. Even hope is but a promise of the possibility of its
own fulfillment. Life should be lived in earnest. It is no idle game, no
farce to amuse and be forgotten. It is a stern reality, fuller of duties
than the sky of stars. You cannot have too much of that yearning which
we call aspiration, for, even though you do not attain your ideal, the
efforts you make will bring nothing but blessing; while he who fails of
attaining mere worldly goals is too often eaten up with the canker-worm
of disappointed ambition. To all will come a time when the love of glory
will be seen to be but a splendid delusion, riches empty, rank vain,
power dependent, and all outward advantages without inward peace a mere
mockery of wretchedness. The wisest men have taken care to uproot
selfish ambition from their breasts. Shakespeare considered it so near a
vice as to need extenuating circumstances to make it a virtue.

Who has not noticed the power of love in an awkward, crabbed, shiftless,
lazy man? He becomes gentle, chaste in language, energetic. Love brings
out the poetry in him. It is only an idea, a sentiment, and yet what
magic it has wrought. Nothing we can see has touched the man, yet he is
entirely transformed.

Not less does ambition completely transform a human being, for a woman
thirsting for fame can work where a man equally resolute would faint.
He despises ease and sloth, welcomes toil and hardship, and shakes even
kingdoms to gratify his master passion. Mere ambition has impelled many
a man to a life of eminence and usefulness; its higher manifestation,
aspiration, has led him beyond the stars. If the aim be right the life
in its details cannot be far wrong. Your heart must inspire what your
hands execute, or the work will be poorly done. The hand cannot reach
higher than does the heart.

But do not strive to reach impossible goals. It is wholly in your
power to develop yourself, but not necessarily so to make yourself a
king. How many Presidents of the United States or Prime Ministers of
England are chosen within the working lifetime of a man? What if a
thousand young men resolve to become President or Prime Minister? While
such prizes are within your reach, remember that your will must be
tremendous and your qualifications of the highest order, or you cannot
hope to secure them. Too many are deluded by ambition beyond their power
of attainment, or tortured by aspirations totally disproportionate to
their capacity for execution. You may, indeed, confidently hope to
become eminent in usefulness and power, but only as you build upon a
broad foundation of self-culture; while, as a rule, specialists in
ambition as in science are apt to become narrow and one-sided. Darwin
was very fond of poetry and music when young, but after devoting his
life to science, he was surprised to find Shakespeare tedious. He said
that, if he were to live his life again, he would read poetry and hear
music every day, so as not to lose the power of appreciating such

God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You
_must_ take it. The only choice is _how_.

"When I found I was black," said Dumas, "I resolved to live as if I were
white, and so force men to look below my skin."

In the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society is a
prospectus used by Longfellow in canvassing, on one of the blank leaves
of which are the skeleton stanzas of "Excelsior," which he was evidently
evolving as he trudged from house to house.

"Disregarding the honors that most men value and looking to the truth,"
said Plato, "I shall endeavor in reality to live as virtuously as I can;
and, when I die, to die so. And I invite all other men to the utmost of
my power; and you, too, I invite to this contest, which, I affirm,
surpasses all contests here."

"Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and
singly toward an object, and in no measure obtained it?" asked Thoreau.
"If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man try
heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no
advantage in them,--that it was a vain endeavor?"

"O if the stone can only have some vision of the temple of which it is
to be a part forever," exclaimed Phillips Brooks, "what patience must
fill it as it feels the blows of the hammer, and knows that success for
it is simply to let itself be wrought into what shape the master wills."

Man never reaches heights above his habitual thought. It is not enough
now and then to mount on wings of ecstasy into the infinite. We must
habitually dwell there. The great man is he who abides easily on heights
to which others rise occasionally and with difficulty. Don't let the
maxims of a low prudence daily dinned into your ears lower the tone of
your high ambition or check your aspirations. Hope lifts us step by step
up the mysterious ladder, the top of which no eye hath ever seen. Though
we do not find what hope promised, yet we are stronger for the climbing,
and we get a broader outlook upon life which repays the effort. Indeed,
if we do not follow where hope beckons, we gradually slide down the
ladder in despair. Strive ever to be at the top of your condition. A
high standard is absolutely necessary.



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

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

     Never say "Fail" again.

     It is the one neck nearer that wins the race and shows the
     blood; the one pull more of the oar that proves the "beefiness
     of the fellow," as Oxford men say; it is the one march more
     that wins the campaign; the five minutes' more persistent
     courage that wins the fight. Though your force be less than
     another's, you equal and out-master your opponent if you
     continue it longer and concentrate it more.

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

"Well done, Tommy Brooks!" exclaimed his teacher in pleased surprise
when the dunce of the school spoke his piece without omitting a single
word. The other boys had laughed when he rose, for they expected a bad
failure. But when the rest of the class had tried, the teacher said
Tommy had done the best of all, and gave him the prize.

"And now tell me," said she, "how you learned the poem so well."

"Please, ma'am, it was the snail on the wall that taught me how to do
it," said Tommy. At this the other pupils laughed aloud, but the teacher
said: "You need not laugh, boys, for we may learn much from such things
as snails. How did the snail teach you, Tommy?"

"I saw it crawl up the wall little by little," replied the boy. "It did
not stop nor turn back, but went on, and on; and I thought I would do
the same with the poem. So I learned it little by little, and did not
give up. By the time the snail reached the top of the wall, I had
learned the whole poem."

"I may here impart the secret of what is called good and bad luck," said
Addison. "There are men who, supposing Providence to have an implacable
spite against them, bemoan in the poverty of old age the misfortunes of
their lives. Luck forever runs against them, and for others. One with a
good profession lost his luck in the river, where he idled away his time
a-fishing. Another with a good trade perpetually burnt up his luck by
his hot temper, which provoked all his employes to leave him. Another
with a lucrative business lost his luck by amazing diligence at
everything but his own business. Another who steadily followed his
trade, as steadily followed the bottle. Another who was honest and
constant to his work, erred by his perpetual misjudgment,--he lacked
discretion. Hundreds lose their luck by indulging sanguine expectations,
by trusting fraudulent men, and by dishonest gains. A man never has good
luck who has a bad wife. I never knew an early-rising, hard-working,
prudent man, careful of his earnings and strictly honest, who complained
of his bad luck. A good character, good habits, and iron industry are
impregnable to the assaults of the ill luck that fools are dreaming of.
But when I see a tatterdemalion creeping out of a grocery late in the
forenoon with his hands stuck into his pockets, the rim of his hat
turned up, and the crown knocked in, I know he has had bad luck,--for
the worst of all luck is to be a sluggard, a knave, or a tippler."

"You have a difficult subject," said Anthony Trollope at Niagara Falls,
to an artist who had attempted to draw the spray of the waters. "All
subjects are difficult," was the reply, "to a man who desires to do
well." "But yours, I fear, is impossible," said Trollope. "You have no
right to say so till I have finished my picture," protested the artist.

"Tell Louisa to stick to her teaching; she can never succeed as a
writer." When her father delivered the rejected manuscript of a story
sent to James T. Fields, editor of the _Atlantic Monthly_, with the
above message, Miss Alcott said, "Tell him I _will_ succeed as a writer,
and some day I shall write for the _Atlantic_." Not long after she sent
an article to the _Atlantic_ and received a check for $50. With the
money she said she bought "a second hand carpet for the parlor, a bonnet
for her sister, shoes and stockings for herself." Her father was calling
upon Longfellow some time after this, when Longfellow took the
_Atlantic_, and said, "I want to read to you Emerson's fine poem upon
Thoreau's flute." Mr. Alcott interrupted him with delight and said, "My
daughter Louisa wrote that."

"Men talk as if victory were something fortunate," says Emerson. "_Work
is victory._ Wherever work is done victory is obtained. _There is no
chance and no blanks._ You want but one verdict; if you have your own,
you are secure of the rest. But if witnesses are wanted, witnesses are

"Young gentlemen," said Francis Wayland, "remember that nothing can
stand day's work."

Alexander the Great exclaimed to his soldiers, disaffected after a long
campaign, "Go home and tell them that you left Alexander to conquer the
world alone."

"We discount only our own bills, and not those of private persons," said
the cashier of the Bank of England, when a large bill was offered drawn
by Anselm Rothschild of Frankfort, on Nathan Rothschild of London.
"Private persons!" exclaimed Nathan, when told of the cashier's remark;
"I will make these gentlemen see what sort of private persons we are."
Three weeks later he presented a five-pound note at the bank at the
opening of the office. The teller counted out five sovereigns, looking
surprised that Baron Rothschild should have troubled himself about such
a trifle. The baron examined the coins one by one, weighing them in the
balance, as he said "the law gave him the right to do," put them into a
little canvas bag, and offered a second, then a third, fourth, fiftieth,
thousandth note. When a bag was full he handed it to a clerk in waiting,
and proceeded to fill another. In seven hours he had changed £21,000,
and, with nine employes of his house similarly engaged, had occupied the
tellers so busily in changing $1,050,000 worth of notes that no one else
could receive attention. The bankers laughed, but the next morning
Rothschild appeared with his nine clerks and several drays to carry away
the gold, remarking, "These gentlemen refuse to pay my bills; I have
sworn not to keep theirs. They can pay at their leisure, only I notify
them that I have enough to employ them for two months." The smiles faded
from the features of the bank officials, as they thought of a draft of
$55,000,000 in gold which they did not hold. Next morning notice was
given in the newspapers that the Bank of England would pay Rothschild's
bills as well as its own.

"Well," said Barnum to a friend in 1841, "I am going to buy the American
Museum." "Buy it!" exclaimed the astonished friend, who knew that the
showman had not a dollar; "what do you intend buying it with?" "Brass,"
was the prompt reply, "for silver and gold have I none."

Every one interested in public entertainments in New York knew Barnum,
and knew the condition of his pocket; but Francis Olmstead, who owned
the Museum building, consulted numerous references all telling of "a
good showman, who would do as he agreed," and accepted a proposition to
give security for the purchaser. Mr. Olmstead was to appoint a
money-taker at the door, and credit Barnum toward the purchase with all
above expenses and an allowance of fifty dollars per month to support
his wife and three children. Mrs. Barnum gladly assented to the
arrangement, and offered, if need be, to cut down the household expenses
to a little more than a dollar a day. Some six months later Mr. Olmstead
happened to enter the ticket office at noon, and found Barnum eating for
dinner a few slices of bread and some corned beef. "Is this the way you
eat your dinner?" he asked.

"I have not eaten a warm dinner since I bought the Museum, except on the
Sabbath; and I intend never to eat another until I get out of debt."
"Ah! you are safe, and will pay for the Museum before the year is out,"
said Mr. Olmstead, slapping the young man approvingly on the shoulder.
He was right, for in less than a year Barnum had paid every cent out of
the profits of the establishment.

A noted philosopher said: "The favors of fortune are like steep rocks;
only eagles and creeping things mount to the summit." Lord Campbell, who
became Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor of England and amassed a large
fortune, began life as a drudge in a printing office. A little
observation shows us that, as a rule, the men who accomplish the most in
the world are the most useful, and sensible members of society, the men
who are depended upon most in emergencies, the men of backbone and
stamina, the bone and sinew of their communities; the men who can always
be relied upon, who are healthiest and happiest, are, as a rule, of
ordinary mental calibre and medium capacity. But with persistent and
untiring industry, these are they, after all, who carry the burdens and
reap the prizes of life. It is the men and women who keep everlastingly
at it, who do not believe themselves geniuses, but who know that if they
ever accomplish anything great, they must do it by common drudgery and
persistent industry and with an unwavering aim in one pursuit. Those who
believe themselves geniuses are apt to scatter their efforts and thus
fritter away their great energies without accomplishing anything in
proportion to their high promise. Often the men who promise the most pay
the least.

Mrs. Frank Leslie often refers to the time she lived in her carpetless
attic while striving to pay her husband's obligations. She has fought
her way successfully through nine lawsuits, and has paid the entire
debt. She manages her ten publications entirely herself, signs all
checks and money-orders, makes all contracts, looks over all proofs, and
approves the make-up of everything before it goes to press. She has
developed great business ability, which no one dreamed she possessed.

A little boy was asked how he learned to skate. "Oh, by getting up every
time I fell down," he replied.

The boy Thorwaldsen, whose father died in the poorhouse, and whose
education was so scanty that he had to write his letters over many times
before they could be posted, by his indomitable perseverance, tenacity
and grit, fascinated the world with the genius which neither his
discouraging father, poverty, nor hardship could repress.

