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Title: Pushing to the Front
Author: Marden, Orison Swett, 1850-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Frontispiece: Orison Swett Marden]

Pushing to the Front



"The world makes way for the determined man."


The Success Company's

Branch Offices






This revised and greatly enlarged edition of "Pushing to the Front" is
the outgrowth of an almost world-wide demand for an extension of the
idea which made the original small volume such an ambition-arousing,
energizing, inspiring force.

It is doubtful whether any other book, outside of the Bible, has been
the turning-point in more lives.

It has sent thousands of youths, with renewed determination, back to
school or college, back to all sorts of vocations which they had
abandoned in moments of discouragement.  It has kept scores of business
men from failure after they had given up all hope.

It has helped multitudes of poor boys and girls to pay their way
through college who had never thought a liberal education possible.

The author has received thousands of letters from people in nearly all
parts of the world telling how the book has aroused their ambition,
changed their ideals and aims, and has spurred them to the successful
undertaking of what they before had thought impossible.

The book has been translated into many foreign languages.  In Japan and
several other countries it is used extensively in the public schools.
Distinguished educators in many parts of the world have recommended its
use in schools as a civilization-builder.

Crowned heads, presidents of republics, distinguished members of the
British and other parliaments, members of the United States Supreme
Court, noted authors, scholars, and eminent people in many parts of the
world, have eulogized this book and have thanked the author for giving
it to the world.

This volume is full of the most fascinating romances of achievement
under difficulties, of obscure beginnings and triumphant endings, of
stirring stories of struggles and triumphs.  It gives inspiring stories
of men and women who have brought great things to pass.  It gives
numerous examples of the triumph of mediocrity, showing how those of
ordinary ability have succeeded by the use of ordinary means.  It shows
how invalids and cripples even have triumphed by perseverance and will
over seemingly insuperable difficulties.

The book tells how men and women have seized common occasions and made
them great; it tells of those of average ability who have succeeded by
the use of ordinary means, by dint of indomitable will and inflexible
purpose.  It tells how poverty and hardship have rocked the cradle of
the giants of the race.  The book points out that most people do not
utilize a large part of their effort because their mental attitude does
not correspond with their endeavor, so that although working for one
thing, they are really expecting something else; and it is what we
expect that we tend to get.

No man can become prosperous while he really expects or half expects to
remain poor, for holding the poverty thought, keeping in touch with
poverty-producing conditions, discourages prosperity.

Before a man can lift himself he must lift his thoughts.  When we shall
have learned to master our thought habits, to keep our minds open to
the great divine inflow of life force, we shall have learned the truths
of human endowment, human possibility.

The book points out the fact that what is called success may be
failure; that when men love money so much that they sacrifice their
friendships, their families, their home life, sacrifice position,
honor, health, everything for the dollar, their life is a failure,
although they may have accumulated money.  It shows how men have become
rich at the price of their ideals, their character, at the cost of
everything noblest, best, and truest in life.  It preaches the larger
doctrine of equality; the equality of will and purpose which paves a
clear path even to the Presidential chair for a Lincoln or a Garfield,
for any one who will pay the price of study and struggle.  Men who feel
themselves badly handicapped, crippled by their lack of early
education, will find in these pages great encouragement to broaden
their horizon, and will get a practical, helpful, sensible education in
their odd moments and half-holidays.

Dr. Marden, in "Pushing to the Front," shows that the average of the
leaders are not above the average of ability.  They are ordinary
people, but of extraordinary persistence and perseverance.  It is a
storehouse of noble incentive, a treasury of precious sayings.  There
is inspiration and encouragement and helpfulness on every page.  It
teaches the doctrine that no limits can be placed on one's career if he
has once learned the alphabet and has push; that there are no barriers
that can say to aspiring talent, "Thus far, and no farther."
Encouragement is its keynote; it aims to arouse to honorable exertion
those who are drifting without aim, to awaken dormant ambitions in
those who have grown discouraged in the struggle for success.




       X. WHAT CAREER?


Orison Swett Marden . . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

House in which Abraham Lincoln was born

Ulysses S. Grant

William Ewart Gladstone

John Wanamaker

Jane Addams

Thomas Alva Edison

Henry Ward Beecher

Lincoln studying by the firelight

Marshall Field

Joseph Jefferson [Transcriber's note: Jefferson was a prominent actor
during the latter half of the 1800's.]

Theodore Roosevelt

Helen Keller

William McKinley

Julia Ward Howe

Mark Twain




No man is born into this world whose work is not born with him.--LOWELL.

Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them

Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon
opportunity; force and persistence in crowding opportunity to its
utmost of possible achievement--these are the martial virtues which
must command success.--AUSTIN PHELPS.

"I will find a way or make one."

There never was a day that did not bring its own opportunity for doing
good that never could have been done before, and never can be
again.--W. H. BURLEIGH.

  "Are you in earnest?  Seize this very minute;
  What you can do, or dream you can, _begin_ it."

"If we succeed, what will the world say?" asked Captain Berry in
delight, when Nelson had explained his carefully formed plan before the
battle of the Nile.

"There is no if in the case," replied Nelson.  "That we shall succeed
is certain.  Who may live to tell the tale is a very different
question."  Then, as his captains rose from the council to go to their
respective ships, he added: "Before this time to-morrow I shall have
gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey."  His quick eye and daring
spirit saw an opportunity of glorious victory where others saw only
probable defeat.

"Is it POSSIBLE to cross the path?" asked Napoleon of the engineers who
had been sent to explore the dreaded pass of St. Bernard.  "Perhaps,"
was the hesitating reply, "it is within the limits of _possibility_."

"FORWARD THEN," said the Little Corporal, without heeding their account
of apparently insurmountable difficulties.  England and Austria laughed
in scorn at the idea of transporting across the Alps, where "no wheel
had ever rolled, or by any possibility could roll," an army of sixty
thousand men, with ponderous artillery, tons of cannon balls and
baggage, and all the bulky munitions of war.  But the besieged Massena
was starving in Genoa, and the victorious Austrians thundered at the
gates of Nice, and Napoleon was not the man to fail his former comrades
in their hour of peril.

When this "impossible" deed was accomplished, some saw that it might
have been done long before.  Others excused themselves from
encountering such gigantic obstacles by calling them insuperable.  Many
a commander had possessed the necessary supplies, tools, and rugged
soldiers, but lacked the grit and resolution of Bonaparte, who did not
shrink from mere difficulties, however great, but out of his very need
made and mastered his opportunity.

Grant at New Orleans had just been seriously injured by a fall from his
horse, when he received orders to take command at Chattanooga, so
sorely beset by the Confederates that its surrender seemed only a
question of a few days; for the hills around were all aglow by night
with the camp-fires of the enemy, and supplies had been cut off.
Though in great pain, he immediately gave directions for his removal to
the new scene of action.

On transports up the Mississippi, the Ohio, and one of its tributaries;
on a litter borne by horses for many miles through the wilderness; and
into the city at last on the shoulders of four men, he was taken to
Chattanooga.  Things assumed a different aspect immediately.  _A
master_ had arrived who was _equal to the situation_.  The army felt
the grip of his power.  Before he could mount his horse he ordered an
advance, and although the enemy contested the ground inch by inch, the
surrounding hills were soon held by Union soldiers.

Were these things the result of chance, or were they compelled by the
indominable determination of the injured General?

Did things _adjust themselves_ when Horatius with two companions held
ninety thousand Tuscans at bay until the bridge across the Tiber had
been destroyed?--when Leonidas at Thermopylae checked the mighty march
of Xerxes?--when Themistocles, off the coast of Greece, shattered the
Persian's Armada?--when Caesar, finding his army hard pressed, seized
spear and buckler, fought while he reorganized his men, and snatched
victory from defeat?--when Winkelried gathered to his heart a sheaf of
Austrian spears, thus opening a path through which his comrades pressed
to freedom?--when for years Napoleon did not lose a single battle in
which he was personally engaged?--when Wellington fought in many climes
without ever being conquered?--when Ney, on a hundred fields, changed
apparent disaster into brilliant triumph?--when Perry left the disabled
_Lawrence_, rowed to the _Niagara_, and silenced the British
guns?--when Sheridan arrived from Winchester just as the Union retreat
was becoming a rout, and turned the tide by riding along the
line?--when Sherman, though sorely pressed, signaled his men to hold
the fort, and they, knowing that their leader was coming, held it?

History furnishes thousands of examples of men who have seized
occasions to accomplish results deemed impossible by those less
resolute.  Prompt decision and whole-souled action sweep the world
before them.

True, there has been but one Napoleon; but, on the other hand, the Alps
that oppose the progress of the average American youth are not as high
or dangerous as the summits crossed by the great Corsican.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities.  _Seize common occasions
and make them great_.

On the morning of September 6, 1838, a young woman in the Longstone
Lighthouse, between England and Scotland, was awakened by shrieks of
agony rising above the roar of wind and wave.  A storm of unwonted fury
was raging, and her parents could not hear the cries; but a telescope
showed nine human beings clinging to the windlass of a wrecked vessel
whose bow was hanging on the rocks half a mile away.  "We can do
nothing," said William Darling, the light-keeper.  "Ah, yes, we must go
to the rescue," exclaimed his daughter, pleading tearfully with both
father and mother, until the former replied: "Very well, Grace, I will
let you persuade me, though it is against my better judgment."  Like a
feather in a whirlwind the little boat was tossed on the tumultuous
sea, but, borne on the blast that swept the cruel surge, the shrieks of
those shipwrecked sailors seemed to change her weak sinews into cords
of steel.  Strength hitherto unsuspected came from somewhere, and the
heroic girl pulled one oar in even time with her father.  At length the
nine were safely on board.  "God bless you; but ye're a bonny English
lass," said one poor fellow, as he looked wonderingly upon this
marvelous girl, who that day had done a deed which added more to
England's glory than the exploits of many of her monarchs.

"If you will let me try, I think I can make something that will do,"
said a boy who had been employed as a scullion at the mansion of Signer
Faliero, as the story is told by George Cary Eggleston.  A large
company had been invited to a banquet, and just before the hour the
confectioner, who had been making a large ornament for the table, sent
word that he had spoiled the piece.  "You!" exclaimed the head servant,
in astonishment; "and who are you?"  "I am Antonio Canova, the grandson
of Pisano, the stone-cutter," replied the pale-faced little fellow.

"And pray, what can you do?" asked the major-domo.  "I can make you
something that will do for the middle of the table, if you'll let me
try."  The servant was at his wits' end, so he told Antonio to go ahead
and see what he could do.  Calling for some butter, the scullion
quickly molded a large crouching lion, which the admiring major-domo
placed upon the table.

Dinner was announced, and many of the most noted merchants, princes,
and noblemen of Venice were ushered into the dining-room.  Among them
were skilled critics of art work.  When their eyes fell upon the butter
lion, they forgot the purpose for which they had come in their wonder
at such a work of genius.  They looked at the lion long and carefully,
and asked Signer Faliero what great sculptor had been persuaded to
waste his skill upon such a temporary material.  Faliero could not
tell; so he asked the head servant, who brought Antonio before the

When the distinguished guests learned that the lion had been made in a
short time by a scullion, the dinner was turned into a feast in his
honor.  The rich host declared that he would pay the boy's expenses
under the best masters, and he kept his word.  Antonio was not spoiled
by his good fortune, but remained at heart the same simple, earnest,
faithful boy who had tried so hard to become a good stone-cutter in the
shop of Pisano.  Some may not have heard how the boy Antonio took
advantage of this first great opportunity; but all know of Canova, one
of the greatest sculptors of all time.

_Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them_.

"The best men," says E. H. Chapin, "are not those who have waited for
chances but who have taken them; besieged the chance; conquered the
chance; and made chance the servitor."

There may not be one chance in a million that you will ever receive
unusual aid; but opportunities are often presented which you can
improve to good advantage, if you will only _act_.

The lack of opportunity is ever the excuse of a weak, vacillating mind.
Opportunities!  Every life is full of them.  Every lesson in school or
college is an opportunity.  Every examination is a chance in life.
Every patient is an opportunity.  Every newspaper article is an
opportunity.  Every client is an opportunity.  Every sermon is an
opportunity.  Every business transaction is an opportunity,--an
opportunity to be polite,--an opportunity to be manly,--an opportunity
to be honest,--an opportunity to make friends.  Every proof of
confidence in you is a great opportunity.  Every responsibility thrust
upon your strength and your honor is priceless.  Existence is the
privilege of effort, and when that privilege is met like a man,
opportunities to succeed along the line of your aptitude will come
faster than you can use them.  If a slave like Fred Douglass, who did
not even own his body, can elevate himself into an orator, editor,
statesman, what ought the poorest white boy to do, who is rich in
opportunities compared with Douglass?

It is the idle man, not the great worker, who is always complaining
that he has no time or opportunity.  Some young men will make more out
of the odds and ends of opportunities which many carelessly throw away
than other will get out of a whole life-time.  Like bees, they extract
honey from every flower.  Every person they meet, every circumstance of
the day, adds something to their store of useful knowledge or personal

"There is nobody whom Fortune does not visit once in his life," says a
cardinal; "but when she finds he is not ready to receive her, she goes
in at the door and out at the window."

Cornelius Vanderbilt saw his opportunity in the steamboat, and
determined to identify himself with steam navigation.  To the surprise
of all his friends, he abandoned his prosperous business and took
command of one of the first steamboats launched, at a salary of one
thousand dollars a year.  Livingston and Fulton had acquired the sole
right to navigate New York waters by steam, but Vanderbilt thought the
law unconstitutional, and defied it until it was repealed.  He soon
became a steamboat owner.  When the government was paying a large
subsidy for carrying the European mails, he offered to carry them free
and give better service.  His offer was accepted, and in this way he
soon built up an enormous freight and passenger traffic.

Foreseeing the great future of railroads in a country like ours, he
plunged into railroad enterprises with all his might, laying the
foundation for the vast Vanderbilt system of to-day.

Young Philip Armour joined the long caravan of Forty-Niners, and
crossed the "Great American Desert" with all his possessions in a
prairie schooner drawn by mules.  Hard work and steady gains carefully
saved in the mines enabled him to start, six years later, in the grain
and warehouse business in Milwaukee.  In nine years he made five
hundred thousand dollars.  But he saw his great opportunity in Grant's
order, "On to Richmond."  One morning in 1864 he knocked at the door of
Plankinton, partner in his venture as a pork packer.  "I am going to
take the next train to New York," said he, "to sell pork 'short.'
Grant and Sherman have the rebellion by the throat, and pork will go
down to twelve dollars a barrel."  This was his opportunity.  He went
to New York and offered pork in large quantities at forty dollars per
barrel.  It was eagerly taken.  The shrewd Wall Street speculators
laughed at the young Westerner, and told him pork would go to sixty
dollars, for the war was not nearly over.  Mr. Armour, however, kept on
selling, Grant continued to advance.  Richmond fell, pork fell with it
to twelve dollars a barrel, and Mr. Armour cleared two millions of

John D. Rockefeller saw his opportunity in petroleum.  He could see a
large population in this country with very poor lights.  Petroleum was
plentiful, but the refining process was so crude that the product was
inferior, and not wholly safe.  Here was Rockefeller's chance.  Taking
into partnership Samuel Andrews, the porter in a machine shop where
both men had worked, he started a single barrel "still" in 1870, using
an improved process discovered by his partner.  They made a superior
grade of oil and prospered rapidly.  They admitted a third partner, Mr.
Flagler, but Andrews soon became dissatisfied.  "What will you take for
your interest?" asked Rockefeller.  Andrews wrote carelessly on a piece
of paper, "One million dollars."  Within twenty-four hours Mr.
Rockefeller handed him the amount, saying, "Cheaper at one million than
ten."  In twenty years the business of the little refinery, scarcely
worth one thousand dollars for building and apparatus, had grown into
the Standard Oil Trust, capitalized at ninety millions of dollars, with
stock quoted at 170, giving a market value of one hundred and fifty

These are illustrations of seizing opportunity for the purpose of
making money.  But fortunately there is a new generation of
electricians, of engineers, of scholars, of artists, of authors, and of
poets, who find opportunities, thick as thistles, for doing something
_nobler than merely amassing riches_.  Wealth is not an end to strive
for, but an opportunity; not the climax of a man's career, but an

Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker lady, saw her opportunity in the prisons
of England.  From three hundred to four hundred half-naked women, as
late as 1813, would often be huddled in a single ward of Newgate,
London, awaiting trial.  They had neither beds nor bedding, but women,
old and young, and little girls, slept in filth and rags on the floor.
No one seemed to care for them, and the Government merely furnished
food to keep them alive.  Mrs. Fry visited Newgate, calmed the howling
mob, and told them she wished to establish a school for the young women
and the girls, and asked them to select a schoolmistress from their own
number.  They were amazed, but chose a young woman who had been
committed for stealing a watch.  In three months these "wild beasts,"
as they were sometimes called, became harmless and kind.  The reform
spread until the Government legalized the system, and good women
throughout Great Britain became interested in the work of educating and
clothing these outcasts.  Fourscore years have passed, and her plan has
been adopted throughout the civilized world.

A boy in England had been run over by a car, and the bright blood
spurted from a severed artery.  No one seemed to know what to do until
another boy, Astley Cooper, took his handkerchief and stopped the
bleeding by pressure above the wound.  The praise which he received for
thus saving the boy's life encouraging him to become a surgeon, the
foremost of his day.

"The time comes to the young surgeon," says Arnold, "when, after long
waiting, and patient study and experiment, he is suddenly confronted
with his first critical operation.  The great surgeon is away.  Time is
pressing.  Life and death hang in the balance.  Is he equal to the
emergency?  Can he fill the great surgeon's place, and do his work?  If
he can, he is the one of all others who is wanted.  _His opportunity
confronts him_.  He and it are face to face.  Shall he confess his
ignorance and inability, or step into fame and fortune?  It is for him
to say."

Are you prepared for a great opportunity?

"Hawthorne dined one day with Longfellow," said James T. Fields, "and
brought a friend, with him from Salem.  After dinner the friend said,
'I have been trying to persuade Hawthorne to write a story based upon a
legend of Acadia, and still current there,--the legend of a girl who,
in the dispersion of the Acadians, was separated from her lover, and
passed her life in waiting and seeking for him, and only found him
dying in a hospital when both were old.'  Longfellow wondered that the
legend did not strike the fancy of Hawthorne, and he said to him, 'If
you have really made up your mind not to use it for a story, will you
let me have it for a poem?'  To this Hawthorne consented, and promised,
moreover, not to treat the subject in prose till Longfellow had seen
what he could do with it in verse.  Longfellow seized his opportunity
and gave to the world 'Evangeline, or the Exile of the Acadians.'"

Open eyes will discover opportunities everywhere; open ears will never
fail to detect the cries of those who are perishing for assistance;
open hearts will never want for worthy objects upon which to bestow
their gifts; open hands will never lack for noble work to do.

Everybody had noticed the overflow when a solid is immersed in a vessel
filled with water, although no one had made use of his knowledge that
the body displaces its exact bulk of liquid; but when Archimedes
observed the fact, he perceived therein an easy method of finding the
cubical contents of objects, however irregular in shape.

Everybody knew how steadily a suspended weight, when moved, sways back
and forth until friction and the resistance of the air bring it to
rest, yet no one considered this information of the slightest practical
importance; but the boy Galileo, as he watched a lamp left swinging by
accident in the cathedral at Pisa, saw in the regularity of those
oscillations the useful principle of the pendulum.  Even the iron doors
of a prison were not enough to shut him out from research.  He
experimented with the straw of his cell, and learned valuable lessons
about the relative strength of tubes and rods of equal diameters.

For ages astronomers had been familiar with the rings of Saturn, and
regarded them merely as curious exceptions to the supposed law of
planetary formation; but Laplace saw that, instead of being exceptions,
they are the sole remaining visible evidences of certain stages in the
invariable process of star manufacture, and from their mute testimony
he added a valuable chapter to the scientific history of Creation.

There was not a sailor in Europe who had not wondered what might lie
beyond the Western Ocean, but it remained for Columbus to steer boldly
out into an unknown sea and discover a new world.

Innumerable apples had fallen from trees, often hitting heedless men on
the head as if to set them thinking, but Newton was the first to
realize that they fall to the earth by the same law which holds the
planets in their courses and prevents the momentum of all the atoms in
the universe from hurling them wildly back to chaos.

Lightning had dazzled the eyes, and thunder had jarred the ears of men
since the days of Adam, in the vain attempt to call their attention to
the all-pervading and tremendous energy of electricity; but the
discharges of Heaven's artillery were seen and heard only by the eye
and ear of terror until Franklin, by a simple experiment, proved that
lightning is but one manifestation of a resistless yet controllable
force, abundant as air and water.

Like many others, these men are considered great, simply because they
improved opportunities common to the whole human race.  Read the story
of any successful man and mark its moral, told thousands of years ago
by Solomon: "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand
before kings."  This proverb is well illustrated by the career of the
industrious Franklin, for he stood before five kings and dined with two.

He who improves an opportunity sows a seed which will yield fruit in
opportunity for himself and others.  Every one who has labored honestly
in the past has aided to place knowledge and comfort within the reach
of a constantly increasing number.

Avenues greater in number, wider in extent, easier of access than ever
before existed, stand open to the sober, frugal, energetic and able
mechanic, to the educated youth, to the office boy and to the
clerk--avenues through which they can reap greater successes than ever
before within the reach of these classes in the history of the world.
A little while ago there were only three or four professions--now there
are fifty.  And of trades, where there was one, there are a hundred now.

"What is its name?" asked a visitor in a studio, when shown, among many
gods, one whose face was concealed by hair, and which had wings on its
feet.  "Opportunity," replied the sculptor.  "Why is its face hidden?"
"Because men seldom know him when he comes to them."  "Why has he wings
on his feet?"  "Because he is soon gone, and once gone, cannot be

"Opportunity has hair in front," says a Latin author; "behind she is
bald; if you seize her by the forelock, you may hold her, but, if
suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again."

But what is the best opportunity to him who cannot or will not use it?

"It was my lot," said a shipmaster, "to fall in with the ill-fated
steamer _Central America_.  The night was closing in, the sea rolling
high; but I hailed the crippled steamer and asked if they needed help.
'I am in a sinking condition,' cried Captain Herndon.  'Had you not
better send your passengers on board directly?' I asked.  'Will you not
lay by me until morning?' replied Captain Herndon.  'I will try,' I
answered 'but had you not better send your passengers on board _now_?'
'Lay by me till morning,' again shouted Captain Herndon.

"I tried to lay by him, but at night, such was the heavy roll of the
sea, I could not keep my position, and I never saw the steamer again.
In an hour and a half after he said, 'Lay by me till morning,' his
vessel, with its living freight, went down.  The captain and crew and
most of the passengers found a grave in the deep."

Captain Herndon appreciated the value of the opportunity he had
neglected when it was beyond his reach, but of what avail was the
bitterness of his self-reproach when his last moments came?  How many
lives were sacrificed to his unintelligent hopefulness and indecision!
Like him the feeble, the sluggish, and the purposeless too often see no
meaning in the happiest occasions, until too late they learn the old
lesson that the mill can never grind with the water which has passed.

Such people are always a little too late or a little too early in
everything they attempt.  "They have three hands apiece," said John B.
Gough; "a right hand, a left hand, and a little behindhand."  As boys,
they were late for school, and unpunctual in their home duties.  That
is the way the habit is acquired; and now, when responsibility claims
them, they think that if they had only gone yesterday they would have
obtained the situation, or they can probably get one to-morrow.  They
remember plenty of chances to make money, or know how to make it some
other time than now; they see how to improve themselves or help others
in the future, but perceive no opportunity in the present.  They cannot
_seize their opportunity_.

Joe Stoker, rear brakeman on the ---- accommodation train, was
exceedingly popular with all the railroad men.  The passengers liked
him, too, for he was eager to please and always ready to answer
questions.  But he did not realize the full responsibility of his
position.  He "took the world easy," and occasionally tippled; and if
any one remonstrated, he would give one of his brightest smiles, and
reply, in such a good-natured way that the friend would think he had
over-estimated the danger: "Thank you.  I'm all right.  Don't you

One evening there was a heavy snowstorm, and his train was delayed.
Joe complained of extra duties because of the storm, and slyly sipped
occasional draughts from a flat bottle.  Soon he became quite jolly;
but the conductor and engineer of the train were both vigilant and

Between two stations the train came to a quick halt.  The engine had
blown out its cylinder head, and an express was due in a few minutes
upon the same track.  The conductor hurried to the rear car, and
ordered Joe back with a red light.  The brakeman laughed and said:

"There's no hurry.  Wait till I get my overcoat."

The conductor answered gravely, "Don't stop a minute, Joe.  The express
is due."

"All right," said Joe, smilingly.  The conductor then hurried forward
to the engine.

But the brakeman did not go at once.  He stopped to put on his
overcoat.  Then he took another sip from the flat bottle to keep the
cold out.  Then he slowly grasped the lantern and, whistling, moved
leisurely down the track.

He had not gone ten paces before he heard the puffing of the express.
Then he ran for the curve, but it was too late.  In a horrible minute
the engine of the express had telescoped the standing train, and the
shrieks of the mangled passengers mingled with the hissing escape of

Later on, when they asked for Joe, he had disappeared; but the next day
he was found in a barn, delirious, swinging an empty lantern in front
of an imaginary train, and crying, "Oh, that I had!"

He was taken home, and afterwards to an asylum, and there is no sadder
sound in that sad place than the unceasing moan, "Oh, that I had!  Oh,
that I had!" of the unfortunate brakeman, whose criminal indulgence
brought disaster to many lives.

"Oh, that I had!" or "Oh, that I had not!" is the silent cry of many a
man who would give life itself for the opportunity to go back and
retrieve some long-past error.

"There are moments," says Dean Alford, "which are worth more than
years.  We cannot help it.  There is no proportion between spaces of
time in importance nor in value.  A stray, unthought-of five minutes
may contain the event of a life.  And this all-important moment--who
can tell when it will be upon us?"

"What we call a turning-point," says Arnold, "is simply an occasion
which sums up and brings to a result previous training.  Accidental
circumstances are nothing except to men who have been trained to take
advantage of them."

The trouble with us is that we are ever looking for a princely chance
of acquiring riches, or fame, or worth.  We are dazzled by what Emerson
calls the "shallow Americanism" of the day.  We are expecting mastery
without apprenticeship, knowledge without study, and riches by credit.

Young men and women, why stand ye here all the day idle?  Was the land
all occupied before you were born?  Has the earth ceased to yield its
increase?  Are the seats all taken? the positions all filled? the
chances all gone?  Are the resources of your country fully developed?
Are the secrets of nature all mastered?  Is there no way in which you
can utilize these passing moments to improve yourself or benefit
others?  Is the competition of modern existence so fierce that you must
be content simply to gain an honest living?  Have you received the gift
of life in this progressive age, wherein all the experience of the past
is garnered for your inspiration, merely that you may increase by one
the sum total of purely animal existence?

Born in an age and country in which knowledge and opportunity abound as
never before, how can you sit with folded hands, asking God's aid in
work for which He has already given you the necessary faculties and
strength?  Even when the Chosen People supposed their progress checked
by the Red Sea, and their leader paused for Divine help, the Lord said,
"Wherefore criest thou unto me?  Speak unto the children of Israel,
_that they go forward_."

With the world full of work that needs to be done; with human nature so
constituted that often a pleasant word or a trifling assistance may
stem the tide of disaster for some fellow man, or clear his path to
success; with our own faculties so arranged that in honest, earnest,
persistent endeavor we find our highest good; and with countless noble
examples to encourage us to dare and to do, each moment brings us to
the threshold of some new opportunity.

Don't _wait_ for your opportunity.  _Make it_,--make it as the
shepherd-boy Ferguson made his when he calculated the distances of the
stars with a handful of glass beads on a string.  Make it as George
Stephenson made his when he mastered the rules of mathematics with a
bit of chalk on the grimy sides of the coal wagons in the mines.  Make
it, as Napoleon made his in a hundred "impossible" situations.  Make
it, as _all leaders of men_, in war and in peace, have made their
chances of success.  Golden opportunities are nothing to laziness, but
industry makes the commonest chances golden.

  "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
  Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
   Omitted, all the voyage of their life
  Is bound in shallows and in miseries;
   And we must take the current when it serves,
  Or lose our ventures."

  "'Tis never offered twice; seize, then, the hour
  When fortune smiles, and duty points the way;
  Nor shrink aside to 'scape the specter fear,
  Nor pause, though pleasure beckon from her bower;
  But bravely bear thee onward to the goal."



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wanted, a man of courage who is not a coward in any part of his nature.

Wanted, a man who is well balanced, who is not cursed with some little
defect of weakness which cripples his usefulness and neutralizes his

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

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

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

The whole world is looking for such a man.  Although there are millions
out of employment, yet it is almost impossible to find just the right
man in almost any department of life, and yet everywhere we see the
advertisement: "Wanted--A Man."

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

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

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

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

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

One great need for 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 good bodies and an excess of animal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



In the blackest soils grow the fairest flowers, and the loftiest and
strongest trees spring heavenward among the rocks.--J. G. HOLLAND.

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.--OUIDA.

Poverty is the sixth sense.--GERMAN PROVERB.

It is not every calamity that is a curse, and early adversity is often
a blessing.  Surmounted difficulties not only teach, but hearten us in
our future struggles.--SHARPE.

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

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

"I am a child of the court," said a pretty little girl at a children's
party in Denmark; "_my_ father is Groom of the Chambers, which is a
very high office.  And those whose names end with 'sen,'" she added,
"can never be anything at all.  We must put our arms akimbo, and make
the elbows quite pointed, so as to keep these 'sen' people at a great

"But my papa can buy a hundred dollars' worth of bonbons, and give them
away to children," angrily exclaimed the daughter of the rich merchant
Peter_sen_.  "Can your papa do that?"

"Yes," chimed in the daughter of an editor, "my papa can put your papa
and everybody's papa into the newspaper.  All sorts of people are
afraid of him, my papa says, for he can do as he likes with the paper."

"Oh, if I could be one of them!" thought a little boy peeping through
the crack of the door, by permission of the cook for whom he had been
turning the spit.  But no, _his_ parents had not even a penny to spare,
and his name ended in "sen."

Years afterwards when the children of the party had become men and
women, some of them went to see a splendid house, filled with all kinds
of beautiful and valuable objects.  There they met the owner, once the
very boy who thought it so great a privilege to peep at them through a
crack in the door as they played.  He had become the great sculptor

This sketch is adapted from a story by a poor Danish cobbler's son,
another whose name did not keep him from becoming famous,--Hans
Christian Ander_sen_.

"There is no fear of my starving, father," said the deaf boy, Kitto,
begging to be taken from the poorhouse and allowed to struggle for an
education; "we are in the midst of plenty, and I know how to prevent
hunger.  The Hottentots subsist a long time on nothing but a little
gum; they also, when hungry, tie a ligature around their bodies.
Cannot I do so, too?  The hedges furnish blackberries and nuts, and the
fields, turnips; a hayrick will make an excellent bed."

The poor deaf boy with a drunken father, who was thought capable of
nothing better than making shoes as a pauper, became one of the
greatest Biblical scholars in the world.  His first book was written in
the workhouse.

Creon was a Greek slave, as a writer tells the story in Kate Field's
"Washington," but he was also a slave of the Genius of Art.  Beauty was
his god, and he worshiped it with rapt adoration.  It was after the
repulse of the great Persian invader, and a law was in force that under
penalty of death no one should espouse art except freemen.  When the
law was enacted he was engaged upon a group for which he hoped some day
to receive the commendation of Phidias, the greatest sculptor living,
and even the praise of Pericles.

What was to be done?  Into the marble block before him Creon had put
his head, his heart, his soul, his life.  On his knees, from day to
day, he had prayed for fresh inspiration, new skill.  He believed,
gratefully and proudly, that Apollo, answering his prayers, had
directed his hand and had breathed into the figures the life that
seemed to animate them; but now,--now, all the gods seemed to have
deserted him.

Cleone, his devoted sister, felt the blow as deeply as her brother.  "O
Aphrodite!" she prayed, "immortal Aphrodite, high enthroned child of
Zeus, my queen, my goddess, my patron, at whose shrine I have daily
laid my offerings, to be now my friend, the friend of my brother!"

Then to her brother she said: "O Creon, go to the cellar beneath our
house.  It is dark, but I will furnish light and food.  Continue your
work; the gods will befriend us."

To the cellar Creon went, and guarded and attended by his sister, day
and night, he proceeded with his glorious but dangerous task.

About this time all Greece was invited to Athens to behold an exhibit
of works of art.  The display took place in the Agora.  Pericles
presided.  At his side was Aspasia.  Phidias, Socrates, Sophocles, and
other renowned men stood near him.

The works of the great masters were there.  But one group, far more
beautiful than the rest,--a group that Apollo himself must have
chiseled,--challenged universal attention, exciting at the same time no
little envy among rival artists.

"Who is the sculptor of this group?"  None could tell.  Heralds
repeated the question, but there was no answer.  "A mystery, then!  Can
it be the work of a slave?"  Amid great commotion a beautiful maiden
with disarranged dress, disheveled hair, a determined expression in her
eyes, and with closed lips, was dragged into the Agora.  "This woman,"
cried the officers, "this woman knows the sculptor; we are sure of it;
but she will not tell his name."

Cleone was questioned, but was silent.  She was informed of the penalty
of her conduct, but her lips remained closed.  "Then," said Pericles,
"the law is imperative, and I am the minister of the law.  Take the
maid to the dungeon."

As he spoke a youth with flowing hair, emaciated, but with black eyes
that beamed with the flashing light of genius, rushed forward, and
flinging himself before him exclaimed: "O Pericles, forgive and save
the maid!  She is my sister.  I am the culprit.  The group is the work
of my hands, the hands of a slave."

The indignant crowd interrupted him and cried, "To the dungeon, to the
dungeon with the slave."  "As I live, no!" said Pericles, rising.
"Behold that group!  Apollo decides by it that there is something
higher in Greece than an unjust law.  The highest purpose of law should
be the development of the beautiful.  If Athens lives in the memory and
affections of men, it is her devotion to art that will immortalize her.
Not to the dungeon, but to my side bring the youth."

And there, in the presence of the assembled multitude, Aspasia placed
the crown of olives, which she held in her hands, on the brow of Creon;
and at the same time, amid universal plaudits, she tenderly kissed
Creon's affectionate and devoted sister.

The Athenians erected a statue to Aesop, who was born a slave, that men
might know that the way to honor is open to all.  In Greece, wealth and
immortality were the sure reward of the man who could distinguish
himself in art, literature, or war.  No other country ever did so much
to encourage and inspire struggling merit.

"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."

Mr. Wilson determined never to lose an opportunity for self-culture or
self-advancement.  Few men knew so well the value of spare moments.
_He seized them as though they were gold_ and would not let one pass
until he had wrung from it every possibility.  He managed to read a
thousand good books before he was twenty-one--what a lesson for boys on
a farm!  When he left the farm he started on foot for Natick, Mass.,
over one hundred miles distant, to learn the cobbler's trade.  He went
through Boston that he might see Bunker Hill monument and other
historical landmarks.  The whole trip cost him but one dollar and six
cents.  In a year he was the head of a debating club at Natick.  Before
eight years had passed, he made his great speech against slavery, in
the Massachusetts Legislature.  Twelve years later he stood shoulder to
shoulder with the polished Sumner in Congress.  With him, _every
occasion was a great occasion_.  He ground every circumstance of his
life into material for success.

"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. Sterret 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.

He found board over a saloon at two dollars and a half a week.  His
journey of six hundred miles had cost him but five dollars.  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 a 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 new-comer 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 he 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 per 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, whatever his mistakes, always tried to be right.

James Gordon Bennett had made a failure of his "New York Courier" in
1825, of the "Globe" in 1832, and of the "Pennsylvanian" a little
later, and was only known as a clever writer for the press, who had
saved a few hundred dollars by hard labor and strict economy for
fourteen years.  In 1835 he asked Horace Greeley to join him in
starting a new daily paper, the "New York Herald."  Greeley declined,
but recommended two young printers, who formed partnership with
Bennett, and the "Herald" was started on May 6, 1835, with a cash
capital to pay expenses for _ten days_.  Bennet hired a small cellar in
Wall Street, furnished it with a chair and a desk composed of a plank
supported by two barrels; and there, doing all the work except the
printing, began the work of making a really great daily newspaper, a
thing then unknown in America, as all its predecessors were party
organs.  Steadily the young man struggled towards his ideal, giving the
news, fresh and crisp, from an ever-widening area, until his paper was
famous for giving the current history of the world as fully and quickly
as any competitor, and often much more thoroughly and far more
promptly.  Neither labor nor expense was spared in obtaining prompt and
reliable information on every topic of general interest.  It was an
up-hill job, but its completion was finally marked by the opening at
the corner of Broadway and Ann Street of the most complete newspaper
establishment then known.

One of the first things to attract the attention on entering George W.
Childs' private office in Philadelphia was this motto, which was the
key-note of the success of a boy who started with "no chance": "Nihil
sine labore."  It was his early ambition to own the "Philadelphia
Ledger" and the great building in which it was published; but how could
a poor boy working for $2.00 a week ever hope to own such a great
paper?  However, he had great determination and indomitable energy; and
as soon as he had saved a few hundred dollars as a clerk in a
bookstore, he began business as a publisher.  He made "great hits" in
some of the works he published, such as "Kane's Arctic Expedition."  He
had a keen sense of what would please the public, and there seemed no
end to his industry.

In spite of the fact that the "Ledger" was losing money every day, his
friends could not dissuade him from buying it, and in 1864 the dreams
of his boyhood found fulfilment.  He doubled the subscription price,
lowered the advertising rates, to the astonishment of everybody, and
the paper entered upon a career of remarkable prosperity, the profits
sometimes amounting to over four hundred thousand dollars a year.  He
always refused to lower the wages of his employees even when every
other establishment in Philadelphia was doing so.

At a banquet in Lyons, nearly a century and a half ago, a discussion
arose in regard to the meaning of a painting representing some scene in
the mythology or history of Greece.  Seeing that the discussion was
growing warm, the host turned to one of the waiters and asked him to
explain the picture.  Greatly to the surprise of the company, the
servant gave a clear concise account of the whole subject, so plain and
convincing that it at once settled the dispute.

"In what school have you studied, Monsieur?" asked one of the guests,
addressing the waiter with great respect.  "I have studied in many
schools, Monseigneur," replied the young servant: "but the school in
which I studied longest and learned most is the school of adversity."
Well had he profited by poverty's lessons; for, although then but a
poor waiter, all Europe soon rang with the fame of the writings of the
greatest genius of his age and country, Jean Jacques Rousseau.

The smooth sand beach of Lake Erie constituted the foolscap on which,
for want of other material, P. R. Spencer, a barefoot boy with no
chance, perfected the essential principles of the Spencerian system of
penmanship, the most beautiful exposition of graphic art.

For eight years William Cobbett had followed the plow, when he ran away
to London, copied law papers for eight or nine months, and then
enlisted in an infantry regiment.  During his first year of soldier
life he subscribed to a circulating library at Chatham, read every book
in it, and began to study.

"I learned grammar when I was a private soldier on the pay of sixpence
a day.  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, made shift to have a
half-penny in reserve, which I had destined for the purpose of a red
herring in the morning, but so hungry as to be hardly able to endure
life, when I pulled off my clothes at night, I found that I had lost my
half-penny.  I buried my head in the miserable sheet and rug, and cried
like a child."

But Cobbett made even his poverty and hard circumstances serve his
all-absorbing passion for knowledge and success.  "If I," said he,
"under such circumstances could encounter and overcome this task, is
there, can there be in the whole world, a youth to find any excuse for
its non-performance?"

Humphrey Davy had but a slender chance to acquire great scientific
knowledge, yet he had true mettle in him, and he made even old pans,
kettles, and bottles contribute to his success, as he experimented and
studied in the attic of the apothecary-store where he worked.

"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, I passed many a delightful night
in reading.  I remember in this way to have a history of the French
Revolution, and to have obtained 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."

"May I have a holiday to-morrow, father?" asked Theodore Parker one
August afternoon.  The poor Lexington millwright looked in surprise at
his youngest son, for it was a busy time, but he saw from the boy's
earnest face that he had no ordinary object in view, and granted the
request.  Theodore rose very early the next morning, walked through the
dust ten miles to Harvard College, and presented himself for a
candidate for admission.  He had been unable to attend school regularly
since he was eight years old, but he had managed to go three months
each winter, and had reviewed his lessons again and again as he
followed the plow or worked at other tasks.  All his odd moments had
been hoarded, too, for reading useful books, which he borrowed.  One
book he could not borrow, but he felt that he must have it; so on
summer mornings he rose long before the sun and picked bushel after
bushel of berries, which he sent to Boston, and so got the money to buy
that coveted Latin dictionary.

"Well done, my boy!" said the millwright, when his son came home late
at night and told of his successful examination; "but, Theodore, I
cannot afford to keep you there!"  "True, father," said Theodore, "I am
not going to stay there; I shall study at home, at odd times, and thus
prepare myself for a final examination, which will give me a diploma."
He did this; and, by teaching school as he grew older, got money to
study for two years at Harvard, where he was graduated with honor.
Years after, when, as the trusted friend and adviser of Seward, Chase,
Sumner, Garrison, Horace Mann, and Wendell Phillips, his influence for
good was felt in the hearts of all his countrymen, it was a pleasure
for him to recall his early struggles and triumphs among the rocks and
bushes of Lexington.

"The proudest moment of my life," said Elihu Burritt, "was when I had
first gained the full meaning of the first fifteen lines of Homer's
Iliad."  Elihu Burritt's father died when he was sixteen, and Elihu was
apprenticed to a blacksmith in his native village of New Britain, Conn.
He had to work at the forge for ten or twelve hours a day; but while
blowing the bellows, he would solve mentally difficult problems in
arithmetic.  In a diary kept at Worcester, whither he went some ten
years later to enjoy its library privileges, are such entries as
these,--"Monday, June 18, headache, 40 pages Cuvier's 'Theory of the
Earth,' 64 pages 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 18 languages and 32 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."

The barefoot Christine Nilsson in remote Sweden had little chance, but
she won the admiration of the world for her wondrous power of song,
combined with rare womanly grace.

"Let me say in regard to your adverse worldly circumstances," says Dr.
Talmage to young men, "that you are on a level now with those who are
finally to succeed.  Mark my words, and think of it thirty years from
now.  You will find that those who are then the millionaires of this
country, who are the orators of the country, who are the poets of the
country, who are the strong merchants of the country, who are the great
philanthropists of the country,--mightiest in the church and
state,--are now on a level with you, not an inch above you, and in
straightened circumstances.

"No outfit, no capital to start with?  Young man, go down to the
library and get some books, and read of what wonderful mechanism God
gave you in your hand, in your foot, in your eye, in your ear, and then
ask some doctor to take you into the dissecting-room and illustrate to
you what you have read about, and never again commit the blasphemy of
saying you have no capital to start with.  _Equipped_?  _Why, the
poorest young man is equipped as only the God of the whole universe
could afford to equip him_."

A newsboy is not a very promising candidate for success or honors in
any line of life.  A young man can't set out in life with much less
chance than when he starts his "daily" for a living.  Yet the man who
more than any other is responsible for the industrial regeneration of
this continent started in life as a newsboy on the Grand Trunk Railway.
Thomas Alva Edison was then about fifteen years of age.  He had already
begun to dabble in chemistry, and had fitted up a small itinerant
laboratory.  One day, as he was performing some occult experiment, the
train rounded a curve, and the bottle of sulphuric acid broke.  There
followed a series of unearthly odors and unnatural complications.  The
conductor, who had suffered long and patiently, promptly ejected the
youthful devotee, and in the process of the scientist's expulsion added
a resounding box upon the ear.

Edison passed through one dramatic situation after another--always
mastering it--until he attained at an early age the scientific throne
of the world.  When recently asked the secret of his success, he said
he had always been a total abstainer and singularly moderate in
everything but work.

Daniel Manning who was President Cleveland's first campaign manager and
afterwards Secretary of the Treasury, started out as a newsboy with
apparently the world against him.  So did Thurlow Weed; so did David B.
Hill.  New York seems to have been prolific in enterprising newsboys.

What nonsense for two uneducated and unknown youths who met in a cheap
boarding-house in Boston to array themselves against an institution
whose roots were embedded in the very constitution of our country, and
which was upheld by scholars, statesmen, churches, wealth, and
aristocracy, without distinction of creed or politics!  What chance had
they against the prejudices and sentiment of a nation?  But these young
men were fired by a lofty purpose, and they were thoroughly in earnest.
One of them, Benjamin Lundy, had already started in Ohio a paper called
"The Genius of Universal Liberty," and had carried the entire edition
home on his back from the printing-office, twenty miles, every month.
He had walked four hundred miles on his way to Tennessee to increase
his subscription list.  He was no ordinary young man.

With William Lloyd Garrison, he started to prosecute his work more
earnestly in Baltimore.  The sight of the slave-pens along the
principal streets; of vessel-loads of unfortunates torn from home and
family and sent to Southern ports; the heartrending scenes at the
auction blocks, made an impression on Garrison never to be forgotten;
and the young man whose mother was too poor to send him to school,
although she early taught him to hate oppression, resolved to devote
his life to secure the freedom of these poor wretches.

In the first issue of his paper, Garrison urged an immediate
emancipation, and called down upon his head the wrath of the entire
community.  He was arrested and sent to jail.  John G. Whittier, a
noble friend in the North, was so touched at the news that, being too
poor to furnish the money himself, he wrote to Henry Clay, begging him
to release Garrison by paying the fine.  After forty-nine days of
imprisonment he was set free.  Wendell Phillips said of him, "He was
imprisoned for his opinion when he was twenty-four.  He had confronted
a nation in the bloom of his youth."

In Boston, with no money, friends, or influence, in a little upstairs
room, Garrison started the "Liberator."  Read the declaration of this
poor young man with "no chance," in the very first issue: "I will be as
harsh as truth, as uncompromising as justice.  I am in earnest.  I will
not equivocate, I will not excuse; I will not retreat a single inch,
and I will be heard."  What audacity for a young man, with the world
against him!

Hon. Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, wrote to Otis, mayor of
Boston, that some one had sent him a copy of the "Liberator," and asked
him to ascertain the name of the publisher.  Otis replied that he had
found a poor young man printing "this insignificant sheet in an obscure
hole, his only auxiliary a negro boy, his supporters a few persons of
all colors and little influence."

But this poor young man, eating, sleeping, and printing in this
"obscure hole," had set the world to thinking, and must be suppressed.
The Vigilance Association of South Carolina offered a reward of fifteen
hundred dollars for the arrest and prosecution of any one detected
circulating the "Liberator."  The Governors of one or two States set a
price on the editor's head.  The legislature of Georgia offered a
reward of five thousand dollars for his arrest and conviction.

Garrison and his coadjutors were denounced everywhere.  A clergyman
named Lovejoy was killed by a mob in Illinois for espousing the cause,
while defending his printing-press, and in the old "Cradle of American
Liberty" the wealth, power, and culture of Massachusetts arrayed itself
against the "Abolitionists" so outrageously, that a mere spectator, a
young lawyer of great promise, asked to be lifted upon the high
platform, and replied in such a speech as was never before heard in
Faneuil Hall.  "When I heard the gentleman lay down the principles
which place the murderers of Lovejoy at Alton side by side with Otis
and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams," said Wendell Phillips, pointing to
their portraits on the walls.  "I thought those pictured lips would
have broken into voice to rebuke the recreant American, the slanderer
of the dead.  For the sentiments that he has uttered, on soil
consecrated by the prayers of the Puritans and the blood of patriots.
the earth should have yawned and swallowed him up."

The whole nation was wrought to fever heat.

Between the Northern pioneers and Southern chivalry the struggle was
long and fierce, even in far California.  The drama culminated in the
shock of civil war.  When the war was ended, and, after thirty-five
years of untiring, heroic conflict, Garrison was invited as the
nation's guest, by President Lincoln, to see the stars and stripes
unfurled once more above Fort Sumter, an emancipated slave delivered
the address of welcome, and his two daughters, no longer chattels in
appreciation presented Garrison with a beautiful wreath of flowers.

About this time Richard Cobden, another powerful friend of the
oppressed, died in London.

His father had died leaving nine children almost penniless.  The boy
earned his living by watching a neighbor's sheep, but had no chance to
attend school until he was ten years old.  He was sent to a
boarding-school, where he was abused, half starved, and allowed to
write home only once in three months.  At fifteen he entered his
uncle's store in London as a clerk.  He learned French by rising early
and studying while his companions slept.  He was soon sent out in a gig
as a commercial traveler.

He called upon John Bright to enlist his aid in fighting the terrible
"Corn-Laws" which were taking bread from the poor and giving it to the
rich.  He found Mr. Bright in great grief, for his wife was lying dead
in the house.

"There are thousands of homes in England at this moment," said Richard
Cobden, "where wives, mothers, and children are dying of hunger.  Now,
when the first paroxysm of grief is passed, I would advise you to come
with me, and we will never rest until the Corn-Laws are repealed."
Cobden could no longer see the poor man's bread stopped at the
Custom-House and taxed for the benefit of the landlord and farmer, and
he threw his whole soul into this great reform.  "This is not a party
question," said he, "for men of all parties are united upon it.  It is
a pantry question,--a question between the working millions and the
aristocracy."  They formed the "Anti-Corn-Law League," which, aided by
the Irish famine,--for it was hunger that at last ate through those
stone walls of protection,--secured the repeal of the law in 1846.  Mr.
Bright said: "There is not in Great Britain a poor man's home that has
not a bigger, better, and cheaper loaf through Richard Cobden's labors."

John Bright himself was the son of a poor working man, and in those
days the doors of the higher schools were closed to such as he; but the
great Quaker heart of this resolute youth was touched with pity for the
millions of England's and Ireland's poor, starving under the Corn-Laws.
During the frightful famine, which cut off two millions of Ireland's
population in a year, John Bright was more powerful than all the
nobility of England.  The whole aristocracy trembled before his
invincible logic, his mighty eloquence, and his commanding character.
Except possibly Cobden, no other man did so much to give the laborer a
shorter day, a cheaper loaf, an added shilling.

Over a stable in London lived a poor boy named Michael Faraday, who
carried newspapers about the streets to loan to customers for a penny
apiece.  He was apprenticed for seven years to a bookbinder and
bookseller.  When binding the Encyclopaedia Britannica, his eyes caught
the article on electricity, and he could not rest until he had read it.
He procured a glass vial, an old pan, and a few simple articles, and
began to experiment.  A customer became interested in the boy, and took
him to hear Sir Humphry Davy lecture on chemistry.  He summoned courage
to write the great scientist and sent the notes he had taken of his
lecture.  One night, not long after, just as Michael was about to
retire, Sir Humphry Davy's carriage stopped at his humble lodging, and
a servant handed him a written invitation to call upon the great
lecturer the next morning.  Michael could scarcely trust his eyes as he
read the note.  In the morning he called as requested, and was engaged
to clean instruments and take them to and from the lecture-room.  He
watched eagerly every movement of Davy, as with a glass mask over his
face, he developed his safety-lamp and experimented with dangerous
explosives.  Michael studied and experimented, too, and it was not long
before this poor boy with no chance was invited to lecture before the
great philosophical society.

He was appointed professor at the Royal Academy of Woolwich, and became
the wonder of the age in science.  Tyndall said of him, "He is the
greatest experimental philosopher the world has ever seen."  When Sir
Humphry Davy was asked what was his greatest discovery, he replied
"Michael Faraday."

"What has been done can be done again," said the boy with no chance,
Disraeli, who become 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
will hear me."  The time did come, and the boy with no chance but a
determined will swayed the scepter of England for a quarter of a

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 boy who had learned to speak in a barn, with only a
cow and a horse for an audience, became one of the greatest of American
orators and statesmen.

See Kepler struggling with poverty and hardship, his books burned in
public by order of the state, his library locked up by the Jesuits, and
himself exiled by public clamor.  For seventeen years he works calmly
upon the demonstration of the great principles that planets revolve in
ellipses, with the sun at one focus; that a line connecting the center
of the earth with the center of the sun passes over equal spaces in
equal times, and that the squares of the times of revolution of the
planets above the sun are proportioned to the cubes by their mean
distances from the sun.  This boy with no chance became one of the
world's greatest astronomers.

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

How slender seemed the chance of James Sharples, the celebrated
blacksmith artist of England!  He was very poor, but he often rose at
three o'clock to copy books he could not buy.  He would walk eighteen
miles to Manchester and back after a hard day's work to buy a
shilling's worth of artist's materials.  He would ask for the heaviest
work in the blacksmith shop, because it took a longer time to heat at
the forge, and he could thus have many spare minutes to study the
precious book, which he propped up against the chimney.  He was a great
miser of spare moments and used every one as though he might never see
another.  He devoted his leisure hours for five years to that wonderful
production, "The Forge," copies of which are to be seen in many a home.

What chance had Galileo to win renown in physics or astronomy, when his
parents compelled him to go to a medical school?  Yet while Venice
slept, he stood in the tower of St. Mark's Cathedral and discovered the
satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, through a telescope made
with his own hands.  When compelled on bended knee to publicly renounce
his heretical doctrine that the earth moves around the sun, all the
terrors of the Inquisition could not keep this feeble man of threescore
years and ten from muttering to himself, "Yet it does move."  When
thrown into prison, so great was his eagerness for scientific research
that he proved by a straws in his cell that a hollow tube is relatively
much stronger than a solid rod of the same size.  Even when totally
blind, he kept constantly at work.

Imagine the surprise of the Royal Society of England when the poor
unknown Herschel sent in the report of his discovery of the star
Georgium Sidus, its orbit and rate of motion; and of the rings and
satellites of Saturn.  The boy with no chance, who had played the oboe
for his meals, had with his own hands made the telescope through which
he discovered facts unknown to the best-equipped astronomers of his
day.  He had ground two hundred specula before he could get one perfect.

George Stephenson was one of eight children whose parents were so poor
that all lived in a single room.  George had to watch cows for a
neighbor, but he managed to get time to make engines of clay, with
hemlock sticks for pipes.  At seventeen he had charge of an engine,
with his father for fireman.  He could neither read nor write, but the
engine was his teacher, and he a faithful student.  While the other
hands were playing games or loafing in liquor shops during the
holidays, George was taking his machine to pieces, cleaning it,
studying it, and making experiments in engines.  When he had become
famous as a great inventor of improvements in engines, those who had
loafed and played called him lucky.

Without a charm of face or figure, Charlotte Cushman resolved to place
herself in the front rank as an actress, even in such characters as
Rosalind and Queen Katherine.  The star actress was unable to perform,
and Miss Cushman, her understudy, took her place.  That night she held
her audience with such grasp of intellect and iron will that it forgot
the absence of mere dimpled feminine grace.  Although poor, friendless,
and unknown before, when the curtain fell upon her first performance at
the London theater, her reputation was made.  In after years, when
physicians told her she had a terrible, incurable disease, she flinched
not a particle, but quietly said, "I have learned to live with my

A poor colored woman in a log-cabin in the South had three boys, but
could afford only one pair of trousers for the three.  She was so
anxious to give them an education that she sent them to school by
turns.  The teacher, a Northern girl, noticed that each boy came to
school only one day out of three, and that all wore the same
pantaloons.  The poor mother educated her boys as best she could.  One
became a professor in a Southern college, another a physician, and the
third a clergyman.  What a lesson for boys who plead "no chance" as an
excuse for wasted lives!

Sam Cunard, the whittling Scotch lad of Glasgow, wrought many odd
inventions with brain and jack-knife, but they brought neither honor
nor profit until he was consulted by Burns & McIvor, who wished to
increase their facilities for carrying foreign mails.  The model of a
steamship which Sam whittled out for them was carefully copied for the
first vessel of the great Cunard Line, and became the standard type for
all the magnificent ships since constructed by the firm.

The new Testament and the speller were Cornelius Vanderbilt's only
books at school, but he learned to read, write, and cipher a little.
He wished to buy a boat, but had no money.  To discourage him from
following the sea, his mother told him if he would plow, harrow, and
plant with corn, before the twenty-seventh day of the month, ten acres
of rough, hard, stony land, the worst on his father's farm, she would
lend him the amount he wished.  Before the appointed time the work was
done, and well done.  On his seventeenth birthday he bought the boat,
but on his way home it struck a sunken wreck and sank just as he
reached shallow water.

But Cornelius Vanderbilt was not the boy to give up.  He at once began
again, and in three years saved three thousand dollars.  He often
worked all night, and soon had far the largest patronage of any boatman
in the harbor.  During the War of 1812 he was awarded the Government
contract to carry provisions to the military stations near the
metropolis.  He fulfilled his contract by night so that he might run
his ferry-boat between New York and Brooklyn by day.

The boy who gave his parents all his day earnings and had half of what
he got at night, was worth thirty thousand dollars at thirty-five, and
when he died, at an advanced age, he left to his thirteen children one
of the largest fortunes in America.

Lord Eldon might well have pleaded "no chance" when a boy, for he was
too poor to go to school or even to buy books.  But no; he had grit and
determination, and was bound to make his way in the world.  He rose at
four o'clock in the morning and copied law books which he borrowed, the
voluminous "Coke upon Littleton" among others.  He was so eager to
study that sometimes he would keep it up until his brain refused to
work, when he would tie a wet towel about his head to enable him to
keep awake and to study.  His first year's practice brought him but
nine shillings, yet he was bound not to give up.

When Eldon was leaving the chamber the Solicitor tapped him on the
shoulder and said, "Young man, your bread and butter's cut for life."
The boy with "no chance" became Lord Chancellor of England, and one of
the greatest lawyers of his age.

Stephen Girard had "no chance."  He left his home in France when ten
years old, and came to America as a cabin boy.  His great ambition was
to get on and succeed at any cost.  There was no work, however hard and
disagreeable, that he would not undertake.  Midas like, he turned to
gold everything he touched, and became one of the wealthiest merchants
of Philadelphia.  His abnormal love of money cannot be commended, but
his thoroughness in all he did, his public spirit at times of national
need, and willingness to risk his life to save strangers sick with the
deadly yellow fever, are traits of character well worthy of imitation.

John Wanamaker walked four miles to Philadelphia every day, and worked
in a bookstore for one dollar and twenty-five cents a week.  He next
worked in a clothing store at an advance of twenty-five cents a week.
From this he went up and up until he became one of the greatest living
merchants.  He was appointed Postmaster-General by President Harrison
in 1889, and in that capacity showed great executive ability.

Prejudice against her race and sex did not deter the colored girl,
Edmonia Lewis, from struggling upward to honor and fame as a sculptor.

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 then no limits could
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 at 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
afterwards conducted the "New Era" in Washington.  For several years he
was Marshal of the District of Columbia.

Henry E. Dixey, the well-known actor, began his career upon the stage
in the humble part of the hind legs of a cow.

P. T. Barnum rode a horse for ten cents a day.

It was a boy born in a log-cabin, without schooling, or books, or
teacher, or ordinary opportunities, who won the admiration of mankind
by his homely practical wisdom while President during our Civil War,
and who emancipated four million slaves.

Behold this long, lank, awkward youth, felling trees on the little
claim, building his homely log-cabin, without floor or windows,
teaching himself arithmetic and grammar in the evening by the light of
the fireplace.  In his eagerness to know the contents of Blackstone's
Commentaries, he walked forty-four miles to procure the precious
volumes, and read one hundred pages while returning.  Abraham Lincoln
inherited no opportunities, and acquired nothing by luck.  His good
fortune consisted simply of untiring perseverance and a right heart.

In another log-cabin, in the backwoods of Ohio, a poor widow is holding
a boy eighteen months old, and wondering if she will be able to keep
the wolf from her little ones.  The boy grows, and in a few years we
find him chopping wood and tilling the little clearing in the forest,
to help his mother.  Every spare hour is spent in studying the books he
has borrowed, but cannot buy.  At sixteen he gladly accepts a chance to
drive mules on a canal towpath.  Soon he applies for a chance to sweep
floors and ring the bell of an academy, to pay his way while studying

His first term at Geauga Seminary cost him but seventeen dollars.  When
he returned the next term he had but a sixpence in his pocket, and this
he put into the contribution box at church the next day.  He engaged
board, washing, fuel, and light of a carpenter at one dollar and six
cents a week, with the privilege of working at night and on Saturdays
all the time he could spare.  He had arrived on a Saturday and planed
fifty-one boards that day, for which he received one dollar and two
cents.  When the term closed, he had paid all expenses and had three
dollars over.  The following winter he taught school at twelve dollars
a month and "board around."  In the spring he had forty-eight dollars,
and when he returned to school he boarded himself at an expense of
thirty-one cents a week.

Soon we find him in Williams College, where in two years he is
graduated with honors.  He reaches the State Senate at twenty-six and
Congress at thirty-three.  Twenty-seven years from the time he applied
for a chance to ring the bell at Hiram College, James A. Garfield
became President of the United States.  The inspiration of such an
example is worth more to the young men of America than all the wealth
of the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and the Goulds.

Among the world's greatest heroes and benefactors are many others whose
cradles were rocked by want in lowly cottages, and who buffeted the
billows of fate without dependence, save upon the mercy of God and
their own energies.

"The little gray cabin appears to be the birthplace of all your great
men," said an English author who had been looking over a book of
biographies of eminent Americans.

With five chances on each hand and one unwavering aim, no boy, however
poor, need despair.  There is bread and success for every youth under
the American flag who has energy and ability to seize his opportunity.
It matters not whether the boy is born in a log-cabin or in a mansion;
if he is dominated by a resolute purpose and upholds himself, neither
men nor demons can keep him down.



The Napoleonic wars so drained the flower of French manhood that even
to-day the physical stature of the average Frenchman is nearly half an
inch below what it was at the beginning of Napoleon's reign.

The country in America to-day is constantly paying a similar tribute to
the city in the sacrifice of its best blood, its best brain, the finest
physical and mental fiber in the world.  This great stream of superb
country manhood, which is ever flowing cityward, is rapidly
deteriorated by the softening, emasculating influences of the city,
until the superior virility, stamina and sturdy qualities entirely
disappear in two or three generations of city life.  Our city
civilization is always in a process of decay, and would, in a few
generations, become emasculated and effeminate were it not for the
pure, crystal stream of country youth flowing steadily into and
purifying the muddy, devitalized stream of city life.  It would soon
become so foul and degenerate as to threaten the physical and moral
health of city dwellers.

One of our great men says that one of the most unfortunate phases of
modern civilization is the drift away from the farm, the drift of
country youth to the city which has an indescribable fascination for
him.  His vivid imagination clothes it with Arabian Nights
possibilities and joys.  The country seems tame and commonplace after
his first dream of the city.  To him it is synonymous with opportunity,
with power, with pleasure.  He can not rid himself of its fascination
until he tastes its emptiness.  He can not know the worth of the
country and how to appreciate the glory of its disadvantages and
opportunities until he has seen the sham and shallowness of the city.

One of the greatest boons that can ever come to a human being is to be
born on a farm and reared in the country.  Self-reliance and grit are
oftenest country-bred.  The country boy is constantly thrown upon his
own resources, forced to think for himself, and this calls out his
ingenuity and inventiveness.  He develops better all-round judgment and
a more level head than the city boy.  His muscles are harder, his flesh
firmer, and his brain-fiber partakes of the same superior quality.

The very granite hills, the mountains, the valleys, the brooks, the
miracle of the growing crops are every moment registering their mighty
potencies in his constitution, putting iron into his blood and stamina
into his character, all of which will help to make him a giant when he
comes to compete with the city-bred youth.

The sturdy, vigorous, hardy qualities, the stamina, the brawn, the grit
which characterize men who do great things in this world, are, as a
rule, country bred.  If power is not absorbed from the soil, it
certainly comes from very near it.  There seems to be a close
connection between robust character and the soil, the hills, mountains
and valleys, the pure air and sunshine.  There is a very appreciable
difference between the physical stamina, the brain vigor, the solidity
and the reliability of country-bred men and that of those in the city.

The average country-bred youth has a better foundation for
success-building, has greater courage, more moral stamina.  He has not
become weakened and softened by the superficial ornamental, decorative
influences of city life.  And there is a reason for all this.  We are
largely copies of our environment.  We are under the perpetual
influence of the suggestion of our surroundings.  The city-bred youth
sees and hears almost nothing that is natural, aside from the faces and
forms of human beings.  Nearly everything that confronts him from
morning till night is artificial, man-made.  He sees hardly anything
that God made, that imparts solidity, strength and power, as do the
natural objects in the country.  How can a man build up a solid,
substantial character when his eyes and ears bring him only sights and
sounds of artificial things?  A vast sea of business blocks,
sky-scrapers and asphalt pavements does not generate character-building

Just as sculpture was once carried to such an extreme that pillars and
beams were often so weakened by the extravagant carvings as to threaten
the safety of the structure, so the timber in country boys and girls,
when brought to the city, is often overcarved and adorned at the cost
of strength, robustness and vigor.

In other words, virility, forcefulness, physical and mental stamina
reach their maximum in those who live close to the soil.  The moment a
man becomes artificial in his living, takes on artificial conditions,
he begins to deteriorate, to soften.

Much of what we call the best society in our cities is often in an
advanced process of decay.  The muscles may be a little more delicate
but they are softer; the skin may be a little fairer, but it is not so
healthy; the thought a little more supple, but less vigorous.  The
whole tendency of life in big cities is toward deterioration.  City
people rarely live really normal lives.  It is not natural for human
beings to live far from the soil.  It is Mother Earth and country life
that give vitality, stamina, courage and all the qualities which make
for manhood and womanhood.  What we get from the country is solid,
substantial, enduring, reliable.  What comes from the artificial
conditions of the city is weakening, enervating, softening.

The country youth, on the other hand, is in the midst of a perpetual
miracle.  He can not open his eyes without seeing a more magnificent
painting than a Raphael or a Michael Angelo could have created in a
lifetime.  And this magnificent panorama is changing every instant.

There is a miracle going on in every growing blade of grass and flower.
Is it not wonderful to watch the chemical processes in nature's
laboratory, mixing and flinging out to the world the gorgeous colorings
and marvelous perfumes of the rose and wild flower!  No city youth was
ever in such a marvelous kindergarten, where perpetual creation is
going on in such a vast multitude of forms.

The city youth has too many things to divert his attention.  Such a
multiplicity of objects appeals to him that he is often superficial; he
lacks depth; his mind is perpetually drawn away from his subject, and
he lacks continuity of thought and application.  His reading is
comparatively superficial.  He glances through many papers; magazines
and periodicals and gives no real thought to any.  His evenings are
much more broken up than those of the country boy, who, having very
little diversion after supper, can read continuously for an entire
evening on one subject.  The country boy does not read as many books as
the city boy, but, as a rule, he reads them with much better results.

The dearth of great libraries, books and periodicals is one reason why
the country boy makes the most of good books and articles, often
reading them over and over again, while the city youth, in the midst of
newspapers and libraries, sees so many books that in most instances he
cares very little for them, and will often read the best literature
without absorbing any of it.

The fact is that there is such a diversity of attractions and
distractions, of temptation and amusement in the city, that unless a
youth is made of unusual stuff he will yield to the persuasion of the
moment and follow the line of least resistance.  It is hard for the
city-bred youth to resist the multiplicity of allurements and pleasures
that bid for his attention, to deny himself and turn a deaf ear to the
appeals of his associates and tie himself down to self-improvement
while those around him are having a good time.

These exciting, diverting, tempting conditions of city life are not
conducive to generating the great master purpose, the one unwavering
life aim, which we often see so marked in the young man from the
country.  Nor do city-bred youths store up anything like the reserve
power, the cumulative force, the stamina, which are developed in the
simple life of the soil.

For one thing, the country boy is constantly developing his muscular
system.  His health is better.  He gets more exercise, more time to
think and to reflect; hence, he is not so superficial as the city boy.
His perceptions are not so quick, he is not so rapid in his movements,
his thought action is slower and he does not have as much polish, it is
true, but he is better balanced generally.  He has been forced to do a
great variety of work and this has developed corresponding mental

The drudgery of the farm, the chores which we hated as boys, the rocks
which we despised, we have found were the very things which educated
us, which developed our power and made us practical.  The farm is a
great gymnasium, a superb manual training school, nature's
kindergarten, constantly calling upon the youth's self-reliance and
inventiveness.  He must make the implements and toys which he can not
afford to buy or procure.  He must run, adjust and repair all sorts of
machinery and farm utensils.  His ingenuity and inventiveness are
constantly exercised.  If the wagon or plow breaks down it must be
repaired on the spot, often without the proper tools.  This training
develops instinctive courage, strong success qualities, and makes him a
resourceful man.

Is it any wonder that the boy so trained in self-reliance, so superbly
equipped with physical and mental stamina, should take such
pre-eminence, should be in such demand when he comes to the city?  Is
it any wonder that he is always in evidence in great emergencies and
crises?  Just stand a stamina-filled, self-reliant country boy beside a
pale, soft, stamina-less, washed-out city youth.  Is it any wonder that
the country-bred boy is nearly always the leader; that he heads the
banks, the great mercantile houses?  It is this peculiar,
indescribable something; this superior stamina and mental caliber, that
makes the stuff that rises to the top in all vocations.

There is a peculiar quality of superiority which comes from dealing
with _realities_ that we do not find in the superficial city
conditions.  The life-giving oxygen, breathed in great inspirations
through constant muscular effort, develops in the country boy much
greater lung power than is developed in the city youth, and his outdoor
work tends to build up a robust constitution.  Plowing, hoeing, mowing,
everything he does on the farm gives him vigor and strength.  His
muscles are harder, his flesh firmer, and his brain-fiber partakes of
the same superior quality.  He is constantly bottling up forces,
storing up energy in his brain and muscles which later may be powerful
factors in shaping the nation's destiny or which may furnish backbone
to keep the ship of state from floundering on the rocks.  This
marvelous reserve power which he stores up in the country will come out
in the successful banker, statesman, lawyer, merchant, or business man.

Self-reliance and grit are oftenest country-bred.  The country boy is
constantly thrown upon his own resources; he is forced to think for
himself, and this calls out his ingenuity and makes him self-reliant
and strong.  It has been found that the use of tools in our manual
training schools develops the brain, strengthens the deficient
faculties and brings out latent powers.  The farm-reared boy is in the
best manual training school in the world and is constantly forced to
plan things, make things; he is always using tools.  This is one of the
reasons why he usually develops better all-round judgment and a more
level head than the city boy.

It is human nature to exaggerate the value of things beyond our reach.
People save money for years in order to go to Europe to visit the great
art centers and see the famous masterpieces, when they have really
never seen the marvelous pictures painted by the Divine Artist and
spread in the landscape, in the sunset, in the glory of flowers and
plant life, right at their very doors.

What a perpetual inspiration, what marvels of beauty, what miracles of
coloring are spread everywhere in nature, confronting us on every hand!
We see them almost every day of our lives and they become so common
that they make no impression upon us.  Think of the difference between
what a Ruskin sees in a landscape and the impression conveyed to his
brain, and what is seen by the ordinary mind, the ordinary person who
has little or no imagination and whose esthetic faculties have scarcely
been developed!

We are immersed in a wilderness of mysteries and marvelous beauties.
Miracles innumerable in grass and flower and fruit are performed right
before our eyes.  How marvelous is Nature's growing of fruit, for
example!  How she packs the concentrated sunshine and delicious juices
into the cans that she makes as she goes along, cans exactly the right
size, without a particle of waste, leakage or evaporation, with no
noise of factories, no hammering of tins!  The miracles are wrought in
a silent laboratory; not a sound is heard, and yet what marvels of
skill, deliciousness and beauty?

What interrogation points, what wonderful mysteries, what
wit-sharpeners are ever before the farmer boy, whichever way he turns!
Where does all this tremendous increase of corn, wheat, fruit and
vegetables come from?  There seems to be no loss to the soil, and yet,
what a marvelous growth in everything!  Life, life, more life on every
hand!  Wherever he goes he treads on chemical forces which produce
greater marvels than are described in the Arabian Nights.  The trees,
the brooks, the mountains, the hills, the valleys, the sunsets, the
growing animals on the farm, are all mysteries that set him thinking
and to wondering at the creative processes which are working on every

Then again, the delicious freedom of it all, as contrasted with the
cramped, artificial life in the city!  Everything in the country tends
to set the boy thinking, to call out his dormant powers and develop his
latent forces.  And what health there is in it all!  How hearty and
natural he is in comparison with the city boy, who is tempted to turn
night into day, to live an artificial, purposeless life.

The very temptation in the city to turn night into day is of itself
health-undermining, stamina-dissipating and character-weakening.

While the city youth is wasting his precious energy capital in late
hours, pleasure seeking, and often dissipation, the country youth is
storing up power and vitality; he is being recharged with physical
force by natural, refreshing sleep, away from the distracting influence
and enervating excitement of city life.  The country youth does not
learn to judge people by the false standards of wealth and social
standing.  He is not inculcated with snobbish ideas.  Everything in the
great farm kindergarten teaches him sincerity, simplicity and honesty.

The time was when the boy who gave no signs of genius or unusual
ability was consigned to the farm, and the brilliant boy was sent to
college or to the city to make a career for himself.  But we are now
beginning to see that man has made a botch of farming only because he
looked upon it as a sort of humdrum occupation; as a means provided by
nature for living-getting for those who were not good for much else.
Farming was considered by many people as a sort of degrading occupation
desirable only for those who lacked the brains and education to go into
a profession or some of the more refined callings.  But the searchlight
of science has revealed in it possibilities hitherto undreamed of.  We
are commencing to realize that it takes a high order of ability and
education to bring out the fullest possibilities of the soil; that it
requires fine-grained sympathetic talent.  We are now finding that
agriculture is as great a science as astronomy, and that ignorant men
have been getting an indifferent living from their farms simply because
they did not know how to mix brains with the soil.

The science of agriculture is fast becoming appreciated and is more and
more regarded as a high and noble calling, a dignified profession.
Think of what it means to go into partnership with the Creator in
bringing out larger, grander products from the soil; to be able to
co-operate with that divine creative force, and even to vary the size,
the beauty, the perfume of flowers; to enlarge, modify and change the
flavor of fruits and vegetables to our liking!

Think what it must mean to be a magician in the whole vegetable
kingdom, like Luther Burbank, changing colors, flavors, perfumes,
species!  Almost anything is possible when one knows enough and has
heart and sympathy enough to enter into partnership with the great
creative force in nature.  Mr. Burbank says that the time will come
when man will be able to do almost anything he wishes in the vegetable
kingdom; will be able to produce at will any shade or color he wishes,
and almost any flavor in any fruit; that the size of all fruits and
vegetables and flowers is just a matter of sufficient understanding,
and that Nature will give us almost anything when we know enough to
treat her intelligently, wisely and sympathetically.

The history of most great men shows that there is a disadvantage in
having too many advantages.

Who can tell what the consequences would have been had Lincoln been
born in New York and educated at Harvard?  If he had been reared in the
midst of great libraries, brought up in an atmosphere of books, of only
a small fraction of which he could get even a superficial knowledge,
would he have had that insatiable hunger which prompted him to walk
twenty miles in order to borrow Blackstone's "Commentaries" and to read
one hundred pages on the way home?

[Illustration: House in which Abraham Lincoln was born]

What was there in that rude frontier forest, where this poor boy
scarcely ever saw any one who knew anything of books, to rouse his
ambition and to stimulate him to self-education?  Whence came that
yearning to know the history of men and women who had made a nation; to
know the history of his country?  Whence came that passion to devour
the dry statutes of Indiana, as a young girl would devour a love story?
Whence came that all-absorbing ambition to be somebody in the world; to
serve his country with no selfish ambition?  Had his father been rich
and well-educated instead of a poor man who could neither read nor
write and who was generally of a shiftless and roving disposition,
there is no likelihood that Lincoln would ever have become the powerful
man he was.

Had he not felt that imperious "must" calling him, the prod of
necessity spurring him on, whence would have come the motive which led
him to struggle for self-development, self-unfoldment?  If he had been
born and educated in luxury, his character would probably have been
soft and flabby in comparison with what it was.

Where in all the annals of history is there another record of one born
of such poor parentage and reared in such a wretched environment, who
ever rose to such eminence?  Imagine a boy of to-day, so hungry for an
education that he would walk nine miles a day to attend a rude frontier
school in a log cabin!  What would the city boys of to-day, who do not
want to walk even a few blocks to school, think of a youth who would do
what Lincoln did to overcome his handicap?



  To each man's life there comes a time supreme;
   One day, one night, one morning, or one noon,
   One freighted hour, one moment opportune,
  One rift through which sublime fulfillments gleam,
  One space when fate goes tiding with the stream,
   One Once, in balance 'twixt Too Late, Too Soon,
   And ready for the passing instant's boon
  To tip in favor the uncertain beam.
  Ah, happy he who, knowing how to wait,
   Knows also how to watch and work and stand
   On Life's broad deck alert, and at the prow
  To seize the passing moment, big with fate,
   From Opportunity's extended hand,
   When the great clock of destiny strikes Now!

What is opportunity to a man who can't use it?  An unfecundated egg,
which the waves of time wash away into non-entity.--GEORGE ELIOT.

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

"There are no longer any good chances for young men," complained a
youthful law student to Daniel Webster.  "There is always room at the
top," replied the great statesman and jurist.

No chance, no opportunities, in a land where thousands of poor boys
become rich men, where newsboys go to Congress, and where those born in
the lowest stations attain the highest positions?  The world is all
gates, all opportunities to him who will use them.  But, like Bunyan's
Pilgrim in the dungeon of Giant Despair's castle, who had the key of
deliverance all the time with him but had forgotten it, we fail to rely
wholly upon the ability to advance all that is good for us which has
been given to the weakest as well as the strongest.  We depend too much
upon outside assistance.

  "We look too high
  For things close by."

A Baltimore lady lost a valuable diamond bracelet at a ball, and
supposed that it was stolen from the pocket of her cloak.  Years
afterward she washed the steps of the Peabody Institute, pondering how
to get money to buy food.  She cut up an old, worn-out, ragged cloak to
make a hood, when lo! in the lining of the cloak she discovered the
diamond bracelet.  During all her poverty she was worth $3500, but did
not know it.

Many of us who think we are poor are rich in opportunities, if we could
only see them, in possibilities all about us, in faculties worth more
than diamond bracelets.  In our large Eastern cities it has been found
that at least ninety-four out of every hundred found their first
fortune at home, or near at hand, and in meeting common every-day
wants.  It is a sorry day for a young man who can not see any
opportunities where he is, but thinks he can do better somewhere else.
Some Brazilian shepherds organized a party to go to California to dig
gold, and took along a handful of translucent pebbles to play checkers
with on the voyage.  After arriving in San Francisco, and after they
had thrown most of the pebbles away, they discovered that they were
diamonds.  They hastened back to Brazil, only to find that the mines
from which the pebbles had been gathered had been taken up by other
prospectors and sold to the government.

The richest gold and silver mine in Nevada was sold by the owner for
$42, to get money to pay his passage to other mines, where he thought
he could get rich.  Professor Agassiz once told the Harvard students of
a farmer who owned a farm of hundreds of acres of unprofitable woods
and rocks, and concluded to sell out and get into a more profitable
business.  He decided to go into the coal-oil business; he studied coal
measures and coal-oil deposits, and experimented for a long time.  He
sold his farm for $200, and engaged in his new business two hundred
miles away.  Only a short time after, the man who bought his farm
discovered upon it a great flood of coal-oil, which the farmer had
previously ignorantly tried to drain off.

Hundreds of years ago there lived near the shore of the river Indus a
Persian by the name of Ali Hafed.  He lived in a cottage on the river
bank, from which he could get a grand view of the beautiful country
stretching away to the sea.  He had a wife and children; an extensive
farm, fields of grain, gardens of flowers, orchards of fruit, and miles
of forest.  He had plenty of money and everything that heart could
wish.  He was contented and happy.  One evening a priest of Buddha
visited him, and, sitting before the fire, explained to him how the
world was made, and how the first beams of sunlight condensed on the
earth's surface into diamonds.

The old priest told that a drop of sunlight the size of his thumb was
worth more than large mines of copper, silver, or gold; that with one
of them he could buy many farms like his; that with a handful he could
buy a province, and with a mine of diamonds he could purchase a
kingdom.  Ali Hafed listened, and was no longer a rich man.  He had
been touched with discontent, and with that all wealth vanishes.  Early
the next morning he woke the priest who had been the cause of his
unhappiness, and anxiously asked him where he could find a mine of
diamonds.  "What do you want of diamonds?" asked the astonished priest.
"I want to be rich and place my children on thrones."  "All you have to
do is to go and search until you find them," said the priest.  "But
where shall I go?" asked the poor farmer.  "Go anywhere, north, south,
east, or west."  "How shall I know when I have found the place?"  "When
you find a river running over white sands between high mountain ranges,
in those white sands you will find diamonds," answered the priest.