"It is all very well," said Charles J. Fox, "to tell me that a young
man has distinguished himself by a brilliant first speech. He may go on,
or he may be satisfied with his first triumph; but show me a young man
who has not succeeded at first, and nevertheless has gone on, and I will
back that young man to do better than most of those who have succeeded
at the first trial."

It was the last three days of the first voyage of Columbus that told.
All his years of struggle and study would have availed nothing if he had
yielded to the mutiny. It was all in those three days. But what days!

"Often defeated in battle," said Macaulay of Alexander the Great, "he
was always successful in war." He might have said the same of
Washington, and, with appropriate changes, of all who win great triumphs
of any kind.

One of the greatest preachers of modern times, Lacordaire, failed again
and again. Everybody said he would never make a preacher, but he was
determined to succeed, and in two years from his humiliating failures he
was preaching in Notre Dame to immense congregations.

Orange Judd was a remarkable example of success through grit. He earned
corn by working for farmers, carried it on his back to mill, brought
back the meal to his room, cooked it himself, milked cows for his pint
of milk per day, and lived on mush and milk for months together. He
worked his way through Wesleyan University, and took a three years'
post-graduate course at Yale.

Oh, the triumphs of this indomitable spirit of the conqueror! This it
was that enabled Franklin to dine on a small loaf in the printing-office
with a book in his hand. It helped Locke to live on bread and water in a
Dutch garret. It enabled Gideon Lee to go barefoot in the snow, half
starved and thinly clad. It sustained Lincoln and Garfield on their hard
journeys from the log cabin to the White House.

The very reputation of being strong-willed, plucky, and indefatigable is
of priceless value. It often cowes enemies and dispels at the start
opposition to one's undertakings which would otherwise be formidable.

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till
it seems as if you could not hold on a minute longer," said Harriet
Beecher Stowe, "never give up then, for that's just the place and time
that the tide'll turn."

"Never despair," says Burke, "but if you do, work on in despair."

Once when Marshal Ney was going into battle, looking down at his knees
which were smiting together, he said, "You may well shake; you would
shake worse yet if you knew where I am going to take you."

"Go it, William!" an old boxer was overheard saying to himself in the
midst of a fight; "at him again!--never say 'die'!"

A striking incident is related of the early experience of George Law,
who, in his day, was one of the most conspicuous financiers and
capitalists of New York City. When he was a young man he went to New
York, poor and friendless. One day he was walking along the streets,
hungry, not knowing where his next meal would come from, and passed a
new building in course of erection. Through some accident one of the hod
carriers fell from the structure and dropped dead at his feet. Young
Law, in his desperation, applied for the job to take the dead man's
place, and the place was given him. He went to work, and this was how
one of the wealthiest and shrewdest New York business men got his start.

See young Disraeli, sprung from a hated and persecuted race; without
opportunity, pushing his way up through the middle classes, up through
the upper classes, until he stands self-poised upon the topmost round of
political and social power. Scoffed, ridiculed, rebuffed, hissed from
the House of Commons, he simply says, "The time will come when you will
hear me." The time did come, and the boy with no chance swayed the
sceptre of England for a quarter of a century.

If impossibilities ever exist, popularly speaking, they ought to have
been found somewhere between the birth and the death of Kitto, that deaf
pauper and master of Oriental learning. But Kitto did not find them
there. In the presence of his decision and imperial energy they melted
away. Kitto begged his father to take him out of the poorhouse, even if
he had to subsist like the Hottentots. He told him that he would sell
his books and pawn his handkerchief, by which he thought he could raise
about twelve shillings. He said he could live upon blackberries, nuts
and field turnips, and was willing to sleep on a hayrick. Here was real
grit. What were impossibilities to such a resolute will? Patrick Henry
voiced that decision which characterized the great men of the Revolution
when he said, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at
the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not
what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me

Look at Garrison reading this advertisement in a Southern paper: "Five
thousand dollars will be paid for the head of W. L. Garrison by the
Governor of Georgia." Behold him again; a broadcloth mob is leading him
through the streets of Boston by a rope. He is hurried to jail. See him
return calmly and unflinchingly to his work, beginning at the point at
which he was interrupted. Note this heading in the _Liberator_, the
type of which he set himself in an attic on State Street, in Boston: "I
am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not
retreat a single inch, and I will be heard." Was Garrison heard? Ask a
race set free largely by his efforts. Even the gallows erected in front
of his own door did not daunt him. He held the ear of an unwilling world
with that burning word "freedom," which was destined never to cease its
vibrations until it had breathed its sweet secret to the last slave.

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

"Luck is ever waiting for something to turn up," says Cobden; "labor,
with keen eyes and strong will, will turn up something. Luck lies in
bed, and wishes the postman would bring him the news of a legacy; labor
turns out at six o'clock, and with busy pen or ringing hammer lays the
foundation of a competence. Luck whines; labor whistles. Luck relies on
chance; labor, on character."

There is no luck, for all practical purposes, to him who is not
striving, and whose senses are not all eagerly attent. What are called
accidental discoveries are almost invariably made by those who are
looking for something. A man incurs about as much risk of being struck
by lightning as by accidental luck. There is, perhaps, an element of
luck in the amount of success which crowns the efforts of different men;
but even here it will usually be found that the sagacity with which the
efforts are directed and the energy with which they are prosecuted
measure pretty accurately the luck contained in the results achieved.
Apparent exceptions will be found to relate almost wholly to single
undertakings, while in the long run the rule will hold good. Two
pearl-divers, equally expert, dive together and work with equal energy.
One brings up a pearl, while the other returns empty-handed. But let
both persevere and at the end of five, ten or twenty years it will be
found that they succeeded almost in exact proportion to their skill and

Lincoln, being asked by an anxious visitor what he would do after three
or four years if the rebellion was not subdued, replied: "Oh, there is
no alternative but to keep pegging away."

"It is in me and it shall come out," said Sheridan, when told that he
would never make an orator, as he had failed in his first speech in
Parliament. He became known as one of the foremost orators of his day.

It takes great courage to fight a lost cause when there is no hope even
of victory. To contest every inch of ground with as much persistency and
enthusiasm as if we were assured of victory; this is true courage.

The world admires the man who never flinches from unexpected
difficulties, who calmly, patiently, and courageously grapples with his
fate; who dies, if need be, at his post.

President Chadbourne put grit in place of his lost lung, and worked
thirty-five years after his funeral had been planned.

Henry Fawcett put grit in place of eyesight, and became the greatest
Postmaster-General England ever had.

Prescott also put grit in place of eyesight, and became one of
America's greatest historians. Francis Parkman put grit in place of
health and eyesight, and became the greatest historian of America in his
line. Thousands of men have put grit in place of health, eyes, ears,
hands, legs, and yet have achieved marvelous success. Indeed, most of
the great things of the world have been accomplished by grit and pluck.
You cannot keep a man down who has these qualities. He will make
stepping-stones out of his stumbling-blocks, and lift himself to

Grit and pluck are not always exhibited only by poor boys who have no
chance, for there are many notable examples of pluck, persistence and
real grit among youth in good circumstances, who never have to fight
their way to their own loaf. Mr. Mifflin, who has recently become the
head of the celebrated publishing firm of Houghton, Mifflin & Co., is a
notable example of persistency, push and grit. After graduating at
Harvard and traveling abroad, he was determined, although not obliged to
work for a living, to get a position at the Riverside Press in
Cambridge. He called upon the late Mr. Houghton and asked him for a
situation. Mr. Houghton told him that he had no opening, and that, even
if he had, he did not believe that a graduate from Harvard who had money
and who had traveled abroad would ever be willing to begin at the bottom
and do the necessary drudgery, for boy's pay. Mr. Mifflin protested
that he was not afraid of hard work, and that he was willing to do
anything and take any sort of a position, if he could only learn the
business. But Mr. Houghton would not give him any encouragement. Again
and again Mr. Mifflin came to the Riverside Press, and pressed his suit,
but to no purpose. Mr. Mifflin persuaded his father to intercede for
him, but Mr. Houghton succeeded in convincing him that it would be very
unwise for his son to attempt it. But young Mifflin was determined not
to give up. Finally, Mr. Houghton, out of admiration for his persistence
and pluck, made a place for him, which had been occupied by a boy, for
$5 a week.

Young Mifflin took hold of the work with such earnestness, and showed so
much pluck and determination, that Mr. Houghton soon called him into the
office and raised his pay to $9 a week from the time he began. Although
the young man lived in Boston, he was always at the Riverside Press in
Cambridge early in the morning, and would frequently remain after all
the others had gone. Mr. Houghton happened to go in late one night,
after everybody had gone, as he supposed, and was surprised to find Mr.
Mifflin there, taking one of the presses apart. Of course such a young
man would be advanced. These are the boys who become the heads of

It is victory after victory with the soldier, lesson after lesson with
the scholar, blow after blow with the laborer, crop after crop with the
farmer, picture after picture with the painter, and mile after mile with
the traveler, that secures what all so much desire--SUCCESS.

Stick to the thing and carry it through. Believe you were made for the
place you fill, and that no one else can fill it as well. Put forth your
whole energies. Be awake, electrify yourself; go forth to the task. Only
once learn to carry a thing through in all its completeness and
proportion, and you will become a hero. You will think better of
yourself; others will think better of you. The world in its very heart
admires the stern, determined doer.



     The best way to settle the quarrel between capital and labor is
     by allopathic doses of Peter-Cooperism.

     In the sublimest flights of the soul, rectitude is never
     surmounted, love is never outgrown.

     "One ruddy drop of manly blood the surging sea outweighs."

     Virtue alone out-builds the pyramids:
     Her monuments shall last when Egypt's fall.

     He believed that he was born, not for himself, but for the
     whole world.

     Wherever man goes to dwell, his character goes with him.

     The spirit of a single mind
     Makes that of multitudes take one direction,
     As roll the waters to the breathing wind.

"No, say what you have to say in her presence, too," said King Cleomenes
of Sparta, when his visitor Anistagoras asked him to send away his
little daughter Gorgo, ten years old, knowing how much harder it is to
persuade a man to do wrong when his child is at his side. So Gorgo sat
at her father's feet, and listened while the stranger offered more and
more money if Cleomenes would aid him to become king in a neighboring
country. She did not understand the matter, but when she saw her father
look troubled and hesitate, she took hold of his hand and said, "Papa,
come away--come, or this strange man will make you do wrong." The king
went away with the child, and saved himself and his country from
dishonor. Character is power, even in a child. When grown to womanhood,
Gorgo was married to the hero Leonidas. One day a messenger brought a
tablet sent by a friend who was a prisoner in Persia. But the closest
scrutiny failed to reveal a single word or line on the white waxen
surface, and the king and all his noblemen concluded that it was sent as
a jest. "Let me take it," said Queen Gorgo; and, after looking it all
over, she exclaimed, "There must be some writing underneath the wax!"
They scraped away the wax and found a warning to Leonidas from the
Grecian prisoner, saying that Xerxes was coming with his immense host to
conquer all Greece. Acting on this warning, Leonidas and the other kings
assembled their armies and checked the mighty host of Xerxes, which is
said to have shaken the earth as it marched.

"I fear John Knox's prayers more than an army of ten thousand men," said
Mary, Queen of Scotland.

"The man behind the sermon," said William M. Evarts, "is the secret of
John Hall's power." In fact if there is not a man with a character
behind it nothing about it is of the slightest consequence.

Thackeray says, "Nature has written a letter of credit upon some men's
faces which is honored wherever presented. You can not help trusting
such men; their very presence gives confidence. There is a 'promise to
pay' in their very faces which gives confidence, and you prefer it to
another man's indorsement." _Character is credit._

In the great monetary panic of 1857, a meeting was called of the various
bank presidents of New York City. When asked what percentage of specie
had been drawn during the day, some replied fifty per cent., some even
as high as seventy-five per cent., but Moses Taylor of the City Bank
said: "We had in the bank this morning, $400,000; this evening,
$470,000." While other banks were badly "run," the confidence in the
City Bank under Mr. Taylor's management was such that people had
deposited in that institution what they had drawn from other banks.
Character gives confidence.

"There is no such thing as a small country," said Victor Hugo. "The
greatness of a people is no more affected by the number of its
inhabitants than the greatness of an individual is measured by his

"It is the nature of party in England," said John Russell, "to ask the
assistance of men of genius, but to follow the guidance of men of

"A handful of good life," says George Herbert, "is worth a bushel of

"I have read," Emerson says, "that they who listened to Lord Chatham
felt that there was something finer in the man than anything which he
said." It has been complained of Carlyle that when he has told all his
facts about Mirabeau they do not justify his estimate of the latter's
genius. The Gracchi, Agis, Cleomenes, and others of Plutarch's heroes do
not in the record of facts equal their own fame. Sir Philip Sidney and
Sir Walter Raleigh are men of great figure and of few deeds. We cannot
find the smallest part of the personal weight of Washington in the
narrative of his exploits. The authority of the name of Schiller is too
great for his books. This inequality of the reputation to the works or
the anecdotes is not accounted for by saying that the reverberation is
longer than the thunder-clap; but something resided in these men which
begot an expectation that outran all their performance. The largest part
of their power was latent. This is that which we call character,--a
reserved force which acts directly by presence, and without means. What
others effect by talent or eloquence, the man of character accomplishes
by some magnetism. "Half his strength he puts not forth." His victories
are by demonstration of superiority, and not by crossing bayonets. He
conquers, because his arrival alters the face of affairs. "O Iole! how
didst thou know that Hercules was a god?" "Because," answered Iole, "I
was content the moment my eyes fell on him. When I beheld Theseus, I
desired that I might see him offer battle, or at least drive his horses
in the chariot-race; but Hercules did not wait for a contest; he
conquered whether he stood, or walked, or sat, or whatever else he did."

"Show me," said Omar the Caliph to Amru the warrior, "the sword with
which you have fought so many battles and slain so many infidels." "Ah,"
replied Amru, "the sword without the arm of the master is no sharper nor
heavier than the sword of Farezdak the poet." So one hundred and fifty
pounds of flesh and blood without character is of no great value.

"No man throws away his vote," says Francis Willard, "when he places it
in the ballot-box with his conviction behind it. The party which elected
Lincoln in 1860 polled only seven thousand votes in 1840. Revolutions
never go backward, and the fanaticisms of to-day are the victories of

"O sir, we are beaten," exclaimed the general in command of Sheridan's
army, retreating before the victorious Early. "No, sir," replied the
indignant Sheridan; "you are beaten, but this army is not beaten."
Drawing his sword, he waved it above his head, and pointed it at the
pursuing host, while his clarion voice rose above the horrid din in a
command to charge once more. The lines paused, turned,--

    "And with the ocean's mighty swing,
     When heaving to the tempest's wing,
     They hurled them on the foe;"

and the Confederate army was wildly routed.

When war with France seemed imminent, in 1798, President Adams wrote to
George Washington, then a private citizen in retirement at Mount Vernon:
"We must have your name, if you will permit us to use it; there will be
more efficacy in it than in many an army." Character is power.

When Pope Paul IV. heard of the death of Calvin he exclaimed with a
sigh, "Ah, the strength of that proud heretic lay in--riches? No!
Honors? No! But nothing could move him from his course. Holy Virgin!
With two such servants, our Church would soon be mistress of both

Eighteen hundred years ago, when night closed over the city of Pompeii,
a lady sat in her house nursing her son of ten years of age. The child
had been ill for some days; his form was wasted, his little limbs were
shrunk; and we may imagine with what infinite anxiety she watched every
motion of the helpless one, whose existence was so dear. What did take
place we know with an exactness very remarkable. That distant mountain
which reared its awful head on the shore of the bay, Vesuvius, was
troubled that same night with an eruption, and threw into the air such
clouds of pumice-stones that the streets and squares of Pompeii became
filled, and gradually the stones grew higher and higher, until they
reached the level of the windows. There was no chance of escape then by
the doors; and those who attempted to get away stepped out of their
first floor windows and rushed over the sulphurous stones--a short
distance only, for they were quickly overpowered by the poisonous vapors
and fell dead. After the stones there fell ashes, and after ashes hot
water fell in showers, which changed the ashes into clay. Those who ran
out of their houses during the fall of stones were utterly consumed,
while those who waited until the ashes began to fall perished likewise,
but their bodies were preserved by the ashes and water which fell upon
them. The Pompeiian mother we have mentioned opened the window of her
house when she thought the fall of stones was over, and with the child
in her arms took a few hurried steps forward, when, overpowered by the
sulphur, she fell forward, at which moment the shower of ashes began to
fall, and quickly buried mother and child. The hot water afterward
changed into a mould; the ashes and the sun baked the fatal clay to such
a degree of hardness that it has endured to the present day. A short
time ago the spot where mother and child lay was found, liquid
plaster-of-Paris was poured into the mould formed by the bodies, and
then the mould was broken up, leaving the plaster-cast whole. Thus one
touching incident in the terrible tragedy of eighteen centuries ago has
been preserved for the admiration and respect of posterity. _The arms
and legs of the child showed a contraction and emaciation which could
only result from illness._ Of the mother only the right arm was
preserved; she fell upon the ashes, and the remaining portion of her
body was consumed. _But the right hand still clasped the legs of the
child_; on her arm were two gold bracelets, and on her fingers were two
gold rings--one set with an emerald, the other with a cut amethyst. This
touching illustration of _a mother's love_ now rests in the museum of
the celebrated city.

"I was sitting with Grant once," says General Fisk, "when a
major-general entered, dressed in the uniform of his rank, who said:
'Boys, I have a good story to tell you. I believe there are no ladies
present.' Grant said, 'No, but there are gentlemen present.'"

Mr. George W. Childs, in referring to this trait, said:

"Another great trait of his character was his purity in every way. I
never heard him express or make an indelicate allusion in any way or
shape. There is nothing I ever heard that man say that could not be
repeated in the presence of women."

The writer has heard of several incidents illustrating his answer to
impure stories. On one occasion, when Grant formed one of a dinner-party
of American gentlemen in a foreign city, conversation drifted into
references to questionable affairs, when he suddenly rose and said,
"Gentlemen, please excuse me; I will retire."

When Attila, flushed with conquest, appeared with his barbarian horde
before the gates of Rome in 452, Pope Leo alone of all the people dared
go forth and try to turn his wrath aside. A single magistrate followed
him. The Huns were awed by the fearless majesty of the unarmed old man,
and led him before their chief, whose respect was so great that he
agreed not to enter the city, provided a tribute should be paid to him.

Wellington said that Napoleon's presence in the French army was
equivalent to forty thousand additional soldiers, and Richter said of
the invincible Luther, "His words were half battles."

"I know no great men," says Voltaire, "except those who have rendered
great services to the human race." Men are measured by what they do;
not by what they seem or possess.

Francis Horner, of England, was a man of whom Sydney Smith said, that
"the ten commandments were stamped upon his forehead." The valuable and
peculiar light in which Horner's history is calculated to inspire every
right-minded youth is this: he died at the age of thirty-eight,
possessed of greater influence than any other private man, and admired,
beloved, trusted, and deplored by all except the heartless and the base.
No greater homage was ever paid in Parliament to any deceased member.
How was this attained? By rank? He was the son of an Edinburgh merchant.
By wealth? Neither he nor any of his relatives ever had a superfluous
sixpence. By office? He held but one; and that for only a few years, of
no influence, and with very little pay. By talents? His were not
splendid, and he had no genius. Cautious and slow, his only ambition was
to be right. By eloquence? He spoke in calm, good taste, without any of
the oratory that either terrifies or seduces. By any fascination of
manner? His was only correct and agreeable. By what was it, then? Merely
by sense, industry, good principles and a good heart, qualities which no
well constituted mind need ever despair of attaining. It was the force
of his character that raised him; and this character was not impressed
on him by nature, but formed, out of no peculiarly fine elements, by
himself. There were many in the House of Commons of far greater ability
and eloquence. But no one surpassed him in the combination of an
adequate portion of these with moral worth. Horner was born to show what
moderate powers, unaided by anything whatever except culture and
goodness, may achieve, even when these powers are displayed amidst the
competition and jealousies of public life.

A hundred years hence what difference will it make whether you were rich
or poor, a peer or a peasant? But what difference may it not make
whether you did what was right or what was wrong?

At a large dinner-party given by Lord Stratford after the Crimean War,
it was proposed that every one should write on a slip of paper the name
which appeared most likely to descend to posterity with renown. When the
papers were opened everyone of them contained the name of Florence

Professor Blackie, of the University of Edinburgh, said to a class of
young men: "Money is not needful; power is not needful; liberty is not
needful; even health is not the one thing needful; but character alone
is that which can truly save us, and if we are not saved in this sense,
we certainly must be damned." It has been said that "when poverty is
your inheritance, virtue must be your capital."

"Hence it was," said Franklin, speaking of the influence of his known
integrity of character, "that I had so much weight with my
fellow-citizens. I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to
much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and
yet I generally carried my point."

When a man's character is gone, all is gone. All peace of mind, all
complacency in himself is fled forever. He despises himself. He is
despised by his fellow-men. Within is shame and remorse; without neglect
and reproach. He is of necessity a miserable and useless man; he is so
even though he be clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously
every day. It is better to be poor; it is better to be reduced to
beggary; it is better to be cast into prison, or condemned to perpetual
slavery, than to be destitute of a good name or endure the pains and the
evils of a conscious worthlessness of character.

The time is soon coming when, by the common consent of mankind, it will
be esteemed more honorable to have been John Pounds, putting new and
beautiful souls into the ragged children of the neighborhood while he
mended his father's shoes, than to have sat upon the British throne. The
time now is when, if Queen Victoria, in one of her magnificent
progresses through her realms, were to meet that more than American
queen, Miss Dix, in her "circumnavigation of charity" among the insane,
the former should kneel and kiss the hand of the latter; and the ruler
over more than a hundred millions of people should pay homage to the
angel whom God has sent to the maniac.

"At your age," said to a youth an old man who had honorably held many
positions of trust and responsibility, "both position and wealth appear
enduring things; but at mine a man sees that nothing lasts but

Several eminent clergymen were discussing the qualities of self-made
men. They each admitted that they belonged to that class, except a
certain bishop, who remained silent, and was intensely absorbed in the
repast. The host was determined to draw him out, and so, addressing him,
said: "All at this table are self-made men, unless the bishop is an
exception." The bishop promptly replied, "I am not made yet," and the
reply contained a profound truth. So long as life lasts, with its
discipline of joy or sorrow, its opportunities for good or evil, so long
our characters are being shaped and fixed.

Milton said: "He who would write heroic poems, must make his whole life
an heroic poem." We are responsible for our thoughts, and unless we
could command them, mental and moral excellence would be impossible.

Charles Kingsley has well said: "Let any one set his heart to do what is
right and nothing else, and it will not be long ere his brow is stamped
with all that goes to make up the heroic expression, with noble
indignation, noble self-restraint, great hopes, great sorrows, perhaps
even with the print of the martyr's crown of thorns."

Said James Martineau: "God insists on having a concurrence between our
practice and our thoughts. If we proceed to make a contradiction between
them, He forthwith begins to abolish it, and if the will will not rise
to the reason, the reason must be degraded to the will."

"When I say, in conducting your understanding," says Sidney Smith, "love
knowledge with a great love, with a vehement love, with a love co-eval
with life--what do I say but love innocence, love virtue, love purity of
conduct, love that which, if you are rich and great, will vindicate the
blind fortune which has made you so, and make them call it justice; love
that which, if you are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and
make the proudest feel that it is unjust to laugh at the meanness of
your fortunes; love that which will comfort you, adorn you, and never
quit you--which will open to you the kingdom of thought, and all the
boundless regions of conception as an asylum against the cruelty, the
injustice, and the pain that may be your lot in the world--that which
will make your motives habitually great and honorable, and light up in
an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and
of fraud?"

The Arabs express this by a parable that incarnates, as is their wont,
the Word in the recital. King Nimrod, say they, one day summoned his
three sons into his presence. He ordered to be set before them three
urns under seal. One of the urns was of gold, another of amber, and the
third of clay. The king bade the eldest of his sons choose among the
urns that which appeared to him to contain the treasure of greatest
price. The eldest chose the vase of gold, on which was written the word
"Empire." He opened it and found it full of blood. The second chose the
amber vase whereon was written the word "Glory." He opened it and found
it contained the ashes of the great men who had made a sensation in the
world. The third son took the only remaining vase, the one of clay; he
found it quite empty, but on the bottom the potter had written the word
"God." "Which of these vases weighs the most?" asked the king of the
courtiers. The men of ambition replied it was the vase of gold; the
poets and conquerors, the amber one; the sages that it was the empty
vase, because a single letter of the name God weighs more than the
entire globe. We are of the opinion of the sages. We believe the
greatest things are great but in the proportion of divinity they

"Although genius always commands admiration," says Smiles, "character
most secures respect. The former is more the product of brain-power, the
latter of heart-power; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in
life. Men of genius stand to society in the relation of its intellect,
as men of character of its conscience; and while the former are admired,
the latter are followed.