The discontented man sold the farm for what he could get, left his
family with a neighbor, took the money he had at interest, and went to
search for the coveted treasure.  Over the mountains of Arabia, through
Palestine and Egypt, he wandered for years, but found no diamonds.
When his money was all gone and starvation stared him in the face,
ashamed of his folly and of his rags, poor Ali Hafed threw himself into
the tide and was drowned.  The man who bought his farm was a contented
man, who made the most of his surroundings, and did not believe in
going away from home to hunt for diamonds or success.  While his camel
was drinking in the garden one day, he noticed a flash of light from
the white sands of the brook.  He picked up a pebble, and pleased with
its brilliant hues took it into the house, put it on the shelf near the
fireplace, and forgot all about it.

The old priest of Buddha who had filled Ali Hafed with the fatal
discontent called one day upon the new owner of the farm.  He had no
sooner entered the room than his eye caught that flash of light from
the stone.  "Here's a diamond! here's a diamond!" he shouted in great
excitement.  "Has Ali Hafed returned?"  "No," said the farmer, "nor is
that a diamond.  That is but a stone."  They went into the garden and
stirred up the white sand with their fingers, and behold, other
diamonds more beautiful than the first gleamed out of it.  So the
famous diamond beds of Golconda were discovered.  Had Ali Hafed been
content to remain at home, and dug in his own garden, instead of going
abroad in search for wealth, he would have been one of the richest men
in the world, for the entire farm abounded in the richest of gems.

You have your own special place and work.  Find it, fill it.  Scarcely
a boy or girl will read these lines but has much better opportunity to
win success than Garfield, Wilson, Franklin, Lincoln, Harriet Beecher
Stowe, Frances Willard, and thousands of others had.  But to succeed
you must be prepared to seize and improve the opportunity when it
comes.  Remember that four things come not back: the spoken word, the
sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.

It is one of the paradoxes of civilization that the more opportunities
are utilized, the more new ones are thereby created.  New openings are
as easy to find as ever to those who do their best; although it is not
so easy as formerly to obtain great distinction in the old lines,
because the standard has advanced so much, and competition has so
greatly increased.  "The world is no longer clay," said Emerson, "but
rather iron in the hands of its workers, and men have got to hammer out
a place for themselves by steady and rugged blows."

Thousands of men have made fortunes out of trifles which others pass
by.  As the bee gets honey from the same flower from which the spider
gets poison, so some men will get a fortune out of the commonest and
meanest things, as scraps of leather, cotton waste, slag, iron filings,
from which others get only poverty and failure.  There is scarcely a
thing which contributes to the welfare and comfort of humanity,
scarcely an article of household furniture, a kitchen utensil, an
article of clothing or of food, that is not capable of an improvement
in which there may be a fortune.

Opportunities?  They are all around us.  Forces of nature plead to be
used in the service of man, as lightning for ages tried to attract his
attention to the great force of electricity, which would do his
drudgery and leave him to develop the God-given powers within him.
There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to
discover it.

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

An observing man, the eyelets of whose shoes pulled out, but who could
not afford to get another pair, said to himself, "I will make a
metallic lacing hook, which can be riveted into the leather."  He was
then so poor that he had to borrow a sickle to cut grass in front of
his hired tenement.  He became a very rich man.

An observing barber in Newark, N. J., thought he could make an
improvement on shears for cutting hair, invented clippers, and became
rich.  A Maine man was called in from the hayfield to wash clothes for
his invalid wife.  He had never realized what it was to wash before.
Finding the method slow and laborious, he invented the washing machine,
and made a fortune.  A man who was suffering terribly with toothache
felt sure there must be some way of filling teeth which would prevent
their aching and he invented the method of gold filling for teeth.

The great things of the world have not been done by men of large means.
Ericsson began the construction of the screw propellers in a bathroom.
The cotton-gin was first manufactured in a log cabin.  John Harrison,
the great inventor of the marine chronometer, began his career in the
loft of an old barn.  Parts of the first steamboat ever run in America
were set up in the vestry of a church in Philadelphia by Fitch.
McCormick began to make his famous reaper in a 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.  Farquhar made umbrellas in his sitting-room,
with his daughter's help, until he sold enough to hire a loft.  Edison
began his experiments in a baggage car on the Grand Trunk Railroad when
a newsboy.

Michael Angelo found a piece of discarded Carrara marble among waste
rubbish beside a street in Florence, which some unskilful workman had
cut, hacked, spoiled, and thrown away.  No doubt many artists had
noticed the fine quality of the marble, and regretted that it should
have been spoiled.  But Michael Angelo still saw an angel in the ruin,
and with his chisel and mallet he called out from it one of the finest
pieces of statuary in Italy, the young David.

Patrick Henry was called a lazy boy, a good-for-nothing farmer, and he
failed as a merchant.  He was always dreaming of some far-off
greatness, and never thought he could be a hero among the corn and
tobacco and saddlebags of Virginia.  He studied law for six weeks; when
he put out his shingle.  People thought he would fail, but in his first
case he showed that he had a wonderful power of oratory.  It then first
dawned upon him that he could be a hero in Virginia.  From the time the
Stamp Act was passed and Henry was elected to the Virginia House of
Burgesses, and he had introduced his famous resolution against the
unjust taxation of the American colonies, he rose steadily until he
became one of the brilliant orators of America.  In one of his first
speeches upon this resolution he uttered these words, which were
prophetic of his power and courage: "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the
First his Cromwell, and George the Third--may profit by their example.
If this be treason, make the most of it."

The great natural philosopher, Faraday, who was the son of a
blacksmith, wrote, when a young man, to Humphry Davy, asking for
employment at the Royal Institution.  Davy consulted a friend on the
matter.  "Here is a letter from a young man named Faraday; he has been
attending my lectures, and wants me to give him employment at the Royal
Institution--what can I do?"  "Do? put him to washing bottles; if he is
good for anything he will do it directly; if he refuses he is good for
nothing."  But the boy who could experiment in the attic of an
apothecary shop with an old pan and glass vials during every moment he
could snatch from his work saw an opportunity in washing bottles, which
led to a professorship at the Royal Academy at Woolwich.  Tyndall said
of this boy with no chance, "He is the greatest experimental
philosopher the world has ever seen."  He became the wonder of his age
in science.

There is a legend of an artist who long sought for a piece of
sandalwood, out of which to carve a Madonna.  He was about to give up
in despair, leaving the vision of his life unrealized, when in a dream
he was bidden to carve his Madonna from a block of oak wood which was
destined for the fire.  He obeyed, and produced a masterpiece from a
log of common firewood.  Many of us lose great opportunities in life by
waiting to find sandalwood for our carvings, when they really lie
hidden in the common logs that we burn.  One man goes through life
without seeing chances for doing anything great, while another close
beside him snatches from the same circumstances and privileges
opportunities for achieving grand results.

Opportunities?  They are everywhere.  "America is another name for
opportunities.  Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine
Providence in behalf of the human race."  Never before were there such
grand openings, such chances, such opportunities.  Especially is this
true for girls and young women.  A new era is dawning for them.
Hundreds of occupations and professions, which were closed to them only
a few years ago, are now inviting them to enter.

We can not all of us perhaps make great discoveries like Newton,
Faraday, Edison, and Thompson, or paint immortal pictures like an
Angelo or a Raphael.  But we can all of us make our lives sublime, by
_seizing common occasions and making them great_.  What chance had the
young girl, Grace Darling, to distinguish herself, living on those
barren lighthouse rocks alone with her aged parents?  But while her
brothers and sisters, who moved to the cities to win wealth and fame,
are not known to the world, she became more famous than a princess.
This poor girl did not need to go to London to see the nobility; they
came to the lighthouse to see her.  Right at home she had won fame
which the regal heirs might envy, and a name which will never perish
from the earth.  She did not wander away into dreamy distance for fame
and fortune, but did her best where duty had placed her.

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

    "The golden opportunity
  Is never offered twice; seize then the hour
  When Fortune smiles and Duty points the way."

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



Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff
life is made of.--FRANKLIN.

Eternity itself cannot restore the loss struck from the minute.--ANCIENT

_Periunt et imputantur_,--the hours perish and are laid to our

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.--SHAKESPEARE.

Believe me when I tell you that thrift of time will repay you in after
life with a usury of profit beyond your most sanguine dreams, and that
waste of it will make you dwindle alike in intellectual and moral stature
beyond your darkest reckoning.--GLADSTONE.

Lost!  Somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set
with sixty diamond minutes.  No reward is offered, for they are gone
forever.--HORACE MANN.

"What is the price of that book?" at length asked a man who had been
dawdling for an hour in the front store of Benjamin Franklin's newspaper
establishment.  "One dollar," replied the clerk.  "One dollar," echoed
the lounger; "can't you take less than that?"  "One dollar is the price,"
was the answer.

The would-be purchaser looked over the books on sale a while longer, and
then inquired: "Is Mr. Franklin in?"  "Yes," said the clerk, "he is very
busy in the press-room."  "Well, I want to see him," persisted the man.
The proprietor was called, and the stranger asked: "What is the lowest,
Mr. Franklin, that you can take for that book?"  "One dollar and a
quarter," was the prompt rejoinder.  "One dollar and a quarter!  Why,
your clerk asked me only a dollar just now."  "True," said Franklin, "and
I could have better afforded to take a dollar than to leave my work."

The man seemed surprised; but, wishing to end a parley of his own
seeking, he demanded: "Well, come now, tell me your lowest price for this
book."  "One dollar and a half," replied Franklin.  "A dollar and a half!
Why, you offered it yourself for a dollar and a quarter."  "Yes," said
Franklin coolly, "and I could better have taken that price then than a
dollar and a half now."

The man silently laid the money on the counter, took his book, and left
the store, having received a salutary lesson from a master in the art of
transmuting time, at will, into either wealth or wisdom.

Time-wasters are everywhere.

On the floor of the gold-working room, in the United States Mint at
Philadelphia, there is a wooden lattice-work which is taken up when the
floor is swept, and the fine particles of gold-dust, thousands of
dollars' yearly, are thus saved.  So every successful man has a kind of
network to catch "the raspings and parings of existence, those leavings
of days and wee bits of hours" which most people sweep into the waste of
life.  He who hoards and turns to account all odd minutes, half hours,
unexpected holidays, gaps "between times," and chasms of waiting for
unpunctual persons, achieves results which astonish those who have not
mastered this most valuable secret.

"All that I have accomplished, expect to, or hope to accomplish," said
Elihu Burritt, "has been and will be by that plodding, patient,
persevering process of accretion which builds the ant-heap--particle by
particle, thought by thought, fact by fact.  And if ever I was actuated
by ambition, its highest and warmest aspiration reached no further than
the hope to set before the young men of my country an example in
employing those invaluable fragments of time called moments."

"I have been wondering how Ned contrived to monopolize all the talents of
the family," said a brother, found in a brown study after listening to
one of Burke's speeches in Parliament; "but then I remember; when we were
at play, he was always at work."

The days come to us like friends in disguise, bringing priceless gifts
from an unseen hand; but, if we do not use them, they are borne silently
away, never to return.  Each successive morning new gifts are brought,
but if we failed to accept those that were brought yesterday and the day
before, we become less and less able to turn them to account, until the
ability to appreciate and utilize them is exhausted.  Wisely was it said
that lost wealth may be regained by industry and economy, lost knowledge
by study, lost health by temperance and medicine, but lost time is gone

"Oh, it's only five minutes or ten minutes till mealtime; there's no time
to do anything now," is one of the commonest expressions heard in the
family.  But what monuments have been built up by poor boys with no
chance, out of broken fragments of time which many of us throw away!  The
very hours you have wasted, if improved, might have insured your success.

Marion Harland has accomplished wonders, and she has been able to do this
by economizing the minutes to shape her novels and newspaper articles,
when her children were in bed and whenever she could get a spare minute.
Though she has done so much, yet all her life has been subject to
interruptions which would have discouraged most women from attempting
anything outside their regular family duties.  She has glorified the
commonplace as few other women have done.  Harriet Beecher Stowe, too,
wrote her great masterpiece, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," in the midst of
pressing household cares.  Beecher read Froude's "England" a little each
day while he had to wait for dinner.  Longfellow translated the "Inferno"
by snatches of ten minutes a day, while waiting for his coffee to boil,
persisting for years until the work was done.

Hugh Miller, while working hard as a stone-mason, found time to read
scientific books, and write the lessons learned from the blocks of stone
he handled.

Madame de Genlis, when companion of the future Queen of France, composed
several of her charming volumes while waiting for the princess to whom
she gave her daily lessons.  Burns wrote many of his most beautiful poems
while working on a farm.  The author of "Paradise Lost" was a teacher,
Secretary of the Commonwealth, Secretary of the Lord Protector, and had
to write his sublime poetry whenever he could snatch a few minutes from a
busy life.  John Stuart Mill did much of his best work as a writer while
a clerk in the East India House.  Galileo was a surgeon, yet to the
improvement of his spare moments the world owes some of its greatest

If a genius like Gladstone carried through life a little book in his
pocket lest an unexpected spare moment slip from his grasp, what should
we of common abilities not resort to, to save the precious moments from
oblivion?  What a rebuke is such a life to the thousands of young men and
women who throw away whole months and even years of that which the "Grand
Old Man" hoarded up even to the smallest fragments!  Many a great man has
snatched his reputation from odd bits of time which others, who wonder at
their failure to get on, throw away.  In Dante's time nearly every
literary man in Italy was a hard-working merchant, physician, statesman,
judge, or soldier.

While Michael Faraday was employed binding books, he devoted all his
leisure to experiments.  At one time he wrote to a friend, "Time is all I
require.  Oh, that I could purchase at a cheap rate some of our modern
gentlemen's spare hours--nay, days."

Oh, the power of ceaseless industry to perform miracles!

Alexander von Humboldt's days were so occupied with his business that he
had to pursue his scientific labors in the night or early morning, while
others were asleep.

One hour a day withdrawn from frivolous pursuits and profitably employed
would enable any man of ordinary capacity to master a complete science.
One hour a day would in ten years make an ignorant man a well-informed
man.  It would earn enough to pay for two daily and two weekly papers,
two leading magazines, and at least a dozen good books.  In an hour a day
a boy or girl could read twenty pages thoughtfully--over seven thousand
pages, or eighteen large volumes in a year.  An hour a day might make all
the difference between bare existence and useful, happy living.  An hour
a day might make--nay, has made--an unknown man a famous one, a useless
man a benefactor to his race.  Consider, then, the mighty possibilities
of two--four--yes, six hours a day that are, on the average, thrown away
by young men and women in the restless desire for fun and diversion!

Every young man should have a hobby to occupy his leisure hours,
something useful to which he can turn with delight.  It might be in line
with his work or otherwise, only _his heart must be in it_.

If one chooses wisely, the study, research, and occupation that a hobby
confers will broaden character and transform the home.

"He has nothing to prevent him but too much idleness, which, I have
observed," says Burke, "fills up a man's time much more completely and
leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever."

Some boys will pick up a good education in the odds and ends of time
which others carelessly throw away, as one man saves a fortune by small
economies which others disdain to practise.  What young man is too busy
to get an hour a day for self-improvement?  Charles C. Frost, the
celebrated shoemaker of Vermont, resolved to devote one hour a day to
study.  He became one of the most noted mathematicians in the United
States, and also gained an enviable reputation in other departments of
knowledge.  John Hunter, like Napoleon, allowed himself but four hours of
sleep.  It took Professor Owen ten years to arrange and classify the
specimens in Comparative Anatomy, over twenty-four thousand in number,
which Hunter's industry had collected.  What a record for a boy who began
his studies while working as a carpenter!

John Q. Adams complained bitterly when robbed of his time by those who
had no right to it.  An Italian scholar put over his door the
inscription: "Whoever tarries here must join in my labors."  Carlyle,
Tennyson, Browning, and Dickens signed a remonstrance against
organ-grinders who disturbed their work.

Many of the greatest men of history earned their fame outside of their
regular occupations in odd bits of time which most people squander.
Spenser made his reputation in his spare time while Secretary to the Lord
Deputy of Ireland.  Sir John Lubbock's fame rests on his prehistoric
studies, prosecuted outside of his busy banking-hours.  Southey, seldom
idle for a minute, wrote a hundred volumes.  Hawthorne's notebook shows
that he never let a chance thought or circumstance escape him.  Franklin
was a tireless worker.  He crowded his meals and sleep into as small
compass as possible so that he might gain time for study.  When a child,
he became impatient of his father's long grace at table, and asked him if
he could not say grace over a whole cask once for all, and save time.  He
wrote some of his best productions on shipboard, such as his "Improvement
of Navigation" and "Smoky Chimneys."

What a lesson there is in Raphael's brief thirty-seven years to those who
plead "no time" as an excuse for wasted lives!

Great men have ever been misers of moments.  Cicero said: "What others
give to public shows and entertainments, nay, even to mental and bodily
rest, I give to the study of philosophy."  Lord Bacon's fame springs from
the work of his leisure hours while Chancellor of England.  During an
interview with a great monarch, Goethe suddenly excused himself, went
into an adjoining room and wrote down a thought for his "Faust," lest it
should be forgotten.  Sir Humphry Davy achieved eminence in spare moments
in an attic of an apothecary's shop.  Pope would often rise in the night
to write out thoughts that would not come during the busy day.  Grote
wrote his matchless "History of Greece" during the hours of leisure
snatched from his duties as a banker.

George Stephenson seized the moments as though they were gold.  He
educated himself and did much of his best work during his spare moments.
He learned arithmetic during the night shifts when he was an engineer.
Mozart would not allow a moment to slip by unimproved.  He would not stop
his work long enough to sleep, and would sometimes write two whole nights
and a day without intermission.  He wrote his famous "Requiem" on his

Caesar said: "Under my tent in the fiercest struggle of war I have always
found time to think of many other things."  He was once shipwrecked, and
had to swim ashore; but he carried with him the manuscript of his
"Commentaries," upon which he was at work when the ship went down.

Dr. Mason Good translated "Lucretius" while riding to visit his patients
in London.  Dr. Darwin composed most of his works by writing his thoughts
on scraps of paper wherever he happened to be.  Watt learned chemistry
and mathematics while working at his trade of a mathematical
instrument-maker.  Henry Kirke White learned Greek while walking to and
from the lawyer's office where he was studying.  Dr. Burney learned
Italian and French on horseback.  Matthew Hale wrote his "Contemplations"
while traveling on his circuit as judge.

The present time is the raw material out of which we make whatever we
will.  Do not brood over the past, or dream of the future, but seize the
instant and _get your lesson from the hour_.  The man is yet unborn who
rightly measures and fully realizes the value of an hour.  As Fenelon
says, God never gives but one moment at a time, and does not give a
second until he withdraws the first.

Lord Brougham could not bear to lose a moment, yet he was so systematic
that he always seemed to have more leisure than many who did not
accomplish a tithe of what he did.  He achieved distinction in politics,
law, science, and literature.

Dr. Johnson wrote "Rasselas" in the evenings of a single week, in order
to meet the expenses of his mother's funeral.

Lincoln studied law during his spare hours while surveying, and learned
the common branches unaided while tending store.  Mrs. Somerville learned
botany and astronomy and wrote books while her neighbors were gossiping
and idling.  At eighty she published "Molecular and Microscopical

The worst of a lost hour is not so much in the wasted time as in the
wasted power.  Idleness rusts the nerves and makes the muscles creak.
Work has system, laziness has none.

President Quincy never went to bed until he had laid his plans for the
next day.

Dalton's industry was the passion of his life.  He made and recorded over
two hundred thousand meteorological observations.

In factories for making cloth a single broken thread ruins a whole web;
it is traced back to the girl who made the blunder and the loss is
deducted from her wages.  But who shall pay for the broken threads in
life's great web?  We cannot throw back and forth an empty shuttle;
threads of some kind follow every movement as we weave the web of our
fate.  It may be a shoddy thread of wasted hours or lost opportunities
that will mar the fabric and mortify the workman forever; or it may be a
golden thread which will add to its beauty and luster.  We cannot stop
the shuttle or pull out the unfortunate thread which stretches across the
fabric, a perpetual witness of our folly.

No one is anxious about a young man while he is busy in useful work.  But
where does he eat his lunch at noon?  Where does he go when he leaves his
boarding-house at night?  What does he do after supper?  Where does he
spend his Sundays and holidays?  The way he uses his spare moments
reveals his character.  The great majority of youths who go to the bad
are ruined after supper.  Most of those who climb upward to honor and
fame devote their evenings to study or work or the society of those who
can help and improve them.  Each evening is a crisis in the career of a
young man.  There is a deep significance in the lines of Whittier:--

  This day we fashion Destiny, our web of Fate we spin;
  This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin.

Time is money.  We should not be stingy or mean with it, but we should
not throw away an hour any more than we would throw away a dollar-bill.
Waste of time means waste of energy, waste of vitality, waste of
character in dissipation.  It means the waste of opportunities which will
never come back.  Beware how you kill time, for all your future lives in

"And it is left for each," says Edward Everett, "by the cultivation of
every talent, by watching with an eagle's eye for every chance of
improvement, by redeeming time, defying temptation, and scorning sensual
pleasure, to make himself useful, honored, and happy."



"Can I afford to go to college?" asks many an American youth who has
hardly a dollar to his name and who knows that a college course means
years of sacrifice and struggle.

It seems a great hardship, indeed, for a young man with an ambition to
do something in the world to be compelled to pay his own way through
school and college by hard work.  But history shows us that the men who
have led in the van of human progress have been, as a rule,
self-educated, self-made.

The average boy of to-day who wishes to obtain a liberal education has
a better chance by a hundredfold than had Daniel Webster or James A.
Garfield.  There is scarcely one in good health who reads these lines
but can be assured that if he will he may.  Here, as elsewhere, the
will can usually make the way, and never before was there so many
avenues of resource open to the strong will, the inflexible purpose, as
there are to-day--at this hour and this moment.

"Of the five thousand persons--students,--directly connected with
Harvard University," writes a graduate, "five hundred are students
entirely or almost entirely dependent upon their own resources.  They
are not a poverty-stricken lot, however, for half of them make an
income above the average allowance of boys in smaller colleges.  From
$700 to $1,000 are by no means exceptional yearly earnings of a student
who is capable of doing newspaper work or tutoring,--branches of
employment that pay well at Harvard.

"There are some men that make much more.  A classmate of the writer
entered college with about twenty-five dollars.  As a freshman he had a
hard struggle.  In his junior year, however, he prospered and in his
last ten months of undergraduate work he cleared above his college
expenses, which were none too low, upward of $3,000.

"He made his money by advertising schemes and other publishing
ventures.  A few months after graduation he married.  He is now living
comfortably in Cambridge."

A son of poor parents, living in Springfield, New York, worked his way
through an academy.  This only whetted his appetite for knowledge, and
he determined to advance, relying wholly on himself for success.
Accordingly, he proceeded to Schenectady, and arranged with a professor
of Union College to pay for his tuition by working.  He rented a small
room, which served for study and home, the expense of his
bread-and-milk diet never exceeding fifty cents a week.  After
graduation, he turned his attention to civil engineering, and, later,
to the construction of iron bridges of his own design.  He procured
many valuable patents, and amassed a fortune.  His life was a success,
the foundation being self-reliance and integrity.

Albert J. Beveridge, the junior United States Senator from Indiana,
entered college with no other capital than fifty dollars loaned to him
by a friend.  He served as steward of a college club, and added to his
original fund of fifty dollars by taking the freshman essay prize of
twenty-five dollars.  When summer came, he returned to work in the
harvest fields and broke the wheat-cutting records of the county.  He
carried his books with him morning, noon and night, and studied
persistently.  When he returned to college he began to be recognized as
an exceptional man.  He had shaped his course and worked to it.

The president of his class at Columbia University recently earned the
money to pay for his course by selling agricultural implements.  One of
his classmates, by the savings of two years' work as a farm laborer,
and money earned by tutoring, writing, and copying done after study
hours, not only paid his way through college, but helped to support his
aged parents.  He believed that he could afford a college training and
he got it.

At Chicago University many hundreds of plucky young men are working
their way.  The ways of earning money are various, depending upon the
opportunities for work, and the student's ability and adaptability.  To
be a correspondent of city daily papers is the most coveted occupation,
but only a few can obtain such positions.  Some dozen or more teach
night school.  Several teach in the public schools in the daytime, and
do their university work in the afternoons and evenings, so as to take
their degrees.  Scores carry daily papers, by which they earn two and
one-half to three and one-half dollars a week; but, as this does not
pay expenses, they add other employments.  A few find evening work in
the city library.  Some attend to lawns in summer and furnaces in
winter; by having several of each to care for, they earn from five to
ten dollars a week.  Many are waiters at clubs and restaurants.  Some
solicit advertisements.  The divinity students, after the first year,
preach in small towns.  Several are tutors.  Two young men made twelve
hundred dollars apiece, in this way, in one year.  One student is a
member of a city orchestra, earning twelve dollars a week.  A few serve
in the university postoffice, and receive twenty cents an hour.

A representative American college president recently said: "I regard it
as, on the whole, a distinct advantage that a student should have to
pay his own way in part as a condition of obtaining a college
education.  It gives a reality and vigor to one's work which is less
likely to be obtained by those who are carried through college.  I do
not regard it, however, as desirable that one should have to work his
own way entirely, as the tax upon strength and time is likely to be
such as to interfere with scholarship and to undermine health."

Circumstances have rarely favored great men.  A lowly beginning is no
bar to a great career.  The boy who works his way through college may
have a hard time of it, but he will learn how to work his way in life,
and will often take higher rank in school, and in after life, than his
classmate who is the son of a millionaire.  It is the son and daughter
of the farmer, the mechanic and the operative, the great average class
of our country, whose funds are small and opportunities few, that the
republic will depend on most for good citizenship and brains in the
future.  The problem of securing a good education, where means are
limited and time short, is of great importance both to the individual
and the nation.  Encouragement and useful hints are offered by the
experience of many bright young people who have worked their way to
diplomas worthily bestowed.

Gaius B. Frost was graduated at the Brattleboro, Vt., High School,
taught district schools six terms, and entered Dartmouth College with
just money enough to pay the first necessary expenses.  He worked in
gardens and as a janitor for some time.  During his course he taught
six terms as principal of a high school, and one year as assistant
superintendent in the Essex County Truant School, at Lawrence, Mass.,
pushed a rolling chair at the Columbian Exposition, Chicago, was porter
one season at Oak Hill House, Littleton, N. H., and canvassed for a
publishing house one summer in Maine.  None of his fellow-students did
more to secure an education.

Isaac J. Cox of Philadelphia worked his way through Kimball Academy,
Meriden, N. H., and through Dartmouth College, doing many kinds of
work.  There was no honest work within the limits of his ability that
he would not undertake to pay his way.  He served summers as waiter in
a White Mountain hotel, finally becoming head-waiter.  Like Mr. Frost,
he ranked well in his classes, and is a young man of solid character
and distinguished attainments.

For four years Richard Weil was noted as the great prize winner of
Columbia College, and for "turning his time, attention and energy to
any work that would bring remuneration."  He would do any honest work
that would bring cash,--and every cent of this money as well as every
hour not spent in sleep throughout the four years of his college course
was devoted to getting his education.

All these and many more from the ranks of the bright and well-trained
young men who have been graduated from the colleges and universities of
the country in recent years believed--sincerely, doggedly
believed--that a college training was something that they must have.
The question of whether or not they could afford it does not appear to
have occasioned much hesitancy on their part.  It is evident that they
did not for one instant think that they could not afford to go to

In an investigation conducted to ascertain exact figures and facts
which a poor boy must meet in working his way through college, it was
found that, in a list of forty-five representative colleges and
universities, having a student population of somewhat over forty
thousand, the average expense per year is three hundred and four
dollars; the average maximum expense, five hundred and twenty-nine
dollars.  In some of the smaller colleges the minimum expense per year
is from seventy-five dollars to one hundred and ten dollars.  There are
many who get along on an expenditure of from one hundred and fifty
dollars to two hundred dollars per year, while the maximum expense
rises in but few instances above one thousand dollars.

In Western and Southern colleges the averages are lower.  For example,
eighteen well-known Western colleges and universities have a general
average expense of two hundred and forty-two dollars per year, while
fourteen as well-known Eastern institutions give an average expense of
four hundred and forty-four dollars.

Statistics of expense, and the opportunities for self-help, at some of
the best known Eastern institutions are full of interest:

Amherst makes a free gift of the tuition to prospective ministers; has
one hundred tuition scholarships for other students of good character,
habits, and standing; has some free rooms; makes loans at low rates;
students have chances to earn money at tutoring, table-waiting,
shorthand, care of buildings, newspaper correspondence, agencies for
laundries, sale of books, etc.  Five hundred dollars a year will defray
all necessary expenses.

Bowdoin has nearly a hundred scholarships, fifty dollars to
seventy-five dollars a year: "no limits placed on habits or social
privileges of recipients;" students getting employment in the library
or laboratories can earn about one-fourth of their expenses; these will
be, for the college year, three hundred dollars to four hundred dollars.

Brown University has over a hundred tuition scholarships and a loan
fund; often remits room rent in return for services about the college
buildings; requires studiousness and economy in the case of assisted
students.  Many students earn money in various ways.  The average
yearly expenditure is five hundred dollars.

The cost at Columbia University averages five hundred and forty-seven
dollars, the lowest being three hundred and eighty-seven dollars.  A
great many students who know how to get on in a great city work their
way through Columbia.

Cornell University gives free tuition and free rooms to seniors and
juniors of good standing in their studies and of good habits.  It has
thirty-six two-year scholarships (two hundred dollars), for freshmen,
won by success in competitive examination.  It has also five hundred
and twelve state tuition scholarships.  Many students support
themselves in part by waiting on table, by shorthand, newspaper work,
etc.  The average yearly expenditure per student is five hundred

Dartmouth has some three hundred scholarships; those above fifty
dollars conditioned on class rank; some rooms at nominal rent;
requirements, economy and total abstinence; work of one sort or another
to be had by needy students; a few get through on less than two hundred
and fifty dollars a year; the average expenditure is about four hundred

Harvard has about two hundred and seventy-five scholarships, sixty
dollars to four hundred dollars apiece, large beneficiary and loan
funds, distributed or loaned in sums of forty dollars to two hundred
and fifty dollars to needy and promising under-graduates; freshmen
(usually) barred; a faculty employment committee; some students earning
money as stenographers, typewriters, reporters, private tutors, clerks,
canvassers, and singers; yearly expenditure (exclusive of clothes,
washing, books, and stationery, laboratory charges, membership in
societies, subscriptions and service), three hundred and fifty-eight
dollars to one thousand and thirty-five dollars.

The University of Pennsylvania in a recent year gave three hundred and
fifteen students forty-three thousand, two hundred and forty-two
dollars in free scholarships and fellowships; no requirements except
good standing.  No money loaned, no free rooms.  Many students support
themselves in part, and a few wholly.  The average expenditure per
year, exclusive of clothes, railway fares, etc., is four hundred and
fifty dollars.

Wesleyan University remits tuition wholly or in part to two-thirds of
its under-graduates.  Loan funds are available.  "Beneficiaries must be
frugal in habits, total abstainers, and maintain good standing and
conduct."  Many students are self-supporting, thirty-five per cent of
the whole undergraduate body earning money.  The yearly expenditure is
three hundred and twenty-five dollars.

Yale is pretty well off now for fellowships and prizes; remits all but
forty dollars of term bills, in case of worthy students, regular in
attendance and studious; many such students earning money for
themselves; average yearly expenditure, about six hundred dollars.

There is a splendid chance for girls at some of the soundest and best
known girls' colleges in the United States.

The number of girls in the University of Michigan who are paying their
own way is large.  "Most of them," says Dr. Eliza M. Mosher, woman's
dean of the college, "have earned the money by teaching.  It is not
unusual for students to come here for two years and go away for a time,
in order to earn money to complete the course.  Some of our most worthy
graduates have done this.  Some lighten their expenses by waiting on
tables in boarding-houses, thus paying for their board.  Others get
room and board in the homes of professors by giving, daily, three hours
of service about the house.  A few take care of children, two or three
hours a day, in the families of the faculty.  One young woman, who is
especially brave and in good earnest, worked as a chambermaid on a lake
steamer last year and hurried away this year to do the same.  It is her
aim to earn one hundred dollars.  With this sum, and a chance to pay
for room and board by giving service, she will pay the coming year's
expenses.  Because it is especially difficult to obtain good servants
in this inland town, there are a few people who are glad to give the
college girls such employment."

"It is my opinion," said Miss Mary E. Woolley, president of Mount
Holyoke College, "that, if a girl with average intelligence and energy
wishes a college education, she can obtain it.  As far as I know, the
girls who have earned money to pay their way through college, at least
in part, have accomplished it by tutoring, typewriting or stenography.
Some of them earn pin-money while in college by tutoring, typewriting,
sewing, summer work in libraries and offices, and in various little
ways such as putting up lunches, taking care of rooms, executing
commissions, and newspaper work.  There are not many opportunities at
Mount Holyoke to earn large amounts of money, but pin-money may be
acquired in many little ways by a girl of ingenuity."

The system of compulsory domestic service obtaining now at Mount
Holyoke--whereby, in return for thirty, or at the most, fifty minutes a
day of light household labor, every student reduces her college
expenses by a hundred dollars or a hundred and fifty,--was formerly in
use at Wellesley; now, however, it is confined there to a few cottages.
It has no foothold at Bryn Mawr, Smith and Vassar, or at the affiliated
colleges, Barnard and Radcliffe.

At city colleges, like the last two mentioned, board and lodging cost
more than in the country; and in general it is more difficult for a
girl to pay any large part of her expenses through her own efforts and
carry on her college work at the same time.

A number of girls in Barnard are, however, paying for their clothes,
books, car fares, etc., by doing what work they can find.  Tutoring in
Barnard is seldom available for the undergraduates, because the lists
are always full of experienced teachers, who can be engaged by the
hour.  Typewriting is one of the favorite resources.  One student has
done particularly well as agent for a firm that makes college caps and
gowns.  Another girl, a Russian Jewess, from the lower East Side, New
York, runs a little "sweat shop," where she keeps a number of women
busy making women's wrappers and children's dresses.  She has paid all
the expenses of her education in this way.

"Do any of your students work their way through?" was asked of a Bryn
Mawr authority.

"Some,--to a certain extent," was the reply; "but not many.  The lowest
entire expenses of a year, are between four hundred and five hundred
and fifty dollars.  This amount includes positively everything.  Two
girls may pay part of their expenses by taking charge of the library,
and by selling stationery; another, by distributing the mail, and
others by 'tutoring'.  Those who 'tutor' receive a dollar, a dollar and
a half, and sometimes a very good one receives two dollars and a half,
a lesson.  But to earn all of one's way in a college year, and at the
same time to keep up in all the studies, is almost impossible, and is
not often done.  Yet several are able to pay half their way."

A similar question put to a Vassar student brought the following

"Why, yes, I know a girl who has a sign on the door of her
room,--'Dresses pressed,'--and she earns a good deal of money, too.  Of
course, there are many wealthy girls here who are always having
something like that done, and who are willing to pay well for it.  And
so this girl makes a large sum of money, evenings and Saturdays.

"There are other girls who are agents for two of the great
manufacturers of chocolate creams.

"The girl that plays the piano for the exercises in the gymnasium is
paid for that, and some of the girls paint and make fancy articles,
which they sell here, or send to the stores in New York, to be sold.
Some of them write for the newspapers and magazines, too, and still
others have pupils in music, etc., in Poughkeepsie.  Yes, there are a
great many girls who manage to pay most of their expenses."

Typewriting, tutoring, assistance rendered in library or laboratory or
office, furnish help to many a girl who wishes to help herself, in
nearly every college.  Beside these standard employments, teaching in
evening schools occasionally offers a good opportunity for steady eking
out of means.

In many colleges there is opportunity for a girl with taste and cunning
fingers to act as a dressmaker, repairer, and general refurnisher to
students with generous allowances.  Orders for gymnasium suits and
swimming suits mean good profits.  The reign of the shirt-waist has
been a boon to many, for the well-dressed girl was never known to have
enough pretty ones, and by a judicious display of attractive samples
she is easily tempted to enlarge her supply.  Then, too, any girl who
is at all deft in the art of sewing can make a shirt-waist without a
professional knowledge of cutting and fitting.

No boy or girl in America to-day who has good health, good morals and
good grit need despair of getting a college education unless there are
extremely unusual reasons against the undertaking.

West of the Alleghanies a college education is accessible to all
classes.  In most of the state universities tuition is free.  In
Kansas, for example, board and a room can be had for twelve dollars a
month; the college fees are five dollars a year, while the average
expenditure of the students does not exceed two hundred dollars per
annum.  In Ohio, the state university has abolished all tuition fees;
and most of the denominational colleges demand fees even lower than
were customary in New England half a century ago.  Partly by reason of
the cheapness of a college education in Ohio, that state now sends more
students to college than all of New England.  Yet if the total cost is
less in the West, on the other hand, the opportunities for self-help
are correspondingly more in the East.  Every young man or woman should
weigh the matter well before concluding that a college education is out
of the question.

Former President Tucker of Dartmouth says: "The student who works his
way may do it with ease and profit; or he may be seriously handicapped
both by his necessities and the time he is obliged to bestow on outside
matters.  I have seen the sons of rich men lead in scholarship, and the
sons of poor men.  Poverty under most of the conditions in which we
find it in colleges is a spur.  Dartmouth College, I think, furnishes a
good example.  The greater part of its patronage is from poor men.
Without examining the statistics, I should say, from facts that have
fallen under my observation, that a larger percentage of Dartmouth men
have risen to distinction than those of almost any other American

The opportunities of to-day are tenfold what they were half a century
ago.  Former President Schurman of Cornell says of his early life: "At
the age of thirteen I left home.  I hadn't definite plans as to my
future.  I merely wanted to get into a village, and to earn some money.

"My father got me a place in the nearest town,--Summerside,--a village
of about one thousand inhabitants.  For my first year's work I was to
receive thirty dollars and my board.  Think of that, young men of
to-day!  Thirty dollars a year for working from seven in the morning
until ten at night!  But I was glad to get the place.  It was a start
in the world, and the little village was like a city to my country eyes.

"From the time I began working in the store until to-day, I have always
supported myself, and during all the years of my boyhood I never
received a penny that I did not earn myself.  At the end of my first
year, I went to a larger store in the same town, where I was to receive
sixty dollars a year and my board.  My salary was doubled; I was
getting on swimmingly.

"I kept this place for two years, and then I gave it up, against the
wishes of my employer, because I had made up my mind that I wanted to
get a better education.  I determined to go to college.

"I did not know how I was going to do this, except that it must be by
my own efforts.  I had saved about eighty dollars from my
store-keeping, and that was all the money I had in the world.

"When I told my employer of my plan, he tried to dissuade me from it.
He pointed out the difficulties in the way of my going to college, and
offered to double my pay if I would stay in the store.

"That was the turning-point in my life.  In one side was the certainty
of one hundred and twenty dollars a year, and the prospect of promotion
as fast as I deserved it.  Remember what one hundred and twenty dollars
meant on Prince Edward Island, and to me, a poor boy who had never
possessed such a sum in his life.  On the other side was my hope of
obtaining an education.  I knew that it involved hard work and
self-denial, and there was the possibility of failure in the end.  But
my mind was made up.  I would not turn back.  I need not say that I do
not regret that early decision, although I think that I should have
made a successful storekeeper.

"With my capital of eighty dollars, I began to attend the village high
school, to get my preparation for college.  I had only one year to do
it in.  My money would not last longer than that.  I recited in Latin,
Greek, and algebra, all on the same day, and for the next forty weeks I
studied harder than I ever had before or have since.  At the end of the
year I entered the competitive examination for a scholarship in Prince
of Wales College, at Charlottetown, on the Island.  I had small hope of
winning it, my preparation had been so hasty and incomplete.  But when
the result was announced, I found that I had not only won the
scholarship from my county, but stood first of all the competitors on
the Island.

"The scholarship I had won amounted to only sixty dollars a year.  It
seems little enough, but I can say now, after nearly thirty years, that
the winning of it was the greatest success I ever have had.  I have had
other rewards, which, to most persons, would seem immeasurably greater,
but with this difference: that first success was essential; without it
I could not have gone on.  The others I could have done without, if it
had been necessary."

For two years young Schurman attended Prince of Wales College.  He
lived on his scholarship and what he could earn by keeping books for
one of the town storekeepers, spending less than one hundred dollars
during the entire college year.  Afterward, he taught a country school
for a year, and then went to Acadia College in Nova Scotia to complete
his course.

One of Mr. Schurman's fellow-students in Acadia says that he was
remarkable chiefly for taking every prize to which he was eligible.  In
his senior year, he learned of a scholarship in the University of
London offered for competition by the students of Canadian colleges.
The scholarship paid five hundred dollars a year for three years.  The
young student in Acadia was ambitious to continue his studies in
England, and saw in this offer his opportunity.  He tried the
examination and won the prize, in competition with the brightest
students in the larger Canadian colleges.

During the three years in the University of London, Mr. Schurman became
deeply interested in the study of philosophy, and decided that he had
found in it his life-work.  He was eager to go to Germany to study
under the great leaders of philosophic thought.  A way was opened for
him, through the offer of the Hibbard Society, in London, of a
traveling fellowship with two thousand dollars a year.  The honor men
of the great English Universities like Oxford and Cambridge were among
the competitors, but the poor country boy from Prince Edward Island was
again successful, greatly to the surprise of the others.

At the end of his course in Germany, Mr. Schurman, then a Doctor of
Philosophy, returned to Acadia College to become a teacher there.  Soon
afterward, he was called to Dalhousie University, at Halifax, Nova
Scotia.  In 1886, when a chair of philosophy was established at
Cornell, President White, who had once met the brilliant young
Canadian, called him to that position.  Two years later, Dr. Schurman
became dean of the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell; and, in 1892,
when the president's chair became vacant, he was placed at the head of
the great university.  At that time he was only thirty-eight years of

A well-known graduate of Amherst college gives the following figures,
which to the boy who earnestly wants to go to college are of the most
pertinent interest:

"I entered college with $8.42 in my pocket.  During the year I earned
$60; received from the college a scholarship of $60, and an additional
gift of $20; borrowed $190.  My current expenses during my freshman
year were $4.50 per week.  Besides this I spent $10.55 for books;
$23.45 for clothing; $10.57 for voluntary subscriptions; $15 for
railroad fares; $8.24 for sundries.

"During the next summer I earned $100.  I waited on table at a $4
boarding-house all of my sophomore year, and earned half board,
retaining my old room at $1 per week.  The expenses of the sophomore
year were $394.50.  I earned during the year, including board, $87.20;
received a scholarship of $70, and gifts amounting to $12.50, and
borrowed $150, with all of which I just covered expenses.

"In my junior year I engaged a nice furnished room at $60 per year,
which I agreed to pay for by work about the house.  By clerical work,
etc., I earned $37; also earned full board waiting upon table; received
$70 for a scholarship; $55 from gifts; borrowed $70, which squared my
accounts for the year, excepting $40 due on tuition.  The expenses for
the year, including, of course, the full value of board, room, and
tuition, were $478.76.

"During the following summer I earned $40.  Throughout the senior year
I retained the same room, under the same conditions as the previous
year.  I waited on table all the year, and received full board; earned
by clerical work, tutoring, etc., $40; borrowed $40; secured a
scholarship of $70; took a prize of $25; received a gift of $35.  The
expenses of the senior year, $496.64 were necessarily heavier than
these of previous years.  But having secured a good position as teacher
for the coming year, I was permitted to give my note for the amount I
could not raise, and so was enabled to graduate without financial

"The total expense for the course was about $1,708; of which (counting
scholarships as earnings) I earned $1,157."

Twenty-five of the young men graduated at Yale not long ago paid their
way entirely throughout their courses.  It seemed as if they left
untried no avenue for earning money.  Tutoring, copying, newspaper
work, and positions as clerks were well-occupied fields; and painters,
drummers, founders, machinists, bicycle agents, and mail carriers were
numbered among the twenty-five.

In a certain district in Boston there are ten thousand students.  Many
of them come from the country and from factory towns.  A large number
come from the farms of the West.  Many of these students are paying for
their education by money earned by their own hands.  It is said that
unearned money does not enrich.  The money that a student earns for his
own education does enrich his life.  It is true gold.

Every young man or woman should weigh the matter well before concluding
that a college education is out of the question.

If Henry Wilson, working early and late on a farm with scarcely any
opportunities to go to school, bound out until he was twenty-one for
only a yoke of oxen and six sheep, could manage to read a thousand good
books before his time had expired; if the slave Frederick Douglass, on
a plantation where it was almost a crime to teach a slave to read,
could manage from scraps of paper, posters on barns, and old almanacs,
to learn the alphabet and lift himself to eminence; if the poor deaf
boy Kitto, who made shoes in an alms-house, could become the greatest
Biblical scholar of his age, where is the boy or girl to-day, under the
American flag, who cannot get a fair education and escape the many
disadvantages of ignorance?

"If a man empties his purse into his head," says Franklin, "no man can
take it away from him.  An investment in knowledge always pays the best



Never before was the opportunity of the educated man so great as
to-day.  Never before was there such a demand for the trained man, _the
man who can do a thing superbly well_.  At the door of every vocation
is a sign out, "Wanted--a man."  No matter how many millions are out of
employment, the whole world is hunting for a man who can do things; a
trained thinker who can do whatever he undertakes a little better than
it has ever before been done.  Everywhere it is the educated, the
trained man, the man whose natural ability has been enlarged, enhanced
one hundredfold by superior training, that is wanted.

On all sides we see men with small minds, but who are well educated,
pushing ahead of those who have greater capabilities, but who are only
half educated.  A one-talent man, superbly trained, often gets the
place when a man with many untrained or half-trained talents loses it.
Never was ignorance placed at such a disadvantage as to-day.

While the opportunities awaiting the educated man, the college
graduate, on his entrance into practical life were never before so
great and so numerous as to-day, so also the dangers and temptations
which beset him were never before so great, so numerous, so insidious.

All education which does not elevate, refine, and ennoble its recipient
is a curse instead of a blessing.  A liberal education only renders a
rascal more dishonest, more dangerous.  _Educated rascality is
infinitely more of a menace to society than ignorant rascality_.

Every year, thousands of young men and young women graduate full of
ambition and hope, full of expectancy, go out from the schools, the
colleges, and the universities, with their diplomas, to face for the
first time the practical world.

There is nothing else, perhaps, which the graduate needs to be
cautioned against more than the money madness which has seized the
American people, for nothing else is more fatal to the development of
the higher, finer instincts and nobler desires.

Wealth with us multiplies a man's power so tremendously that everything
gravitates toward it.  A man's genius, art, what he stands for, is
measured largely by how many dollars it will bring.  "How much can I
get for my picture?"  "How much royalty for my book?"  "How much can I
get out of my specialty, my profession, my business?"  "How can I make
the most money?" or "How can I get rich?" is the great interrogation of
the century.  How will the graduate, the trained young man or woman
answer it?

The dollar stands out so strongly in all the undertakings of life that
the ideal is often lowered or lost, the artistic suffers, the soul's
wings are weighted down with gold.  The commercial spirit tends to drag
everything down to its dead, sordid level.  It is the subtle menace
which threatens to poison the graduate's ambition.  _Whichever way you
turn, the dollar-mark will swing info your vision_.  The money-god,
which nearly everybody worships in some form or other, will tempt you
on every hand.

Never before was such pressure brought to bear on the trained youth to
sell his brains, to coin his ability into dollars, to prostitute his
education, as to-day.  The commercial prizes held up to him are so
dazzling, so astounding, that it takes a strong, vigorous character to
resist their temptation, even when the call in one to do something
which bears little relation to money-making speaks very loudly.

The song of the money-siren to-day is so persistent, so entrancing, so
overwhelming that it often drowns the still small voice which bids one
follow the call that runs in his blood, that is indicated in the very
structure in his brain.

Tens of thousands of young people just out of school and college stand
tiptoe on the threshold of active life, with high ideals and glorious
visions, full of hope and big with promise, but many of them will very
quickly catch the money contagion; the fatal germ will spread through
their whole natures, inoculating their ambition with its vicious virus,
and, after a few years, their fair college vision will fade, their
yearnings for something higher will gradually die and be replaced by
material, sordid, selfish ideals.

The most unfortunate day in a youth's career is that one on which his
ideals begin to grow dim and his high standards begin to drop; that day
on which is born in him the selfish, money-making germ, which so often
warps and wrenches the whole nature out of its legitimate orbit.

You will need to be constantly on your guard to resist the attack of
this germ.  After you graduate and go out into the world, powerful
influences will be operative in your life, tending to deteriorate your
standards, lower your ideals, and encoarsen you generally.

When you plunge into the swim of things, you will be constantly thrown
into contact with those of lower ideals, who are actuated only by
sordid, selfish aims.  Then dies the man, the woman in you, unless you
are made of superior stuff.

What a contrast that high and noble thing which the college diploma
stands for presents to that which many owners of the diploma stand for
a quarter of a century later!  It is often difficult to recognize any
relationship between the two.

American-Indian graduates, who are so transformed by the inspiring,
uplifting influences of the schools and colleges which are educating
them that they are scarcely recognizable by their own tribes when they
return home, very quickly begin to change under the deteriorating
influences operating upon them when they leave college.  They soon
begin to shed their polish, their fine manners, their improved
language, and general culture; the Indian blanket replaces their modern
dress, and they gradually drift back into their former barbarism.  They
become Indians again.

The influences that will surround you when you leave college or your
special training school will be as potent to drag you down as those
that cause the young Indian to revert to barbarism.  The shock you will
receive in dropping from the atmosphere of high ideals and beautiful
promise in which you have lived for four years to that of a very
practical, cold, sordid materiality will be a severe test to your
character, your manhood.

But the graduate whose training, whose education counts for anything
ought to be able to resist the shock, to withstand all temptations.

The educated man ought to be able to do something better, something
higher than merely to put money in his purse.  Money-making can not
compare with man-making.  There is something infinitely better than to
be a millionaire of money, and that is to be a millionaire of brains,
of culture, of helpfulness to one's fellows, a millionaire of
character--a gentleman.

Whatever degrees you carry from school or college, whatever distinction
you may acquire in your career, no title will ever mean quite so much,
will ever be quite so noble, as that of gentleman.

"A keen and sure sense of honor," says Ex-President Eliot, of Harvard
University, "is the finest result of college life."  The graduate who
has not acquired this keen and sure sense of honor, this thing that
stamps the gentleman, misses the best thing that a college education
can impart.

Your future, fortunate graduate, like a great block of pure white
marble, stands untouched before you.  You hold the chisel and
mallet--your ability, your education--in your hands.  There is
something in the block for you, and it lives in your ideal.  Shall it
be angel or devil?  What are your ideals, as you stand tiptoe on the
threshold of active life?  Will you smite the block and shatter it into
an unshapely or hideous piece; or will you call out a statue of
usefulness, of grace and beauty, a statue which will tell the unborn
generations the story of a noble life?

Great advantages bring great responsibilities.  You can not divorce
them.  A liberal education greatly increases a man's obligations.
There is coupled with it a responsibility which you can not shirk
without paying the penalty in a shriveled soul, a stunted mentality, a
warped conscience, and a narrow field of usefulness.  It is more of a
disgrace for a college graduate to grovel, to stoop to mean, low
practises, than for a man who has not had a liberal education.  The
educated man has gotten a glimpse of power, of grander things, and he
is expected to look up, not down, to aspire, not to grovel.

We cannot help feeling that it is worse for a man to go wrong who has
had all the benefits of a liberal education, than it is for one who has
not had glimpses of higher things, who has not had similar advantages,
because where much is given, much is expected.  The world has a right
to expect that wherever there is an educated, trained man people should
be able to say of him as Lincoln said of Walt Whitman, "There goes a

The world has a right to expect that the graduate, having once faced
the light and felt its power, will not turn his back on it; that he
will not disgrace his _alma mater_ which has given him his superior
chance in life and opened wide for him the door of opportunity.  It has
a right to expect that a man who has learned how to use skilfully the
tools of life, will be an artist and not an artisan; that he will not
stop growing.  Society has a right to look to the collegian to be a
refining, uplifting force in his community, an inspiration to those who
have not had his priceless chance; it is justified in expecting that he
will raise the standard of intelligence in his community; that he will
illustrate in his personality, his finer culture, the possible glory of
life.  It has a right to expect that he will not be a victim of the
narrowing, cramping influence of avarice; that he will not be a slave
of the dollar or stoop to a greedy, grasping career: that he will be
free from the sordidness which often characterizes the rich ignoramus.

If you have the ability and have been given superior opportunities, it
simply means that you have a great commission to do something out of
the ordinary for your fellows; a special message for humanity.

If the torch of learning has been put in your hand, its significance is
that you should light up the way for the less fortunate.

If you have received a message which carries freedom for people
enslaved by ignorance and bigotry, you have no right to suppress it.
Your education means an increased obligation to live your life up to
the level of your gift, your superior opportunity.  Your duty is to
deliver your message to the world with all the manliness, vigor, and
force you possess.

What shall we think of a man who has been endowed with godlike gifts,
who has had the inestimable advantage of a liberal education, who has
ability to ameliorate the hard conditions of his fellows, to help to
emancipate them from ignorance and drudgery; what shall we think of
this man, so divinely endowed, so superbly equipped, who, instead of
using his education to lift his fellow men, uses it to demoralize, to
drag them down; who employs his talents in the book he writes, in the
picture he paints, in his business, whatever it may be, to mislead, to
demoralize, to debauch; who uses his light as a decoy to lure his
fellows on the rocks and reefs, instead of as a beacon to guide them
into port?

We imprison the burglar for breaking into our houses and stealing, but
what shall we do with the educated rascal who uses his trained mind and
all his gifts to ruin the very people who look up to him as a guide?

"The greatest thing you can do is to be what you ought to be."

A great man has said that no man will be content to live a half life
when he has once discovered it is a half life, because the other half,
the higher half, will haunt him.  Your superior training has given you
a glimpse of the higher life.  Never lose sight of your college vision.
Do not permit yourself to be influenced by the maxims of a low, sordid
prudence, which will be dinned into your ears wherever you go.  Regard
the very suggestion that you shall coin your education, your high
ideals into dollars; that you lower your standards, prostitute your
education by the practise of low-down, sordid methods, as an insult.

Say to yourself, "_If the highest thing in me will not bring success,
surely the lowest, the worst, cannot._"

The mission of the trained man is to show the world a higher, finer
type of manhood.

The world has a right to expect better results from the work of the
educated man; something finer, of a higher grade, and better quality,
than from the man who lacks early training, the man who has discovered
only a small part of himself.  "Pretty good," "Fairly good," applied
either to character or to work are bad mottoes for an educated man.
You should be able to demonstrate that the man with a diploma has
learned to use the tools of life skilfully; has learned how to focus
his faculties so that he can bring the whole man to his task, and not a
part of himself.  Low ideals, slipshod work, aimless, systemless,
half-hearted endeavors, should have no place in your program.

It is a disgrace for a man with a liberal education to botch his work,
demoralize his ideals, discredit his teachers, dishonor the institution
which has given him his chance to be a superior man.

"Keep your eye on the model, don't watch your hands," is the injunction
of a great master as he walks up and down among his pupils, criticizing
their work.  The trouble with most of us is that we do not keep our
eyes on the model; we lose our earlier vision.  A liberal education
ought to broaden a man's mind so that he will be able to keep his eye
always on the model, the perfect ideal of his work, uninfluenced by the
thousand and one petty annoyances, bickerings, misunderstandings, and
discords which destroy much of the efficiency of narrower, less
cultivated minds.

The graduate ought to be able to rise above these things so that he can
use all his brain power and energy and fling the weight of his entire
being into work that is worth while.

After the withdrawal of a play that has been only a short time on the
stage, we often read this comment, "An artistic success, but a
financial failure."  While an education should develop all that is
highest and best in a man, it should also make him a practical man, not
a financial failure.  Be sure that you possess your knowledge, that
your knowledge does not possess you.

The mere possession of a diploma will only hold you up to ridicule,
will only make you more conspicuous as a failure, if you cannot bring
your education to a focus and utilize it in a practical way.

_Knowledge is power only when it can be made available, practical_.

Only what you can use of your education will benefit you or the world.

The great question which confronts you in the practical world is "What
can you do with what you know?"  Can you transmute your knowledge into
power?  Your ability to read your Latin diploma is not a test of true
education; a stuffed memory does not make an educated man.  The
knowledge that can be utilized, that can be translated into power,
constitutes the only education worthy of the name.  There are thousands
of college-bred men in this country, who are loaded down with knowledge
that they have never been able to utilize, to make available for
working purposes.  There is a great difference between absorbing
knowledge, making a sponge of one's brain, and transmuting every bit of
knowledge into power, into working capital.

As the silkworm transmutes the mulberry leaf into satin, so you should
transmute your knowledge into practical wisdom.

There is no situation in life in which the beneficent influence of a
well-assimilated education will not make itself felt.

The college man _ought_ to be a superb figure anywhere.  The
consciousness of being well educated should put one at ease in any
society.  The knowledge that one's mentality has been broadened out by
college training, that one has discovered his possibilities, not only
adds wonderfully to one's happiness, but also increases one's
self-confidence immeasurably, and _self-confidence is the lever that
moves the world_.  On every hand we see men of good ability who feel
crippled all their lives and are often mortified, by having to confess,
by the poverty of their language, their sordid ideals, their narrow
outlook on life, that they are not educated.  The superbly trained man
can go through the world with his head up and feel conscious that he is
not likely to play the ignoramus in any company, or be mortified or
pained by ignorance of matters which every well-informed person is
supposed to know.  This assurance of knowledge multiplies
self-confidence and gives infinite satisfaction.

In other words, a liberal education makes a man think a little more of
himself, feel a little surer of himself, have more faith in himself,
because he has discovered himself.  There is also great satisfaction in
the knowledge that one has not neglected the unfoldment and expansion
of his mind, that he has not let the impressionable years of youth go
by unimproved.

But the best thing you carry from your _alma mater_ is not what you
there prized most, not your knowledge of the sciences, languages,
literature, art; it is something infinitely more sacred, of greater
value than all these, and that is _your aroused ambition, your
discovery of yourself, of your powers, of your possibilities; your
resolution to be a little more of a man, to play a manly part in life,
to do the greatest, grandest thing possible to you_.  This will mean
infinitely more to you than all you have learned from books or lectures.

The most precious thing of all, however, if you have made the most of
your chance, is the uplift, encouragement, inspiration, which you have
absorbed from your teachers, from your associations; this is the
embodiment of the college spirit, the spirit of your _alma mater_; it
is that which should make you reach up as well as on, which should make
you aspire instead of grovel--look up, instead of down.

The graduate should regard his education as a sacred trust.  He should
look upon it as a power to be used, not alone for his advancement, or
for his own selfish ends, but for the betterment of all mankind.  As a
matter of fact, things are so arranged in this world that no one can
use his divine gift for himself alone and get the best out of it.  To
try to keep it would be as foolish as for the farmer to hoard his seed
corn in a bin instead of giving it to the earth, for fear he would
never get it back.

The man who withholds the giving of himself to the world, does it at
his peril, at the cost of mental and moral penury.

The way to get the most out of ourselves, or out of life, is not to try
to _sell_ ourselves for the highest possible price but to _give_
ourselves, not stingily, meanly, but _royally, magnanimously, to our
fellows_.  If the rosebud should try to retain all of its sweetness and
beauty locked within its petals and refuse to give it out, it would be
lost.  It is only by flinging them out to the world that their fullest
development is possible.  The man who tries to keep his education, his
superior advantages for himself, who is always looking out for the main
chance, only shrivels, and strangles the very faculties he would

The trouble with most of us is that, in our efforts to sell ourselves
for selfish ends or for the most dollars, we impoverish our own lives,
stifle our better natures.

The graduate should show the world that he has something in him too
sacred to be tampered with, something marked "not for sale," a sacred
something that bribery cannot touch, that influence cannot buy.  You
should so conduct yourself that every one will see that there is
something in you that would repel as an insult the very suggestion that
you could be bought or bribed, or influenced to stoop to anything low
or questionable.

The college man who is cursed with commonness, who gropes along in
mediocrity, who lives a shiftless, selfish life, and does not lift up
his head and show that he has made the most of his great privileges
disgraces the institution that gave him his chance.

You have not learned the best lesson from your school or college if you
have not discovered the secret of making life a glory instead of a
sordid grind.  When you leave your _alma mater_, my young friend,
whatever your vocation, do not allow all that is finest within you,
your high ideals and noble purposes to be suffocated, strangled, in the
everlasting scramble for the dollar.  Put beauty into your life, do not
let your esthetic faculties, your aspiring instincts, be atrophied in
your efforts to make a living.  Do not, as thousands of graduates do,
sacrifice your social instincts, your friendships, your good name, for
power or position.

Whether you make money or lose it, never sell your divine heritage,
your good name, for a mess of pottage.  Whatever you do, be larger than
your vocation; never let it be said of you that you succeeded in your
vocation, but failed as a man.

When William Story, the sculptor, was asked to make a speech at the
unveiling of his great statue of George Peabody, in London, he simply
pointed to the statue and said, "_That is my speech._"

So conduct yourself that your life shall need no eulogy in words.  Let
it be its own eulogy, let your success tell to the world the story of a
noble career.  However much money you may accumulate, carry your
greatest wealth with you, in _a clean record, an unsullied reputation_.
Then you will not need houses or lands or stocks or bonds to testify to
a rich life.

Never before did an opportunity to render such great service to mankind
confront the educated youth as confronts you to-day.  WHAT WILL YOU DO



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

There is hardly a poet, artist, philosopher, or man of science
mentioned in the history of the human intellect, whose genius was not
opposed by parents, guardians, or teachers.  In these cases Nature
seems to have triumphed by direct interposition; to have insisted on
her darlings having their rights, and encouraged disobedience, secrecy,
falsehood, even flight from home and occasional vagabondism, rather
than the world should lose what it cost her so much pains to
produce.--E. P. WHIPPLE.

  I hear a voice you cannot hear,
    Which says, I must not stay;
  I see a hand you cannot see,
    Which beckons me away.

"James Watt, I never saw such an idle young fellow as you are," said
his grandmother; "do take a book and employ yourself usefully.  For the
last half-hour you have not spoken a single word.  Do you know what you
have been doing all this time?  Why, you have taken off and replaced,
and taken off again, the teapot lid, and you have held alternately in
the steam, first a saucer and then a spoon, and you have busied
yourself in examining and, collecting together the little drops formed
by the condensation of the steam on the surface of the china and the
silver.  Now, are you not ashamed to waste your time in this
disgraceful manner?"

The world has certainly gained much through the old lady's failure to
tell James how he could employ his time to better advantage!

"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.

You cannot look into a cradle and read the secret message traced by a
divine hand and wrapped up in that bit of clay, any more than you can
see the North Star in the magnetic needle.  God has loaded the needle
of that young life so it will point to the star of its own destiny; and
though you may pull it around by artificial advice and unnatural
education, and compel it to point to the star which presides over
poetry, art, law, medicine, or whatever your own pet calling is until
you have wasted years of a precious life, yet, when once free, the
needle flies back to its own star.

"Rue it as he may, repent it as he often does," says Robert Waters,
"the man of genius is drawn by an irresistible impulse to the
occupation for which he was created.  No matter by what difficulties
surrounded, no matter how unpromising the prospect, this occupation is
the only one which he will pursue with interest and pleasure.  When his
efforts fail to procure means of subsistence, and he finds himself poor
and neglected, he may, like Burns, often look back with a sigh and
think how much better off he would be had he pursued some other
occupation, but he will stick to his favorite pursuit nevertheless."

Civilization will mark its highest tide when every man has chosen his
proper work.  No man can be ideally successful until he has found his
place.  Like a locomotive, he is strong on the track, but weak anywhere
else.  "Like a boat on a river," says Emerson, "every boy runs against
obstructions on every side but one.  On that side all obstruction is
taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an
infinite sea."

Only a Dickens can write the history of "Boy Slavery," of boys whose
aspirations and longings have been silenced forever by ignorant
parents; of boys persecuted as lazy, stupid, or fickle, simply because
they were out of their places; of square boys forced into round holes,
and oppressed because they did not fit; of boys compelled to pore over
dry theological books when the voice within continually cried "Law,"
"Medicine," "Art," "Science," or "Business"; of boys tortured because
they were not enthusiastic in employments which they loathed, and
against which every fiber of their being was uttering perpetual protest.

It is often a narrow selfishness in a father which leads him to wish
his son a reproduction of himself.  "You are trying to make that boy
another you.  One is enough," said Emerson.  John Jacob Astor's father
wished his son to be his successor as a butcher, but the instinct of
commercial enterprise was too strong in the future merchant.

Nature never duplicates men.  She breaks the pattern at every birth.
The magic combination is never used but once.  Frederick the Great was
terribly abused because he had a passion for art and music and did not
care for military drill.  His father hated the fine arts and imprisoned
him.  He even contemplated killing his son, but his own death placed
Frederick on the throne at the age of twenty-eight.  This boy, who,
because he loved art and music, was thought good for nothing, made
Prussia one of the greatest nations of Europe.

How stupid and clumsy is the blinking eagle at perch, but how keen his
glance, how steady and true his curves, when turning his powerful wing
against the clear blue sky!

Ignorant parents compelled the boy Arkwright to become a barber's
apprentice, but Nature had locked up in his brain a cunning device
destined to bless humanity and to do the drudgery of millions of
England's poor; so he must needs say "hands off" even to his parents,
as Christ said to his mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about my
Father's business?"

Galileo was set apart for a physician, but when compelled to study
anatomy and physiology, he would hide his Euclid and Archimedes and
stealthily work out the abstruse problems.  He was only eighteen when
he discovered the principle of the pendulum in a lamp left swinging in
the cathedral at Pisa.  He invented both the microscope and telescope,
enlarging knowledge of the vast and minute alike.

The parents of Michael Angelo had declared that no son of theirs should
ever follow the discreditable profession of an artist, and even
punished him for covering the walls and furniture with sketches; but
the fire burning in his breast was kindled by the Divine Artist, and
would not let him rest until he had immortalized himself in the
architecture of St. Peter's, in the marble of his Moses, and on the
walls of the Sistine Chapel.

Pascal's father determined that his son should teach the dead
languages, but the voice of mathematics drowned every other call,
haunting the boy until he laid aside his grammar for Euclid.

The father of Joshua Reynolds rebuked his son for drawing pictures, and
wrote on one: "Done by Joshua out of pure idleness."  Yet this "idle
boy" became one of the founders of the Royal Academy.

Turner was intended for a barber in Maiden Lane, but became the
greatest landscape-painter of modern times.

Claude Lorraine, the painter, was apprenticed to a pastry-cook;
Molière, the author, to an upholsterer; and Guido, the famous painter
of Aurora, was sent to a music school.

Schiller was sent to study surgery in the military school at Stuttgart,
but in secret he produced his first play, "The Robbers," the first
performance of which he had to witness in disguise.  The irksomeness of
his prison-like school so galled him, and his longing for authorship so
allured him, that he ventured, penniless, into the inhospitable world
of letters.  A kind lady aided him, and soon he produced the two
splendid dramas which made him immortal.

The physician Handel wished his son to become a lawyer, and so tried to
discourage his fondness for music.  But the boy got an old spinet and
practiced on it secretly in a hayloft.  When the doctor visited a
brother in the service of the Duke of Weisenfelds, he took his son with
him.  The boy wandered unobserved to the organ in a chapel, and soon
had a private concert under full blast.  The duke happened to hear the
performance, and wondered who could possibly combine so much melody
with so much evident unfamiliarity with the instrument.  The boy was
brought before him, and the duke, instead of blaming him for disturbing
the organ, praised his performance, and persuaded Dr. Handel to let his
son follow his bent.

Daniel Defoe had been a trader, a soldier, a merchant, a secretary, a
factory manager, a commissioner's accountant, an envoy, and an author
of several indifferent books, before he wrote his masterpiece,
"Robinson Crusoe."

Wilson, the ornithologist, failed in five different professions before
he found his place.

Erskine spent four years in the navy, and then, in the hope of more
rapid promotion, joined the army.  After serving more than two years,
he one day, out of curiosity, attended a court, in the town where his
regiment was quartered.  The presiding judge, an acquaintance, invited
Erskine to sit near him, and said that the pleaders at the bar were
among the most eminent lawyers of Great Britain.  Erskine took their
measure as they spoke, and believed he could excel them.  He at once
began the study of law, in which he eventually soon stood alone as the
greatest forensic orator of his country.

A. T. Stewart studied for the ministry, and became a teacher, before he
drifted into his proper calling as a merchant, through the accident of
having lent money to a friend.  The latter, with failure imminent,
insisted that his creditor should take the shop as the only means of
securing the money.

"Jonathan," said Mr. Chase, 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.

It has been well said that if God should commission two angels, one to
sweep a street crossing, and the other to rule an empire, they could
not be induced to exchange callings.  Not less true is it that he who
feels that God has given him a particular work to do can be happy only
when earnestly engaged in its performance.  Happy the youth who finds
the place which his dreams have pictured!  If he does not fill that
place, he will not fill any to the satisfaction of himself or others.
Nature never lets a man rest until he has found his place.  She haunts
him and drives him until all his faculties give their consent and he
falls into his proper niche.  A parent might just as well decide that
the magnetic needle will point to Venus or Jupiter without trying it,
as to decide what profession his son shall adopt.

What a ridiculous exhibition a great truck-horse would make on the
race-track; yet this is no more incongruous than the popular idea that
law, medicine, and theology are the only desirable professions.  How
ridiculous, too, for fifty-two per cent. of our American college
graduates to study law!  How many young men become poor clergymen by
trying to imitate their fathers who were good ones; of poor doctors and
lawyers for the same reason!  The country is full of men who are out of
place, "disappointed, soured, ruined, out of office, out of money, out
of credit, out of courage, out at elbows, out in the cold."  The fact
is, nearly every college graduate who succeeds in the true sense of the
word, prepares himself in school, but makes himself after he is
graduated.  The best thing his teachers have taught him is _how_ to
study.  The moment he is beyond the college walls he ceases to use
books and helps which do not feed him, and seizes upon those that do.

[Illustration: Ulysses S. Grant]

We must not jump to the conclusion that because a man has not succeeded
in what he has really tried to do with all his might, he cannot succeed
at anything.  Look at a fish floundering on the sand as though he would
tear himself to pieces.  But look again: a huge wave breaks higher up
the beach and covers the unfortunate creature.  The moment his fins
feel the water, he is himself again, and darts like a flash through the
waves.  His fins mean something now, while before they beat the air and
earth in vain, a hindrance instead of a help.

If you fail after doing your level best, examine the work attempted,
and see if it really be in the line of your bent or power of
achievement.  Cowper failed as a lawyer.  He was so timid that he could
not plead a case, but he wrote some of our finest poems.  Molière found
that he was not adapted to the work of a lawyer, but he left a great
name in literature.  Voltaire and Petrarch abandoned the law, the
former choosing philosophy, the latter, poetry.  Cromwell was a farmer
until forty years old.

Very few of us, before we reach our teens, show great genius or even
remarkable talent for any line of work or study.  The great majority of
boys and girls, even when given all the latitude and longitude heart
could desire, find it very difficult before their fifteenth or even
before their twentieth year to decide what to do for a living.  Each
knocks at the portals of the mind, demanding a wonderful aptitude for
some definite line of work, but it is not there.  That is no reason why
the duty at hand should be put off, or why the labor that naturally
falls to one's lot should not be done well.  Samuel Smiles was trained
to a profession which was not to his taste, yet he practiced it so
faithfully that it helped him to authorship, for which he was well

Fidelity to the work or everyday duties at hand, and a genuine feeling
of responsibility to our parents or employers, ourselves, and our God,
will eventually bring most of us into the right niches at the proper

Garfield would not have become President if he had not previously been
a zealous teacher, a responsible soldier, a conscientious statesman.
Neither Lincoln nor Grant started as a baby with a precocity for the
White House, or an irresistible genius for ruling men.  So no one
should be disappointed because he was not endowed with tremendous gifts
in the cradle.  His business is to do the best he can wherever his lot
may be cast, and advance at every honorable opportunity in the
direction towards which the inward monitor points.  Let duty be the
guiding-star, and success will surely be the crown, to the full measure
of one's ability and industry.

What career?  What shall my life's work be?

If instinct and heart ask for carpentry, be a carpenter; if for
medicine, be a physician.  With a firm choice and earnest work, a young
man or woman cannot help but succeed.  But if there be no instinct, or
if it be weak or faint, one should choose cautiously along the line of
his best adaptability and opportunity.  No one need doubt that the
world has use for him.  True success lies in acting well your part, and
this every one can do.  Better be a first-rate hod-carrier than a
second-rate anything.

The world has been very kind to many who were once known as dunces or
blockheads, after they have become very successful; but it was very
cross to them while they were struggling through discouragement and
misinterpretation.  Give every boy and girl a fair chance and
reasonable encouragement, and do not condemn them because of even a
large degree of downright stupidity; for many so-called
good-for-nothing boys, blockheads, numskulls, dullards, or dunces, were
only boys out of their places, round boys forced into square holes.

Wellington was considered a dunce by his mother.  At Eton he was called
dull, idle, slow, and was about the last boy in school of whom anything
was expected.  He showed no talent, and had no desire to enter the
army.  His industry and perseverance were his only redeeming
characteristics in the eyes of his parents and teachers.  But at
forty-six he had defeated the greatest general living, except himself.

Goldsmith was the laughing-stock of his schoolmasters.  He was
graduated "Wooden Spoon," a college name for a dunce.  He tried to
enter a class in surgery, but was rejected.  He was driven to
literature.  Goldsmith found himself totally unfit for the duties of a
physician; but who else could have written the "Vicar of Wakefield" or
the "Deserted Village"?  Dr. Johnson found him very poor and about to
be arrested for debt.  He made Goldsmith give him the manuscript of the
"Vicar of Wakefield," sold it to the publishers, and paid the debt.
This manuscript made its author famous.

Robert Clive bore the name of "dunce" and "reprobate" at school, but at
thirty-two, with three thousand men, he defeated fifty thousand at
Plassey and laid the foundation of the British Empire in India.  Sir
Walter Scott was called a blockhead by his teacher.  When Byron
happened to get ahead of his class, the master would say: "Now, Jordie,
let me see how soon you will be at the foot again."

Young Linnaeus was called by his teachers almost a blockhead.  Not
finding him fit for the church, his parents sent him to college to
study medicine.  But the silent teacher within, greater and wiser than
all others, led him to the fields; and neither sickness, misfortune,
nor poverty could drive him from the study of botany, the choice of his
heart, and he became the greatest botanist of his age.

Richard B. Sheridan's mother tried in vain to teach him the most
elementary studies.  The mother's death aroused slumbering talents, as
has happened in hundreds of cases, and he became one of the most
brilliant men of his age.

Samuel Drew was one of the dullest and most listless boys in his
neighborhood, yet after an accident by which he nearly lost his life,
and after the death of his brother, he became so studious and
industrious that he could not bear to lose a moment.  He read at every
meal, using all the time he could get for self-improvement.  He said
that Paine's "Age of Reason" made him an author, for it was by his
attempt to refute its arguments that he was first known as a strong,
vigorous writer.

It has been well said that no man ever made an ill figure who
understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them.



  Brutes find out where their talents lie;
  A bear will not attempt to fly,
  A foundered horse will oft debate
  Before he tries a five-barred gate.
  A dog by instinct turns aside
  Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
  But man we find the only creature
  Who, led by folly, combats nature;
  Who, when she loudly cries--Forbear!
  With obstinacy fixes there;
  And where his genius least inclines,
  Absurdly bends his whole designs.

The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds
him in employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or
broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.--EMERSON.

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.--SYDNEY SMITH.

"Every man has got a Fort," said Artemus Ward.  "It's some men's fort
to do one thing, and some other men's fort to do another, while there
is numeris shiftless critters goin' round loose whose fort is not to do

"Twice I've endevered to do things which they wasn't my Fort.  The
first time was when I undertook to lick a owdashus cuss who cut a hole
in my tent and krawld threw.  Sez I, 'My jentle sir, go out, or I shall
fall onto you putty hevy.'  Sez he, 'Wade in, Old Wax Figgers,'
whereupon I went for him, but he cawt me powerful on the hed and knockt
me threw the tent into a cow pastur.  He pursood the attack and flung
me into a mud puddle.  As I aroze and rung out my drencht garmints, I
concluded fitin was n't my fort.

"I'le now rize the curtain upon seen 2nd.  It is rarely seldum that I
seek consolation in the Flowin Bole.  But in a certain town in Injianny
in the Faul of 18--, my orgin grinder got sick with the fever and died.
I never felt so ashamed in my life, and I thought I'd hist in a few
swallers of suthin strengthnin.  Konsequents was, I histed so much I
didn't zackly know whereabouts I was.  I turned my livin' wild beasts
of Pray loose into the streets, and split all my wax-works.

"I then Bet I cood play hoss.  So I hitched myself to a kanawl bote,
there bein' two other hosses behind and anuther ahead of me.  But the
hosses bein' onused to such a arrangemunt, begun to kick and squeal and
rair up.  Konsequents was, I was kicked vilently in the stummuck and
back, and presently, I found myself in the kanawl with the other
hosses, kikin and yellin like a tribe of Cusscaroorus savajis.  I was
rescood, and as I was bein carried to the tavern on a hemlock bored I
sed in a feeble voice, 'Boys, playin' hoss isn't my Fort.'

"_Moral: Never don't do nothin' which isn't your Fort, for ef you do
you'll find yourself splashin' round in the kanawl, figuratively

The following advertisement, which appeared day after day in a Western
paper, did not bring a single reply:--

"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 more.

Your talent is your _call_.  Your legitimate destiny speaks in your
character.  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 also will utilize largely your skill and business
knowledge, which is your true capital.

_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 will 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.

Better be the Napoleon of bootblacks, or the Alexander of
chimney-sweeps, let us say with Matthew Arnold, than a shallow-brained
attorney who, like necessity, knows no law.

Half the world seems to have found uncongenial occupation, as though
the human race had been shaken up together and exchanged places in the
operation.  A servant girl is trying to teach, and a natural teacher is
tending store.  Good farmers are murdering the law, while Choates and
Websters are running down farms, each tortured by the consciousness of
unfulfilled destiny.  Boys are pining in factories who should be
wrestling with Greek and Latin, and hundreds are chafing beneath
unnatural loads in college who should be on the farm or before the
mast.  Artists are spreading "daubs" on canvas who should be
whitewashing board fences.  Behind counters stand clerks who hate the
yard-stick and neglect their work to dream of other occupations.  A
good shoemaker writes a few verses for the village paper, his friends
call him a poet, and the last, with which he is familiar, is abandoned
for the pen, which he uses awkwardly.  Other shoemakers are cobbling in
Congress, while statesmen are pounding shoe-lasts.  Laymen are
murdering sermons while Beechers and Whitefields are failing as
merchants, and people are wondering what can be the cause of empty
pews.  A boy who is always making something with tools is railroaded
through the university and started on the road to inferiority in one of
the "three honorable professions."  Real surgeons are handling the
meat-saw and cleaver, while butchers are amputating human limbs.  How
fortunate that--

  "There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
  _Rough-hew them how we will._"

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

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.

Go-at-it-iveness is the first requisite for success.
Stick-to-it-iveness is the second.  Under ordinary circumstances, and
with practical common sense to guide him, one who has these requisites
will not fail.

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.

When out of work, take the first respectable job that offers, heeding
not the disproportion between your faculties and your task.  If you put
your manhood into your labor, you will soon be given something better
to do.

This question of a right aim in life has become exceedingly perplexing
in our complicated age.  It is not a difficult problem to solve when
one is the son of a Zulu or the daughter of a Bedouin.  The condition
of the savage hardly admits of but one choice; but as one rises higher
in the scale of civilization and creeps nearer to the great centers of
activity, the difficulty of a correct decision increases with its
importance.  In proportion as one is hard pressed in competition is it
of the sternest necessity for him to choose the right aim, so as to be
able to throw the whole of his energy and enthusiasm into the struggle
for success.  The dissipation of strength or hope is fatal to
prosperity even in the most attractive field.

Gladstone says there is a limit to the work that can be got out of a
human body, or a human brain, and he is a wise man who wastes no energy
on pursuits for which he is not fitted.