"Commonplace though it may appear, this doing of one's duty embodies the
highest ideal of life and character. There may be nothing heroic about
it; but the common lot of men is not heroic. And though the abiding
sense of duty upholds man in his highest attitudes, it also equally
sustains him in the transaction of the ordinary affairs of every-day
existence. The most influential of all the virtues are those which are
the most in request for daily use. They wear the best and last the
longest. We can always better understand and appreciate a man's real
character by the manner in which he conducts himself toward those who
are the most nearly related to him, and by his transaction of the
seemingly commonplace details of daily duty, than by his public
exhibition of himself as an author, an orator, or a statesman.
Intellectual culture has no necessary relation to purity or excellence
of character.

"On the contrary, a condition of comparative poverty is compatible with
character in its highest form. A man may possess only his industry, his
frugality, his integrity, and yet stand high in the rank of true

"Character is property. It is the noblest of possessions. It is an
estate in the general good-will and respect of men; and they who invest
in it--though they may not become rich in this world's goods--will find
their reward in esteem and reputation fairly and honorably won. Without
principles, a man is like a ship without rudder or compass, left to
drift hither and thither with every wind that blows."

What a contrast is afforded by the lives of Bacon and More. Bacon sought
office with as much desire as More avoided it; Bacon used as much
solicitation to obtain it as More endured to accept it, and each, when
in it, was equally true to his character. More was simple, as Bacon was
ostentatious. More was as incorruptible as Bacon was venal. More spent
his private fortune in office, and Bacon spent the wages of corruption
there. Both left office poor in worldly goods; but while More was rich
in honor and good deeds, Bacon was poor in everything; poor in the
mammon for which he bartered his integrity; poor in the gawd for which
he sacrificed his peace; poor in the presence of the worthless; covered
with shame in the midst of the people; trusting his fame to posterity,
of which posterity is only able to say, that the wisest of men was
adviser to the silliest of kings, yet that such a king had a sort of
majesty when morally compared with the official director of his
conscience. Both More and Bacon served each a great purpose for the
world. More illustrated the beauty of holiness; Bacon expounded the
infinitude of science. Bacon became the prophet of intellect; More, the
martyr of conscience. The one pours over our understandings the light of
knowledge; but the other inflames our hearts with the love of virtue.

All have read of the proud Egyptian king who ordered a colossal
staircase built in his new palace, and was chagrined to find that he
required a ladder to climb from one step to the next. A king's legs are
as short as those of a beggar. So, too, a prince's ability to enjoy the
pleasures of life is no greater than that of a pauper.

"All that is valuable in this world is to be had for nothing. Genius,
beauty, health, piety, love, are not bought and sold. The richest man on
earth would vainly offer a fortune to be qualified to write a verse like
Milton, or to compose a melody like Mozart. You may summon all the
physicians, but they cannot procure for you the sweet, healthful sleep
which the tired laborer gets without price. Let no man, then, call
himself a proprietor. He owns but the breath as it traverses his lips
and the idea as it flits across his mind; and of that breath he may be
deprived by the sting of a bee, and that idea, perhaps, truly belongs to

     "We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths:
     In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
     We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
     Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best;
     And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest."



     I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies, but am otherwise
     very well.

     The inborn geniality of some people amounts to genius.

     This one sits shivering in fortune's smile,
     Taking his joy with bated, doubtful breath;
     This other, gnawed by hunger, all the while
     Laughs in the teeth of death.
     --T. B. ALDRICH.

     There is no real life but cheerful life.

     Next to the virtue, the fun in this world is what we can least

     Joy in one's work is the consummate tool.

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

"He is as stiff as a poker," said a friend of a man who could never be
coaxed or tempted to smile. "Stiff as a poker," exclaimed another, "why
he would set an example to a poker."

Even Christians are not celebrated for entering into the _joy_ of their

We are told that "Pascal would not permit himself to be conscious of
the relish of his food; he prohibited all seasonings and spices, however
much he might wish for and need them; and he actually died because he
forced his diseased stomach to receive at each meal a certain amount of
aliment, neither more nor less, whatever might be his appetite at the
time, or his utter want of appetite. He wore a girdle armed with iron
spikes, which he was accustomed to drive in upon his body (his fleshless
ribs) as often as he thought himself in need of such admonition. He was
annoyed and offended if any in his hearing might chance to say that they
had just seen a beautiful woman. He rebuked a mother who permitted her
own children to give her their kisses. Toward a loving sister, who
devoted herself to his comfort, he assumed an artificial harshness of
manner for the _express purpose_, as he acknowledged, of revolting her
sisterly affection."

And all this sprung from the simple principle that earthly enjoyment was
inconsistent with religion.

We should fight against every influence which tends to depress the mind,
as we would against a temptation to crime. A depressed mind prevents the
free action of the diaphragm and the expansion of the chest. It stops
the secretions of the body, interferes with the circulation of the blood
in the brain, and deranges the entire functions of the body. Scrofula
and consumption often follow protracted depressions of mind. That "fatal
murmur" which is heard in the upper lobes of the lungs in the first
stages of consumption, often follows depressed spirits after some great
misfortune or sorrow. Victims of suicide are almost always in a
depressed state from exhausted vitality, loss of nervous energy,
dyspepsia, worry, anxiety, trouble, or grief.

"Mirth is God's medicine," says a wise writer; "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." It is better than emery. Every man
ought to rub himself with it. A man without mirth is like a wagon
without springs, in which one is caused disagreeably to jolt by every
pebble over which it runs. A man with mirth is like a chariot with
springs, in which one can ride over the roughest roads and scarcely feel
anything but a pleasant rocking motion.

"I have told you," said Southey, "of the Spaniard who always put on
spectacles when about to eat cherries, in order that the fruit might
look larger and more tempting. In like manner I make the most of my
enjoyments; and though I do not cast my eyes away from my troubles, I
pack them in as small a compass as I can for myself, and never let them
annoy others." We all know the power of good cheer to magnify

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."

"You are on the shady side of seventy, I expect?" was asked of an old
man. "No," was the reply, "I am on the sunny side; for I am on the side
nearest to glory."

A cheerful man is pre-eminently a useful man. He does not cramp his
mind, nor take half-views of men and things. He knows that there is much
misery, but that misery need not be the rule of life. He sees that in
every state people may be cheerful; the lambs skip, birds sing and fly
joyously, puppies play, kittens are full of joyance, the whole air full
of careering and rejoicing insects; that everywhere the good outbalances
the bad, and that every evil has its compensating balm.

"Bishop Fénelon is a delicious man," said Lord Peterborough; "I had to
run away from him to prevent his making me a Christian."

Hume, the historian, never said anything truer than--"To be happy, the
person must be cheerful and gay, not gloomy and melancholy. A propensity
to hope and joy is real riches; one to fear and sorrow, real poverty."

Dr. Johnson once remarked with his point and pith that the custom of
looking on the bright side of every event was better than having a
thousand pounds a year income. But Hume rated the value in dollars and
cents of cheerfulness still higher. He said he would rather have a
cheerful disposition always inclined to look on the bright side of
things than to be master of an estate with 10,000 pounds a year.

"We have not fulfilled every duty, unless we have fulfilled that of
being pleasant."

"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."

The sensible young man, in theory at least, chooses for his wife one who
will be able to keep his house, to be the mother of sturdy children, one
who will of all things meet life's experiences with a sweet temper. It
is impossible to imagine a pleasant home with a cross wife, mother or
sister, as its presiding genius. And it is a rule, with exceptions, that
good appetite and sound sleep induce amiability. If, with these
advantages, a girl or woman, boy or man, is still snappish or surly, why
it must be due to her or his total depravity.

Some things she should not do; she shouldn't dose herself, or study up
her case, or plunge suddenly into vigorous exercise. Moderation is a
safe rule to begin with, and, indeed, to keep on with--moderation in
study, in work, in exercise, in everything except fresh air, good,
simple food, and sleep. Few people have too much of these. The average
girl at home can find no more sanitary gymnastics than in doing part of
the lighter housework. This sort of exercise has object, and interest,
and use, which raises it above mere drill. Add to this a merry romp with
younger brothers and sisters, a brisk daily walk, the use for a few
moments twice a day of dumb bells in a cool, airy room, and it is safe
to predict a steady advance toward that ideal state of being in which we
forget our bodies and just enjoy ourselves.

"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

Helen Hunt says there is one sin which seems to be everywhere, and by
everybody is underestimated and quite too much overlooked in valuations
of character. It is the sin of fretting. It is as common as air, as
speech; so common that unless it rises above its usual monotone we do
not even observe it. Watch any ordinary coming together of people, and
we see how many minutes it will be before somebody frets--that is, makes
more or less complaint of something or other, which probably every one
in the room, or car, or on the street corner knew before, and which most
probably nobody can help. Why say anything about it? It is cold, it is
hot, it is wet, it is dry, somebody has broken an appointment,
ill-cooked a meal; stupidity or bad faith somewhere has resulted in
discomfort. There are plenty of things to fret about. It is simply
astonishing, how much annoyance and discomfort may be found in the
course of every-day living, even of the simplest, if one only keeps a
sharp eye out on that side of things. Some people seem to be always
hunting for deformities, discords and shadows, instead of beauty,
harmony and light. We are born to trouble, as sparks fly upward. But
even to the sparks flying upward, in the blackest of smoke, there is a
blue sky above, and the less time they waste on the road, the sooner
they will reach it. Fretting is all time wasted on the road.

About two things we should never fret, that which we cannot help, and
that which we can help. Better find one of your own faults than ten of
your neighbor's.

It is not the troubles of to-day, but those of to-morrow and next week
and next year, that whiten our heads and wrinkle our faces.

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

The pendulum of a certain clock began to calculate how often it would
have to swing backward and forward in the week and in the month to come;
then looking further into the future, it made a calculation for a year,
etc. The pendulum got frightened and stopped. Do one day's work at a
time. Do not worry about the trouble of to-morrow. Most of the trouble
in life is borrowed trouble, which never actually comes.

"As all healthy action, physical, intellectual and moral, depends
primarily on cheerfulness," says E. P. Whipple, "and as every duty,
whether it be to follow a plow or to die at the stake, should be done in
a cheerful spirit, the exploration of the sources and conditions of this
most vigorous, exhilarating and creative of the virtues may be as useful
as the exposition of any topic of science or system of prudential art."

Christ, the great teacher, did not shut Himself up with monks, away from
temptation of the great world outside. He taught no long-faced, gloomy
theology. He taught the gospel of gladness and good cheer. His doctrines
are touched with the sunlight, and flavored with the flowers of the
fields. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and happy,
romping children are in them. True piety is cheerful as the day.

Cranmer cheers his brother martyrs, and Latimer walks with a face
shining with cheerfulness to the stake, upholds his fellow's spirits,
and seasons all his sermons with pleasant anecdotes.

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

In answer to the question, "How shall we overcome temptation," a noted
writer said, "Cheerfulness is the first thing, cheerfulness is the
second, and cheerfulness is the third." 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. He who has formed a habit of looking at the bright, happy
side of things, who sees the glory in the grass, the sunshine in the
flowers, sermons in stones, and good in everything, has a great
advantage over the chronic dyspeptic, who sees no good in anything. His
habitual thought sculptures his face into beauty and touches his manner
with grace.

We often forget that the priceless charm which will secure to us all
these desirable gifts is within our reach. It is the charm of a sunny
temper, a talisman more potent than station, more precious than gold,
more to be desired than fine rubies. It is an aroma, whose fragrance
fills the air with the odors of Paradise.

"It is from these enthusiastic fellows," says an admirer, "that you
hear--what they fully believe, bless them!--that all countries are
beautiful, all dinners grand, all pictures superb, all mountains high,
all women beautiful. When such a one has come back from his country
trip, after a hard year's work, he has always found the cosiest of
nooks, the cheapest houses, the best of landladies, the finest views,
and the best dinners. But with the other the case is indeed altered. He
has always been robbed; he has positively seen nothing; his landlady was
a harpy, his bedroom was unhealthy, and the mutton was so tough that he
could not get his teeth through it."

"He goes on to talk of the sun in his glory," says Izaak Walton, "the
fields, the meadows, the streams which they have seen, the birds which
they have heard; he asks what would the blind and deaf give to see and
hear what they have seen."

Of Lord Holland's sunshiny face, Rogers said: "He always comes to
breakfast like a man upon whom some sudden good fortune has fallen."

But oh, for the glorious spectacles worn by the good-natured man!--oh,
for those wondrous glasses, finer than the Claude Lorraine glass, which
throw a sunlit view over everything, and make the heart glad with little
things, and thankful for small mercies! Such glasses had honest Izaak
Walton, who, coming in from a fishing expedition on the river Lea, burst
out into such grateful little talks as this: "Let us, as we walk home
under the cool shade of this honeysuckle hedge, mention some of the
thoughts and joys that have possessed my soul since we two met. And that
our present happiness may appear the greater, and we more thankful for
it, I beg you to consider with me, how many do at this very time lie
under the torment of the gout or the toothache, and this we have been
free from; and let me tell you, that every misery I miss is a new

The hypochondriac who nurses his spleen never looks forward cheerfully,
but lounges in his invalid chair, and croaks like a raven, foreboding
woe. "Ah," says he, "you will never succeed; these things always fail."

The Thug of India, whose prayer is a homicide, and whose offering is the
body of a victim, is melancholy.

The Fijiian, waiting to smash the skull of a victim, and to prepare a
bakola for his gods, is gloomy as fear and death.

The melancholy of the Eastern Jews after their black fast, and the
ill-temper of monks and nuns after their Fridays and Wednesdays, is very
observable; it is the recompense which a proud nature takes out of the
world for its selfish sacrifice. Melancholia is the black bile which the
Greeks presumed overran and pervaded the bodies of such persons; and
fasting does undoubtedly produce this.

"I once talked with a Rosicrucian about the Great Secret," said Addison.
"He talked of it as a spirit that lived in an emerald, and converted
everything that was near it to the highest perfection. 'It gives lustre
to the sun,' said he, 'and water to the diamond. It irradiates every
metal, and enriches lead with the property of gold. It brightens smoke
into flame, flame into light, and light into glory. A single ray
dissipates pain and care from the person on whom it falls.' Then I found
his great secret was Content."

     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.

     Yet, with a heart that's ever kind,
       A gentle spirit gay,
     You've spring perennial in your mind,
       And round you make a May.



     Thoroughly to believe in one's own self, so one's self were
     thorough, were to do great things.

     If there be a faith that can remove mountains, it is faith in
     one's own power.

     Let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the rest,
     the greatest quality of true manliness.

     It needs a divine man to exhibit anything divine. * * * Trust
     thyself; every breast vibrates to that iron string. Accept the
     place that divine Providence has found for you, the society of
     your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have
     always done so. * * * Nothing is at last sacred but the
     integrity of our own mind.

     This above all,--to thine own self be true;
     And it must follow, as the night the day,
     Thou canst not then be false to any man.

"Yes," said a half-drunken man in a cellar to a parish visitor, a young
girl, "I am a tough and a drunkard, and am just out of jail, and my wife
is starving; but that doesn't give you the right to come into my house
without knocking to ask questions."

Another zealous girl declared in a reform club in New York City that she
always went to visit the poor in her carriage, with the crest on the
door and liveried servants. "It gives me authority," she said. "They
listen to my words with more respect."

The Fräulein Barbara, who founded the home for degraded and drunken
sailors in London, used other means to gain influence over them. "I
too," she would say, taking the poor applicant by the hand when he came
to her door, "I, too, as well as you, am one of those for whom Christ
died. We are brother and sister, and will help each other."

An English artist, engaged in painting a scene in the London slums,
applied to the Board of Guardians of the poor in Chelsea for leave to
sketch into it, as types of want and wretchedness, certain picturesque
paupers then in the almshouse. The board refused permission on the
ground that "a man does not cease to have self-respect and rights
because he is a pauper, and that his misfortunes should not be paraded
before the world."

The incident helps to throw light on the vexed problem of the
intercourse of the rich with the poor. Kind but thoughtless people, who
take up the work of "slumming," intent upon elevating and reforming the
needy classes, are apt to forget that these unfortunates have
self-respect and rights and sensitive feelings.

"But I am not derided," said Diogenes, when some one told him he was
derided. "Only those are ridiculed who feel the ridicule and are
discomposed by it."

Dr. Franklin used to say that if a man makes a sheep of himself the
wolves will eat him. Not less true is it that if a man is supposed to be
a sheep, wolves will very likely try to eat him.

"O God, assist our side," prayed the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, a general
in the Prussian service, before going into battle. "At least, avoid
assisting the enemy, and leave the result to me."

"If a man possesses the consciousness of what he is," said Schelling,
"he will soon also learn what he ought to be; let him have a theoretical
respect for himself, and a practical will soon follow." A person under
the firm persuasion that he can command resources virtually has them.
"Humility is the part of wisdom, and is most becoming in men," said
Kossuth; "but let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the
rest, the greatest quality of true manliness." Froude wrote: "A tree
must be rooted in the soil before it can bear flowers or fruit. A man
must learn to stand upright upon his own feet, to respect himself, to be
independent of charity or accident. It is on this basis only that any
superstructure of intellectual cultivation worth having can possibly be

"I think he is a most extraordinary man," said John J. Ingalls,
speaking of Grover Cleveland. "While the Senate was in session to induct
Hendricks into office, I had an opportunity to study Cleveland, as he
sat there like a sphinx. He occupied a seat immediately in front of the
vice-president's stand, and from where I sat, I had an unobstructed view
of him.

"I wanted to fathom, if possible, what manner of a man it was who had
defeated us and taken the patronage of the government over to the
democracy. We had a new master, so to speak, and a democrat at that, and
I looked him over with a good deal of curiosity.

"There sat a man, the president of the United States, beginning his rule
over the destinies of sixty millions of people, who less than three
years before was an obscure lawyer, scarcely known outside of Erie
County, shut up in a dingy office over a livery stable. He had been
mayor of the city of Buffalo at a time when a crisis in its affairs
demanded a courageous head and a firm hand and he supplied them. The
little prestige thus gained made him the democratic nominee for
governor, and at a time (his luck still following him) when the
Republican party of the State was rent with dissensions. He was elected,
and (still more luck) by the unprecedented and unheard of majority of
nearly 200,000 votes. Two years later his party nominated him for
president and he was elected.

"There sat this man before me, wholly undisturbed by the pageantry of
the occasion, calmly waiting to perform his part in the drama, just as
an actor awaits his cue to appear on a stage. It was his first visit to
Washington. He had never before seen the Capitol and knew absolutely
nothing of the machinery of government. All was a mystery to him, but a
stranger not understanding the circumstances would have imagined that
the proceedings going on before him were a part of his daily life.

"The man positively did not move a limb, shut an eye or twitch a muscle
during the entire hour he sat in the Senate chamber. Nor did he betray
the faintest evidence of self-consciousness or emotion, and as I thought
of the dingy office over the livery stable but three years before he
struck me as a remarkable illustration of the possibilities of American

"But the most marvelous exhibition of the man's nerve and of the
absolute confidence he has in himself was yet to come. After the
proceedings in the Senate chamber Cleveland was conducted to the east
end of the Capitol to take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural
address. He wore a close buttoned Prince Albert coat, and between the
buttons he thrust his right hand, while his left he carried behind him.
In this position he stood until the applause which greeted him had
subsided, when he began his address.

"I looked for him to produce a manuscript, but he did not, and as he
progressed in clear and distinct tones, without hesitation, I was
amazed. With sixty millions of people, yes, with the entire civilized
world looking on, this man had the courage to deliver an inaugural
address making him President of the United States as coolly and as
unconcernedly as if he were addressing a ward meeting. It was the most
remarkable spectacle this or any other country has ever beheld."

Believe in yourself; you may succeed when others do not believe in you,
but never when you do not believe in yourself.

"Ah! John Hunter, still hard at work!" exclaimed a physician on finding
the old anatomist at the dissecting table. "Yes, doctor, and you'll find
it difficult to meet with another John Hunter when I am gone."

"Heaven takes a hundred years to form a great genius for the
regeneration of an empire and afterward rests a hundred years," said
Kaunitz, who had administered the affairs of his country with great
success for half a century. "This makes me tremble for the Austrian
monarchy after my death."

"Isn't it beautiful that I can sing so?" asked Jenny Lind, naïvely, of a

"My Lord," said William Pitt in 1757 to the Duke of Devonshire, "I am
sure that I can save this country and that nobody else can." He did
save it.

What seems to us disagreeable egotism in others is often but a strong
expression of confidence in their ability to attain. Great men have
usually had great confidence in themselves. Wordsworth felt sure of his
place in history and never hesitated to say so. Dante predicted his own
fame. Kepler said it did not matter whether his contemporaries read his
books or not. "I may well wait a century for a reader since God has
waited six thousand years for an observer like myself." "Fear not," said
Julius Cæsar to his pilot frightened in a storm, "thou bearest Cæsar and
his good fortunes."

When the Directory at Paris found that Napoleon had become in one month
the most famous man in Europe they determined to check his career, and
appointed Kellerman his associate in command. Napoleon promptly, but
respectfully, tendered his resignation, saying, "One bad general is
better than two good ones; war, like government, is mainly decided by
tact." This decision immediately brought the Directory to terms.

Emperor Francis was extremely anxious to prove the illustrious descent
of his prospective son-in-law. Napoleon refused to have the account
published, remarking, "I had rather be the descendant of an honest man
than of any petty tyrant of Italy. I wish my nobility to commence with
myself and derive all my titles from the French people. I am the Rudolph
of Hapsburg of my family. My patent of nobility dates from the battle of

When Napoleon was informed that the British Government had decreed that
he should be recognized only as general, he said, "They cannot prevent
me from being myself."

An Englishman asked Napoleon at Elba who was the greatest general of the
age, adding, "I think Wellington." To which the Emperor replied, "He has
not yet measured himself against me."

"Well matured and well disciplined talent is always sure of a market,"
said Washington Irving; "but it must not cower at home and expect to be
sought for. There is a good deal of cant, too, about the success of
forward and impudent men, while men of retiring worth are passed over
with neglect. But it usually happens that those forward men have that
valuable quality of promptness and activity, without which worth is a
mere inoperative property. A barking dog is often more useful than a
sleeping lion."

"Self-respect is the early form in which greatness appears."

"You may deceive all the people some of the time," said Lincoln, "some
of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time." We
cannot deceive ourselves any of the time, and the only way to enjoy our
own respect is to deserve it. What would you think of a man who would
neglect himself and treat his shadow with the greatest respect?

"Self-reliance is a grand element of character," says Michael Reynolds.
"It has won Olympic crowns and Isthmian laurels; it confers kinship with
men who have vindicated their divine right to be held in the world's



     Ignorance is the curse of God,
     Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

     Prefer knowledge to wealth; for the one is transitory, the
     other perpetual.

     If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it
     away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best

     My early and invincible love of reading, I would not exchange
     for the treasures of India.

     If the crowns of all the kingdoms of the empire were laid down
     at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I
     would spurn them all.

                            Who of us can tell
     What he had been, had Cadmus never taught
     The art that fixes into form the thought,--
     Had Plato never spoken from his cell,
     Or his high harp blind Homer never strung?

     When friends grow cold and the converse of intimates languishes
     into vapid civility and common-place, these only continue the
     unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that
     true friendship which never deceived hope, nor deserted sorrow.

"Do you want to know," asks Robert Collyer, "how I manage to talk to you
in this simple Saxon? I read Bunyan, Crusoe, and Goldsmith when I was a
boy, morning, noon, and night. All the rest was task work; these were my
delight, with the stories in the Bible, and with Shakespeare, when at
last the mighty master came within our doors. The rest were as senna to
me. These were like a well of pure water, and this is the first step I
seem to have taken of my own free will toward the pulpit. * * * I took
to these as I took to milk, and, without the least idea what I was
doing, got the taste for simple words into the very fibre of my nature.
There was day-school for me until I was eight years old, and then I had
to turn in and work thirteen hours a day. * * * * From the days when we
used to spell out Crusoe and old Bunyan there had grown up in me a
devouring hunger to read books. It made small matter what they were, so
they were books. Half a volume of an old encyclopædia came along--the
first I had ever seen. How many times I went through that I cannot even
guess. I remember that I read some old reports of the Missionary Society
with the greatest delight.