"Blessed is he who has found his work," says Carlyle.  "Let him ask no
other blessedness.  He has a work--a life purpose; he has found it, and
will follow it."

In choosing an occupation, do not ask yourself how you can make the
most money or gain the most notoriety, but choose that work which will
call out all your powers and develop your manhood into the greatest
strength and symmetry.  Not money, not notoriety, not fame even, but
power is what you want.  Manhood is greater than wealth, grander than
fame.  Character is greater than any career.  Each faculty must be
educated, and any deficiency in its training will appear in whatever
you do.  The hand must be educated to be graceful, steady, and strong.
The eye must be educated to be alert, discriminating, and microscopic.
The heart must be educated to be tender, sympathetic, and true.  The
memory must be drilled for years in accuracy, retention, and
comprehensiveness.  The world does not demand that you be a lawyer,
minister, doctor, farmer, scientist, or merchant; it does not dictate
what you shall do, but it does require that you be a master in whatever
you undertake.  If you are a master in your line, the world will
applaud you and all doors will fly open to you.  But it condemns all
botches, abortions, and failures.

"Whoever is well educated to discharge the duty of a man," says
Rousseau, "cannot be badly prepared to fill any of those offices that
have relation to him.  It matters little to me whether my pupils be
designed for the army, the pulpit, or the bar.  Nature has destined us
to the offices of human life antecedent to our destination concerning
society.  To live is the profession I would teach him.  When I have
done with him, it is true he will be neither a soldier, a lawyer, nor a
divine.  Let him first be a man.  Fortune may remove him from one rank
to another as she pleases; he will be always found in his place."

In the great race of life common sense has the right of way.  Wealth, a
diploma, a pedigree, talent, genius, without tact and common sense, cut
but a small figure.  The incapables and the impracticables, though
loaded with diplomas and degrees, are left behind.  Not what do you
know, or _who_ are you, but _what_ are you, _what can you do_, is the
interrogation of the century.

George Herbert has well said: "What we are is much more to us than what
we do."  An aim that carries in it the least element of doubt as to its
justice or honor or right should be abandoned at once.  The art of
dishing up the wrong so as to make it look and taste like the right has
never been more extensively cultivated than in our day.  It is a
curious fact that reason will, on pressure, overcome a man's instinct
of right.  An eminent scientist has said that a man could soon reason
himself out of the instinct of decency if he would only take pains and
work hard enough.  So when a doubtful but attractive future is placed
before one, there is a great temptation to juggle with the wrong until
it seems the right.  Yet any aim that is immoral carries in itself the
germ of certain failure, in the real sense of the word--failure that is
physical and spiritual.

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

Madame de Staël was engrossed in political philosophy at an age when
other girls are dressing dolls.  Mozart, when but four years old,
played the clavichord and composed minuets and other pieces still
extant.  The little Chalmers, with solemn air and earnest gestures,
would preach often from a stool in the nursery.  Goethe wrote tragedies
at twelve, and Grotius published an able philosophical work before he
was fifteen.  Pope "lisped in numbers."  Chatterton wrote good poems at
eleven, and Cowley published a volume of poetry in his sixteenth year.
Thomas Lawrence and Benjamin West drew likenesses almost as soon as
they could walk.  Liszt played in public at twelve.  Canova made models
in clay while a mere child.  Bacon exposed the defects of Aristotle's
philosophy when but sixteen.  Napoleon was at the head of armies when
throwing snowballs at Brienne.

All these showed their bent while young, and followed it in active
life.  But precocity is not common, and, except in rare cases, we must
discover the bias in our natures, and not wait for the proclivity to
make itself manifest.  When found, it is worth more to us than a vein
of gold.

"_I_ do not forbid you to preach," said a Bishop to a young clergyman,
"but nature does."

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."

You have not found your place until all your faculties are roused, and
your whole nature consents and approves of the work you are doing; not
until you are so enthusiastic in it that you take it to bed with you.
You may be forced to drudge at uncongenial toil for a time, but
emancipate yourself as soon as possible.  Carey, the "Consecrated
Cobbler," before he went as a missionary said: "My business is to
preach the gospel.  I cobble shoes to pay expenses."

If your vocation be only a humble one, elevate it with more manhood
than others put into it.  Put into it brains and heart and energy and
economy.  Broaden it by originality of methods.  Extend it by
enterprise and industry.  Study it as you would a profession.  Learn
everything that is to be known about it.  Concentrate your faculties
upon it, for the greatest achievements are reserved for the man of
single aim, in whom no rival powers divide the empire of the soul.
_Better adorn your own than seek another's place_.

Go to the bottom of your business if you would climb to the top.
Nothing is small which concerns your business.  Master every detail.
This was the secret of A. T. Stewart's and of John Jacob Astor's great
success.  They knew everything about their business.

As love is the only excuse for marriage, and the only thing which will
carry one safely through the troubles and vexations of married life, so
love for an occupation is the only thing which will carry one safely
and surely through the troubles which overwhelm ninety-five out of
every one hundred who choose the life of a merchant, and very many in
every other career.

A famous Englishman said to his nephew, "Don't choose medicine, for we
have never had a murderer in our family, and the chances are that in
your ignorance you may kill a patient; as to the law, no prudent man is
willing to risk his life or his fortune to a young lawyer, who has not
only no experience, but is generally too conceited to know the risks he
incurs for his client, who alone is the loser; therefore, as the
mistakes of a clergyman in doctrine or advice to his parishioners
cannot be clearly determined in this world, I advise you by all means
to enter the church."

"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 motor-man on an electric car at a dollar and seventy-five cents
a day.  In the humbler work his intelligence may make him a leader; in
the other career he might do as much harm as a bowlder rolled from its
place upon a railroad track, a menace to the next express.

Only a few years ago marriage was the only "sphere" open to girls, and
the single woman had to face the disapproval of her friends.  Lessing
said: "The woman who thinks is like a man who puts on rouge,
ridiculous."  Not many years have elapsed since the ambitious woman who
ventured to study or write would keep a bit of embroidery at hand to
throw over her book or manuscript when callers entered.  Dr. Gregory
said to his daughters: "If you happen to have any learning, keep it a
profound secret from the men, who generally look with a jealous and
malignant eye on a woman of great parts and a cultivated
understanding."  Women who wrote books in those days would deny the
charge as though a public disgrace.

All this has changed, and what a change it is!  As Frances Willard
said, the greatest discovery of the century is the discovery of woman.
We have emancipated her, and are opening countless opportunities for
our girls outside of marriage.  Formerly only a boy could choose a
career; now his sister can do the same.  This freedom is one of the
greatest glories of the twentieth century.  But with freedom comes
responsibility, and under these changed conditions every girl should
have a definite aim.

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 thing's 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 theater, or lacerate their feet and endanger their health with
high heels and 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."

  "They talk about a woman's sphere,
    As though it had a limit;
  There's not a place in earth or heaven,
  There's not a task to mankind given,
  There's not a blessing or a woe,
  There's not a whisper, Yes or No,
  There's not a life, or death, or birth,
  That has a feather's weight of worth,
    Without a woman in it."

"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

"The best way for a young man to begin, who is without friends or
influence," said Russell Sage, "is, first, by getting a position;
second, keeping his mouth shut; third, observing; fourth, being
faithful; fifth, making his employer think he would be lost in a fog
without him; and sixth, being polite."

"Close application, integrity, attention to details, discreet
advertising," are given as the four steps to success by John Wanamaker,
whose motto is, "Do the next thing."

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

  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.

  "'What shall I do to be forever known?'
    Thy duty ever!
  'This did full many who yet sleep all unknown,'--
    Oh, never, never!
  Think'st thou, perchance, that they remain unknown
    Whom thou know'st not?
  By angel trumps in heaven their praise is blown,
    Divine their lot."



Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything
else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.--SYDNEY

"Many a man pays for his success with a slice of his constitution."

No man struggles perpetually and victoriously against his own
character; and one of the first principles of success in life is so to
regulate our career as rather to turn our physical constitution and
natural inclinations to good account than to endeavor to counteract the
one or oppose the other.--BULWER.

He that hath a trade hath an estate.--FRANKLIN.

Nature fits all her children with something to do.--LOWELL.

As occupations and professions have a powerful influence upon the
length of human life, the youth should first ascertain whether the
vocation he thinks of choosing is a healthy one.  Statesmen, judges,
and clergymen are noted for their longevity.  They are not swept into
the great business vortex, where the friction and raspings of sharp
competition whittle life away at a fearful rate.  Astronomers, who
contemplate vast systems, moving through enormous distances, are
exceptionally long lived,--as Herschel and Humboldt.  Philosophers,
scientists, and mathematicians, as Galileo, Bacon, Newton, Euler,
Dalton, in fact, those who have dwelt upon the exact sciences, seem to
have escaped many of the ills from which humanity suffers.  Great
students of natural history have also, as a rule, lived long and happy
lives.  Of fourteen members of a noted historical society in England,
who died in 1870, two were over ninety, five over eighty, and two over

The occupation of the mind has a great influence upon the health of the

There is no employment so dangerous and destructive to life but plenty
of human beings can be found to engage in it.  Of all the instances
that can be given of recklessness of life, there is none which exceeds
that of the workmen employed in what is called dry-pointing--the
grinding of needles and of table forks.  The fine steel dust which they
breathe brings on a painful disease, of which they are almost sure to
die before they are forty.  Yet not only are men tempted by high wages
to engage in this employment, but they resist to the utmost all
contrivances devised for diminishing the danger, through fear that such
things would cause more workmen to offer themselves and thus lower
wages.  Many physicians have investigated the effects of work in the
numerous match factories in France upon the health of the employees,
and all agree that rapid destruction of the teeth, decay or necrosis of
the jawbone, bronchitis, and other diseases result.

We will probably find more old men on farms than elsewhere.  There are
many reasons why farmers should live longer than persons residing in
cities or than those engaged in other occupations.  Aside from the
purer air, the outdoor exercise, both conducive to a good appetite and
sound sleep, which comparatively few in cities enjoy, they are free
from the friction, harassing cares, anxieties, and the keen competition
incident to city life.  On the other hand, there are some great
drawbacks and some enemies to longevity, even on the farm.  Man does
not live by bread alone.  The mind is by far the greatest factor in
maintaining the body in a healthy condition.  The social life of the
city, the great opportunities afforded the mind for feeding upon
libraries and lectures, great sermons, and constant association with
other minds, the great variety of amusements compensate largely for the
loss of many of the advantages of farm life.  In spite of the great
temperance and immunity from things which corrode, whittle, and rasp
away life in the cities, farmers in many places do not live so long as
scientists and some other professional men.

There is no doubt that aspiration and success tend to prolong life.
Prosperity tends to longevity, if we do not wear life away or burn it
out in the feverish pursuit of wealth.  Thomas W. Higginson made a list
of thirty of the most noted preachers of the last century, and found
that their average length of life was sixty-nine years.

Among miners in some sections over six hundred out of a thousand die
from consumption.  In the prisons of Europe, where the fatal effects of
bad air and filth are shown, over sixty-one per cent. of the deaths are
from tuberculosis.  In Bavarian monasteries, fifty per cent. of those
who enter in good health die of consumption, and in the Prussian
prisons it is almost the same.  The effect of bad air, filth, and bad
food is shown by the fact that the death-rate among these classes,
between the ages of twenty and forty, is five times that of the general
population of the same age.  In New York City, over one-fifth of all
the deaths of persons over twenty are from this cause.  In large cities
in Europe the percentage is often still greater.  Of one thousand
deaths from all causes, on the average, one hundred and three farmers
die of pulmonary tuberculosis, one hundred and eight fishermen, one
hundred and twenty-one gardeners, one hundred and twenty-two farm
laborers, one hundred and sixty-seven grocers, two hundred and nine
tailors, three hundred and one dry-goods dealers, and four hundred and
sixty-one compositors,--nearly one-half.

According to a long series of investigations by Drs. Benoysten and
Lombard into occupations or trades where workers must inhale dust, it
appears that mineral dust is the most detrimental to health, animal
dust ranking next, and vegetable dust third.

In choosing an occupation, cleanliness, pure air, sunlight, and freedom
from corroding dust and poisonous gases are of the greatest importance.
A man who would sell a year of his life for any amount of money would
be considered insane, and yet we deliberately choose occupations and
vocations which statistics and physicians tell us will be practically
sure to cut off from five to twenty-five, thirty, or even forty years
of our lives, and are seemingly perfectly indifferent to our fate.

There is danger in a calling which requires great expenditure of
vitality at long, irregular intervals.  He who is not regularly, or
systematically employed incurs perpetual risk.  "Of the thirty-two
all-round athletes in a New York club not long ago," said a physician,
"three are dead of consumption, five have to wear trusses, four or five
are lop-shouldered, and three have catarrh and partial deafness."  Dr.
Patten, chief surgeon at the National Soldiers' Home at Dayton, Ohio,
says that "of the five thousand soldiers in that institution fully
eighty per cent. are suffering from heart disease in one form or
another, due to the forced physical exertions of the campaigns."

Man's faculties and functions are so interrelated that whatever affects
one affects all.  Athletes who over-develop the muscular system do so
at the expense of the physical, mental, and moral well-being.  It is a
law of nature that the overdevelopment of any function or faculty,
forcing or straining it, tends not only to ruin it, but also to cause
injurious reactions on every other faculty and function.

Vigorous thought must come from a fresh brain.  We cannot expect nerve,
snap, robustness and vigor, sprightliness and elasticity, in the
speech, in the book, or in the essay, from an exhausted, jaded brain.
The brain is one of the last organs of the body to reach maturity (at
about the age of twenty-eight), and should never be overworked,
especially in youth.  The whole future of a man is often ruined by
over-straining the brain in school.

Brain-workers cannot do good, effective work in one line many hours a
day.  When the brain is weary, when it begins to lose its elasticity
and freshness, there will be the same lack of tonicity and strength in
the brain product.  Some men often do a vast amount of literary work in
entirely different lines during their spare hours.

Cessation of brain activity does not necessarily constitute brain rest,
as most great thinkers know.  The men who accomplish the most
brain-work, sooner or later--usually later, unfortunately--learn to
give rest to one set of faculties and use another, as interest begins
to flag and a sense of weariness comes.  In this way they have been
enabled to astonish the world by their mental achievements, which is
very largely a matter of skill in exercising alternate sets of
faculties, allowing rest to some while giving healthy exercise to
others.  The continual use of one set of faculties by an ambitious
worker will soon bring him to grief.  No set of brain cells can
possibly set free more brain force in the combustion of thought than is
stored up in them.  The tired brain must have rest, or nervous
exhaustion, brain fever, or even softening of the brain is liable to

As a rule, physical vigor is the condition of a great career.  What
would Gladstone have accomplished with a weak, puny physique?  He
addresses an audience at Corfu in Greek, and another at Florence in
Italian.  A little later he converses at ease with Bismarck in German,
or talks fluent French in Paris, or piles up argument on argument in
English for hours in Parliament.  There are families that have
"clutched success and kept it through generations from the simple fact
of a splendid physical organization handed down from one generation to

[Illustration: William Ewart Gladstone]

All occupations that enervate, paralyze, or destroy body or soul should
be avoided.  Our manufacturing interests too often give little thought
to the employed; the article to be made is generally the only object
considered.  They do not care if a man spends the whole of his life
upon the head of a pin, or in making a screw in a watch factory.  They
take no notice of the occupations that ruin, or the phosphorus, the
dust, the arsenic that destroys the health, that shortens the lives of
many workers; of the cramped condition of the body which creates

The moment we compel those we employ to do work that demoralizes them
or does not tend to elevate or lift them, we are forcing them into
service worse than useless.  "If we induce painters to work in fading
colors, or architects with rotten stone, or contractors to construct
buildings with imperfect materials, we are forcing our Michael Angelos
to carve in snow."

Ruskin says that the tendency of the age is to expend its genius in
perishable art, _as if it were a triumph to burn its thoughts away in
bonfires_.  Is the work you compel others to do useful to yourself and
to society?  If you employ a seamstress to make four or five or six
beautiful flounces for your ball dress, flounces which will only clothe
yourself, and which you will wear at only one ball, you are employing
your money selfishly.  Do not confuse covetousness with benevolence,
nor cheat yourself into thinking that all the finery you can wear is so
much put into the hungry mouths of those beneath you.  It is what those
who stand shivering on the street, forming a line to see you step out
of your carriage, know it to be.  These fine dresses do not mean that
so much has been put into their mouths, but _that so much has been
taken out of their mouths_.

Select a clean, useful, honorable occupation.  If there is any doubt on
this point, abandon it at once, for _familiarity with a bad business
will make it seem good_.  Choose a business that has expansiveness in
it.  Some kinds of business not even a J. Pierpont Morgan could make
respectable.  Choose an occupation which will develop you; which will
elevate you; which will give you a chance for self-improvement and
promotion.  You may not make quite so much money, but you will be more
of a man, and _manhood is above all riches, overtops all titles_, and
_character is greater than any career_.  If possible avoid occupations
which compel you to work in a cramped position, or where you must work
at night and on Sundays.  Don't try to justify yourself on the ground
that somebody must do this kind of work.  Let "somebody," not yourself,
take the responsibility.  Aside from the right and wrong of the thing,
it is injurious to the health to work seven days in the week, to work
at night when Nature intended you to sleep, or to sleep in the daytime
when she intended you to work.

Many a man has dwarfed his manhood, cramped his intellect, crushed his
aspiration, blunted his finer sensibilities, in some mean, narrow
occupation just because there was money in it.

"Study yourself," says Longfellow, "and most of all, note well wherein
kind nature meant you to excel."

Dr. Matthews says that "to no other cause, perhaps, is failure in life
so frequently to be traced as to a mistaken calling."  We can often
find out by hard knocks and repeated failures what we can not do before
what we can do.  This negative process of eliminating the doubtful
chances is often the only way of attaining to the positive conclusion.

How many men have been made ridiculous for life by choosing law or
medicine or theology, simply because they are "honorable professions"!
These men might have been respectable farmers or merchants, but are
"nobodies" in such vocations.  The very glory of the profession which
they thought would make them shining lights simply renders more
conspicuous their incapacity.

Thousands of youths receive an education that fits them for a
profession which they have not the means or inclination to follow, and
that unfits them for the conditions of life to which they were born.
Unsuccessful students with a smattering of everything are raised as
much above their original condition as if they were successful.  A
large portion of Paris cabmen are unsuccessful students in theology and
other professions and also unfrocked priests.  They are very bad cabmen.

  "Tompkins forsakes his last and awl
  For literary squabbles;
  Styles himself poet; but his trade
  Remains the same,--he cobbles."

Don't choose a profession or occupation because your father, or uncle,
or brother is in it.  Don't choose a business because you inherit it,
or because parents or friends want you to follow it.  Don't choose it
because others have made fortunes in it.  Don't choose it because it is
considered the "proper thing" and a "genteel" business.  The mania for
a "genteel" occupation, for a "soft job" which eliminates drudgery,
thorns, hardships, and all disagreeable things, and one which can be
learned with very little effort, ruins many a youth.

When we try to do that for which we are unfitted we are not working
along the line of our strength, but of our weakness; our will power and
enthusiasm become demoralized; we do half work, botched work, lose
confidence in ourselves, and conclude that we are dunces because we
cannot accomplish what others do; the whole tone of life is demoralized
and lowered because we are out of place.

How it shortens the road to success to make a wise choice of one's
occupation early, to be started on the road of a proper career while
young, full of hope, while the animal spirits are high, and enthusiasm
is vigorous; to feel that every step we take, that every day's work we
do, that every blow we strike helps to broaden, deepen, and enrich life!

Those who fail are, as a rule, those who are out of their places.  _A
man out of his place is but half a man; his very nature is perverted_.
He is working against his nature, rowing against the current.  When his
strength is exhausted he will float down the stream.  A man can not
succeed when his whole nature is entering its perpetual protest against
his occupation.  To succeed, his vocation must have the consent of all
his faculties; they must be in harmony with his purpose.

Has a young man a right to choose an occupation which will only call
into play his lower and inferior qualities, as cunning, deceit, letting
all his nobler qualities shrivel and die?  Has he a right to select a
vocation that will develop only the beast within him instead of the
man? which will call out the bulldog qualities only, the qualities
which overreach and grasp, the qualities which get and never give,
which develop long-headedness only, while his higher self atrophies?

The best way to choose an occupation is to ask yourself the question,
"What would my government do with me if it were to consider
scientifically my qualifications and adaptations, and place me to the
best possible advantage for all the people?"  The Norwegian precept is
a good one: "Give thyself wholly to thy fellow-men; they will give thee
back soon enough."  We can do the most possible for ourselves when we
are in a position where we can do the most possible for others.  _We
are doing the most for ourselves and for others when we are in a
position which calls into play in the highest possible way the greatest
number of our best faculties; in other words, we are succeeding best
for ourselves when we are succeeding best for others_.

The time will come when there will be institutions for determining the
natural bent of the boy and girl; where men of large experience and
close observation will study the natural inclination of the youth, help
him to find where his greatest strength lies and how to use it to the
best advantage.  Even if we take for granted what is not true, that
every youth will sooner or later discover the line of his greatest
strength so that he may get his living by his strong points rather than
by his weak ones, the discovery is often made so late in life that
great success is practically impossible.  Such institutions would help
boys and girls to start in their proper careers early in life; and _an
early choice shortens the way_.  Can anything be more important to
human beings than a start in life in the right direction, where even
small effort will count for more in the race than the greatest
effort--and a life of drudgery--in the wrong direction?  A man is
seldom unsuccessful, unhappy, or vicious when he is in his place.

After once choosing your occupation, however, never look backward;
stick to it with all the tenacity you can muster.  Let nothing tempt
you or swerve you a hair's breadth from your aim, and you will win.  Do
not let the thorns which appear in every vocation, or temporary
despondency or disappointment, shake your purpose.  You will never
succeed while smarting under the drudgery of your occupation, if you
are constantly haunted with the idea that you could succeed better in
something else.  Great tenacity of purpose is the only thing that will
carry you over the hard places which appear in every career to ultimate
triumph.  This determination, or fixity of purpose, has a great moral
bearing upon our success, for it leads others to feel confidence in us,
and this is everything.  It gives credit and moral support in a
thousand ways.  People always believe in a man with a fixed purpose,
and will help him twice as quickly as one who is loosely or
indifferently attached to his vocation, and liable at any time to make
a change, or to fail.  Everybody knows that determined men are not
likely to fail.  They carry in their very pluck, grit, and
determination the conviction and assurance of success.

The world does not dictate _what_ you shall do, but it does demand that
you do _something_, and that you shall be a king in your line.  There
is no grander sight than that of a young man or woman in the right
place struggling with might and main to make the most of the stuff at
command, determined that not a faculty or power shall run to waste.
Not money, not position, but power is what we want; and character is
greater than any occupation or profession.

"Do not, I beseech you," said Garfield, "be content to enter on any
business that does not require and compel constant intellectual
growth."  Choose an occupation that is refining and elevating; an
occupation that you will be proud of; an occupation that will give you
time for self-culture and self-elevation; an occupation that will
enlarge and expand your manhood and make you a better citizen, a better

Power and constant growth toward a higher life are the great end of
human existence.  Your calling should be the great school of life, the
great man-developer, character-builder, that which should broaden,
deepen, and round out into symmetry, harmony, and beauty, all the
God-given faculties within you.

But whatever you do be greater than your calling; let your manhood
overtop your position, your wealth, your occupation, your title.  A man
must work hard and study hard to counteract the narrowing, hardening
tendency of his occupation.  Said Goldsmith,--

  Burke, born for the universe, narrowed his mind,
  And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.

"Constant engagement in traffic and barter has no elevating influence,"
says Lyndall.  "The endeavor to obtain the upper hand of those with
whom we have to deal, to make good bargains, the higgling and scheming,
and the thousand petty artifices, which in these days of stern
competition are unscrupulously resorted to, tend to narrow the sphere
and to lessen the strength of the intellect, and, at the same time, the
delicacy of the moral sense."

Choose upward, study the men in the vocation you think of adopting.
Does it elevate those who follow it?  Are they broad, liberal,
intelligent men?  Or have they become mere appendages of their
profession, living in a rut with no standing in the community, and of
no use to it?  Don't think you will be the great exception, and can
enter a questionable vocation without becoming a creature of it.  In
spite of all your determination and will power to the contrary, your
occupation, from the very law of association and habit, will seize you
as in a vise, will mold you, shape you, fashion you, and stamp its
inevitable impress upon you.  How frequently do we see bright,
open-hearted, generous young men come out of college with high hopes
and lofty aims, enter a doubtful vocation, and in a few years return to
college commencement so changed that they are scarcely recognized.  The
once broad, noble features have become contracted and narrowed.  The
man has become grasping, avaricious, stingy, mean, hard.  Is it
possible, we ask, that a few years could so change a magnanimous and
generous youth?

Go to the bottom if you would get to the top.  Be master of your
calling in all its details.  Nothing is small which concerns your

Thousands of men who have been failures in life have done drudgery
enough in half a dozen different occupations to have enabled them to
reach great success, if their efforts had all been expended in one
direction.  That mechanic is a failure who starts out to build an
engine, but does not _quite_ accomplish it, and shifts into some other
occupation where perhaps he will almost succeed, but stops just short
of the point of proficiency in his acquisition and so fails again.  The
world is full of people who are "almost a success."  They stop just
this side of success.  Their courage oozes out just before they become
expert.  How many of us have acquisitions which remain permanently
unavailable because not carried quite to the point of skill?  How many
people "almost know a language or two," which they can neither write
nor speak; a science or two whose elements they have not quite
acquired; an art or two partially mastered, but which they can not
practice with satisfaction or profit!  The habit of desultoriness,
which has been acquired by allowing yourself to abandon a half-finished
work, more than balances any little skill gained in one vocation which
might possibly be of use later.

Beware of that frequently fatal gift, versatility.  Many a person
misses being a great man by splitting into two middling ones.
Universality is the _ignis fatuus_ which has deluded to ruin many a
promising mind.  In attempting to gain a knowledge of half a hundred
subjects it has mastered none.  "The jack-of-all-trades," says one of
the foremost manufacturers of this country, "had a chance in my
generation.  In this he has none."

"The measure of a man's learning will be the amount of his voluntary
ignorance," said Thoreau.  If we go into a factory where the mariner's
compass is made we can see the needles before they are magnetized, they
will point in any direction.  But when they have been applied to the
magnet and received its peculiar power, from that moment they point to
the north, and are true to the pole ever after.  So man never points
steadily in any direction until he has been polarized by a great master

Give your life, your energy, your enthusiasm, all to the highest work
of which you are capable.  Canon Farrar said, "There is only one real
failure in life possible, and that is, not to be true to the best one

  "'What must I do to be forever known?'  Thy duty ever."

  Who does the best his circumstance allows,
  Does well, acts nobly, angels could do no more.

"Whoever can make two ears of corn, two blades of grass to grow upon a
spot of ground where only one grew before," says Swift, "would deserve
better of mankind and do more essential service to his country than the
whole race of politicians put together."



This one thing I do.--ST. PAUL.

The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation;
and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine.
. . .  Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion
more, and sends us home to add one stroke of faithful work.--EMERSON.

  The man who seeks one thing in life, and but one,
  May hope to achieve it before life be done;
  But he who seeks all things, wherever he goes,
  Only reaps from the hopes which around him he sows,
  A harvest of barren regrets.

The longer I live, the more deeply am I convinced that that which makes
the difference between one man and another--between the weak and
powerful, the great and insignificant, is energy--invincible
determination--a purpose once formed, and then death or
victory.--FOWELL BUXTON.

"There was not enough room for us all in Frankfort," said Nathan Mayer
Rothschild, in speaking of himself and his four brothers.  "I dealt in
English goods.  One great trader came there, who had the market to
himself: he was quite the great man, and did us a favor if he sold us
goods.  Somehow I offended him, and he refused to show me his patterns.
This was on a Tuesday.  I said to my father, 'I will go to England.'
On Thursday I started.  The nearer I got to England, the cheaper goods
were.  As soon as I got to Manchester, I laid out all my money, things
were so cheap, and I made a good profit."

"I hope," said a listener, "that your children are not too fond of
money and business to the exclusion of more important things.  I am
sure you would not wish that."

"I am sure I would wish that," said Rothschild; "I wish them to give
mind, and soul, and heart, and body, and everything to business; that
is the way to be happy."  "Stick to one business, young man," he added,
addressing a young brewer; "stick to your brewery, and you may be the
great brewer of London.  But be a brewer, and a banker, and a merchant,
and a manufacturer, and you will soon be in the Gazette."

Not many things indifferently, but one thing supremely, is the demand
of the hour.  He who scatters his efforts in this intense, concentrated
age, cannot hope to succeed.

"Goods removed, messages taken, carpets beaten, and poetry composed on
any subject," was the sign of a man in London who was not very
successful at any of these lines of work, and reminds one of Monsieur
Kenard, of Paris, "a public scribe, who digests accounts, explains the
language of flowers, and sells fried potatoes."

The great difference between those who succeed and those who fail does
not consist in the amount of work done by each, but in the amount of
intelligent work.  Many of those who fail most ignominiously do enough
to achieve grand success; but they labor at haphazard, building up with
one hand only to tear down with the other.  They do not grasp
circumstances and change them into opportunities.  They have no faculty
of turning honest defeats into telling victories.  With ability enough,
and time in abundance,--the warp and woof of success,--they are forever
throwing back and forth an empty shuttle, and the real web of life is
never woven.

If you ask one of them to state his aim and purpose in life, he will
say: "I hardly know yet for what I am best adapted, but I am a thorough
believer in genuine hard work, and I am determined to dig early and
late all my life, and I know I shall come across something--either
gold, silver, or at least iron."  I say most emphatically, no.  Would
an intelligent man dig up a whole continent to find its veins of silver
and gold?  The man who is forever looking about to see what he can find
never finds anything.  If we look for nothing in particular, we find
just that and no more.  We find what we seek with all our heart.  The
bee is not the only insect that visits the flower, but it is the only
one that carries honey away.  It matters not how rich the materials we
have gleaned from the years of our study and toil in youth, if we go
out into life with no well-defined idea of our future work, there is no
happy conjunction of circumstances that will arrange them into an
imposing structure, and give it magnificent proportions.

"What a immense power over the life," says Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Ward, "is the power of possessing distinct aims.  The voice, the dress,
the look, the very motions of a person, define and alter when he or she
begins to live for a reason.  I fancy that I can select, in a crowded
street, the busy, blessed women who support themselves.  They carry
themselves with an air of conscious self-respect and self-content,
which a shabby alpaca cannot hide, nor a bonnet of silk enhance, nor
even sickness nor exhaustion quite drag out."

It is said that the wind never blows fair for that sailor who knows not
to what port he is bound.

"The weakest living creature," says Carlyle, "by concentrating his
powers on a single object, can accomplish something; whereas the
strongest, by dispersing his over many, may fail to accomplish
anything.  The drop, by continually falling, bores its passage through
the hardest rock.  The hasty torrent rushes over it with hideous uproar
and leaves no trace behind."

"When I was young I used to think it was thunder that killed men," said
a shrewd preacher; "but as I grew older, I found it was lightning.  So
I resolved to thunder less, and lighten more."

The man who knows one thing, and can do it better than anybody else,
even if it only be the art of raising turnips, receives the crown he
merits.  If he raises the best turnips by reason of concentrating all
his energy to that end, he is a benefactor to the race, and is
recognized as such.

If a salamander be cut in two, the front part will run forward and the
other backward.  Such is the progress of him who divides his purpose.
Success is jealous of scattered energies.

No one can pursue a worthy object steadily and persistently with all
the powers of his mind, and yet make his life a failure.  You can't
throw a tallow candle through the side of a tent, but you can shoot it
through an oak board.  Melt a charge of shot into a bullet, and it can
be fired through the bodies of four men.  Focus the rays of the sun in
winter, and you can kindle a fire with ease.

The giants of the race have been men of concentration, who have struck
sledgehammer blows in one place until they have accomplished their
purpose.  The successful men of to-day are men of one overmastering
idea, one unwavering aim, men of single and intense purpose.
"Scatteration" is the curse of American business life.  Too many are
like Douglas Jerrold's friend, who could converse in twenty-four
languages, but had no ideas to express in any one of them.

"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 Cannae,
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."

"The one serviceable, safe, certain, remunerative, attainable quality
in every study and pursuit is the quality of attention," said Charles
Dickens.  "My own invention, or imagination, such as it is, I can most
truthfully assure you, would never have served me as it has, but for
the habit of commonplace, humble, patient, daily, toiling, drudging
attention."  When asked on another occasion the secret of his success,
he said: "I never put one hand to anything on which I could throw my
whole self."  "Be a whole man at everything," wrote Joseph Gurney to
his son, "a whole man at study, in work, and in play."

_Don't dally with your purpose_.

"I go at what I am about," said Charles Kingsley, "as if there was
nothing else in the world for the time being.  That's the secret of all
hard-working men; but most of them can't carry it into their

Many a man fails to become a great man by splitting into several small
ones, choosing to be a tolerable Jack-of-all-trades rather than to be
an unrivaled specialist.

"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 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.'"

S. T. Coleridge possessed marvelous powers of mind, but he had no
definite purpose; he lived in an atmosphere of mental dissipation which
consumed his energy, exhausted his stamina, and his life was in many
respects a miserable failure.  He lived in dreams and died in reverie.
He was continually forming plans and resolutions, but to the day of his
death they remained simply resolutions and plans.

He was always just going to do something, but never did it.  "Coleridge
is dead," wrote Charles Lamb to a friend, "and is said to have left
behind him above forty thousand treatises on metaphysics and
divinity--not one of them complete!"

Every great man has become great, every successful man has succeeded,
in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel.

Hogarth would rivet his attention upon a face and study it until it was
photographed upon his memory, when he could reproduce it at will.  He
studied and examined each object as eagerly as though he would never
have a chance to see it again, and this habit of close observation
enabled him to develop his work with marvelous detail.  The very modes
of thought of the time in which he lived were reflected from his works.
He was not a man of great education or culture, except in his power of

With an immense procession passing up Broadway, the streets lined with
people, and bands playing lustily, Horace Greeley would sit upon the
steps of the Astor House, use the top of his hat for a desk, and write
an editorial for the "New York Tribune" which would be quoted far and

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

One unwavering aim has ever characterized successful men.

"Daniel Webster," said Sydney Smith, "struck me much like a
steam-engine in trousers."

As Adams suggests, Lord Brougham, like Canning, had too many talents;
and, though as a lawyer he gained the most splendid prize of his
profession, the Lord Chancellorship of England, and merited the
applause of scientific men for his investigations in science, yet his
life on the whole was a failure.  He was "everything by turns and
nothing long."  With all his magnificent abilities he left no permanent
mark on history or literature, and actually outlived his own fame.

Miss Martineau says, "Lord Brougham was at his chateau at Cannes when
the daguerreotype process first came into vogue.  An artist undertook
to take a view of the chateau with a group of guests on the balcony.
His Lordship was, asked to keep perfectly still for five seconds, and
he promised that he would not stir, but alas,--he moved.  The
consequence was that there was a blur where Lord Brougham should have

"There is something," continued Miss Martineau, "very typical in this.
In the picture of our century, as taken from the life by history, this
very man should have been the central figure.  But, owing to his want
of steadfastness, there will be forever a blur where Lord Brougham
should have been.  How many lives are blurs for want of concentration
and steadfastness of purpose!"

Fowell Buxton attributed his success to ordinary means and
extraordinary application, and being a whole man to one thing at a
time.  It is ever the unwavering pursuit of a single aim that wins.
"_Non multa, sed multum_"--not many things, but much, was Coke's motto.

It is the almost invisible point of a needle, the keen, slender edge of
a razor or an ax, that opens the way for the bulk that follows.
Without point or edge the bulk would be useless.  It is the man of one
line of work, the sharp-edged man, who cuts his way through obstacles
and achieves brilliant success.  While we should shun that narrow
devotion to one idea which prevents the harmonious development of our
powers, we should avoid on the other hand the extreme versatility of
one of whom W. M. Praed says:--

  His talk is like a stream which runs
    With rapid change from rocks to roses,
  It slips from politics to puns,
    It glides from Mahomet to Moses:
  Beginning with the laws that keep
    The planets in their radiant courses,
  And ending with some precept deep
    For skinning eels or shoeing horses.

If you can get a child learning to walk to fix his eyes on any object,
he will generally navigate to that point without capsizing, but
distract his attention and down he goes.

The young man seeking a position to-day is not asked what college he
came from or who his ancestors were.  "_What can you do?_" is the great
question.  It is special training that is wanted.  Most of the men at
the head of great firms and great enterprises have been promoted step
by step from the bottom.

"I know that he can toil terribly," said Cecil of Walter Raleigh, in
explanation of the latter's success.

As a rule, what the heart longs for the head and the hands may attain.
The currents of knowledge, of wealth, of success, are as certain and
fixed as the tides of the sea.  In all great successes we can trace the
power of concentration, riveting every faculty upon one unwavering aim;
perseverance in the pursuit of an undertaking in spite of every
difficulty; and courage which enables one to bear up under all trials,
disappointments, and temptations.

Chemists tell us that there is power enough in a single acre of grass
to drive all the mills and steam-cars in the world, could we but
concentrate it upon the piston-rod of a steam-engine.  But it is at
rest, and so, in the light of science, it is comparatively valueless.

Dr. Mathews says that the man who scatters himself upon many objects
soon loses his energy, and with his energy his enthusiasm.

"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!"

Definiteness of aim is characteristic of all true art.  He is not the
greatest painter who crowds the greatest number of ideas upon a single
canvas, giving all the figures equal prominence.  He is the genuine
artist who makes the greatest variety express the greatest unity, who
develops the leading idea in the central figure, and makes all the
subordinate figures, lights, and shades point to that center and find
expression there.  So in every well-balanced life, no matter how
versatile in endowments or how broad in culture, there is one grand
central purpose, in which all the subordinate powers of the soul are
brought to a focus, and where they will find fit expression.  In nature
we see no waste of energy, nothing left to chance.  Since the shuttle
of creation shot for the first time through chaos, design has marked
the course of every golden thread.  Every leaf, every flower, every
crystal, every atom even, has a purpose stamped upon it which
unmistakably points to the crowning summit of all creation--man.

Young men are often told to aim high, but we must aim at what we would
hit.  A general purpose is not enough.  The arrow shot from the bow
does not wander around to see what it can hit on its way, but flies
straight to the mark.  The magnetic needle does not point to all the
lights in the heavens to see which it likes best.  They all attract it.
The sun dazzles, the meteor beckons, the stars twinkle to it, and try
to win its affections; but the needle, true to its instinct, and with a
finger that never errs in sunshine or in storm, points steadily to the
North Star; for, while all the other stars must course with untiring
tread around their great centers through all the ages, the North Star,
alone, distant beyond human comprehension, moves with stately sweep on
its circuit of more than 25,000 years, for all practical purposes of
man stationary, not only for a day, but for a century.  So all along
the path of life other luminaries will beckon to lead us from our
cherished aim--from the course of truth and duty; but let no moons
which shine with borrowed light, no meteors which dazzle, but never
guide, turn the needle of our purpose from the North Star of its hope.



The labor we delight in physics pain.--SHAKESPEARE.

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 practise, it is plain that the truth, whatever it may
be, has taken possession of him.--LOWELL.

Let us beware of losing our enthusiasm.  Let us ever glory in
something, and strive to retain our admiration for all that would
ennoble, and our interest in all that would enrich and beautify our

In the Galérie des Beaux Arts in Paris is a beautiful statue conceived
by a sculptor who was so poor that he lived and worked in a small
garret.  When his clay model was nearly done, a heavy frost fell upon
the city.  He knew that if the water in the interstices of the clay
should freeze, the beautiful lines would be distorted.  So he wrapped
his bedclothes around the clay image.  In the morning he was found
dead, but his idea was saved, and other hands gave it enduring form in

"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."

"A bank never becomes very successful," says a noted financier, "until
it gets a president who takes it to bed with him."  Enthusiasm gives
the otherwise dry and uninteresting subject or occupation a new meaning.

As the young lover has finer sense and more acute vision and sees in
the object of his affections a hundred virtues and charms invisible to
all other eyes, so a man permeated with enthusiasm has his power of
perception heightened and his vision magnified until he sees beauty and
charms others cannot discern which compensate for drudgery, privations,
hardships, and even persecution.  Dickens says he was haunted,
possessed, spirit-driven by the plots and characters in his stories
which would not let him sleep or rest until he had committed them to
paper.  On one sketch he shut himself up for a month, and when he came
out he looked as haggard as a murderer.  His characters haunted him day
and night.

"Herr Capellmeister, I should like to compose something; how shall I
begin?" asked a youth of twelve who had played with great skill on the
piano.  "Pooh, pooh," replied Mozart, "you must wait."  "But you began
when you were younger than I am," said the boy.  "Yes, so I did," said
the great composer, "but I never asked anything about it.  When one has
the spirit of a composer, he writes because he can't help it."

Gladstone said that what is really desired is to light up the spirit
that is within a boy.  In some sense and in some degree, in some
effectual degree, there is in every boy the material of good work in
the world; in every boy, not only in those who are brilliant, not only
in those who are quick, but in those who are stolid, and even in those
who are dull, or who seem to be dull.  If they have only the good will,
the dulness will day by day clear away and vanish completely under the
influence of the good will.

Gerster, an unknown Hungarian, made fame and fortune sure the first
night she appeared in opera.  Her enthusiasm almost hypnotized her
auditors.  In less than a week she had become popular and independent.
Her soul was smitten with a passion for growth, and all the powers of
heart and mind she possessed were enthusiastically devoted to

All great works of art have been produced when the artist was
intoxicated with the passion for beauty and form which would not let
him rest until his thought was expressed in marble or on canvas.

"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."

"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, but 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."

It was enthusiasm that enabled Napoleon to make a campaign in two weeks
that would have taken another a year to accomplish.  "These Frenchmen
are not men, they fly," said the Austrians in consternation.  In
fifteen days Napoleon, in his first Italian campaign, had gained six
victories, taken twenty-one standards, fifty-five pieces of cannon, had
captured fifteen thousand prisoners, and had conquered Piedmont.

After this astonishing avalanche a discomfited Austrian general said:
"This young commander knows nothing whatever about the art of war.  He
is a perfect ignoramus.  There is no doing anything with him."  But his
soldiers followed their "Little Corporal" with an enthusiasm which knew
no defeat or disaster.

"There are important cases," says A. H. K. Boyd, "in which the
difference between half a heart and a whole heart makes just the
difference between signal defeat and a splendid victory."

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

The simple, innocent Maid of Orleans with her sacred sword, her
consecrated banner, and her belief in her great mission, sent a thrill
of enthusiasm through the whole French army such as neither king nor
statesmen could produce.  Her zeal carried everything before it.  Oh!
what a great work each one could perform in this world if he only knew
his power!  But, like a bitted horse, man does not realize his strength
until he has once run away with himself.

"Underneath is laid the builder of this church and city, Christopher
Wren, who lived more than ninety years, not for himself, but for the
public good.  Reader, if you seek his monument, look around!"  Turn
where you will in London, you find noble monuments of the genius of a
man who never received instruction from an architect.  He built
fifty-five churches in the city and thirty-six halls.  "I would give my
skin for the architect's design of the Louvre," said he, when in Paris
to get ideas for the restoration of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
His rare skill is shown in the palaces of Hampton Court and Kensington,
in Temple Bar, Drury Lane Theater, the Royal Exchange, and the great
Monument.  He changed Greenwich palace into a sailor's retreat, and
built churches and colleges at Oxford.  He also planned for the
rebuilding of London after the great fire, but those in authority would
not adopt his splendid idea.  He worked thirty-five years upon his
master-piece, St. Paul's Cathedral.  Although he lived so long, and was
exceedingly healthy in later life, he was so delicate as a child that
he was a constant source of anxiety to his parents.  His great
enthusiasm alone seemed to give strength to his body.

Indifference never leads armies that conquer, never models statues that
live, nor breathes sublime music, nor harnesses the forces of nature,
nor rears impressive architecture, nor moves the soul with poetry, nor
the world with heroic philanthropies.  Enthusiasm, as Charles Bell says
of the hand, wrought the statue of Memnon and hung the brazen gates of
Thebes.  It fixed the mariner's trembling needle upon its axis, and
first heaved the tremendous bar of the printing-press.  It opened the
tubes for Galileo, until world after world swept before his vision, and
it reefed the high topsail that rustled over Columbus in the morning
breezes of the Bahamas.  It has held the sword with which freedom has
fought her battles, and poised the axe of the dauntless woodman as he
opened the paths of civilization, and turned the mystic leaves upon
which Milton and Shakespeare inscribed their burning thoughts.

Horace Greeley said that the best product of labor is the high-minded
workman with an enthusiasm for his work.

"The best method is obtained by earnestness," said Salvini.  "If you
can impress people with the conviction that you feel what you say, they
will pardon many shortcomings.  And above all, study, study, study!
All the genius in the world will not help you along with any art,
unless you become a hard student.  It has taken me years to master a
single part."

There is a "go," a zeal, a furore, almost a fanaticism for one's ideals
or calling, that is peculiar to our American temperament and life.  You
do not find this in tropical countries.  It did not exist fifty years
ago.  It could not be found then even on the London Exchange.  But the
influence of the United States and of Australia, where, if a person is
to succeed, he must be on the jump with all the ardor of his being, has
finally extended until what used to be the peculiar strength of a few
great minds has now become characteristic of the leading nations.
Enthusiasm is the being awake; it is the tingling of every fiber of
one's being to do the work that one's heart desires.  Enthusiasm made
Victor Hugo lock up his clothes while writing "Notre Dame," that he
might not leave the work until it was finished.  The great actor
Garrick well illustrated it when asked by an unsuccessful preacher the
secret of his power over audiences: "You speak of eternal verities and
what you know to be true as if you hardly believed what you were saying
yourself, whereas I utter what I know to be unreal and untrue as if I
did believe it in my very soul."

"When he comes into a room, every man feels as if he had taken a tonic
and had a new lease of life," said a man when asked the reason for his
selection, after he, with two companions, had written upon a slip of
paper the name of the most agreeable companion he had ever met.  "He is
an eager, vivid fellow, full of joy, bubbling over with spirits.  His
sympathies are quick as an electric flash."

"He throws himself into the occasion, whatever it may be, with his
whole heart," said the second, in praise of the man of his choice.

"He makes the best of everything," said the third, speaking of his own
most cherished acquaintance.

The three were traveling correspondents of great English journals, who
had visited every quarter of the world and talked with all kinds of
men.  The papers were examined and all were found to contain the name
of a prominent lawyer in Melbourne, Australia.

"If it were not for respect for human opinions," said Madame de Staël
to M. Mole, "I would not open my window to see the Bay of Naples for
the first time, while I would go five hundred leagues to talk with a
man of genius whom I had not seen."

Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit which hovers over the
production of genius, throwing the reader of a book, or the spectator
of a statue, into the very ideal presence whence these works have

"One moonlight evening in winter," writes the biographer of Beethoven,
"we were walking through a narrow street of Bonn.  'Hush!' exclaimed
the great composer, suddenly pausing before a little, mean dwelling,
'what sound is that?  It is from my Sonata in F.  Hark! how well it is

"In the midst of the finale there was a break, and a sobbing voice
cried: 'I cannot play any more.  It is so beautiful; it is utterly
beyond my power to do it justice.  Oh, what would I not give to go to
the concert at Cologne!'  'Ah! my sister,' said a second voice; 'why
create regrets when there is no remedy?  We can scarcely pay our rent.'
'You are right,' said the first speaker, 'and yet I wish for once in my
life to hear some really good music.  But it is of no use.'

"'Let us go in,' said Beethoven.  'Go in!' I remonstrated; 'what should
we go in for?'  'I will play to her,' replied my companion in an
excited tone; 'here is feeling,--genius,--understanding!  I will play
to her, and she will understand it.  Pardon me,' he continued, as he
opened the door and saw a young man sitting by a table, mending shoes,
and a young girl leaning sorrowfully upon an old-fashioned piano; 'I
heard music and was tempted to enter.  I am a musician.  I--I also
overheard something of what you said.  You wish to hear--that is, you
would like--that is--shall I play for you?'

"'Thank you,' said the shoemaker, 'but our piano is so wretched, and we
have no music.'

"'No music!' exclaimed the composer; 'how, then, does the young
lady--I--I entreat your pardon,' he added, stammering as he saw that
the girl was blind; 'I had not perceived before.  Then you play by ear?
But where do you hear the music, since you frequent no concerts?'

"'We lived at Bruhl for two years; and, while there, I used to hear a
lady practicing near us.  During the summer evenings her windows were
generally open, and I walked to and fro outside to listen to her.'

"Beethoven seated himself at the piano.  Never, during all the years I
knew him, did I hear him play better than to that blind girl and her
brother.  Even the old instrument seemed inspired.  The young man and
woman sat as if entranced by the magical, sweet sounds that flowed out
upon the air in rhythmical swell and cadence, until, suddenly, the
flame of the single candle wavered, sank, flickered, and went out.  The
shutters were thrown open, admitting a flood of brilliant moonlight,
but the player paused, as if lost in thought.

"'Wonderful man!' said the shoemaker in a low tone; 'who and what are

"'Listen!' replied the master, and he played the opening bars of the
Sonata in F.  'Then you are Beethoven!' burst from the young people in
delighted recognition.  'Oh, play to us once more,' they added, as he
rose to go,--'only once more!'

"'I will improvise a sonata to the moonlight,' said he, gazing
thoughtfully upon the liquid stars shining so softly out of the depths
of a cloudless winter sky.  Then he played a sad and infinitely lovely
movement, which crept gently over the instrument, like the calm flow of
moonlight over the earth.  This was followed by a wild, elfin passage
in triple time--a sort of grotesque interlude, like the dance of
fairies upon the lawn.  Then came a swift agitated ending--a
breathless, hurrying, trembling movement, descriptive of flight, and
uncertainty, and vague impulsive terror, which carried us away on its
rustling wings, and left us all in emotion and wonder.  'Farewell to
you,' he said, as he rose and turned toward the door.  'You will come
again?' asked the host and hostess in a breath.  'Yes, yes,' said
Beethoven hurriedly, 'I will come again, and give the young lady some
lessons.  Farewell!'  Then to me he added: 'Let us make haste back,
that I may write out that sonata while I can yet remember it.'  We did
return in haste, and not until long past the dawn of day did he rise
from his table with the full score of the Moonlight Sonata in his hand."

Michael Angelo studied anatomy twelve years, nearly ruining his health,
but this course determined his style, his practice, and his glory.  He
drew his figures in skeleton, added muscles, fat, and skin
successively, and then draped them.  He made every tool he used in
sculpture, such as files, chisels, and pincers.  In painting he
prepared all his own colors, and would not let servants or students
even mix them.

Raphael's enthusiasm inspired every artist in Italy, and his modest,
charming manners disarmed envy and jealousy.  He has been called the
only distinguished man who lived and died without an enemy or
detractor.  Again and again poor Bunyan might have had his liberty; but
not the separation from his poor blind daughter Mary, which he said was
like pulling the flesh from his bones; not the need of a poor family
dependent upon him; not the love of liberty nor the spur of ambition
could induce him to forego his plain preaching in public places.  He
had so forgotten his early education that his wife had to teach him
again to read and write.  It was the enthusiasm of conviction which
enabled this poor, ignorant, despised Bedford tinker to write his
immortal allegory with such fascination that a whole world has read it.

Only thoughts that breathe in words that burn can kindle the spark
slumbering in the heart of another.

Rare consecration to a great enterprise is found in the work of the
late Francis Parkman.  While a student at Harvard he determined to
write the history of the French and English in North America.  With a
steadiness and devotion seldom equaled he gave his life, his fortune,
his all to this one great object.  Although he had, while among the
Dakota Indians, collecting material for his history, ruined his health
and could not use his eyes more than five minutes at a time for fifty
years, he did not swerve a hair's breadth from the high purpose formed
in his youth, until he gave to the world the best history upon this
subject ever written.

After Lincoln had walked six miles to borrow a grammar, he returned
home and burned one shaving after another while he studied the precious

Gilbert Becket, an English Crusader, was taken prisoner and became a
slave in the palace of a Saracen prince, where he not only gained the
confidence of his master, but also the love of his master's fair
daughter.  By and by he escaped and returned to England, but the
devoted girl determined to follow him.  She knew but two words of the
English language--_London_ and _Gilbert_; but by repeating the first
she obtained passage in a vessel to the great metropolis, and then she
went from street to street pronouncing the other--"Gilbert."  At last
she came to the street on which Gilbert lived in prosperity.  The
unusual crowd drew the family to the window, when Gilbert himself saw
and recognized her, and took to his arms and home his far-come princess
with her solitary fond word.

The most irresistible charm of youth is its bubbling enthusiasm.  Youth
sees no darkness ahead,--no defile that has no outlet,--it forgets that
there is such a thing as failure in the world, and believes that
mankind has been waiting all these centuries for him to come and be the
liberator of truth and energy and beauty.

Of what use was it to forbid the boy Handel to touch a musical
instrument, or to forbid him going to school, lest he learn the gamut?
He stole midnight interviews with a dumb spinet in a secret attic.  The
boy Bach copied whole books of studies by moonlight, for want of a
candle churlishly denied.  Nor was he disheartened when these copies
were taken from him.  The painter West began in a garret, and plundered
the family cat for bristles to make his brushes.

It is the enthusiasm of youth which cuts the Gordian knot age cannot
untie.  "People smile at the enthusiasm of youth," says Charles
Kingsley; "that enthusiasm which they themselves secretly look back to
with a sigh, perhaps unconscious that it is partly their own fault that
they ever lost it."

How much the world owes to the enthusiasm of Dante!

Tennyson wrote his first volume at eighteen, and at nineteen gained a
medal at Cambridge.

"The most beautiful works of all art were done in youth," says Ruskin.
"Almost everything that is great has been done by youth," wrote
Disraeli.  "The world's interests are, under God, in the hands of the
young," says Dr. Trumbull.

It was the youth Hercules that performed the Twelve Labors.
Enthusiastic youth faces the sun, it shadows all behind it.  The heart
rules youth; the head, manhood.  Alexander was a mere youth when he
rolled back the Asiatic hordes that threatened to overwhelm European
civilization almost at its birth.  Napoleon had conquered Italy at
twenty-five.  Byron and Raphael died at thirty-seven, an age which has
been fatal to many a genius, and Poe lived but a few months longer.
Romulus founded Rome at twenty.  Pitt and Bolingbroke were ministers
almost before they were men.  Gladstone was in Parliament in early
manhood.  Newton made some of his greatest discoveries before he was
twenty-five.  Keats died at twenty-five, Shelley at twenty-nine.
Luther was a triumphant reformer at twenty-five.  It is said that no
English poet ever equaled Chatterton at twenty-one.  Whitefield and
Wesley began their great revival as students at Oxford, and the former
had made his influence felt throughout England before he was
twenty-four.  Victor Hugo wrote a tragedy at fifteen, and had taken
three prizes at the Academy and gained the title of Master before he
was twenty.

Many of the world's greatest geniuses never saw forty years.  Never
before has the young man, who is driven by his enthusiasm, had such an
opportunity as he has to-day.  It is the age of young men and young
women.  Their ardor is their crown, before which the languid and the
passive bow.

But if enthusiasm is irresistible in youth, how much more so is it when
carried into old age!  Gladstone at eighty had ten times the weight and
power that any man of twenty-five would have with the same ideals.  The
glory of age is only the glory of its enthusiasm, and the respect paid
to white hairs is reverence to a heart fervent, in spite of the torpid
influence of an enfeebled body.  The "Odyssey" was the creation of a
blind old man, but that old man was Homer.

The contagious zeal of an old man, Peter the Hermit, rolled the
chivalry of Europe upon the ranks of Islam.

Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, won battles at ninety-four, and refused a
crown at ninety-six.  Wellington planned and superintended
fortifications at eighty.  Bacon and Humboldt were enthusiastic
students to the last gasp.  Wise old Montaigne was shrewd in his
gray-beard wisdom and loving life, even in the midst of his fits of
gout and colic.

Dr. Johnson's best work, "The Lives of the Poets," was written when he
was seventy-eight.  Defoe was fifty-eight when he published "Robinson
Crusoe."  Newton wrote new briefs to his "Principia" at eighty-three.
Plato died writing, at eighty-one.  Tom Scott began the study of Hebrew
at eighty-six.  Galileo was nearly seventy when he wrote on the laws of
motion.  James Watt learned German at eighty-five.  Mrs. Somerville
finished her "Molecular and Microscopic Science" at eighty-nine.
Humboldt completed his "Cosmos" at ninety, a month before his death.
Burke was thirty-five before he obtained a seat in Parliament, yet he
made the world feel his character.  Unknown at forty, Grant was one of
the most famous generals in history at forty-two.  Eli Whitney was
twenty-three when he decided to prepare for college, and thirty when he
graduated from Yale; yet his cotton-gin opened a great industrial
future for the Southern States.  What a power was Bismarck at eighty!
Lord Palmerston was an "Old Boy" to the last.  He became Prime Minister
of England the second time at seventy-five, and died Prime Minister at
eighty-one.  Galileo at seventy-seven, blind and feeble, was working
every day, adapting the principle of the pendulum to clocks.  George
Stephenson did not learn to read and write until he had reached
manhood.  Some of Longfellow's, Whittier's, and Tennyson's best work
was done after they were seventy.

At sixty-three Dryden began the translation of the "Aeneid."  Robert
Hall learned Italian when past sixty, that he might read Dante in the
original.  Noah Webster studied seventeen languages after he was fifty.
Cicero said well that men are like wine: age sours the bad and improves
the good.

With enthusiasm we may retain the youth of the spirit until the hair is
silvered, even as the Gulf Stream softens the rigors of northern Europe.

"How ages thine heart,--towards youth?  If not, doubt thy fitness for
thy work."



"On the great clock of time there is but one word--NOW."

Note the sublime precision that leads the earth over a circuit of five
hundred millions of 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 imperiled

"Who cannot but see oftentimes how strange the threads of our destiny
run?  Oft it is only for a moment the favorable instant is presented.
We miss it, and months and years are lost."

By the street of by and by one arrives at the house of

"Lose this day by loitering--'t will be the same story tomorrow, and
the next more dilatory."

Let's take the instant by the forward top.--SHAKESPEARE.

"Haste, post, haste!  Haste for thy life!" was frequently written upon
messages in the days of Henry VIII of England, with a picture of a
courier swinging from a gibbet.  Post-offices were unknown, and letters
were carried by government messengers subject to hanging if they
delayed upon the road.

Even in the old, slow days of stage-coaches, when it took a month of
dangerous traveling to accomplish the distance we can now span in a few
hours, unnecessary delay was a crime.  One of the greatest gains
civilization has made is in measuring and utilizing time.  We can do as
much in an hour to-day as they could in twenty hours a hundred years

"Delays have dangerous ends."  Caesar's delay to read a message cost
him his life when he reached the senate house.  Colonel Rahl, the
Hessian commander at Trenton, was playing cards when a messenger
brought a letter stating that Washington was crossing the Delaware.  He
put the letter in his pocket without reading it until the game was
finished, when he rallied his men only to die just before his troops
were taken prisoners.  Only a few minutes' delay, but he lost honor,
liberty, life!

Success is the child of two very plain parents--punctuality and
accuracy.  There are critical moments in every successful life when if
the mind hesitate or a nerve flinch all will be lost.

"Immediately on receiving your proclamation," wrote Governor Andrew of
Massachusetts to President Lincoln on May 3, 1861, "we took up the war,
and have carried on our part of it, in the spirit in which we believe
the Administration and the American people intend to act, namely, as if
there were not an inch of red tape in the world."  He had received a
telegram for troops from Washington on Monday, April 15; at nine
o'clock the next Sunday he said: "All the regiments demanded from
Massachusetts are already either in Washington, or in Fortress Monroe,
or on their way to the defence of the Capitol."

"The only question which I can entertain," he said, "is what to do; and
when that question is answered, the other is, what next to do."

"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."

Napoleon laid great stress upon that "supreme moment," that "nick of
time" which occurs in every battle, to take advantage of which means
victory, and to lose in hesitation means disaster.  He said that he
beat the Austrians because they did not know the value of five minutes;
and it has been said that among the trifles that conspired to defeat
him at Waterloo, the loss of a few moments by himself and Grouchy on
the fatal morning was the most significant.  Blucher was on time, and
Grouchy was late.  It was enough to send Napoleon to St. Helena, and to
change the destiny of millions.

It is a well-known truism that has almost been elevated to the dignity
of a maxim, that what may be done at any time will be done at no time.

The African Association of London wanted to send Ledyard, the traveler,
to Africa, and asked when he would be ready to go.  "To-morrow
morning," was the reply.  John Jervis, afterwards Earl St. Vincent, was
asked when he could join his ship, and replied, "Directly."  Colin
Campbell, appointed commander of the army in India, and asked when he
could set out, replied without hesitation, "To-morrow."

The energy wasted in postponing until to-morrow a duty of to-day would
often do the work.  How much harder and more disagreeable, too, it is
to do work which has been put off!  What would have been done at the
time with pleasure or even enthusiasm, after it has been delayed for
days and weeks, becomes drudgery.  Letters can never be answered so
easily as when first received.  Many large firms make it a rule never
to allow a letter to lie unanswered overnight.

Promptness takes the drudgery out of an occupation.  Putting off
usually means leaving off, and going to do becomes going undone.  Doing
a deed is like sowing a seed: if not done at just the right time it
will be forever out of season.  The summer of eternity will not be long
enough to bring to maturity the fruit of a delayed action.  If a star
or planet were delayed one second, it might throw the whole universe
out of harmony.

"There is no moment like the present," said Maria Edgeworth; "not only
so, there is no moment at all, no instant force and energy, but in the
present.  The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are
fresh upon him can have no hopes from them afterward.  They will be
dissipated, lost in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the
slough of indolence."

Cobbett said he owed his success to being "always ready" more than to
all his natural abilities combined.

"To this quality I owed my extraordinary promotion in the army," said
he.  "If I had to mount guard at ten, I was ready at nine; never did
any man or anything wait one minute for me."

"How," asked a man of Sir Walter Raleigh, "do you accomplish so much,
and in so short a time?"  "When I have anything to 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, even if he
have the better judgment, will fail.

When asked how he managed to accomplish so much work, and at the same
time attend to his social duties, a French statesman replied, "I do it
simply by never postponing till to-morrow what should be done to-day."
It was said of an unsuccessful public man that he used to reverse this
process, his favorite maxim being "never to do to-day what might be
postponed till to-morrow."  How many men have dawdled away their
success and allowed companions and relatives to steal it away five
minutes at a time!

"To-morrow, didst thou say?" asked Cotton.  "Go to--I will not hear of
it.  To-morrow! 'tis 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 pursuit of to-morrow,
being assured that to-morrow has some vast benefit or other in store
for me."

"But his resolutions remained unshaken," Charles Reade continues in his
story of Noah Skinner, the defaulting clerk, who had been overcome by a
sleepy languor after deciding to make restitution; "by and by, waking
up from a sort of heavy doze, he took, as it were, a last look at the
receipts, and murmured, 'My head, how heavy it feels!'  But presently
he roused himself, full of his penitent resolutions, and murmured
again, brokenly, 'I'll take it to--Pembroke--Street to--morrow;
to--morrow.'  The morrow found him, and so did the detectives, dead."

"To-morrow."  It is the devil's motto.  All history is strewn with its
brilliant victims, the wrecks of half-finished plans and unexecuted
resolutions.  It is the favorite refuge of sloth and incompetency.

"Strike while the iron is hot," and "Make hay while the sun shines,"
are golden maxims.

Very few people recognize the hour when laziness begins to set in.
Some people it attacks after dinner; some after lunch; and some after
seven o'clock in the evening.  There is in every person's life a
crucial hour in the day, which must be employed instead of wasted if
the day is to be saved.  With most people the early morning hour
becomes the test of the day's success.

A person was once extolling the skill and courage of Mayenne in Henry's
presence.  "You are right," said Henry, "he is a great captain, but I
have always five hours' start of him."  Henry rose at four in the
morning, and Mayenne at about ten.  This made all the difference
between them.  Indecision becomes a disease and procrastination is its
forerunner.  There is only one known remedy for the victims of
indecision, and that is prompt decision.  Otherwise the disease is
fatal to all success or achievement.  He who hesitates is lost.

A noted writer says that a bed is a bundle of paradoxes.  We go to it
with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret.  We make up our minds
every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning
to keep it late.

Yet most of those who have become eminent have been early risers.
Peter the Great always rose before daylight.  "I am," said he, "for
making my life as long as possible, and therefore sleep as little as
possible."  Alfred the Great rose before daylight.  In the hours of
early morning Columbus planned his voyage to America, and Napoleon his
greatest campaigns.  Copernicus was an early riser, as were most of the
famous astronomers of ancient and modern times.  Bryant rose at five,
Bancroft at dawn, and nearly all our leading authors in the early
morning.  Washington, Jefferson, Webster, Clay, and Calhoun were all
early risers.

Daniel Webster used often to answer twenty to thirty letters before

Walter Scott was a very punctual man.  This was the secret of his
enormous achievements.  He rose at five.  By breakfast-time he had, as
he used to say, broken the neck of the day's work.  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."

Not too much can be said about the value of the habit of rising early.
Eight hours is enough sleep for any man.  Very frequently seven hours
is plenty.  After the eighth hour in bed, if a man is able, it is his
business to get up, dress quickly, and go to work.

"A singular mischance has happened to some of our friends," said
Hamilton.  "At the instant when He ushered them into existence, God
gave them a work to do, and He also gave them a competence 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 or neglect
any duty; but they systematically go about it too late, and usually too
late by about the same fatal interval."

Some one has said that "promptness is a contagious inspiration."
Whether it be an inspiration, or an acquirement, it is one of the
practical virtues of civilization.

There is one thing that is almost as sacred as the marriage
relation,--that is, an appointment.  A man who fails to meet his
appointment, unless he has a good reason, is practically a liar, and
the world treats him as such.

"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

When President Washington dined at four, new members of Congress
invited to dine at the White House would sometimes arrive late, and be
mortified to find the President eating.  "My cook," Washington would
say, "never asks if the visitors have arrived, but if the hour has

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

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

Napoleon once invited his marshals to dine with him, but, as they did
not arrive at the moment appointed, he began to eat without them.  They
came in just as he was rising from the table.  "Gentlemen," said he,
"it is now past dinner, and we will immediately proceed to business."

Blücher was one of the promptest men that ever lived.  He was called
"Marshal Forward."

John Quincy Adams was never known to be behind time.  The Speaker of
the House of Representatives knew when to call the House to order by
seeing Mr. Adams coming to his seat.  Once a member said that it was
time to begin.  "No," said another, "Mr. Adams is not in his seat."  It
was found that the clock was three minutes fast, and prompt to the
minute, Mr. Adams arrived.

Webster was never late at a recitation in school or college.  In court,
in congress, in society, he was equally punctual.  Amid the cares and
distractions of a singularly busy life, Horace Greeley managed to be on
time for every appointment.  Many a trenchant paragraph for the
"Tribune" was written while the editor was waiting for men of leisure,
tardy at some meeting.

Punctuality is the soul of business, as brevity is of wit.

During the first seven years of his mercantile career, Amos Lawrence
did not permit a bill to remain unsettled over Sunday.  Punctuality is
said to be the politeness of princes.  Some men are always running to
catch up with their business: they are always in a hurry, and give you
the impression that they are late for a train.  They lack method, and
seldom accomplish much.  Every business man knows that there are
moments on which hang the destiny of years.  If you arrive a few
moments late at the bank, your paper may be protested and your credit

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.

"Oh, how I do appreciate a boy who is always on time!" says H. C.
Brown.  "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."

Promptness is the mother of confidence and gives credit.  It is the
best possible proof that our own affairs are well ordered and well
conducted, and gives others confidence in our ability.  The man who is
punctual, as a rule, will keep his word, and may be depended upon.

A conductor's watch is behind time, and a terrible railway collision
occurs.  A leading firm with enormous assets becomes bankrupt, simply
because an agent is tardy in transmitting available funds, as ordered.
An innocent man is hanged because the messenger bearing a reprieve
should have arrived five minutes earlier.  A man is stopped five
minutes to hear a trivial story and misses a train or steamer by one

Grant decided to enlist the moment that he learned of the fall of
Sumter.  When Buckner sent him a flag of truce at Fort Donelson, asking
for the appointment of commissioners to consider terms of capitulation,
he promptly replied: "No terms except an unconditional and immediate
surrender can be accepted.  I propose to move immediately upon your
works."  Buckner replied that circumstances compelled him "to accept
the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose."

The man who, like Napoleon, can on the instant seize the most important
thing and sacrifice the others, is sure to win.

Many a wasted life dates its ruin from a lost five minutes.  "Too late"
can be read between the lines on the tombstone of many a man who has
failed.  A few minutes often makes all the difference between victory
and defeat, success and failure.



Let thy attire be comely but not costly.--LIVY.

  Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
  But not expressed in fancy; rich not gaudy;
  For the apparel oft proclaims the man.

I hold that gentleman to be the best dressed whose dress no one

As a general thing an individual who is neat in his person is neat in
his morals.--H. W. SHAW.

There are two chief factors in good appearance; cleanliness of body and
comeliness of attire.  Usually these go together, neatness of attire
indicating a sanitary care of the person, while outward slovenliness
suggests a carelessness for appearance that probably goes deeper than
the clothes covering the body.

We express ourselves first of all in our bodies.  The outer condition
of the body is accepted as the symbol of the inner.  If it is unlovely,
or repulsive, through sheer neglect or indifference, we conclude that
the mind corresponds with it.  As a rule, the conclusion is a just one.
High ideals and strong, clean, wholesome lives and work are
incompatible with low standards of personal cleanliness.  A young man
who neglects his bath will neglect his mind; he will quickly
deteriorate in every way.  A young woman who ceases to care for her
appearance in minutest detail will soon cease to please.  She will fall
little by little until she degenerates into an ambitionless slattern.

It is not to be wondered at that the Talmud places cleanliness next to
godliness.  I should place it nearer still, for I believe that absolute
cleanliness _is_ godliness.  Cleanliness or purity of soul and body
raises man to the highest estate.  Without this he is nothing but a

There is a very close connection between a fine, strong, clean physique
and a fine, strong, clean character.  A man who allows himself to
become careless in regard to the one will, in spite of himself, fall
away in the other.

But self-interest clamors as loudly as esthetic or moral considerations
for the fulfilment of the laws of cleanliness.  Every day we see people
receiving "demerits" for failure to live up to them.  I can recall
instances of capable stenographers who forfeited their positions
because they did not keep their finger nails clean.  An honest,
intelligent man whom I know lost his place in a large publishing firm
because he was careless about shaving and brushing his teeth.  The
other day a lady remarked that she went into a store to buy some
ribbons, but when she saw the salesgirl's hands she changed her mind
and made her purchase elsewhere.  "Dainty ribbons," she said, "could
not be handled by such soiled fingers without losing some of their
freshness."  Of course, it will not be long until that girl's employer
will discover that she is not advancing his business, and then,--well,
the law will work inexorably.

The first point to be emphasized in the making of a good appearance is
the necessity of frequent bathing.  A daily bath insures a clean,
wholesome condition of the skin, without which health is impossible.

Next in importance to the bath is the proper care of the hair, the
hands, and the teeth.  This requires little more than a small amount of
time and the use of soap and water.

The hair, of course, should be combed and brushed regularly every day.
If it is naturally oily, it should be washed thoroughly every two weeks
with a good reliable scalp soap and warm water, to which a very little
ammonia may be added.  If the hair is dry or lacking in oily matter, it
should not be washed oftener than once a month and the ammonia may be
omitted.  Manicure sets are so cheap that they are within the reach of
almost everyone.  If you can not afford to buy a whole set, you can buy
a file (you can get one as low as ten cents), and keep your nails
smooth and clean.  Keeping the teeth in good condition is a very simple
matter, yet perhaps more people sin in this particular point of
cleanliness than in any other.  I know young men, and young women, too,
who dress very well and seem to take considerable pride in their
personal appearance, yet neglect their teeth.  They do not realize that
there could hardly be a worse blot on one's appearance than dirty or
decaying teeth, or the absence of one or two in front.  Nothing can be
more offensive in man or woman than a foul breath, and no one can have
neglected teeth without reaping this consequence.  We all know how
disagreeable it is to be anywhere near a person whose breath is bad.
It is positively disgusting.  No employer wants a clerk, or
stenographer, or other employee about him who contaminates the
atmosphere.  Nor does he, if he is at all particular, want one whose
appearance is marred by a lack of one or two front teeth.  Many an
applicant has been denied the position he sought because of bad teeth.

For those who have to make their way in the world, the best counsel on
the subject of clothes may be summed up in this short sentence, "Let
thy attire be comely, but not costly."  Simplicity in dress is its
greatest charm, and in these days, when there is such an infinite
variety of tasteful but inexpensive fabrics to choose from, the
majority can afford to be well dressed.  But no one need blush for a
shabby suit, if circumstances prevent his having a better one.  You
will be more respected by yourself and every one else with an old coat
on your back that has been paid for than a new one that has not.  It is
not the shabbiness that is unavoidable, but the slovenliness that is
avoidable, that the world frowns upon.  No one, no matter how poor he
may be, will be excused for wearing a dirty coat, a crumpled collar, or
muddy shoes.  If you are dressed according to your means, no matter how
poorly, you are appropriately dressed.  The consciousness of making the
best appearance you possibly can, of always being scrupulously neat and
clean, and of maintaining your self-respect and integrity at all costs,
will sustain you under the most adverse circumstances, and give you a
dignity, strength, and magnetic forcefulness that will command the
respect and admiration of others.

Herbert H. Vreeland, who rose in a short time from a section hand on
the Long Island Railroad to the presidency of all the surface railways
in New York City, should be a practical authority on this subject.  In
the course of an address on how to attain success, he said:--

"Clothes don't make the man, but good clothes have got many a man a
good job.  If you have twenty-five dollars, and want a job, it is
better to spend twenty dollars for a suit of clothes, four dollars for
shoes, and the rest for a shave, a hair-cut, and a clean collar, and
walk to the place, than go with the money in the pockets of a dingy

[Illustration: John Wanamaker]

Most large business houses make it a rule not to employ anyone who
looks seedy, or slovenly, or who does not make a good appearance when
he applies for a position.  The man who hires all the salespeople for
one of the largest retail stores in Chicago says:

"While the routine of application is in every case strictly adhered to,
the fact remains that the most important element in an applicant's
chance for a trial is his personality."

It does not matter how much merit or ability an applicant for a
position may possess, he can not afford to be careless of his personal
appearance.  Diamonds in the rough of infinitely greater value than the
polished glass of some of those who get positions may, occasionally, be
rejected.  Applicants whose good appearance helped them to secure a
place may often be very superficial in comparison with some who were
rejected in their favor and may not have half their merit; but having
secured it, they may keep it, though not possessing half the ability of
the boy or girl who was turned away.

That the same rule that governs employers in America holds in England,
is evidenced by the "London Draper's Record."  It says:--

"Wherever a marked personal care is exhibited for the cleanliness of
the person and for neatness in dress, there is also almost always found
extra carefulness as regards the finish of work done.  Work people
whose personal habits are slovenly produce slovenly work; those who are
careful of their own appearance are equally careful of the looks of the
work they turn out.  And probably what is true of the workroom is
equally true of the region behind the counter.  Is it not a fact that
the smart saleswoman is usually rather particular about her dress, is
averse to wearing dingy collars, frayed cuffs; and faded ties?  The
truth of the matter seems to be that extra care as regards personal
habits and general appearance is, as a rule, indicative of a certain
alertness of mind, which shows itself antagonistic to slovenliness of
all kinds."

No young man or woman who wishes to retain that most potent factor of
the successful life, self-respect, can afford to be negligent in the
matter of dress, for "the character is subdued to what it is clothed
in."  As the consciousness of being well dressed tends to grace and
ease of manner, so shabby, ill-fitting, or soiled attire makes one feel
awkward and constrained, lacking in dignity and importance.  Our
clothes unmistakably affect our feelings, and self respect, as anyone
knows who has experienced the sensation--and who has not?--that comes
from being attired in new and becoming raiment.  Poor, ill-fitting, or
soiled garments are detrimental to morals and manners.  "The
consciousness of clean linen," says Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, "is in and
of itself a source of moral strength, second only to that of a clean
conscience.  A well-ironed collar or a fresh glove has carried many a
man through an emergency in which a wrinkle or a rip would have
defeated him."

The importance of attending to little details--the perfection of which
really constitutes the well-dressed man or woman--is well illustrated
by this story of a young woman's failure to secure a desirable
position.  One of those large-souled women of wealth, in which our
generation is rich, had established an industrial school for girls in
which they received a good English education and were trained to be
self-supporting.  She needed the services of a superintendent and
teacher, and considered herself fortunate when the trustees of the
institution recommended to her a young woman whose tact, knowledge,
perfect manners, and general fitness for the position they extolled in
the highest terms.  The young woman was invited by the founder of the
school to call on her at once.  Apparently she possessed all the
required qualifications; and yet, without assigning any reason, Mrs. V.
absolutely refused to give her a trial.  Long afterward, when
questioned by a friend as to the cause of her seemingly inexplicable
conduct in refusing to engage so competent a teacher, she replied: "It
was a trifle, but a trifle in which, as in an Egyptian hieroglyphic,
lay a volume of meaning.  The young woman came to me fashionably and
expensively dressed, but with torn and soiled gloves, and half of the
buttons off her shoes.  A slovenly woman is not a fit guide for any
young girl."  Probably the applicant never knew why she did not obtain
the position, for she was undoubtedly well qualified to fill it in
every respect, except in this seemingly unimportant matter of attention
to the little details of dress.

From every point of view it pays well to dress well.  The knowledge
that we are becomingly clothed acts like a mental tonic.  Very few men
or women are so strong and so perfectly poised as to be unaffected by
their surroundings.  If you lie around half-dressed, without making
your toilet, and with your room all in disorder, taking it easy because
you do not expect or wish to see anybody, you will find yourself very
quickly taking on the mood of your attire and environment.  Your mind
will slip down; it will refuse to exert itself; it will become as
slovenly, slipshod, and inactive as your body.  On the other hand, if,
when you have an attack of the "blues," when you feel half sick and not
able to work, instead of lying around the house in your old wrapper or
dressing gown, you take a good bath,--a Turkish bath, if you can afford
it,--put on your best clothes, and make your toilet as carefully as if
you were going to a fashionable reception, you will feel like a new
person.  Nine times out of ten, before you have finished dressing your
"blues" and your half-sick feeling will have vanished like a bad dream,
and your whole outlook on life will have changed.

By emphasizing the importance of dress I do not mean that you should be
like Beau Brummel, the English fop, who spent four thousand dollars a
year at his tailor's alone, and who used to take hours to tie his
cravat.  An undue love of dress is worse than a total disregard of it,
and they love dress too much who "go in debt" for it, who make it their
chief object in life, to the neglect of their most sacred duty to
themselves and others, or who, like Beau Brummel, devote most of their
waking hours to its study.  But I do claim, in view of its effect on
ourselves and on those with whom we come in contact, that it is a duty,
as well as the truest economy, to dress as well and becomingly as our
position requires and our means will allow.

Many young men and women make the mistake of thinking that "well
dressed" necessarily means being expensively dressed, and, with this
erroneous idea in mind, they fall into as great a pitfall as those who
think clothes are of no importance.  They devote the time that should
be given to the culture of head and heart to studying their toilets,
and planning how they can buy, out of their limited salaries, this or
that expensive hat, or tie or coat, which they see exhibited in some
fashionable store.  If they can not by any possibility afford the
coveted article, they buy some cheap, tawdry imitation, the effect of
which is only to make them look ridiculous.  Young men of this stamp
wear cheap rings, vermilion-tinted ties, and broad checks, and almost
invariably they occupy cheap positions.  Like the dandy, whom Carlyle
describes as "a clothes-wearing man,--a man whose trade, office and
existence consists in the wearing of clothes,--every faculty of whose
soul, spirit, person and purse is heroically consecrated to this one
object," they live to dress, and have no time to devote to self-culture
or to fitting themselves for higher positions.

The overdressed young woman is merely the feminine of the overdressed
young man.  The manners of both seem to have a subtle connection with
their clothes.  They are loud, flashy, vulgar.  Their style of dress
bespeaks a type of character even more objectionable than that of the
slovenly, untidily dressed person.  The world accepts the truth
announced by Shakespeare that "the apparel oft proclaims the man"; and
the man and the woman, too, are frequently condemned by the very garb
which they think makes them so irresistible.  At first sight, it may
seem hasty or superficial to judge men or women by their clothes, but
experience has proved, again and again, that they do, as a rule,
measure the sense and self-respect of the wearer; and aspirants to
success should be as careful in choosing their dress as their
companions, for the old adage: "Tell me thy company and I will tell
thee what thou art," is offset by this wise saying of some philosopher
of the commonplace: "Show me all the dresses a woman has worn in the
course of her life, and I will write you her biography."