"There were chapters in them about China and Labrador. Yet I think it is
in reading, as it is in eating, when the first hunger is over you begin
to be a little critical, and will by no means take to garbage if you are
of a wholesome nature. And I remember this because it touches this
beautiful valley of the Hudson. I could not go home for the Christmas of
1839, and was feeling very sad about it all, for I was only a boy; and
sitting by the fire, an old farmer came in and said: 'I notice thou's
fond of reading, so I brought thee summat to read.' It was Irving's
'Sketch Book.' I had never heard of the work. I went at it, and was 'as
them that dream.' No such delight had touched me since the old days of
Crusoe. I saw the Hudson and the Catskills, took poor Rip at once into
my heart, as everybody has, pitied Ichabod while I laughed at him,
thought the old Dutch feast a most admirable thing, and long before I
was through, all regret at my lost Christmas had gone down with the
wind, and I had found out there are books and books. That vast hunger to
read never left me. If there was no candle, I poked my head down to the
fire; read while I was eating, blowing the bellows, or walking from one
place to another. I could read and walk four miles an hour. The world
centred in books. There was no thought in my mind of any good to come
out of it; the good lay in the reading. I had no more idea of being a
minister than you elder men who were boys then, in this town, had that I
should be here to-night to tell this story. Now, give a boy a passion
like this for anything, books or business, painting or farming,
mechanism or music, and you give him thereby a lever to lift his world,
and a patent of nobility, if the thing he does is noble. There were two
or three of my mind about books. We became companions, and gave the
roughs a wide berth. The books did their work, too, about that drink,
and fought the devil with a finer fire."

"In education," says Herbert Spencer, "the process of self-development
should be encouraged to the fullest extent. Children should be led to
make their own investigations, and to draw their own inferences. They
should be _told_ as little as possible, and induced to _discover_ as
much as possible. Humanity has progressed solely by self-instruction;
and that to achieve the best results each mind must progress somewhat
after the same fashion, is continually proved by the marked success of
self-made men."

"My books," said Thomas Hood, "kept me from the ring, the dog-pit, the
tavern, and the saloon. The associate of Pope and Addison, the mind
accustomed to the noble though silent discourse of Shakespeare and
Milton, will hardly seek or put up with low or evil company or slaves."

"When I get a little money," said Erasmus, "I buy books, and if any is
left, I buy food and clothes."

"Hundreds of books read once," says Robertson, "have passed as
completely from us as if we had never read them; whereas the discipline
of mind got by writing down, not copying, an abstract of a book which
is worth the trouble fixes it on the mind for years, and, besides,
enables one to read other books with more attention and more profit."

"This habit of reading, I make bold to tell you," says Trollope, "is
your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasures
that God has prepared for His creatures. Other pleasures may be more
ecstatic; but the habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know, in
which there is no alloy."

The Bible was begun in the desert in Arabia ages before Homer sang and
flourished in Asia Minor. Millions of books have since gone into
oblivion. Empires have risen and fallen. Revolutions have swept over and
changed the earth. It has always been subject to criticism and obloquy.
Mighty men have sought its overthrow. Works of Greek poets who catered
to men's depraved tastes have, in spite of everything, perished. The
Bible is a book of religion; and can be tried by no other standard.

"Read Plutarch," said Emerson, "and the world is a proud place peopled
with men of positive quality, with heroes and demi-gods standing around
us who will not let us sleep."

"There is no business, no avocation whatever," says Wyttenbach, "which
will not permit a man, who has an inclination, to give a little time,
every day, to the studies of his youth."

"All the sport in the park," said Lady Jane Grey, "is but a shadow of
that pleasure I find in Plato."

"In the lap of Eternity," said Heinsius, "among so many divine souls, I
take my seat with so lofty a spirit and such sweet content, that I pity
all the great ones and rich men, that have not this happiness."

"Death itself divides not the wise," says Bulwer. "Thou meetest Plato
when thine eyes moisten over the Phædo. May Homer live with all men

"When a man reads," says President Porter, "he should put himself into
the most intimate intercourse with his author, so that all his energies
of apprehension, judgment and feeling may be occupied with, and aroused
by, what his author furnishes, whatever it may be. If repetition or
review will aid him in this, as it often will, let him not disdain or
neglect frequent reviews. If the use of the pen, in brief or full notes,
in catchwords or other symbols, will aid him, let him not shrink from
the drudgery of the pen and the commonplace book."

"Reading is to the mind," says Addison, "what exercise is to the body.
As by the one health is preserved, strengthened and invigorated, by the
other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished
and confirmed."

"There is a world of science necessary in choosing books," said Bulwer.
"I have known some people in great sorrow fly to a novel, or the last
light book in fashion. One might as well take a rose draught for the
plague! Light reading does not do when the heart is really heavy. I am
told that Goethe, when he lost his son, took to study a science that was
new to him. Ah! Goethe was a physician who knew what he was about."

"When I served when a young man in India," said a distinguished English
soldier and diplomatist; "when it was the turning point in my life; when
it was a mere chance whether I should become a mere card-playing,
hooka-smoking lounger, I was fortunately quartered for two years in the
neighborhood of an excellent library, which was made accessible to me."

"Books," says E. P. Whipple, "are lighthouses erected in the great sea
of time."

"As a rule," said Benjamin Disraeli, "the most successful man in life is
the man who has the best information."

"You get into society, in the widest sense," says Geikie, "in a great
library, with the huge advantage of needing no introductions, and not
dreading repulses. From that great crowd you can choose what companions
you please, for in the silent levees of the immortals there is no pride,
but the highest is at the service of the lowest, with a grand humility.
You may speak freely with any, without a thought of your inferiority;
for books are perfectly well-bred, and hurt no one's feelings by any
discriminations." Sir William Waller observed, "In my study, I am sure
to converse with none but wise men, but abroad it is impossible for me
to avoid the society of fools." "It is the glorious prerogative of the
empire of knowledge," says Webster, "that what it gains it never loses.
On the contrary, it increases by the multiple of its own power; all its
ends become means, all its attainments help to new conquests."

"At this hour, five hundred years since their creation," says De
Quincey, "the tales of Chaucer, never equaled on this earth for their
tenderness and for life of picturesqueness, are read familiarly by many
in the charming language of their natal day, and by others in the
modernization of Dryden, of Pope, and Wordsworth. At this hour, one
thousand eight hundred years since their creation, the pagan tales of
Ovid, never equaled on this earth for the gayety of their movement and
the capricious graces of their narrative, are read by all Christendom."

"There is no Past so long as Books shall live," says Lytton.

"No wonder Cicero said that he would part with all he was worth so he
might live and die among his books," says Geikie. "No wonder Petrarch
was among them to the last, and was found dead in their company. It
seems natural that Bede should have died dictating, and that Leibnitz
should have died with a book in his hand, and Lord Clarendon at his
desk. Buckle's last words, 'My poor book!' tell a passion that forgot
death; and it seemed only a fitting farewell when the tear stole down
the manly cheeks of Scott as they wheeled him into his library, when he
had come back to Abbotsford to die. Southey, white-haired, a living
shadow, sitting stroking and kissing the books he could no longer open
or read, is altogether pathetic."

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading," says Mary Wortley Montagu;
"nor any pleasure so lasting." Good books elevate the character, purify
the taste, _take the attractiveness out of low pleasures_, and lift us
upon a higher plane of thinking and living. It is not easy to be mean
directly after reading a noble and inspiring book. The conversation of a
man who reads for improvement or pleasure will be flavored by his
reading; but it will not be about his reading.

Perhaps no other thing has such power to lift the poor out of his
poverty, the wretched out of his misery, to make the burden-bearer
forget his burden, the sick his sufferings, the sorrower his grief, the
downtrodden his degradation, as books. They are friends to the lonely,
companions to the deserted, joy to the joyless, hope to the hopeless,
good cheer to the disheartened, a helper to the helpless. They bring
light into darkness, and sunshine into shadow.

"Twenty-five years ago, when I was a boy," said Rev. J. A. James, "a
school-fellow gave me an infamous book, which he lent me for only
fifteen minutes. At the end of that time it was returned to him, but
that book has haunted me like a spectre ever since. I have asked God on
my knees to obliterate that book from my mind, but I believe that I
shall carry down with me to the grave the spiritual damage I received
during those fifteen minutes."

Did Homer and Plato and Socrates and Virgil ever dream that their words
would echo through the ages, and aid in shaping men's lives in the
nineteenth century? They were mere infants when on earth in comparison
with the mighty influence and power they now yield. Every life on the
American continent has in some degree been influenced by them. Christ,
when on earth, never exerted one millionth part of the influence He
wields to-day. While He reigns supreme in few human hearts, He touches
all more or less, the atheist as well as the saint. On the other hand
who shall say how many crimes were committed the past year by wicked men
buried long ago? Their books, their pictures, their terrible examples,
live in all they reach, and incite to evil deeds. How important, then,
is the selection of books which are to become a part of your being.

Knowledge cannot be stolen from us. It cannot be bought or sold. We may
be poor, and the sheriff may come and sell our furniture, or drive away
our cow, or take our pet lamb, and leave us homeless and penniless; but
he cannot lay the law's hand upon the jewelry of our minds.

"Good books and the wild woods are two things with which man can never
become too familiar," says George W. Cable. "The friendship of trees is
a sort of self-love and is very wholesome. All inanimate nature is but a
mirror, and it is greater far to have the sense of beauty than it is to
be only its insensible depository.

"The books that inspire imagination, whether in truth or fiction; that
elevate the thoughts, are the right kind to read. Our emotions are
simply the vibrations of our soul.

"The moment fiction becomes mendacious it is bad, for it induces us to
believe a lie. Fiction purely as fiction must be innocent and beautiful,
and its beauty must be more than skin deep. Every field of art is a
playground and we are extra pleased when the artist makes that field a
gymnasium also."

Cotton Mather's "Essay to do Good" read by the boy Franklin influenced
the latter's whole life. He advised everybody to read with a pen in hand
and to make notes of all they read.

James T. Fields visited Jesse Pomeroy, the boy murderer, in jail.
Pomeroy told him he had been a great reader of "blood and thunder"
stories; that he had read sixty dime novels about scalping and other
bloody performances; and he thought there was no doubt that these books
had put the horrible thoughts into his mind which led to his murderous

Many a boy has gone to sea and become a rover for life under the
influence of Marryat's novels. Abbott's "Life of Napoleon," read at the
age of seven years, sent one boy whom I knew to the army before he was
fourteen. Many a man has committed crime from the leavening, multiplying
influence of a bad book read when a boy. The chaplain of Newgate prison
in London, in one of his annual reports to the Lord Mayor, referring to
many fine-looking lads of respectable parentage in the city prison, said
that he discovered that "all these boys, without exception, had been in
the habit of reading those cheap periodicals" which were published for
the alleged amusement of youth of both sexes. There is not a police
court or a prison in this country where similar cases could not be
found. One can hardly measure the moral ruin that has been caused in
this generation by the influence of bad books.

In the parlor window of the old mossy vicarage where Coleridge spent his
dreamy childhood lay a well-thumbed copy of that volume of Oriental
fancy, the "Arabian Nights," and he has told us with what mingled desire
and apprehension he was wont to look at the precious book, until the
morning sunshine had touched and illuminated it, when, seizing it
hastily, he would carry it off in triumph to some leafy nook in the
vicarage garden, and plunge delightedly into its maze of marvels and

Beecher said that Ruskin's works taught him the secret of seeing, and
that no man could ever again be quite the same man or look at the world
in the same way after reading him. Samuel Drew said, "Locke's 'Essay on
the Understanding' awakened me from stupor, and induced me to form a
resolution to abandon the groveling views I had been accustomed to
maintain." An English tanner, whose leather gained a great reputation,
said he should not have made it so good if he had not read Carlyle. The
lives of Washington and Henry Clay, which Lincoln borrowed from
neighbors in the wilderness, and devoured by the light of the cabin
fire, inspired his life. In his early manhood he read Paine's "Age of
Reason," and Volney's "Ruins," which so influenced his mind that he
wrote an essay to prove the unreliability of the Bible. These two books
nearly unbalanced his moral character. But, fortunately, the books which
fell into his hands in after years corrected this evil influence. The
trend of many a life for good or ill, for success or failure, has been
determined by a single book. The books which we read early in life are
those which influence us most. When Garfield was working for a neighbor
he read "Sinbad the Sailor" and the "Pirate's Own Book." These books
revealed a new world to him, and his mother with difficulty kept him
from going to sea. He was fascinated with the sea life which these books
pictured to his young imagination. The "Voyages of Captain Cook" led
William Carey to go on a mission to the heathen. "The Imitation of
Christ" and Taylor's "Holy Living and Dying" determined the character of
John Wesley. "Shakespeare and the Bible," said John Sharp, "made me
Archbishop of York." The "Vicar of Wakefield" awakened the poetical
genius in Goethe.

"I have been the bosom friend of Leander and Romeo," said Lowell. "I
seem to go behind Shakespeare, and to get my intelligence at first hand.
Sometimes, in my sorrow, a line from Spenser steals in upon my memory as
if by some vitality and external volition of its own, like a blast from
the distant trump of a knight pricking toward the court of Faerie, and I
am straightway lifted out of that sadness and shadow into the sunshine
of a previous and long-agone experience."

"Who gets more enjoyment out of eating," asks Amos R. Wells, "the
pampered millionaire, whose tongue is the wearied host of myriads of
sugary, creamy, spicy guests, or the little daughter of the laborer,
trotting about all the morning with helpful steps, who has come a long
two miles with her father's dinner to eat it with him from a tin pail?
And who gets the more pleasure out of reading, the satiated
fiction-glutton, her brain crammed with disordered fragments of
countless scenes of adventure, love and tragedy, impatient of the same
old situations, the familiar characters, the stale plots--she or the
girl who is fired with a love for history, say, who wants to know all
about the grand old, queer old Socrates, and then about his friends, and
then about the times in which he lived, and then about the way in which
they all lived, then about the Socratic legacy to the ages? Why, will
that girl ever be done with the feast? Can you not see, looking down on
her joy with a blessing, the very Lord of the banquet, who has ordered
all history and ordained that the truth He fashions shall be stranger
always than the fiction man contrives? Take the word of a man who has
made full trial of both. Solid reading is as much more interesting and
attractive than frivolous reading as solid living is more recreative
than frivolous living."

"I solemnly declare," said Sidney Smith, "that but for the love of
knowledge, I should consider the life of the meanest hedger and ditcher
as preferable to that of the greatest and richest man in existence; for
the fire of our minds is like the fires which the Persians burn in the
mountains, it flames night and day, and is immortal, and not to be
quenched! Upon something it must act and feed--upon the pure spirit of
knowledge, or upon the foul dregs of polluting passions. Therefore, when
I say, in conducting your understanding, love knowledge with a great
love, with a vehement love, with a love co-eval with life--what do I say
but love innocence, love virtue, love purity of conduct, love that
which, if you are rich and great, will vindicate the blind fortune which
has made you so, and make men call it justice; love that which, if you
are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and make the proudest
feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your fortunes; love that
which will comfort you, adorn you, and never quit you--which will open
to you the kingdom of thought, and all the boundless regions of
conception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice, and the
pain that may be your lot in the world--that which will make your
motives habitually great and honorable, _and light up in an instant a
thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and of fraud_?"

Do I feel like hearing an eloquent sermon? Spurgeon and Beecher,
Whitefield, Hall, Collyer, Phillips Brooks, Canon Farrar, Dr. Parker,
Talmage, are all standing on my bookcase, waiting to give me their
greatest efforts at a moment's notice. Do I feel indisposed, and need a
little recreation? This afternoon I will take a trip across the
Atlantic, flying against the wind and over breakers without fear of
seasickness on the ocean greyhounds. I will inspect the world renowned
Liverpool docks; take a run up to Hawarden, call on Mr. Gladstone; fly
over to London, take a run through the British Museum and see the
wonderful collection from all nations; go through the National Art
Gallery, through the Houses of Parliament, visit Windsor Castle and
Buckingham Palace, call upon Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales; take a
run through the lake region and call upon the great writers, visit
Oxford and Cambridge; cross the English Channel, stop at Rouen, where
Joan of Arc was burned to death by the English, take a flying trip to
Paris, visit the tomb of Napoleon, the Louvre Gallery; take a peep at
one of the greatest pieces of sculpture in existence, the Venus de Milo
(which a rich and ignorant person offered to buy if they would give him
a fresh one), take a glance at some of the greatest paintings in
existence along the miles of galleries; take a peep into the Grand Opera
House, the grandest in the world (to make room for which 427 buildings
were demolished), promenade through the Champs de Elysée, pass under the
triumphal arch of Napoleon, take a run out to Versailles and inspect the
famous palace of Louis XIV., upon which he spent perhaps $100,000,000.

Do I desire to hear eloquent speeches? Through my books I can enter the
Parliament and listen to the thrilling oratory of Disraeli, of
Gladstone, of Bright, of O'Connor; they will admit me to the floor of
the Senate, where I can hear the matchless oratory of a Webster, of a
Clay, of a Calhoun, of a Sumner, of Everett, of Wilson. They will pass
me into the Roman Forum, where I can hear Cicero, or to the rostrums of
Greece, where I may listen spell-bound to the magic oratory of a

"No matter how poor I am," says Channing; "no matter though the
prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling; if the
sacred writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof; if
Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of paradise, and
Shakespeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of
the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his practical
wisdom,--I shall not pine for the want of intellectual companionship,
and I may become a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called
the best society in the place where I live."

"With the dead there is no rivalry," says Macaulay. "In the dead there
is no change. Plato is never sullen; Cervantes is never petulant;
Demosthenes never comes unseasonably; Dante never stays too long; no
difference of political opinion can alienate Cicero; no heresy can
excite the horror of Bossuet."

"Heed not the idle assertion that literary pursuits will disqualify you
for the active business of life," says Alexander H. Everett. "Reject it
as a mere imagination, inconsistent with principle, unsupported by

The habit of reading may become morbid. There is a novel-reading
disease. There are people who are almost as much tied to their novels as
an intemperate man is tied to his bottle. The more of these novels they
read, the weaker their minds become. They remember nothing; they read
for the stimulus; their reasoning powers become weaker and weaker, their
memory more treacherous. The mind is ruined for healthy intellectual
food. They have no taste for history or biography, or anything but
cheap, trashy, sensational novels.

The passive reception of other men's thoughts is not education. Beware
of intellectual dram drinking and intellectual dissipation. It is
emasculating. Beware of the book which does not make you determined to
go and do something and be something in the world.

The great difference between the American graduate and the graduates
from the English universities is that the latter have not read many
books superficially, but a few books well. The American graduate has a
smattering of many books, but has not become master of any. The same is
largely true of readers in general; they want to know a little of
everything. They want to read all the latest publications, good, bad and
indifferent, if it is only new. As a rule our people want light reading,
"something to read" that will take up the attention, kill time on the
railroad or at home. As a rule English people read more substantial
books, older books, books which have established their right to exist.
They are not so eager for "recent publications."

Joseph Cook advises youth to always make notes of their reading. Mr.
Cook uses the margins of his books for his notes, and marks all of his
own books very freely, so that every volume in his library becomes a
notebook. He advises all young men and young women to keep commonplace
books. We cannot too heartily recommend this habit of taking notes. It
is a great aid to memory, and it helps wonderfully to locate or to find
for future use what we have read. It helps to assimilate and make our
own whatever we read. The habit of taking notes of lectures and sermons
is an excellent one. One of the greatest aids to education is the habit
of writing out an analysis or a skeleton of a book or article after we
have read it; also of a sermon or a lecture. This habit has made many a
strong, vigorous thinker and writer. In this connection we cannot too
strongly recommend the habit of saving clippings from our readings
wherever possible of everything which would be likely to assist us in
the future. These scrap-books, indexed, often become of untold
advantage, especially if in the line of our work. Much of what we call
genius in great men comes from these note-books and scrap-books.

How many poor boys and girls who thought they had "no chance" in life
have been started upon noble careers by the grand books of Smiles, Todd,
Mathews, Munger, Whipple, Geikie, Thayer, and others.

You should bring your mind to the reading of a book, or to the study of
any subject, as you take an axe to the grindstone; not for what you get
from the stone, but for the sharpening of the axe. While it is true that
the facts learned from books are worth more than the dust from the
stone, even in much greater ratio is the mind more valuable than the
axe. Bacon says: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be
read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few
to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Reading maketh a
full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and,
therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he
confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he
had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories
make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy
deep; morals grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend."



     Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
     --EPH. iv. I.

     Abundance consists not alone in material possession, but in an
     uncovetous spirit.

     Less coin, less care; to know how to dispense with wealth is to
     possess it.

     Rich, from the very want of wealth,
     In heaven's best treasures, peace and health.

     Money never made a man happy yet; there is nothing in its
     nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he
     wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.

     There are treasures laid up in the heart, treasures of charity,
     piety, temperance, and soberness. These treasures a man takes
     with him beyond death, when he leaves this world.

     "It is better to get wisdom than gold; for wisdom is better
     than rubies, and all things that may be desired are not to be
     compared to it."

     "Better a cheap coffin and a plain funeral after a useful,
     unselfish life, than a grand mausoleum after a loveless,
     selfish life."

     I ought not to allow any man, because he has broad lands, to
     feel that he is rich in my presence. I ought to make him feel
     that I can do without his riches, that I cannot be
     bought--neither by comfort, neither by pride,--and although I
     be utterly penniless, and receiving bread from him, that he is
     the poor man beside me.

"I don't want such things," said Epictetus to the rich Roman orator who
was making light of his contempt for money-wealth; "and besides," said
the stoic, "you are poorer than I am, after all. You have silver
vessels, but earthenware reasons, principles, appetites. My mind to me a
kingdom is, and it furnishes me with abundant and happy occupation in
lieu of your restless idleness. All your possessions seem small to you;
mine seem great to me. Your desire is insatiate, mine is satisfied."

"Lord, how many things are in the world of which Diogenes hath no need!"
exclaimed the stoic, as he wandered among the miscellaneous articles at
a country fair.

"One would think," said Boswell, "that the proprietor of all this
(Keddlestone, the seat of Lord Scarsfield) must be happy." "Nay, sir,"
said Johnson, "all this excludes but one evil, poverty."

"What property has he left behind him?" people ask when a man dies; but
the angel who receives him asks, "What good deeds hast thou sent before

"What is the best thing to possess?" asked an ancient philosopher of his
pupils. One answered, "Nothing is better than a good eye,"--a figurative
expression for a liberal and contented disposition. Another said, "A
good companion is the best thing in the world;" a third chose a good
neighbor; and a fourth, a wise friend. But Eleazar said: "A good heart
is better than them all." "True," said the master; "thou hast
comprehended in two words all that the rest have said, for he that hath
a good heart will be contented, a good companion, a good neighbor, and
will easily see what is fit to be done by him."

"My kingdom for a horse," said Richard III. of England amid the press of
Bosworth Field. "My kingdom for a moment," said Queen Elizabeth on her
death-bed. And millions of others, when they have felt earth, its riches
and power slipping from their grasp, have shown plainly that deep down
in their hearts they value such things at naught when really compared
with the blessed light of life, the stars and flowers, the companionship
of friends, and far above all else, the opportunity of growth and
development here and of preparation for future life.

Queen Caroline Matilda of Denmark wrote on the window of her prison,
with her diamond ring: "Oh, keep me innocent; make others great."

"These are my jewels," said Cornelia to the Campanian lady who asked to
see her gems; and she pointed with pride to her boys returning from
school. The reply was worthy the daughter of Scipio Africanus and wife
of Tiberius Gracchus. The most valuable production of any country is its
crop of men.

"I will take away thy treasures," said a tyrant to a philosopher. "Nay,
that thou canst not," was the retort; "for, in the first place, I have
none that thou knowest of. My treasure is in heaven, and my heart is

Some people are born happy. No matter what their circumstances are they
are joyous, content and satisfied with everything. They carry a
perpetual holiday in their eye and see joy and beauty everywhere. When
we meet them they impress us as just having met with some good luck, or
that they have some good news to tell you. Like the bees that extract
honey from every flower, they have a happy alchemy which transmutes even
gloom into sunshine. In the sick room they are better than the physician
and more potent than drugs. All doors open to these people. They are
welcome everywhere.

We make our own worlds and people them, while memory, the scribe,
faithfully registers the account of each as we pass the milestones
dotting the way. Are we not, then, responsible for the inhabitants of
our little worlds? We should fill them with the true, the beautiful and
the good, since we are endowed with the faculty of creating.

"Genius," says Whipple, "may almost be defined as the faculty of
acquiring poverty." It is the men of talent who make money out of the
work of the men of genius. Somebody has truly said, that the greatest
works have brought the least benefit to their authors. They were beyond
the reach of appreciation before appreciation came.