"How exquisitely absurd it is," says Sydney Smith, "to teach a girl
that beauty is of no value, dress of no use.  Beauty is of value.  Her
whole prospect and happiness in life may often depend upon a new gown
or a becoming bonnet.  If she has five grains of common sense, she will
find this out.  The great thing is to teach her their proper value."

It is true that clothes do not make the man, but they have a much
larger influence on man's life than we are wont to attribute to them.
Prentice Mulford declares dress to be one of the avenues for the
spiritualization of the race.  This is not an extravagant statement,
when we remember what an effect clothes have in inciting to personal
cleanliness.  Let a woman, for instance, don an old soiled or worn
wrapper, and it will have the effect of making her indifferent as to
whether her hair is frowsy or in curl papers.  It does not matter
whether her face or hands are clean or not, or what sort of slipshod
shoes she wears, for "anything," she argues, "is good enough to go with
this old wrapper."  Her walk, her manner, the general trend of her
feelings, will in some subtle way be dominated by the old wrapper.
Suppose she changes,--puts on a dainty muslin garment instead; how
different her looks and acts!  Her hair must be becomingly arranged, so
as not to be at odds with her dress.  Her face and hands and finger
nails must be spotless as the muslin which surrounds them.  The
down-at-heel old shoes are exchanged for suitable slippers.  Her mind
runs along new channels.  She has much more respect for the wearer of
the new, clean wrapper than for the wearer of the old, soiled one.
"Would you change the current of your thoughts?  Change your raiment,
and you will at once feel the effect."  Even so great an authority as
Buffon, the naturalist and philosopher, testifies to the influence of
dress on thought.  He declared himself utterly incapable of thinking to
good purpose except in full court dress.  This he always put on before
entering his study, not even omitting his sword.

There is something about ill-fitting, unbecoming, or shabby apparel
which not only robs one of self-respect, but also of comfort and power.
Good clothes give ease of manner, and make one talk well.  The
consciousness of being well dressed gives a grace and ease of manner
that even religion will not bestow, while inferiority of garb often
induces restraint.

One can not but feel that God is a lover of appropriate dress.  He has
put robes of beauty and glory upon all His works.  Every flower is
dressed in richness; every field blushes beneath a mantle of beauty;
every star is veiled in brightness; every bird is clothed in the
habiliments of the most exquisite taste.  And surely He is pleased when
we provide a beautiful setting for the greatest of His handiworks.



There is something about one's personality which eludes the
photographer, which the painter can not reproduce, which the sculptor
can not chisel.  This subtle something which every one feels, but which
no one can describe, which no biographer ever put down in a book, has a
great deal to do with one's success in life.

It is this indescribable quality, which some persons have in a
remarkable degree, which sets an audience wild at the mention of the
name of a Blaine or a Lincoln,--which makes people applaud beyond the
bounds of enthusiasm.  It was this peculiar atmosphere which made Clay
the idol of his constituents.  Although, perhaps, Calhoun was a greater
man, he never aroused any such enthusiasm as "the mill-boy of the
slashes."  Webster and Sumner were great men, but they did not arouse a
tithe of the spontaneous enthusiasm evoked by men like Blaine and Clay.

A historian says that, in measuring Kossuth's influence over the
masses, "we must first reckon with the orator's physical bulk, and then
carry the measuring line above his atmosphere."  If we had discernment
fine enough and tests delicate enough, we could not only measure the
personal atmosphere of individuals, but could also make more accurate
estimates concerning the future possibilities of schoolmates and young
friends.  We are often misled as to the position they are going to
occupy from the fact that we are apt to take account merely of their
ability, and do not reckon this personal atmosphere or magnetic power
as a part of their success-capital.  Yet this individual atmosphere has
quite as much to do with one's advancement as brain-power or education.
Indeed, we constantly see men of mediocre ability but with fine
personal presence, superb manner, and magnetic qualities, being rapidly
advanced over the heads of those who are infinitely their superiors in
mental endowments.

A good illustration of the influence of personal atmosphere is found in
the orator who carries his audience with him like a whirlwind, while he
is delivering his speech, and yet so little of this personal element
adheres to his cold words in print that those who read them are
scarcely moved at all.  The influence of such speakers depends almost
wholly upon their presence,--the atmosphere that emanates from them.
They are much larger than anything they say or do.

Certain personalities are greater than mere physical beauty and more
powerful than learning.  Charm of personality is a divine gift that
sways the strongest characters, and sometimes even controls the
destinies of nations.

We are unconsciously influenced by people who possess this magnetic
power.  The moment we come into their presence we have a sense of
enlargement.  They unlock within us possibilities of which we
previously had no conception.  Our horizon broadens; we feel a new
power stirring through all our being; we experience a sense of relief,
as if a great weight which long had pressed upon us had been removed.

We can converse with such people in a way that astonishes us, although
meeting them, perhaps, for the first time.  We express ourselves more
clearly and eloquently than we believed we could.  They draw out the
best that is in us; they introduce us, as it were, to our larger,
better selves.  With their presence, impulses and longings come
thronging to our minds which never stirred us before.  All at once life
takes on a higher and nobler meaning, and we are fired with a desire to
do more than we have ever before done, and to be more than we have been
in the past.

A few minutes before, perhaps, we were sad and discouraged, when,
suddenly, the flashlight of a potent personality of this kind has
opened a rift in our lives and revealed to us hidden capabilities.
Sadness gives place to joy, despair to hope, and disheartenment to
encouragement.  We have been touched to finer issues; we have caught a
glimpse of higher ideals; and, for the moment, at least, have been
transformed.  The old commonplace life, with its absence of purpose and
endeavor, has dropped out of sight, and we resolve, with better heart
and newer hope, to struggle to make permanently ours the forces and
potentialities that have been revealed to us.

Even a momentary contact with a character of this kind seems to double
our mental and soul powers, as two great dynamos double the current
which passes over the wire, and we are loath to leave the magical
presence lest we lose our new-born power.

On the other hand, we frequently meet people who make us shrivel and
shrink into ourselves.  The moment they come near us we experience a
cold chill, as if a blast of winter had struck us in midsummer.  A
blighting, narrowing sensation, which seems to make us suddenly
smaller, passes over us.  We feel a decided loss of power, of
possibility.  We could no more smile in their presence than we could
laugh while at a funeral.  Their gloomy miasmatic atmosphere chills all
our natural impulses.  In their presence there is no possibility of
expansion for us.  As a dark cloud suddenly obscures the brightness of
a smiling summer sky, their shadows are cast upon us and fill us with
vague, undefinable uneasiness.

We instinctively feel that such people have no sympathy with our
aspirations, and our natural prompting is to guard closely any
expression of our hopes and ambitions.  When they are near us our
laudable purposes and desires shrink into insignificance and mere
foolishness; the charm of sentiment vanishes and life seems to lose
color and zest.  The effect of their presence is paralyzing, and we
hasten from it as soon as possible.

If we study these two types of personality, we shall find that the
chief difference between them is that the first loves his kind, and the
latter does not.  Of course, that rare charm of manner which captivates
all those who come within the sphere of its influence, and that strong
personal magnetism which inclines all hearts toward its fortunate
possessor, are largely natural gifts.  But we shall find that the man
who practises unselfishness, who is genuinely interested in the welfare
of others, who feels it a privilege to have the power to do a
fellow-creature a kindness,--even though polished manners and a
gracious presence may be conspicuous by their absence,--will be an
elevating influence wherever he goes.  He will bring encouragement to
and uplift every life that touches his.  He will be trusted and loved
by all who come in contact with him.  This type of personality we may
all cultivate if we will.

Magnetic personality is intangible.  This mysterious something, which
we sometimes call individuality, is often more powerful than the
ability which can be measured, or the qualities that can be rated.

Many women are endowed with this magnetic quality, which is entirely
independent of personal beauty.  It is often possessed in a high degree
by very plain women.  This was notably the case with some of the women
who ruled in the French _salons_ more absolutely than the king on his

At a social gathering, when conversation drags, and interest is at a
low ebb, the entrance of some bright woman with a magnetic personality
instantly changes the whole situation.  She may not be handsome, but
everybody is attracted; it is a privilege to speak to her.

People who possess this rare quality are frequently ignorant of the
source of their power.  They simply know they have it, but can not
locate or describe it.  While it is, like poetry, music, or art, a gift
of nature, born in one, it can be cultivated to a certain extent.

Much of the charm of a magnetic personality comes from a fine,
cultivated manner.  Tact, also, is a very important element,--next to a
fine manner, perhaps the most important.  One must know exactly what to
do, and be able to do just the right thing at the proper time.  Good
judgment and common sense are indispensable to those who are trying to
acquire this magic power.  Good taste is also one of the elements of
personal charm.  You can not offend the tastes of others without
hurting their sensibilities.

One of the greatest investments one can make is that of attaining a
gracious manner, cordiality of bearing, generosity of feeling,--the
delightful art of pleasing.  It is infinitely better than money
capital, for all doors fly open to sunny, pleasing personalities.  They
are more than welcome; they are sought for everywhere.

Many a youth owes his promotion or his first start in life to the
disposition to be accommodating, to help along wherever he could.  This
was one of Lincoln's chief characteristics; he had a passion for
helping people, for making himself agreeable under all circumstances.
Mr. Herndon, his law partner, says: "When the Rutledge Tavern, where
Lincoln boarded, was crowded, he would often give up his bed, and sleep
on the counter in his store with a roll of calico for his pillow.
Somehow everybody in trouble turned to him for help."  This generous
desire to assist others and to return kindnesses especially endeared
Lincoln to the people.

The power to please is a tremendous asset.  What can be more valuable
than a personality which always attracts, never repels?  It is not only
valuable in business, but also in every field of life.  It makes
statesmen and politicians, it brings clients to the lawyer, and
patients to the physician.  It is worth everything to the clergyman.
No matter what career you enter, you can not overestimate the
importance of cultivating that charm of manner, those personal
qualities, which attract people to you.  They will take the place of
capital, or influence.  They are often a substitute for a large amount
of hard work.

Some men attract business, customers, clients, patients, as naturally
as magnets attract particles of steel.  Everything seems to point their
way, for the same reason that the steel particles point toward the
magnet,--because they are attracted.

Such men are business magnets.  Business moves toward them, even when
they do not apparently make half so much effort to get it as the less
successful.  Their friends call them "lucky dogs."  But if we analyze
these men closely, we find that they have attractive qualities.  There
is usually some charm of personality about them that wins all hearts.

Many successful business and professional men would be surprised, if
they should analyze their success, to find what a large percentage of
it is due to their habitual courtesy and other popular qualities.  Had
it not been for these, their sagacity, long-headedness, and business
training would not, perhaps, have amounted to half so much; for, no
matter how able a man may be, if his coarse, rude manners drive away
clients, patients, or customers, if his personality repels, he will
always be placed at a disadvantage.

It pays to cultivate popularity.  It doubles success possibilities,
develops manhood, and builds up character.  To be popular, one must
strangle selfishness, he must keep back his bad tendencies, he must be
polite, gentlemanly, agreeable, and companionable.  In trying to be
popular, he is on the road to success and happiness as well.  The
ability to cultivate friends is a powerful aid to success.  It is
capital which will stand by one when panics come, when banks fail, when
business concerns go to the wall.  How many men have been able to start
again after having everything swept away by fire or flood, or some
other disaster, just because they had cultivated popular qualities,
because they had learned the art of being agreeable, of making friends
and holding them with hooks of steel!  People are influenced powerfully
by their friendships, by their likes and dislikes, and a popular
business or professional man has every advantage in the world over a
cold, indifferent man, for customers, clients, or patients will flock
to him.

Cultivate the art of being agreeable.  It will help you to
self-expression as nothing else will; it will call out your success
qualities; it will broaden your sympathies.  It is difficult to
conceive of any more delightful birthright than to be born with this
personal charm, and yet it is comparatively easy to cultivate, because
it is made up of so many other qualities, all of which are cultivatable.

I never knew a thoroughly unselfish person who was not an attractive
person.  No person who is always thinking of himself and trying to
figure out how he can get some advantage from everybody else will ever
be attractive.  We are naturally disgusted with people who are trying
to get everything for themselves and never think of anybody else.

The secret of pleasing is in being pleasant yourself, in being
interesting.  If you would be agreeable, you must be magnanimous.  The
narrow, stingy soul is not lovable.  People shrink from such a
character.  There must be heartiness in the expression, in the smile,
in the hand-shake, in the cordiality, which is unmistakable.  The
hardest natures can not resist these qualities any more than the eyes
can resist the sun.  If you radiate sweetness and light, people will
love to get near you, for we are all looking for the sunlight, trying
to get away from the shadows.

It is unfortunate that these things are not taught more in the home and
in the school; for our success and happiness depend largely upon them.
Many of us are no better than uneducated heathens.  We may know enough,
but we give ourselves out stingily and we live narrow and reserved
lives, when we should be broad, generous, sympathetic, and magnanimous.

Popular people, those with great personal charm, take infinite pains to
cultivate all the little graces and qualities which go to make up
popularity.  If people who are naturally unsocial would only spend as
much time and take as much pains as people who are social favorites in
making themselves popular, they would accomplish wonders.

Everybody is attracted by lovable qualities and is repelled by the
unlovely wherever found.  The whole principle of an attractive
personality lives in this sentence.  A fine manner pleases; a coarse,
brutal manner repels.  We cannot help being attracted to one who is
always trying to help us,--who gives us his sympathy, who is always
trying to make us comfortable and to give us every advantage he can.
On the other hand, we are repelled by people who are always trying to
get something out of us, who elbow their way in front of us, to get the
best seat in a car or a hall, who are always looking for the easiest
chair, or for the choicest bits at the table, who are always wanting to
be waited on first at the restaurant or hotel, regardless of others.

The ability to bring the best that is in you to the man you are trying
to reach, to make a good impression at the very first meeting, to
approach a prospective customer as though you had known him for years
without offending his taste, without raising the least prejudice, but
getting his sympathy and good will, is a great accomplishment, and this
is what commands a great salary.

There is a charm in a gracious personality from which it is very hard
to get away.  It is difficult to snub the man who possesses it.  There
is something about him which arrests your prejudice, and no matter how
busy or how worried you may be, or how much you may dislike to be
interrupted, somehow you haven't the heart to turn away the man with a
pleasing personality.

Who has not felt his power multiplied many times, his intellect
sharpened, and a keener edge put on all of his faculties, when coming
into contact with a strong personality which has called forth hidden
powers which he never before dreamed he possessed, so that he could say
things and do things impossible to him when alone?  The power of the
orator, which he flings back to his listeners, he first draws from his
audience, but he could never get it from the separate individuals any
more than the chemist could get the full power from chemicals standing
in separate bottles in his laboratory.  It is in contact and
combination only that new creations, new forces, are developed.

We little realize what a large part of our achievement is due to others
working through us, to their sharpening our faculties, radiating hope,
encouragement, and helpfulness into our lives, and sustaining and
inspiring us mentally.

We are apt to overestimate the value of an education from books alone.
A large part of the value of a college education comes from the social
intercourse of the students, the reenforcement, the buttressing of
character by association.  Their faculties are sharpened and polished
by the attrition of mind with mind, and the pitting of brain against
brain, which stimulate ambition, brighten the ideals, and open up new
hopes and possibilities.  Book knowledge is valuable, but the knowledge
which comes from mind intercourse is invaluable.

Two substances totally unlike, but having a chemical affinity for each
other, may produce a third infinitely stronger than either, or even
both of those which unite.  Two people with a strong affinity often
call into activity in each other a power which neither dreamed he
possessed before.  Many an author owes his greatest book, his cleverest
saying to a friend who has aroused in him latent powers which otherwise
might have remained dormant.  Artists have been touched by the power of
inspiration through a masterpiece, or by some one they happened to meet
who saw in them what no one else had ever seen,--the power to do an
immortal thing.

The man who mixes with his fellows is ever on a voyage of discovery,
finding new islands of power in himself which would have remained
forever hidden but for association with others.  Everybody he meets has
some secret for him, if he can only extract it, something which he
never knew before, something which will help him on his way, something
which will enrich his life.  No man finds himself alone.  Others are
his discoverers.

It is astonishing how much you can learn from people in social
intercourse when you know how to look at them rightly.  But it is a
fact that you can only get a great deal out of them by giving them a
great deal of yourself.  The more you radiate yourself, the more
magnanimous you are, the more generous of yourself, the more you fling
yourself out to them without reserve, the more you will get back.

You must give much in order to get much.  The current will not set
toward you until it goes out from you.  About all you get from others
is a reflex of the currents from yourself.  The more generously you
give, the more you get in return.  You will not receive if you give out
stingily, narrowly, meanly.  You must give of yourself in a
whole-hearted, generous way, or you will receive only stingy rivulets,
when you might have had great rivers and torrents of blessings.

A man who might have been symmetrical, well-rounded, had he availed
himself of every opportunity of touching life along all sides, remains
a pygmy in everything except his own little specialty, because he did
not cultivate his social side.

It is always a mistake to miss an opportunity of meeting with our kind,
and especially of mixing with those above us, because we can always
carry away something of value.  It is through social intercourse that
our rough corners are rubbed off, that we become polished and

If you go into social life with a determination to give it something,
to make it a school for self-improvement, for calling out your best
social qualities, for developing the latent brain cells, which have
remained dormant for the lack of exercise, you will not find society
either a bore or unprofitable.  But you must give it something, or you
will not get anything.

When you learn to look upon every one you meet as holding a treasure,
something which will enrich your life, which will enlarge and broaden
your experience, and make you more of a man, you will not think the
time in the drawing-room wasted.

The man who is determined to get on will look upon every experience as
an educator, as a culture chisel, which will make his life a little
more shapely and attractive.

Frankness of manner is one of the most delightful of traits in young or
old.  Everybody admires the open-hearted, the people who have nothing
to conceal, and who do not try to cover up their faults and weaknesses.
They are, as a rule, large-hearted and magnanimous.  They inspire love
and confidence, and, by their very frankness and simplicity, invite the
same qualities in others.

Secretiveness repels as much as frankness attracts.  There is something
about the very inclination to conceal or cover up which arouses
suspicion and distrust.  We cannot have the same confidence in people
who possess this trait, no matter how good they may seem to be, as in
frank, sunny natures.  Dealing with these secretive people is like
traveling on a stage coach on a dark night.  There is always a feeling
of uncertainty.  We may come out all right, but there is a lurking fear
of some pitfall or unknown danger ahead of us.  We are uncomfortable
because of the uncertainties.  They may be all right, and may deal
squarely with us, but we are not sure and can not trust them.  No
matter how polite or gracious a secretive person may be, we can never
rid ourselves of the feeling that there is a motive behind his
graciousness, and that he has an ulterior purpose in view.  He is
always more or less of an enigma, because he goes through life wearing
a mask.  He endeavors to hide every trait that is not favorable to
himself.  Never, if he can help it, do we get a glimpse of the real man.

How different the man who comes out in the open, who has no secrets,
who reveals his heart to us, and who is frank, broad and liberal!  How
quickly he wins our confidence!  How we all like and trust him!  We
forgive him for many a slip or weakness, because he is always ready to
confess his faults, and to make amends for them.  It he has bad
qualities, they are always in sight, and we are ready to make
allowances for them.  His heart is sound and true, his sympathies are
broad and active.  The very qualities he possesses--frankness and
simplicity,--are conducive to the growth of the highest manhood and

In the Black Hills of South Dakota there lived a humble, ignorant
miner, who won the love and good will of everyone.  "You can't 'elp
likin' 'im," said an English miner, and when asked why the miners and
the people in the town couldn't help liking him, he answered.  "Because
he has a 'eart in 'im; he's a man.  He always 'elps the boys when in
trouble.  You never go to 'im for nothin'."

Bright, handsome young men, graduates of Eastern colleges, were there
seeking their fortune; a great many able, strong men drawn there from
different parts of the country by the gold fever; but none of them held
the public confidence like this poor man.  He could scarcely write his
name, and knew nothing of the usages of polite society, yet he so
intrenched himself in the hearts in his community that no other man,
however educated or cultured, had the slightest chance of being elected
to any office of prominence while "Ike" was around.

He was elected mayor of his town, and sent to the legislature, although
he could not speak a grammatical sentence.  It was all because he had a
heart in him; he was a man.



When Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard, he said, "I recognize
but one mental acquisition as an essential part of the education of a
lady or gentleman, namely, an accurate and refined use of the

Sir Walter Scott defined "a good conversationalist" as "one who has
ideas, who reads, thinks, listens, and who has therefore something to

There is no other one thing which enables us to make so good an
impression, especially upon those who do not know us thoroughly, as the
ability to converse well.

To be a good conversationalist, able to interest people, to rivet their
attention, to draw them to you naturally, by the very superiority of
your conversational ability, is to be the possessor of a very great
accomplishment, one which is superior to all others.  It not only helps
you to make a good impression upon strangers, it also helps you to make
and keep friends.  It opens doors and softens hearts.  It makes you
interesting in all sorts of company.  It helps you to get on in the
world.  It sends you clients, patients, customers.  It helps you into
the best society, even though you are poor.

A man who can talk well, who has the art of putting things in an
attractive way, who can interest others immediately by his power of
speech, has a very great advantage over one who may know more than he,
but who cannot express himself with ease or eloquence.

No matter how expert you may be in any other art or accomplishment, you
cannot use your expertness always and everywhere as you can the power
to converse well.  If you are a musician, no matter how talented you
may be, or how many years you may have spent in perfecting yourself in
your specialty, or how much it may have cost you, only comparatively
few people can ever hear or appreciate your music.

You may be a fine singer, and yet travel around the world without
having an opportunity of showing your accomplishment, or without anyone
guessing your specialty.  But wherever you go and in whatever society
you are, no matter what your station in life may be, you talk.

You may be a painter, you may have spent years with great masters, and
yet, unless you have very marked ability so that your pictures are hung
in the salons or in the great art galleries, comparatively few people
will ever see them.  But if you are an artist in conversation, everyone
who comes in contact with you will see your life-picture, which you
have been painting ever since you began to talk.  Everyone knows
whether you are an artist or a bungler.

In fact, you may have a great many accomplishments which people
occasionally see or enjoy, and you may have a very beautiful home and a
lot of property which comparatively few people ever know about; but if
you are a good converser, everyone with whom you talk will feel the
influence of your skill and charm.

A noted society leader, who has been very successful in the launching
of _débutantes_ in society, always gives this advice to her _protégés_,
"Talk, talk.  It does not matter much what you say, but chatter away
lightly and gayly.  Nothing embarrasses and bores the average man so
much as a girl who has to be entertained."

There is a helpful suggestion in this advice.  The way to learn to talk
is to talk.  The temptation for people who are unaccustomed to society,
and who feel diffident, is to say nothing themselves and listen to what
others say.

Good talkers are always sought after in society.  Everybody wants to
invite Mrs. So-and-So to dinners or receptions because she is such a
good talker.  She entertains.  She may have many defects, but people
enjoy her society because she can talk well.

Conversation, if used as an educator, is a tremendous power developer;
but talking without thinking, without an effort to express oneself with
clearness, conciseness, or efficiency, mere chattering, or gossiping,
the average society small talk, will never get hold of the best thing
in a man.  It lies too deep for such superficial effort.

Thousands of young people who envy such of their mates as are getting
on faster than they are keep on wasting their precious evenings and
their half-holidays, saying nothing but the most frivolous, frothy,
senseless things--things which do not rise to the level of humor, but
the foolish, silly talk which demoralizes one's ambition, lowers one's
ideals and all the standards of life, because it begets habits of
superficial and senseless thinking.  On the streets, on the cars, and
in public places, loud, coarse voices are heard in light, flippant,
slipshod speech, in coarse slang expressions.  "You're talking through
your hat"; "Search me"; "You just bet"; "Well, that's the limit"; "I
hate that man; he gets on my nerves," and a score of other such
vulgarities we often hear.

Nothing else will indicate your fineness or coarseness of culture, your
breeding or lack of it, so quickly as your conversation.  It will tell
your whole life's story.  What you say, and how you say it, will betray
all your secrets, will give the world your true measure.

There is no accomplishment, no attainment which you can use so
constantly and effectively, which will give so much pleasure to your
friends, as fine conversation.  There is no doubt that the gift of
language was intended to be a much greater accomplishment than the
majority of us have ever made of it.

Most of us are bunglers in our conversation, because we do not make an
art of it; we do not take the trouble or pains to learn to talk well.
We do not read enough or think enough.  Most of us express ourselves in
sloppy, slipshod English, because it is so much easier to do so than it
is to think before we speak, to make an effort to express ourselves
with elegance, ease, and power.

Poor conversers excuse themselves for not trying to improve by saying
that "good talkers are born, not made."  We might as well say that good
lawyers, good physicians, or good merchants are born, not made.  None
of them would ever get very far without hard work.  This is the price
of all achievement that is of value.

Many a man owes his advancement very largely to his ability to converse
well.  The ability to interest people in your conversation, to hold
them, is a great power.  The man who has a bungling expression, who
knows a thing, but never can put it in logical, interesting, or
commanding language, is always placed at a great disadvantage.

I know a business man who has cultivated the art of conversation to
such an extent that it is a great treat to listen to him.  His language
flows with such liquid, limpid beauty, his words are chosen with such
exquisite delicacy, taste, and accuracy, there is such a refinement in
his diction that he charms everyone who hears him speak.  All his life
he has been a reader of the finest prose and poetry, and has cultivated
conversation as a fine art.

You may think you are poor and have no chance in life.  You may be
situated so that others are dependent upon you, and you may not be able
to go to school or college, or to study music or art, as you long to;
you may be tied down to an iron environment; you may be tortured with
an unsatisfied, disappointed ambition; and yet you can become an
interesting talker, because in every sentence you utter you can
practise the best form of expression.  Every book you read, every
person with whom you converse, who uses good English, can help you.

Few people think very much about how they are going to express
themselves.  They use the first words that come to them.  They do not
think of forming a sentence so that it will have beauty, brevity,
transparency, power.  The words flow from their lips helter-skelter,
with little thought of arrangement or order.

Now and then we meet a real artist in conversation, and it is such a
treat and delight that we wonder why the most of us should be such
bunglers in our conversation, that we should make such a botch of the
medium of communication between human beings, when it is capable of
being made the art of arts.

I have met a dozen persons in my lifetime who have given me such a
glimpse of its superb possibilities that it has made all other arts
seem comparatively unimportant to me.

I was once a visitor at Wendell Phillips's home in Boston, and the
music of his voice, the liquid charm of his words, the purity, the
transparency of his diction, the profundity of his knowledge, the
fascination of his personality, and his marvelous art of putting
things, I shall never forget.  He sat down on the sofa beside me and
talked as he would to an old schoolmate, and it seemed to me that I had
never heard such exquisite and polished English.  I have met several
English people who possessed that marvelous power of "soul in
conversation which charms all who come under its spell."

Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, Julia Ward Howe, and Elizabeth S. P. Ward, had
this wonderful conversational charm, as has ex-President Eliot of

The quality of the conversation is everything.  We all know people who
use the choicest language and express their thoughts in fluent, liquid
diction, who impress us by the wonderful flow of their conversation;
but that is all there is to it.  They do not impress us with their
thoughts; they do not stimulate us to action.  We do not feel any more
determined to do something in the world, to be somebody, after we have
heard them talk than we felt before.

We know other people who talk very little, but whose words are so full
of meat and stimulating brain force that we feel ourselves multiplied
many times by the power they have injected into us.

In olden times the art of conversation reached a much higher standard
than that of to-day.  The deterioration is due to the complete
revolution in the conditions of modern civilization.  Formerly people
had almost no other way of communicating their thoughts than by speech.
Knowledge of all kinds was disseminated almost wholly through the
spoken word.  There were no great daily newspapers, no magazines or
periodicals of any kind.

The great discoveries of vast wealth in the precious minerals, the new
world opened up by inventions and discoveries, and the great impetus to
ambition have changed all this.  In this lightning-express age, in
these strenuous times, when everybody has the mania to attain wealth
and position, we no longer have time to reflect with deliberation, and
to develop our powers of conversation.  In these great newspaper and
periodical days, when everybody can get for one or a few cents the news
and information which it has cost thousands of dollars to collect,
everybody sits behind the morning sheet or is buried in a book or
magazine.  There is no longer the same need of communicating thought by
the spoken word.

Oratory is becoming a lost art for the same reason.  Printing has
become so cheap that even the poorest homes can get more reading for a
few dollars than kings and noblemen could afford in the Middle Ages.

It is a rare thing to find a polished conversationalist to-day.  So
rare is it to hear one speaking exquisite English, and using a superb
diction, that it is indeed a luxury.

Good reading, however, will not only broaden the mind and give new
ideas, but it will also increase one's vocabulary, and that is a great
aid to conversation.  Many people have good thoughts and ideas, but
they cannot express them because of the poverty of their vocabulary.
They have not words enough to clothe their ideas and make them
attractive.  They talk around in a circle, repeat and repeat, because,
when they want a particular word to convey their exact meaning, they
cannot find it.

If you are ambitious to talk well, you must be as much as possible in
the society of well-bred, cultured people.  If you seclude yourself,
though you are a college graduate, you will be a poor converser.

We all sympathize with people, especially the timid and shy, who have
that awful feeling of repression and stifling of thought, when they
make an effort to say something and cannot.  Timid young people often
suffer keenly in this way in attempting to declaim at school or
college.  But many a great orator went through the same sort of
experience, when he first attempted to speak in public and was often
deeply humiliated by his blunders and failures.  There is no other way,
however, to become an orator or a good conversationalist than by
constantly trying to express oneself efficiently and elegantly.

If you find that your ideas fly from you when you attempt to express
them, that you stammer and flounder about for words which you are
unable to find, you may be sure that every honest effort you make, even
if you fail in your attempt, will make it all the easier for you to
speak well the next time.  It is remarkable, if one keeps on trying,
how quickly he will conquer his awkwardness and self-consciousness, and
will gain ease of manner and facility of expression.

Everywhere we see people placed at a tremendous disadvantage because
they have never learned the art of putting their ideas into
interesting, telling language.  We see brainy men at public gatherings,
when momentous questions are being discussed, sit silent, unable to
tell what they know, when they are infinitely better informed than
those who are making a great deal of display of oratory or smooth talk.

People with a lot of ability, who know a great deal, often appear like
a set of dummies in company, while some superficial, shallow-brained
person holds the attention of those present simply because he can tell
what he knows in an interesting way.  They are constantly humiliated
and embarrassed when away from those who happen to know their real
worth, because they can not carry on an intelligent conversation upon
any topic.  There are hundreds of these silent people at our national
capital--many of them wives of husbands who have suddenly and
unexpectedly come into political prominence.

Many people--and this is especially true of scholars--seem to think
that the great _desideratum_ in life is to get as much valuable
information into the head as possible.  But it is just as important to
know how to give out knowledge in a palatable manner as to acquire it.
You may be a profound scholar, you may be well read in history and in
politics, you may be wonderfully well-posted in science, literature,
and art, and yet, if your knowledge is locked up within you, you will
always be placed at a great disadvantage.

Locked-up ability may give the individual some satisfaction, but it
must be exhibited, expressed in some attractive way, before the world
will appreciate it or give credit for it.  It does not matter how
valuable the rough diamond may be, no explaining, no describing its
marvels of beauty within, and its great value, would avail; nobody
would appreciate it until it was ground and polished and the light let
into its depths to reveal its hidden brilliancy.  Conversation is to
the man what the cutting of the diamond is to the stone.  The grinding
does not add anything to the diamond.  It merely reveals its wealth.

How little parents realize the harm they are doing their children by
allowing them to grow up ignorant of or indifferent to the marvelous
possibilities in the art of conversation!  In the majority of homes,
children are allowed to mangle the English language in a most painful

Nothing else will develop the brain and character more than the
constant effort to talk well, intelligently, interestingly, upon all
sorts of topics.  There is a splendid discipline in the constant effort
to express one's thoughts in clear language and in an interesting
manner.  We know people who are such superb conversers that no one
would ever dream that they have not had the advantages of the higher
schools.  Many a college graduate has been silenced and put to shame by
people who have never even been to a high school, but who have
cultivated the art of self-expression.

The school and the college employ the student comparatively a few hours
a day for a few years; conversation is a training in a perpetual
school.  Many get the best part of their education in this school.

Conversation is a great ability discoverer, a great revealer of
possibilities and resources.  It stimulates thought wonderfully.  We
think more of ourselves if we can talk well, if we can interest and
hold others.  The power to do so increases our self-respect, our

No man knows what he really possesses until he makes his best effort to
express to others what is in him.  Then the avenues of the mind fly
open, the faculties are on the alert.  Every good converser has felt a
power come to him from the listener which he never felt before, and
which often stimulates and inspires to fresh endeavor.  The mingling of
thought with thought, the contact of mind with mind, develops new
powers, as the mixing of two chemicals often produces a new third

To converse well one must listen well also--hold oneself in a receptive

We are not only poor conversationalists, but we are poor listeners as
well.  We are too impatient to listen.  Instead of being attentive and
eager to drink in the story or the information, we have not enough
respect for the talker to keep quiet.  We look about impatiently,
perhaps snap our watch, play a tattoo with our fingers on a chair or a
table, hitch about as if we were bored and were anxious to get away,
and interrupt the speaker before he reaches his conclusion.  In fact,
we are such an impatient people that we have no time for anything
excepting to push ahead, to elbow our way through the crowd to get the
position or the money we desire.  Our life is feverish and unnatural.
We have no time to develop charm of manner, or elegance of diction.
"We are too intense for epigram or repartee.  We lack time."

Nervous impatience is a conspicuous characteristic of the American
people.  Everything bores us which does not bring us more business, or
more money, or which does not help us to attain the position for which
we are striving.  Instead of enjoying our friends, we are inclined to
look upon them as so many rungs in a ladder, and to value them in
proportion as they furnish readers for our books, send us patients,
clients, customers or show their ability to give us a boost for
political position.

Before these days of hurry and drive, before this age of excitement, it
was considered one of the greatest luxuries possible to be a listener
in a group surrounding an intelligent talker.  It was better than most
modern lectures, than anything one could find in a book; for there was
a touch of personality, a charm of style, a magnetism which held, a
superb personality which fascinated.  For the hungry soul, yearning for
an education, to drink in knowledge from those wise lips was to be fed
with a royal feast indeed.

But to-day everything is "touch and go."  We have no time to stop on
the street and give a decent salutation.  It is: "How do?" or
"Morning," accompanied by a sharp nod of the head, instead of by a
graceful bow.  We have no time for the graces and the charms.
Everything must give way to the material.

We have no time for the development of a fine manner; the charm of the
days of chivalry and leisure has almost vanished from our civilization.
A new type of individual has sprung up.  We work like Trojans during
the day, and then rush to a theater or other place of amusement in the
evening.  We have no time to make our own amusement or to develop the
faculty of humor and fun-making as people used to do.  We pay people
for doing that while we sit and laugh.  We are like some college boys,
who depend upon tutors to carry them through their examinations--they
expect to buy their education ready-made.

Life is becoming so artificial, so forced, so diverse from naturalness,
we drive our human engines at such a fearful speed, that our finer life
is crushed out.  Spontaneity and humor, and the possibility of a fine
culture and a superb charm of personality in us are almost impossible
and extremely rare.

One cause for our conversational decline is a lack of sympathy.  We are
too selfish, too busily engaged in our own welfare, and wrapped up in
our own little world, too intent upon our own self-promotion to be
interested in others.  No one can make a good conversationalist who is
not sympathetic.  You must be able to enter into another's life, to
live it with the other person, to be a good listener or a good talker.

Walter Besant used to tell of a clever woman who had a great reputation
as a conversationalist, though she talked very little.  She had such a
cordial, sympathetic manner that she helped the timid and the shy to
say their best things, and made them feel at home.  She dissipated
their fears, and they could say things to her which they could not say
to anyone else.  People thought her an interesting conversationalist
because she had this ability to call out the best in others.

If you would make yourself agreeable you must be able to enter into the
life of the people you are conversing with, and you must touch them
along the lines of their interest.  No matter how much you may know
about a subject, if it does not happen to interest those to whom you
are talking your efforts will be largely lost.

It is pitiable, sometimes, to see men standing around at the average
reception or club gathering, dumb, almost helpless, and powerless to
enter heartily into the conversation because they are in a subjective
mood.  They are thinking, thinking, thinking business, business,
business; thinking how they can get on a little faster--get more
business, more clients, more patients, or more readers for their
books--or a better house to live in; how they can make more show.  They
do not enter heartily into the lives of others, or abandon themselves
to the occasion enough to make good talkers.  They are cold and
reserved, distant, because their minds are somewhere else, their
affections on themselves and their own affairs.  There are only two
things that interest them; business and their own little world.  If you
talk about these things, they are interested at once; but they do not
care a snap about your affairs, how you get on, or what your ambition
is, or how they can help you.  Our conversation will never reach a high
standard while we live in such a feverish, selfish, and unsympathetic

Great conversationalists have always been very tactful--interesting
without offending.  It does not do to stab people if you would interest
them, nor to drag out their family skeletons.  Some people have the
peculiar quality of touching the best that is in us; others stir up the
bad.  Every time they come into our presence they irritate us.  Others
allay all that is disagreeable.  They never touch our sensitive spots,
and they call out all that is spontaneous and sweet and beautiful.

Lincoln was master of the art of making himself interesting to
everybody he met.  He put people at ease with his stories and jokes,
and made them feel so completely at home in his presence that they
opened up their mental treasures to him without reserve.  Strangers
were always glad to talk with him because he was so cordial and quaint,
and always gave more than he got.

A sense of humor such as Lincoln had is, of course, a great addition to
one's conversational power.  But not everyone can be funny; and, if you
lack the sense of humor, you will make yourself ludicrous by attempting
to be funny.

A good conversationalist, however, is not too serious.  He does not
deal too much with facts, no matter how important.  Facts, statistics,
weary.  Vivacity is absolutely necessary.  Heavy conversation bores;
too light, disgusts.

Therefore, to be a good conversationalist you must be spontaneous,
buoyant, natural, sympathetic, and must show a spirit of good will.
You must feel a spirit of helpfulness, and must enter heart and soul
into things which interest others.  You must get the attention of
people and hold it by interesting them, and you can only interest them
by a warm sympathy--a real friendly sympathy.  If you are cold,
distant, and unsympathetic you can not hold their attention.

You must be broad, tolerant.  A narrow stingy soul never talks well.  A
man who is always violating your sense of taste, of justice, and of
fairness, never interests you.  You lock tight all the approaches to
your inner self, every avenue is closed to him.  Your magnetism and
your helpfulness are thus cut off, and the conversation is perfunctory,
mechanical, and without life or feeling.

You must bring your listener close to you, must open your heart wide,
and exhibit a broad free nature, and an open mind.  You must be
responsive, so that he will throw wide open every avenue of his nature
and give you free access to his heart of hearts.

If a man is a success anywhere, it ought to be in his personality, in
his power to express himself in strong, effective, interesting
language.  He should not be obliged to give a stranger an inventory of
his possessions in order to show that he has achieved something.  A
greater wealth should flow from his lips, and express itself in his

No amount of natural ability or education or good clothes, no amount of
money, will make you appear well if you use poor English.



Give a boy address and accomplishments, and you give him the mastery of
palaces and fortunes wherever he goes; he has not the trouble of
earning or owning them; they solicit him to enter and possess.--EMERSON.

With hat in hand, one gets on in the world.--GERMAN PROVERB.

  What thou wilt,
  Thou must rather enforce it with thy smile,
  Than hew to it with thy sword.

Politeness has been compared to an air cushion, which, although there
is apparently nothing in it, eases our jolts wonderfully.--GEORGE L.

Birth's gude, but breedin's better.--SCOTCH PROVERB.

Conduct is three fourths of life.--MATTHEW ARNOLD.

"Why the doose de 'e 'old 'is 'ead down like that?" asked a cockney
sergeant-major angrily, when a worthy fellow soldier wished to be
reinstated in a position from which he had been dismissed.  "Has 'e 's
been han hofficer 'e bought to know 'ow to be'ave 'isself better.  What
use 'ud 'e be has a non-commissioned hofficer hif 'e didn't dare look
'is men in the face?  Hif a man wants to be a soldier, hi say, let 'im
cock 'is chin hup, switch 'is stick abart a bit, an give a crack hover
the 'ead to hanybody who comes foolin' round 'im, helse 'e might just
has well be a Methodist parson."

The English is somewhat rude, but it expresses pretty forcibly the fact
that a good bearing is indispensable to success as a soldier.  Mien and
manner have much to do with our influence and reputation in any walk of

"Don't you wish you had my power?" asked the East Wind of the Zephyr.
"Why, when I start they hail me by storm signals all along the coast.
I can twist off a ship's mast as easily as you can waft thistledown.
With one sweep of my wing I strew the coast from Labrador to Cape Horn
with shattered ship timber.  I can lift and have often lifted the
Atlantic.  I am the terror of all invalids, and to keep me from
piercing to the very marrow of their bones, men cut down forests for
their fires and explore the mines of continents for coal to feed their
furnaces.  Under my breath the nations crouch in sepulchers.  Don't you
wish you had my power?"

Zephyr made no reply, but floated from out the bowers of the sky, and
all the rivers and lakes and seas, all the forests and fields, all the
beasts and birds and men smiled at its coming.  Gardens bloomed,
orchards ripened, silver wheat-fields turned to gold, fleecy clouds
went sailing in the lofty heaven, the pinions of birds and the sails of
vessels were gently wafted onward, and health and happiness were
everywhere.  The foliage and flowers and fruits and harvests, the
warmth and sparkle and gladness and beauty and life were the only
answer Zephyr gave to the insolent question of the proud but pitiless
East Wind.

The story goes that Queen Victoria once expressed herself to her
husband in rather a despotic tone, and Prince Albert, whose manly
self-respect was smarting at her words, sought the seclusion of his own
apartment, closing and locking the door.  In about five minutes some
one knocked.

"Who is it?" inquired the Prince.

"It is I.  Open to the Queen of England!" haughtily responded her
Majesty.  There was no reply.  After a long interval there came a
gentle tapping and the low spoken words: "It is I, Victoria, your
wife."  Is it necessary to add that the door was opened, or that the
disagreement was at an end?  It is said that civility is to a man what
beauty is to a woman: it creates an instantaneous impression in his

The monk Basle, according to a quaint old legend, died while under the
ban of excommunication by the pope, and was sent in charge of an angel
to find his proper place in the nether world.  But his genial
disposition and great conversational powers won friends wherever he
went.  The fallen angels adopted his manner, and even the good angels
went a long way to see him and live with him.  He was removed to the
lowest depths of Hades, but with the same result.  His inborn
politeness and kindness of heart were irresistible, and he seemed to
change the hell into a heaven.  At length the angel returned with the
monk, saying that no place could be found in which to punish him.  He
still remained the same Basle.  So his sentence was revoked, and he was
sent to Heaven and canonized as a saint.

The Duke of Marlborough "wrote English badly and spelled it worse," yet
he swayed the destinies of empires.  The charm of his manner was
irresistible and influenced all Europe.  His fascinating smile and
winning speech disarmed the fiercest hatred and made friends of the
bitterest enemies.

A gentleman took his daughter of sixteen to Richmond to witness the
trial of his bitter personal enemy, Aaron Burr, whom he regarded as an
arch-traitor.  But she was so fascinated by Burr's charming manner that
she sat with his friends.  Her father took her from the courtroom, and
locked her up, but she was so overcome by the fine manner of the
accused that she believed in his innocence and prayed for his
acquittal.  "To this day," said she fifty years afterwards, "I feel the
magic of his wonderful deportment."

Madame Récamier was so charming that when she passed around the box at
the Church St. Roche in Paris, twenty thousand francs were put into it.
At the great reception to Napoleon on his return from Italy, the crowd
caught sight of this fascinating woman and almost forgot to look at the
great hero.

"Please, Madame," whispered a servant to Madame de Maintenon at dinner,
"one anecdote more, for there is no roast to-day."  She was so
fascinating in manner and speech that her guests appeared to overlook
all the little discomforts of life.

According to St. Beuve, the privileged circle at Coppet after making an
excursion returned from Chambéry in two coaches.  Those arriving in the
first coach had a rueful experience to relate--a terrific
thunder-storm, shocking roads, and danger and gloom to the whole
company.  The party in the second coach heard their story with
surprise; of thunder-storm, of steeps, of mud, of danger, they knew
nothing; no, they had forgotten earth, and breathed a purer air; such a
conversation between Madame de Staël and Madame Récamier and Benjamin
Constant and Schlegel! they were all in a state of delight.  The
intoxication of the conversation had made them insensible to all notice
of weather or rough roads.  "If I were Queen," said Madame Tesse, "I
should command Madame de Staël to talk to me every day."  "When she had
passed," as Longfellow wrote of Evangeline, "it seemed like the ceasing
of exquisite music."

Madame de Staël was anything but beautiful, but she possessed that
indefinable something before which mere conventional beauty cowers,
commonplace and ashamed.  Her hold upon the minds of men was wonderful.
They were the creatures of her will, and she shaped careers as if she
were omnipotent.  Even the Emperor Napoleon feared her influence over
his people so much that he destroyed her writings and banished her from

In the words of Whittier it could be said of her as might be said of
any woman:--

  Our homes are cheerier for her sake,
    Our door-yards brighter blooming,
  And all about the social air
    Is sweeter for her coming.

A guest for two weeks at the house of Arthur M. Cavanaugh, M. P., who
was without arms or legs, was very desirous of knowing how he fed
himself; but the conversation and manner of the host were so charming
that the visitor was scarcely conscious of his deformity.

"When Dickens entered a room," said one who knew him well, "it was like
the sudden kindling of a big fire, by which every one was warmed."

It is said that when Goethe entered a restaurant people would lay down
their knives and forks to admire him.

Philip of Macedon, after hearing the report of Demosthenes' famous
oration, said: "Had I been there he would have persuaded me to take up
arms against myself."

Henry Clay was so graceful and impressive in his manner that a
Pennsylvania tavern-keeper tried to induce him to get out of the
stage-coach in which they were riding, and make a speech to himself and
his wife.

"I don't think much of Choate's spread-eagle talk," said a
simple-minded member of a jury that had given five successive verdicts
to the great advocate; "but I call him a very lucky lawyer, for there
was not one of those five cases that came before us where he wasn't on
the right side."  His manner as well as his logic was irresistible.

When Edward Everett took a professor's chair at Harvard after five
years of study in Europe, he was almost worshiped by the students.  His
manner seemed touched by that exquisite grace seldom found except in
women of rare culture.  His great popularity lay in a magical
atmosphere which every one felt, but no one could describe, and which
never left him.

A New York lady had just taken her seat in a car on a train bound for
Philadelphia, when a somewhat stout man sitting just ahead of her
lighted a cigar.  She coughed and moved uneasily; but the hints had no
effect, so she said tartly: "You probably are a foreigner, and do not
know that there is a smoking-car attached to the train.  Smoking is not
permitted here."  The man made no reply, but threw his cigar from the
window.  What has her astonishment when the conductor told her, a
moment later, that she had entered the private car of General Grant.
She withdrew in confusion, but the same fine courtesy which led him to
give up his cigar was shown again as he spared her the mortification of
even a questioning glance, still less of a look of amusement, although
she watched his dumb, immovable figure with apprehension until she
reached the door.

Julian Ralph, after telegraphing an account of President Arthur's
fishing-trip to the Thousand Islands, returned to his hotel at two
o'clock in the morning, to find all the doors locked.  With two friends
who had accompanied him, he battered at a side door to wake the
servants, but what was his chagrin when the door was opened by the
President of the United States!

"Why, that's all right," said Mr. Arthur when Mr. Ralph asked his
pardon.  "You wouldn't have got in till morning if I had not come.  No
one is up in the house but me.  I could have sent my colored boy, but
he had fallen asleep and I hated to wake him."

The late King Edward, when Prince of Wales, the first gentleman in
Europe, invited an eminent man to dine with him.  When coffee was
served, the guest, to the consternation of the others, drank from his
saucer.  An open titter of amusement went round the table.  The Prince,
quickly noting the cause of the untimely amusement, gravely emptied his
cup into his saucer and drank after the manner of his guest.  Silent
and abashed, the other members of the princely household took the
rebuke and did the same.

Queen Victoria sent for Carlyle, who was a Scotch peasant, offering him
the title of nobleman, which he declined, feeling that he had always
been a nobleman in his own right.  He understood so little of the
manners at court that, when presented to the Queen, after speaking to
her a few minutes, being tired, he said, "Let us sit down, madam;"
whereat the courtiers were ready to faint.  But she was great enough,
and gave a gesture that seated all her puppets in a moment.  The
Queen's courteous suspension of the rules of etiquette, and what it may
have cost her, can be better understood from what an acquaintance of
Carlyle said of him when he saw him for the first time.  "His presence,
in some unaccountable manner, rasped the nerves.  I expected to meet a
rare being, and I left him feeling as if I had drunk sour wine, or had
had an attack of seasickness."

Some persons wield a scepter before which others seem to bow in glad
obedience.  But whence do they obtain such magic power?  What is the
secret of that almost hypnotic influence over people which we would
give anything to possess?

Courtesy is not always found in high places.  Even royal courts furnish
many examples of bad manners.  At an entertainment given years ago by
Prince Edward and the Princess of Wales, to which only the very cream
of the cream of society was admitted, there was such pushing and
struggling to see the Princess, who was then but lately married, that,
as she passed through the reception rooms, a bust of the Princess Royal
was thrown from its pedestal and damaged, and the pedestal upset; and
the ladies, in their eagerness to see the Princess, actually stood upon

When Catherine of Russia gave receptions to her nobles, she published
the following rules of etiquette upon cards: "Gentlemen will not get
drunk before the feast is ended.  Noblemen are forbidden to strike
their wives in company.  Ladies of the court must not wash out their
mouths in the drinking-glasses, or wipe their faces on the damask, or
pick their teeth with forks."  But to-day the nobles of Russia have no
superiors in manners.

Etiquette originally meant the ticket or tag tied to a bag to indicate
its contents.  If a bag had this ticket it was not examined.  From this
the word passed to cards upon which were printed certain rules to be
observed by guests.  These rules were "the ticket" or the etiquette.
To be "the ticket," or, as it was sometimes expressed, to act or talk
by the card, became the thing with the better classes.

It was fortunate for Napoleon that he married Josephine before he was
made commander-in-chief of the armies of Italy.  Her fascinating
manners and her wonderful powers of persuasion were more influential
than the loyalty of any dozen men in France in attaching to him the
adherents who would promote his interests.  Josephine was to the
drawing-room and the salon what Napoleon was to the field--a preeminent
leader.  The secret of her personality that made her the Empress not
only of the hearts of the Frenchmen, but also of the nations her
husband conquered, has been beautifully told by herself.  "There is
only one occasion," she said to a friend, "in which I would voluntarily
use the words, 'I _will_!'--namely, when I would say, 'I will that all
around me be happy.'"

  "It was only a glad 'good-morning,'
    As she passed along the way,
  But it spread the morning's glory
    Over the livelong day."

A fine manner more than compensates for all the defects of nature.  The
most fascinating person is always the one of most winning manners, not
the one of greatest physical beauty.  The Greeks thought beauty was a
proof of the peculiar favor of the gods, and considered that beauty
only worth adorning and transmitting which was unmarred by outward
manifestations of hard and haughty feeling.  According to their ideal,
beauty must be the expression of attractive qualities within--such as
cheerfulness, benignity, contentment, charity, and love.

Mirabeau was one of the ugliest men in France.  It was said he had "the
face of a tiger pitted by smallpox," but the charm of his manner was
almost irresistible.

Beauty of life and character, as in art, has no sharp angles.  Its
lines seem continuous, so gently does curve melt into curve.  It is
sharp angles that keep many souls from being beautiful that are almost
so.  Our good is less good when it is abrupt, rude, ill timed, or ill
placed.  Many a man and woman might double their influence and success
by a kindly courtesy and a fine manner.

Tradition tells us that before Apelles painted his wonderful Goddess of
Beauty which enchanted all Greece, he traveled for years observing fair
women, that he might embody in his matchless Venus a combination of the
loveliest found in all.  So the good-mannered study, observe, and adopt
all that is finest and most worthy of imitation in every cultured
person they meet.

Throw a bone to a dog, said a shrewd observer, and he will run off with
it in his mouth, but with no vibration in his tail.  Call the dog to
you, pat him on the head, let him take the bone from your hand, and his
tail will wag with gratitude.  The dog recognizes the good deed and the
gracious manner of doing it.  Those who throw their good deeds should
not expect them to be caught with a thankful smile.

"Ask a person at Rome to show you the road," said Dr. Guthrie of
Edinburgh, "and he will always give you a civil and polite answer; but
ask any person a question for that purpose in this country (Scotland),
and he will say, 'Follow your nose and you will find it.'  But the
blame is with the upper classes; and the reason why, in this country,
the lower classes are not polite is because the upper classes are not
polite.  I remember how astonished I was the first time I was in Paris.
I spent the first night with a banker, who took me to a pension, or, as
we call it, a boarding-house.  When we got there, a servant girl came
to the door, and the banker took off his hat, and bowed to the servant
girl, and called her mademoiselle, as though she were a lady.  Now, the
reason why the lower classes there are so polite is because the upper
classes are polite and civil to them."

A fine courtesy is a fortune in itself.  The good-mannered can do
without riches, for they have passports everywhere.  All doors fly open
to them, and they enter without money and without price.  They can
enjoy nearly everything without the trouble of buying or owning.  They
are as welcome in every household as the sunshine; and why not? for
they carry light, sunshine, and joy everywhere.  They disarm jealousy
and envy, for they bear good will to everybody.  Bees will not sting a
man smeared with honey.

"A man's own good breeding," says Chesterfield, "is the best security
against other people's ill manners.  It carries along with it a dignity
that is respected by the most petulant.  Ill breeding invites and
authorizes the familiarity of the most timid.  No man ever said a pert
thing to the Duke of Marlborough, or a civil one to Sir Robert Walpole."

The true gentleman cannot harbor those qualities which excite the
antagonism of others, as revenge, hatred, malice, envy, or jealousy,
for these poison the sources of spiritual life and shrivel the soul.
Generosity of heart and a genial good will towards all are absolutely
essential to him who would possess fine manners.  Here is a man who is
cross, crabbed, moody, sullen, silent, sulky, stingy, and mean with his
family and servants.  He refuses his wife a little money to buy a
needed dress, and accuses her of extravagance that would ruin a
millionaire.  Suddenly the bell rings.  Some neighbors call: what a
change!  The bear of a moment ago is as docile as a lamb.  As by magic
he becomes talkative, polite, generous.  After the callers have gone,
his little girl begs her father to keep on his "company manners" for a
little while, but the sullen mood returns and his courtesy vanishes as
quickly as it came.  He is the same disagreeable, contemptible, crabbed
bear as before the arrival of his guests.

What friend of the great Dr. Johnson did not feel mortified and pained
to see him eat like an Esquimau, and to hear him call men "liars"
because they did not agree with him?  He was called the "Ursa Major,"
or Great Bear.

Benjamin Rush said that when Goldsmith at a banquet in London asked a
question about "the American Indians," Dr. Johnson exclaimed: "There is
not an Indian in North America foolish enough to ask such a question."
"Sir," replied Goldsmith, "there is not a savage in America rude enough
to make such a speech to a gentleman."

After Stephen A. Douglas had been abused in the Senate he rose and
said: "What no gentleman should say no gentleman need answer."

Aristotle thus described a real gentleman more than two thousand years
ago: "The magnanimous man will behave with moderation under both good
fortune and bad.  He will not allow himself to be exalted; he will not
allow himself to be abased.  He will neither be delighted with success,
nor grieved with failure.  He will never choose danger, nor seek it.
He is not given to talk about himself or others.  He does not care that
he himself should be praised, nor that other people should be blamed."

A gentleman is just a gentle man: no more, no less; a diamond polished
that was first a diamond in the rough.  A gentleman is gentle, modest,
courteous, slow to take offense, and never giving it.  He is slow to
surmise evil, as he never thinks it.  He subjects his appetites,
refines his tastes, subdues his feelings, controls his speech, and
deems every other person as good as himself.  A gentleman, like
porcelain-ware, must be painted before he is glazed.  There can be no
change after it is burned in, and all that is put on afterwards will
wash off.  He who has lost all but retains his courage, cheerfulness,
hope, virtue, and self-respect, is a true gentleman, and is rich still.

"You replace Dr. Franklin, I hear," said the French Minister, Count de
Vergennes, to Mr. Jefferson, who had been sent to Paris to relieve our
most popular representative.  "I succeed him; no man can replace him,"
was the felicitous reply of the man who became highly esteemed by the
most polite court in Europe.

"You should not have returned their salute," said the master of
ceremonies, when Clement XIV bowed to the ambassadors who had bowed in
congratulating him upon his election.  "Oh, I beg your pardon," replied
Clement.  "I have not been pope long enough to forget good manners."

Cowper says:--

  A modest, sensible, and well-bred man
  Would not insult me, and no other can.

"I never listen to calumnies," said Montesquieu, "because if they are
untrue I run the risk of being deceived, and if they are true, of
hating people not worth thinking about."

"I think," says Emerson, "Hans Andersen's story of the cobweb cloth
woven so fine that it was invisible--woven for the king's garment--must
mean manners, which do really clothe a princely nature."

No one can fully estimate how great a factor in life is the possession
of good manners, or timely thoughtfulness with human sympathy behind
it.  They are the kindly fruit of a refined nature, and are the open
sesame to the best of society.  Manners are what vex or soothe, exalt
or debase, barbarize or refine us by a constant, steady, uniform,
invincible operation like that of the air we breathe.  Even power
itself has not half the might of gentleness, that subtle oil which
lubricates our relations with each other, and enables the machinery of
society to perform its functions without friction.

"Have you not seen in the woods, in a late autumn morning," asks
Emerson, "a poor fungus, or mushroom,--a plant without any solidity,
nay, that seemed nothing but a soft mush or jelly,--by its constant,
total, and inconceivably gentle pushing, manage to break its way up
through the frosty ground, and actually to lift a hard crust on its
head?  It is the symbol of the power of kindness."

"There is no policy like politeness," says Magoon; "since _a good
manner often succeeds where the best tongue has failed_."  The art of
pleasing is the art of rising in the world.

The politest people in the world, it is said, are the Jews.  In all
ages they have been maltreated and reviled, and despoiled of their
civil privileges and their social rights; yet are they everywhere
polite and affable.  They indulge in few or no recriminations; are
faithful to old associations; more considerate of the prejudices of
others than others are of theirs; not more worldly-minded and
money-loving than people generally are; and, everything considered,
they surpass all nations in courtesy, affability, and forbearance.

"Men, like bullets," says Richter, "go farthest when they are

Napoleon was much displeased on hearing that Josephine had permitted
General Lorges, a young and handsome man, to sit beside her on the
sofa.  Josephine explained that, instead of its being General Lorges,
it was one of the aged generals of his army, entirely unused to the
customs of courts.  She was unwilling to wound the feelings of the
honest old soldier, and so allowed him to retain his seat.  Napoleon
commended her highly for her courtesy.

President Jefferson was one day riding with his grandson, when they met
a slave, who took off his hat and bowed.  The President returned the
salutation by raising his hat, but the grandson ignored the civility of
the negro.  "Thomas," said the grandfather, "do you permit a slave to
be more of a gentleman than yourself?"

"Lincoln was the first great man I talked with freely in the United
States," said Fred Douglass, "who in no single instance reminded me of
the difference between himself and me, of the difference in color."

"Eat at your own table," says Confucius, "as you would eat at the table
of the king."  If parents were not careless about the manners of their
children at home, they would seldom be shocked or embarrassed at their
behavior abroad.

James Russell Lowell was as courteous to a beggar as to a lord, and was
once observed holding a long conversation in Italian with an
organ-grinder whom he was questioning about scenes in Italy with which
they were each familiar.

In hastily turning the corner of a crooked street in London, a young
lady ran with great force against a ragged beggar-boy and almost
knocked him down.  Stopping as soon as she could, she turned around and
said very kindly: "I beg your pardon, my little fellow; I am very sorry
that I ran against you."  The astonished boy looked at her a moment,
and then, taking off about three quarters of a cap, made a low bow and
said, while a broad, pleasant smile overspread his face: "You have my
parding, miss, and welcome,--and welcome; and the next time you run
ag'in' me, you can knock me clean down and I won't say a word."  After
the lady had passed on, he said to a companion: "I say, Jim, it's the
first time I ever had anybody ask my parding, and it kind o' took me
off my feet."

"Respect the burden, madame, respect the burden," said Napoleon, as he
courteously stepped aside at St. Helena to make way for a laborer
bending under a heavy load, while his companion seemed inclined to keep
the narrow path.

A Washington politician went to visit Daniel Webster at Marshfield,
Mass., and, in taking a short cut to the house, came to a stream which
he could not cross.  Calling to a rough-looking farmer near by, he
offered a quarter to be carried to the other side.  The farmer took the
politician on his broad shoulders and landed him safely, but would not
take the quarter.  The old rustic presented himself at the house a few
minutes later, and to the great surprise and chagrin of the visitor was
introduced as Mr. Webster.

Garrison was as polite to the furious mob that tore his clothes from
his back and dragged him through the streets as he could have been to a
king.  He was one of the serenest souls that ever lived.  Christ was
courteous, even to His persecutors, and in terrible agony on the cross,
He cried: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  St.
Paul's speech before Agrippa is a model of dignified courtesy, as well
as of persuasive eloquence.

Good manners often prove a fortune to a young man.  Mr. Butler, a
merchant in Providence, R. I., had once closed his store and was on his
way home when he met a little girl who wanted a spool of thread.  He
went back, opened the store, and got the thread.  This little incident
was talked of all about the city and brought him hundreds of customers.
He became very wealthy, largely because of his courtesy.

Ross Winans of Baltimore owed his great success and fortune largely to
his courtesy to two foreign strangers.  Although his was but a
fourth-rate factory, his great politeness in explaining the minutest
details to his visitors was in such marked contrast with the limited
attention they had received in large establishments that it won their
esteem.  The strangers were Russians sent by their Czar, who later
invited Mr. Winans to establish locomotive works in Russia.  He did so,
and soon his profits resulting from his politeness were more than
$100,000 a year.

A poor curate saw a crowd of rough boys and men laughing and making fun
of two aged spinsters dressed in antiquated costume.  The ladies were
embarrassed and did not dare enter the church.  The curate pushed
through the crowd, conducted them up the central aisle, and amid the
titter of the congregation, gave them choice seats.  These old ladies
although strangers to him, at their death left the gentle curate a
large fortune.  Courtesy pays.

Not long ago a lady met the late President Humphrey of Amherst College,
and she was so much pleased with his great politeness that she gave a
generous donation to the college.

"Why did our friend never succeed in business?" asked a man returning
to New York after years of absence; "he had sufficient capital, a
thorough knowledge of his business, and exceptional shrewdness and
sagacity."  "He was sour and morose," was the reply; "he always
suspected his employees of cheating him, and was discourteous to his
customers.  Hence, no man ever put good will or energy into work done
for him, and his patrons went to shops where they were sure of

Some men almost work their hands off and deny themselves many of the
common comforts of life in their earnest efforts to succeed, and yet
render success impossible by their cross-grained ungentlemanliness.
They repel patronage, and, naturally, business which might easily be
theirs goes to others who are really less deserving but more

Bad manners often neutralize even honesty, industry, and the greatest
energy; while agreeable manners win in spite of other defects.  Take
two men possessing equal advantages in every other respect; if one be
gentlemanly, kind, obliging, and conciliating, and the other
disobliging, rude, harsh, and insolent, the former will become rich
while the boorish one will starve.

[Illustration: Jane Addams]

A fine illustration of the business value of good manners is found in
the Bon Marché, an enormous establishment in Paris where thousands of
clerks are employed, and where almost everything is kept for sale.  The
two distinguishing characteristics of the house are one low price to
all, and extreme courtesy.  Mere politeness is not enough; the
employees must try in every possible way to please and to make
customers feel at home.  Something more must be done than is done in
other stores, so that every visitor will remember the Bon Marché with
pleasure.  By this course the business has been developed until it is
said to be the largest of the kind in the world.

"Thank you, my dear; please call again," spoken to a little beggar-girl
who bought a pennyworth of snuff proved a profitable advertisement and
made Lundy Foote a millionaire.

Many persons of real refinement are thought to be stiff, proud,
reserved, and haughty who are not, but are merely diffident and shy.

It is a curious fact that diffidence often betrays us into
discourtesies which our hearts abhor, and which cause us intense
mortification and embarrassment.  Excessive shyness must be overcome as
an obstacle to perfect manners.  It is peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon and
the Teutonic races, and has frequently been a barrier to the highest
culture.  It is a disease of the finest organizations and the highest
types of humanity.  It never attacks the coarse and vulgar.

Sir Isaac Newton was the shyest man of his age.  He did not acknowledge
his great discovery for years just for fear of attracting attention to
himself.  He would not allow his name to be used in connection with his
theory of the moon's motion, for fear it would increase the
acquaintances he would have to meet.  George Washington was awkward and
shy and had the air of a countryman.  Archbishop Whately was so shy
that he would escape notice whenever it was possible.  At last he
determined to give up trying to cure his shyness; "for why," he asked,
"should I endure this torture all my life?" when, to his surprise, it
almost entirely disappeared.  Elihu Burritt was so shy that he would
hide in the cellar when his parents had company.

Practice on the stage or lecture platform does not always eradicate
shyness.  David Garrick, the great actor, was once summoned to testify
in court; and, though he had acted for thirty years with marked
self-possession, he was so confused and embarrassed that the judge
dismissed him.  John B. Gough said that he could not rid himself of his
early diffidence and shrinking from public notice.  He said that he
never went on the platform without fear and trembling, and would often
be covered with cold perspiration.

There are many worthy people who are brave on the street, who would
walk up to a cannon's mouth in battle, but who are cowards in the
drawing-room, and dare not express an opinion in the social circle.
They feel conscious of a subtle tyranny in society's code, which locks
their lips and ties their tongues.  Addison was one of the purest
writers of English and a perfect master of the pen, but he could
scarcely utter a dozen words in conversation without being embarrassed.
Shakespeare was very shy.  He retired from London at forty, and did not
try to publish or preserve one of his plays.  He took second or
third-rate parts on account of his diffidence.

Generally shyness comes from a person thinking too much about
himself--which in itself is a breach of good breeding--and wondering
what other people think about him.

"I was once very shy," said Sydney Smith, "but it was not long before I
made two very useful discoveries; first, that all mankind were not
solely employed in observing me; and next, that shamming was of no use;
that the world was very clear-sighted, and soon estimated a man at his
true value.  This cured me."

What a misfortune it is to go through life apparently encased in ice,
yet all the while full of kindly, cordial feeling for one's fellow men!
Shy people are always distrustful of their powers and look upon their
lack of confidence as a weakness or lack of ability, when it may
indicate quite the reverse.  By teaching children early the arts of
social life, such as boxing, horseback riding, dancing, elocution, and
similar accomplishments, we may do much to overcome the sense of

Shy people should dress well.  Good clothes give ease of manner, and
unlock the tongue.  The consciousness of being well dressed gives a
grace and ease of manner that even religion will not bestow, while
inferiority of garb often induces restraint.  As peculiarities in
apparel are sure to attract attention, it is well to avoid bright
colors and fashionable extremes, and wear plain, well-fitting garments
of as good material as the purse will afford.

Beauty in dress is a good thing, rail at it who may.  But it is a lower
beauty, for which a higher beauty should not be sacrificed.  They love
dress too much who give it their first thought, their best time, or all
their money; who for it neglect the culture of the mind or heart, or
the claims of others on their service; who care more for dress than for
their character; who are troubled more by an unfashionable garment than
by a neglected duty.

When Ezekiel Whitman, a prominent lawyer and graduate of Harvard, was
elected to the Massachusetts legislature, he came to Boston from his
farm in countryman's dress, and went to a hotel in Boston.  He entered
the parlor and sat down, when he overheard the remark between some
ladies and gentlemen: "Ah, here comes a real homespun countryman.
Here's fun."  They asked him all sorts of queer questions, tending to
throw ridicule upon him, when he arose and said, "Ladies and gentlemen,
permit me to wish you health and happiness, and may you grow better and
wiser in advancing years, bearing in mind that outward appearances are
deceitful.  You mistook me, from my dress, for a country booby; while
I, from the same superficial cause, thought you were ladies and
gentlemen.  The mistake has been mutual."  Just then Governor Caleb
Strong entered and called to Mr. Whitman, who, turning to the
dumfounded company, said: "I wish you a very good evening."

"In civilized society," says Johnson, "external advantages make us more
respected.  A man with a good coat upon his back meets with a better
reception than he who has a bad one."

One cannot but feel that God is a lover of the beautiful.  He has put
robes of beauty and glory upon all his works.  Every flower is dressed
in richness; every field blushes beneath a mantle of beauty; every star
is veiled in brightness; every bird is clothed in the habiliments of
the most exquisite taste.

Some people look upon polished manners as a kind of affectation.  They
claim admiration for plain, solid, square, rugged characters.  They
might as well say that they prefer square, plain, unornamented houses
made from square blocks of stone.  St. Peter's is none the less strong
and solid because of its elegant columns and the magnificent sweep of
its arches, its carved and fretted marbles of matchless hues.

Our manners, like our characters, are always under inspection.  Every
time we go into society we must step on the scales of each person's
opinion, and the loss or gain from our last weight is carefully noted.
Each mentally asks, "Is this person going up or down?  Through how many
grades has he passed?"  For example, young Brown enters a drawing-room.
All present weigh him in their judgment and silently say, "This young
man is gaining; he is more careful, thoughtful, polite, considerate,
straightforward, industrious."  Besides him stands young Jones.  It is
evident that he is losing ground rapidly.  He is careless, indifferent,
rough, does not look you in the eye, is mean, stingy, snaps at the
servants, yet is over-polite to strangers.

And so we go through life, tagged with these invisible labels by all
who know us.  I sometimes think it would be a great advantage if one
could read these ratings of his associates.  We cannot long deceive the
world, for that other self, who ever stands in the shadow of ourselves
holding the scales of justice, that telltale in the soul, rushes to the
eye or into the manner and betrays us.

But manners, while they are the garb of the gentleman, do not
constitute or finally determine his character.  Mere politeness can
never be a substitute for moral excellence, any more than the bark can
take the place of the heart of the oak.  It may well indicate the kind
of wood below, but not always whether it be sound or decayed.
Etiquette is but a substitute for good manners and is often but their
mere counterfeit.

Sincerity is the highest quality of good manners.

The following recipe is recommended to those who wish to acquire
genuine good manners:--

Of Unselfishness, three drachms;

Of the tincture of Good Cheer, one ounce;

Of Essence of Heart's-Ease, three drachms;

Of the Extract of the Rose of Sharon, four ounces;

Of the Oil of Charity, three drachms, and no scruples;

Of the Infusion of Common Sense and Tact, one ounce;

Of the Spirit of Love, two ounces.

The Mixture to be taken whenever there is the slightest symptom of
selfishness, exclusiveness, meanness, or I-am-better-than-you-ness.

Pattern after Him who gave the Golden Rule, and who was the first true
gentleman that ever breathed.



Timid, shy people are morbidly self-conscious; they think too much
about themselves.  Their thoughts are always turned inward; they are
always analyzing, dissecting themselves, wondering how they appear and
what people think of them.  If these people could only forget
themselves and think of others, they would be surprised to see what
freedom, ease, and grace they would gain; what success in life they
would achieve.

Timidity, shyness, and self-consciousness belong to the same family.
We usually find all where we find any one of these qualities, and they
are all enemies of peace of mind, happiness, and achievement.  No one
has ever done a great thing while his mind was centered upon himself.
We must lose ourselves before we can find ourselves.  Self analysis is
valuable only to learn our strength; fatal, if we dwell upon our

Thousands of young people are held back from undertaking what they long
to do, and are kept from trying to make real their great life-dreams,
because they are afraid to jostle with the world.  They shrink from
exposing their sore spots and sensitive points, which smart from the
lightest touch.  Their super-sensitiveness makes cowards of them.

Over-sensitiveness, whether in man or woman, is really an exaggerated
form of self-consciousness.  It is far removed from conceit or
self-esteem, yet it causes one's personality to overshadow everything
else.  A sensitive person feels that, whatever he does, wherever he
goes, or whatever he says, he is the center of observation.  He
imagines that people are criticizing his movements, making fun at his
expense, or analyzing his character, when they are probably not
thinking of him at all.  He does not realize that other people are too
busy and too much interested in themselves and other things to devote
to him any of their time beyond what is absolutely necessary.  When he
thinks they are aiming remarks at him, putting slights upon him, or
trying to hold him up to the ridicule of others, they may not be even
conscious of his presence.

Morbid sensitiveness requires heroic treatment.  A sufferer who wishes
to overcome it must take himself in hand as determinedly as he would if
he wished to get control of a quick temper, or to rid himself of a
habit of lying, or stealing, or drinking, or any other defect which
prevented his being a whole man.

"What shall I do to get rid of it?" asks a victim.  Think less of
yourself and more of others.  Mingle freely with people.  Become
interested in things outside of yourself.  Do not brood over what is
said to you, or analyze every simple remark until you magnify it into
something of the greatest importance.  Do not have such a low and
unjust estimate of people as to think they are bent on nothing but
hurting the feelings of others, and depreciating and making light of
them on every possible occasion.  A man who appreciates himself at his
true value, and who gives his neighbors credit for being at least as
good as he is, cannot be a victim of over-sensitiveness.

One of the best schools for a sensitive boy is a large business house
in which he will be thrown among strangers who will not handle him with
gloves.  In such an environment he will soon learn that everyone has
all he can do to attend to his own business.  He will realize that he
must be a man and give and take with the others, or get out.  He will
be ashamed to play "cry baby" every time he feels hurt, but will make
up his mind to grin and bear it.  Working in competition with other
people, and seeing that exactly the same treatment is given to those
above him as to himself, takes the nonsense out of him.  He begins to
see that the world is too busy to bother itself especially about him,
and that, even when people look at him, they are not usually thinking
of him.

A college course is of inestimable value to a boy or girl of
over-refined sensibilities.  Oftentimes, when boys enter college as
freshmen, they are so touchy that their sense of honor is constantly
being hurt and their pride stung by the unconscious thrusts of
classmates and companions.  But after they have been in college a term,
and have been knocked about and handled in a rough but good-humored
manner by youths of their own age, they realize that it would be the
most foolish thing in the world to betray resentment.  If one shows
that he is hurt, he knows that he will be called the class booby, and
teased unmercifully, so he is simply forced to drop his foolish

Thousands of people are out of positions, and cannot keep places when
they get them, because of this weakness.  Many a good business man has
been kept back, or even ruined, by his quickness to take offense, or to
resent a fancied slight.  There is many a clergyman, well educated and
able, who is so sensitive that he can not keep a pastorate long.  From
his distorted viewpoint some brother or sister in the church is always
hurting him, saying and thinking unkind things, or throwing out hints
and suggestions calculated to injure him in the eyes of the

Many schoolteachers are great sufferers from over-sensitiveness.
Remarks of parents, or school committees, or little bits of gossip
which are reported to them make them feel as if people were sticking
pins in them, metaphorically speaking, all the time.  Writers, authors,
and other people with artistic temperaments, are usually very
sensitive.  I have in mind a very strong, vigorous editorial writer who
is so prone to take offense that he can not hold a position either on a
magazine or a daily paper.  He is cut to the very quick by the
slightest criticism, and regards every suggestion for the improvement
of his work as a personal affront.  He always carries about an injured
air, a feeling that he has been imposed upon, which greatly detracts
from an otherwise agreeable personality.

The great majority of people, no matter how rough in manner or bearing,
are kind-hearted, and would much rather help than hinder a fellowbeing,
but they have all they can do to attend to their own affairs, and have
no time to spend in minutely analyzing the nature and feeling of those
whom they meet in the course of their daily business.  In the busy
world of affairs, it is give and take, touch and go, and those who
expect to get on must rid themselves of all morbid sensitiveness.  If
they do not, they doom themselves to unhappiness and failure.

Self-consciousness is a foe to greatness in every line of endeavor.  No
one ever does a really great thing until he feels that he is a part of
something greater than himself, until he surrenders to that greater

Some of our best writers never found themselves, never touched their
power, until they forgot their rules for construction, their grammar,
their rhetorical arrangement, by losing themselves in their subject.
Then they found their style.

It is when a writer is so completely carried away with his subject that
he cannot help writing, that he writes naturally.  He shows what his
real style is.

No orator has ever electrified an audience while he was thinking of his
style or was conscious of his rhetoric, or trying to apply the
conventional rules of oratory.  It is when the orator's soul is on fire
with his theme, and he forgets his audience, forgets everything but his
subject, that he really does a great thing.

No painter ever did a great masterpiece when trying to keep all the
rules of his profession, the laws of drawing, of perspective, the
science of color, in his mind.  Everything must be swallowed up in his
zeal, fused in the fire of his genius,--then, and then only, can he
really create.

No singer ever captivated her audience until she forgot herself, until
she was lost in her song.

Could anything be more foolish and short-sighted than to allow a morbid
sensitiveness to interfere with one's advancement in life?

I know a young lady with a superb mind and a fine personality, capable
of filling a superior position, who has been kept in a very ordinary
situation for years simply because of her morbid sensitiveness.

She takes it for granted that if any criticism is made in the
department where she works, it is intended for her, and she "flies off
the handle" over every little remark that she can possibly twist into a
reflection upon herself.

The result is that she makes it so unpleasant for her employers that
they do not promote her.  And she can not understand why she does not
get on faster.

No one wishes to employ anyone who is so sensitive that he is obliged
to be on his guard every moment lest he wound him or touch a sore spot.
It makes an employer very uncomfortable to feel that those about him
are carrying around an injured air a large part of the time, so that he
never quite knows whether they are in sympathy with him or not.  If
anything has gone wrong in his business and he feels vexed, he knows
that he is liable to give offense to these people without ever
intending it.

A man wants to feel that his employees understand him, and that they
take into consideration the thousand and one little vexations and
happenings which are extremely trying, and that if he does not happen
to approach them with a smiling face, with consideration and
friendliness in his words or commands, they will not take offense.
They will think of his troubles, not their own, if they are wise: they
will forget self, and contribute their zeal to the greater good.



"Who is stronger than thou?" asked Braham; and Force replied
"Address."--VICTOR HUGO.

Address makes opportunities; the want of it gives them.--BOVEE.

  He'll suit his bearing to the hour,
  Laugh, listen, learn, or teach.
        ELIZA COOK.

A man who knows the world will not only make the most of everything he
does know, but of many things he does not know; and will gain more
credit by his adroit mode of hiding his ignorance, than the pedant by
his awkward attempt to exhibit his erudition.--COLTON.

The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often
acquires more reputation than actual brilliancy.--ROCHEFOUCAULD.

  "Tact clinches the bargain,
  Sails out of the bay,
  Gets the vote in the Senate,
  Spite of Webster or Clay."

"I never will surrender to a nigger," said a Confederate officer, when
a colored soldier chased and caught him.  "Berry sorry, massa," said
the negro, leveling his rifle; "must kill you den; hain't time to go
back and git a white man."  The officer surrendered.

"When God endowed human beings with brains," says Montesquieu, "he did
not intend to guarantee them."

When Abraham Lincoln was running for the legislature the first time, on
the platform of the improvement of the Sangamon River, he went to
secure the votes of thirty men who were cradling a wheatfield.  They
asked no questions about internal improvements, but only seemed curious
to know whether he had muscle enough to represent them in the
legislature.  Lincoln took up a cradle and led the gang around the
field.  The whole thirty voted for him.

"I do not know how it is," said Napoleon in surprise to his cook, "but
at whatever hour I call for my breakfast my chicken is always ready and
always in good condition."  This seemed to him the more strange because
sometimes he would breakfast at eight and at other times as late as
eleven.  "Sire," said the cook, "the reason is, that every quarter of
an hour I put a fresh chicken down to roast, so that your Majesty is
sure always to have it at perfection."

Talent in this age is no match for tact.  We see its failure
everywhere.  Tact will manipulate one talent so as to get more out of
it in a lifetime than ten talents will accomplish without it.  "Talent
lies abed till noon; tact is up at six."  Talent is power, tact is
skill.  Talent knows what to do, tact knows how to do it.

"Talent is something, but tact is everything.  It is not a sixth sense,
but it is like the life of all the five.  It is the open eye, the quick
ear, the judging taste, the keen smell, and lively touch; it is the
interpreter of all riddles, the surmounter of all difficulties, the
remover of all obstacles."

The world is full of theoretical, one-sided, impractical men, who have
turned all the energies of their lives into one faculty until they have
developed, not a full-orbed, symmetrical man, but a monstrosity, while
all their other faculties have atrophied and died.  We often call these
one-sided men geniuses, and the world excuses their impractical and
almost idiotic conduct in most matters, because they can perform one
kind of work that no one else can do as well.  A merchant is excused if
he is a giant in merchandise, though he may be an imbecile in the
drawing-room.  Adam Smith could teach the world economy in his "Wealth
of Nations," but he could not manage the finances of his own household.

Many great men are very impractical even in the ordinary affairs of
life.  Isaac Newton could read the secret of creation; but, tired of
rising from his chair to open the door for a cat and her kitten, he had
two holes cut through the panels for them to pass at will, a large hole
for the cat, and a small one for the kitten.  Beethoven was a great
musician, but he sent three hundred florins to pay for six shirts and
half a dozen handkerchiefs.  He paid his tailor as large a sum in
advance, and yet he was so poor at times that he had only a biscuit and
a glass of water for dinner.  He did not know enough of business to cut
the coupon from a bond when he wanted money, but sold the whole
instrument.  Dean Swift nearly starved in a country parish where his
more practical classmate Stafford became rich.  One of Napoleon's
marshals understood military tactics as well as his chief, but he did
not know men so well, and lacked the other's skill and tact.  Napoleon
might fall; but, like a cat, he would fall upon his feet.

For his argument in the Florida Case, a fee of one thousand dollars in
crisp new bills of large denomination was handed to Daniel Webster as
he sat reading in his library.  The next day he wished to use some of
the money, but could not find any of the bills.  Years afterward, as he
turned the page of a book, he found a bank-bill without a crease in it.
On turning the next leaf he found another, and so on until he took the
whole amount lost from the places where he had deposited them
thoughtlessly, as he read.  Learning of a new issue of gold pieces at
the Treasury, he directed his secretary, Charles Lanman, to obtain
several hundred dollars' worth.  A day or two after he put his hand in
his pocket for one, but they were all gone.  Webster was at first
puzzled, but on reflection remembered that he had given them away, one
by one, to friends who seemed to appreciate their beauty.

A professor in mathematics in a New England college, a "book-worm," was
asked by his wife to bring home some coffee.  "How much will you have?"
asked the merchant.  "Well, I declare, my wife did not say, but I guess
a bushel will do."

Many a great man has been so absent-minded at times as to seem devoid
of common-sense.

"The professor is not at home," said his servant who looked out of a
window in the dark and failed to recognize Lessing when the latter
knocked at his own door in a fit of absent-mindedness.  "Oh, very
well," replied Lessing.  "No matter, I'll call at another time."

Louis Philippe said he was the only sovereign in Europe fit to govern,
for he could black his own boots.  The world is full of men and women
apparently splendidly endowed and highly educated, yet who can scarcely
get a living.

Not long ago three college graduates were found working on a sheep farm
in Australia, one from Oxford, one from Cambridge, and the other from a
German University,--college men tending brutes!  Trained to lead men,
they drove sheep.  The owner of the farm was an ignorant, coarse
sheep-raiser.  He knew nothing of books or theories, but he knew sheep.
His three hired graduates could speak foreign languages and discuss
theories of political economy and philosophy, but he could make money.
He could talk about nothing but sheep and farm; but he had made a
fortune, while the college men could scarcely get a living.  Even the
University could not supply common sense.  It was "culture against
ignorance; the college against the ranch; and the ranch beat every

Do not expect too much from books.  Bacon said that studies "teach not
their own use, but that there is a practical wisdom without them, won
by observation."  The use of books must be found outside their own
lids.  It was said of a great French scholar: "He was drowned in his
talents."  Over-culture, without practical experience, weakens a man,
and unfits him for real life.  Book education alone tends to make a man
too critical, too self-conscious, timid, distrustful of his abilities,
too fine for the mechanical drudgery of practical life, too highly
polished, and too finely cultured for every day use.

The culture of books and colleges refines, yet it is often but an
ethical culture, and is gained at the cost of vigor and rugged
strength.  Book culture alone tends to paralyze the practical
faculties.  The bookworm loses his individuality; his head is filled
with theories and saturated with other men's thoughts.  The stamina of
the vigorous mind he brought from the farm has evaporated in college;
and when he graduates, he is astonished to find that he has lost the
power to grapple with men and things, and is therefore out-stripped in
the race of life by the boy who has had no chance, but who, in the
fierce struggle for existence, has developed hard common sense and
practical wisdom.  The college graduate often mistakes his crutches for
strength.  He inhabits an ideal realm where common sense rarely dwells.
The world cares little for his theories or his encyclopaedic knowledge.
The cry of the age is for practical men.

"We have been among you several weeks," said Columbus to the Indian
chiefs; "and, although at first you treated us like friends, you are
now jealous of us and are trying to drive us away.  You brought us food
in plenty every morning, but now you bring very little and the amount
is less with each succeeding day.  The Great Spirit is angry with you
for not doing as you agreed in bringing us provisions.  To show his
anger he will cause the sun to be in darkness."  He knew that there was
to be an eclipse of the sun, and told the day and hour it would occur,
but the Indians did not believe him, and continued to reduce the supply
of food.

On the appointed day the sun rose without a cloud, and the Indians
shook their heads, beginning to show signs of open hostility as the
hours passed without a shadow on the face of the sun.  But at length a
dark spot was seen on one margin; and, as it became larger, the natives
grew frantic and fell prostrate before Columbus to entreat for help.
He retired to his tent, promising to save them, if possible.  About the
time for the eclipse to pass away, he came out and said that the Great
Spirit had pardoned them, and would soon drive away the monster from
the sun if they would never offend him again.  They readily promised,
and when the sun had passed out of the shadow they leaped and danced
and sang for joy.  Thereafter the Spaniards had all the provisions they

"Common sense," said Wendell Phillips, "bows to the inevitable and
makes use of it."

When Caesar stumbled in landing on the beach of Britain, he instantly
grasped a handful of sand and held it aloft as a signal of triumph,
hiding forever from his followers the ill omen of his threatened fall.

Goethe, speaking of some comparisons that had been instituted between
himself and Shakespeare, said: "Shakespeare always hits the right nail
on the head at once; but I have to stop and think which is the right
nail, before I hit."

It has been said that a few pebbles from a brook in the sling of a
David who knows how to send them to the mark are more effective than a
Goliath's spear and a Goliath's strength with a Goliath's clumsiness.

"Get ready for the redskins!" shouted an excited man as he galloped up
to the log-cabin of the Moore family in Ohio many years ago; "and give
me a fresh horse as soon as you can.  They killed a family down the
river last night, and nobody knows where they'll turn up next!"

"What shall we do?" asked Mrs. Moore, with a pale face.  "My husband
went away yesterday to buy our winter supplies, and will not be back
until morning."

"Husband away?  Whew! that's bad!  Well, shut up as tight as you can.
Cover up your fire, and don't strike a light to-night."  Then springing
upon the horse the boys had brought, he galloped away to warn other

Mrs. Moore carried the younger children to the loft of the cabin, and
left Obed and Joe to watch, reluctantly yielding the post of danger to
them at their urgent request.  "They're coming, Joe!" whispered Obed
early in the evening, as he saw several shadows moving across the
fields.  "Stand by that window with the axe, while I get the rifle
pointed at this one."  Opening the bullet-pouch, he took out a ball,
but nearly fainted as he found it was too large for the rifle.  His
father had taken the wrong pouch.  Obed felt around to see if there
were any smaller balls in the cupboard, and almost stumbled over a very
large pumpkin, one of the two which he and Joe had been using to make
Jack-o'-lanterns when the messenger alarmed them.  Pulling off his
coat, he flung it over the vegetable lantern, made to imitate a
gigantic grinning face, with open eyes, nose, and mouth, and with a
live coal from the ashes he lighted the candle inside.  "They'll sound
the war-whoop in a minute, if I give them time," he whispered, as he
raised the covered lantern to the window.  "Now for it!" he added,
pulling the coat away.  An unearthly yell greeted the appearance of the
grinning monster, and the Indians fled wildly to the woods.  "Quick,
Joe!  Light up the other one!  Don't you see that's what scar't 'em
so?" demanded Obed; and at the appearance of the second fiery face the
savages gave a final yell and vanished in the forest.  Mr. Moore and
daylight came together, but the Indians did not return.

Thurlow Weed earned his first quarter by carrying a trunk on his back
from a sloop in New York harbor to a Broad Street hotel.  He had very
few chances such as are now open to the humblest boy, but he had tact
and intuition.  He could read men as an open book, and mold them to his
will.  He was unselfish.  By three presidents whom his tact and
shrewdness had helped to elect he was offered the English mission and
scores of other important positions, but he invariably declined.

Lincoln selected Weed to attempt the reconciliation of the "New York
Herald," which had a large circulation in Europe, and was creating a
dangerous public sentiment abroad and at home by its articles in
sympathy with the Confederacy.  Though Weed and Bennett had not spoken
to each other before for thirty years, the very next day after their
interview the "Herald" became a strong Union paper.  Weed was then sent
to Europe to counteract the pernicious influence of secession agents.
The emperor of France favored the South.  He was very indignant because
Charleston harbor had been blockaded, thus shutting off French
manufacturers from large supplies of cotton.  But Weed's rare tact
modified his views, and induced him to change to friendliness the tone
of a hostile speech prepared for delivery to the National Assembly.
England was working night and day preparing for war when Weed arrived
upon the scene, and soon changed largely the current of public
sentiment.  On his return to America the city of New York extended
public thanks to him for his inestimable services.  He was equally
successful in business, and acquired a fortune of a million dollars.

"Tell me the breadth of this stream," said Napoleon to his chief
engineer, as they came to a bridgeless river which the army had to
cross.  "Sire, I cannot.  My scientific instruments are with the army,
and we are ten miles ahead of it."

"Measure the width of this stream instantly."--"Sire, be
reasonable!"--"Ascertain at once the width of this river, or you shall
be deposed."

The engineer drew the cap-piece of his helmet down until the edge
seemed just in line between his eye and the opposite bank; then,
holding himself carefully erect, he turned on his heel and noticed
where the edge seemed to touch the bank on which he stood, which was on
the same level as the other.  He paced the distance to the point last
noted, and said: "This is the approximate width of the stream."  He was

"Mr. Webster," said the mayor of a Western city, when it was learned
that the great statesman, although weary with travel, would be delayed
for an hour by a failure to make close connections, "allow me to
introduce you to Mr. James, one of our most distinguished citizens."
"How do you do, Mr. James?" asked Webster mechanically, as he glanced
at a thousand people waiting to take his hand.  "The truth is, Mr.
Webster," replied Mr. James in a most lugubrious tone, "I am not very
well."  "I hope nothing serious is the matter," thundered the godlike
Daniel, in a tone of anxious concern.  "Well, I don't know that, Mr.
Webster.  I think it's rheumatiz, but my wife----"  "Mr. Webster, this
is Mr. Smith," broke in the mayor, leaving poor Mr. James to enjoy his
bad health in the pitiless solitude of a crowd.  His total want of tact
had made him ridiculous.

"Address yourself to the jury, sir," said a judge to a witness who
insisted upon imparting his testimony in a confidential tone to the
court direct.  The man did not understand and continued as before.
"Speak to the jury, sir, the men sitting behind you on the raised
benches."  Turning, the witness bowed low in awkward suavity, and said,
"Good-morning, gentlemen."

"What are these?" asked Napoleon, pointing to twelve silver statues in
a cathedral.  "The twelve Apostles," was the reply.  "Take them down,"
said Napoleon, "melt them, coin them into money, and let them go about
doing good, as their Master did."

"I don't think the Proverbs of Solomon show very great wisdom," said a
student at Brown University; "I could make as good ones myself."  "Very
well," replied President Wayland, "bring in two to-morrow morning."  He
did not bring them.

"Will you lecture for us for fame?" was the telegram young Henry Ward
Beecher received from a Young Men's Christian Association in the West.
"Yes, F. A. M. E.  Fifty and my expenses," was the answer the shrewd
young preacher sent back.

Montaigne tells of a monarch who, on the sudden death of an only child,
showed his resentment against Providence by abolishing the Christian
religion throughout his dominions for a fortnight.

The triumphs of tact, or common sense, over talent and genius, are seen
everywhere.  Walpole was an ignorant man, and Charlemagne could hardly
write his name so that it could be deciphered; but these giants knew
men and things, and possessed that practical wisdom and tact which have
ever moved the world.

Tact, like Alexander, cuts the knots it cannot untie, and leads its
forces to glorious victory.  A practical man not only sees, but seizes
the opportunity.  There is a certain getting-on quality difficult to
describe, but which is the great winner of the prizes of life.
Napoleon could do anything in the art of war with his own hands, even
to the making of gunpowder.  Paul was all things to all men, that he
might save some.  The palm is among the hardest and least yielding of
all woods, yet rather than be deprived of the rays of the life-giving
sun in the dense forests of South America, it is said to turn into a
creeper, and climb the nearest trunk to the light.

A farmer who could not get a living sold one half of his farm to a
young man who made enough money on the half to pay for it and buy the
rest.  "You have not tact," was his reply, when the old man asked how
one could succeed so well where the other had failed.

According to an old custom a Cape Cod minister was called upon in April
to make a prayer over a piece of land.  "No," said he, when shown the
land, "this does not need a prayer; it needs manure."

To see a man as he is you must turn him round and round until you get
him at the right angle.  Place him in a good light, as you would a
picture.  The excellences and defects will appear if you get the right
angle.  How our old schoolmates have changed places in the ranking of
actual life!  The boy who led his class and was the envy of all has
been distanced by the poor dunce who was called slow and stupid, but
who had a sort of dull energy in him which enabled him to get on in the
world.  The class leader had only a theoretical knowledge, and could
not cope with the stern realities of the age.  Even genius, however
rapid its flight, must not omit a single essential detail, and must be
willing to work like a horse.

Shakespeare had marvelous tact; he worked everything into his plays.
He ground up the king and his vassal, the fool and the fop, the prince
and the peasant, the black and the white, the pure and the impure, the
simple and the profound, passions and characters, honor and
dishonor,--everything within the sweep of his vision he ground up into
paint and spread it upon his mighty canvas.

Some people show want of tact in resenting every slight or petty
insult, however unworthy their notice.  Others make Don Quixote's
mistake of fighting a windmill by engaging in controversies with public
speakers and editors, who are sure to have the advantage of the final
word.  One of the greatest elements of strength in the character of
Washington was found in his forbearance when unjustly attacked or

Artemus Ward touches this bubble with a pretty sharp-pointed pen.

"It was in a surtin town in Virginny, the Muther of Presidents and
things, that I was shaimfully aboozed by a editer in human form.  He
set my Show up steep, and kalled me the urbane and gentlemunly manager,
but when I, fur the purpuss of showin' fair play all round, went to
anuther offiss to get my handbills printed, what duz this
pussillanermus editer do but change his toon and abooze me like a
injun.  He sed my wax-wurks was a humbug, and called me a horey-heded
itinerent vagabone.  I thort at fust Ide pollish him orf ar-lar Beneki
Boy, but on reflectin' that he cood pollish me much wuss in his paper,
I giv it up; and I wood here take occashun to advise people when they
run agin, as they sumtimes will, these miserable papers, to not pay no
attenshun to um.  Abuv all, don't assault a editer of this kind.  It
only gives him a notorosity, which is jist what he wants, and don't do
you no more good than it would to jump into enny other mudpuddle.
Editors are generally fine men, but there must be black sheep in every

John Jacob Astor had practical talent in a remarkable degree.  During a
storm at sea, on his voyage to America, the other passengers ran about
the deck in despair, expecting every minute to go down; but young Astor
went below and coolly put on his best suit of clothes, saying that if
the ship should founder and he should happen to be rescued, he would at
least save his best suit of clothes.

"Their trading talent is bringing the Jews to the front in America as
well as in Europe," said a traveler to one of that race; "and it has
gained for them an ascendency, at least in certain branches of trade,
from which nothing will ever displace them."

"Dey are coming to de vront, most zairtainly," replied his companion;
"but vy do you shpeak of deir drading dalent all de time?"

"But don't you regard it as a talent?"

"A dalent?  No!  It is chenius.  I vill dell you what is de difference,
in drade, between dalent and chenius.  Ven one goes into a man's shtore
and manaches to seel him vat he vonts, dat is dalent; but ven annoder
man goes into dat man's shtore and sells him vot he don't vont, dat is
chenius; and dat is de chenius vot my race has got."



  "Antonio Stradivari has an eye
  That winces at false work and loves the true."

Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty.--C. SIMMONS.

Genius is the infinite art of taking pains.--CARLYLE.

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

  If I were a cobbler, it would be my pride
    The best of all cobblers to be;
  If I were a tinker, no tinker beside
    Should mend an old kettle like me.
        OLD SONG.

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 door.--EMERSON.

"Sir, it is a watch which I have made and regulated myself," said
George Graham of London to a customer who asked how far he could depend
upon its keeping correct time; "take it with you wherever you please.
If after seven years you come back to see me, and can tell me there has
been a difference of five minutes, I will return you your money."
Seven years later the gentleman returned from India.  "Sir," said he,
"I bring you back your watch."

"I remember our conditions," said Graham.  "Let me see the watch.
Well, what do you complain of?"  "Why," said the man, "I have had it
seven years, and there is a difference of more than five minutes."

"Indeed!  In that case I return you your money."  "I would not part
with my watch," said the man, "for ten times the sum I paid for it."
"And I would not break my word for any consideration," replied Graham;
so he paid the money and took the watch, which he used as a regulator.

He learned his trade of Tampion, the most exquisite mechanic in London,
if not in the world, whose name on a timepiece was considered proof
positive of its excellence.  When a person once asked him to repair a
watch upon which his name was fraudulently engraved, Tampion smashed it
with a hammer, and handed the astonished customer one of his own
master-pieces, saying, "Sir, here is a watch of my making."

Graham invented the "compensating mercury pendulum," the "dead
escapement," and the "orrery," none of which have been much improved
since.  The clock which he made for Greenwich Observatory has been
running one hundred and fifty years, yet it needs regulating but once
in fifteen months.  Tampion and Graham lie in Westminster Abbey,
because of the accuracy of their work.

To insure safety, a navigator must know how far he is from the equator,
north or south, and how far east or west of some known point, as
Greenwich, Paris, or Washington.  He could be sure of this knowledge
when the sun is shining, if he could have an absolutely accurate
timekeeper; but such a thing has not yet been made.  In the sixteenth
century Spain offered a prize of a thousand crowns for the discovery of
an approximately correct method of determining longitude.  About two
hundred years later the English government offered 5,000 pounds for a
chronometer by which a ship six months from home could get her
longitude within sixty miles; 7,500 pounds if within forty miles;
10,000 pounds if within thirty miles; and in another clause 20,000
pounds for correctness within thirty miles, a careless repetition.

The watchmakers of the world contested for the prizes, but 1761 came,
and they had not been awarded.  In that year John Harrison asked for a
test of his chronometer.  In a trip of one hundred and forty-seven days
from Portsmouth to Jamaica and back, it varied less than two minutes,
and only four seconds on the outward voyage.  In a round trip of one
hundred and fifty-six days to Barbadoes, the variation was only fifteen
seconds.  The 20,000 pounds was paid to the man who had worked and
experimented for forty years, and whose hand was as exquisitely
delicate in its movement as the mechanism of his chronometer.

"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 of 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.

"We have no secret," said the manager of an iron works employing
thousands of men.  "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

"Madam," said the sculptor H. K. Brown, as he admired a statue in
alabaster made by a youth in his teens, "this boy has something in
him."  It was the figure of an Irishman who worked for the Ward family
in Brooklyn years ago, and gave with minutest fidelity not merely the
man's features and expression, but even the patches in his trousers,
the rent in his coat, and the creases in his narrow-brimmed stove-pipe
hat.  Mr. Brown saw the statue at the house of a lady living at
Newburgh-on-the-Hudson.  Six years later he invited her brother, J. Q.
A. Ward, to become a pupil in his studio.  To-day the name of Ward is
that of the most prosperous of all Americans sculptors.

"Paint me just as I am, warts and all," said Oliver Cromwell to the
artist who, thinking to please the great man, had omitted a mole.

"I can remember when you blacked my father's shoes," said one member of
the House of Commons to another in the heat of debate.  "True enough,"
was the prompt reply, "but did I not black them well?"

"It is easy to tell good indigo," said an old lady.  "Just take a lump
and put it into water, and if it is good, it will either sink or swim,
I am not sure which; but never mind, you can try it for yourself."

John B. Gough told of a colored preacher who, wishing his congregation
to fresco the recess back of the pulpit, suddenly closed his Bible and
said, "There, my bredren, de Gospel will not be dispensed with any more
from dis pulpit till de collection am sufficient to fricassee dis

When troubled with deafness, Wellington consulted a celebrated
physician, who put strong caustic into his ear, causing an inflammation
which threatened his life.  The doctor apologized, expressed great
regrets, and said that the blunder would ruin him.  "No," said
Wellington, "I will never mention it."  "But you will allow me to
attend you, so that people will not withdraw their confidence?" "No,"
said the Iron Duke, "that would be lying."

"Father," said a boy, "I saw an immense number of dogs--five hundred, I
am sure--in our street, last night."  "Surely not so many," said the
father.  "Well, there were one hundred, I'm quite sure."  "It could not
be," said the father; "I don't think there are a hundred dogs in our
village."  "Well, sir, it could not be less than ten: this I am quite
certain of."  "I will not believe you saw ten even," said the father;
"for you spoke as confidently of seeing five hundred as of seeing this
smaller number.  You have contradicted yourself twice already, and now
I cannot believe you."  "Well, sir," said the disconcerted boy, "I saw
at least our Dash and another one."

We condemn the boy for exaggerating in order to tell a wonderful story;
but how much more truthful are they who "never saw it rain so before,"
or who call day after day the hottest of the summer or the coldest of
the winter?

There is nothing which all mankind venerate and admire so much as
simple truth, exempt from artifice, duplicity, and design.  It exhibits
at once a strength of character and integrity of purpose in which all
are willing to confide.

To say nice things merely to avoid giving offense; to keep silent
rather than speak the truth; to equivocate, to evade, to dodge, to say
what is expedient rather than what is truthful; to shirk the truth; to
face both ways; to exaggerate; to seem to concur with another's
opinions when you do not; to deceive by a glance of the eye, a nod of
the head, a smile, a gesture; to lack sincerity; to assume to know or
think or feel what you do not--all these are but various manifestations
of hollowness and falsehood resulting from want of accuracy.

We find no lying, no inaccuracy, no slipshod business in nature.  Roses
blossom and crystals form with the same precision of tint and angle
to-day as in Eden on the morning of creation.  The rose in the queen's
garden is not more beautiful, more fragrant, more exquisitely perfect,
than that which blooms and blushes unheeded amid the fern-decked brush
by the roadside, or in some far-off glen where no human eye ever sees
it.  The crystal found deep in the earth is constructed with the same
fidelity as that formed above ground.  Even the tiny snowflake whose
destiny is to become an apparently insignificant and a wholly unnoticed
part of an enormous bank, assumes its shape of ethereal beauty as
faithfully as though preparing for some grand exhibition.  Planets rush
with dizzy sweep through almost limitless courses, yet return to
equinox or solstice at the appointed second, their very movement being
"the uniform manifestation of the will of God."

The marvelous resources and growth of America have developed an
unfortunate tendency to overstate, overdraw, and exaggerate.  It seems
strange that there should be so strong a temptation to exaggerate in a
country where the truth is more wonderful than fiction.  The positive
is stronger than the superlative, but we ignore this fact in our
speech.  Indeed, it is really difficult to ascertain the exact truth in
America.  How many American fortunes are built on misrepresentation
that is needless, for nothing else is half so strong as truth.

"Does the devil lie?" was asked of Sir Thomas Browne.  "No, for then
even he could not exist."  Truth is necessary to permanency.

In Siberia a traveler found men who could see the satellites of Jupiter
with the naked eye.  These men have made little advance in
civilization, yet they are far superior to us in their accuracy of
vision.  It is a curious fact that not a single astronomical discovery
of importance has been made through a large telescope, the men who have
advanced our knowledge of that science the most working with ordinary
instruments backed by most accurately trained minds and eyes.

A double convex lens three feet in diameter is worth $60,000.  Its
adjustment is so delicate that the human hand is the only instrument
thus far known suitable for giving the final polish, and one sweep of
the hand more than is needed, Alvan Clark says, would impair the
correctness of the glass.  During the test of the great glass which he
made for Russia, the workmen turned it a little with their hands.
"Wait, boys, let it cool before making another trial," said Clark; "the
poise is so delicate that the heat from your hands affects it."

Mr. Clark's love of accuracy has made his name a synonym of exactness
the world over.

"No, I can't do it, it is impossible," said Webster, when urged to
speak on a question soon to come up, toward the close of a
Congressional session.  "I am so pressed with other duties that I
haven't time to prepare myself to speak upon that theme."  "Ah, but,
Mr. Webster, you always speak well upon any subject.  You never fail."
"But that's the very reason," said the orator, "because I never allow
myself to speak upon any subject without first making that subject
thoroughly my own.  I haven't time to do that in this instance.  Hence
I must refuse."

Rufus Choate would plead before a shoemaker justice of the peace in a
petty case with all the fervor and careful attention to detail with
which he addressed the United States Supreme Court.

"Whatever is right to do," said an eminent writer, "should be done with
our best care, strength, and faithfulness of purpose; we have no scales
by which we can weigh our faithfulness to duties, or determine their
relative importance in God's eyes.  That which seems a trifle to us may
be the secret spring which shall move the issues of life and death."

"There goes a man that has been in hell," the Florentines would say
when Dante passed, so realistic seemed to them his description of the
nether world.

"There is only one real failure in life possible," said Canon Farrar;
"and that is, not to be true to the best one knows."

"It is quite astonishing," Grove said of Beethoven, "to find the length
of time during which some of the best known instrumental melodies
remained in his thoughts till they were finally used, or the crude,
vague, commonplace shape in which they were first written down.  The
more they are elaborated, the more fresh and spontaneous they become."

Leonardo da Vinci would walk across Milan to change a single tint or
the slightest detail in his famous picture of the Last Supper.  "Every
line was then written twice over by Pope," said his publisher Dodsley,
of manuscript brought to be copied.  Gibbon wrote his memoir nine
times, and the first chapters of his history eighteen times.  Of one of
his works Montesquieu said to a friend: "You will read it in a few
hours, but I assure you it has cost me so much labor that it has
whitened my hair."  He had made it his study by day and his dream by
night, the alpha and omega of his aims and objects.  "He who does not
write as well as he can on every occasion," said George Ripley, "will
soon form the habit of not writing well on any occasion."

An accomplished entomologist thought he would perfect his knowledge by
a few lessons under Professor Agassiz.  The latter handed him a dead
fish and told him to use his eyes.  Two hours later he examined his new
pupil, but soon remarked, "You haven't really looked at the fish yet.
You'll have to try again."  After a second examination he shook his
head, saying, "You do not show that you can use your eyes."  This
roused the pupil to earnest effort, and he became so interested in
things he had never noticed before that he did not see Agassiz when he
came for the third examination.  "That will do," said the great
scientist.  "I now see that you can use your eyes."

Reynolds said he could go on retouching a picture forever.

The captain of a Nantucket whaler told the man at the wheel to steer by
the North Star, but was awakened towards morning by a request for
another star to steer by, as they had "sailed by the other."

Stephen Girard was precision itself.  He did not allow those in his
employ to deviate in the slightest degree from his iron-clad orders.
He believed that no great success is possible without the most rigid
accuracy in everything.  He did not vary from a promise in the
slightest degree.  People knew that his word was not "pretty good," but
_absolutely_ good.  He left nothing to chance.  Every detail of
business was calculated and planned to a nicety.  He was as exact and
precise even in the smallest trifles as Napoleon; yet his brother
merchants attributed his superior success to good luck.

In 1805 Napoleon broke up the great camp he had formed on the shores of
the English Channel, and gave orders for his mighty host to defile
toward the Danube.  Vast and various as were the projects fermenting in
his brain, however, he did not content himself with giving the order,
and leaving the elaboration of its details to his lieutenants.  To
details and minutiae which inferior captains would have deemed too
microscopic for their notice, he gave such exhaustive attention that
before the bugle had sounded for the march he had planned the exact
route which every regiment was to follow, the exact day and hour it was
to leave that station, and the precise moment when it was to reach its
destination.  These details, so thoroughly premeditated, were carried
out to the letter, and the result of that memorable march was the
victory of Austerlitz, which sealed the fate of Europe for ten years.

When a noted French preacher speaks in Notre Dame, the scholars of
Paris throng the cathedral to hear his fascinating, eloquent, polished
discourses.  This brilliant finish is the result of most patient work,
as he delivers but five or six sermons a year.

When Sir Walter Scott visited a ruined castle about which he wished to
write, he wrote in a notebook the separate names of grasses and wild
flowers growing near, saying that only by such means can a writer be

The historian, Macaulay, never allowed a sentence to stand until it was
as good as he could make it.

Besides his scrapbooks, Garfield had a large case of some fifty
pigeonholes, labeled "Anecdotes," "Electoral Laws and Commissions,"
"French Spoliation," "General Politics," "Geneva Award,"
"Parliamentary Decisions," "Public Men," "State Politics," "Tariff,"
"The Press," "United States History," etc.; every valuable hint he
could get being preserved in the cold exactness of black and white.
When he chose to make careful preparation on a subject, no other
speaker could command so great an array of facts.  Accurate people are
methodical people, and method means character.

"Am offered 10,000 bushels wheat on your account at $1.00.  Shall I
buy, or is it too high?" telegraphed a San Francisco merchant to one in
Sacramento.  "No price too high," came back over the wire instead of
"No.  Price too high," as was intended.  The omission of a period cost
the Sacramento dealer $1,000.  How many thousands have lost their
wealth or lives, and how many frightful accidents have occurred through
carelessness in sending messages!

"The accurate boy is always the favored one," said President Tuttle.
"Those who employ men do not wish to be on the constant lookout, as
though they were rogues or fools.  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; and it is very certain that the
employer will get rid of such a blunderer as soon as he can."

"If you make a good pin," said a successful manufacturer, "you will
earn more than if you make a bad steam-engine."

"There are women," said Fields, "whose stitches always come out, and
the buttons they sew on fly off on the mildest provocation; there are
other women who use the same needle and thread, and you may tug away at
their work on your coat, or waistcoat, and you can't start a button in
a generation."

"Carelessness," "indifference," "slouchiness," "slipshod financiering,"
could truthfully be written over the graves of thousands who have
failed in life.  How many clerks, cashiers, clergymen, editors, and
professors in colleges have lost position and prestige by carelessness
and inaccuracy!

"You would be the greatest man of your age, Grattan," said Curran, "if
you would buy a few yards of red tape and tie up your bills and
papers."  Curran realized that methodical people are accurate, and, as
a rule, successful.

Bergh tells of a man beginning business who opened and shut his shop
regularly at the same hour every day for weeks, without selling two
cents' worth, yet whose application attracted attention and paved the
way to fortune.

A. T. Stewart was extremely systematic and precise in all his
transactions.  Method ruled in every department of his store, and for
every delinquency a penalty was rigidly enforced.  His eye was upon his
business in all its ramifications; he mastered every detail and worked

From the time Jonas Chickering began to work for a piano-maker, he was
noted for the pains and care with which he did everything.  To him
there were no trifles in the manufacturing of pianos.  Neither time nor
labor was of any account to him, compared with accuracy and knowledge.
He soon made pianos in a factory of his own.  He determined to make an
instrument yielding the fullest and richest volume of melody with the
least exertion to the player, withstanding atmospheric changes, and
preserving its purity and truthfulness of tone.  He resolved that each
piano should be an improvement upon the one which preceded it;
perfection was his aim.  To the end of his life he gave the finishing
touch to each of his instruments, and would trust it to no one else.
He permitted no irregularity in workmanship or sales, and was
characterized by simplicity, transparency, and straightforwardness.

He distanced all competitors.  Chickering's name was such a power that
one piano-maker had his name changed to Chickering by the Massachusetts
legislature, and put it on his pianos; but Jonas Chickering sent a
petition to the legislature, and the name was changed back.  Character
has a commercial as well as an ethical value.

Joseph M. W. Turner was intended by his father for a barber, but he
showed such a taste for drawing that a reluctant permission was given
for him to follow art as a profession.  He soon became skilful, but as
he lacked means he took anything to do that came in his way, frequently
illustrating guide-books and almanacs.  But although the pay was very
small the work was never careless.  His labor was worth several times
what he received for it, but the price was increased and work of higher
grade given him simply because men seek the services of those who are
known to be faithful, and employ them in as lofty work as they seem
able to do.  And so he toiled upward until he began to employ himself,
his work sure of a market at some price, and the price increasing as
other men began to get glimpses of the transcendent art revealed in his
paintings, an art not fully comprehended even in our day.  He surpassed
the acknowledged masters in various fields of landscape work, and left
matchless studies of natural scenery in lines never before attempted.
What Shakespeare is in literature, Turner is in his special field, the
greatest name on record.

The demand for perfection in the nature of Wendell Phillips was
wonderful.  Every word must exactly express the shade of his thought;
every phrase must be of due length and cadence; every sentence must be
perfectly balanced before it left his lips.  Exact precision
characterized his style.  He was easily the first forensic orator
America has produced.  The rhythmical fulness and poise of his periods
are remarkable.

Alexandre Dumas prepared his manuscript with the greatest care.  When
consulted by a friend whose article had been rejected by several
publishers, he advised him to have it handsomely copied by a
professional penman, and then change the title.  The advice was taken,
and the article eagerly accepted by one of the very publishers who had
refused it before.  Many able essays have been rejected because of poor
penmanship.  We must strive after accuracy as we would after wisdom, or
hidden treasure or anything we would attain.  Determine to form exact
business habits.  Avoid slipshod financiering as you would the plague.
Careless and indifferent habits would soon ruin a millionaire.  Nearly
every very successful man is accurate and painstaking.  Accuracy means
character, and character is power.



Years ago a relief lifeboat at New London sprung a leak, and while
being repaired a hammer was found in the bottom that had been left
there by the builders thirteen years before.  From the constant motion
of the boat the hammer had worn through the planking, clear down to the

Not long since, it was discovered that a girl had served twenty years
for a twenty months' sentence, in a southern prison, because of the
mistake of a court clerk who wrote "years" instead of "months" in the
record of the prisoner's sentence.

The history of the human race is full of the most horrible tragedies
caused by carelessness and the inexcusable blunders of those who never
formed the habit of accuracy, of thoroughness, of doing things to a

Multitudes of people have lost an eye, a leg, or an arm, or are
otherwise maimed, because dishonest workmen wrought deception into the
articles they manufactured, slighted their work, covered up defects and
weak places with paint and varnish.

How many have lost their lives because of dishonest work, carelessness,
criminal blundering in railroad construction?  Think of the tragedies
caused by lies packed in car-wheels, locomotives, steamboat boilers,
and engines; lies in defective rails, ties, or switches; lies in
dishonest labor put into manufactured material by workmen who said it
was good enough for the meager wages they got!  Because people were not
conscientious in their work there were flaws in the steel, which caused
the rail or pillar to snap, the locomotive or other machinery to break.
The steel shaft broke in mid-ocean, and the lives of a thousand
passengers were jeopardized because of somebody's carelessness.

Even before they are completed, buildings often fall and bury the
workmen under their ruins, because somebody was careless,
dishonest--either employer or employee--and worked lies, deceptions,
into the building.

The majority of railroad wrecks, of disasters on land and sea, which
cause so much misery and cost so many lives, are the result of
carelessness, thoughtlessness, or half-done, botched, blundering work.
They are the evil fruit of the low ideals of slovenly, careless,
indifferent workers.

Everywhere over this broad earth we see the tragic results of botched
work.  Wooden legs, armless sleeves, numberless graves, fatherless and
motherless homes everywhere speak of somebody's carelessness,
somebody's blunders, somebody's habit of inaccuracy.  The worst crimes
are not punishable by law.  Carelessness, slipshodness, lack of
thoroughness, are crimes against self, against humanity, that often do
more harm than the crimes that make the perpetrator an outcast from
society.  Where a tiny flaw or the slightest defect may cost a precious
life, carelessness is as much a crime as deliberate criminality.

If everybody put his conscience into his work, did it to a complete
finish, it would not only reduce the loss of human life, the mangling
and maiming of men and women, to a fraction of what it is at present,
but it would also give us a higher quality of manhood and womanhood.

Most young people think too much of quantity, and too little of quality
in their work.  They try to do too much, and do not do it well.  They
do not realize that the education, the comfort, the satisfaction, the
general improvement, and bracing up of the whole man that comes from
doing one thing absolutely right, from putting the trade-mark of one's
character on it, far outweighs the value that attaches to the doing of
a thousand botched or slipshod jobs.

We are so constituted that the quality which we put into our life-work
affects everything else in our lives, and tends to bring our whole
conduct to the same level.  The entire person takes on the
characteristics of one's usual way of doing things.  The habit of
precision and accuracy strengthens the mentality, improves the whole

On the contrary, doing things in a loose-jointed, slipshod, careless
manner deteriorates the whole mentality, demoralizes the mental
processes, and pulls down the whole life.

Every half-done or slovenly job that goes out of your hands leaves its
trace of demoralization behind.  After slighting your work, after doing
a poor job, you are not quite the same man you were before.  You are
not so likely to try to keep up the standard of your work, not so
likely to regard your word as sacred as before.

The mental and moral effect of half doing, or carelessly doing things;
its power to drag down, to demoralize, can hardly be estimated because
the processes are so gradual, so subtle.  No one can respect himself
who habitually botches his work, and when self-respect drops,
confidence goes with it; and when confidence and self-respect have
gone, excellence is impossible.

It is astonishing how completely a slovenly habit will gradually,
insidiously fasten itself upon the individual and so change his whole
mental attitude as to thwart absolutely his life-purpose, even when he
may think he is doing his best to carry it out.

I know a man who was extremely ambitious to do something very
distinctive and who had the ability to do it.  When he started on his
career he was very exact and painstaking.  He demanded the best of
himself--would not accept his second-best in anything.  The thought of
slighting his work was painful to him, but his mental processes have so
deteriorated, and he has become so demoralized by the habit which,
after a while, grew upon him, of accepting his second-best, that he now
slights his work without a protest, seemingly without being conscious
of it.  He is to-day doing quite ordinary things, without apparent
mortification or sense of humiliation, and the tragedy of it all is,
_he does not know why he has failed_!

One's ambition and ideals need constant watching and cultivation in
order to keep up to the standards.  Many people are so constituted that
their ambition wanes and their ideals drop when they are alone, or with
careless, indifferent people.  They require the constant assistance,
suggestion, prodding, or example of others to keep them up to standard.

How quickly a youth of high ideals, who has been well trained in
thoroughness, often deteriorates when he leaves home and goes to work
for an employer with inferior ideals and slipshod methods!

The introduction of inferiority into our work is like introducing
subtle poison into the system.  It paralyzes the normal functions.
Inferiority is an infection which, like leaven, affects the entire
system.  It dulls ideals, palsies the aspiring faculty, stupefies the
ambition, and causes deterioration all along the line.

The human mechanism is so constituted that whatever goes wrong in one
part affects the whole structure.  There is a very intimate relation
between the quality of the work and the quality of the character.  Did
you ever notice the rapid decline in a young man's character when he
began to slight his work, to shirk, to slip in rotten hours, rotten

If you should ask the inmates of our penitentiaries what had caused
their ruin, many of them could trace the first signs of deterioration
to shirking, clipping their hours, deceiving their employers--to
indifferent, dishonest work.

We were made to be honest.  Honesty is our normal expression, and any
departure from it demoralizes and taints the whole character.  Honesty
means integrity in everything.  It not only means reliability in your
word, but also carefulness, accuracy, honesty in your work.  It does
not mean that if only you will not lie with your lips you may lie and
defraud in the quality of your work.  Honesty means wholeness,
completeness; it means truth in everything--in deed and in word.
Merely not to steal another's money or goods is not all there is to
honesty.  You must not steal another's time, you must not steal his
goods or ruin his property by half finishing or botching your work, by
blundering through carelessness or indifference.  Your contract with
your employer means that you will give him your best, and not your

"What a fool you are," said one workman to another, "to take so much
pains with that job, when you don't get much pay for it.  'Get the most
money for the least work,' is my rule, and I get twice as much money as
you do."

"That may be," replied the other, "but I shall like myself better, I
shall think more of myself, and that is more important to me than

You will like yourself better when you have the approval of your
conscience.  That will be worth more to you than any amount of money
you can pocket through fraudulent, skimped, or botched work.  Nothing
else can give you the glow of satisfaction, the electric thrill and
uplift which come from a superbly-done job.  Perfect work harmonizes
with the very principles of our being, because we were made for
perfection.  It fits our very natures.

Some one has said: "It is a race between negligence and ignorance as to
which can make the more trouble."

Many a young man is being kept down by what probably seems a small
thing to him--negligence, lack of accuracy.  He never quite finishes
anything he undertakes; he can not be depended upon to do anything
quite right; his work always needs looking over by some one else.
Hundreds of clerks and book-keepers are getting small salaries in poor
positions today because they have never learned to do things absolutely

A prominent business man says that the carelessness, inaccuracy, and
blundering of employees cost Chicago one million dollars a day.  The
manager of a large house in that city, says that he has to station
pickets here and there throughout the establishment in order to
neutralize the evils of inaccuracy and the blundering habit.  One of
John Wanamaker's partners says that unnecessary blunders and mistakes
cost that firm twenty-five thousand dollars a year.  The dead letter
department of the Post Office in Washington received in one year seven
million pieces of undelivered mail.  Of these more than eighty thousand
bore no address whatever.  A great many of them were from business
houses.  Are the clerks who are responsible for this carelessness
likely to win promotion?

Many an employee who would be shocked at the thought of telling his
employer a lie with his lips is lying every day in the quality of his
work, in his dishonest service, in the rotten hours he is slipping into
it, in shirking, in his indifference to his employer's interests.  It
is just as dishonest to express deception in poor work, in shirking, as
to express it with the lips, yet I have known office-boys, who could
not be induced to tell their employer a direct lie, to steal his time
when on an errand, to hide away during working hours to smoke a
cigarette or take a nap, not realizing, perhaps, that lies can be acted
as well as told and that acting a lie may be even worse than telling

The man who botches his work, who lies or cheats in the goods he sells
or manufactures, is dishonest with himself as well as with his fellow
men, and must pay the price in loss of self-respect, loss of character,
of standing in his community.

Yet on every side we see all sorts of things selling for a song because
the maker put no character, no thought into them.  Articles of clothing
that look stylish and attractive when first worn, very quickly get out
of shape, and hang and look like old, much-worn garments.  Buttons fly
off, seams give way at the slightest strain, dropped stitches are
everywhere in evidence, and often the entire article goes to pieces
before it is worn half a dozen times.

Everywhere we see furniture which looks all right, but which in reality
is full of blemishes and weaknesses, covered up with paint and varnish.
Glue starts at joints, chairs and bedsteads break down at the slightest
provocation, castors come off, handles pull out, many things "go to
pieces" altogether, even while practically new.

"Made to sell, not for service," would be a good label for the great
mass of manufactured articles in our markets to-day.

It is difficult to find anything that is well and honestly made, that
has character, individuality and thoroughness wrought into it.  Most
things are just thrown together.  This slipshod, dishonest
manufacturing is so general that concerns which turn out products based
upon honesty and truth often win for themselves a world-wide reputation
and command the highest prices.

There is no other advertisement like a good reputation.  Some of the
world's greatest manufacturers have regarded their reputation as their
most precious possession, and under no circumstances would they allow
their names to be put on an imperfect article.  Vast sums of money are
often paid for the use of a name, because of its great reputation for
integrity and square dealing.

There was a time when the names of Graham and Tampion on timepieces
were guarantees of the most exquisite workmanship and of unquestioned
integrity.  Strangers from any part of the world could send their
purchase money and order goods from those manufacturers without a doubt
that they would be squarely dealt with.

Tampion and Graham lie in Westminster Abbey because of the accuracy of
their work--because they refused to manufacture and sell lies.

When you finish a thing you ought to be able to say to yourself:
"There, I am willing to stand for that piece of work.  It is not pretty
well done; it is done as well as I can do it; done to a complete
finish.  I will stand for that.  I am willing to be judged by it."

Never be satisfied with "fairly good," "pretty good," "good enough."
Accept nothing short of your best.  Put such a quality into your work
that anyone who comes across anything you have ever done will see
character in it, individuality in it, your trade-mark of superiority
upon it.  Your reputation is at stake in everything you do, and your
reputation is your capital.  You cannot afford to do a poor job, to let
botched work or anything that is inferior go out of your hands.  Every
bit of your work, no matter how unimportant or trivial it may seem,
should bear your trade-mark of excellence; you should regard every task
that goes through your hands, every piece of work you touch, as Tampion
regarded every watch that went out of his shop.  It must be the very
best you can do, the best that human skill can produce.

It is just the little difference between the good and the best that
makes the difference between the artist and the artisan.  It is just
the little touches after the average man would quit that make the
master's fame.

Regard your work as Stradivarius regarded his violins, which he "made
for eternity," and not one of which was ever known to come to pieces or
break.  Stradivarius did not need any patent on his violins, for no
other violin maker would pay such a price for excellence as he paid;
would take such pains to put his stamp of superiority upon his
instrument.  Every "Stradivarius" now in existence is worth from three
to ten thousand dollars, or several times its weight in gold.

Think of the value such a reputation for thoroughness as that of
Stradivarius or Tampion, such a passion to give quality to your work,
would give you!  There is nothing like being enamored of accuracy,
being grounded in thoroughness as a life-principle, of always striving
for excellence.

No other characteristic makes such a strong impression upon an employer
as the habit of painstaking, carefulness, accuracy.  He knows that if a
youth puts his conscience into his work from principle, not from the
standpoint of salary or what he can get for it, but because there is
something in him which refuses to accept anything from himself but the
best, that he is honest and made of good material.

I have known many instances where advancement hinged upon the little
overplus of interest, of painstaking an employee put into his work, on
his doing a little better than was expected of him.  Employers do not
say all they think, but they detect very quickly the earmarks of
superiority.  They keep their eye on the employee who has the stamp of
excellence upon him, who takes pains with his work, who does it to a
finish.  They know he has a future.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., says that the "secret of success is to do the
common duty uncommonly well."  The majority of young people do not see
that the steps which lead to the position above them are constructed,
little by little, by the faithful performance of the common, humble,
every-day duties of the position they are now filling.  The thing which
you are now doing will unlock or bar the door to promotion.

Many employees are looking for some great thing to happen that will
give them an opportunity to show their mettle.  "What can there be,"
they say to themselves, "in this dry routine, in doing these common,
ordinary things, to help me along?"  But it is the youth who sees a
great opportunity hidden in just these simple services, who sees a very
uncommon chance in a common situation, a humble position, who gets on
in the world.  It is doing things a little better than those about you
do them; being a little neater, a little quicker, a little more
accurate, a little more observant; it is ingenuity in finding new and
more progressive ways of doing old things; it is being a little more
polite, a little more obliging, a little more tactful, a little more
cheerful, optimistic, a little more energetic, helpful, than those
about you that attracts the attention of your employer and other
employers also.

Many a boy is marked for a higher position by his employer long before
he is aware of it himself.  It may be months, or it may be a year
before the opening comes, but when it does come the one who has
appreciated the infinite difference between "good" and "better,"
between "fairly good" and "excellent," between what others call "good"
and the best that can be done, will be likely to get the place.

If there is that in your nature which demands the best and will take
nothing less; if you insist on keeping up your standards in everything
you do, you will achieve distinction in some line provided you have the
persistence and determination to follow your ideal.

But if you are satisfied with the cheap and shoddy, the botched and
slovenly, if you are not particular about quality in your work, or in
your environment, or in your personal habits, then you must expect to
take second place, to fall back to the rear of the procession.

People who have accomplished work worth while have had a very high
sense of the way to do things.  They have not been content with
mediocrity.  They have not confined themselves to the beaten tracks;
they have never been satisfied to do things just as others do them, but
always a little better.  They always pushed things that came to their
hands a little higher up, a little farther on.  It is this little
higher up, this little farther on, that counts in the quality of life's
work.  It is the constant effort to be first-class in everything one
attempts that conquers the heights of excellence.

It is said that Daniel Webster made the best chowder in his state on
the principle that he would not be second-class in anything.  This is a
good resolution with which to start out in your career; never to be
second-class in anything.  No matter what you do, try to do it as well
as it can be done.  Have nothing to do with the inferior.  Do your best
in everything; deal with the best; choose the best; live up to your

Everywhere we see mediocre or second-class men--perpetual clerks who
will never get away from the yardstick; mechanics who will never be
anything but bunglers, all sorts of people who will never rise above
mediocrity, who will always fill very ordinary positions because they
do not take pains, do not put conscience into their work, do not try to
be first-class.

Aside from the lack of desire or effort to be first-class, there are
other things that help to make second-class men.  Dissipation, bad
habits, neglect of health, failure to get an education, all make
second-class men.  A man weakened by dissipation, whose understanding
has been dulled, whose growth has been stunted by self-indulgences, is
a second-class man, if, indeed, he is not third-class.  A man who,
through his amusements in his hours of leisure, exhausts his strength
and vitality, vitiates his blood, wears his nerves till his limbs
tremble like leaves in the wind, is only half a man, and could in no
sense be called first-class.

Everybody knows the things that make for second-class characteristics.
Boys imitate older boys and smoke cigarettes in order to be "smart."
Then they keep on smoking because they have created an appetite as
unnatural as it is harmful.  Men get drunk for all sorts of reasons;
but, whatever the reason, they cannot remain first-class men and drink.
Dissipation in other forms is pursued because of pleasure to be
derived, but the surest consequence is that of becoming second-class,
below the standard of the best men for any purpose.

Every fault you allow to become a habit, to get control over you, helps
to make you second-class, and puts you at a disadvantage in the race
for honor, position, wealth, and happiness.  Carelessness as to health
fills the ranks of the inferior.  The submerged classes that the
economists talk about are those that are below the high-water mark of
the best manhood and womanhood.  Sometimes they are second-rate or
third-rate people because those who are responsible for their being and
their care during their minor years were so before them, but more and
more is it becoming one's own fault if, all through life, he remains
second-class.  Education of some sort, and even a pretty good sort, is
possible to practically everyone in our land.  Failure to get the best
education available, whether it be in books or in business training, is
sure to relegate one to the ranks of the second-class.

There is no excuse for incompetence in this age of opportunity; no
excuse for being second-class when it is possible to be first-class,
and when first-class is in demand everywhere.

Second-class things are wanted only when first-class can't be had.  You
wear first-class clothes if you can pay for them, eat first-class
butter, first-class meat, and first-class bread, or, if you don't, you
wish you could.  Second-class men are no more wanted than any other
second-class commodity.  They are taken and used when the better
article is scarce or is too high-priced for the occasion.  For work
that really amounts to anything, first-class men are wanted.  If you
make yourself first-class in anything, no matter what your condition or
circumstances, no matter what your race or color, you will be in
demand.  If you are a king in your calling, no matter how humble it may
be, nothing can keep you from success.

The world does not demand that you be a physician, a lawyer, a farmer,
or a merchant; but it does demand that whatever you do undertake, you
will do it right, will do it with all your might and with all the
ability you possess.  It demands that you be a master in your line.

When Daniel Webster, who had the best brain of his time, was asked to
make a speech on some question at the close of a Congressional session,
he replied: "I never allow myself to speak on any subject until I have
made it my own.  I haven't time to do that in this case, hence, I must
refuse to speak on the subject."

Dickens would never consent to read before an audience until he had
thoroughly prepared his selection.

Balzac, the great French novelist, sometimes worked a week on a single

Macready, when playing before scant audiences in country theaters in
England, Ireland, and Scotland, always played as if he were before the
most brilliant audiences in the great metropolises of the world.

Thoroughness characterizes all successful men.  Genius is the art of
taking infinite pains.  The trouble with many Americans is that they
seem to think they can put any sort of poor, slipshod, half-done work
into their careers and get first-class products.  They do not realize
that all great achievement has been characterized by extreme care,
infinite painstaking, even to the minutest detail.  No youth can ever
hope to accomplish much who does not have thoroughness and accuracy
indelibly fixed in his life-habit.  Slipshodness, inaccuracy, the habit
of half doing things, would ruin the career of a youth with a
Napoleon's mind.

If we were to examine a list of the men who have left their mark on the
world, we should find that, as a rule, it is not composed of those who
were brilliant in youth, or who gave great promise at the outset of
their careers, but rather of the plodding young men who, if they have
not dazzled by their brilliancy, have had the power of a day's work in
them, who could stay by a task until it was done, and well done; who
have had grit, persistence, common sense, and honesty.

The thorough boys are the boys that are heard from, and usually from
posts far higher up than those filled by the boys who were too "smart"
to be thorough.  One such boy is Elihu Root, now United States Senator.
When he was a boy in the grammar school at Clinton, New York, he made
up his mind that anything he had to study he would keep at until he
mastered it.  Although not considered one of the "bright" boys of the
school, his teacher soon found that when Elihu professed to know
anything he knew it through and through.  He was fond of hard problems
requiring application and patience.  Sometimes the other boys called
him a plodder, but Elihu would only smile pleasantly, for he knew what
he was about.  On winter evenings, while the other boys were out
skating, Elihu frequently remained in his room with his arithmetic or
algebra.  Mr. Root recently said that if his close application to
problems in his boyhood did nothing else for him, it made him careful
about jumping at conclusions.  To every problem there was only one
answer, and patience was the price to be paid for it.  Carrying the
principle of "doing everything to a finish" into the law, he became one
of the most noted members of the New York bar, intrusted with vast
interests, and then a member of the President's cabinet.

William Ellery Channing, the great New England divine, who in his youth
was hardly able to buy the clothes he needed, had a passion for
self-improvement.  "I wanted to make the most of myself," he says; "I
was not satisfied with knowing things superficially and by halves, but
tried to get comprehensive views of what I studied."

The quality which, more than any other, has helped to raise the German
people to their present commanding position in the world, is their
thoroughness.  It is giving young Germans a great advantage over both
English and American youths.  Every employer is looking for
thoroughness, and German employees, owing to their preeminence in this
respect, the superiority of their training, and the completeness of
their preparation for business, are in great demand to-day in England,
especially in banks and large mercantile houses.

As a rule, a German who expects to engage in business takes a four
years' course in some commercial school, and after graduation serves
three years' apprenticeship without pay, to his chosen business.

Thoroughness and reliability, the German's characteristics, are
increasing the power of Germany throughout the civilized world.

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

"Can't wait," "haven't time to be thorough," is characteristic of our
country, and is written on everything--on commerce, on schools, on
society, on churches.  We can't wait for a high-school, seminary, or
college education.  The boy can't wait to become a youth, nor the youth
to become a man.  Young men rush into business with no great reserve of
education or drill; of course, they do poor, feverish work, and break
down in middle life, while many die of old age in the forties.

Perhaps there is no other country in the world where so much poor work
is done as in America.  Half-trained medical students perform bungling
operations, and butcher their patients, because they are not willing to
take time for thorough preparation.  Half-trained lawyers stumble
through their cases, and make their clients pay for experience which
the law school should have given.  Half-trained clergymen bungle away
in the pulpit, and disgust their intelligent and cultured parishioners.
Many an American youth is willing to stumble through life half prepared
for his work, and then blame society because he is a failure.

A young man, armed with letters of introduction from prominent men, one
day presented himself before Chief Engineer Parsons, of the Rapid
Transit Commission of New York as a candidate for a position.  "What
can you do?  Have you any specialty?" asked Mr. Parsons.  "I can do
almost anything," answered the young man.  "Well," remarked the Chief
Engineer, rising to end the interview, "I have no use for anyone who
can 'almost' do anything.  I prefer someone who can actually do one
thing thoroughly."

There is a great crowd of human beings just outside the door of
proficiency.  They can half do a great many things, but can't do any
one thing well, to a finish.  They have acquisitions which remain
permanently unavailable because they were not carried quite to the
point of skill; they stopped just short of efficiency.  How many people
almost know a language or two, which they can neither write nor speak;
a science or two, whose elements they have not fully mastered; an art
or two, which they can not practise with satisfaction or profit!

The Patent Office at Washington contains hundreds,--yes, thousands,--of
inventions which are useless simply because they are not quite
practical, because the men who started them lacked the staying quality,
the education, or the ability necessary to carry them to the point of

The world is full of half-finished work,--failures which require only a
little more persistence, a little finer mechanical training, a little
better education, to make them useful to civilization.  Think what a
loss it would be if such men as Edison and Bell had not come to the
front and carried to a successful termination the half-finished work of

Make it a life-rule to give your best to whatever passes through your
hands.  Stamp it with your manhood.  Let superiority be your
trade-mark, let it characterize everything you touch.  This is what
every employer is looking for.  It indicates the best kind of brain; it
is the best substitute for genius; it is better capital than cash; it
is a better promoter than friends, or "pulls" with the influential.

A successful manufacturer says: "If you make a good pin, you will earn
more money than if you make a bad steam engine."  "If a man can write a
better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than
his neighbor," says Emerson, "though he build his house in the woods,
the world will make a path to his door."

Never allow yourself to dwell too much upon what you are getting for
your work.  You have something of infinitely greater importance,
greater value, at stake.  Your honor, your whole career, your future
success, will be affected by the way you do your work, by the
conscience or lack of it which you put into your job.  Character,
manhood and womanhood are at stake, compared with which salary is

Everything you do is a part of your career.  If any work that goes out
of your hands is skimped, shirked, bungled, or botched, your character
will suffer.  If your work is badly done; if it goes to pieces; if
there is shoddy or sham in it; if there is dishonesty in it, there is
shoddy, sham, dishonesty in your character.  We are all of a piece.  We
cannot have an honest character, a complete, untarnished career, when
we are constantly slipping rotten hours, defective material and
slipshod service into our work.

The man who has dealt in shams and inferiority, who has botched his
work all his life, must be conscious that he has not been a real man;
he can not help feeling that his career has been a botched one.

To spend a life buying and selling lies, dealing in cheap, shoddy
shams, or botching one's work, is demoralizing to every element of

Beecher said he was never again quite the same man after reading
Ruskin.  You are never again quite the same man after doing a poor job,
after botching your work.  You cannot be just to yourself and unjust to
the man you are working for in the quality of your work, for, if you
slight your work, you not only strike a fatal blow at your efficiency,
but also smirch your character.  If you would be a full man, a complete
man, a just man, you must be honest to the core in the quality of your

No one can be really happy who does not believe in his own honesty.  We
are so constituted that every departure from the right, from principle,
causes loss of self-respect, and makes us unhappy.

Every time we obey the inward law of doing right we hear an inward
approval, the amen of the soul, and every time we disobey it, a protest
or condemnation.

There is everything in holding a high ideal of your work, for whatever
model the mind holds, the life copies.  Whatever your vocation, let
quality be your life-slogan.

A famous artist said he would never allow himself to look at an
inferior drawing or painting, to do anything that was low or
demoralizing, lest familiarity with it should taint his own ideal and
thus be communicated to his brush.

Many excuse poor, slipshod work on the plea of lack of time.  But in
the ordinary situations of life there is plenty of time to do
everything as it ought to be done.

There is an indescribable superiority added to the character and fiber
of the man who always and everywhere puts quality into his work.  There
is a sense of wholeness, of satisfaction, of happiness, in his life
which is never felt by the man who does not do his level best every
time.  He is not haunted by the ghosts or tail ends of half-finished
tasks, of skipped problems; is not kept awake by a troubled conscience.

When we are trying with all our might to do our level best, our whole
nature improves.  Everything looks down when we are going down hill.
Aspiration lifts the life; groveling lowers it.

Don't think you will never hear from a half-finished job, a neglected
or botched piece of work.  It will never die.  It will bob up farther
along in your career at the most unexpected moments, in the most
embarrassing situations.  It will be sure to mortify you when you least
expect it.  Like Banquo's ghost, it will arise at the most unexpected
moments to mar your happiness.  A single broken thread in a web of
cloth is traced back to the girl who neglected her work in the factory,
and the amount of damage is deducted from her wages.

Thousands of people are held back all their lives and obliged to accept
inferior positions because they cannot entirely overcome the handicap
of slipshod habits formed early in life, habits of inaccuracy, of
slovenliness, of skipping difficult problems in school, of slurring
their work, shirking, or half doing it.  "Oh, that's good enough,
what's the use of being so awfully particular?" has been the beginning
of a life-long handicap in many a career.

I was much impressed by this motto, which I saw recently in a great
establishment, "WHERE ONLY THE BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH."  What a life-motto
this would be!  How it would revolutionize civilization if everyone
were to adopt it and use it; to resolve that, whatever they did only
the best they could do would be good enough, would satisfy them!

Adopt this motto as yours.  Hang it up in your bedroom, in your office
or place of business, put it into your pocket-book, weave it into the
texture of everything you do, and your life-work will be what every
one's should be--A MASTERPIECE.



Every noble work is at first impossible.--CARLYLE.

Victory belongs to the most persevering.--NAPOLEON.

Success in most things depends on knowing how long it takes to

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

"Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel."

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

"The pit rose at me!" exclaimed Edmund Kean in a wild tumult of
emotion, as he rushed home to his trembling wife.  "Mary, you shall
ride in your carriage yet, and Charles shall go to Eton!"  He had been
so terribly in earnest with the study of his profession that he had at
length made a mark on his generation.  He was a little dark man with a
voice naturally harsh, but he determined, when young, to play the
character of Sir Giles Overreach, in Massinger's drama, as no other man
had ever played it.  By a persistency that nothing seemed able to
daunt, he so trained himself to play the character that his success,
when it did come, was overwhelming, and all London was at his feet.

"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 would 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.

"I had no other books than heaven and earth, which are open to all,"
said Bernard Palissy, who left his home in the south of France in 1828,
at the age of eighteen.  Though only a glass-painter, he had the soul
of an artist.  The sight of an elegant Italian cup disturbed his whole
existence and from that moment the determination to discover the enamel
with which it was glazed possessed him like a passion.  For months and
years he tried all kinds of experiments to learn the materials of which
the enamel was compounded.  He built a furnace, which was a failure,
and then a second, burning so much wood, spoiling so many drugs and
pots of common earthenware, and losing so much time, that poverty
stared him in the face, and he was forced, from lack of ability to buy
fuel, to try his experiments in a common furnace.  Flat failure was the
result, but he decided on the spot to begin all over again, and soon
had three hundred pieces baking, one of which came out covered with
beautiful enamel.

To perfect his invention he next built a glass-furnace, carrying the
bricks on his back.  At length the time came for a trial; but, though
he kept the heat up six days, his enamel would not melt.  His money was
all gone, but he borrowed some, and bought more pots and wood, and
tried to get a better flux.  When next he lighted his fire, he attained
no result until his fuel was gone.  Tearing off the palings of his
garden fence, he fed them to the flames, but in vain.  His furniture
followed to no purpose.  The shelves of his pantry were then broken up
and thrown into the furnace; and the great burst of heat melted the
enamel.  The grand secret was learned.  Persistence had triumphed again.

"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

"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."

"I have no secret but hard work," said Turner, the painter.

"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."

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 set
them flying from town to town and nation to nation, tunneled mountains
of granite, and annihilated space with the lightning's speed.  It has
whitened the waters of the world with the sails of a hundred nations,
navigated every sea and explored every land.  It 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

The slow penny is surer than the quick dollar.  The slow trotter will
out-travel the fleet racer.  Genius darts, flutters, and tires; but
perseverance wears and wins.  The all-day horse wins the race.  The
afternoon-man wears off the laurels.  The last blow drives home the

"Are your discoveries often brilliant intuitions?" asked a reporter of
Thomas A. Edison.  "Do they come to you while you are lying awake

"I never did anything worth doing by accident," was the reply, "nor did
any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the
phonograph.  No, when I have fully decided that a result is worth
getting I go ahead on it and make trial after trial until it comes.  I
have always kept strictly within the lines of commercially useful
inventions.  I have never had any time to put on electrical wonders,
valuable simply as novelties to catch the popular fancy.  _I like it_,"
continued the great inventor.  "I don't know any other reason.
Anything I have begun is always on my mind, and I am not easy while
away from it until it is finished."

[Illustration: Thomas Alva Edison]

A man who thus gives himself wholly to his work is certain to
accomplish something; and if he have ability and common sense, his
success will be great.

How Bulwer wrestled with the fates to change his apparent destiny!  His
first novel was a failure; his early poems were failures; and his
youthful speeches provoked the ridicule of his opponents.  But he
fought his way to eminence through ridicule and defeat.

Gibbon worked twenty years on his "Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire."  Noah Webster spent thirty-six years on his dictionary.  What
a sublime patience he showed in devoting a life to the collection and
definition of words!  George Bancroft spent twenty-six years on his
"History of the United States."  Newton rewrote his "Chronology of
Ancient Nations" fifteen times.  Titian wrote to Charles V.: "I send
your majesty the Last Supper, after working on it almost daily for
seven years."  He worked on his Pietro Martyn eight years.  George
Stephenson was fifteen years perfecting his locomotive; Watt, twenty
years on his condensing engine.  Harvey labored eight long years before
he published his discovery of the circulation of the blood.  He was
then called a crack-brained impostor by his fellow physicians.  Amid
abuse and ridicule he waited twenty-five years before his great
discovery was recognized by the profession.

Newton discovered the law of gravitation before he was twenty-one, but
one slight error in a measurement of the earth's circumference
interfered with a demonstration of the correctness of his theory.
Twenty years later he corrected the error, and showed that the planets
roll in their orbits as a result of the same law which brings an apple
to the ground.

Sothern, the great actor, said that the early part of his theatrical
career was spent in getting dismissed for incompetency.

"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."

Savages believe that when they conquer an enemy, his spirit enters into
them, and fights for them ever afterwards.  So the spirit of our
conquests enters us, and helps us to win the next victory.

Blücher may have been routed at Ligny yesterday, but to-day you hear
the thunder of his guns at Waterloo hurling dismay and death among his
former conquerors.

Opposing circumstances create strength.  Opposition gives us greater
power of resistance.  To overcome one barrier gives us greater ability
to overcome the next.

In February, 1492, a poor gray-haired man, his head bowed with
discouragement almost to the back of his mule, rode slowly out through
the beautiful gateway of the Alhambra.  From boyhood he had been
haunted with the idea that the earth is round.  He believed that the
piece of carved wood picked up four hundred miles at sea and the bodies
of two men unlike any other human beings known, found on the shores of
Portugal, had drifted from unknown lands in the west.  But his last
hope of obtaining aid for a voyage of discovery had failed.  King John
of Portugal, while pretending to think of helping him, had sent out
secretly an expedition of his own.

He had begged bread, drawn maps and charts to keep from starving; he
had lost his wife; his friends had called him crazy, and forsaken him.
The council of wise men called by Ferdinand and Isabella ridiculed his
theory of reaching the east by sailing west.

"But the sun and moon are round," said Columbus, "why not the earth?"

"If the earth is a ball, what holds it up?" asked the wise men.

"What holds the sun and moon up?" inquired Columbus.

"But how can men walk with their heads hanging down, and their feet up,
like flies on a ceiling?" asked a learned doctor; "how can trees grow
with their roots in the air?"

"The water would run out of the ponds and we should fall off," said
another philosopher.

"This doctrine is contrary to the Bible, which says, 'The heavens are
stretched out like a tent:'--of course it is flat; it is rank heresy to
say it is round," said a priest.

Columbus left the Alhambra in despair, intending to offer his services
to Charles VII., but he heard a voice calling his name.  An old friend
had told Isabella that it would add great renown to her reign at a
trifling expense if what the sailor believed should prove true.  "It
shall be done," said Isabella, "I will pledge my jewels to raise the
money.  Call him back."

Columbus turned and with him turned the world.  Not a sailor would go
voluntarily; so the king and queen compelled them.  Three days out, in
his vessels scarcely larger than fishing-schooners, the _Pinta_ floated
a signal of distress for a broken rudder.  Terror seized the sailors,
but Columbus calmed their fears with pictures of gold and precious
stones from India.  Two hundred miles west of the Canaries, the compass
ceased to point to the North Star.  The sailors are ready to mutiny,
but he tells them the North Star is not exactly north.  Twenty-three
hundred miles from home, though he tells them it is but seventeen
hundred, a bush with berries floats by, land birds fly near, and they
pick up a piece of wood curiously carved.  On October 12, Columbus
raised the banner of Castile over the western world.

"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."

Cyrus W. Field had retired from business with a large fortune when he
became possessed with the idea that by means of a cable laid upon the
bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, telegraphic communication could be
established between Europe and America.  He plunged into the
undertaking with all the force of his being.  The preliminary work
included the construction of a telegraph line one thousand miles long,
from New York to St. John's, Newfoundland.  Through four hundred miles
of almost unbroken forest they had to build a road as well as a
telegraph line across Newfoundland.  Another stretch of one hundred and
forty miles across the island of Cape Breton involved a great deal of
labor, as did the laying of a cable across the St. Lawrence.

By hard work he secured aid for his company from the British
government, but in Congress he encountered such bitter opposition from
a powerful lobby that his measure only had a majority of one in the
Senate.  The cable was loaded upon the _Agamemnon_, the flag ship of
the British fleet at Sebastopol, and upon the _Niagara_, a magnificent
new frigate of the United States Navy; but, when five miles of cable
had been paid out, it caught in the machinery and parted.  On the
second trial, when two hundred miles at sea, the electric current was
suddenly lost, and men paced the decks nervously and sadly, as if in
the presence of death.  Just as Mr. Field was about to give the order
to cut the cable, the current returned as quickly and mysteriously as
it had disappeared.  The following night, when the ship was moving but
four miles an hour and the cable running out at the rate of six miles,
the brakes were applied too suddenly just as the steamer gave a heavy
lurch, breaking the cable.

Field was not the man to give up.  Seven hundred miles more of cable
were ordered, and a man of great skill was set to work to devise a
better machine for paying out the long line.  American and British
inventors united in making a machine.  At length in mid-ocean the two
halves of the cable were spliced and the steamers began to separate,
the one headed for Ireland, the other for Newfoundland, each running
out the precious thread, which, it was hoped, would bind two continents
together.  Before the vessels were three miles apart, the cable parted.
Again it was spliced, but when the ships were eighty miles apart, the
current was lost.  A third time the cable was spliced and about two
hundred miles paid out, when it parted some twenty feet from the
_Agamemnon_, and the vessels returned to the coast of Ireland.

Directors were disheartened, the public skeptical, capitalists were
shy, and but for the indomitable energy and persuasiveness of Mr.
Field, who worked day and night almost without food or sleep, the whole
project would have been abandoned.  Finally a third attempt was made,
with such success that the whole cable was laid without a break, and
several messages were flashed through nearly seven hundred leagues of
ocean, when suddenly the current ceased.

Faith now seemed dead except in the breast of Cyrus W. Field, and one
or two friends, yet with such persistence did they work that they
persuaded men to furnish capital for yet another trial even against
what seemed their better judgment.  A new and superior cable was loaded
upon the _Great Eastern_, which steamed slowly out to sea, paying out
as she advanced.  Everything worked to a charm until within six hundred
miles of Newfoundland, when the cable snapped and sank.  After several
attempts to raise it, the enterprise was abandoned for a year.

Not discouraged by all these difficulties, Mr. Field went to work with
a will, organized a new company, and made a new cable far superior to
anything before used, and on July 13, 1866, was begun the trial which
ended with the following message sent to New York:--


"We arrived here at nine o'clock this morning.  All well.  Thank God!
the cable is laid and is in perfect working order.


The old cable was picked up, spliced, and continued to Newfoundland,
and the two are still working, with good prospects for usefulness for
many years.

In Revelation we read: "He that overcometh, I will give him to sit down
with me on my throne."

Successful men, it is said, owe more to their perseverance than to
their natural powers, their friends, or the favorable circumstances
around them.  Genius will falter by the side of labor, great powers
will yield to great industry.  Talent is desirable, but perseverance is
more so.

"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.  Lyman Beecher when asked how long it took him to write his
celebrated sermon on the "Government of God," replied, "About forty

A Chinese student, discouraged by repeated failures, had thrown away
his book in despair, when he saw a poor woman rubbing an iron bar on a
stone to make a needle.  This example of patience sent him back to his
studies with a new determination, and he became one of the three
greatest scholars of China.

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.

When an East India boy is learning archery, he is compelled to practise
three months drawing the string to his ear before he is allowed to
touch an arrow.

Benjamin Franklin had this tenacity of purpose in a wonderful degree.
When he started in the printing business in Philadelphia, he carried
his material through the streets on a wheelbarrow.  He hired one room
for his office, work-room, and sleeping-room.  He found a formidable
rival in the city and invited him to his room.  Pointing to a piece of
bread from which he had just eaten his dinner, he said: "Unless you can
live cheaper than I can you can not starve me out."

All are familiar with the misfortune of Carlyle while writing his
"History of the French Revolution."  After the first volume was ready
for the press, he loaned the manuscript to a neighbor who left it lying
on the floor, and the servant girl took it to kindle the fire.  It was
a bitter disappointment, but Carlyle was not the man to give up.  After
many months of poring over hundreds of volumes of authorities and
scores of manuscripts, he reproduced that which had burned in a few

Audubon, the naturalist, had spent two years with his gun and note-book
in the forests of America, making drawings of birds.  He nailed them
all up securely in a box and went off on a vacation.  When he returned
he opened the box only to find a nest of Norwegian rats in his
beautiful drawings.  Every one was ruined.  It was a terrible
disappointment, but Audubon took his gun and note-book and started for
the forest.  He reproduced his drawings, and they were even better than
the first.

When Dickens was asked to read one of his selections in public he
replied that he had not time, for he was in the habit of reading the
same piece every day for six months before reading it in public.  "My
own invention," he says, "such as it is, I assure you, would never have
served me as it has but for the habit of commonplace, humble, patient,
toiling attention."

Addison amassed three volumes of manuscript before he began the

Everyone admires a determined, persistent man.  Marcus Morton ran
sixteen times for governor of Massachusetts.  At last his opponents
voted for him from admiration of his pluck, and he was elected by a
majority of one!  Such persistence always triumphs.

Webster declared that when a pupil at Phillips Exeter Academy he never
could declaim before the school.  He said he committed piece after
piece and rehearsed them in his room, but when he heard his name called
in the academy and all eyes turned towards him the room became dark and
everything he ever knew fled from his brain; but he became the great
orator of America.  Indeed, it is doubtful whether Demosthenes himself
surpassed his great reply to Hayne in the United States Senate.
Webster's tenacity was illustrated by a circumstance which occurred in
the academy.  The principal punished him for shooting pigeons by
compelling him to commit one hundred lines of Vergil.  He knew the
principal was to take a certain train that afternoon, so he went to his
room and learned seven hundred lines.  He went to recite them to the
principal just before train time.  After repeating the hundred lines he
continued until he had recited two hundred.  The principal anxiously
looked at his watch and grew nervous, but Webster kept right on.  The
principal finally stopped him and asked him how many more he had
learned.  "About five hundred more," said Webster, continuing to recite.

"You can have the rest of the day for pigeon-shooting," said the

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.  Vergil worked eleven
years on the Aeneid.  The note-books of great men like Hawthorne and
Emerson are tell-tales of the enormous drudgery, of the years put into
a book which may be read in an hour.  Montesquieu was twenty-five years
writing his "Esprit des Lois," 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," he replied.

Ariosto wrote his "Description of a Tempest" in sixteen different ways.
He spent ten years on his "Orlando Furioso," and only sold one hundred
copies at fifteen pence each.  The proof of Burke's "Letters to a Noble
Lord" (one of the sublimest things in all literature) went back to the
publisher so changed and blotted with corrections that the printer
absolutely refused to correct it, and it was entirely reset.  Adam
Tucker spent eighteen years on the "Light of Nature."  Thoreau's New
England pastoral, "A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers," was an
entire failure.  Seven hundred of the one thousand copies printed were
returned from the publishers.  Thoreau wrote in his diary: "I have some
nine hundred volumes in my library, seven hundred of which I wrote
myself."  Yet he took up his pen with as much determination as ever.

The rolling stone gathers no moss.  The persistent tortoise outruns the
swift but fickle hare.  An hour a day for twelve years more than equals
the time given to study in a four years' course at a high school.  The
reading and re-reading of a single volume has been the making of many a
man.  "Patience," says Bulwer "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

Want of constancy is the cause of many a failure, making the
millionaire of to-day a beggar to-morrow.  Show me a really great
triumph that is not the reward of persistence.  One of the paintings
which made Titian famous was on his easel eight years; another, seven.
How came popular writers famous?  By writing for years without any pay
at all; by writing hundreds of pages as mere practise-work; by working
like galley-slaves at literature for half a lifetime with no other
compensation than--fame.

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

The head of the god Hercules is represented as covered with a lion's
skin with claws joined under the chin, to show that when we have
conquered our misfortunes, they become our helpers.  Oh, the glory of
an unconquerable will!



  "Never give up; for the wisest is boldest,
  Knowing that Providence mingles the cup;
  And of all maxims, the best, as the oldest,
  Is the stern watchword of 'Never give up!'"

  Be firm; one constant element of luck
  Is genuine, solid, old Teutonic pluck.
  Stick to your aim; the mongrel's hold will slip,
  But only crowbars loose the bulldog's grip;
  Small though he looks, the jaw that never yields
  Drags down the bellowing monarch of the fields!

"Soldiers, you are Frenchmen," said Napoleon, coolly walking among his
disaffected generals when they threatened his life in the Egyptian
campaign; "you are too many to assassinate, and too few to intimidate
me."  "How brave he is!" exclaimed the ringleader, as he withdrew,
completely cowed.

"General Taylor never surrenders," said old "Rough and Ready" at Buena
Vista, when Santa Anna with 20,000 men offered him a chance to save his
4,000 soldiers by capitulation.  The battle was long and desperate, but
at length the Mexicans were glad to avoid further defeat by flight.
When Lincoln was asked how Grant impressed him as a general, he
replied, "The greatest thing about him is cool persistency of purpose.
He has the grip of a bulldog; when he once gets his teeth in, nothing
can shake him off."  It was "On to Richmond," and "I propose to fight
it out on this line if it takes all summer," that settled the fate of
the Rebellion.

"My sword is too short," said a Spartan youth to his father.  "Add a
step to it, then," was the only reply.

It is said that the snapping-turtle will not release his grip, even
after his head is cut off.  He is resolved, if he dies, to die hard.
It is just such grit that enables men to succeed, for what is called
luck is generally the prerogative of valiant souls.  It is the final
effort that brings victory.  It is the last pull of the oar, with
clenched teeth and knit muscles, that shows what Oxford boatmen call
"the beefiness of the fellow."

After Grant's defeat at the first battle of Shiloh, nearly every
newspaper of both parties in the North, almost every member of
Congress, and public sentiment everywhere demanded his removal.
Friends of the President pleaded with him to give the command to some
one else, for his own sake as well as for the good of the country.
Lincoln listened for hours one night, speaking only at rare intervals
to tell a pithy story, until the clock struck one.  Then, after a long
silence, he said: "I can't spare this man.  He fights."  It was
Lincoln's marvelous insight and sagacity that saved Grant from the
storm of popular passion, and gave us the greatest hero of the Civil

It is this keeping right on that wins in the battle of life.

Grant never looked backward.  Once, after several days of hard fighting
without definite result, he called a council of war.  One general
described the route by which he would retreat, another thought it
better to retire by a different road, and general after general told
how he would withdraw, or fall back, or seek a more favorable position
in the rear.  At length all eyes were turned upon Grant, who had been a
silent listener for hours.  He rose, took a bundle of papers from an
inside pocket, handed one to each general, and said: "Gentlemen, at
dawn you will execute those orders."  Every paper gave definite
directions for an advance, and with the morning sun the army moved
forward to victory.