There is an Eastern legend of a powerful genius, who promised a
beautiful maiden a gift of rare value if she would pass through a field
of corn and, without pausing, going backward, or wandering hither and
thither, select the largest and ripest ear,--the value of the gift to be
in proportion to the size and perfection of the ear she should choose.
She passed through the field, seeing a great many well worth gathering,
but always hoping to find a larger and more perfect one, she passed them
all by, when, coming to a part of the field where the stalks grew more
stunted, she disdained to take one from these, and so came through to
the other side without having selected any.

A man may make millions and be a failure still. Money-making is not the
highest success. The life of a well-known millionaire was not truly
successful. He had but one ambition. He coined his very soul into
dollars. The almighty dollar was his sun, and was mirrored in his heart.
He strangled all other emotions and hushed and stifled all nobler
aspirations. He grasped his riches tightly, till stricken by the scythe
of death; when, in the twinkling of an eye, he was transformed from one
of the richest men who ever lived in this world to one of the poorest
souls that ever went out of it.

Lincoln always yearned for a rounded wholeness of character; and his
fellow lawyers called him "perversely honest." Nothing could induce him
to take the wrong side of a case, or to continue on that side after
learning that it was unjust or hopeless. After giving considerable time
to a case in which he had received from a lady a retainer of two hundred
dollars, he returned the money, saying: "Madam, you have not a peg to
hang your case on." "But you have earned that money," said the lady.
"No, no," replied Lincoln, "that would not be right. I can't take pay
for doing my duty."

Agassiz would not lecture at five hundred dollars a night, because he
had no time to make money. Charles Sumner, when a senator, declined to
lecture at any price, saying that his time belonged to Massachusetts and
the nation. Spurgeon would not speak for fifty nights in America at one
thousand dollars a night, because he said he could do better: he could
stay in London and try to save fifty souls. All honor to the comparative
few in every walk of life who, amid the strong materialistic tendencies
of our age, still speak and act earnestly, inspired by the hope of
rewards other than gold or popular favor. These are our truly great men
and women. They labor in their ordinary vocations with no less zeal
because they give time and thought to higher things.

King Midas, in the ancient myth, asked that everything he touched might
be turned to gold, for then, he thought, he would be perfectly happy.
His request was granted, but when his clothes, his food, his drink, the
flowers he plucked, and even his little daughter, whom he kissed, were
all changed into yellow metal, he begged that the Golden Touch might be
taken from him. He had learned that many other things are intrinsically
far more valuable than all the gold that was ever dug from the earth.

The "beggarly Homer, who strolled, God knows when, in the infancy and
barbarism of the world," was richer far than Croesus and added more
wealth to the world than the Rothschilds, the Vanderbilts and Goulds.

An Arab who fortunately escaped death after losing his way in the
desert, without provisions, tells of his feelings when he found a bag
full of pearls, just as he was about to abandon all hope. "I shall never
forget," said he, "the relish and delight that I felt on supposing it to
be dried wheat, nor the bitterness and despair I suffered on discovering
that the bag contained pearls."

It is an interesting fact in this money-getting era that a poor author,
or a seedy artist, or a college president with frayed coat-sleeves, has
more standing in society and has more paragraphs written about him in
the papers than many a millionaire. This is due, perhaps, to the malign
influence of money-getting and to the benign effect of purely
intellectual pursuits. As a rule every great success in the money world
means the failure and misery of hundreds of antagonists. Every success
in the world of intellect and character is an aid and profit to society.
Character is a mark cut upon something, and this indelible mark
determines the only true value of all people and all their work. Dr.
Hunter said: "No man was ever a great man who wanted to be one." Artists
cannot help putting themselves and their own characters into their
works. The vulgar artist cannot paint a virtuous picture. The gross, the
bizarre, the sensitive, the delicate, all come out on the canvas and
tell the story of his life.

Who would not choose to be a millionaire of deeds with a Lincoln, a
Grant, a Florence Nightingale, a Childs; a millionaire of ideas with
Emerson, with Lowell, with Shakespeare, with Wordsworth; a millionaire
of statesmanship with a Gladstone, a Bright, a Sumner, a Washington?

Some men are rich in health, in constant cheerfulness, in a mercurial
temperament which floats them over troubles and trials enough to sink a
shipload of ordinary men. Others are rich in disposition, family, and
friends. There are some men so amiable that everybody loves them; some
so cheerful that they carry an atmosphere of jollity about them. Some
are rich in integrity and character.

"Who is the richest of men?" asked Socrates. "He who is content with the
least, for contentment is nature's riches."

"Do you know, sir," said a devotee of Mammon to John Bright, "that I am
worth a million sterling?" "Yes," said the irritated but calm-spirited
respondent, "I do; and I know that it is all you are worth."

A bankrupt merchant, returning home one night, said to his noble wife,
"My dear, I am ruined; everything we have is in the hands of the
sheriff." After a few moments of silence the wife looked into his face
and asked, "Will the sheriff sell you?" "Oh, no." "Will the sheriff sell
me?" "Oh, no." "Then do not say we have lost everything. All that is
most valuable remains to us--manhood, womanhood, childhood. We have lost
but the results of our skill and industry. We can make another fortune
if our hearts and hands are left us."

"We say a man is 'made'," said Beecher. "What do we mean? That he has
got the control of his lower instincts, so that they are only fuel to
his higher feelings, giving force to his nature? That his affections
are like vines, sending out on all sides blossoms and clustering fruits?
That his tastes are so cultivated that all beautiful things speak to
him, and bring him their delights? That his understanding is opened, so
that he walks through every hall of knowledge, and gathers its
treasures? That his moral feelings are so developed and quickened that
he holds sweet commerce with Heaven? O, no--none of these things. He is
cold and dead in heart, and mind, and soul. Only his passions are alive;
but--he is worth five hundred thousand dollars!

"And we say a man is 'ruined.' Are his wife and children dead? O, no.
Have they had a quarrel, and are they separated from him? O, no. Has he
lost his reputation through crime? No. Is his reason gone? O, no; it is
as sound as ever. Is he struck through with disease? No. He has lost his
property, and he is ruined. The _man_ ruined! When shall we learn that
'a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he

"How is it possible," asks an ancient philosopher, "that a man who has
nothing, who is naked, houseless, without a hearth, squalid, without a
slave, without a city, can pass a life that flows easily? See, God has
sent you a man to show you that it is possible. Look at me who am
without a city, without a house, without possessions, without a slave;
I sleep on the ground; I have no wife, no children, no prætorium, but
only the earth and heavens, and one poor cloak. And what do I want? Am I
not without sorrow? Am I not without fear? Am I not free? When did any
of you see me failing in the object of my desire? or even falling into
that which I would avoid? Did I ever blame God or man? Did I ever accuse
any man? Did any of you ever see me with a sorrowful countenance?"

"You are a plebeian," said a patrician to Cicero. "I am a plebeian,"
replied the great Roman orator; "the nobility of my family begins with
me, that of yours will end with you." No man deserves to be crowned with
honor whose life is a failure, and he who lives only to eat and drink
and accumulate money is surely not successful. The world is no better
for his living in it. He never wiped a tear from a sad face, never
kindled a fire upon a frozen hearth. There is no flesh in his heart; he
worships no god but gold.

Why should I scramble and struggle to get possession of a little portion
of this earth? This is my world now; why should I envy others its mere
legal possession? It belongs to him who can see it, enjoy it. I need not
envy the so-called owners of estates in Boston and New York. They are
merely taking care of my property and keeping it in excellent condition
for me. For a few pennies for railroad fare whenever I wish I can see
and possess the best of it all. It has cost me no effort, it gives me no
care; yet the green grass, the shrubbery, and the statues on the lawns,
the finer sculptures and paintings within, are always ready for me
whenever I feel a desire to look upon them. I do not wish to carry them
home with me, for I could not give them half the care they now receive;
besides, it would take too much of my valuable time, and I should be
worrying continually lest they be spoiled or stolen. I have much of the
wealth of the world now. It is all prepared for me without any pains on
my part. All around me are working hard to get things that will please
me, and competing to see who can give them the cheapest. The little I
pay for the use of libraries, railroads, galleries, parks, is less than
it would cost to care for the least of all I use. Life and landscape are
mine, the stars and flowers, the sea and air, the birds and trees. What
more do I want? All the ages have been working for me; all mankind are
my servants. I am only required to feed and clothe myself, an easy task
in this land of opportunity.

There is scarcely an idea more infectious or potent than the love of
money. It is a yellow fever, decimating its votaries and ruining more
families in the land, than all the plagues or diseases put together.
Instances of its malevolent power occur to every reader. Almost every
square foot of land of our continent during the early buccaneer period
(some call it the march of civilization), has been ensanguined through
the madness for treasure. Read the pages of our historian Prescott, and
you will see that the whole anti-Puritan history of America resolves
itself into an awful slaughter for gold. Discoveries were only side

Speak, history, who are life's victors? Unroll thy long scroll and say,
have they won who first reached the goal, heedless of a brother's
rights? And has he lost in life's great race who stopped "to raise a
fallen child, and place him on his feet again," or to give a fainting
comrade care; or to guide or assist a feeble woman? Has he lost who
halts before the throne when duty calls, or sorrow, or distress? Is
there no one to sing the pæan of the conquered who fell in the battle of
life? of the wounded, the beaten, who died overwhelmed in the strife? of
the low and humble, the weary and broken-hearted, who strove and who
failed, in the eyes of men, but who did their duty as God gave them to
see it?

"We have yet no man who has leaned _entirely_ on his character, and
eaten angel's food," said Emerson; "who, trusting to his sentiments,
found life made of miracles; who, working for _universal aims_, found
himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew
not how, and yet it was done by his own hands."

At a time when it was considered dangerous to society in Europe for the
common people to read books and listen to lectures on any but religious
subjects, Charles Knight determined to enlighten the masses by cheap
literature. He believed that a paper might be instructive and not be
dull, cheap without being wicked. He started the "Penny Magazine," which
acquired a circulation of two hundred thousand the first year. Knight
projected the "Penny Cyclopedia," the "Library of Entertaining
Knowledge," "Half-Hours with the Best Authors," and other useful works
at a low price. His whole adult life was spent in the work of elevating
the common people by cheap, yet wholesome publications. He died in
poverty, but grateful people have erected a noble monument over his

How many rich dwellings there are, crowded with every appointment of
luxury, that are only glittering caverns of selfishness and discontent!
"Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred

"No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger,"
says Beecher. "It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or
poor according to what he _is_, not according to what he _has_."

If our thoughts are great and noble, no mean surroundings can make us
miserable. It is the mind that makes the body rich.

     Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
     'Tis only noble to be good.
     Kind hearts are more than coronets,
     And simple faith than Norman blood.

     Be noble! and the nobleness that lies
     In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
     Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.


     of inspiration and help to the youth of America who long to be
     somebody and to do something in the world, many of whom, hedged
     in as it were by iron walls of circumstances feel that they
     have "no chance in life." ==> Passed through _a dozen editions
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     foreign countries.

=With 24 fine full-page portraits. Crown 8vo., $1.50.=

       *       *       *       *       *

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     --_Bishop Newman_.

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     --_Mrs. Mary A. Livermore_.

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     --_Golden Rule_.

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     --_Epworth Herald_.

     I have read with unusual interest your book "Pushing to the
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     --_Wm. McKinley_.

     A most interesting and valuable book to the youth of America.
     --_Senator Henry Cabot Lodge_.

     An admirable book, a timely contribution of advice and
     inspiration to youth.
     --_Chauncey M. Depew_.

     The author has done a most valuable service to the young life
     of the country.
     --_Bishop J. H. Vincent_.

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_Author of "Pushing to the Front, or Success Under Difficulties;"
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The key note of the magazine will be to inspire, encourage and stimulate
to higher purposes all who are anxious to add to their knowledge and
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     Rev. Dr. David Gregg.
     Rev. Dr. J. L. Withrow.
     Dr. A. H. Campbell.
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     Bishop J. H. Vincent.
     Rev. Edward Everett Hale.
     John Wanamaker.
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     Harriet Prescott Spofford.
     Justice John M. Harlan.
     Rev. Dr. R. S. McArthur.
     Mrs. Sarah White Lee.
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     the pure ideal.
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Transcriber's List of Corrections


              Diction-tionary [_at line break_]

              more of less
                       more or less

              battle of life,
                       battle of life.





     SUCCESS [_advertisement_]
              Dr. Brooker T. Washington.
                       Dr. Booker T. Washington.

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