Massena's army of 18,000 men in Genoa had been reduced by fighting and
famine to 8,000.  They had killed and captured more than 15,000
Austrians, but their provisions were completely exhausted; starvation
stared them in the face; the enemy outnumbered them four to one, and
they seemed at the mercy of their opponents.  General Ott demanded a
discretionary surrender, but Massena replied: "My soldiers must be
allowed to march out with colors flying, and arms and baggage; not as
prisoners of war, but free to fight when and where we please.  If you
do not grant this, I will sally forth from Genoa sword in hand.  With
eight thousand famished men I will attack your camp, and I will fight
till I cut my way through it."  Ott knew the temper of the great
soldier, and agreed to accept the terms if he would surrender himself,
or if he would depart by sea so as not to be quickly joined by
reinforcements.  Massena's only reply was: "Take my terms, or I will
cut my way through your army."  Ott at last agreed, when Massena said:
"I give you notice that ere fifteen days are passed I shall be once
more in Genoa," and he kept his word.

Napoleon said of this man, who was orphaned in infancy and cast upon
the world to make his own way in life: "When defeated, Massena was
always ready to fight a battle over again, as though he had been the

"The battle is completely lost," said Desaix, looking at his watch,
when consulted by Napoleon at Marengo; "but it is only two o'clock, and
we shall have time to gain another."  He then made his famous cavalry
charge, and won the field, although a few minutes before the French
soldiers all along the line were momentarily expecting an order to

"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."

Everyone 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 towards the purchase with
all above expenses and an allowance of fifty dollars per month to
support his wife and three children.  Mrs. Barnum assented to the
arrangement, and offered to cut down the household expenses to a little
more than a dollar a day.  Six months later Mr. Olmstead entered 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.

"Hard pounding, gentlemen," said Wellington at Waterloo to his
officers, "but we will see who can pound the longest."

"It is very kind of them to 'sand' our letters for us," said young
Junot coolly, as an Austrian shell scattered earth over the dispatch he
was writing at the dictation of his commander-in-chief.  The remark
attracted Napoleon's attention and led to the promotion of the

"There is room enough up higher," said Webster to a young man
hesitating to study law because the profession was so crowded.  This is
true in every department of activity.  The young man who succeeds must
hold his ground and push hard.  Whoever attempts to pass through the
door to success will find it labeled, "Push."

There is another big word in the English language: the perfection of
grit is the power of saying "No," with emphasis that can not be
mistaken.  Learn to meet hard times with a harder will, and more
determined pluck.  The nature which is all pine and straw is of no use
in times of trial, we must have some oak and iron in us.  The goddess
of fame or of fortune has been won by many a poor boy who had no
friends, no backing, or anything but pure grit and invincible purpose.

A good character, good habits, and _iron industry_ are impregnable to
the assaults of the ill luck that fools are dreaming of.  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

"Varied experience of men has led me, the longer I live," says Huxley,
"to set less value on mere cleverness; to attach more and more
importance to industry and physical endurance.  Indeed, I am much
disposed to think that endurance is the most valuable quality of all;
for industry, as the desire to work hard, does not come to much if a
feeble frame is unable to respond to the desire.  No life is wasted
unless it ends in sloth, dishonesty, or cowardice.  No success is
worthy of the name unless it is won by honest industry and brave
breasting of the waves of fortune."

Has luck ever made a fool speak words of wisdom; an ignoramus utter
lectures on science; a dolt write an Odyssey, an Aeneid, a Paradise
Lost, or a Hamlet; a loafer become a Girard or Astor, a Rothschild,
Stewart, Vanderbilt, Field, Gould, or Rockefeller; a coward win at
Yorktown, Wagram, Waterloo, or Richmond; a careless stonecutter carve
an Apollo, a Minerva, a Venus de Medici, or a Greek Slave?  Does luck
raise rich crops on the land of the sluggard, weeds and brambles on
that of the industrious farmer?  Does luck make the drunkard sleek and
attractive, and his home cheerful, while the temperate man looks
haggard and suffers want and misery?  Does luck starve honest labor,
and pamper idleness?  Does luck put common sense at a discount, folly
at a premium?  Does it cast intelligence into the gutter, and raise
ignorance to the skies?  Does it imprison virtue, and laud vice?  Did
luck give Watt his engine, Franklin his captive lightning, Whitney his
cotton-gin, Fulton his steamboat, Morse his telegraph, Blanchard his
lathe, Howe his sewing-machine, Goodyear his rubber, Bell his
telephone, Edison his phonograph?

If you are told of the man who, worn out by a painful disorder, tried
to commit suicide, but only opened an internal tumor, effecting a cure;
of the Persian condemned to lose his tongue, on whom a bungling
operation merely removed an impediment of speech; of a painter who
produced an effect long desired by throwing his brush at a picture in
rage and despair; of a musician who, after repeated failures in trying
to imitate a storm at sea, obtained the result desired by angrily
running his hands together from the extremities of the keyboard,--bear
in mind that even this "luck" came to men as the result of action, not

"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."

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.

  "I like the man who faces what he must
  With step triumphant and a heart of cheer;
  Who fights the daily battle without fear;
  Sees his hopes fail, yet keeps unfaltering trust
  That God is God; that somehow, true and just,
  His plans work out for mortals; not a tear
  Is shed when fortune, which the world holds dear,
  Falls from his grasp; better, with love, a crust
  Than living in dishonor; envies not,
  Nor loses faith in man; but does his best,
  Nor even murmurs at his humbler lot;
  But with a smile and words of hope, gives zest
  To every toiler; he alone is great,
  Who by a life heroic conquers fate."



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Sumner said "three things are necessary to a strong character:
First, backbone; second, backbone; third, backbone."

While digging among the ruins of Pompeii, which was buried by the dust
and ashes from an eruption of Vesuvius A. D. 79, the workmen found the
skeleton of a Roman soldier in the sentry-box at one of the city's
gates.  He might have found safety under sheltering rocks close by;
but, in the face of certain death, he had remained at his post, a mute
witness to the thorough discipline, the ceaseless vigilance and
fidelity which made the Roman legionaries masters of the known world.

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

"Clear grit" always commands respect.  It is that quality which
achieves, and everybody admires achievement.  In the strife of parties
and principles, backbone without brains will carry against brains
without backbone.  You can not, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue,
make him the representative of that opinion; at the close of any battle
for principles, his name will be found neither among the dead nor among
the wounded, but among the missing.

The "London Times" was an insignificant sheet published by Mr. Walter
and was steadily losing money.  John Walter, Jr., then only
twenty-seven years old, begged his father to give him full control of
the paper.  After many misgivings, the father finally consented.  The
young journalist began to remodel the establishment and to introduce
new ideas everywhere.  The paper had not attempted to mold public
opinion, and had had no individuality or character of its own.  The
audacious young editor boldly attacked every wrong, even the
government, whenever he thought it corrupt.  Thereupon the public
customs, printing, and the government advertisements were withdrawn.
The father was in utter dismay.  His son, he was sure, would ruin the
paper and himself.  But no remonstrance could swerve the son from his
purpose to give the world a great journal which should have weight,
character, individuality, and independence.

The public soon saw that a new power stood behind the "Times"; that its
articles meant business; that new life and new blood and new ideas had
been infused into the insignificant sheet; that a man with brains and
push and tenacity of purpose stood at the helm,--a man who could make a
way when he could not find one.  Among other new features foreign
dispatches were introduced, and they appeared in the "Times" several
days before their appearance in the government organs.  The "leading
article" also was introduced to stay.  The aggressive editor
antagonized the government, and his foreign dispatches were all stopped
at the outposts, while the ministerial journalists were allowed to
proceed.  But nothing could daunt this resolute young spirit.  At
enormous expense he employed special couriers.  Every obstacle put in
his way, and all opposition from the government, only added to his
determination to succeed.  Enterprise, push, grit were behind the
"Times," and nothing could stay its progress.  Young Walter was the
soul of the paper, and his personality pervaded every detail.  In those
days only three hundred copies of the paper could be struck off in an
hour by the best presses, and Walter had duplicate and even triplicate
types set.  Then he set his brain to work, and finally the Walter
Press, throwing off 17,000 copies per hour, both sides printed, was the
result.  It was the 29th of November, 1814, that the first steam
printed paper was given to the world.

"Mean natures always feel a sort of terror before great natures, and
many a base thought has been unuttered, many a sneaking vote withheld,
through the fear inspired by the rebuking presence of one noble man."
As a rule, pure grit, character, has the right of way.  In the presence
of men permeated with grit and sound in character, meanness and
baseness slink out of sight.  Mean men are uncomfortable, dishonesty
trembles, hypocrisy is uncertain.

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

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

When a boy Henry Clay was very bashful and diffident, and scarcely
dared recite before his class at school, but he determined to become an
orator.  So he committed speeches and recited them in the cornfields,
or in the barn with the horse and cows for an audience.

If impossibilities ever exist, popularly speaking, they ought to have
been found somewhere between the birth and 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.  He 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, indomitable

Grit is a permanent, solid quality, which enters into the very
structure, the very tissues of the constitution.

Many of our generals in the Civil War exhibited heroism; they were
"plucky," and often displayed great determination, but Grant had pure
"grit" in the most concentrated form.  He could not be moved from his
base; he was self-centered, immovable.  "If you try to wheedle out of
him his plans for a campaign, he stolidly smokes; if you call him an
imbecile and a blunderer, he blandly lights another cigar; if you
praise him as the greatest general living, he placidly returns the puff
from his regalia; and if you tell him he should run for the presidency,
it does not disturb the equanimity with which he inhales and exhales
the unsubstantial vapor which typifies the politician's promises.
While you are wondering what kind of creature this man without a tongue
is, you are suddenly electrified with the news of some splendid
victory; proving that behind the cigar, and behind the face discharged
of all telltale expression, is the best brain to plan and the strongest
heart to dare among the generals of the Republic."

Lincoln had pure "grit."  When the illustrated papers everywhere were
caricaturing him, when no epithet seemed too harsh to heap upon him,
when his methods were criticized by his own party, and the generals in
the war were denouncing his "foolish" confidence in Grant, and
delegations were waiting upon him to ask for that general's removal,
the great President sat with crossed legs, and was reminded of a story.

Lincoln and Grant both had that rare nerve which cares not for
ridicule, is not swerved by public clamor, can bear abuse and hatred.
There is a mighty force in truth, and in the sublime conviction and
supreme self-confidence behind it; in the knowledge that truth is
mighty, and the conviction and confidence that it will prevail.

Pure grit is that element of character which enables a man to clutch
his aim with an iron grip, and keep the needle of his purpose pointing
to the star of his hope.  Through sunshine and storm, through hurricane
and tempest, through sleet and rain, with a leaky ship, with a crew in
mutiny, it perseveres; in fact, nothing but death can subdue it, and it
dies still struggling.

The man of grit carries in his very presence a power which controls and
commands.  He is spared the necessity of declaring himself, for his
grit speaks in his every act.  It does not come by fits and starts, it
is a part of his life.  It inspires a sublime audacity and a heroic
courage.  Many of the failures of life are due to the want of grit or
business nerve.  It is unfortunate for a young man to start out in
business life with a weak, yielding disposition, with no resolution or
backbone to mark his own course and stick to it; with no ability to say
"No" with an emphasis, obliging this man by investing in hopeless
speculation, and, rather than offend a friend, indorsing a questionable

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

Whipple tells a story of Masséna which illustrates the masterful
purpose that plucks victory out of the jaws of defeat.  "After the
defeat at Essling, the success of Napoleon's attempt to withdraw his
beaten army depended on the character of Masséna, to whom the Emperor
dispatched a messenger, telling him to keep his position for two hours
longer at Aspern.  This order, couched in the form of a request,
required almost an impossibility; but Napoleon knew the indomitable
tenacity of the man to whom he gave it.  The messenger found Masséna
seated on a heap of rubbish, his eyes bloodshot, his frame weakened by
his unparalleled exertions during a contest of forty hours, and his
whole appearance indicating a physical state better befitting the
hospital than the field.  But that steadfast soul seemed altogether
unaffected by bodily prostration.  Half dead as he was with fatigue, he
rose painfully and said courageously, 'Tell the Emperor that I will
hold out for two hours.'  And he kept his word."

"Often defeated in battle," said Macaulay of Alexander the Great, "he
was always successful in war."

In the battle of Marengo, the Austrians considered the day won.  The
French army was inferior in numbers, and had given way.  The Austrian
army extended its wings on the right and on the left, to follow up the
French.  Then, though the French themselves thought that the battle was
lost, and the Austrians were confident it was won, Napoleon gave the
command to charge; and, the trumpet's blast being given, the Old Guard
charged down into the weakened center of the enemy, cut it in two,
rolled the two wings up on either side, and the battle was won for

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

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

A promising Harvard student was stricken with paralysis of both legs.
Physicians said there was no hope for him.  The lad determined to
continue his college studies.  The examiners heard him at his bedside,
and in four years he took his degree.  He resolved to make a critical
study of Dante, to do which he had to learn Italian and German.  He
persevered in spite of repeated attacks of illness and partial loss of
sight.  He was competing for the university prize.  Think of the
paralytic lad, helpless in bed, competing for a prize, fighting death
inch by inch!  What a lesson!  Before his manuscript was published or
the prize awarded, the brave student died, but his work was successful.

Congressman William W. Crapo, while working his way through college,
being too poor to buy a dictionary, actually copied one, walking from
his home in the village of Dartmouth, Mass., to New Bedford to
replenish his store of words and definitions from the town library.

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

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

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 can not keep a man down who has these qualities.  He
will make stepping-stones out of his stumbling-blocks, and lift himself
to success.

At fifty, Barnum was a ruined man, owing thousands more than he
possessed, yet he resolutely resumed business once more, fairly
wringing success from adverse fortune, and paying his notes at the same
time.  Again and again he was ruined; but phoenix-like, he rose
repeatedly from the ashes of his misfortune each time more determined
than before.

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

Cobden broke down completely the first time he appeared on a platform
in Manchester, and the chairman apologized for him.  But he did not
give up speaking till every poor man in England had a larger, better,
and cheaper loaf.

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

One of the most remarkable examples in history is Disraeli, forcing his
leadership upon that very party whose prejudices were deepest against
his race, and which had an utter contempt for self-made men and
interlopers.  Imagine England's surprise when she awoke to find this
insignificant Hebrew actually Chancellor of the Exchequer!  He was
easily master of all the tortures supplied by the armory of rhetoric;
he could exhaust the resources of the bitterest invective; he could
sting Gladstone out of his self-control; he was absolute master of
himself and his situation.  You could see that this young man intended
to make his way in the world.  Determined audacity was in his very
face.  Handsome, with the hated Hebrew blood in his veins, after three
defeats in parliamentary elections he was not the least daunted, for he
knew his day would come.  Lord Melbourne, the great Prime Minister,
when this gay young fop was introduced to him, asked him what he wished
to be.  "Prime Minister of England," was his audacious reply.

William H. Seward was given a thousand dollars by his father with which
to go to college; this was all he was to have.  The son returned at the
end of the freshman year with extravagant habits and no money.  His
father refused to give him more, and told him he could not stay at
home.  When the youth found the props all taken out from under him, and
that he must now sink or swim, he left home moneyless, returned to
college, graduated at the head of his class, studied law, was elected
Governor of New York, and became Lincoln's great Secretary of State
during the Civil War.

Garfield said, "If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the
best possible substitute for it."  The triumph of industry and grit
over low birth and iron fortune in America, the land of opportunity,
ought to be sufficient to put to shame all grumblers over their hard
fortune and those who attempt to excuse aimless, shiftless, successless
men because they have no chance.

During a winter in the War of 1812, General Jackson's troops,
unprovided for and starving, became mutinous and were going home.  But
the general set the example of living on acorns; and then he rode
before the rebellious line and threatened with instant death the first
mutineer that should try to leave.

The race is not always to the swift, the battle is not always to the
strong.  Horses are sometimes weighted or hampered in the race, and
this is taken into account in the result.  So in the race of life the
distance alone does not determine the prize.  We must take into
consideration the hindrances, the weights we have carried, the
disadvantages of education, of breeding, of training, of surroundings,
of circumstances.  How many young men are weighted down with debt, with
poverty, with the support of invalid parents or brothers and sisters,
or friends?  How many are fettered with ignorance, hampered by
inhospitable surroundings, with the opposition of parents who do not
understand them?  How many a round boy is hindered in the race by being
forced into a square hole?  How many youths are delayed in their course
because nobody believes in them, because nobody encourages them,
because they get no sympathy and are forever tortured for not doing
that against which every fiber of their being protests, and every drop
of their blood rebels?  How many men have to feel their way to the goal
through the blindness of ignorance and lack of experience?  How many go
bungling along from the lack of early discipline and drill in the
vocation they have chosen?  How many have to hobble along on crutches
because they were never taught to help themselves, but have been
accustomed to lean upon a father's wealth or a mother's indulgence?
How many are weakened for the journey of life by self-indulgence, by
dissipation, by "life-sappers"; how many are crippled by disease, by a
weak constitution, by impaired eyesight or hearing?

When the prizes of life shall be finally awarded, the distance we have
run, the weights we have carried, the handicaps, will all be taken into
account.  Not the distance we have run, but the obstacles we have
overcome, the disadvantages under which we have made the race, will
decide the prizes.  The poor wretch who has plodded along against
unknown temptations, the poor woman who has buried her sorrows in her
silent heart and sewed her weary way through life, those who have
suffered abuse in silence, and who have been unrecognized or despised
by their fellow-runners, will often receive the greater prize.

  "The wise and active conquer difficulties,
  By daring to attempt them; sloth and folly
  Shiver and sink at sight of toil and hazard,
  And make the impossibility they fear."

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

"My son," said this same boy's mother, on the first of May, 1810, when
he asked her to lend him one hundred dollars to buy a boat, having
imbibed a strong liking for the sea; "on the twenty-seventh of this
month you will be sixteen years old.  If, by that time, you will plow,
harrow, and plant with corn the eight-acre lot, I will advance you the
money."  The field was rough and stony, but the work was done in time,
and well done.  From this small beginning Cornelius Vanderbilt laid the
foundation of a colossal fortune.

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

Barnum began the race of business life barefoot, for at the age of
fifteen he was obliged to buy on credit the shoes he wore at his
father's funeral.  He was a remarkable example of success under
difficulties.  There was no keeping him down; no opposition daunted him.

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

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

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

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

Great men never wait for opportunities; they make them.  Nor do they
wait for facilities or favoring circumstances; they seize upon whatever
is at hand, work out their problem, and master the situation.  A young
man determined and willing will find a way or make one.  A Franklin
does not require elaborate apparatus; he can bring electricity from the
clouds with a common kite.

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

The farmer boy, Elihu B. Washburn, taught school at ten dollars per
month, and early learned the lesson that it takes one hundred cents to
make a dollar.  In after years he fought "steals" in Congress, until he
was called the "Watchdog of the Treasury."

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

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

There is scarcely a great truth or doctrine but has had to fight its
way to public recognition in the face of detraction, calumny, and

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

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

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

Surroundings which men call unfavorable can not prevent the unfolding
of your powers.  From among the rock-ribbed hills of New Hampshire
sprang the greatest of American orators and statesmen, Daniel Webster.
From the crowded ranks of toil, and homes to which luxury is a
stranger, have often come the leaders and benefactors of our race.

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

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

Not in the brilliant salon, not in the tapestried library, not in ease
and competence, is genius born and nurtured; but often in adversity and
destitution, amidst the harassing cares of a straitened household, in
bare and fireless garrets.  Amid scenes unpropitious, repulsive,
wretched, have men labored, studied, and trained themselves, until they
have at last emanated from the gloom of that obscurity the shining
lights of their times; have become the companions of kings, the guides
and teachers of their kind, and exercised an influence upon the thought
of the world amounting to a species of intellectual legislation.

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

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

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

You can not keep a determined man from success.  Place stumbling-blocks
in his way and he takes them for stepping-stones, and on them will
climb to greatness.  Take away his money, and he makes spurs of his
poverty to urge him on.  Cripple him, and he writes the Waverley Novels.

All that is great and noble and true in the history of the world is the
result of infinite painstaking, perpetual plodding, of common every-day

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

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

A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to win success in spite of
every barrier, is the price of all great achievements.

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

The money acquired by those who have thus struggled upward to success
is not their only, or indeed their chief reward.  When, after years of
toil, of opposition, of ridicule, of repeated failure, Cyrus W. Field
placed his hand upon the telegraph instrument ticking a message under
the sea, think you that the electric thrill passed no further than the
tips of his fingers?  When Thomas A. Edison demonstrated that the
electric light had at last been developed into a commercial success, do
you suppose those bright rays failed to illuminate the inmost recesses
of his soul?



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

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous

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

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

"Adversity is the prosperity of the great."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poverty and obscurity of origin may impede our progress, but it is only
like the obstruction of ice or débris in the river temporarily forcing
the water into eddies, where it accumulates strength and a mighty
reserve which ultimately sweeps the obstruction impetuously to the sea.
Poverty and obscurity are not insurmountable obstacles, but they often
act as a stimulus to the naturally indolent, and develop a firmer fiber
of mind, a stronger muscle and stamina of body.

If the germ of the seed has to struggle to push its way up through the
stones and hard sod, to fight its way up to sunlight and air, and then
to wrestle with storm and tempest, with snow and frost, the fiber of
its timber will be all the tougher and stronger.

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

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

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

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

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

"Then I must learn to sing better," said Anaximander, when told that
the very boys laughed at his singing.

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

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

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

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

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

The spark in the flint would sleep forever but for friction; the fire
in man would never blaze but for antagonism.

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.

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

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

The effort or struggle to climb to a higher place in life has strength
and dignity in it, and cannot fail to leave us stronger, even though we
may never reach the position we desire, or secure the prize we seek.

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,
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.

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 fiber from pith to bark.

The acorn planted in the deep forest, on the other hand, 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 sort 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 fibers 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 his 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
distinguished 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We do our best while fighting desperately to attain what the heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many a man has been ruined into salvation.  The lightning which smote
his dearest hopes opened up a new rift in his dark life, and gave him
glimpses of himself which, until then, he had never seen.  The grave
buried his dearest hopes, but uncovered in his nature possibilities of
patience, endurance, and hope which he never before dreamed he

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

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

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

Adversity exasperates fools, dejects cowards, but 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.  The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse
the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill, and fortitude
of the voyager.  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.

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

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

True salamanders live best in the furnace of persecution.

Many of our best poets

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

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

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

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

The most beautiful as well as the strongest characters are not
developed in warm climates, where man finds his bread ready made on
trees, and where exertion is a great effort, but rather in a trying
climate and on a stubborn soil.  It is not chance that returns to the
Hindoo ryot a penny and to the American laborer a dollar for his daily
toil; that makes Mexico with its mineral wealth poor, and New England
with its granite and ice rich.  It is rugged necessity, it is the
struggle to obtain; it is poverty, the priceless spur, that develops
the stamina of manhood, and calls the race out of barbarism.
Intelligent labor found the world a wilderness and has made it a garden.

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

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

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



Resolve, and thou art free.--LONGFELLOW.

The heaviest charged words in our language are those briefest ones,
"yes" and "no."  One stands for the surrender of the will, the other
for denial; one stands for gratification, the other for character.  A
stout "no" means a stout character, the ready "yes" a weak one, gild it
as we may.--T. T. MUNGER.

The world is a market where everything is marked at a set price, and
whatever we buy with our time, labor, or ingenuity, whether riches,
ease, fame, integrity, or knowledge, we must stand by our decision, and
not like children, when we have purchased one thing, repine that we do
not possess another we did not buy.--MATHEWS.

A man must master his undertaking and not let it master him.  He must
have the power to decide instantly on which side he is going to make
his mistakes.--P. D. ARMOUR.

When Rome was besieged by the Gauls in the time of the Republic, the
Romans were so hard pressed that they consented to purchase immunity
with gold.  They were in the act of weighing it, a legend tells us,
when Camillus appeared on the scene, threw his sword into the scales in
place of the ransom, and declared that the Romans should not purchase
peace, but would win it with the sword.  This act of daring and prompt
decision so roused the Romans that they triumphantly swept from the
sacred soil the enemy of their peace.

In an emergency, the arrival of a prompt, decided, positive man, who
will do something, although it may be wrong, changes the face of
everything.  Such a man comes upon the scene like a refreshing breeze
blown down from the mountain top.  He is a tonic to the hesitating,
bewildered crowd.

When Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Egypt, which was then under the
protection of Rome, the Romans sent an ambassador who met Antiochus
near Alexandria and commanded him to withdraw.  The invader gave an
evasive reply.  The brave Roman swept a circle around the king with his
sword, and forbade his crossing the line until he had given his answer.
By the prompt decision of the intrepid ambassador the invader was led
to withdraw, and war was prevented.  The prompt decision of the Romans
won them many a battle, and made them masters of the world.  All the
great achievements in the history of the world are the results of quick
and steadfast decision.

Men who have left their mark upon their century have been men of great
and prompt decision.  An undecided man, a man who is ever balancing
between two opinions, forever debating which of two courses he will
pursue, proclaims by his indecision that he can not control himself,
that he was meant to be possessed by others; he is not a man, only a
satellite.  The decided man, the prompt man, does not wait for
favorable circumstances; he does not submit to events; events must
submit to him.

The vacillating man is ever at the mercy of the opinion of the man who
talked with him last.  He may see the right, but he drifts toward the
wrong.  If he decides upon a course he only follows it until somebody
opposes it.

When Julius Caesar came to the Rubicon, which formed the boundary of
Italia,--"the sacred and inviolable,"--even his great decision wavered
at the thought of invading a territory which no general was allowed to
enter without the permission of the Senate.  But his alternative was
"destroy myself, or destroy my country," and his intrepid mind did not
waver long.  "The die is cast," he said, as he dashed into the stream
at the head of his legions.  The whole history of the world was changed
by that moment's decision.  The man who said, "I came, I saw, I
conquered," could not hesitate long.  He, like Napoleon, had the power
to choose one course, and sacrifice every conflicting plan on the
instant.  When he landed with his troops in Britain, the inhabitants
resolved never to surrender.  Caesar's quick mind saw that he must
commit his soldiers to victory or death.  In order to cut off all hope
of retreat, he burned all the ships which had borne them to the shores
of Britain.  There was no hope of return, it was victory or death.
This action was the key to the character and triumphs of this great

Satan's sublime decision in "Paradise Lost," after his hopeless
banishment from heaven, excites a feeling akin to admiration.  After a
few moments of terrible suspense he resumes his invincible spirit and
expresses that sublime line: "What matter where, if I be still the

That power to decide instantly the best course to pursue, and to
sacrifice every opposing motive; and, when once sacrificed, to silence
them forever and not allow them continually to plead their claims and
distract us from our single decided course, is one of the most potent
forces in winning success.  To hesitate is sometimes to be lost.  In
fact, the man who is forever twisting and turning, backing and filling,
hesitating and dawdling, shuffling and parleying, weighing and
balancing, splitting hairs over non-essentials, listening to every new
motive which presents itself, will never accomplish anything.  There is
not positiveness enough in him; negativeness never accomplishes
anything.  The negative man creates no confidence, he only invites
distrust.  But the positive man, the decided man, is a power in the
world, and stands for something.  You can measure him, gauge him.  You
can estimate the work that his energy will accomplish.  It is related
of Alexander the Great that, when asked how it was that he had
conquered the world, he replied, "By not wavering."

When the packet ship _Stephen Whitney_ struck, at midnight, on an Irish
cliff, and clung for a few moments to the cliff, all the passengers who
leaped instantly upon the rock were saved.  The positive step landed
them in safety.  Those who lingered were swept off by the returning
wave, and engulfed forever.

The vacillating man is never a prompt man, and without promptness no
success is possible.  Great opportunities not only come seldom into the
most fortunate life, but also are often quickly gone.

"A man without decision," says John Foster, "can never be said to
belong to himself; since if he dared to assert that he did, the puny
force of some cause, about as powerful as a spider, may make a seizure
of the unhappy boaster the very next minute, and contemptuously exhibit
the futility of the determination by which he was to have proved the
independence of his understanding and will.  He belongs to whatever can
make capture of him; and one thing after another vindicates its right
to him by arresting him while he is trying to go on; as twigs and chips
floating near the edge of a river are intercepted by every weed and
whirled into every little eddy."

The decided man not only has the advantage of the time saved from
dillydallying and procrastination, but he also saves the energy and
vital force which is wasted by the perplexed man who takes up every
argument on one side and then on the other, and weighs them until the
two sides hang in equipoise, with no prepondering motive to enable him
to decide.  He is in stable equilibrium, and so does not move at all of
his own volition, but moves very easily at the slightest volition of

Yet there is not a man living who might not be a prompt and decided man
if he would only learn always to act quickly.  The punctual man, the
decided man, can do twice as much as the undecided and dawdling man who
never quite knows what he wants.  Prompt decision saved Napoleon and
Grant and their armies many a time when delay would have been fatal.
Napoleon used to say that although a battle might last an entire day,
yet it generally turned upon a few critical minutes, in which the fate
of the engagement was decided.  His will, which subdued nearly the
whole of Europe, was as prompt and decisive in the minutest detail of
command as in the greatest battle.

Decision of purpose and promptness of action enabled him to astonish
the world with his marvelous successes.  He seemed to be everywhere at
once.  What he could accomplish in a day surprised all who knew him.
He seemed to electrify everybody about him.  His invincible energy
thrilled the whole army.  He could rouse to immediate and enthusiastic
action the dullest troops, and inspire with courage the most stupid
men.  The "ifs and buts," he said, "are at present out of season; and
above all it must be done with speed."  He would sit up all night if
necessary, after riding thirty or forty leagues, to attend to
correspondence, dispatches and, details.  What a lesson to dawdling,
shiftless, half-hearted men!

"The doubt of Charles V.," says Motley, "changed the destinies of the
civilized world."

So powerful were President Washington's views in determining the
actions of the people, that when Congress adjourned, Jefferson wrote to
Monroe at Paris: "You will see by their proceedings the truth of what I
always told you,--namely, that one man outweighs them all in influence,
who supports his judgment against their own and that of their
representatives.  Republicanism resigns the vessel to the pilot."

There is no vocation or occupation which does not present many
difficulties, at times almost overwhelming, and the young man who
allows himself to waver every time he comes to a hard place in life
will not succeed.  Without decision there can be no concentration; and,
to succeed, a man must concentrate.

The undecided man can not bring himself to a focus.  He dissipates his
energy, scatters his forces, and executes nothing.  He can not hold to
one thing long enough to bring success out of it.  One vocation or
occupation presents its rosy side to him, he feels sure it is the thing
he wants to do, and, full of enthusiasm, adopts it as his life's work.
But in a few days the thorns begin to appear, his enthusiasm
evaporates, and he wonders why he is so foolish as to think himself
fitted for that vocation.  The one which his friend adopted is much
better suited to him; he drops his own and adopts the other.  So he
vacillates through life, captured by any new occupation which happens
to appeal to him as the most desirable at the time, never using his
judgment or common sense, but governed by his impressions and his
feelings at the moment.  Such people are never led by principle.  You
never know where to find them; they are here to-day and there
to-morrow, doing this thing and that thing, throwing away all the skill
they had acquired in mastering the drudgery of the last occupation.  In
fact, they never go far enough in anything to get beyond the drudgery
stage to the remunerative and agreeable stage, the skilful stage.  They
spend their lives at the beginning of occupations, which are always
most agreeable.  These people rarely reach the stage of competency,
comfort, and contentment.

There is a legend of a powerful genius who promised a lovely maiden a
gift of rare value if she would go 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 was to be in
proportion to the size and perfection of the ear.  She passed by many
magnificent ones, but was so eager to get the largest and most perfect
that she kept on without plucking any until the ears she passed were
successively smaller and smaller and more stunted.  Finally they became
so small that she was ashamed to select one of them; and, not being
allowed to go backward, she came out on the other side without any.

Alexander, his heart throbbing with a great purpose, conquers the
world; Hannibal, impelled by his hatred to the Romans, even crosses the
Alps to compass his design.  While other men are bemoaning difficulties
and shrinking from dangers and obstacles, and preparing expedients, the
great soul, without fuss or noise, takes the step, and lo, the mountain
has been leveled and the way lies open.  Learn, then, to will strongly
and decisively; thus fix your floating life and leave it no longer to
be carried hither and thither, like a withered leaf, by every wind that
blows.  An undecided man is like the turnstile at a fair, which is in
everybody's way but stops no one.

"The secret of the whole matter was," replied Amos Lawrence, "we had
formed the habit of prompt acting, thus taking the top of the tide;
while the habit of some others was to delay till about half tide, thus
getting on the flats."

Most of the young men and women who are lost in our cities are ruined
because of their inability to say "No" to the thousand allurements and
temptations which appeal to their weak passions.  If they would only
show a little decision at first, one emphatic "No" might silence their
solicitors forever.  But they are weak, they are afraid of offending,
they don't like to say "No," and thus they throw down the gauntlet and
are soon on the broad road to ruin.  A little resolution early in life
will soon conquer the right to mind one's own business.

An old legend says that a fool and a wise man were journeying together,
and came to a point where two ways opened before them,--one broad and
beautiful, the other narrow and rough.  The fool desired to take the
pleasant way; the wise man knew that the difficult one was the shortest
and safest, and so declared.  But at last the urgency of the fool
prevailed; they took the more inviting path, and were soon met by
robbers, who seized their goods and made them captives.  A little later
both they and their captors were arrested by officers of the law and
taken before the judge.  Then the wise man pleaded that the fool was to
blame because he desired to take the wrong way.  The fool pleaded that
he was only a fool, and no sensible man should have heeded his counsel.
The judge punished them both equally.  "If sinners entice thee, consent
thou not."

There is no habit that so grows on the soul as irresolution.  Before a
man knows what he has done, he has gambled his life away, and all
because he has never made up his mind what he would do with it.  On
many of the tombstones of those who have failed in life could be read
between the lines: "He Dawdled," "Behind Time," "Procrastination,"
"Listlessness," "Shiftlessness," "Nervelessness," "Always Behind."  Oh,
the wrecks strewn along the shores of life "just behind success," "just
this side of happiness," above which the words of warning are flying!

Webster said of such an undecided man that "he is like the irresolution
of the sea at the turn of tide.  This man neither advances nor recedes;
he simply hovers."  Such a man is at the mercy of any chance occurrence
that may overtake him.  His "days are lost lamenting o'er lost days."
He has no power to seize the facts which confront him and compel them
to serve him.

To indolent, shiftless, listless people life becomes a mere shuffle of
expedients.  They do not realize that the habit of putting everything
off puts off their manhood, their capacity, their success; their
contagion infects their whole neighborhood.  Scott used to caution
youth against the habit of dawdling, which creeps in at every crevice
of unoccupied time and often ruins a bright life.  "Your motto must
be," he said, "_Hoc age_,"--do instantly.  This is the only way to
check the propensity to dawdling.  How many hours have been wasted
dawdling in bed, turning over and dreading to get up!  Many a career
has been crippled by it.  Burton could not overcome this habit, and,
convinced that it would ruin his success, made his servant promise
before he went to bed to get him up at just such a time; the servant
called, and called, and coaxed; but Burton would beg him to be left a
little longer.  The servant, knowing that he would lose his shilling if
he did not get him up, then dashed cold water into the bed between the
sheets, and Burton came out with a bound.  When one asked a lazy young
fellow what made him lie in bed so long, "I am employed," said he, "in
hearing counsel every morning.  _Industry_ advises me to get up;
_Sloth_ to lie still; and they give me twenty reasons for and against.
It is my part, as an impartial judge, to hear all that can be said on
both sides, and by the time the cause is over dinner is ready."

There is no doubt that, as a rule, great decision of character is
usually accompanied by great constitutional firmness.  Men who have
been noted for great firmness of character have usually been strong and
robust.  There is no quality of the mind which does not sympathize with
bodily weakness, and especially is this true with the power of
decision, which is usually impaired or weakened from physical suffering
or any great physical debility.  As a rule, it is the strong physical
man who carries weight and conviction.  Any bodily weakness, or
lassitude, or lack of tone and vigor, is, perhaps, first felt in the
weakened or debilitated power of decisions.

Nothing will give greater confidence, and bring assistance more quickly
from the bank or from a friend, than the reputation of promptness.  The
world knows that the prompt man's bills and notes will be paid on the
day, and will trust him.  "Let it be your first study to teach the
world that you are not wood and straw; that there is some iron in you."
"Let men know that what you say you will do; that your decision, once
made, is final,--no wavering; that, once resolved, you are not to be
allured or intimidated."

Some minds are so constructed that they are bewildered and dazed
whenever a responsibility is thrust upon them; they have a mortal dread
of deciding anything.  The very effort to come to immediate and
unflinching decision starts up all sorts of doubts, difficulties, and
fears, and they can not seem to get light enough to decide nor courage
enough to attempt to remove the obstacle.  They know that hesitation is
fatal to enterprise, fatal to progress, fatal to success.  Yet somehow
they seem fated with a morbid introspection which ever holds them in
suspense.  They have just energy enough to weigh motives, but nothing
left for the momentum of action.  They analyze and analyze, deliberate,
weigh, consider, ponder, but never act.  How many a man can trace his
downfall in life to the failure to seize his opportunity at the
favorable moment, when it was within easy grasp, the nick of time,
which often does not present itself but once!

It was said that Napoleon had an officer under him who understood the
tactics of war better than his commander, but he lacked that power of
rapid decision and powerful concentration which characterized the
greatest military leaders perhaps of the world.  There were several
generals under Grant who were as well skilled in war tactics, knew the
country as well, were better educated, but they lacked that power of
decision which made unconditional surrender absolutely imperative
wherever he met the foe.  Grant's decision was like inexorable fate.
There was no going behind it, no opening it up for reconsideration.  It
was his decision which voiced itself in those memorable words in the
Wilderness, "I propose to fight it out on these lines if it takes all
summer," and which sent back the words "unconditional surrender" to
General Buckner, who asked him for conditions of capitulation, that
gave the first confidence to the North that the rebellion was doomed.
At last Lincoln had a general who had the power of decision, and the
North breathed easy for the first time.

The man who would forge to the front in this competitive age must be a
man of prompt and determined decision; like Caesar, he must burn his
ships behind him, and make retreat forever impossible.  When he draws
his sword he must throw the scabbard away, lest in a moment of
discouragement and irresolution he be tempted to sheathe it.  He must
nail his colors to the mast as Nelson did in battle, determined to sink
with his ship if he can not conquer.  Prompt decision and sublime
audacity have carried many a successful man over perilous crises where
deliberation would have been ruin.

"_Hoc age_."



Henry Ward Beecher was not so foolish as to think that he could get on
without systematic study, and a thorough-going knowledge of the world
of books.  "When I first went to Brooklyn," he said, "men doubted
whether I could sustain myself.  I replied, 'Give me uninterrupted time
till nine o'clock every morning, and I do not care what comes after.'"

He was a hard student during four hours every morning; those who saw
him after that imagined that he picked up the material for his sermons
on the street.

Yet having said so much, it is true that much that was most vital in
his preaching he did pick up on the street.

"Where does Mr. Beecher get his sermons?" every ambitious young
clergyman in the country was asking, and upon one occasion he answered:
"I keep my eyes open and ask questions."

This is the secret of many a man's success,--keeping his eyes open and
asking questions.  Although Beecher was an omnivorous reader he did not
care much for the writings of the theologians; the Christ was his great
model, and he knew that He did not search the writings of the Sanhedrin
for His sermons, but picked them up as He walked along the banks of the
Jordan and over the hills and through the meadows and villages of
Galilee.  He saw that the strength of this great Master's sermons was
in their utter simplicity, their naturalness.

Beecher's sermons were very simple, healthy, and strong.  They pulsated
with life; they had the vigor of bright red blood in them, because,
like Christ's, they grew out of doors.  He got them everywhere from
life and nature.  He picked them up in the marketplace, on Wall Street,
in the stores.  He got them from the brakeman, the mechanic, the
blacksmith, the day laborer, the newsboy, the train conductor, the
clerk, the lawyer, the physician, and the business man.

He did not watch the progress of the great human battle from his study,
as many did.  He went into the thick of the fight himself.  He was in
the smoke and din.  Where the battle of life raged fiercest, there he
was studying its great problems.  Now it was the problem of slavery;
again the problem of government, or commerce, or education,--whatever
touched the lives of men.  He kept his hand upon the pulse of events.
He was in the swim of things.  The great, busy, ambitious world was
everywhere throbbing for him.

[Illustration: Henry Ward Beecher]

When he once got a taste of the power and helpfulness which comes from
the study of real life, when he saw how much more forceful and
interesting actual life stories were as they were being lived than
anything he could get out of any book except the Bible, he was never
again satisfied without illustrations fresh from the lives of the
people he met every day.

Beecher believed a sermon a failure when it does not make a great mass
of hearers go away with a new determination to make a little more of
themselves, to do their work a little better, to be a little more
conscientious, a little more helpful, a little more determined to do
their share in the world.

This great observer was not only a student of human nature, but of all
nature as well.  I watched him, many a time, completely absorbed in
drinking in the beauties of the marvelous landscape, gathering grandeur
and sublimity from the great White Mountains, which he loved so well,
and where he spent many summers.

He always preached on Sunday at the hotel where he stayed, and great
crowds came from every direction to hear him.  There was something in
his sermons that appealed to the best in everyone who heard him.  They
were full of pictures of beautiful landscapes, seascapes, and
entrancing sunsets.  The clouds, the rain, the sunshine, and the storm
were reflected in them.  The flowers, the fields, the brooks, the
record of creation imprinted in the rocks and the mountains were
intermingled with the ferryboats, the steam-cars, orphans, calamities,
accidents, all sorts of experiences and bits of life.  Happiness and
sunshine, birds and trees alternated with the direst poverty in the
slums, people on sick beds and death beds, in hospitals and in funeral
processions; life pictures of successes and failures, of the
discouraged, the despondent, the cheerful, the optimist and the
pessimist, passed in quick succession and stamped themselves on the
brains of his eager hearers.

Wherever he went, Beecher continued his study of life through
observation.  Nothing else was half so interesting.  To him man was the
greatest study in the world.  To place the right values upon men, to
emphasize the right thing in them, to be able to discriminate between
the genuine and the false, to be able to pierce their masks and read
the real man or woman behind them, he regarded as one of a clergyman's
greatest accomplishments.

Like Professor Agassiz, who could see wonders in the scale of a fish or
a grain of sand, Beecher had an eye like the glass of a microscope,
which reveals marvels of beauty in common things.  He could see beauty
and harmony where others saw only ugliness and discord, because he read
the hidden meaning in things.  Like Ruskin, he could see the marvelous
philosophy, the Divine plan, in the lowliest object.  He could feel the
Divine presence in all created things.

"An exhaustive observation," says Herbert Spencer, "is an element of
all great success."  There is no position in life where a trained eye
can not be made a great success asset.

"Let's leave it to Osler," said the physicians at a consultation where
a precious life hung by a thread.  Then the great Johns Hopkins
professor examined the patient.  He did not ask questions.  His
experienced eye drew a conclusion from the slightest evidence.  He
watched the patient closely; his manner of breathing, the appearance of
the eye,--everything was a telltale of the patient's condition, which
he read as an open book.  He saw symptoms which others could not see.
He recommended a certain operation, which was performed, and the
patient recovered.  The majority of those present disagreed with him,
but such was their confidence in his power to diagnose a case through
symptoms and indications which escape most physicians, that they were
willing to leave the whole decision to him.  Professor Osler was called
a living X-ray machine, with additional eyes in finger tips so familiar
with the anatomy that they could detect a growth or displacement so
small that it would escape ordinary notice.

The power which inheres in a trained faculty of observation is
priceless.  The education which Beecher got through observation, by
keeping his eyes, his ears, and his mind open, meant a great deal more
to him and to the world than his college education.  He was not a great
scholar; he did not stand nearly as high in college as some of his
classmates whom he far outstripped in life, but his mind penetrated to
the heart of things.

Lincoln was another remarkable example of the possibilities of an
education through reflection upon what he observed.  His mind stopped
and questioned, and extracted the meaning of everything that came
within its range.  Wherever he went, there was a great interrogation
point before him.  Everything he saw must give up its secret before he
would let it go.  He had a passion for knowledge; he yearned to know
the meaning of things, the philosophy underlying the common, everyday

Ruskin says: "Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think; but
thousands can think for one who can see."

I once traveled abroad with two young men, one of whom was all
eyes,--nothing seemed to escape him,--and the other never saw anything.
The day after leaving a city, the latter could scarcely recall anything
of interest, while the former had a genius for absorbing knowledge of
every kind through the eye.  Things so trivial that his companion did
not notice them at all, meant a great deal to him.  He was a poor
student, but he brought home rich treasures from over the sea.  The
other young man was comparatively rich, and brought home almost nothing
of value.

While visiting Luther Burbank, the wizard horticulturist, in his famous
garden, recently, I was much impressed by his marvelous power of seeing
things.  He has observed the habits of fruits and flowers to such
purpose that he has performed miracles in the fields of floriculture
and horticulture.  Stunted and ugly flowers and fruits, under the eye
of this miracle worker, become marvels of beauty.

George W. Cortelyou was a stenographer not long ago.  Many people
thought he would remain a stenographer, but he always kept his eyes
open.  He was after an opportunity.  Promotion was always staring him
in the face.  He was always looking for the next step above him.  He
was a shrewd observer.  But for this power of seeing things quickly, of
absorbing knowledge, he would never have advanced.

The youth who would get on must keep his eyes open, his ears open, his
mind open.  He must be quick, alert, ready.

I know a young Turk, who has been in this country only a year, yet he
speaks our language fluently.  He has studied the map of our country.
He knows its geography, and a great deal of our history, and much about
our resources and opportunities.  He said that when he landed in New
York it seemed to him that he saw more opportunities in walking every
block of our streets than he had ever seen in the whole of Turkey.  And
he could not understand the lethargy, the lack of ambition, the
indifference of our young men to our marvelous possibilities.

The efficient man is always growing.  He is always accumulating
knowledge of every kind.  He does not merely look with his eyes.  He
sees with them.  He keeps his ears open.  He keeps his mind open to all
that is new and fresh and helpful.

The majority of people do not _see_ things; they just _look_ at them.
The power of keen observation is indicative of a superior mentality;
for it is the mind, not the optic nerve, that really sees.

Most people are too lazy, mentally, to see things carefully.  Close
observation is a powerful mental process.  The mind is all the time
working over the material which the eye brings it, considering, forming
opinions, estimating, weighing, balancing, calculating.

Careless, indifferent observation does not go back of the eye.  If the
mind is not focused, the image is not clean-cut, and is not carried
with force and distinctness enough to the brain to enable it to get at
the truth and draw accurate conclusions.

The observing faculty is particularly susceptible to culture, and is
capable of becoming a mighty power.  Few people realize what a
tremendous success and happiness is possible through the medium of the

The telegraph, the sewing machine, the telephone, the telescope, the
miracles of electricity, in fact, every great invention of the past or
present, every triumph of modern labor-saving machinery, every
discovery in science and art, is due to the trained power of seeing

The whole secret of a richly stored mind is alertness, sharp, keen
attention, and thoughtfulness.  Indifference, apathy, mental lassitude
and laziness are fatal to all effective observation.

It does not take long to develop a habit of attention that seizes the
salient points of things.

It is a splendid drill for children to send them out on the street, or
out of doors anywhere, just for the purpose of finding out how many
things they can see in a certain given time, and how closely they can
observe them.  Just the effort to try to see how much they can remember
and bring back is a splendid drill.  Children often become passionately
fond of this exercise, and it becomes of inestimable value in their

Other things equal, it is the keen observer who gets ahead.  Go into a
place of business with the eye of an eagle.  Let nothing escape you.
Ask yourself why it is that the proprietor at fifty or sixty years of
age is conducting a business which a boy of eighteen or twenty ought to
be able to handle better.  Study his employees; analyze the situation.
You will find perhaps that he never knew the value of good manners in
clerks.  He thought a boy, if honest, would make a good salesman; but,
perhaps, by gruff, uncouth manners, he is driving out of the door
customers the proprietor is trying to bring in by advertisements.  You
will see by his show windows, perhaps, before you go into his store,
that there is no business insight, no detection of the wants of
possible buyers.  If you keep your eyes open, you can, in a little
while, find out why this man is not a greater success.  You can see
that a little more knowledge of human nature would have revolutionized
his whole business, multiplied the receipts tenfold in a few years.
You will see that this man has not studied men.  He does not know them.

No matter where you go, study the situation.  Think why the man does
not do better if he is not doing well, why he remains in mediocrity all
his life.  If he is making a remarkable success, try to find out why.
Keep your eyes open, your ears open.  Make deductions from what you see
and hear.  Trace difficulties; look up evidences of success or failure
everywhere.  It will be one of the greatest factors in your own success.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solario, a wandering gypsy tinker, fell deeply in love with the
daughter of the painter Coll' Antonio del Fiore, but was told that no
one but a painter as good as the father should wed the maiden.  "Will
you give me ten years to learn to paint, and so entitle myself to the
hand of your daughter?"  Consent was given, Coll' Antonio thinking that
he would never be troubled further by the gypsy.

About the time that the ten years were to end the king's sister showed
Coll' Antonio a Madonna and Child, which the painter extolled in terms
of the highest praise.  Judge of his surprise on learning that Solario
was the artist.  His great determination gained him his bride.

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

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

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

  "Fame's proud temple shines afar."

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

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

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

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

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

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

"A man's best friends are his ten fingers," said Robert Collyer, who
brought his wife to America in the steerage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man is not merely the architect of his own fate, but he must lay the
bricks himself.  Bayard Taylor, at twenty-three, wrote: "I will become
the sculptor of my own mind's statue."  His biography shows how often
the chisel and hammer were in his hands to shape himself into his ideal.

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

Circumstances have rarely favored great men.  They have fought their
way to triumph over the road of difficulty and through all sorts of
opposition.  A lowly beginning and a humble origin are no bar to a
great career.  The farmer's boys fill many of the greatest places in
legislatures, in business, at the bar, in pulpits, in Congress, to-day.
Boys of lowly origin have made many of the greatest discoveries, are
presidents of our banks, of our colleges, of our universities.  Our
poor boys and girls have written many of our greatest books, and have
filled the highest places as teachers and journalists.  Ask almost any
great man in our large cities where he was born, and he will tell you
it was on a farm or in a small country village.  Nearly all of the
great capitalists of the city came from the country.

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

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

Probably not a single youth will read this book who has not a better
opportunity for success.  Yet he had a thirst for knowledge and a
desire for self-improvement, which overcame every obstacle in his

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

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

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

The greatest works in literature have been elaborated and elaborated,
line by line, paragraph by paragraph, often rewritten a dozen times.
The drudgery which literary men have put into the productions which
have stood the test of time is almost incredible.  Lucretius worked
nearly a lifetime on one poem.  It completely absorbed his life.  It is
said that Bryant rewrote "Thanatopsis" a hundred times, and even then
was not satisfied with it.  John Foster would sometimes linger a week
over a single sentence.  He would hack, split, prune, pull up by the
roots, or practise any other severity on whatever he wrote, till it
gained his consent to exist.  Chalmers was once asked what Foster was
about in London.  "Hard at it," he replied, "at the rate of a line a

Even Lord Bacon, one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived, at his
death left large numbers of manuscripts filled with "sudden thoughts
set down for use."  Hume toiled thirteen hours a day on his "History of
England."  Lord Eldon astonished the world with his great legal
learning, but when he was a student too poor to buy books, he had
actually borrowed and copied many hundreds of pages of large law books.
Matthew Hale for years studied law sixteen hours a day.  Speaking of
Fox, some one declared that he wrote "drop by drop."  Rousseau says of
the labor involved in his smooth and lively style: "My manuscripts,
blotted, scratched, interlined, and scarcely legible, attest the
trouble they cost me.  There is not one of them which I have not been
obliged to transcribe four or five times before it went to press. . . .
Some of my periods I have turned or returned in my head for five or six
nights before they were fit to be put to paper."

Beethoven probably surpassed all other musicians in his painstaking
fidelity and persistent application.  There is scarcely a bar in his
music that was not written and rewritten at least a dozen times.  His
favorite maxim was, "The barriers are not yet erected which can say to
aspiring talent and industry 'thus far and no further.'"  Gibbon wrote
his autobiography nine times, and was in his study every morning,
summer and winter, at six o'clock; and yet youth who waste their
evenings wonder at the genius which can produce "The Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire," upon which Gibbon worked twenty years.  Even
Plato, one of the greatest writers that ever lived, wrote the first
sentence in his "Republic" nine different ways before he was satisfied
with it.  Burke wrote the conclusion of his speech at the trial of
Hastings sixteen times, and Butler his famous "Analogy" twenty times.
It took Vergil seven years to write his Georgics, and twelve years to
write the Aeneid.  He was so displeased with the latter that he
attempted to rise from his deathbed to commit it to the flames.

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

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

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

Francis Parkman, half blind, became one of America's greatest
historians in spite of everything, because he made himself such.
Personal value is a coin of one's own minting; one is taken at the
worth he has put into himself.  Franklin was but a poor printer's boy,
whose highest luxury at one time was only a penny roll, eaten in the
streets of Philadelphia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ancients said, "Know thyself"; the twentieth century says, "Help
thyself."  Self-culture gives a second birth to the soul.  A liberal
education is a true regeneration.  When a man is once liberally
educated, he will generally remain a man, not shrink to a manikin, nor
dwindle to a brute.  But if he is not properly educated, if he has
merely been crammed and stuffed through college, if he has merely a
broken-down memory from trying to hold crammed facts enough to pass the
examination, he will continue to shrink, shrivel, and dwindle, often
below his original proportions, for he will lose both his confidence
and self-respect, as his crammed facts, which never became a part of
himself, evaporate from his distended memory.

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

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

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

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

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

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



If you want knowledge you must toil for it.--RUSKIN.

We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty.--QUINTILLIAN.

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human

A boy is better unborn than untaught.--GASCOIGNE.

It is ignorance that wastes; it is knowledge that saves, an untaught
faculty is at once quiescent and dead.--N. D. HILLIS.

The plea that this or that man has no time for culture will vanish as
soon as we desire culture so much that we begin to examine seriously
into our present use of time.--MATTHEW ARNOLD.

Education, as commonly understood, is the process of developing the
mind by means of books and teachers.  When education has been
neglected, either by reason of lack of opportunity, or because
advantage was not taken of the opportunities afforded, the one
remaining hope is self-improvement.  Opportunities for self-improvement
surround us, the helps to self-improvement are abundant, and in this
day of cheap books and free libraries, there can be no good excuse for
neglect to use the faculties for mental growth and development which
are so abundantly supplied.

When we look at the difficulties which hindered the acquisition of
knowledge fifty years to a century ago; the scarcity and the costliness
of books, the value of the dimmest candle-light, the unremitting toil
which left so little time for study, the physical weariness which had
to be overcome to enable mental exertion in study, we may well marvel
at the giants of scholarship those days of hardship produced.  And when
we add to educational limitations, physical disabilities, blindness,
deformity, ill-health, hunger and cold, we may feel shame as we
contemplate the fulness of modern opportunity and the helps and
incentives to study and self-development which are so lavishly provided
for our use and inspiration, and of which we make so little use.

Self-improvement implies one essential feeling: the desire for
improvement.  If the desire exists, then improvement is usually
accomplished only by the conquest of self--the material self, which
seeks pleasure and amusement.  The novel, the game of cards, the
billiard cue, idle whittling and story-telling will have to be
eschewed, and every available moment of leisure turned to account.  For
all who seek self-improvement "there is a lion in the way," the lion of
self-indulgence, and it is only by the conquest of this enemy that
progress is assured.

Show me how a youth spends his evenings, his odd bits of time, and I
will forecast his future.  Does he look upon this leisure as precious,
rich in possibilities, as containing golden material for his future
life structure?  Or does he look upon it as an opportunity for
self-indulgence, for a light, flippant good time?

The way he spends his leisure will give the keynote of his life, will
tell whether he is dead in earnest, or whether he looks upon it as a
huge joke.

He may not be conscious of the terrible effects, the gradual
deterioration of character which comes from a frivolous wasting of his
evenings and half-holidays, but the character is being undermined just
the same.

Young men are often surprised to find themselves dropping behind their
competitors, but if they will examine themselves, they will find that
they have stopped growing, because they have ceased their effort to
keep abreast of the times, to be widely read, to enrich life with

It is the right use of spare moments in reading and study which qualify
men for leadership.  And in many historic cases the "spare" moments
utilized for study were not spare in the sense of being the spare time
of leisure.  They were rather _spared_ moments, moments spared from
sleep, from meal times, from recreation.

Where is the boy to-day who has less chance to rise in the world than
Elihu Burritt, apprenticed at sixteen to a blacksmith, in whose shop he
had to work at the forge all the daylight, and often by candle-light?
Yet he managed, by studying with a book before him at his meals,
carrying it in his pocket that he might utilize every spare moment, and
studying nights and holidays, to pick up an excellent education in the
odds and ends of time which most boys throw away.  While the rich boy
and the idler were yawning and stretching and getting their eyes open,
young Burritt had seized the opportunity and improved it.

He had a thirst for knowledge and a desire for self-improvement, which
overcame every obstacle in his pathway.  A wealthy gentleman offered to
pay his expenses at Harvard.  But no, Elihu said he could get his
education himself, even though he had to work twelve or fourteen hours
a day at the forge.  Here was a determined boy.  He snatched every
spare moment at the anvil and forge as if it were gold.  He believed,
with Gladstone, that thrift of time would repay him in after years with
usury, and that waste of it would make him dwindle.  Think of a boy
working nearly all the daylight in a blacksmith shop, and yet finding
time to study seven languages in a single year.

It is not lack of ability that holds men down but lack of industry.  In
many cases the employee has a better brain, a better mental capacity
than his employer.  But he does not improve his faculties.  He dulls
his mind by cigarette smoking.  He spends his money at the pool table,
theater, or dance, and as he grows old, and the harness of perpetual
service galls him, he grumbles at his lack of luck, his limited

The number of perpetual clerks is constantly being recruited by those
who did not think it worth while as boys to learn to write a good hand
or to master the fundamental branches of knowledge requisite in a
business career.  The ignorance common among young men and young women,
in factories, stores, and offices, everywhere, in fact, in this land of
opportunity, where youth should be well educated, is a pitiable thing
in American life.  On every hand we see men and women of ability
occupying inferior positions because they did not think it worth while
in youth to develop their powers and to concentrate their attention on
the acquisition of sufficient knowledge.

Thousands of men and women find themselves held back, handicapped for
life because of the seeming trifles which they did not think it worth
while to pay attention to in their early days.

Many a girl of good natural ability spends her most productive years as
a cheap clerk, or in a mediocre position because she never thought it
worth while to develop her mental faculties or to take advantage of
opportunities within reach to fit herself for a superior position.
Thousands of girls unexpectedly thrown on their own resources have been
held down all their lives because of neglected tasks in youth, which at
the time were dismissed with a careless "I don't think it worth while."
They did not think it would pay to go to the bottom of any study at
school, to learn to keep accounts accurately, or fit themselves to do
anything in such a way as to be able to make a living by it.  They
expected to marry, and never prepared for being dependent on
themselves,--a contingency against which marriage, in many instances,
is no safeguard.

The trouble with most youths is that they are not willing to fling the
whole weight of their being into their location.  They want short
hours, little work and a lot of play.  They think more of leisure and
pleasure than of discipline and training in their great life specialty.

Many a clerk envies his employer and wishes that he could go into
business for himself, be an employer too but it is too much work to
make the effort to rise above a clerkship.  He likes to take life easy;
and he wonders idly whether, after all, it is worth while to strain and
strive and struggle and study to prepare oneself for the sake of
getting up a little higher and making a little more money.

The trouble with a great many people is that they are not willing to
make present sacrifices for future gain.  They prefer to have a good
time as they go along, rather than spend time in self-improvement.
They have a sort of vague wish to do something great, but few have that
intensity of longing which impels them to make the sacrifice of the
present for the future.  Few are willing to work underground for years
laying a foundation for the life monument.  They yearn for greatness,
but their yearning is not the kind which is willing to pay any price in
endeavor or make any sacrifice for its object.

So the majority slide along in mediocrity all their lives.  They have
ability for something higher up, but they have not the energy and
determination to prepare for it.  They do not care to make necessary
effort.  They prefer to take life easier and lower down rather than to
struggle for something higher.  They do not play the game for all they
are worth.

If a man or woman has but the disposition for self-improvement and
advancement he will find opportunity to rise or "what he can not find
create."  Here is an example from the everyday life going on around us
and in which we are all taking part.

A young Irishman who had reached the age of nineteen or twenty without
learning to read or write, and who left home because of the
intemperance that prevailed there, learned to read a little by studying
billboards, and eventually got a position as steward aboard a
man-of-war.  He chose that occupation and got leave to serve at the
captain's table because of a great desire to learn.  He kept a little
tablet in his coat-pocket, and whenever he heard a new word wrote it
down.  One day an officer saw him writing and immediately suspected him
of being a spy.  When he and the other officers learned what the tablet
was used for, the young man was given more opportunities to learn, and
these led in time to promotion, until, finally, the sometime steward
won a prominent position in the navy.  Success as a naval officer
prepared the way for success in other fields.

Self-help has accomplished about all the great things of the world.
How many young men falter, faint, and dally with their purpose, because
they have no capital to start with, and wait and wait for some good
luck to give them a lift!  But success is the child of drudgery and
perseverance.  It can not be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is

One of the sad things about the neglected opportunities for
self-improvement is that it puts people of great natural ability at a
disadvantage among those who are their mental inferiors.

I know a member of one of our city legislatures, a splendid fellow,
immensely popular, who has a great, generous heart and broad
sympathies, but who can not open his mouth without so murdering the
English language that it is really painful to listen to him.

There are a great many similar examples in Washington of men who have
been elected to important positions because of their great natural
ability and fine characters, but who are constantly mortified and
embarrassed by their ignorance and lack of early training.

One of the most humiliating experiences that can ever come to a human
being is to be conscious of possessing more than ordinary ability, and
yet be tied to an inferior position because of lack of early and
intelligent training commensurate with his ability.  To be conscious
that one has ability to realize eighty or ninety per cent of his
possibilities, if he had only had the proper education and training,
but because of this lack to be unable to bring out more than
twenty-five per cent of it on account of ignorance, is humiliating and
embarrassing.  In other words, to go through life conscious that you
are making a botch of your capabilities just because of lack of
training, is a most depressing thing.

Nothing else outside of sin causes more sorrow than that which comes
from not having prepared for the highest career possible to one.  There
are no bitterer regrets than those which come from being obliged to let
opportunities pass by for which one never prepared himself.

I know a pitiable case of a born naturalist whose ambition was so
suppressed, and whose education so neglected in youth, that later when
he came to know more about natural history than almost any man of his
day, he could not write a grammatical sentence, and could never make
his ideas live in words, perpetuate them in books, because of his
ignorance of even the rudiments of an education.  His early vocabulary
was so narrow and pinched, and his knowledge of his language so limited
that he always seemed to be painfully struggling for words to express
his thought.

Think of the suffering of this splendid man, who was conscious of
possessing colossal scientific knowledge, and yet was absolutely unable
to express himself grammatically!

How often stenographers are mortified by the use of some unfamiliar
word or term, or quotation, because of the shallowness of their

It is not enough to be able to take dictation when ordinary letters are
given, not enough to do the ordinary routine of office work.  The
ambitious stenographer must be prepared for the unusual demand, must
have good reserves of knowledge to draw from in case of emergency.

But, if she is constantly slipping up upon her grammar, or is all at
sea the moment she steps out of her ordinary routine, her employer
knows that her preparation is shallow, that her education is very
limited, and her prospects will be limited also.

A young lady writes me that she is so handicapped by the lack of an
early education that she fairly dreads to write a letter to anyone of
education or culture for fear of making ignorant mistakes in grammar
and spelling.  Her letter indicates that she has a great deal of
natural ability.  Yet she is much limited and always placed at a
disadvantage because of this lack of an early education.  It is
difficult to conceive of a greater misfortune than always to be
embarrassed and handicapped just because of the neglect of those early

I am often pained by letters from people, especially young people,
which indicate that the writers have a great deal of natural ability,
that they have splendid minds, but a large part of their ability is
covered up, rendered ineffectual by their ignorance.

Many of these letters show that the writers are like diamonds in the
rough, with only here and there a little facet ground off, just enough
to let in the light and reveal the great hidden wealth within.

I always feel sorry for these people who have passed the school age and
who will probably go through life with splendid minds handicapped by
their ignorance which, even late in life, they might largely or
entirely overcome.

It is such a pity that, a young man, for instance, who has the natural
ability which would make him a leader among men, must, for the lack of
a little training, a little preparation, work for somebody else,
perhaps with but half of his ability but with a better preparation,
more education.

Everywhere we see clerks, mechanics, employees in all walks of life,
who cannot rise to anything like positions which correspond with their
natural ability, because they have not had the education.  They are
ignorant.  They can not write a decent letter.  They murder the English
language, and hence their superb ability cannot be demonstrated, and
remains in mediocrity.

The parable of the talents illustrates and enforces one of nature's
sternest laws: "To him that hath shall be given; from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he hath."  Scientists call this law
the survival of the fittest.  The fittest are those who use what they
have, who gain strength by struggle, and who survive by
self-development by control of their hostile or helpful environment.

The soil, the sunshine, the atmosphere are very liberal with the
material for the growth of the plant or the tree, but the plant must
use all it gets, it must work it up into flowers, into fruit, into leaf
or fiber or something or the supply will cease.  In other words, the
soil will not send any more building material up the sap than is used
for growth, and the faster this material is used the more rapid the
growth, the more abundantly the material will come.

The same law holds good everywhere.  Nature is liberal with us if we
utilize what she gives us, but if we stop using it, if we do not
transform what she gives us into power, if we do not do some building
somewhere, if we do not transform the material which she gives us into
force and utilize that force, we not only find the supply cut off, but
we find that we are growing weaker, less efficient.

Everything in nature is on the move, either one way or the other.  It
is either going up or down.  It is either advancing or retrograding; we
cannot hold without using.

Nature withdraws muscle or brain if we do not use them.  She withdraws
skill the moment we stop drilling efficiently, the moment we stop using
our power.  The force is withdrawn when we cease exercising it.

A college graduate is often surprised years after he leaves the college
to find that about all he has to show for his education is his diploma.
The power, the efficiency which he gained there has been lost because
he has not been using them.  He thought at the time that everything was
still fresh in his mind after his examination that this knowledge would
remain with him, but it has been slipping away from him every minute
since he stopped using it, and only that has remained and increased
which he has used; the rest has evaporated.  A great many college
graduates ten years afterwards find that they have but very little left
to show for their four years' course, because they have not utilized
their knowledge.  They have become weaklings without knowing it.  They
constantly say to themselves, "I have a college education, I must have
some ability, I must amount to something in the world."  But the
college diploma has no more power to hold the knowledge you have gained
in college than a piece of tissue paper over a gas jet can hold the gas
in the pipe.

Everything which you do not use is constantly slipping away from you.
Use it or lose it.  The secret of power is use.  Ability will not
remain with us, force will evaporate the moment we cease to do
something with it.

The tools for self-improvement are at your hand, use them.  If the ax
is dull the more strength must be put forth.  If your opportunities are
limited you must use more energy, put forth more effort.  Progress may
seem slow at first, but perseverance assures success.  "Line upon line,
and precept upon precept" is the rule of mental upbuilding and "In due
time ye shall reap if ye faint not."



  "Destiny is not about thee, but within,--
    Thyself must make thyself."

"The world is no longer clay, but rather iron in the hands of its
workers," says Emerson, "and men have got to hammer out a place for
themselves by steady and rugged blows."

To make the most of your "stuff," be it cloth, iron, or
character,--this is success.  Raising common "stuff" to priceless value
is great success.

The man who first takes the rough bar of wrought iron may be a
blacksmith, who has only partly learned his trade, and has no ambition
to rise above his anvil.  He thinks that the best possible thing he can
do with his bar is to make it into horseshoes, and congratulates
himself upon his success.  He reasons that the rough lump of iron is
worth only two or three cents a pound, and that it is not worth while
to spend much time or labor on it.  His enormous muscles and small
skill have raised the value of the iron from one dollar, perhaps, to
ten dollars.

Along comes a cutler, with a little better education, a little more
ambition, a little finer perception, and says to the blacksmith: "Is
this all you can see in that iron?  Give me a bar, and I will show you
what brains and skill and hard work can make of it."  He sees a little
further into the rough bar.  He has studied many processes of hardening
and tempering; he has tools, grinding and polishing wheels, and
annealing furnaces.  The iron is fused, carbonized into steel, drawn
out, forged, tempered, heated white-hot, plunged into cold water or oil
to improve its temper, and ground and polished with great care and
patience.  When this work is done, he shows the astonished blacksmith
two thousand dollars' worth of knife-blades where the latter only saw
ten dollars' worth of crude horseshoes.  The value has been greatly
raised by the refining process.

"Knife-blades are all very well, if you can make nothing better," says
another artisan, to whom the cutler has shown the triumph of his art,
"but you haven't half brought out what is in that bar of iron.  I see a
higher and better use; I have made a study of iron, and know what there
is in it and what can be made of it."

This artisan has a more delicate touch, a finer perception, a better
training, a higher ideal, and superior determination, which enable him
to look still further into the molecules of the rough bar,--past the
horse-shoes, past the knife-blades,--and he turns the crude iron into
the finest cambric needles, with eyes cut with microscopic exactness.
The production of the invisible points requires a more delicate
process, a finer grade of skill than the cutler possesses.

This feat the last workman considers marvelous, and he thinks he has
exhausted the possibilities of the iron.  He has multiplied many times
the value of the cutler's product.

But, behold! another very skilful mechanic, with a more finely
organized mind, a more delicate touch, more patience, more industry, a
higher order of skill, and a better training, passes with ease by the
horse-shoes, the knife-blades, and the needles, and returns the product
of his bar in fine mainsprings for watches.  Where the others saw
horseshoes, knife-blades, or needles, worth only a few thousand
dollars, his penetrating eye saw a product worth one hundred thousand

A higher artist-artisan appears, who tells us that the rough bar has
not even yet found its highest expression; that he possesses the magic
that can perform a still greater miracle in iron.  To him, even
main-springs seem coarse and clumsy.  He knows that the crude iron can
be manipulated and coaxed into an elasticity that can not even be
imagined by one less trained in metallurgy.  He knows that, if care
enough be used in tempering the steel, it will not be stiff, trenchant,
and merely a passive metal, but so full of its new qualities that it
almost seems instinct with life.

With penetrating, almost clairvoyant vision, this artist-artisan sees
how every process of mainspring making can be carried further; and how,
at every stage of manufacture, more perfection can be reached; how the
texture of the metal can be so much refined that even a fiber, a
slender thread of it, can do marvelous work.  He puts his bar through
many processes of refinement and fine tempering, and, in triumph, turns
his product into almost invisible coils of delicate hair-springs.
After infinite toil and pain, he has made his dream true; he has raised
the few dollars' worth of iron to a value of one million dollars,
perhaps forty times the value of the same weight of gold.

Still another workman, whose processes are so almost infinitely
delicate, whose product is so little known, by even the average
educated man, that his trade is unmentioned by the makers of
dictionaries and encylopedias, takes but a fragment of one of the bars
of steel, and develops its higher possibilities with such marvelous
accuracy, such ethereal fineness of touch, that even mainsprings and
hairsprings are looked back upon as coarse, crude, and cheap.  When his
work is done, he shows you a few of the minutely barbed instruments
used by dentists to draw out the finest branches of the dental nerves.
While a pound of gold, roughly speaking, is worth about two hundred and
fifty dollars, a pound of these slender, barbed filaments of steel, if
a pound could be collected, might be worth hundreds of times as much.

Other experts may still further refine the product, but it will be many
a day before the best will exhaust the possibilities of a metal that
can be subdivided until its particles will float in the air.

It sounds magical, but the magic is only that wrought by the
application of the homeliest virtues; by the training of the eye, the
hand, the perception; by painstaking care, by hard work, and by
determination and grit.

If a metal possessing only a few coarse material qualities is capable
of such marvelous increase in value, by mixing brains with its
molecules, who shall set bounds to the possibilities of the development
of a human being, that wonderful compound of physical, mental, moral,
and spiritual forces?  Whereas, in the development of iron, a dozen
processes are possible, a thousand influences may be brought to bear
upon mind and character.  While the iron is an inert mass acted upon by
external influences only, the human being is a bundle of forces, acting
and counteracting, yet all capable of control and direction by the
higher self, the real, dominating personality.

The difference in human attainment is due only slightly to the original
material.  It is the ideal followed and unfolded, the effort made, the
processes of education and experience undergone that fuse, hammer, and
mold our life-bar into its ultimate development.

Life, everyday life, has counterparts of all the tortures the iron
undergoes, and through them it comes to its highest expression.  The
blows of opposition, the struggles amid want and woe, the fiery trials
of disaster and bereavement, the crushings of iron circumstances, the
raspings of care and anxiety, the grinding of constant difficulties,
the rebuffs that chill enthusiasm, the weariness of years of dry,
dreary drudgery in education and discipline,--all these are necessary
to the man who would reach the highest success.

The iron, by this manipulation, is strengthened, refined, made more
elastic or more resistant, and adapted to the use each artisan dreams
of.  If every blow should fracture it, if every furnace should burn the
life out of it, if every roller should pulverize it, of what use would
it be?  It has that virtue, those qualities that withstand all; that
draw profit from every test, and come out triumphant in the end.  In
the iron the qualities are, in the main, inherent; but in ourselves
they are largely matters of growth, culture, and development, and all
are subject to the dominating will.

Just as each artisan sees in the crude iron some finished, refined
product, so must we see in our lives glorious possibilities, if we
would but realize them.  If we see only horseshoes or knife-blades, all
our efforts and struggles will never produce hairsprings.  We must
realize our own adaptability to great ends; we must resolve to
struggle, to endure trials and tests, to pay the necessary price,
confident that the result will pay us for our suffering, our trials,
and our efforts.

Those who shrink from the forging, the rolling, and the drawing out,
are the ones who fail, the "nobodies," the faulty characters, the
criminals.  Just as a bar of iron, if exposed to the elements, will
oxidize, and become worthless, so will character deteriorate if there
is no constant effort to improve its form, to increase its ductility,
to temper it, or to better it in some way.

It is easy to remain a common bar of iron, or comparatively so, by
becoming merely a horseshoe; but it is hard to raise your life-product
to higher values.

Many of us consider our natural gift-bars poor, mean, and inadequate,
compared with those of others; but, if we are willing, by patience,
toil, study, and struggle, to hammer, draw out, and refine, to work on
and up from clumsy horseshoes to delicate hairsprings, we can, by
infinite patience and persistence, raise the value of the raw material
to almost fabulous heights.  It was thus that Columbus, the weaver,
Franklin, the journeyman printer, Aesop, the slave, Homer, the beggar,
Demosthenes, the cutler's son, Ben Jonson, the bricklayer, Cervantes,
the common soldier, and Haydn, the poor wheelwright's son, developed
their powers, until they towered head and shoulders above other men.

There is very little difference between the material given to a hundred
average boys and girls at birth, yet one with no better means of
improvement than the others, perhaps with infinitely poorer means, will
raise his material in value a hundredfold, five-hundredfold, aye, a
thousandfold, while the ninety-nine will wonder why their material
remains so coarse and crude, and will attribute their failure to hard

While one boy is regretting his want of opportunities, his lack of
means to get a college education, and remains in ignorance, another
with half his chances picks up a good education in the odds and ends of
time which other boys throw away.  From the same material, one man
builds a palace and another a hovel.  From the same rough piece of
marble, one man calls out an angel of beauty which delights every
beholder, another a hideous monster which demoralizes every one who
sees it.

The extent to which you can raise the value of your life-bar depends
very largely upon yourself.  Whether you go upward to the mainspring or
hairspring stage, depends very largely upon your ideal, your
determination to be the higher thing, upon your having the grit to be
hammered, to be drawn out, to be thrust from the fire into cold water
or oil in order to get the proper temper.

Of course, it is hard and painful, and it takes lots of stamina to
undergo the processes that produce the finest product, but would you
prefer to remain a rough bar of iron or a horseshoe all your life?

[Illustration: Lincoln studying by the firelight]



It does not matter whether you want to be a public speaker or not,
everybody should have such complete control of himself, should be so
self-centered and self-posed that he can get up in any audience, no
matter how large or formidable, and express his thoughts clearly and

Self-expression in some manner is the only means of developing mental
power.  It may be in music; it may be on canvas: it may be through
oratory; it may come through selling goods or writing a book; but it
must come through self-expression.

Self-expression in any legitimate form tends to call out what is in a
man, his resourcefulness, inventiveness; but no other form of
self-expression develops a man so thoroughly and so effectively, and so
quickly unfolds all of his powers, as expression before an audience.

It is doubtful whether anyone can reach the highest standard of culture
without studying the art of expression, especially public vocal
expression.  In all ages oratory has been regarded as the highest
expression of human achievement.  Young people, no matter what they
intend to be, whether blacksmith or farmer, merchant or physician,
should make it a study.

Nothing else will call out what is in a man so quickly and so
effectively as the constant effort to do his best in speaking before an
audience.  When one undertakes to think on his feet and speak
extemporaneously before the public, the power and the skill of the
entire man are put to a severe test.

The writer has the advantage of being able to wait for his moods.  He
can write when he feels like it; and he knows that he can burn his
manuscript again and again if it does not suit him.  There are not a
thousand eyes upon him.  He does not have a great audience criticizing
every sentence, weighing every thought.  He does not have to step upon
the scales of every listener's judgment to be weighed, as does the
orator.  A man may write as listlessly as he pleases, use much or
little of his brain or energy, just as he chooses or feels like doing.
No one is watching him.  His pride and vanity are not touched, and what
he writes may never be seen by anyone.  Then, there is always a chance
for revision.  In conversation, we do not feel that so much depends
upon our words; only a few persons hear them, and perhaps no one will
ever think of them again.  In music, whether vocal or instrumental,
what one gives out is only partially one's own; the rest is the

Yet anyone who lays any claim to culture, should train himself to think
on his feet, so that he can at a moment's notice rise and express
himself intelligently.  The occasions for little speaking are
increasing enormously.  A great many questions which used to be settled
in the office are now discussed and settled at dinners.  All sorts of
business deals are now carried through at dinners.  There was never
before any such demand for dinner oratory as to-day.

We know men who have, by the dint of hard work and persistent grit,
lifted themselves into positions of prominence, and yet they are not
able to stand on their feet in public, even to make a few remarks, or
scarcely to put a motion without trembling like an aspen leaf.  They
had plenty of opportunities when they were young, at school, in
debating clubs to get rid of their self-consciousness and to acquire
ease and facility in public speaking, but they always shrank from every
opportunity, because they were timid, or felt that somebody else could
handle the debate or questions better.

There are plenty of business men to-day who would give a great deal of
money if they could only go back and improve the early opportunities
for learning to think and speak on their feet which they threw away.
Now they have money, they have position, but they are nobodies when
called upon to speak in public.  All they can do is to look foolish,
blush, stammer out an apology and sit down.

Some time ago I was at a public meeting when a man who stands very high
in the community, who is king in his specialty, was called upon to give
his opinion upon the matter under consideration, and he got up and
trembled and stammered and could scarcely say his soul was his own.  He
could not even make a decent appearance.  He had power and a great deal
of experience, but there he stood, as helpless as a child, and he felt
cheap, mortified, embarrassed, and probably would have given anything
if he had early in life trained himself to get himself in hand so that
he could think on his feet and say with power and effectiveness that
which he knew.

At the very meeting where this strong man who had the respect and
confidence of everybody who knew him, and who made such a miserable
failure of his attempt to give his opinion upon an important public
matter on which he was well posted, being so confused and
self-conscious and "stage struck" that he could say scarcely anything,
a shallow-brained business man, in the same city, who hadn't a
hundredth part of the other man's practical power in affairs, got up
and made a brilliant speech, and strangers no doubt thought that he was
much the stronger man.  He had simply cultivated the ability to say his
best thing on his feet, and the other man had not, and was placed at a
tremendous disadvantage.

A very brilliant young man in New York who has climbed to a responsible
position in a very short time, tells me that he has been surprised on
several occasions when he has been called upon to speak at banquets, or
on other public occasions, at the new discoveries he has made of
himself of power which he never before dreamed he possessed, and he now
regrets more than anything else that he has allowed so many
opportunities for calling himself out to go by in the past.

The effort to express one's ideas in lucid, clean-cut, concise, telling
English tends to make one's everyday language choicer and more direct,
and improves one's diction generally.  In this and other ways
speech-making develops mental power and character.  This explains the
rapidity with which a young man develops in school or college when he
begins to take part in public debates or in debating societies.

Every man, says Lord Chesterfield, may choose good words instead of bad
ones and speak properly instead of improperly; he may have grace in his
motions and gestures, and may be a very agreeable instead of
disagreeable speaker if he will take care and pains.

It is a matter of painstaking and preparation.  There is everything in
learning what you wish to know.  Your vocal culture, manner, and mental
furnishing, are to be made a matter for thought and careful training.
Nothing will tire an audience more quickly than monotony, everything
expressed on the same dead level.  There must be variety; the human
mind tires very quickly without it.

This is especially true of a monotonous tone.  It is a great art to be
able to raise and lower the voice with sweet flowing cadences which
please the ear.

Gladstone said, "Ninety-nine men in every hundred never rise above
mediocrity because the training of the voice is entirely neglected and
considered of no importance."

It was indeed said of a certain Duke of Devonshire that he was the only
English statesman who ever took a nap during the progress of his own
speech.  He was a perfect genius for dry uninteresting oratory, moving
forward with a monotonous droning, and pausing now and then as if
refreshing himself by slumber.

In thinking on one's feet before an audience, one must think quickly,
vigorously, effectively.  At the same time he must speak effectively
through a properly modulated voice, with proper facial and bodily
expression and gesture.  This requires practise in early life.

In youth the would-be orator must cultivate robust health, since force,
enthusiasm, conviction, will-power are greatly affected by physical
condition.  One, too, must cultivate bodily posture, and have good
habits at easy command.  What would have been the result of Webster's
reply to Hayne, the greatest oratorical effort ever made on this
continent, if he had sat down in the Senate and put his feet on his
desk?  Think of a great singer like Nordica attempting to electrify an
audience while lounging on a sofa or sitting in a slouchy position.

An early training for effective speaking will make one careful to
secure a good vocabulary by good reading and a dictionary.  One must
know words.

There is no class of people put to such a severe test of showing what
is in them as public speakers; no other men who run such a risk of
exposing their weak spots, or making fools of themselves in the
estimation of others, as do orators.  Public speaking--thinking on
one's feet--is a powerful educator except to the thick-skinned man, the
man who has no sensitiveness, or who does not care for what others
think of him.  Nothing else so thoroughly discloses a man's weaknesses
or shows up his limitations of thought, his poverty of speech, his
narrow vocabulary.  Nothing else is such a touchstone of the character
and the extent of one's reading, the carefulness or carelessness of his

Close, compact statement must be had.  Learn to stop when you get
through.  Do not keep stringing out conversation or argument after you
have made your point.  You only weaken your case and prejudice people
against you for your lack of tact, good judgment, or sense of
proportion.  Do not neutralize all the good impression you have made by
talking on and on long after you have made your point.

The attempt to become a good public speaker is a great awakener of all
the mental faculties.  The sense of power that comes from holding
attention, stirring the emotions or convincing the reason of an
audience, gives self-confidence, assurance, self-reliance, arouses
ambition, and tends to make one more effective in every particular.
One's manhood, character, learning, judgment of his opinions--all
things that go to make him what he is--are being unrolled like a
panorama.  Every mental faculty is quickened, every power of thought
and expression spurred.  Thoughts rush for utterance, words press for
choice.  The speaker summons all his reserves of education, of
experience, of natural or acquired ability, and masses all his forces
in the endeavor to capture the approval and applause of the audience.

Such an effort takes hold of the entire nature, beads the brow, fires
the eye, flushes the cheek, and sends the blood surging through the
veins.  Dormant impulses are stirred, half-forgotten memories revived,
the imagination quickened to see figures and similes that would never
come to calm thought.

This forced awakening of the whole personality has effects reaching
much further than the oratorical occasion.  The effort to marshal all
one's reserves in a logical and orderly manner, to bring to the front
all the power one possesses, leaves these reserves permanently better
in hand, more readily in reach.

The Debating Club is the nursery of orators.  No matter how far you
have to go to attend it, or how much trouble it is, or how difficult it
is to get the time, the drill you will get by it is the turning point.
Lincoln, Wilson, Webster, Choate, Clay, and Patrick Henry got their
training in the old-fashioned Debating Society.

Do not think that because you do not know anything about parliamentary
law that you should not accept the presidency of your club or debating
society.  This is just the place to learn, and when you have accepted
the position you can post yourself on the rules, and the chances are
that you will never know the rules until you are thrust into the chair
where you will be obliged to give rulings.  Join just as many young
people's organizations--especially self-improvement organizations--as
you can, and force yourself to speak every time you get a chance.  If
the chance does not come to you, make it.  Jump to your feet and say
something upon every question that is up for discussion.  Do not be
afraid to rise to put a motion or to second it or give your opinion
upon it.  Do not wait until you are better prepared.  You never will be.

Every time you rise to your feet will increase your confidence, and
after awhile you will form the habit of speaking until it will be as
easy as anything else, and there is no one thing which will develop
young people so rapidly and effectively as the debating clubs and
discussions of all sorts.  A vast number of our public men have owed
their advance more to the old-fashioned debating societies than
anything else.  Here they learned confidence, self-reliance; they
discovered themselves.  It was here they learned not to be afraid of
themselves, to express their opinions with force and independence.
Nothing will call a young man out more than the struggle in a debate to
hold his own.  It is strong, vigorous exercise for the mind as
wrestling is for the body.

Do not remain way back on the back seat.  Go up front.  Do not be
afraid to show yourself.  This shrinking into a corner and getting out
of sight and avoiding publicity is fatal to self-confidence.

It is so easy and seductive, especially for boys and girls in school or
college, to shrink from the public debates or speaking, on the ground
that they are not quite well enough educated at present.  They want to
wait until they can use a little better grammar, until they have read
more history and more literature, until they have gained a little more
culture and ease of manner.

The way to acquire grace, ease, facility, the way to get poise and
balance so that you will not feel disturbed in public gatherings, is to
get the experience.  Do the thing so many times that it will become
second nature to you.  If you have an invitation to speak, no matter
how much you may shrink from it, or how timid or shy you may be,
resolve that you will not let this opportunity for self-enlargement
slip by you.

We know of a young man who has a great deal of natural ability for
public speaking, and yet he is so timid that he always shrinks from
accepting invitations to speak at banquets or in public because he is
so afraid that he has not had experience enough.  He lacks confidence
in himself.  He is so proud, and so afraid that he will make some slip
which will mortify him, that he has waited and waited and waited until
now he is discouraged and thinks that he will never be able to do
anything in public speaking at all.  He would give anything in the
world if he had only accepted all of the invitations he has had,
because then he would have profited by experience.  It would have been
a thousand times better for him to have made a mistake, or even to have
broken down entirely a few times, than to have missed the scores of
opportunities which would undoubtedly have made a strong public speaker
of him.

What is technically called "stage fright" is very common.  A college
boy recited an address "to the conscript fathers."  His professor
asked,--"Is that the way Caesar would have spoken it?"  "Yes," he
replied, "if Caesar had been scared half to death, and as nervous as a

An almost fatal timidity seizes on an inexperienced person, when he
knows that all eyes are watching him, that everybody in his audience is
trying to measure and weigh him, studying him, scrutinizing him to see
how much there is in him; what he stands for, and making up their minds
whether he measures more or less than they expected.

Some are constitutionally sensitive, and so afraid of being gazed at
that they don't dare to open their mouths, even when a question in
which they are deeply interested and on which they have strong views is
being discussed.  At debating clubs, meetings of literary societies, or
gatherings of any kind, they sit dumb, longing, yet fearing to speak.
The sound of their own voices, if they should get on their feet to make
a motion or to speak in a public gathering, would paralyze them.  The
mere thought of asserting themselves, of putting forward their views or
opinions on any subject as being worthy of attention, or as valuable as
those of their companions, makes them blush and shrink more into

This timidity is often, however, not so much the fear of one's
audience, as the fear lest one can make no suitable expression of his

The hardest thing for the public speaker to overcome is
self-consciousness.  Those terrible eyes which pierce him through and
through, which are measuring him, criticizing him, are very difficult
to get out of one's consciousness.

But no orator can make a great impression until he gets rid of himself,
until he can absolutely annihilate his self-consciousness, forget
himself in his speech.  While he is wondering what kind of an
impression he is making, what people think of him, his power is
crippled, and his speech to that extent will be mechanical, wooden.

Even a partial failure on the platform has good results, for it often
arouses a determination to conquer the next time, which never leaves
one.  Demosthenes' heroic efforts, and Disraeli's "The time will come
when you will hear me," are historic examples.

It is not the speech, but the man behind the speech, that wins a way to
the front.

One man carries weight because he is himself the embodiment of power,
he is himself convinced of what he says.  There is nothing of the
negative, the doubtful, the uncertain in his nature.  He not only knows
a thing, but he knows that he knows it.  His opinion carries with it
the entire weight of his being.  The whole man gives consent to his
judgment.  He himself is in his conviction, in his act.

One of the most entrancing speakers I have ever listened to--a man to
hear whom people would go long distances and stand for hours to get
admission to the hall where he spoke--never was able to get the
confidence of his audience because he lacked character.  People liked
to be swayed by his eloquence.  There was a great charm in the cadences
of his perfect sentences.  But somehow they could not believe what he

The orator must be sincere.  The public is very quick to see through
shams.  If the audience sees mud at the bottom of your eye, that you
are not honest yourself, that you are acting, they will not take any
stock in you.

It is not enough to say a pleasing thing, an interesting thing, the
orator must be able to convince; and to convince others he must have
strong convictions.

Great speeches have become the beacon lights of history.  Those who are
prepared acquire a world-wide influence when the fit occasion comes.

Very few people ever rise to their greatest possibilities or ever know
their entire power unless confronted by some great occasion.  We are as
much amazed as others are when, in some great emergency, we out-do
ourselves.  Somehow the power that stands behind us in the silence, in
the depths of our natures, comes to our relief, intensifies our
faculties a thousandfold and enables us to do things which before we
thought impossible.

It would be difficult to estimate the great part which practical drill
in oratory may play in one's life.

Great occasions, when nations have been in peril, have developed and
brought out some of the greatest orators of the world.  Cicero,
Mirabeau, Patrick Henry, Webster, and John Bright might all be called
to witness to this fact.

The occasion had much to do with the greatest speech delivered in the
United States Senate--Webster's reply to Hayne.  Webster had no time
for immediate preparation, but the occasion brought all the reserves in
this giant, and he towered so far above his opponent that Hayne looked
like a pygmy in comparison.

The pen has discovered many a genius, but the process is slower and
less effective than the great occasion that discovers the orator.
Every crisis calls out ability, previously undeveloped, and perhaps

No orator living was ever great enough to give out the same power and
force and magnetism to an empty hall, to empty seats, that he could
give to an audience capable of being fired by his theme.

In the presence of the audience lies a fascination, an indefinable
magnetism that stimulates all the mental faculties, and acts as a tonic
and vitalizer.  An orator can say before an audience what he could not
possibly say before he went on the platform, just as we can often say
to a friend in animated conversation things which we could not possibly
say when alone.  As when two chemicals are united, a new substance is
formed from the combination, which did not exist in either alone, he
feels surging through his brain the combined force of his audience,
which he calls inspiration, a mighty power which did not exist in his
own personality.

Actors tell us that there is an indescribable inspiration which comes
from the orchestra, the footlights, the audience, which it is
impossible to feel at a cold mechanical rehearsal.  There is something
in a great sea of expectant faces which awakens the ambition and
arouses the reserve of power which can never be felt except before an
audience.  The power was there just the same before, but it was not

In the presence of the orator, the audience is absolutely in his power
to do as he will.  They laugh or cry as he pleases, or rise and fall at
his bidding, until he releases them from the magic spell.

What is oratory but to stir the blood of all hearers, to so arouse
their emotions that they can not control themselves a moment longer
without taking the action to which they are impelled?

"His words are laws" may be well said of the statesmen whose orations
sway the world.  What art is greater than that of changing the minds of

Wendell Phillips so played upon the emotions, so changed the
convictions of Southerners who hated him, but who were curious to
listen to his oratory, that, for the time being he almost persuaded
them that they were in the wrong.  I have seen him when it seemed to me
that he was almost godlike in his power.  With the ease of a master he
swayed his audience.  Some who hated him in the slavery days were
there, and they could not resist cheering him.  He warped their own
judgment and for the time took away their prejudice.

When James Russell Lowell was a student, said Wetmore Story, he and
Story went to Faneuil Hall to hear Webster.  They meant to hoot him for
his remaining in Tyler's cabinet.  It would be easy, they reasoned, to
get the three thousand people to join them.  When he begun, Lowell
turned pale, and Story livid.  His great eyes, they thought, were fixed
on them.  His opening words changed their scorn to admiration, and
their contempt to approbation.

"He gave us a glimpse into the Holy of Holies," said another student,
in relating his experience in listening to a great preacher.

Is not oratory a fine art?  The well-spring of eloquence, when
up-gushing as the very water of life, quenches the thirst of myriads of
men, like the smitten rock of the wilderness reviving the life of
desert wanderers.



The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well,
and doing well whatever you do, without a thought of fame.--LONGFELLOW.

It is not a question of what a man knows but what use he can make of
what he knows.--J. G. HOLLAND.

Seest thou a man diligent in business?  He shall stand before

The most encouraging truth that can be impressed upon the mind of youth
is this: "What man has done man may do."  Men of great achievements are
not to be set on pedestals and reverenced as exceptions to the average
of humanity.  Instead, these great men are to be considered as setting
a standard of success for the emulation of every aspiring youth.  Their
example shows what can be accomplished by the practise of the common
virtues,--diligence, patience, thrift, self-denial, determination,
industry, and persistence.

We can best appreciate the uplifting power of these simple virtues
which all may cultivate and exercise, by taking some concrete example
of great success which has been achieved by patient plodding toward a
definite goal.  No more illustrious example of success won by the
exercise of common virtues can be offered than Abraham Lincoln,
rail-splitter and president.

Probably Lincoln has been the hero of more American boys during the
last two generations than any other American character.  Young people
look upon him as a marvelous being, raised up for a divine purpose; and
yet, if we analyze his character, we find it made up of the humblest
virtues, the commonest qualities; the poorest boys and girls, who look
upon him as a demigod, possess these qualities.

The strong thing about Lincoln was his manliness, his straightforward,
downright honesty.  You could depend upon him.  He was ambitious to
make the most of himself.  He wanted to know something, to be somebody,
to lift his head up from his humble environment and be of some account
in the world.  He simply wanted to better his condition.

It is true that he had a divine hunger for growth, a passion for a
larger and completer life than that of those about him; but there is no
evidence of any great genius, any marvelous powers.  He was a simple
man, never straining after effect.

His simplicity was his chief charm.  Everybody who knew him felt that
he was a man, a large-hearted, generous friend, always ready to help
everybody and everything out of their troubles, whether it was a pig
stuck in the mire, a poor widow in trouble, or a farmer who needed
advice.  He had a helpful mind, open, frank, transparent.  He never
covered up anything, never had secrets.  The door of his heart was
always open so that anyone could read his inmost thoughts.

The ability to do hard work, and to stick to it, is the right hand of
genius and the best substitute for it,--in fact, that is genius.

If young people were to represent Lincoln's total success by one
hundred, they would probably expect to find some brilliant faculty
which would rank at least fifty per cent of the total.  But I think
that the verdict of history has given his honesty of purpose, his
purity and unselfishness of motive as his highest attributes, and
certainly these qualities are within the reach of the poorest boy and
the humblest girl in America.

Suppose we rank his honesty, his integrity twenty per cent of the
total, his dogged persistence, his ability for hard work ten per cent,
his passion for wholeness, for completeness, for doing everything to a
finish ten more, his aspiration, his longing for growth, his yearning
for fulness of life ten more.  The reader can see that it would be easy
to make up the hundred per cent, without finding any one quality which
could be called genius; that the total of his character would be made
up of the sum of the commonest qualities, the most ordinary virtues
within the reach of the poorest youth in the land.  There is no one
quality in his entire make-up so overpowering, so commanding that it
could be ranked as genius.

What an inestimable blessing to the world, what an encouragement, an
inspiration to poor boys and poor girls that his great achievement can
be accounted for by the triumph in his character of those qualities
which are beyond the reach of money, of family, of influence, but that
are within the reach of the poorest and the humblest.

In a speech to the people in Colorado Mountains, Roosevelt said: "You
think that my success is quite foreign to anything you can achieve.
Let me assure you that the big prizes I have won are largely
accidental.  If I have succeeded, it is only as anyone of you can
succeed, merely because I have tried to do my duty as I saw it in my
home and in my business, and as a citizen.

"If when I die the ones who know me best believe that I was a
thoughtful, helpful husband, a loving, wise and painstaking father, a
generous, kindly neighbor and an honest citizen, that will be a far
more real honor, and will prove my life to have been more successful
than the fact that I have ever been president of the United States.
Had a few events over which no one had control been other than they
were it is quite possible I might never have held the high office I now
occupy, but no train of events could accidentally make me a noble
character or a faithful member of my home and community.  Therefore
each of you has the same chance to succeed in true success as I have
had, and if my success in the end proves to have been as great as that
achieved by many of the humblest of you I shall be fortunate."

McKinley did not start with great mental ability.  There was nothing
very surprising or startling in his career.  He was not a great genius,
not notable as a scholar.  He did not stand very high in school; he was
not a great lawyer; he did not make a great record in Congress; but he
had a good, level head.  He had _the best substitute for genius--the
ability for hard work and persistence_.  He knew how to keep plodding,
how to hang on, and he knew that the only way to show what he was made
of in Congress was to stick to one thing, and he made a specialty of
the tariff, following the advice of a statesman friend.

The biographies of the giants of the race are often discouraging to the
average poor boy, because the moment he gets the impression that the
character he is reading about was a genius, the effect is largely lost
upon himself, because he knows that he is not a genius, and he says to
himself, "This is very interesting reading, but I can never do those
things."  But when he reads the life of McKinley he does not see any
reason why he could not do the same things himself, because there were
no great jumps, no great leaps and bounds in his life from particular
ability or special opportunity.  He had no very brilliant talents, but
he averaged well.  He had good common sense and was a hard worker.  He
had tact and diplomacy and made the most of every opportunity.

Nothing can keep from success the man who has iron in his blood and is
determined that he will succeed.  When he is confronted by barriers he
leaps over them, tunnels through them, or makes a way around them.
Obstacles only serve to stiffen his backbone, increase his
determination, sharpen his wits and develop his innate resources.  The
record of human achievement is full of the truth.  "There is no
difficulty to him who wills."

"All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise and
wonder," says Johnson, "are instances of the resistless force of

It has been well said that from the same materials one man builds
palaces, another hovels; one warehouses, another villas.  Bricks and
mortar are mortar and bricks until the architect makes them something
else.  The boulder which was an obstacle in the path of the weak
becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the resolute.  The
difficulties which dishearten one man only stiffen the sinews of
another, who looks on them as a sort of mental spring-board by which to
vault across the gulf of failure to the sure, solid ground of full

One of the greatest generals on the Confederate side in the Civil War,
"Stonewall" Jackson, was noted for his slowness.  With this he
possessed great application and dogged determination.  If he undertook
a task, he never let go till he had it done.  So, when he went to West
Point, his habitual class response was that he was too busy getting the
lesson of a few days back to look at the one of the day.  He kept up
this steady gait, and, from the least promising "plebe," came out
seventeenth in a class of seventy, distancing fifty-three who started
with better attainments and better minds.  His classmates used to say
that, if the course was ten years instead of four, he would come out

The world always stands aside for the determined man.  You will find no
royal road to your triumph.  There is no open door to the Temple of

One of the commonest of common virtues is perseverance, yet it has been
the open sesame of more fast locked doors of opportunity than have
brilliant tributes.  Every man and woman can exercise this virtue of
perseverance, can refuse to stop short of the goal of ambition, can
decline to turn aside in search of pleasures that do but hinder

The romance of perseverance under especial difficulty is one of the
most fascinating subjects in history.  Tenacity of purpose has been
characteristic of all characters who have left their mark on the world.
Perseverance, it has been said, is the statesman's brain, the warrior's
sword, the inventor's secret, the scholar's "open sesame."

Persistency is to talent what steam is to the engine.  It is the
driving force by which the machine accomplishes the work for which it
was intended.  A great deal of persistency, with a very little talent,
can be counted on to go farther than a great deal of talent without

You cannot keep a determined man from success.  Take away his money,
and he makes spurs of his poverty to urge him on.  Lock him up in a
dungeon, and he writes the immortal "Pilgrim's Progress."

Stick to a thing and carry it through in all its completeness and
proportion, and you will become a hero.  You will think better of
yourself; others will exalt you.

Thoroughness is another of the common virtues which all may cultivate.
The man who puts his best into every task will leave far behind the man
who lets a job go with the comment "That's good enough."  Nothing is
good enough unless it reflects our best.

Daniel Webster had no remarkable traits of character in his boyhood.
He was sent to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and stayed
there only a short time when a neighbor found him crying on his way
home, and asked the reason.  Daniel said he despaired of ever making a
scholar.  He said the boys made fun of him, for always being at the
foot of the class, and that he had decided to give up and go home.  The
friend said he ought to go back, and see what hard study would do.  He
went back, applied himself to his studies with determination to win,
and it was not long before he silenced those who had ridiculed him, by
reaching the head of the class, and remaining there.

Fidelity to duty has been a distinguishing virtue in men who have risen
to positions of authority and command.  It has been observed that the
dispatches of Napoleon rang with the word glory.  Wellington's
dispatches centered around the common word duty.

Nowadays people seem unwilling to tread the rough path of duty and by
patience and steadfast perseverance step into the ranks of those the
country delights to honor.

Every little while I get letters from young men who say, if they were
positively sure that they could be a Webster in law, they would devote
all their energies to study, fling their whole lives into their work;
or if they could be an Edison in invention, or a great leader in
medicine, or a merchant prince like Wanamaker or Marshall Field, they
could work with enthusiasm and zeal and power and concentration.  They
would be willing to make any sacrifice, to undergo any hardship in
order to achieve what these men have achieved.  But many of them say
they do not feel that they have the marvelous ability, the great
genius, the tremendous talent exhibited by those leaders, and so they
are not willing to make the great exertion.

They do not realize that success is not necessarily doing some great
thing, that it is not making a tremendous strain to do something great;
but that it is just honestly, earnestly living the everyday simple
life.  It is by the exercise of the common everyday virtues; it is by
trying to do everything one does to a complete finish; it is by trying
to be scrupulously honest in every transaction; it is by always ringing
true in our friendships, by holding a helpful, accommodating attitude
toward those about us; by trying to be the best possible citizen, a
good, accommodating, helpful neighbor, a kind, encouraging father; it
is by all these simple things that we attain success.

There is no great secret about success.  It is just a natural
persistent exercise of the commonest every-day qualities.

We have seen people in the country in the summer time trampling down
the daisies and the beautiful violets, the lovely wild flowers in their
efforts to get a branch of showy flowers off a large tree, which,
perhaps, would not compare in beauty and delicacy and loveliness to the
things they trampled under their feet in trying to procure it.

Oh, how many exquisite experiences, delightful possible joys we trample
under our feet in straining after something great, in trying to do some
marvelous thing that will attract attention and get our names in the
papers!  We trample down the finer emotions, we spoil many of the most
delicious things in life in our scrambling and greed to grasp something
which is unusual, something showy that we can wave before the world in
order to get its applause.

In straining for effect, in the struggle to do something great and
wonderful, we miss the little successes, the sum of which would make
our lives sublime; and often, after all this straining and struggling
for the larger, for the grander things, we miss them, and then we
discover to our horror what we have missed on the way up--what
sweetness, what beauty, what loveliness, what a lot of common, homely,
cheering things we have lost in the useless struggle.

Great scientists tell us that the reason why the secrets of nature have
been hidden from the world so long is because we are not simple enough
in our methods of reasoning; that investigators are always looking for
unusual phenomena, for something complicated; that the principles of
nature's secrets are so extremely simple that men overlook them in
their efforts to see and solve the more intricate problems.

It is most unfortunate that so many young people get the impression
that success consists in doing some marvelous thing, that there must be
some genius born in the man who achieves it, else he could not do such
remarkable things.



"How's the boy gittin' on, Davis?" asked Farmer John Field, as he
watched his son, Marshall, waiting upon a customer.  "Well, John, you
and I are old friends," replied Deacon Davis, as he took an apple from
a barrel and handed it to Marshall's father as a peace offering; "we
are old friends, and I don't want to hurt your feelin's; but I'm a
blunt man, and air goin' to tell you the truth.  Marshall is a good,
steady boy, all right, but he wouldn't make a merchant if he stayed in
my store a thousand years.  He weren't cut out for a merchant.  Take
him back to the farm, John, and teach him how to milk cows!"

If Marshall Field had remained as clerk in Deacon Davis's store in
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he got his first position, he could
never have become one of the world's merchant princes.  But when he
went to Chicago and saw the marvelous examples around him of poor boys
who had won success, it aroused his ambition and fired him with the
determination to be a great merchant himself.  "If others can do such
wonderful things," he asked himself, "why cannot I?"

Of course, there was the making of a great merchant in Mr. Field from
the start; but circumstances, an ambition-arousing environment, had a
great deal to do with stimulating his latent energy and bringing out
his reserve force.  It is doubtful if he would have climbed so rapidly
in any other place than Chicago.  In 1856, when young Field went there,
this marvelous city was just starting on its unparalleled career.  It
had then only about eighty-five thousand inhabitants.  A few years
before it had been a mere Indian trading village.  But the city grew by
leaps and bounds, and always beat the predictions of its most sanguine
inhabitants.  Success was in the air.  Everybody felt that there were
great possibilities there.

[Illustration: Marshall Field]

Many people seem to think that ambition is a quality born within us;
that it is not susceptible to improvement; that it is something thrust
upon us which will take care of itself.  But it is a passion that
responds very quickly to cultivation, and it requires constant care and
education, just as the faculty for music or art does, or it will

If we do not try to realize our ambition, it will not keep sharp and
defined.  Our faculties become dull and soon lose their power if they
are not exercised.  How can we expect our ambition to remain fresh and
vigorous through years of inactivity, indolence, or indifference?  If
we constantly allow opportunities to slip by us without making any
attempt to grasp them, our inclination will grow duller and weaker.

"What I most need," as Emerson says, "is somebody to make me do what I
can."  To do what I can, that is my problem; not what a Napoleon or a
Lincoln could do, but what _I_ can do.  It makes all the difference in
the world to me whether I bring out the best thing in me or the
worst,--whether I utilize ten, fifteen, twenty-five, or ninety per cent
of my ability.

Everywhere we see people who have reached middle life or later without
being aroused.  They have developed only a small percentage of their
success possibilities.  They are still in a dormant state.  The best
thing in them lies so deep that it has never been awakened.  When we
meet these people we feel conscious that they have a great deal of
latent power that has never been exercised.  Great possibilities of
usefulness and of achievement are, all unconsciously, going to waste
within them.

Some time ago there appeared in the newspapers an account of a girl who
had reached the age of fifteen years, and yet had only attained the
mental development of a small child.  Only a few things interested her.
She was dreamy, inactive, and indifferent to everything around her most
of the time until, one day, while listening to a hand organ on the
street, she suddenly awakened to full consciousness.  She came to
herself; her faculties were aroused, and in a few days she leaped
forward years in her development.  Almost in a day she passed from
childhood to budding womanhood.  Most of us have an enormous amount of
power, of latent force, slumbering within us, as it slumbered in this
girl, which could do marvels if we would only awaken it.

The judge of the municipal court in a flourishing western city, one of
the most highly esteemed jurists in his state, was in middle life,
before his latent power was aroused, an illiterate blacksmith.  He is
now sixty, the owner of the finest library in his city, with the
reputation of being its best-read man, and one whose highest endeavor
is to help his fellow man.  What caused the revolution in his life?
The hearing of a single lecture on the value of education.  This was
what stirred the slumbering power within him, awakened his ambition,
and set his feet in the path of self-development.

I have known several men who never realized their possibilities until
they reached middle life.  Then they were suddenly aroused, as if from
a long sleep, by reading some inspiring, stimulating book, by listening
to a sermon or a lecture, or by meeting some friend,--someone with high
ideals,--who understood, believed in, and encouraged them.

It will make all the difference in the world to you whether you are
with people who are watching for ability in you, people who believe in,
encourage, and praise you, or whether you are with those who are
forever breaking your idols, blasting your hopes, and throwing cold
water on your aspirations.

The chief probation officer of the children's court in New York, in his
report for 1905, says: "Removing a boy or girl from improper
environment is the first step in his or her reclamation."  The New York
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, after thirty years
of investigation of cases involving the social and moral welfare of
over half a million of children, has also come to the conclusion that
environment is stronger than heredity.

Even the strongest of us are not beyond the reach of our environment.
No matter how independent, strong-willed, and determined our nature, we
are constantly being modified by our surroundings.  Take the best-born
child, with the greatest inherited advantages, and let it be reared by
savages, and how many of its inherited tendencies will remain?  If
brought up from infancy in a barbarous, brutal atmosphere, it will, of
course, become brutal.  The story is told of a well-born child who,
being lost or abandoned as an infant, was suckled by a wolf with her
own young ones, and who actually took on all the characteristics of the
wolf,--walked on all fours, howled like a wolf, and ate like one.

It does not take much to determine the lives of most of us.  We
naturally follow the examples about us, and, as a rule, we rise or fall
according to the strongest current in which we live.  The poet's "I am
a part of all that I have met" is not a mere poetic flight of fancy; it
is an absolute truth.  Everything--every sermon or lecture or
conversation you have heard, every person who has touched your
life--has left an impress upon your character, and you are never quite
the same person after the association or experience.  You are a little
different,--modified somewhat from what you were before,--just as
Beecher was never the same man after reading Ruskin.

Some years ago a party of Russian workmen were sent to this country by
a Russian firm of shipbuilders, in order that they might acquire
American methods and catch the American spirit.  Within six months the
Russians had become almost the equals of the American artisans among
whom they worked.  They had developed ambition, individuality, personal
initiative, and a marked degree of excellence in their work.  A year
after their return to their own country, the deadening, non-progressive
atmosphere about them had done its work.  The men had lost the desire
to improve; they were again plodders, with no goal beyond the day's
work.  The ambition aroused by stimulating environment had sunk to
sleep again.

Our Indian schools sometimes publish, side by side, photographs of the
Indian youths as they come from the reservation and as they look when
they are graduated,--well dressed, intelligent, with the fire of
ambition in their eyes.  We predict great things for them; but the
majority of those who go back to their tribes, after struggling awhile
to keep up their new standards, gradually drop back to their old manner
of living.  There are, of course, many notable exceptions, but these
are strong characters, able to resist the downward-dragging tendencies
about them.

If you interview the great army of failures, you will find that
multitudes have failed because they never got into a stimulating,
encouraging environment, because their ambition was never aroused, or
because they were not strong enough to rally under depressing,
discouraging, or vicious surroundings.  Most of the people we find in
prisons and poor-houses are pitiable examples of the influence of an
environment which appealed to the worst instead of to the best in them.

Whatever you do in life, make any sacrifice necessary to keep in an
ambition-arousing atmosphere, an environment that will stimulate you to
self-development.  Keep close to people who understand you, who believe
in you, who will help you to discover yourself and encourage you to
make the most of yourself.  This may make all the difference to you
between a grand success and a mediocre existence.  Stick to those who
are trying to do something and to be somebody in the world,--people of
high aims, lofty ambition.  Keep close to those who are
dead-in-earnest.  Ambition is contagious.  You will catch the spirit
that dominates in your environment.  The success of those about you who
are trying to climb upward will encourage and stimulate you to struggle
harder if you have not done quite so well yourself.

There is a great power in a battery of individuals who are struggling
for the achievement of high aims, a great magnetic force which will
help you to attract the object of your ambition.  It is very
stimulating to be with people whose aspirations run parallel with your
own.  If you lack energy, if you are naturally lazy, indolent, or
inclined to take it easy, you will be urged forward by the constant
prodding of the more ambitious.



He who wishes to fulfil his mission must be a man of one idea, that is,
of one great overmastering purpose, over shadowing all his aims, and
guiding and controlling his entire life.--BATE.

A healthful hunger for a great idea is the beauty and blessedness of

A profound conviction raises a man above the feeling of ridicule.--J.

Ideas go booming through the world louder than cannon.  Thoughts are
mightier than armies.  Principles have achieved more victories than
horsemen or chariots.--W. M. PAXTON.

"What are you bothering yourselves with a knitting machine for?" asked
Ari Davis, of Boston, a manufacturer of instruments; "why don't you
make a sewing-machine?"  His advice had been sought by a rich man and
an inventor who had reached their wits' ends in the vain attempt to
produce a device for knitting woolen goods.  "I wish I could, but it
can't be done."  "Oh, yes it can," said Davis; "I can make one myself."
"Well," the capitalist replied, "you do it, and I'll insure you an
independent fortune."  The words of Davis were uttered in a spirit of
jest, but the novel idea found lodgment in the mind of one of the
workmen who stood by, a mere youth of twenty, who was thought not
capable of a serious idea.

But Elias Howe was not so rattle-headed as he seemed, and the more he
reflected, the more desirable such a machine appeared to him.  Four
years passed, and with a wife and three children to support in a great
city on a salary of nine dollars a week, the light-hearted boy had
become a thoughtful, plodding man.  The thought of the sewing-machine
haunted him night and day, and he finally resolved to produce one.

After months wasted in the effort to work a needle pointed at both
ends, with the eye in the middle, that should pass up and down through
the cloth, suddenly the thought flashed through his mind that another
stitch must be possible, and with almost insane devotion he worked
night and day, until he had made a rough model of wood and wire that
convinced him of ultimate success.  In his mind's eye he saw his idea,
but his own funds and those of his father, who had aided him more or
less, were insufficient to embody it in a working machine.  But help
came from an old schoolmate, George Fisher, a coal and wood merchant of
Cambridge.  He agreed to board Elias and his family and furnish five
hundred dollars, for which he was to have one-half of the patent, if
the machine proved to be worth patenting.  In May, 1845, the machine
was completed, and in July Elias Howe sewed all the seams of two suits
of woolen clothes, one for Mr. Fisher and the other for himself.  The
sewing outlasted the cloth.  This machine, which is still preserved,
will sew three hundred stitches a minute, and is considered more nearly
perfect than any other prominent invention at its first trial.  There
is not one of the millions of sewing-machines now in use that does not
contain some of the essential principles of this first attempt.

When it was decided to try and elevate Chicago out of the mud by
raising its immense blocks up to grade, the young son of a poor
mechanic, named George M. Pullman, appeared on the scene, and put in a
bid for the great undertaking, and the contract was awarded to him.  He
not only raised the blocks, but did it in such a way that business
within them was scarcely interrupted.  All this time he was revolving
in his mind his pet project of building a "sleeping car" which would be
adopted on all railroads.  He fitted up two old cars on the Chicago and
Alton road with berths, and soon found they would be in demand.  He
then went to work on the principle that the more luxurious his cars
were, the greater would be the demand for them.  After spending three
years in Colorado gold mines, he returned and built two cars which cost
$18,000 each.  Everybody laughed at "Pullman's folly."  But Pullman
believed that whatever relieved the tediousness of long trips would
meet with speedy approval, and he had faith enough in his idea to risk
his all in it.

Pullman was a great believer in the commercial value of beauty.  The
wonderful town which he built and which bears his name, as well as his
magnificent cars, is an example of his belief in this principle.  He
counts it a good investment to surround his employees with comforts and
beauty and good sanitary conditions, and so the town of Pullman is a
model of cleanliness, order, and comfort.

It has ever been the man with an idea, which he puts into practical
effect, who has changed the face of Christendom.  The germ idea of the
steam engine can be seen in the writings of the Greek philosophers, but
it was not developed until more than two thousand years later.

It was an English blacksmith, Newcomen, with no opportunities, who in
the seventeenth century conceived the idea of moving a piston by the
elastic force of steam; but his engine consumed thirty pounds of coal
in producing one horse power.  The perfection of the modern engine is
largely due to James Watt, a poor, uneducated Scotch boy, who at
fifteen walked the streets of London in a vain search for work.  A
professor in the Glasgow University gave him the use of a room to work
in, and while waiting for jobs he experimented with old vials for steam
reservoirs and hollow canes for pipes, for he could not bear to waste a
moment.  He improved Newcomen's engine by cutting off the steam after
the piston had completed a quarter or a third of its stroke, and
letting the steam already in the chamber expand and drive the piston
the remaining distance.  This saved nearly three-fourths of the steam.
Watt suffered from pinching poverty and hardships which would have
disheartened ordinary men; but he was terribly in earnest, and his
brave wife Margaret begged him not to mind her inconvenience, nor be
discouraged.  "If the engine will not work," she wrote him while
struggling in London, "something else will.  Never despair."

"I had gone to take a walk," said Watt, "on a fine Sabbath afternoon,
and had passed the old washing-house, thinking upon the engine at the
time, when the idea came into my head that, as steam is an elastic
body, it would rush into a vacuum, and if a communication were made
between the cylinder and an exhausted vessel, it would rush into it,
and might be there condensed without cooling the cylinder."  The idea
was simple, but in it lay the germ of the first steam engine of much
practical value.  Sir James Mackintosh places this poor Scotch boy who
began with only an idea "at the head of all inventors in all ages and
all nations."

See George Stephenson, working in the coal pits for sixpence a day,
patching the clothes and mending the boots of his fellow-workmen at
night, to earn a little money to attend a night school, giving the
first money he ever earned, $150, to his blind father to pay his debts.
People say he is crazy; his "roaring steam engine will set the house on
fire with its sparks"; "smoke will pollute the air"; "carriage makers
and coachmen will starve for want of work."  For three days the
committee of the House of Commons plies questions to him.  This was one
of them: "If a cow get on the track of the engine traveling ten miles
an hour, will it not be an awkward situation?"  "Yes, very awkward,
indeed, for the coo," replied Stephenson.  A government inspector said
that if a locomotive ever went ten miles an hour, he would undertake to
eat a stewed engine for breakfast.

"What can be more palpably absurd and ridiculous than the prospect held
out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as horses?" asked a writer
in the English "Quarterly Review" for March, 1825.  "We should as soon
expect the people of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off upon
one of Congreve's rockets as to trust themselves to the mercy of such a
machine, going at such a rate.  We trust that Parliament will, in all
the railways it may grant, _limit the speed to eight or nine miles an
hour_, which we entirely agree with Mr. Sylvester is as great as can be
ventured upon."  This article referred to Stephenson's proposition to
use his newly invented locomotive instead of horses on the Liverpool
and Manchester Railroad, then in process of construction.

The company decided to lay the matter before two leading English
engineers, who reported that steam would be desirable only when used in
stationary engines one and a half miles apart, drawing the cars by
means of ropes and pulleys.  But Stephenson persuaded them to test his
idea by offering a prize of about twenty-five hundred dollars for the
best locomotive produced at a trial to take place October 6, 1829.

On the eventful day, thousands of spectators assembled to watch the
competition of four engines, the "Novelty," the "Rocket," the
"Perseverance," and the "Sanspareil."  The "Perseverance" could make
but six miles an hour, and so was ruled out, as the conditions called
for at least ten.  The "Sanspareil" made an average of fourteen miles
an hour, but as it burst a water-pipe it lost its chance.  The
"Novelty" did splendidly, but also burst a pipe, and was crowded out,
leaving the "Rocket" to carry off the honors with an average speed of
fifteen miles an hour, the highest rate attained being twenty-nine.
This was Stephenson's locomotive, and so fully vindicated his theory
that the idea of stationary engines on a railroad was completely
exploded.  He had picked up the fixed engines which the genius of Watt
had devised, and set them on wheels to draw men and merchandise,
against the most direful predictions of the foremost engineers of his

In all the records of invention there is no more sad or affecting story
than that of John Fitch.  Poor he was in many senses, poor in
appearance, poor in spirit.  He was born poor, lived poor, and died
poor.  If there ever was a true inventor, this man was one.  He was one
of those eager souls that would coin their own flesh to carry their
point.  He only uttered the obvious truth when he said one day, in a
crisis of his invention, that if he could get one hundred pounds by
cutting off one of his legs he would gladly give it to the knife.

He tried in vain both in this country and in France to get money to
build his steamboat.  He would say: "You and I will not live to see the
day, but the time will come when the steamboat will be preferred to all
other modes of conveyance, when steamboats will ascend the Western
rivers from New Orleans to Wheeling, and when steamboats will cross the
ocean.  Johnny Fitch will be forgotten, but other men will carry out
his ideas and grow rich and great upon them."

Poor, ragged, forlorn, jeered at, pitied as a madman, discouraged by
the great, refused by the rich, he kept on till, in 1790, he had the
first vessel on the Delaware that ever answered the purpose of a
steamboat.  It ran six miles an hour against the tide, and eight miles
with it.

At noon, on Friday, August 4, 1807, a crowd of curious people might
have been seen along the wharves of the Hudson River.  They had
gathered to witness what they considered a ridiculous failure of a
"crank" who proposed to take a party of people up the Hudson River to
Albany in what he called a steam vessel named the _Clermont_.  Did
anybody ever hear of such a ridiculous idea as navigating against the
current up the Hudson in a vessel without sails?  "The thing will
'bust,'" says one; "it will burn up," says another, and "they will all
be drowned," exclaims a third, as he sees vast columns of black smoke
shoot up with showers of brilliant sparks.  Nobody present, in all
probability, ever heard of a boat going by steam.  It was the opinion
of everybody that the man who had tooled away his money and his time on
the _Clermont_ was little better than an idiot, and ought to be in an
insane asylum.  But the passengers go on board, the plank is pulled in,
and the steam is turned on.  The walking beam moves slowly up and down,
and the _Clermont_ floats out into the river.  "It can never go up
stream," the spectators persist.  But it did go up stream, and the boy,
who in his youth said there is nothing impossible, had scored a great
triumph, and had given to the world the first steamboat that had any
practical value.

Notwithstanding that Fulton had rendered such great service to
humanity, a service which has revolutionized the commerce of the world,
he was looked upon by many as a public enemy.  Critics and cynics
turned up their noses when Fulton was mentioned.  The severity of the
world's censure, ridicule, and detraction has usually been in
proportion to the benefit the victim has conferred upon mankind.

As the _Clermont_ burned pine wood, dense columns of fire and smoke
belched forth from her smoke-stack while she glided triumphantly up the
river, and the inhabitants along the banks were utterly unable to
account for the spectacle.  They rushed to the shore amazed to see a
boat "on fire" go against the stream so rapidly with neither oars nor
sails.  The noise of her great paddle-wheels increased the wonder.
Sailors forsook their vessels, and fishermen rowed home as fast as
possible to get out of the way of the fire monster.  The Indians were
as much frightened as their predecessors were when the first ship
approached their hunting-ground on Manhattan Island.  The owners of
sailing vessels were jealous of the _Clermont_, and tried to run her
down.  Others whose interests were affected denied Fulton's claim to
the invention and brought suits against him.  But the success of the
_Clermont_ soon led to the construction of other steamships all over
the country.  The government employed Fulton to aid in building a
powerful steam frigate, which was called _Fulton the First_.  He also
built a diving boat for the government for the discharge of torpedoes.
By this time his fame had spread all over the civilized world, and when
he died, in 1815, newspapers were marked with black lines; the
legislature of New York wore badges of mourning; and minute guns were
fired as the long funeral procession passed to old Trinity churchyard.
Very few private persons were ever honored with such a burial.

True, Dr. Lardner had "proved" to scientific men that a steamship could
not cross the Atlantic, but in 1810 the _Savannah_ from New York
appeared off the coast of Ireland under sail and steam, having made
this "impossible" passage.  Those on shore thought that a fire had
broken out below the decks, and a king's cutter was sent to her relief.
Although the voyage was made without accident, it was nearly twenty
years before it was admitted that steam navigation could be made a
commercial success in ocean traffic.

As Junius Smith impatiently paced the deck of a vessel sailing from an
English port to New York, on a rough and tedious voyage in 1832, he
said to himself, "Why not cross the ocean regularly in steamships?"  In
New York and in London a deaf ear was turned to any such nonsense.
Smith's first encouragement came from George Grote, the historian and
banker, who said the idea was practicable; but it was the same old
story,--he would risk no money in it.  At length Isaac Selby, a
prominent business man of London, agreed to build a steamship of two
thousand tons, the _British Queen_.  An unexpected delay in fitting the
engines led the projectors to charter the _Sirius_, a river steamer of
seven hundred tons, and send her to New York.  Learning of this, other
parties started from Bristol four days later in the _Great Western_,
and both vessels arrived at New York the same day.  Soon after Smith
made the round trip between London and New York in thirty-two days.

What a sublime picture of determination and patience was that of
Charles Goodyear, of New Haven, buried in poverty and struggling with
hardships for eleven long years, to make India rubber of practical use!
See him in prison for debt; pawning his clothes and his wife's jewelry
to get a little money to keep his children (who were obliged to gather
sticks in the field for fire) from starving.  Watch his sublime courage
and devotion to his idea, when he had no money to bury a dead child and
when his other five were near starvation; when his neighbors were
harshly criticizing him for his neglect of his family and calling him
insane.  But, behold his vulcanized rubber; the result of that heroic
struggle, applied to over five hundred uses by 100,000 employees.

What a pathetic picture was that of Palissy, plodding on through want
and woe to rediscover the lost art of enameling pottery; building his
furnaces with bricks carried on his back, seeing his six children die
of neglect, probably of starvation, his wife in rags and despair over
her husband's "folly"; despised by his neighbors for neglecting his
family, worn to a skeleton himself, giving his clothes to his hired man
because he could not pay him in money, hoping always, failing steadily,
until at last his great work was accomplished, and he reaped his reward.

German unity was the idea engraven upon Bismarck's heart.  What cared
this herculean despot for the Diet chosen year after year simply to
vote down every measure he proposed?  He was indifferent to all
opposition.  He simply defied and sent home every Diet which opposed
him.  He could play the game alone.  To make Germany the greatest power
in Europe, to make William of Prussia a greater potentate than Napoleon
or Alexander, was his all-absorbing purpose.  It mattered not what
stood in his way, whether people, Diet, or nation; all must bend to his
mighty will.  Germany must hold the deciding voice in the Areopagus of
the world.  He rode roughshod over everybody and everything that stood
in his way, defiant of opposition, imperious, irrepressible!

See the great Dante in exile, condemned to be burnt alive on false
charges of embezzlement.  Look at his starved features, gaunt form,
melancholy, a poor wanderer; but he never gave up his idea; he poured
out his very soul into his immortal poem, ever believing that right
would at last triumph.

Columbus was exposed to continual scoffs and indignities, being
ridiculed as a mere dreamer and stigmatized as an adventurer.  The very
children, it is said, pointed to their foreheads as he passed, being
taught to regard him as a kind of madman.

An American was once invited to dine with Oken, the famous German
naturalist.  To his surprise, they had neither meats nor dessert, but
only baked potatoes.  Oken was too great a man to apologize for their
simple fare.  His wife explained, however, that her husband's income
was very small, and that they preferred to live simply in order that he
might obtain books and instruments for his scientific researches.

Before the discovery of ether it often took a week, in some cases a
month, to recover from the enormous dose, sometimes five hundred drops
of laudanum, given to a patient to deaden the pain during a surgical
operation.  Young Dr. Morton believed that there must be some means
provided by Nature to relieve human suffering during these terrible
operations; but what could he do?  He was not a chemist; he did not
know the properties of chemical substances; he was not liberally

Dr. Morton did not resort to books, however, nor did he go to
scientific men for advice, but immediately began to experiment with
well-known substances.  He tried intoxicants even to the point of
intoxication, but as soon as the instruments were applied the patient
would revive.  He kept on experimenting with narcotics in this manner
until at last he found what he sought in ether.

What a grand idea Bishop Vincent worked out for the young world in the
Chautauqua Circle, Dr. Clark in his world-wide Christian Endeavor
movement, the Methodist Church in the Epworth League, Edward Everett
Hale in his little bands of King's Daughters and Ten Times One is Ten!
Here is Clara Barton who has created the Red Cross Society, which is
loved by all nations.  She noticed in our Civil War that the
Confederates were shelling the hospital.  She thought it the last touch
of cruelty to fight what couldn't fight back, and she determined to
have the barbarous custom stopped.  Of course the world laughed at this
poor unaided woman.  But her idea has been adopted by all nations; and
the enemy that aims a shot at the tent or building over which flies the
white flag with the red cross has lost his last claim to human

In all ages those who have advanced the cause of humanity have been men
and women "possessed," in the opinion of their neighbors.  Noah in
building the ark, Moses in espousing the cause of the Israelites, or
Christ in living and dying to save a fallen race, incurred the pity and
scorn of the rich and highly educated, in common with all great
benefactors.  Yet in every age and in every clime men and women have
been willing to incur poverty, hardship, toil, ridicule, persecution,
or even death, if thereby they might shed light or comfort upon the
path which all must walk from the cradle to the grave.  In fact it is
doubtful whether a man can perform very great service to mankind who is
not permeated with a great purpose--with an overmastering idea.

Beecher had to fight every step of the way to his triumph through
obstacles which would have appalled all but the greatest characters.
Oftentimes in these great battles for principle and struggles for
truth, he stood almost alone fighting popular prejudice, narrowness,
and bigotry, uncharitableness and envy even in his own church.  But he
never hesitated nor wavered when he once saw his duty.  There was no
shilly-shallying, no hunting for a middle ground between right and
wrong, no compromise on principles.  He hewed close to the chalk line
and held his line plumb to truth.  He never pandered for public favor
nor sought applause.  Duty and truth were his goal, and he went
straight to his mark.  Other churches did not agree with him nor his,
but he was too broad for hatred, too charitable for revenge, and too
magnanimous for envy.

What tale of the "Arabian Nights" equals in fascination the story of
such lives as those of Franklin, of Morse, Goodyear, Howe, Edison,
Bell, Beecher, Gough, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Amos Lawrence, George
Peabody, McCormick, Hoe, and scores of others, each representing some
great idea embodied in earnest action, and resulting in an improvement
of the physical, mental, and moral condition of those around them?

There are plenty of ideas left in the world yet.  Everything has not
been invented.  All good things have not been done.  There are
thousands of abuses to rectify, and each one challenges the independent
soul, armed with a new idea.

"But how shall I get ideas?"  Keep your wits open!  Observe!  Study!
But above all, Think! and when a noble image is indelibly impressed
upon the mind--_Act_!



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

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

Let me die facing the enemy.--BAYARD.

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

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

Fortune befriends the bold.--DRYDEN.

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

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

"Bring back the colors," shouted a captain at the battle of the Alma,
when an ensign maintained his ground in front, although the men were
retreating.  "No," cried the ensign, "bring up the men to the colors."

"To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare," was Danton's
noble defiance to the enemies of France.  "The Commons of France have
resolved to deliberate," said Mirabeau to De Breze, who brought an
order from the king for them to disperse, June 23, 1789.  "We have
heard the intentions that have been attributed to the king; and you,
sir, who cannot be recognized as his organ in the National
Assembly,--you, who have neither place, voice, nor right to speak,--you
are not the person to bring to us a message of his.  Go, say to those
who sent you that we are here by the power of the people, and that we
will not be driven hence, save by the power of the bayonet."

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

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

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

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

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

The youth was George Washington.

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the Mexican War General McClellan was employed as a topographical
engineer in surveying the Pacific coast.  From his headquarters at
Vancouver he had gone on an exploring expedition with two companions, a
soldier and a servant, when one evening he received word that the
chiefs of the Columbia River tribes desired to confer with him.  From
the messenger's manner he suspected that the Indians meant mischief,
and so he warned his companions that they must be ready to leave camp
at a moment's notice.

Mounting his horse, he rode boldly into the Indian village.  About
thirty chiefs were holding council.  McClellan was led into the circle,
and placed at the right hand of Saltese.  He was familiar with the
Chinook jargon, and could understand every word spoken in the council.
Saltese made known the grievance of the tribes.  Two Indians had been
captured by a party of white pioneers and hanged for theft.
Retaliation for this outrage seemed imperative.  The chiefs pondered
long, but had little to say.  McClellan had been on friendly terms with
them, and was not responsible for the forest executions, but still, he
was a white man, and the chiefs had vowed vengeance against the race.
The council was prolonged for hours before sentence was passed, and
then Saltese, in the name of the head men of the tribes, decreed that
McClellan should immediately be put to death.

McClellan said nothing.  He had known that argument and pleas for
justice or mercy would be of no avail.  He sat motionless, apparently
indifferent to his fate.  By his listlessness he had thrown his captors
off their guard.  When the sentence was passed he acted like a flash.
Flinging his left arm around the neck of Saltese, he whipped out his
revolver and held it close to the chief's temple.  "Revoke that
sentence, or I shall kill you this instant!" he cried, with his fingers
clicking the trigger.  "I revoke it!" exclaimed Saltese, fairly livid
from fear.  "I must have your word that I can leave this council in
safety."  "You have the word of Saltese," was the quick response.

McClellan knew how sacred was the pledge which he had received.  The
revolver was lowered.  Saltese was released from the embrace of the
strong arm.  McClellan strode out of the tent with his revolver in his
hand.  Not a hand was raised against him.  He mounted his horse and
rode to his camp, where his two followers were ready to spring into the
saddle and to escape from the villages.  He owed his life to his
quickness of perception, his courage, and to his accurate knowledge of
Indian character.

In 1856, Rufus Choate spoke to an audience of nearly five thousand in
Lowell, Mass., in favor of the candidacy of James Buchanan for the
presidency.  The floor of the great hall began to sink, settling more
and more as he proceeded with his address, until a sound of cracking
timber below would have precipitated a stampede with fatal results but
for the coolness of B. F. Butler, who presided.  Telling the people to
remain quiet, he said that he would see if there were any cause for
alarm.  He found the supports of the floor in so bad a condition that
the slightest applause would be likely to bury the audience in the
ruins of the building.  Returning rather leisurely to the platform, he
whispered to Choate as he passed, "We shall all be in ---- in five
minutes"; then he told the crowd that there was no immediate danger if
they would slowly disperse.  The post of danger, he added, was on the
platform, which was most weakly supported, therefore he and those with
him would be the last to leave.  No doubt many lives were saved by his

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

When Grant was in Houston many 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 lavish preparations for the
dinner, the committee taking great pains to have the finest wines that
could be procured for the table that night.  When the time came to
serve the wine, the headwaiter went first to Grant.  Without a word the
general quietly turned down all the glasses at his plate.  This
movement was a great surprise to the Texans, but they were equal to the
occasion.  Without a single word being spoken, every man along the line
of the long tables turned his glasses down, and there was not a drop of
wine taken that night.

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

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

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

A Western paper recently invited the surviving Union and Confederate
officers to give an account of the bravest act observed by each during
the Civil War.  Colonel Thomas Wentworth 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 they took him by the hand and thanked him
for displaying such admirable moral courage.

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

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

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

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

We live ridiculously for fear of being thought ridiculous.

 "Tis he is the coward who proves false to his vows,
  To his manhood, his honor, for a laugh or a sneer."

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

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

It takes courage for a public man not to bend the knee to popular
prejudice.  It takes courage to refuse to follow custom when it is
injurious to his health and morals.  How much easier for a politician
to prevaricate and dodge an issue than to stand squarely on his feet
like a man!

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

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 always dignified and graceful.

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

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

"To think a thing is impossible is to make it so."  _Courage is
victory, timidity's defeat_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Execute your resolutions immediately.  Thoughts are but dreams until
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 contagious and 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."

After the great inward struggle was over, and he had determined to
remain loyal to his principles, Thomas More walked cheerfully to the
block.  His wife called him a fool for staying in a dark, damp, filthy
prison when he might have his liberty by merely renouncing his
doctrines, as some of the bishops had done.  But Thomas More preferred
death to dishonor.

His daughter showed the power of love to drive away fear.  She remained
true to her father when all others, even her mother, had forsaken him.
After his head had been cut off and exhibited on a pole on London
Bridge, the poor girl begged it of the authorities, and requested that
it be buried in the coffin with her.  Her request was granted, for her
death soon occurred.

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

Don't waste time dreaming of obstacles you may never encounter, or in
crossing bridges you have not reached.  To half will and to hang
forever in the balance is to lose your grip on life.

Abraham Lincoln's boyhood was one long struggle with poverty, with
little education, and no influential friends.  When at last he had
begun the practice of law, it required no little courage 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.

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

  Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
  Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just:
  Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
  Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The courageous man is an example to the intrepid.  His influence is
magnetic.  Men follow him, even to the death.

Men who have dared have moved the world, often before reaching the
prime of life.  It is astonishing what daring to begin and perseverance
have enabled even youths to achieve.  Alexander, who ascended the
throne at twenty, had conquered the known world before dying at
thirty-three.  Julius Caesar captured eight hundred cities, conquered
three hundred nations, 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.  Galileo was but eighteen when he saw the principle
of the pendulum in the swing lamp in the cathedral at Pisa.  Peel was
in Parliament at twenty-one.  Gladstone was in Parliament before he was
twenty-two, and at twenty-four he was Lord of the Treasury.  Elizabeth
Barrett Browning was proficient in Greek and Latin at twelve; De
Quincey at eleven.  Robert Browning wrote at eleven poetry of no mean
order.  Cowley, who sleeps in Westminster Abbey, published a volume of
poems at fifteen.  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.  At
thirty-six, Cortez was the conqueror of Mexico; at thirty-two, Clive
had established the British power in India.  Hannibal, the greatest of
military commanders, was only thirty when, at Cannae, he dealt an
almost annihilating blow at the republic of Rome, and Napoleon was only
twenty-seven when, on the plains of Italy, he outgeneraled and
defeated, one after another, the veteran marshals of Austria.

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

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

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

Many a bright youth has accomplished nothing of worth to himself or the
world simply because he did not dare to commence things.

Begin!  Begin!  Begin!!!

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

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

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

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



"I will find a way or make one."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is scarcely anything in all biography grander than the saying of
young Henry Fawcett, Gladstone's last Postmaster-General, to his
grief-stricken father, who had put out both his eyes by birdshot during
a game hunt: "Never mind, father, blindness shall not interfere with my
success in life."  One of the most pathetic sights in London streets,
long afterward, was Henry Fawcett, M. P., led everywhere by a faithful
daughter, who acted as amanuensis as well as guide to her plucky
father.  Think of a young man, scarcely on the threshold of active
life, suddenly losing the sight of both eyes and yet by mere pluck and
almost incomprehensible tenacity of purpose, lifting himself into
eminence in any direction, to say nothing of becoming one of the
foremost men in a country noted for its great men!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me the man who faces what he must,

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

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

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

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

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

No tyranny of circumstances can permanently imprison a determined will.

The world always stands aside for the determined man.

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

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

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

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

When his friends suggested law to him, he laughed at the idea of his
being a lawyer.  He said he had not brains enough.  He read law
barefoot under the trees, his neighbors said, and he sometimes slept on
the counter in the store where he worked.  He had to borrow money to
buy a suit of clothes to make a respectable appearance in the
legislature, and walked to take his seat at Vandalia,--one hundred

See Thurlow Weed, defying poverty and wading through the snow two
miles, with rags for shoes, to borrow a book to read before the
sap-bush fire.  See Locke, living on bread and water in a Dutch garret.
See Heyne, sleeping many a night on a barn floor with only a book for
his pillow.  See Samuel Drew, tightening his apron string "in lieu of a
dinner."  History is full of such examples.  He who will pay the price
for victory need never fear final defeat.

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

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

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

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

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

What seemed to be luck followed Stephen Girard all his life.  No matter
what he did, it always seemed to others to turn to his account.

Being a foreigner, unable to speak English, short, stout, and with a
repulsive face, blind in one eye, it was hard for him to get a start.
But he was not the man to give up.  He had begun as a cabin boy at
thirteen, and for nine years sailed between Bordeaux and the French
West Indies.  He improved every leisure minute at sea, mastering the
art of navigation.

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

When he began business for himself in Philadelphia, there seemed to be
nothing he would not do for money.  He bought and sold anything, from
groceries to old junk; he bottled wine and cider, from which he made a
good profit.  Everything he touched prospered.

He left nothing to chance.  His plans and schemes were worked out with
mathematical care.  His letters written to his captains in foreign
ports, laying out their routes and giving detailed instructions, are
models of foresight and systematic planning.  He never left anything of
importance to others.  He was rigidly accurate in his instructions, and
would not allow the slightest departure from them.  He used to say that
while his captains might save him money by deviating from instructions
once, yet they would cause loss in ninety-nine other cases.

He never lost a ship, and many times that which brought financial ruin
to many others, as the War of 1812, only increased his wealth.
Everybody, especially his jealous brother merchants, attributed his
great success to his luck.  While undoubtedly he was fortunate in
happening to be at the right place at the right time, yet he was
precision, method, accuracy, energy itself.  What seemed luck with him
was only good judgment and promptness in seizing opportunities, and the
greatest care and zeal in improving them to their utmost possibilities.

The mathematician tells you that if you throw the dice, there are
thirty chances to one against your turning up a particular number, and
a hundred to one against your repeating the same throw three times in
succession: and so on in an augmenting ratio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arkwright was fifty years of age when he began to learn English grammar
and improve his writing and spelling.  Benjamin Franklin was past fifty
before he began the study of science and philosophy.  Milton, in his
blindness, was past the age of fifty when he sat down to complete his
world-known epic, and Scott at fifty-five took up his pen to redeem a
liability of $600,000.  "Yet I am learning," said Michael Angelo, when
threescore years and ten were past, and he had long attained the
highest triumphs of his art.

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

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

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

History is full of examples of men and women who have redeemed
themselves from disgrace, poverty, and misfortune by the firm
resolution of an iron will.  The consciousness of being looked upon as
inferior, as incapable of accomplishing what others accomplish; the
sensitiveness at being considered a dunce in school, has stung many a
youth into a determination which has elevated him far above those who
laughed at him, as in the case of Newton, of Adam Clark, of Sheridan,
Wellington, Goldsmith, Dr. Chalmers, Curran, Disraeli and hundreds of

It is men like Mirabeau, who "trample upon impossibilities"; like
Napoleon, who do not wait for opportunities, but make them; like Grant,
who has only "unconditional surrender" for the enemy, who change the
very front of the world.

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

Were I called upon to express in a word the secret of so many failures
among those who started out in life with high hopes, I should say
unhesitatingly, they lacked will-power.  They could not half will.
What is a man without a will?  He is like an engine without steam, a
mere sport of chance, to be tossed about hither and thither, always at
the mercy of those who have wills.  I should call the strength of will
the test of a young man's possibilities.  Can he will strong enough,
and hold whatever he undertakes with an iron grip?  It is the iron grip
that takes the strong hold on life.  "The truest wisdom," said
Napoleon, "is a resolute determination."  An iron will without
principle might produce a Napoleon; but with character it would make a
Wellington or a Grant, untarnished by ambition or avarice.

          "The undivided will
  'Tis that compels the elements and wrings
  A human music from the indifferent air."



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even Gladstone, with his ponderous yet active brain, said he could not
do two things at once; he threw his entire strength upon whatever he
did.  The intensest energy characterized everything he undertook, even
his recreation.  If such concentration of energy is necessary for the
success of a Gladstone, what can we common mortals hope to accomplish
by "scatteration"?

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

Abraham Lincoln possessed such power of concentration that he could
repeat quite correctly a sermon to which he had listened in his boyhood.

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

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

A one-talent man who decides upon a definite object accomplishes more
than a ten-talent man who scatters his energies and never knows exactly
what he will do.  The weakest living creature, by concentrating his
powers upon one thing, can accomplish something; the strongest, by
dispersing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.

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

[Illustration: Joseph Jefferson]

A Yankee can splice a rope in many different ways; an English sailor
only knows one way, but that is the best one.  It is the one-sided man,
the sharp-eyed man, the man of single and intense purpose, the man of
one idea, who cuts his way through obstacles and forges to the front.
The time has gone forever when a Bacon can span universal knowledge; or
when, absorbing all the knowledge of the times, a Dante can sustain
arguments against fourteen disputants in the University of Paris, and
conquer in them all.  The day when a man can successfully drive a dozen
callings abreast is a thing of the past.  Concentration is the keynote
of the century.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_It is the single aim that wins_.  Men with monopolizing ambitions
rarely live in history.  They do not focus their powers long enough to
burn their names indelibly into the roll of honor.  Edward Everett,
even with his magnificent powers, disappointed the expectations of his
friends.  He spread himself over the whole field of knowledge and
elegant culture; but the mention of the name of Everett does not call
up any one great achievement as does that of names like Garrison and
Phillips.  Voltaire called the Frenchman La Harpe an oven which was
always heating, but which never cooked anything.  Hartley Coleridge was
splendidly endowed with talent, but there was one fatal lack in his
character--he had no definite purpose, and his life was a failure.
Unstable as water, he could not excel.  Southey, the uncle of
Coleridge, says of him: "Coleridge has two left hands."  He was so
morbidly shy from living alone in his dreamland that he could not open
a letter without trembling.  He would often rally from his purposeless
life, and resolve to redeem himself from the oblivion he saw staring
him in the face; but, like Sir James Mackintosh, he remained a man of
promise merely to the end of his life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people think that if they "keep everlastingly at it" they will
succeed, but this is not always so.  Working without a plan is as
foolish as going to sea without a compass.

A ship which has broken its rudder in mid-ocean may "keep everlastingly
at it," may keep on a full head of steam, driving about all the time,
but it never arrives anywhere, it never reaches any port unless by
accident; and if it does find a haven, its cargo may not be suited to
the people, the climate, or conditions.  The ship must be directed to a
definite port, for which its cargo is adapted, and where there is a
demand for it, and it must aim steadily for that port through sunshine
and storm, through tempest and fog.  So a man who would succeed must
not drift about rudderless on the ocean of life.  He must not only
steer straight toward his destined port when the ocean is smooth, when
the currents and winds serve, but he must keep his course in the very
teeth of the wind and the tempest, and even when enveloped in the fogs
of disappointment and mists of opposition.  Atlantic liners do not stop
for fogs or storms; they plow straight through the rough seas with only
one thing in view, their destined port, and no matter what the weather
is, no matter what obstacles they encounter, their arrival in port can
be predicted to within a few hours.

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

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

To fix a wandering life and give it direction is not an easy task, but
a life which has no definite aim is sure to be frittered away in empty
and purposeless dreams.  "Listless triflers," "busy idlers,"
"purposeless busy-bodies," are seen everywhere.  A healthy, definite
purpose is a remedy for a thousand ills which attend aimless lives.
Discontent and dissatisfaction flee before a definite purpose.  What we
do begrudgingly without a purpose becomes a delight with one, and no
work is well done nor healthily done which is not enthusiastically done.

Mere energy is not enough; it must be concentrated on some steady,
unwavering aim.  What is more common than "unsuccessful geniuses," or
failures with "commanding talents"?  Indeed, the term "unrewarded
genius" has become a proverb.  Every town has unsuccessful educated and
talented men.  But education is of no value, talent is worthless,
unless it can do something, achieve something.  Men who can do
something at everything and a very little at anything are not wanted in
this age.

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

The man without a purpose never leaves his mark upon the world.  He has
no individuality; he is absorbed in the mass, lost in the crowd, weak,
wavering, and incompetent.

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

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

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

"Try and come home somebody," said his mother to Gambetta as she sent
him off to Paris to school.  Poverty pinched this lad hard in his
little garret study and his clothes were shabby, but what of that?  He
had made up his mind to get on in the world.  For years he was chained
to his desk and worked like a hero.  At last his opportunity came.
Jules Favre was to plead a great cause on a certain day; but, being
ill, he chose this young man, absolutely unknown, rough and uncouth, to
take his place.  For many years Gambetta had been preparing for such an
opportunity, and he was equal to it.  He made one of the greatest
speeches that up to that time had ever been made in France.  That night
all the papers in Paris were sounding the praises of this ragged,
uncouth Bohemian, and soon all France recognized him as the Republican
leader.  This sudden rise was not due to luck or accident.  He had been
steadfastly working and fighting his way up against oppositions and
poverty for just such an occasion.  Had he not been equal to it, it
would only have made him ridiculous.  What a stride; yesterday, poor
and unknown, living in a garret; today, deputy-elect, in the city of
Marseilles, and the great Republican leader!

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

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

  "_Duos qui sequitur lepores, neutrum capit._"



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.

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

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

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

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

"I was a mere cipher in that vast sea of human enterprise," said Henry
Bessemer, speaking of his arrival in London in 1831.  Although but
eighteen years old, and without an acquaintance in the city, he soon
made work for himself by inventing a process of copying bas-reliefs on
cardboard.  His method was so simple that one could learn in ten
minutes how to make a die from an embossed stamp for a penny.  Having
ascertained later that in this way the raised stamps on all official
papers in England could easily be forged, he set to work and invented a
perforated stamp which could not be forged nor removed from a document.
At the public stamp office he was told by the chief that the government
was losing 100,000 pounds a year through the custom of removing stamps
from old parchments and using them again.

The chief also fully appreciated the new danger of easy counterfeiting.
So he offered Bessemer a definite sum for his process of perforation,
or an office for life at eight hundred pounds a year.  Bessemer chose
the office, and hastened to tell the good news to a young woman with
whom he had agreed to share his fortune.  In explaining his invention,
he told how it would prevent any one from taking a valuable stamp from
a document a hundred years old and using it a second time.

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

This was a very short speech, and of no special importance if we omit a
single word of four letters; but, like the schoolboy's pins which saved
the lives of thousands of people annually by not getting swallowed,
that little word, by keeping out of the ponderous minds of the British
revenue officers, had for a long period saved the government the burden
of caring for an additional income of 100,000 pounds a year.  And the
same little word, if published in its connection, would render
Bessemer's perforation device of far less value than a last year's
bird's nest.  He felt proud of the young woman's ingenuity, and
promptly suggested the improvement at the stamp office.

As a result his system of perforation was abandoned and he was deprived
of his promised office, the government coolly making use from that day
to this, without compensation, of the idea conveyed by that little
insignificant word.

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

He discovered this simple process only after trying in vain much more
difficult and expensive methods.

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

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

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

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

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

The shifts to cover up ignorance, and "the constant trembling lest some
blunder should expose one's emptiness," are pitiable.  Short cuts and
abridged methods are the demand of the hour.  But the way to shorten
the road to success is to take plenty of time to lay in your reserve
power.  Hard work, a definite aim, and faithfulness will shorten the
way.  Don't risk a life's superstructure upon a day's foundation.

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

Johnson said a man must turn over half a library to write one book.
When an authoress told Wordsworth she had spent six hours on a poem, he
replied that he would have spent six weeks.  Think of Bishop Hall
spending thirty years on one of his works!  Owens was working on the
"Commentary to the Epistle to the Hebrews" for twenty years.  Moore
spent several weeks on one of his musical stanzas which reads as if it
were a dash of genius.

Carlyle wrote with the utmost difficulty and never executed a page of
his great histories till he had consulted every known authority, so
that every sentence is the quintessence of many books, the product of
many hours of drudging research in the great libraries.  Today, "Sartor
Resartus" is everywhere.  You can get it for a mere trifle at almost
any bookseller's, and hundreds of thousands of copies are scattered
over the world.  But when Carlyle brought it to London in 1851, it was
refused almost contemptuously by three prominent publishers.  At length
he managed to get it into "Fraser's Magazine," the editor of which
conveyed to the author the pleasing information that his work had been
received with "unqualified disapprobation."

Henry Ward Beecher sent half a dozen articles to the publisher of a
religious paper to pay for his subscription, but they were respectfully
declined.  The publishers of the "Atlantic Monthly" returned Miss
Alcott's manuscript, suggesting that she had better stick to teaching.
One of the leading magazines ridiculed Tennyson's first poems, and
consigned the young poet to temporary oblivion.  Only one of Ralph
Waldo Emerson's books had a remunerative sale.  Washington Irving was
nearly seventy years old before the income from his books paid the
expenses of his household.

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

Think of an American youth spending ten years with Da Vinci on the
model of an equestrian statue that he might master the anatomy of the
horse!  Most young American artists would expect, in a quarter of that
time, to sculpture an Apollo Belvidere.

A rich man asked Howard Burnett to do a little something 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."

What the age wants is men who have the nerve and the grit to work and
wait, whether the world applaud or hiss; a Mirabeau, who can struggle
on for forty years before he has a chance to show the world 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 Grant, fighting on in heroic silence, when
denounced by his brother generals and politicians everywhere; 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 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; a Thackeray, struggling on
cheerfully after his "Vanity Fair" was refused by a dozen publishers; a
Balzac, toiling and waiting in a lonely garret; men whom neither
poverty, debt, nor hunger could discourage or intimidate; not daunted
by privations, not hindered by discouragements.  It wants men who can
work and wait.

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

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

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

Fifty feet of Bunker Hill Monument is under ground; unseen and
unappreciated by those who tread about that historic shaft, but it is
this foundation, apparently thrown away, which enables it to stand
upright, true to the plumb-line through all the tempests that lash its
granite sides.  A large part of every successful life must be spent in
laying foundation stones underground.  Success is the child of drudgery
and perseverance and depends upon "knowing how long it takes to

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

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

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

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

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

Said Captain Bingham: "You can have no idea of the wonderful machine
that the German army is and how well it is prepared for war.  A chart
is made out which shows just what must be done in the case of wars with
the different nations, and every officer's place in the scheme is laid
out beforehand.  There is a schedule of trains which will supersede all
other schedules the moment war is declared, and this is so arranged
that the commander of the army here could telegraph to any officer to
take such a train and go to such a place at a moment's notice."

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

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

Many an extraordinary man has been made out of a very ordinary boy: but
in order to accomplish this we must begin with him while he is young.
It is simply astonishing what training will do for a rough, uncouth,
and even dull lad, if he has good material in him, and comes under the
tutelage of a skilled educator before his habits become fixed or

Even a few weeks' or months' drill of the rawest and roughest recruits
in the late Civil War so straightened and dignified stooping and
uncouth soldiers, and made them manly, erect, and courteous in their
bearing, that their own friends scarcely knew them.  If this change is
so marked in the youth who has grown to maturity, what a miracle is
possible in the lad who is taken early and put under a course of drill
and systematic training, both physical, mental, and moral!  How often a
man who is in the penitentiary, in the poorhouse, or among the tramps,
or living out a miserable existence in the slums of our cities, rough,
slovenly, has slumbering within the rags possibilities which would have
developed him into a magnificent man, an ornament to the human race
instead of a foul blot and ugly scar, had he only been fortunate enough
early in life to have enjoyed the benefits of efficient and systematic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nelaton, the great surgeon, said that if he had four minutes in which
to perform an operation on which a life depended, he would take one
minute to consider how best to do it.

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

"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 theater, 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 the fellow-clerk whom he now ridicules and affects to
despise, when the latter shall stand in the firm, dispensing benefits
and acquiring fortune."

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

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

Reserves which carry us through great emergencies are the result of
long working and long waiting.  Dr. Collyer declares that reserves mean
to a man also achievement,--"the power to do the grandest thing
possible to your nature when you feel you must, or some precious thing
will be lost,--to do well always, but best in the crisis on which all
things turn; to stand the strain of a long fight, and still find you
have something left, and so to never know you are beaten, because you
never are beaten."

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

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

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



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

It is but the littleness of man that sees no greatness in

He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.--EMERSON.

Men are led by trifles.--NAPOLEON.

  "A pebble on the streamlet scant
  Has turned the course of many a river."

"The bad thing about a little sin is that it won't stay little."

"Arletta's pretty feet, glistening in the brook, made her the mother of
William the Conqueror," says Palgrave's "History of Normandy and
England."  "Had she not thus fascinated Duke Robert the Liberal, of
Normandy, Harold would not have fallen at Hastings, no Anglo-Norman
dynasty could have arisen, no British Empire."

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.

It was little Greece that rolled back the overflowing tide of Asiatic
luxury and despotism, giving instead to Europe and America models of
the highest political freedom yet attained, and germs of limitless
mental growth.  A different result at Plataea would have delayed the
progress of the human race more than ten centuries.

Among the lofty Alps, it is said, the guides sometimes demand absolute
silence, lest the vibration of the voice bring down an avalanche.

The power of observation in the American Indian would put many an
educated man to shame.  Returning home, an Indian discovered that his
venison, which had been hanging up to dry, had been stolen.  After
careful observation he started to track the thief through the woods.
Meeting a man on the route, he asked him if he had seen a little, old,
white man, with a short gun, and with a small bobtailed dog.  The man
told him he had met such a man, but was surprised to find that the
Indian had not even seen the one he described, and asked him how he
could give such a minute description of the man he had never seen.  "I
knew the thief was a little man," said the Indian, "because he rolled
up a stone to stand on in order to reach the venison; I knew he was an
old man by his short steps; I knew he was a white man by his turning
out his toes in walking, which an Indian never does; I knew he had a
short gun by the mark it left on the tree where he had stood it up; I
knew the dog was small by his tracks and short steps, and that he had a
bob-tail by the mark it left in the dust where he sat."

Two drops of rain, falling side by side, were separated a few inches by
a gentle breeze.  Striking on opposite sides of the roof of a
court-house in Wisconsin, one rolled southward through the Rock River
and the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico; while the other entered
successively the Fox River, Green Bay, Lake Michigan, the Straits of
Mackinaw, Lake Huron, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River,
Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and
finally reached the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  How slight the influence of
the breeze, yet such was the formation of the continent that a trifling
cause was multiplied almost beyond the power of figures to express its
momentous effect upon the destinies of these companion raindrops.  Who
can calculate the future of the smallest trifle when a mud crack swells
to an Amazon and the stealing of a penny may end on the scaffold?  The
act of a moment may cause a life's regret.  A trigger may be pulled in
an instant, but the soul returns never.

A spark falling upon some combustibles led to the invention of
gunpowder.  A few bits of seaweed and driftwood, floating on the waves,
enabled Columbus to stay a mutiny of his sailors which threatened to
prevent the discovery of a new world.  There are moments in history
which balance years of ordinary life.  Dana could interest a class for
hours on a grain of sand; and from a single bone, such as no one had
ever seen before, Agassiz could deduce the entire structure and habits
of an animal which no man had ever seen so accurately that subsequent
discoveries of complete skeletons have not changed one of his

A cricket once saved a military expedition from destruction.  The
commanding officer and hundreds of his men were going to South America
on a great ship, and, through the carelessness of the watch, they would
have been dashed upon a ledge of rock had it not been for a cricket
which a soldier had brought on board.  When the little insect scented
the land, it broke its long silence by a shrill note, and thus warned
them of their danger.

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 were not checked, so he held his hand over the hole for hours on
a dark and dismal night until he could attract the attention of
passers-by.  His name is still held in grateful remembrance in Holland.

The beetling chalk cliffs of England were built by rhizopods, too small
to be clearly seen without the aid of a magnifying-glass.

What was so unlikely as that throwing an empty wine-flask in the fire
should furnish the first notion of a locomotive, or that the sickness
of an Italian chemist's wife and her absurd craving for reptiles for
food should begin the electric telegraph.  Madame Galvani noticed the
contraction of the muscles of a skinned frog which was accidentally
touched at the moment her husband took a spark from an electrical
machine.  She gave the hint which led to the discovery of galvanic
electricity, now so useful in the arts and in transmitting vocal or
written language.

"The fate of a nation," says Gladstone, "has often depended upon the
good or bad digestion of a fine dinner."

A stamp act to raise 60,000 pounds produced the American Revolution, a
war that cost England 100,000,000 pounds.  A war between France and
England, costing more than a hundred thousand lives, grew out of a
quarrel as to which of two vessels should first be served with water.
The quarrel of two Indian boys over a grasshopper led to the
"Grasshopper War."  What mighty contests rise from trivial things!

A young man once went to India to seek his fortune, but, finding no
opening, he went to his room, loaded his pistol, put the muzzle to his
head, and pulled the trigger.  But it did not go off.  He went to the
window to point it in another direction and try it again, resolved that
if the weapon went off he would regard it as a Providence that he was
spared.  He pulled the trigger and it went off the first time.
Trembling with excitement he resolved to hold his life sacred, to make
the most of it, and never again to cheapen it.  This young man became
General Robert Clive, who, with but a handful of European soldiers,
secured to the East India Company and afterwards to Great Britain a
great and rich country with two hundred millions of people.

The cackling of a goose aroused the sentinels and saved Rome from the
Gauls, and the pain from a thistle warned a Scottish army of the
approach of the Danes.

Henry Ward Beecher came within one vote of being elected superintendent
of a railway.  If he had had that vote America would probably have lost
its greatest preacher.  What a little thing fixes destiny!

Trifles light as air often suggest to the thinking mind ideas which
have revolutionized the world.

A famous ruby was offered to the English government.  The report of the
crown jeweler was that it was the finest he had ever seen or heard of,
but that one of the "facets" was slightly fractured.  That invisible
fracture reduced the value of the ruby thousands of dollars, and it was
rejected from the regalia of England.

It was a little thing for the janitor to leave a lamp swinging in the
cathedral at Pisa, but in that steady swaying motion the boy Galileo
saw the pendulum, and conceived the idea of thus measuring time.

"I was singing to the mouthpiece of a telephone," said Edison, "when
the vibrations of my voice caused a fine steel point to pierce one of
my fingers held just behind it.  That set me to thinking.  If I could
record the motions of the point and send it over the same surface
afterward, I saw no reason why the thing would not talk.  I determined
to make a machine that would work accurately, and gave my assistants
the necessary instructions, telling them what I had discovered.  That's
the whole story.  The phonograph is the result of the pricking of a

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

Some little weakness, some self-indulgence, a quick temper, want of
decision, are little things, you say, when placed beside great
abilities, but they have wrecked many a career.

The Parliament of Great Britain, the Congress of the United States, and
representative governments all over the world have come from King John
signing the Magna Charta.

Bentham says, "The turn of a sentence has decided many a friendship,
and, for aught we know, the fate of many a kingdom."  Perhaps you
turned a cold shoulder but once, and made but one stinging remark, yet
it may have cost you a friend forever.

The sight of a stranded cuttlefish led Cuvier to an investigation which
made him one of the greatest natural historians in the world.  The web
of a spider suggested to Captain Brown the idea of a suspension bridge.

A missing marriage certificate kept the hod-carrier of Hugh Miller from
establishing his claim to the Earldom of Crawford.  The masons would
call out, "John, Yearl of Crawford, bring us anither hod o' lime."

The absence of a comma in a bill which passed through Congress years
ago cost our government a million dollars.  A single misspelled word
prevented a deserving young man from obtaining a situation as
instructor in a New England college.

"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.

The cry of the infant Moses attracted the attention of Pharoah's
daughter, and gave the Jews a lawgiver.  A bird alighting on the bough
of a tree at the mouth of the cave where Mahomet lay hid turned aside
his pursuers, and gave a prophet to many nations.  A flight of birds
probably prevented Columbus from discovering this continent.  When he
was growing anxious, Martin Alonzo Pinzon persuaded him to follow a
flight of parrots toward the southwest; for to the Spanish seamen of
that day it was good luck to follow in the wake of a flock of birds
when on a voyage of discovery.  But for his change of course Columbus
would have reached the coast of Florida.  "Never," wrote Humboldt, "had
the flight of birds more important consequences."

The children of a spectacle-maker placed two or more pairs of the
spectacles before each other in play, and told their father that
distant objects looked larger.  From this hint came the telescope.

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.

Napoleon was a master of trifles.  To details which his inferior
officers thought too microscopic for their notice he gave the most
exhaustive consideration.  Nothing was too small for his attention.  He
must know all about the provisions, the horse fodder, the biscuits, the
camp kettles, the shoes.  When the bugle sounded for the march to
battle, every officer had his orders as to the exact route which he
should follow, the exact day he was to arrive at a certain station, and
the exact hour he was to leave, and they were all to reach the point of
destination at a precise moment.  It is said that nothing could be more
perfectly planned than his memorable march which led to the victory of
Austerlitz, and which sealed the fate of Europe for many years.  He
would often charge his absent officers to send him perfectly accurate
returns, even to the smallest detail.  "When they are sent to me, I
give up every occupation in order to read them in detail, and to
observe the difference between one monthly return and another.  No
young girl enjoys her novel as much as I do these returns."  Napoleon
left nothing to chance, nothing to contingency, so far as he could
possibly avoid it.  Everything was planned to a nicety before he
attempted to execute it.

Wellington, too, was "great in little things."  He knew no such things
as trifles.  While other generals trusted to subordinates, he gave his
personal attention to the minutest detail.  The history of many a
failure could be written in three words, "Lack of detail."  How many a
lawyer has failed from the lack of details in deeds and important
papers, the lack of little words which seemed like surplusage, and
which involved his clients in litigation, and often great losses!  How
many wills are contested from the carelessness of lawyers in the
omission or shading of words, or ambiguous use of language!

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 might never have become infatuated with her wonderful charms,
and the blemish would have changed the history of the world.  Anne
Boleyn's fascinating smile split the great Church of Rome in twain, and
gave a nation an altered destiny.  Napoleon, who feared not to attack
the proudest monarchs in their capitols, shrank from the political
influence of one independent woman in private life, Madame de Staël.

Cromwell was about to sail for America when a law was passed
prohibiting emigration.  At that time he was a profligate, having
squandered all his property.  But when he found that he could not leave
England he reformed his life.  Had he not been detained, who can tell
what the history of Great Britain would have been?

From the careful and persistent accumulation of innumerable facts, each
trivial in itself, but in the aggregate forming a mass of evidence, a
Darwin extracts his law of evolution, and a Linnaeus constructs the
science of botany.  A pan of water and two thermometers were the tools
by which Dr. Black discovered latent heat; and a prism, a lens, and a
sheet of pasteboard enabled Newton to unfold the composition of light
and the origin of colors.  An eminent foreign savant called on Dr.
Wollaston, and asked to be shown over those laboratories of his in
which science had been enriched by so many great discoveries, when the
doctor took him into a little study, and, pointing to an old tea tray
on the table, on which stood a few watch glasses, test papers, a small
balance, and a blow-pipe, said, "There is my laboratory."  A burnt
stick and a barn door served Wilkie in lieu of pencil and paper.  A
single potato, carried to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in the
sixteenth century, has multiplied into food for millions, driving
famine from Ireland again and again.

It seemed a small thing to drive William Brewster, John Robinson, and
the poor people of Austerfield and Scrooby into perpetual exile, but as
Pilgrims they became the founders of a mighty people.

A few immortal sentences from Garrison and Phillips, a few poems from
Lowell and Whittier, and the leaven is at work which will not cease its
action until the whipping-post and bodily servitude are abolished

  "For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
  For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
  For want of a horse the rider was lost, and all,"

says Poor Richard, "for want of a horseshoe nail."

A single remark dropped by an unknown person in the street led to the
successful story of "The Bread-winners."  A hymn chanted by the
barefooted friars in the temple of Jupiter at Rome led to the famous
"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

"Words are things" says Byron, "and a small drop of ink, falling like
dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps
millions, think."

"I give these books for the founding of a college in this colony"; such
were the words of ten ministers who in the year 1700 assembled at the
village of Branford, a few miles east of New Haven.  Each of the worthy
fathers deposited a few books upon the table around which they were
sitting; such was the founding of Yale College.

Great men are noted for their attention to trifles.  Goethe once asked
a monarch to excuse him, during an interview, while he went to an
adjoining room to jot down a stray thought.  Hogarth would make
sketches of rare faces and characteristics upon his finger-nails upon
the streets.  Indeed, to a truly great mind there are no little things.
Trifles light as air suggest to the keen observer the solution of
mighty problems.  Bits of glass arranged to amuse children led to the
discovery of the kaleidoscope.  Goodyear discovered how to vulcanize
rubber by forgetting, until it became red hot, a skillet containing a
compound which he had before considered worthless.  A ship-worm boring
a piece of wood suggested to Sir Isambard Brunel the idea of a tunnel
under the Thames at London.  Tracks of extinct animals in the old red
sandstone led Hugh Miller on and on until he became the greatest
geologist of his time.  Sir Walter Scott once saw a shepherd boy
plodding sturdily along, and asked him to ride.  This boy was George
Kemp, who became so enthusiastic in his study of sculpture that he
walked fifty miles and back to see a beautiful statue.  He did not
forget the kindness of Sir Walter, and, when the latter died, threw his
soul into the design of the magnificent monument erected in Edinburgh
to the memory of the author of "Waverley."

A poor boy applied for a situation at a bank in Paris, but was refused.
As he left the door, he picked up a pin.  The bank president saw this,
called the boy back, and gave him a situation from which he rose until
he became the greatest banker of Paris,--Laffitte.

A Massachusetts soldier in the Civil War observed a bird hulling rice,
and shot it; taking its bill for a model, he invented a hulling machine
which has revolutionized the rice business.

The eye is a perpetual camera imprinting upon the sensitive mental
plates and packing away in the brain for future use every face, every
tree, every plant, flower, hill, stream, mountain, every scene upon the
street, in fact, everything which comes within its range.  There is a
phonograph in our natures which catches, however thoughtless and
transient, every syllable we utter, and registers forever the slightest
enunciation, and renders it immortal.  These notes may appear a
thousand years hence, reproduced in our descendants, in all their
beautiful or terrible detail.

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

The strength of a chain lies in its weakest link, however large and
strong all the others may be.  We are all inclined to be proud of our
strong points, while we are sensitive and neglectful of our weaknesses.
Yet it is our greatest weakness which measures our real strength.

A soldier who escapes the bullets of a thousand battles may die from
the scratch of a pin, and many a ship has survived the shocks of
icebergs and the storms of ocean only to founder in a smooth sea from
holes made by tiny insects.

_Small things become great when a great soul sees them_.  A single
noble or heroic act of one man has sometimes elevated a nation.  Many
an honorable career has resulted from a kind word spoken in season or
the warm grasp of a friendly hand.

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

  "It was only a glad 'good-morning,'
  As she passed along the way,
  But it spread the morning's glory
  Over the livelong day."

  "Only a thought in passing--a smile, or encouraging word,
  Has lifted many a burden no other gift could have stirred."



The quality which you put into your work will determine the quality of
your life.  The habit of insisting upon the best of which you are
capable, of always demanding of yourself the highest, never accepting
the lowest or second best, no matter how small your remuneration, will
make all the difference to you between failure and success.

"If the laborer gets no more than the wages his employer offers him, he
is cheated; he cheats himself."

A boy or a man who works simply for his salary, and is actuated by no
higher motive, is dishonest, and the one whom he most defrauds is
himself.  He is cheating himself, in the quality of his daily work, of
that which all the after years, try as he may, can never give him back.

If I were allowed but one utterance on this subject, so vital to every
young man starting on the journey of life, I would say: "Don't think
too much of the amount of salary your employer gives you at the start.
Think, rather, of the possible salary you can give yourself, in
increasing your skill, in expanding your experience, in enlarging and
ennobling yourself."  A man's or a boy's work is material with which to
build character and manhood.  It is life's school for practical
training of the faculties, stretching the mind, and strengthening and
developing the intellect, not a mere mill for grinding out a salary of
dollars and cents.

Bismarck was said to have really founded the German Empire when working
for a small salary as secretary to the German legation in Russia; for
in that position he absorbed the secrets of strategy and diplomacy
which later were used so effectively for his country.  He worked so
assiduously, so efficiently, that Germany prized his services more than
those of the ambassador himself.  If Bismarck had earned only his
salary, he might have remained a perpetual clerk, and Germany a tangle
of petty states.

I have never known an employee to rise rapidly, or even to get beyond
mediocrity, whose pay envelope was his goal, who could not see
infinitely more in his work than what he found in the envelope on
Saturday night.  That is necessity; but the larger part of the real pay
of a real man's work is outside of the pay envelope.

One part of this outside salary is the opportunity of the employee to
absorb the secrets of his employer's success, and to learn from his
mistakes, while he is being paid for learning his trade or profession.
The other part, and the best of all, is the opportunity for growth, for
development, for mental expansion; the opportunity to become a larger,
broader, more efficient man.

The opportunity for growth in a disciplinary institution, where the
practical faculties, the executive faculties, are brought into
systematic, vigorous exercise at a definite time and for a definite
number of hours, is an advantage beyond computation.  There is no
estimating the value of such training.  It is the opportunity, my
employee friend, that will help you to make a large man of yourself,
which, perhaps, you could not possibly do without being employed in
some kind of an institution which has the motive, the machinery, the
patronage to give you the disciplining and training you need to bring
out your strongest qualities.  And instead of paying for the
opportunity of unfolding and developing from a green, ignorant boy into
a strong, level-headed, efficient man, you are paid!

The youth who is always haggling over the question of how many dollars
and cents he will sell his services for, little realizes how he is
cheating himself by not looking at the larger salary he can pay himself
in increasing his skill, in expanding his experience, and in making
himself a better, stronger, more useful man.

The few dollars he finds in his pay envelope are to this larger salary
as the chips which fly from the sculptor's chisel are to the angel
which he is trying to call out of the marble.

You can draw from the faithfulness of your work, from the grand spirit
which you bring to it, the high purpose which emanates from you in its
performance, a recompense so munificent that what your employer pays
you will seem insignificant beside it.  He pays you in dollars; you pay
yourself in valuable experience, in fine training, in increased
efficiency, in splendid discipline, in self-expression, in character

Then, too, the ideal employer gives those who work for him a great deal
that is not found in the pay envelope.  He gives them encouragement,
sympathy.  He inspires them with the possibility of doing something
higher, better.

How small and narrow and really blind to his own interests must be the
youth who can weigh a question of salary against all those privileges
he receives in exchange for the meager services he is able to render
his employer.

Do not fear that your employer will not recognize your merit and
advance you as rapidly as you deserve.  It he is looking for efficient
employees,--and what employer is not?--it will be to his own interest
to do so,--just as soon as it is profitable.  W. Bourke Cockran,
himself a remarkable example of success, says: "The man who brings to
his occupation a loyal desire to do his best is certain to succeed.  By
doing the thing at hand surpassingly well, he shows that it would be
profitable to employ him in some higher form of occupation, and, when
there is profit in his promotion, he is pretty sure to secure it."

Do you think that kings of business like Andrew Carnegie, John
Wanamaker, Robert C. Ogden, and other lesser powers in the commercial
world would have attained their present commanding success had they
hesitated and haggled about a dollar or two of salary when they began
their life-work?  If they had, they would now probably be working on
comparatively small salaries for other people.  It was not salary, but
opportunity, that each wanted,--a chance to show what was in him, to
absorb the secrets of the business.  They were satisfied with a dollar
or two apiece a week, hardly enough to live on, while they were
learning the lessons that made them what they are to-day.  No, the boys
who rise in the world are not those who, at the start, split hairs
about salaries.

Often we see bright boys who have worked, perhaps for years, on small
salaries, suddenly jumping, as if by magic, into high and responsible
positions.  Why?  Simply because, while their employers were paying
them but a few dollars a week, they were paying themselves vastly more
in the fine quality of their work, in the enthusiasm, determination,
and high purpose they brought to their tasks, and in increased insight
into business methods.

Colonel Robert C. Clowry, president of the Western Union Telegraph
Company, worked without pay as a messenger boy for months for
experience, which he regarded as worth infinitely more than salary--and
scores of our most successful men have cheerfully done the same thing.

A millionaire merchant of New York told me the story of his rise.  "I
walked from my home in New England to New York," he said, "where I
secured a place to sweep out a store for three dollars and a half a
week.  At the end of a year, I accepted an offer from the firm to
remain for five years at a salary of seven dollars and a half a week.
Long before this time had expired, however, I had a proposition from
another large concern in New York to act as its foreign representative
at a salary of three thousand dollars a year.  I told the manager that
I was then under contract, but that, when my time should be completed,
I should be glad to talk with him in regard to his proposition."  When
his contract was nearly up, he was called into the office of the head
of the house, and a new contract with him for a term of years at three
thousand dollars a year was proposed.  The young man told his employers
that the manager of another house had offered him that amount a year or
more before, but that he did not accept it because he wouldn't break
his contract.  They told him they would think the matter over and see
what they could do for him.  Incredible as it may seem, they notified
him, a little later, that they were prepared to enter into a ten-year
contract with him at ten thousand dollars a year, and the contract was
closed.  He told me that he and his wife lived on eight dollars a week
in New York, during a large part of this time, and that, by saving and
investments, they laid up $117,000.  At the end of his contract, he was
taken into the firm as a partner, and became a millionaire.

Suppose that this boy had listened to his associates, who probably said
to him, many times: "What a fool you are, George, to work here overtime
to do the things which others neglect!  Why should you stay here nights
and help pack goods, and all that sort of thing, when it is not
expected of you?"  Would he then have risen above them, leaving them in
the ranks of perpetual employees?  No, but the boy who walked one
hundred miles to New York to get a job saw in every opportunity a great
occasion, for he could not tell when fate might be taking his measure
for a larger place.  The very first time he swept out the store, he
felt within him the ability to become a great merchant, and he
determined that he would be.  He felt that the opportunity was the
salary.  The chance actually to do with his own hands the thing which
he wanted to learn; to see the way in which princely merchants do
business; to watch their methods; to absorb their processes; to make
their secrets his own,--this was his salary, compared with which the
three dollars and fifty cents looked contemptible.  He put himself into
training, always looking out for the main chance.  He never allowed
anything of importance to escape his attention.  When he was not
working, he was watching others, studying methods, and asking questions
of everybody he came in contact with in the store, so eager was he to
learn how everything was done.  He told me that he did not go out of
New York City for twelve years; that he preferred to study the store,
and to absorb every bit of knowledge that he could, for he was bound
some day to be a partner or to have a store of his own.

It is not difficult to see a proprietor in the boy who sweeps the store
or waits on customers--if the qualities that make a proprietor are in
him--by watching him work for a single day.  You can tell by the spirit
which he brings to his task whether there is in him the capacity for
growth, expansion, enlargement; an ambition to rise, to be somebody, or
an inclination to shirk, to do as little as possible for the largest
amount of salary.

When you get a job, just think of yourself as actually starting out in
business for yourself, as really working for yourself.  Get as much
salary as you can, but remember that that is a very small part of the
consideration.  You have actually gotten an opportunity to get right
into the very heart of the great activities of a large concern, to get
close to men who do things; an opportunity to absorb knowledge and
valuable secrets on every hand; an opportunity to drink in, through
your eyes and your ears, knowledge wherever you go in the
establishment, knowledge that will be invaluable to you in the future.

Every hint and every suggestion which you can pick up, every bit of
knowledge you can absorb, you should regard as a part of your future
capital which will be worth more than money capital when you start out
for yourself.

Just make up your mind that you are going to be a sponge in that
institution and absorb every particle of information and knowledge

Resolve that you will call upon all of your resourcefulness, your
inventiveness, your ingenuity, to devise new and better ways of doing
things; that you will be progressive, up-to-date; that you will enter
into your work with a spirit of enthusiasm and a zest which know no
bounds, and you will be surprised to see how quickly you will attract
the attention of those above you.

This striving for excellence will make you grow.  It will call out your
resources, call out the best thing in you.  The constant stretching of
the mind over problems which interest you, which are to mean everything
to you in the future, will help you expand into a broader, larger, more
effective man.

If you work with this spirit, you will form a like habit of accuracy,
of close observation; a habit of reading human nature; a habit of
adjusting means to ends; a habit of thoroughness, of system; _a habit
of putting your best into everything you do_, which means the ultimate
attainment of your maximum efficiency.  In other words, if you give
your best to your employer, the best possible comes back to you in
skill, training, shrewdness, acumen, and power.

Your employer may pinch you on salary, but he can not close your eyes
and ears; he can not shut off your perceptive faculties; he can not
keep you from absorbing the secrets of his business which may have been
purchased by him at an enormous cost of toil and sacrifice and even of
several failures.

On the other hand, it is impossible for you to rob your employer by
clipping your hours, shirking your work, by carelessness or
indifference, without robbing yourself of infinitely more, of capital
which is worth vastly more than money capital--the chance to make a man
of yourself, the chance to have a clean record behind you instead of a
smirched one.

If you think you are being kept back, if you are working for too small
a salary, if favoritism puts some one into a position above you which
you have justly earned, never mind, no one can rob you of your greatest
reward, the skill, the efficiency, the power you have gained, the
consciousness of doing your level best, of giving the best thing in you
to your employer, all of which advantages you will carry with you to
your next position, whatever it may be.

Don't say to yourself, "I am not paid for doing this extra work; I do
not get enough salary, anyway, and it is perfectly right for me to
shirk when my employer is not in sight or to clip my hours when I can,"
for this means a loss of self-respect.  You will never again have the
same confidence in your ability to succeed; you will always be
conscious that you have done a little, mean thing, and no amount of
juggling with yourself can induce that inward monitor which says
"right" to the well-done thing and "wrong" to the botched work, to
alter its verdict in your favor.  There is something within you that
you cannot bribe; a divine sense of justice and right that can not be
blindfolded.  Nothing will ever compensate you for the loss of faith in
yourself.  You may still succeed when others have lost confidence in
you, but never when you have lost confidence in yourself.  If you do
not respect yourself; if you do not believe in yourself, your career is
at an end so far as its upward tendency is concerned.

Then again, an employee's reputation is his capital.  In the absence of
money capital, his reputation means everything.  It not only follows
him around from one employer to another, but it also follows him when
he goes into business for himself, and is always either helping or
hindering him, according to its nature.

Contrast the condition of a young man starting out for himself who has
looked upon his position as a sacred trust, a great opportunity,
backed, buttressed, and supported by a splendid past, an untarnished
reputation--a reputation for being a dead-in-earnest hard worker,
square, loyal, and true to his employer's interests--with that of
another young man of equal ability starting out for himself, who has
done just as little work for his salary as possible, and who has gone
on the principle that the more he could get out of an employer--the
more salary he could get with less effort--the shrewder, smarter man he

The very reputation of the first young man is splendid credit.  He is
backed up by the good opinion of everybody that knows him.  People are
afraid of the other: they can not trust him.  He beat his employer, why
should not he beat others?  Everybody knows that he has not been honest
at heart with his employer, not loyal or true.  He must work all the
harder to overcome the handicap of a bad reputation, a smirched record.

In other words, he is starting out in life with a heavy handicap,
which, if it does not drag him down to failure, will make his burden
infinitely greater, and success, even a purely commercial success, so
much the harder to attain.

There is nothing like a good, solid, substantial reputation, a clean
record, an untarnished past.  It sticks to us through life, and is
always helping us.  We find it waiting at the bank when we try to
borrow money, or at the jobber's when we ask for credit.  It is always
backing us up and helping us in all sorts of ways.

Young men are sometimes surprised at their rapid advancement.  They can
not understand it, because they do not realize the tremendous power of
a clean name, of a good reputation which is backing them.

I know a young man who came to New York, got a position in a publishing
house at fifteen dollars a week, and worked five years before he
received thirty-five dollars a week.

The other employees and his friends called him a fool for staying at
the office after hours and taking work home nights and holidays, for
such a small salary; but he told them that the opportunity was what he
was after, not the salary.

His work attracted the attention of a publisher who offered him sixty
dollars a week, and very soon advanced him to seventy-five; but he
carried with him to the new position the same habits of painstaking,
hard work, never thinking of the salary, but _regarding the opportunity
as everything_.

Employees sometimes think that they get no credit for trying to do more
than they are paid for; but here is an instance of a young man who
attracted the attention of others even outside of the firm he worked
for, just because he was trying to earn a great deal more than he was
paid for doing.

The result was, that in less than two years from the time he was
receiving sixty dollars a week, he went to a third large publishing
house at ten thousand dollars a year, and also with an interest in the

The salary is of very little importance to you in comparison with the
reputation for integrity and efficiency you have left behind you and
the experience you have gained while earning the salary.  These are the
great things.

In olden times boys had to give years of their time in order to learn a
trade, and often would pay their employer for the opportunity.  English
boys used to think it was a great opportunity to be able to get into a
good concern, with a chance to work without salary for years in order
to learn their business or trade.  Now the boy is paid for learning his

Many employees may not think it is so very bad to clip their hours, to
shirk at every opportunity, to sneak away and hide during business
hours, to loiter when out on business for their employer, to go to
their work in the morning all used up from dissipation; but often when
they try to get another place their reputation has gone before them,
and they are not wanted.

Others excuse themselves for poor work on the ground that their
employer does not appreciate their services and is mean to them.  A
youth might just as well excuse himself for his boorish manners and
ungentlemanly conduct on the ground that other people were mean and
ungentlemanly to him.

My young friends, you have nothing to do with your employer's character
or his method of doing things.  You may not be able to make him do what
is right, but you can do right yourself.  You may not be able to make
him a gentleman, but you can be one yourself; and you can not afford to
ruin yourself and your whole future just because your employer is not
what he ought to be.  No matter how mean and stingy he may be, your
opportunity for the time is with him, and it rests with you whether you
will use it or abuse it, whether you will make of it a stepping-stone
or a stumbling-block.

The fact is that your present position, your way of doing your work, is
the key that will unlock the door above you.  Slighted work, botched
work, will never make a key to unlock the door to anything but failure
and disgrace.

There is nothing else so valuable to you as an opportunity to build a
name for yourself.  Your reputation is the foundation for your future
success, and if you slip rotten hours, and slighted, botched work into
the foundation, your superstructure will topple.  The foundation must
be clean, solid, and firm.

The quality which you put into your work will determine the quality of
your life.  The habit of insisting upon the best of which you are
capable, of always demanding of yourself the highest, never accepting
the lowest or second best, no matter how small your remuneration, will
make all the difference to you between mediocrity or failure, and
success.  If you bring to your work the spirit of an artist instead of
an artisan, a burning zeal, an absorbing enthusiasm, these will take
the drudgery out of it and make it a delight.

Take no chances of marring your reputation by the picayune and unworthy
endeavor "to get square" with a stingy or mean employer.  Never mind
what kind of a man he is, resolve that you will approach your task in
the spirit of a master, that whether he is a man of high ideals or not,
you will be one.  Remember that you are a sculptor and that every act
is a chisel blow upon life's marble block.  You can not afford to
strike false blows which may mar the angel that sleeps in the stone.
Whether it is beautiful or hideous, divine or brutal, the image you
evolve from the block must stand as an expression of yourself, of your
ideals.  Those who do not care how they do their work, if they can only
get through with it and get their salary for it, pay very dearly for
their trifling; they cut very sorry figures in life.  Regard your work
as a great life school for the broadening, deepening, rounding into
symmetry, harmony, beauty, of your God-given faculties, which are uncut
diamonds sacredly intrusted to you for the polishing and bringing out
of their hidden wealth and beauty.  Look upon it as a man-builder, a
character-builder, and not as a mere living-getter.  Regard the
living-getting, money-making part of your career as a mere incidental
as compared with the man-making part of it.

The smallest people in the world are those who work for salary alone.
The little money you get in your pay envelope is a pretty small, low
motive for which to work.  It may be necessary to secure your bread and
butter, but you have something infinitely higher to satisfy than that;
that is, your sense of the right; the demand in you to do your level
best, to be a man, to do the square thing, the fair thing.  These
should speak so loud in you that the mere bread-and-butter question
will be insignificant in comparison.

Many young employees, just because they do not get quite as much salary
as they think they should, deliberately throw away all of the other,
larger, grander remuneration possible for them outside of their pay
envelope, for the sake of "getting square" with their employer.  They
deliberately adopt a shirking, do-as-little-as-possible policy, and
instead of getting this larger, more important salary, which they can
pay themselves, they prefer the consequent arrested development, and
become small, narrow, inefficient, rutty men and women, with nothing
large or magnanimous, nothing broad, noble, progressive in their
nature.  Their leadership faculties, their initiative, their planning
ability, their ingenuity and resourcefulness, inventiveness, and all
the qualities which make the leader, the large, full, complete man,
remain undeveloped.  While trying to "get square" with their employer,
by giving him pinched service, they blight their own growth, strangle
their own prospects, and go through life half men instead of full
men--small, narrow, weak men, instead of the strong, grand, complete
men they might be.

I have known employees actually to work harder in scheming, shirking,
trying to keep from working hard in the performance of their duties,
than they would have worked if they had tried to do their best, and had
given the largest, the most liberal service possible to their
employers.  The hardest work in the world is that which is grudgingly

Start out with a tacit understanding with yourself that you will be a
man, that you will express in your work the highest thing in you, the
best thing in you.  You can not afford to debase or demoralize yourself
by bringing out your mean side, the lowest and most despicable thing in

Never mind whether your employer appreciates the high quality of your
work or not, or thinks more of you for your conscientiousness, you will
certainly think more of yourself after getting the approval of that
still small voice within you which says "right" to the noble act.  The
effort always to do your best will enlarge your capacity for doing
things, and will encourage you to push ahead toward larger triumphs.

Everywhere we see people who are haunted by the ghosts of half-finished
jobs, the dishonest work done away back in their youth.  These
covered-up defects are always coming back to humiliate them later, to
trip them up, and to bar their progress.  The great failure army is
full of people who have tried to get square with their employers for
the small salary and lack of appreciation.

No one can respect himself or have that sublime faith in himself which
makes for high achievement while he puts half-hearted, mean service
into his work.  The man who has not learned to fling his whole soul
into his task, who has not learned the secret of taking the drudgery
out of his work by putting the best of himself into it, has not learned
the first principles of success or happiness.  Let other people do the
poor jobs, the botched work, if they will.  Keep your standard up.  It
is a lofty ideal that redeems the life from the curse of commonness and
imparts a touch of nobility to the personality.

No matter how small your salary, or how unappreciative your employer,
bring the entire man to your task; be all there; fling your life into
it with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster.  _Poor work
injures your employer a little, but it may ruin you_.  Be proud of your
work and go to it every morning superbly equipped; go to it in the
spirit of a master, of a conqueror.  Determine to do your level best
and never to demoralize yourself by doing your second best.

Conduct yourself in such a way that you can always look yourself in the
face without wincing; then you will have a courage born of conviction,
of personal nobility and integrity which have never been tarnished.

What your employer thinks of you, what the world thinks of you, is not
half as important as what you think of yourself.  Others are with you
comparatively little through life.  _You have to live with yourself day
and night through your whole existence, and you can not afford to tie
that divine thing in you to a scoundrel_.



"Why," asked Mirabeau, "should we call ourselves men, unless it be to
succeed in everything everywhere?"  Nothing else will so nerve you to
accomplish great things as to believe in your own greatness, in your own
marvelous possibilities.  Count that man an enemy who shakes your faith
in yourself, in your ability to do the thing you have set your heart upon
doing, for when your confidence is gone, your power is gone.  Your
achievement will never rise higher than your self-faith.  It would be as
reasonable for Napoleon to have expected to get his army over the Alps by
sitting down and declaring that the undertaking was too great for him, as
for you to hope to achieve anything significant in life while harboring
grave doubts and fears as to your ability.

The miracles of civilization have been performed by men and women of
great self-confidence, who had unwavering faith in their power to
accomplish the tasks they undertook.  The race would have been centuries
behind what it is to-day had it not been for their grit, their
determination, their persistence in finding and making real the thing
they believed in and which the world often denounced as chimerical or

There is no law by which you can achieve success in anything without
expecting it, demanding it, assuming it.  There must be a strong, firm
self-faith first, or the thing will never come.  There is no room for
chance in God's world of system and supreme order.  Everything must have
not only a cause, but a sufficient cause--a cause as large as the result.
A stream can not rise higher than its source.  A great success must have
a great source in expectation, in self-confidence, and in persistent
endeavor to attain it.  No matter how great the ability, how large the
genius, or how splendid the education, the achievement will never rise
higher than the confidence.  He can who thinks he can, and he can't who
thinks he can't.  This is an inexorable, indisputable law.

It does not matter what other people think of you, of your plans, or of
your aims.  No matter if they call you a visionary, a crank, or a
dreamer; you must believe in yourself.  You forsake yourself when you
lose your confidence.  Never allow anybody or any misfortune to shake
your belief in yourself.  You may lose your property, your health, your
reputation, other people's confidence, even; but there is always hope for
you so long as you keep a firm faith in yourself.  If you never lose
that, but keep pushing on, the world will, sooner or later, make way for

A soldier once took a message to Napoleon in such great haste that the
horse he rode dropped dead before he delivered the paper.  Napoleon
dictated his answer and, handing it to the messenger, ordered him to
mount his own horse and deliver it with all possible speed.

The messenger looked at the magnificent animal, with its superb
trappings, and said, "Nay, General, but this is too gorgeous, too
magnificent for a common soldier."

Napoleon said, "Nothing is too good or too magnificent for a French

The world is full of people like this poor French soldier, who think that
what others have is too good for them; that it does not fit their humble
condition; that they are not expected to have as good things as those who
are "more favored."  They do not realize how they weaken themselves by
this mental attitude of self-depreciation or self-effacement.  They do
not claim enough, expect enough, or demand enough of or for themselves.

You will never become a giant if you only make a pygmy's claim for
yourself; if you only expect small things of yourself.  There is no law
which can cause a pygmy's thinking to produce a giant.  The statue
follows the model.  The model is the inward vision.

Most people have been educated to think that it was not intended they
should have the best there is in the world; that the good and the
beautiful things of life were not designed for them, but were reserved
for those especially favored by fortune.  They have grown up under this
conviction of their inferiority, and of course they will be inferior
until they claim superiority as their birthright.  A vast number of men
and women who are really capable of doing great things, do small things,
live mediocre lives, because they do not expect or demand enough of
themselves.  They do not know how to call out their best.

One reason why the human race as a whole has not measured up to its
possibilities, to its promise; one reason why we see everywhere splendid
ability doing the work of mediocrity; is because people do not think half
enough of themselves.  _We do not realize our divinity; that we are a
part of the great causation principle of the universe_.

We do not think highly enough of our superb birthright, nor comprehend to
what heights of sublimity we were intended and expected to rise, nor to
what extent we can really be masters of ourselves.  We fail to see that
we can control our own destiny: make ourselves do whatever is possible;
make ourselves become whatever we long to be.

"If we choose to be no more than clods of clay," says Marie Corelli,
"then we shall be used as clods of clay for braver feet to tread on."

The persistent thought that you are not as good as others, that you are a
weak, ineffective being, will lower your whole standard of life and
paralyze your ability.

A man who is self-reliant, positive, optimistic, and undertakes his work
with the assurance of success, magnetizes conditions.  He draws to
himself the literal fulfilment of the promise, "For unto every one that
hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance."

There is everything in assuming the part we wish to play, and playing it
royally.  If you are ambitious to do big things, you must make a large
program for yourself, and assume the part it demands.

There is something in the atmosphere of the man who has a large and true
estimate of himself, who believes that he is going to win out; something
in his very appearance that wins half the battle before a blow is struck.
Things get out of the way of the vigorous, affirmative man, which are
always tripping the self-depreciating, negative man.

We often hear it said of a man, "Everything he undertakes succeeds," or
"Everything he touches turns to gold."  By the force of his character and
the creative power of his thought, such a man wrings success from the
most adverse circumstances.  Confidence begets confidence.  A man who
carries in his very presence an air of victory, radiates assurance, and
imparts to others confidence that he can do the thing he attempts.  As
time goes on, he is reenforced not only by the power of his own thought,
but also by that of all who know him.  His friends and acquaintances
affirm and reaffirm his ability to succeed, and make each successive
triumph easier of achievement than its predecessor.  His self-poise,
assurance, confidence, and ability increase in a direct ratio to the
number of his achievements.  As the savage Indian thought that the power
of every enemy he conquered entered into himself, so in reality does
every conquest in war, in peaceful industry, in commerce, in invention,
in science, or in art add to the conqueror's power to do the next thing.

Set the mind toward the thing you would accomplish so resolutely, so
definitely, and with such vigorous determination, and put so much grit
into your resolution, that nothing on earth can turn you from your
purpose until you attain it.

This very assertion of superiority, the assumption of power, the
affirmation of belief in yourself, the mental attitude that claims
success as an inalienable birthright, will strengthen the whole man and
give power to a combination of faculties which doubt, fear, and a lack of
confidence undermine.

Confidence is the Napoleon of the mental army.  It doubles and trebles
the power of all the other faculties.  The whole mental army waits until
confidence leads the way.

Even a race-horse can not win the prize after it has once lost confidence
in itself.  Courage, born of self-confidence, is the prod which brings
out the last ounce of reserve force.

The reason why so many men fail is because they do not commit themselves
with a determination to win at any cost.  They do not have that superb
confidence in themselves which never looks back; which burns all bridges
behind it.  There is just uncertainty enough as to whether they will
succeed to take the edge off their effort, and it is just this little
difference between doing pretty well and flinging all oneself, all his
power, into his career, that makes the difference between mediocrity and
a grand achievement.

If you doubt your ability to do what you set out to do; if you think that
others are better fitted to do it than you; if you fear to let yourself
out and take chances; if you lack boldness; if you have a timid,
shrinking nature; if the negatives preponderate in your vocabulary; if
you think that you lack positiveness, initiative, aggressiveness,
ability; you can never win anything very great until you change your
whole mental attitude and learn to have great faith in yourself.  Fear,
doubt, and timidity must be turned out of your mind.

Your own mental picture of yourself is a good measure of yourself and
your possibilities.  If there is no out-reach to your mind, no spirit of
daring, no firm self-faith, you will never accomplish much.

A man's confidence measures the height of his possibilities.  A stream
can not rise higher than its fountain-head.

_Power is largely a question of strong, vigorous, perpetual thinking
along the line of the ambition, parallel with the aim--the great life
purpose.  Here is where power originates._

The deed must first live in the thought or it will never be a reality;
and a strong, vigorous concept of the thing we want to do is a tremendous
initial step.  A thought that is timidly born will be timidly executed.
There must be vigor of conception or an indifferent execution.

All the greatest achievements in the world began in longing--in dreamings
and hopings which for a time were nursed in despair, with no light in
sight.  This longing kept the courage up and made self-sacrifice easier
until the thing dreamed of--the mental vision--was realized.

"According to your faith be it unto you."  Our faith is a very good
measure of what we get out of life.  The man of weak faith gets little;
the man of mighty faith gets much.

The very intensity of your confidence in your ability to do the thing you
attempt is definitely related to the degree of your achievement.

If we were to analyze the marvelous successes of many of our self-made
men, we should find that when they first started out in active life they
held the confident, vigorous, persistent thought of and belief in their
ability to accomplish what they had undertaken.  Their mental attitude
was set so stubbornly toward their goal that the doubts and fears which
dog and hinder and frighten the man who holds a low estimate of himself,
who asks, demands, and expects but little, of or for himself, got out of
their path, and the world made way for them.

We are very apt to think of men who have been unusually successful in any
line as greatly favored by fortune; and we try to account for it in all
sorts of ways but the right one.  The fact is that their success
represents their expectations of themselves--the sum of their creative,
positive, habitual thinking.  It is their mental attitude outpictured and
made tangible in their environment.  They have wrought--created--what
they have and what they are out of their constructive thought and their
unquenchable faith in themselves.

We must not only believe we can succeed, but _we must believe it with all
our hearts_.

We must have a positive conviction that we can attain success.

No lukewarm energy or indifferent ambition ever accomplished anything.
_There must be vigor in our expectation, in our faith_, in our
determination, in our endeavor.  _We must resolve with the energy that
does things_.

Not only must the desire for the thing we long for be kept uppermost, but
there must be strongly concentrated intensity of effort to attain our

As it is the fierceness of the heat that melts the iron ore and makes it
possible to weld it or mold it into shape; as it is the intensity of the
electrical force that dissolves the diamond--the hardest known substance;
so _it is the concentrated aim, the invincible purpose_, that wins
success.  Nothing was ever accomplished by a half-hearted desire.

Many people make a very poor showing in life, because there is no vim, no
vigor in their efforts.  Their resolutions are spineless; there is no
backbone in their endeavor--no grit in their ambition.

One must have that determination which never looks back and which knows
no defeat; that resolution which burns all bridges behind it and is
willing to risk everything upon the effort.  When a man ceases to believe
in himself--gives up the fight--you can not do much for him except to try
to restore what he has lost--his self-faith--and to get out of his head
the idea that there is a fate which tosses him hither and thither, a
mysterious destiny which decides things whether he will or not.  You can
not do much with him until he comprehends that _he is bigger than any
fate_; that he has within himself a power mightier than any force outside
of him.

One reason why the careers of most of us are so pinched and narrow, is
because we do not have a large faith in ourselves and in our power to
accomplish.  We are held back by too much caution.  We are timid about
venturing.  We are not bold enough.

Whatever we long for, yearn for, struggle for, and hold persistently in
the mind, we tend to become just in exact proportion to the intensity and
persistence of the thought.  _We think ourselves into smallness, into
inferiority by thinking downward_.  We ought to think upward, then we
would reach the heights where superiority dwells.  The man whose mind is
set firmly toward achievement does not appropriate success, _he is

Self-confidence is not egotism.  It is knowledge, and it comes from the
consciousness of possessing the ability requisite for what one
undertakes.  Civilization to-day rests upon self-confidence.

A firm self-faith helps a man to project himself with a force that is
almost irresistible.  A balancer, a doubter, has no projectile power.  If
he starts at all, he moves with uncertainty.  There is no vigor in his
initiative, no positiveness in his energy.

There is a great difference between a man who thinks that "perhaps" he
can do, or who "will try" to do a thing, and a man who "knows" he can do
it, who is "bound" to do it; who feels within himself a pulsating power,
an irresistible force, equal to any emergency.

This difference between uncertainty and certainty, between vacillation
and decision, between the man who wavers and the man who decides things,
between "I hope to" and "I can," between "I'll try" and "I will"--this
little difference measures the distance between weakness and power,
between mediocrity and excellence, between commonness and superiority.

The man who does things must be able to project himself with a mighty
force, to fling the whole weight of his being into his work, ever
gathering momentum against the obstacles which confront him; every issue
must be met wholly, unhesitatingly.  He can not do this with a wavering,
doubting, unstable mind.

The fact that a man believes implicitly that he can do what may seem
impossible or very difficult to others, shows that there is something
within him that makes him equal to the work he has undertaken.

Faith unites man with the Infinite, and no one can accomplish great
things in life unless he works in oneness with the Infinite.  When a man
lives so near to the Supreme that the divine Presence is felt all the
time, then he is in a position to express power.

There is nothing which will multiply one's ability like self-faith.  It
can make a one-talent man a success, while a ten-talent man without it
would fail.

Faith walks on the mountain tops, hence its superior vision.  It sees
what is invisible to those who follow in the valleys.

It was the sustaining power of a mighty self-faith that enabled Columbus
to bear the jeers and imputations of the Spanish cabinet; that sustained
him when his sailors were in mutiny and he was at their mercy in a little
vessel on an unknown sea; that enabled him to hold steadily to his
purpose, entering in his diary day after day--"This day we sailed west,
which was our course."

It was this self-faith which gave courage and determination to Fulton to
attempt his first trip up the Hudson in the _Clermont_, before thousands
of his fellow citizens, who had gathered to howl and jeer at his expected
failure.  He believed he could do the thing he attempted though the whole
world was against him.

What miracles self-confidence has wrought!  What impossible deeds it has
helped to perform!  It took Dewey past cannons, torpedoes, and mines to
victory at Manila Bay; it carried Farragut, lashed to the rigging, past
the defenses of the enemy in Mobile Bay; it led Nelson and Grant to
victory; it has been the great tonic in the world of invention,
discovery, and art; it has won a thousand triumphs in war and science
which were deemed impossible by doubters and the faint-hearted.

Self-faith has been the miracle-worker of the ages.  It has enabled the
inventor and the discoverer to go on and on amidst troubles and trials
which otherwise would have utterly disheartened them.  It has held
innumerable heroes to their tasks until the glorious deeds were

The only inferiority in us is what we put into ourselves.  If only we
better understood our divinity we should all have this larger faith which
is the distinction of the brave soul.  We think ourselves into smallness.
Were we to think upward we should reach the heights where superiority

Perhaps there is no other one thing which keeps so many people back as
their low estimate of themselves.  They are more handicapped by their
limiting thought, by their foolish convictions of inefficiency, than by
almost anything else, for _there is no power in the universe that can
help a man do a thing when he thinks he can not do it_.  Self-faith must
lead the way.  You can not go beyond the limits you set for yourself.

_It is one of the most difficult things to a mortal to really believe in
his own bigness_, in his own grandeur; to believe that his yearnings and
hungerings and aspirations for higher, nobler things have any basis in
reality or any real, ultimate end.  But they are, in fact, the signs of
ability to match them, of power to make them real.  They are the
stirrings of the divinity within us; the call to something better, to go

No man gets very far in the world or expresses great power until
self-faith is born in him; until he catches a glimpse of his higher,
nobler self; until he realizes that his ambition, his aspiration, are
proofs of his ability to reach the ideal which haunts him.  The Creator
would not have mocked us with the yearning for infinite achievement
without giving us the ability and the opportunity for realizing it, any
more than he would have mocked the wild birds with an instinct to fly
south in the winter without giving them a sunny South to match the

_The cause of whatever comes to you in life is within you_.  There is
where it is created.  The thing you long for and work for comes to you
because your thought has created it; because there is something inside
you that attracts it.  It comes because there is an affinity within you
for it.  _Your own comes to you; is always seeking you_.

Whenever you see a person who has been unusually successful in any field,
remember that he has usually thought himself into his position; his
mental attitude and energy have created it; what he stands for in his
community has come from his attitude toward life, toward his fellow men,
toward his vocation, toward himself.  Above all else, it is the outcome
of his self-faith, of his inward vision of himself; the result of his
estimate of his powers and possibilities.

The men who have done the great things in the world have been profound
believers in themselves.

If I could give the young people of America but one word of advice, it
would be this--"_Believe in yourself with all your might._"  That is,
believe that your destiny is inside of you, that there is a power within
you which, if awakened, aroused, developed, and matched with honest
effort, will not only make a noble man or woman of you, but will also
make you successful and happy.

All through the Bible we find emphasized the miracle-working power of
faith.  Faith in himself indicates that a man has a glimpse of forces
within him which either annihilate the obstacles in the way, or make them
seem insignificant in comparison with his ability to overcome them.

Faith opens the door that enables us to look into the soul's limitless
possibilities and reveals such powers there, such unconquerable forces,
that we are not only encouraged to go on, but feel a great consciousness
of added power because we have touched omnipotence, and gotten a glimpse
of the great source of things.

Faith is that something within us which does not guess, but knows.  It
knows because it sees what our coarser selves, our animal natures can not
see.  It is the prophet within us, the divine messenger appointed to
accompany man through life to guide and direct and encourage him.  It
gives him a glimpse of his possibilities to keep him from losing heart,
from quitting his upward life struggle.

Our faith knows because it sees what we can not see.  It sees resources,
powers, potencies which our doubts and fears veil from us.  Faith is
assured, is never afraid, because it sees the way out; sees the solution
of its problem.  It has dipped in the realms of our finer life our higher
and diviner kingdom.  All things are possible to him who has faith,
because faith sees, recognizes the power that means accomplishment.  If
we had faith in God and in ourselves we could remove all mountains of
difficulty, and our lives would be one triumphal march to the goal of our

If we had faith enough we could cure all our ills and accomplish the
maximum of our possibilities.

Faith never fails; it is a miracle worker.  It looks beyond all
boundaries, transcends all limitations, penetrates all obstacles and sees
the goal.

It is doubt and fear, timidity and cowardice, that hold us down and keep
us in mediocrity--doing petty things when we are capable of sublime deeds.

If we had faith enough we should travel Godward infinitely faster than we

The time will come when every human being will have unbounded faith and
will live the life triumphant.  Then there will be no poverty in the
world, no failures, and the discords of life will all vanish.



If you made a botch of last year, if you feel that it was a failure,
that you floundered and blundered and did a lot of foolish things; if
you were gullible, made imprudent investments, wasted your time and
money, don't drag these ghosts along with you to handicap you and
destroy your happiness all through the future.

Haven't you wasted enough energy worrying over what can not be helped?
Don't let these things sap any more of your vitality, waste any more of
your time or destroy any more of your happiness.

There is only one thing to do with bitter experiences, blunders and
unfortunate mistakes, or with memories that worry us and which kill our
efficiency, and that is to _forget them, bury them_!

To-day is a good time to "leave the low-vaulted past," to drop the
yesterdays, to forget bitter memories.

Resolve that you will close the door on everything in the past that
pains and can not help you.  Free yourself from everything which
handicaps you, keeps you back and makes you unhappy.  Throw away all
useless baggage, drop everything that is a drag, that hinders your

Enter upon to-morrow with a clean slate and a free mind.  Don't be
mortgaged to the past, and never look back.

There is no use in castigating yourself for not having done better.

Form a habit of expelling from your mind thoughts or suggestions which
call up unpleasant subjects or bitter memories, and which have a bad
influence upon you.

Every one ought to make it a life-rule to wipe out from his memory
everything that has been unpleasant, unfortunate.  We ought to forget
everything that has kept us back, has made us suffer, has been
disagreeable, and never allow the hideous pictures of distressing
conditions to enter our minds again.  There is only one thing to do
with a disagreeable, harmful experience, and that is--_forget it_!

There are many times in the life of a person who does things that are
worth while when he gets terribly discouraged and thinks it easier to
go back than to push on.  But _there is no victory in retreating_.  We
should never leave any bridges unburned behind us, any way open for
retreat to tempt our weakness, indecision or discouragement.  If there
is anything we ever feel grateful for, it is that we have had courage
and pluck enough to push on, to keep going when things looked dark and
when seemingly insurmountable obstacles confronted us.

Most people are their own worst enemies.  We are all the time
"queering" our life game by our vicious, tearing-down thoughts and
unfortunate moods.  Everything depends upon our courage, our faith in
ourselves, in our holding a hopeful, optimistic outlook; and yet,
whenever things go wrong with us, whenever we have a discouraging day
or an unfortunate experience, a loss or any misfortune, we let the
tearing-down thought, doubt, fear, despondency, like a bull in a china
shop, tear through our mentalities, perhaps breaking up and destroying
the work of years of building up, and we have to start all over again.
We work and live like the frog in the well; we climb up only to fall
back, and often lose all we gain.

One of the worst things that can ever happen to a person is to get it
into his head that he was born unlucky and that the Fates are against
him.  There are no Fates, outside of our own mentality.  We are our own
Fates.  We control our own destiny.

There is no fate or destiny which puts one man down and another up.
"It is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."  He
only is beaten who admits it.  The man is inferior who admits that he
is inferior, who voluntarily takes an inferior position because he
thinks the best things were intended for somebody else.

You will find that just in proportion as you increase your confidence
in yourself by the affirmation of what you wish to be and to do, your
ability will increase.

No matter what other people may think about your ability, never allow
yourself to doubt that you can do or become what you long to.  Increase
your self-confidence in every possible way, and you can do this to a
remarkable degree by the power of self-suggestion.

This form of suggestion--talking to oneself vigorously,
earnestly--seems to arouse the sleeping forces in the subconscious self
more effectually than thinking the same thing.

There is a force in words spoken aloud which is not stirred by going
over the same words mentally.  They sometimes arouse slumbering
energies within us which thinking does not stir up--especially if we
have not been trained to think deeply, to focus the mind closely.  They
make a more lasting impression upon the mind, just as words which pass
through the eye from the printed page make a greater impression on the
brain than we get by thinking the same words; as seeing objects of
nature makes a more lasting impression upon the mind than thinking
about them.  A vividness, a certain force, accompanies the spoken
word--especially if earnestly, vehemently uttered--which is not
apparent to many in merely thinking about what the words express.  If
you repeat a firm resolve to yourself aloud, vigorously, even
vehemently, you are more likely to carry it to reality than if you
merely resolve in silence.

We become so accustomed to our silent thoughts that the voicing of
them, the giving audible expression to our yearnings, makes a much
deeper impression upon us.

The audible self-encouragement treatment may be used with marvelous
results in correcting our weaknesses; overcoming our deficiencies.

Never allow yourself to think meanly, narrowly, poorly of yourself.
Never regard yourself as weak, inefficient, diseased, but as perfect,
complete, capable.  Never even think of the possibility of going
through life a failure or a partial failure.  Failure and misery are
not for the man who has seen the God-side of himself, who has been in
touch with divinity.  They are for those who have never discovered
themselves and their God-like qualities.

Stoutly assert that there is a place for you in the world, and that you
are going to fill it like a man.  Train yourself to expect great things
of yourself.  Never admit, even by your manner, that you think you are
destined to do little things all your life.

It is marvelous what mental strength can be developed by the perpetual
affirmation of vigorous fitness, strength, power, efficiency; these are
thoughts and ideals that make a strong man.

The way to get the best out of yourself is to put things right up to
yourself, handle yourself without gloves, and talk to yourself as you
would to a son of yours who has great ability but who is not using half
of it.

When you go into an undertaking just say to yourself, "Now, this thing
is right up to me.  I've got to make good, to show the man in me or the
coward.  There is no backing out."

You will be surprised to see how quickly this sort of self-suggestion
will brace you up and put new spirit in you.

I have a friend who has helped himself wonderfully by talking to
himself about his conduct.  When he feels that he is not doing all that
he ought to, that he has made some foolish mistake or has failed to use
good sense and good judgment in any transaction, when he feels that his
stamina and ambition are deteriorating, he goes off alone to the
country, to the woods if possible, and has a good heart-to-heart talk
with himself something after this fashion:

"Now young man, you need a good talking-to, a bracing-up all along the
line.  You are going stale, your standards are dropping, your ideals
are getting dull, and the worst of it all is that when you do a poor
job, or are careless about your dress and indifferent in your manner,
you do not feel as troubled as you used to.  You are not making good.
This lethargy, this inertia, this indifference will seriously cripple
your career if you're not very careful.  You are letting a lot of good
chances slip by you, because you are not as progressive and up-to-date
as you ought to be.

"In short, you are becoming lazy.  You like to take things easy.
Nobody ever amounts to much who lets his energies flag, his standards
droop and his ambition ooze out.  Now, I am going to keep right after
you, young man, until you are doing yourself justice.  This
take-it-easy sort of policy will never land you at the goal you started
for.  You will have to watch yourself very closely or you will be left

"You are capable of something much better than what you are doing.  You
must start out to-day with a firm resolution to make the returns from
your work greater to-night than ever before.  You must make this a
red-letter day.  Bestir yourself; get the cobwebs out of your head;
brush off the brain ash.  Think, think, think to some purpose!  Do not
mull and mope like this.  You are only half-alive, man; get a move on

This young man says that every morning when he finds his standards are
down and he feels lazy and indifferent he "hauls himself over the
coals," as he calls it, in order to force himself up to a higher
standard and put himself in tune for the day.  It is the very first
thing he attends to.

He forces himself to do the most disagreeable tasks first, and does not
allow himself to skip hard problems.  "Now, don't be a coward," he says
to himself.  "If others have done this, you can do it."

By years of stern discipline of this kind he has done wonders with
himself.  He began as a poor boy living in the slums of New York with
no one to take an interest in him, encourage or push him.  Though he
had little opportunity for schooling when he was a small boy, he has
given himself a splendid education, mainly since he was twenty-one.  I
have never known any one else who carried on such a vigorous campaign
in self-victory, self-development, self-training, self-culture as this
young man has.

At first it may seem silly to you to be talking to yourself, but you
will derive so much benefit from it that you will have recourse to it
in remedying all your defects.  There is no fault, however great or
small, which will not succumb to persistent audible suggestion.  For
example, you may be naturally timid and shrink from meeting people; and
you may distrust your own ability.  If so, you will be greatly helped
by assuring yourself in your daily self-talks that you are not timid;
that, on the contrary, you are the embodiment of courage and bravery.
Assure yourself that there is no reason why you should be timid,
because there is nothing inferior or peculiar about you; that you are
attractive and that you know how to act in the presence of others.  Say
to yourself that you are never again going to allow yourself to harbor
any thoughts of self-depreciation or timidity or inferiority; that you
are going to hold your head up and go about as though you were a king,
a conqueror, instead of crawling about like a whipped cur; you are
going to assert your manhood, your individuality.

If you lack initiative, stoutly affirm your ability to begin things,
and to push them to a finish.  And always put your resolve into action
at the first opportunity.

You will be surprised to see how you can increase your courage, your
confidence, and your ability, if you will be sincere with yourself and
strong and persistent in your affirmations.

I know of nothing so helpful for the timid, those who lack faith in
themselves, as the habit of constantly affirming their own importance,
their own power, their own divinity.  The trouble is that we do not
think half enough of ourselves; do not accurately measure our ability;
do not put the right estimate upon our possibilities.  We berate
ourselves, belittle, efface ourselves, because we do not see the
larger, diviner man in us.

Try this experiment the very next time you get discouraged or think
that you are a failure, that your work does not amount to much--turn
about face.  Resolve that you will go no further in that direction.
Stop and face the other way, and _go_ the other way.  Every time you
think you are a failure, it helps you to become one, for your thought
is your life pattern and you can not get away from it.  You can not get
away from your ideals, the standard which you hold for yourself, and if
you acknowledge in your thought that you are a failure, that you can't
do anything worth while, that luck is against you, that you don't have
the same opportunity that other people have---your convictions will
control the result.

There are thousands of people who have lost everything they valued in
the world, all the material results of their lives' endeavor, and yet,
because they possess stout hearts, unconquerable spirits, a
determination to push ahead which knows no retreat, they are just as
far from real failure as before their loss; and with such wealth they
can never be poor.

A great many people fail to reach a success which matches their ability
because they are victims of their moods, which repel people and repel

We avoid morose, gloomy people just as we avoid a picture which makes a
disagreeable impression upon us.

Everywhere we see people with great ambitions doing very ordinary
things, simply because there are so many days when they do not "feel
like it" or when they are discouraged or "blue."

A man who is at the mercy of a capricious disposition can never be a
leader, a power among men.

It is perfectly possible for a well-trained mind to completely rout the
worst case of the "blues" in a few minutes; but the trouble with most
of us is that instead of flinging open the mental blinds and letting in
the sun of cheerfulness, hope, and optimism, we keep them closed and
try to eject the darkness by main force.

The art of arts is learning how to clear the mind of its
enemies--enemies of our comfort, happiness, and success.  It is a great
thing to learn to focus the mind upon the beautiful instead of the
ugly, the true instead of the false, upon harmony instead of discord,
life instead of death, health instead of disease.  This is not always
easy, but it is possible to everybody.  It requires only skilful
thinking, the forming of the right thought habits.

The best way to keep out darkness is to keep the life filled with
light; to keep out discord, keep it filled with harmony; to shut out
error, keep the mind filled with truth; to shut out ugliness,
contemplate beauty and loveliness; to get rid of all that is sour and
unwholesome, contemplate all that is sweet and wholesome.  Opposite
thoughts can not occupy the mind at the same time.

No matter whether you feel like it or not, just affirm that you _must_
feel like it, that you _will_ feel like it, that you _do_ feel like it,
that you are normal and that you are in a position to do your best.
Say it deliberately, affirm it vigorously and it will come true.

The next time you get into trouble, or are discouraged and think you
are a failure, just try the experiment of affirming vigorously,
persistently, that all that is real _must_ be good, for God made all
that is, and whatever doesn't seem to be good is not like its creator
and therefore can not be real.  Persist in this affirmation.  You will
be surprised to see how unfortunate suggestions and adverse conditions
will melt away before it.

The next time you feel the "blues" or a fit of depression coming on,
just get by yourself--if possible after taking a good bath and dressing
yourself becomingly--and give yourself a good talking-to.  Talk to
yourself in the same dead-in-earnest way that you would talk to your
own child or a dear friend who was deep in the mire of despondency,
suffering tortures from melancholy.  Drive out the black, hideous
pictures which haunt your mind.  Sweep away all depressing thoughts,
suggestions, all the rubbish that is troubling you.  Let go of
everything that is unpleasant; all the mistakes, all the disagreeable
past; just rise up in arms against the enemies of your peace and
happiness; summon all the force you can muster and drive them out.
Resolve that no matter what happens you are going to be happy; that you
are going to enjoy yourself.

When you look at it squarely, it is very foolish--almost criminal--to
go about this beautiful world, crowded with splendid opportunities, and
things to delight and cheer us, with a sad, dejected face, as though
life had been a disappointment instead of a priceless boon.  Just say
to yourself, "I am a man and I am going to do the work of a man.  It's
right up to me and I am going to face the situation."

Do not let anybody or anything shake your faith that you can conquer
all the enemies of your peace and happiness, and that you inherit an
abundance of all that is good.

We should early form the habit of erasing from the mind all
disagreeable, unhealthy, death-dealing thoughts.  We should start out
every morning with a clean slate.  We should blot out from our mental
gallery all discordant pictures and replace them with the harmonious,
uplifting, life-giving ones.

The next time you feel jaded, discouraged, completely played out and
"blue," you will probably find, if you look for the reason, that your
condition is largely due to exhausted vitality, either from overwork,
overeating, or violating in some way the laws of digestion, or from
vicious habits of some kind.

The "blues" are often caused by exhausted nerve cells, due to
overstraining work, long-continued excitement, or over-stimulated
nerves from dissipation.  This condition is caused by the clamoring of
exhausted nerve cells for nourishment, rest, or recreation.  Multitudes
of people suffer from despondency and melancholy, as a result of a
run-down condition physically, due to their irregular, vicious habits
and a lack of refreshing sleep.

When you are feeling "blue" or discouraged, get as complete a change of
environment as possible.  Whatever you do, do not brood over your
troubles or dwell upon the things which happen to annoy you at the
time.  Think the pleasantest, happiest things possible.  Hold the most
charitable, loving thoughts toward others.  Make a strenuous effort to
radiate joy and gladness to everybody about you.  Say the kindest,
pleasantest things.  You will soon begin to feel a wonderful uplift;
the shadows which darkened your mind will flee away, and the sun of joy
will light up your whole being.

Stoutly, constantly, everlastingly affirm that you will become what
your ambitions indicate as fitting and possible.  Do not say, "I shall
be a success sometime"; say, "I am a success.  Success is my
birthright."  Do not say that you are going to be happy in the future.
Say to yourself, "I was intended for happiness, made for it, and I am
happy now."

If, however, you affirm, "I am health; I am prosperity; I am this or
that," but do not believe it, you will not be helped by affirmation.
_You must believe what you affirm and try to realise it_.

Assert your actual possession of the things you need; of the qualities
you long to have.  Force your mind toward your goal; hold it there
steadily, persistently, for this is the mental state that creates.  The
negative mind, which doubts and wavers, creates nothing.

"I, myself, am good fortune," says Walt Whitman.  If we could only
realize that the very attitude of assuming that we are the real
embodiment of the thing we long to be or to attain, that we possess the
good things we long for, not that we possess all the qualities of good,
but that we are these qualities--with the constant affirming, "I myself
am good luck, good fortune; I am myself a part of the great creative,
sustaining principle of the universe, because my real, divine self and
my Father are one"--what a revolution would come to earth's toilers!



The greatest thing that can be said of a man, no matter how much he has
achieved, is that _he has kept his record clean_.

Why is it that, in spite of the ravages of time, the reputation of
Lincoln grows larger and his character means more to the world every
year?  It is because he kept his record clean, and never prostituted
his ability nor gambled with his reputation.

Where, in all history, is there an example of a man who was merely
rich, no matter how great his wealth, who exerted such a power for
good, who was such a living force in civilization, as was this poor
backwoods boy?  What a powerful illustration of the fact that
_character_ is the greatest force in the world!

A man assumes importance and becomes a power in the world just as soon
as it is found that he stands for something; that he is not for sale;
that he will not lease his manhood for salary, for any amount of money
or for any influence or position; that he will not lend his name to
anything which he can not indorse.

The trouble with so many men to-day is that they do not stand for
anything outside their vocation.  They may be well educated, well up in
their specialties, may have a lot of expert knowledge, but they can not
be depended upon.  There is some flaw in them which takes the edge off
their virtue.  They may be fairly honest, but you cannot bank on them.

It is not difficult to find a lawyer or a physician who knows a good
deal, who is eminent in his profession; but it is not so easy to find
one who is a man before he is a lawyer or a physician; whose name is a
synonym for all that is clean, reliable, solid, substantial.  It is not
difficult to find a good preacher; but it is not so easy to find a real
man, sterling manhood, back of the sermon.  It is easy to find
successful merchants, but not so easy to find men who put character
above merchandise.  What the world wants is men who have principle
underlying their expertness--principle under their law, their medicine,
their business; men who stand for something outside of their offices
and stores; who stand for something in their community; whose very
presence carries weight.

Everywhere we see smart, clever, longheaded, shrewd men, but how
comparatively rare it is to find one whose record is as clean as a
hound's tooth; who will not swerve from the right; who would rather
fail than be a party to a questionable transaction!

Everywhere we see business men putting the stumbling-blocks of
deception and dishonest methods right across their own pathway,
tripping themselves up while trying to deceive others.

We see men worth millions of dollars filled with terror; trembling lest
investigations may uncover things which will damn them in the public
estimation!  We see them cowed before the law like whipped spaniels;
catching at any straw that will save them from public disgrace!

What a terrible thing to live in the limelight of popular favor, to be
envied as rich and powerful, to be esteemed as honorable and
straightforward, and yet to be conscious all the time of not being what
the world thinks we are; to live in constant terror of discovery, in
fear that something may happen to unmask us and show us up in our true
light!  But nothing can happen to injure seriously the man who lives
four-square to the world; who has nothing to cover up, nothing to hide
from his fellows; who lives a transparent, clean life, with never a
fear of disclosures.  If all of his material possessions are swept away
from him, he knows that he has a monument in the hearts of his
countrymen, in the affection and admiration of the people, and that
nothing can happen to harm his real self because he has kept his record

Mr. Roosevelt early resolved that, let what would come, whether he
succeeded in what he undertook or failed, whether he made friends or
enemies, he would not take chances with his good name--he would part
with everything else first; that he would never gamble with his
reputation; that he would keep his record clean.  His first ambition
was to stand for something, to be a man.  Before he was a politician or
anything else the man must come first.

[Illustration: Theodore Roosevelt]

In his early career he had many opportunities to make a great deal of
money by allying himself with crooked, sneaking, unscrupulous
politicians.  He had all sorts of opportunities for political graft.
But crookedness never had any attraction for him.  He refused to be a
party to any political jobbery, any underhand business.  He preferred
to lose any position he was seeking, to let somebody else have it, if
he must get smirched in the getting it.  He would not touch a dollar,
place, or preferment unless it came to him clean, with no trace of
jobbery on it.  Politicians who had an "ax to grind" knew it was no use
to try to bribe him, or to influence him with promises of patronage,
money, position, or power.  Mr. Roosevelt knew perfectly well that he
would make many mistakes and many enemies, but he resolved to carry
himself in such a way that even his enemies should at least respect him
for his honesty of purpose, and for his straightforward, "square-deal"
methods.  He resolved to keep his record clean, his name white, at all
hazards.  Everything else seemed unimportant in comparison.

In times like these the world especially needs such men as Mr.
Roosevelt--men who hew close to the chalk-line of right and hold the
line plumb to truth; men who do not pander to public favor; men who
make duty and truth their goal and go straight to their mark, turning
neither to the right nor to the left, though a paradise tempt them.

Who can ever estimate how much his influence has done toward purging
politics and elevating the American ideal.  He has changed the
view-point of many statesmen and politicians.  He has shown them a new
and a better way.  He has made many of them ashamed of the old methods
of grafting and selfish greed.  He has held up a new ideal, shown them
that unselfish service to their country is infinitely nobler than an
ambition for self-aggrandizement.  American patriotism has a higher
meaning to-day, because of the example of this great American.  Many
young politicians and statesmen have adopted cleaner methods and higher
aims because of his influence.  There is no doubt that tens of
thousands of young men in this country are cleaner in their lives, and
more honest and ambitious to be good citizens, because here is a man
who always stands for the "square deal," for civic righteousness, for
American manhood.

Every man ought to feel that there is something in him that bribery can
not touch, that influence can not buy; something that is not for sale;
something he would not sacrifice or tamper with for any price;
something he would give his life for if necessary.

If a man stands for something worth while, compels recognition for
himself alone, on account of his real worth, he is not dependent upon
recommendations; upon fine clothes, a fine house, or a pull.  He is his
own best recommendation.

The young man who starts out with the resolution to make his character
his capital, and to pledge his whole manhood for every obligation he
enters into, will not be a failure, though he wins neither fame nor
fortune.  No man ever really does a great thing who loses his character
in the process.

No substitute has ever yet been discovered for honesty.  Multitudes of
people have gone to the wall trying to find one.  Our prisons are full
of people who have attempted to substitute something else for it.

No man can really believe in himself when he is occupying a false
position and wearing a mask; when the little monitor within him is
constantly saying, "You know you are a fraud; you are not the man you
pretend to be."  The consciousness of not being genuine, not being what
others think him to be, robs a man of power, honeycombs the character,
and destroys self-respect and self-confidence.

When Lincoln was asked to take the wrong side of a case he said, "I
could not do it.  All the time while talking to that jury I should be
thinking, 'Lincoln, you're a liar, you're a liar,' and I believe I
should forget myself and say it out loud."

Character as capital is very much underestimated by a great number of
young men.  They seem to put more emphasis upon smartness, shrewdness,
long-headedness, cunning, influence, a pull, than upon downright
honesty and integrity of character.  Yet why do scores of concerns pay
enormous sums for the use of the name of a man who, perhaps, has been
dead for half a century or more?  It is because there is power in that
name; because there is character in it; because it stands for
something; because it represents reliability and square dealing.  Think
of what the name of Tiffany, of Park and Tilford, or any of the great
names which stand in the commercial world as solid and immovable as the
rock of Gibraltar, are worth!

Does it not seem strange that young men who know these facts should try
to build up a business on a foundation of cunning, scheming, and
trickery, instead of building on the solid rock of character,
reliability, and manhood?  Is it not remarkable that so many men should
work so hard to establish a business on an unreliable, flimsy
foundation, instead of building upon the solid masonry of honest goods,
square dealing, reliability?

A name is worth everything until it is questioned; but when suspicion
clings to it, it is worth nothing.  There is nothing in this world that
will take the place of character.  There is no policy in the world, to
say nothing of the right or wrong of it, that compares with honesty and
square dealing.

In spite of, or because of, all the crookedness and dishonesty that is
being uncovered, of all the scoundrels that are being unmasked,
integrity is the biggest word in the business world to-day.  There
never was a time in all history when it was so big, and it is growing
bigger.  There never was a time when character meant so much in
business; when it stood for so much everywhere as it does to-day.

There was a time when the man who was the shrewdest and sharpest and
cunningest in taking advantage of others got the biggest salary; but
to-day the man at the other end of the bargain is looming up as never

Nathan Straus, when asked the secret of the great success of his firm,
said it was their treatment of the man at the other end of the bargain.
He said they could not afford to make enemies; they could not afford to
displease or to take advantage of customers, or to give them reason to
think that they had been unfairly dealt with,--that, in the long run,
the man who gave the squarest deal to the man at the other end of the
bargain would get ahead fastest.

There are merchants who have made great fortunes, but who do not carry
weight among their fellow men because they have dealt all their lives
with inferiority.  They have lived with shoddy and shams so long that
the suggestion has been held in their minds until their whole standards
of life have been lowered; their ideals have shrunken; their characters
have partaken of the quality of their business.

Contrast these men with the men who stood for half a century or more at
the head of solid houses, substantial institutions; men who have always
stood for quality in everything; who have surrounded themselves not
only with ability but with men and women of character.

We instinctively believe in character.  We admire people who stand for
something; who are centered in truth and honesty.  It is not necessary
that they agree with us.  We admire them for their strength, the
honesty of their opinions, the inflexibility of their principles.

The late Carl Schurz was a strong man and antagonized many people.  He
changed his political views very often; but even his worst enemies knew
there was one thing he would never go back on, friends or no friends,
party or no party--and that was his devotion to principle as he saw it.
There was no parleying with his convictions.  He could stand alone, if
necessary, with all the world against him.  His inconsistencies, his
many changes in parties and politics, could not destroy the universal
admiration for the man who stood for his convictions.  Although he
escaped from a German prison and fled his country, where he had been
arrested on account of his revolutionary principles when but a mere
youth, Emperor William the First had such a profound respect for his
honesty of purpose and his strength of character that he invited him to
return to Germany and visit him, gave him a public dinner, and paid him
great tribute.

Who can estimate the influence of President Eliot in enriching and
uplifting our national ideas and standards through the thousands of
students who go out from Harvard University?  The tremendous force and
nobility of character of Phillips Brooks raised everyone who came
within his influence to higher levels.  His great earnestness in trying
to lead people up to his lofty ideals swept everything before it.  One
could not help feeling while listening to him and watching him that
_there_ was a mighty triumph of character, a grand expression of superb
manhood.  Such men as these increase our faith in the race; in the
possibilities of the grandeur of the coming man.  We are prouder of our
country because of such standards.

It is the ideal that determines the direction of the life.  And what a
grand sight, what an inspiration, are those men who sacrifice the
dollar to the ideal!

The principles by which the problem of success is solved are right and
justice, honesty and integrity; and just in proportion as a man
deviates from these principles he falls short of solving his problem.

It is true that he may reach _something_.  He may get money, but is
that success?  The thief gets money, but does he succeed?  Is it any
honester to steal by means of a long head than by means of a long arm?
It is very much more dishonest, because the victim is deceived and then
robbed--a double crime.

We often receive letters which read like this:

"I am getting a good salary; but I do not feel right about it, somehow.
I can not still the voice within me that says, 'Wrong, wrong,' to what
I am doing."

"Leave it, leave it," we always say to the writers of these letters.
"Do not stay in a questionable occupation, no matter what inducement it
offers.  Its false light will land you on the rocks if you follow it.
It is demoralizing to the mental faculties, paralyzing to the
character, to do a thing which one's conscience forbids."

Tell the employer who expects you to do questionable things that you
can not work for him unless you can put the trade-mark of your manhood,
the stamp of your integrity, upon everything you do.  Tell him that if
the highest thing in you can not bring success, surely the lowest can
not.  You can not afford to sell the best thing in you, your honor,
your manhood, to a dishonest man or a lying institution.  You should
regard even the suggestion that you might sell out for a consideration
as an insult.

Resolve that you will not be paid for being something less than a man;
that you will not lease your ability, your education, your
inventiveness, your self-respect, for salary, to do a man's lying for
him; either in writing advertisements, selling goods, or in any other

Resolve that, whatever your vocation, you are going to stand for
something; that you are not going to be _merely_ a lawyer, a physician,
a merchant, a clerk, a farmer, a congressman, or a man who carries a
big money-bag; but that you are going to be a _man_ first, last, and
all the time.



  Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
  Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do

  Man is a watch, wound up at first but never
  Wound up again: once down he's down forever.

Old age seizes upon an ill-spent youth like fire upon a rotten

Last Sunday a young man died here of extreme old age at
twenty-five.--JOHN NEWTON.

If you will not hear Reason, she'll surely rap your knuckles.--POOR

"Oh! oh! ah!" exclaimed Franklin; "what have I done to merit these
cruel sufferings?"  "Many things," replied the Gout; "you have eaten
and drunk too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in your

Nature seldom presents her bill on the day you violate her laws.  But
if you overdraw your account at her bank, and give her a mortgage on
your body, be sure she will foreclose.  She may loan you all you want;
but, like Shylock, she will demand the last ounce of flesh.  She rarely
brings in her cancer bill before the victim is forty years old.  She
does not often annoy a man with her drink bill until he is past his
prime, and then presents it in the form of Bright's disease, fatty
degeneration of the heart, drunkard's liver, or some similar disease.
What you pay the saloon keeper is but a small part of your score.

We often hear it said that the age of miracles is past.  We marvel that
a thief dying on the cross should appear that very day in Paradise; but
behold how that bit of meat or vegetable on a Hawarden breakfast table
is snatched from Death, transformed into thought, and on the following
night shakes Parliament in the magnetism and oratory of a Gladstone.
The age of miracles past, when three times a day right before our eyes
Nature performs miracles greater even than raising the dead?  Watch
that crust of bread thrown into a cell in Bedford Jail and devoured by
a poor, hungry tinker; cut, crushed, ground, driven by muscles,
dissolved by acids and alkalies; absorbed and hurled into the
mysterious red river of life.  Scores of little factories along this
strange stream, waiting for this crust, transmute it as it passes, as
if by magic, here into a bone cell, there into gastric juice, here into
bile, there into a nerve cell, yonder into a brain cell.  We can not
trace the processes by which this crust arrives at the muscle and acts,
arrives at the brain and thinks.  We can not see the manipulating hand
which throws back and forth the shuttle which weaves Bunyan's
destinies, nor can we trace the subtle alchemy which transforms this
prison crust into the finest allegory in the world, the Pilgrim's
Progress.  But we do know that, unless we supply food when the stomach
begs and clamors, brain and muscle can not continue to act; and we also
know that unless the food is properly chosen, unless we eat it
properly, unless we maintain good digestion by exercise of mind and
body, it will not produce the speeches of a Gladstone or the allegories
of a Bunyan.

Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Imagine a cistern which
would transform the foul sewage of a city into pure drinking water in a
second's time, as the black venous blood, foul with the ashes of
burned-up brain cells and débris of worn-out tissues, is transformed in
the lungs, at every breath, into pure, bright, red blood.  Each drop of
blood from that magic stream of liquid life was compounded by a divine
Chemist.  In it float all our success and destiny.  In it are the
extensions and limits of our possibilities.  In it are health and long
life, or disease and premature death.  In it are our hopes and our
fears, our courage, our cowardice, our energy or lassitude, our
strength or weakness, our success or failure.  In it are
susceptibilities of high or broad culture, or pinched or narrow
faculties handed down from an uncultured ancestry.  From it our bones
and nerves, our muscles and brain, our comeliness or ugliness, all
come.  In it are locked up the elements of a vicious or a gentle life,
the tendencies of a criminal or a saint.  How important is it, then,
that we should obey the laws of health, and thus maintain the purity
and power of this our earthly River of Life!

"We hear a great deal about the 'vile body,'" said Spencer, "and many
are encouraged by the phrase to transgress the laws of health.  But
Nature quietly suppresses those who treat thus disrespectfully one of
her highest products, and leaves the world to be peopled by the
descendants of those who are not so foolish."

Nature gives to him that hath.  She shows him the contents of her vast
storehouse, and bids him take all he wants and be welcome.  But she
will not let him keep for years what he does not use.  Use or lose is
her motto.  Every atom we do not utilize this great economist snatches
from us.

If you put your arm in a sling and do not use it, Nature will remove
the muscle almost to the bone, and the arm will become useless, but in
exact proportion to your efforts to use it again she will gradually
restore what she took away.  Put your mind in the sling of idleness, or
inactivity, and in like manner she will remove your brain, even to
imbecility.  The blacksmith wants one powerful arm, and she gives it to
him, but reduces the other.  You can, if you will, send all the energy
of your life into some one faculty, but all your other faculties will

A young lady may wear tight corsets if she chooses, but Nature will
remove the rose from her cheek and put pallor there.  She will replace
a clear complexion with muddy hues and sallow spots.  She will take
away the elastic step, the luster from the eye.

Don't expect to have health for nothing.  Nothing in this world worth
anything can be had for nothing.  Health is the prize of a constant

Nature passes no act without affixing a penalty for its violation.
Whenever she is outraged she will have her penalty, although it take a

A great surgeon stood before his class to perform a certain operation
which the elaborate mechanism and minute knowledge of modern science
had only recently made possible.  With strong and gentle hand he did
his work successfully so far as his part of the terrible business went;
and then he turned to his pupils and said, "Two years ago a safe and
simple operation might have cured this disease.  Six years ago a wise
way of life might have prevented it.  We have done our best as the case
now stands, but Nature will have her word to say.  She does not always
consent to the repeal of her capital sentences."  Next day the patient

Apart from accidents, we hold our life largely at will.  What business
have seventy-five thousand physicians in the United States?  It is our
own fault that even one-tenth of them get a respectable living.  What a
commentary upon our modern American civilization that three hundred and
fifty thousand people in this country die annually from absolutely
preventable diseases!  Seneca said, "The gods have given us a long
life, but we have made it short."  Few people know enough to become
old.  It is a rare thing for a person to die of old age.  Only three or
four out of a hundred die of anything like old age.  But Nature
evidently intended, by the wonderful mechanism of the human body, that
we should live well up to a century.

Thomas Parr, of England, lived to the age of one hundred and fifty-two
years.  He was married when he was a hundred and twenty, and did not
leave off work until he was a hundred and thirty.  The great Dr. Harvey
examined Parr's body, but found no cause of death except a change of
living.  Henry Jenkins, of Yorkshire, England, lived to be a hundred
and sixty-nine, and would probably have lived longer had not the king
brought him to London, where luxuries hastened his death.  The court
records of England show that he was a witness in a trial a hundred and
forty years before his death.  He swam across a rapid river when he was
a hundred.

There is nothing we are more ignorant of than the physiology and
chemistry of the human body.  Not one person in a thousand can
correctly locate important internal organs or describe their use in the
animal economy.

What an insult to the Creator who fashioned them so wonderfully and
fearfully in His own image, that the graduates from our high schools
and even universities, and young women who "finish their education,"
become proficient in the languages, in music, in art, and have the
culture of travel, but can not describe or locate the various organs or
functions upon which their lives depend!  "The time will come," says
Frances Willard, "when it will be told as a relic of our primitive
barbarism that children were taught the list of prepositions and the
names of the rivers of Thibet, but were not taught the wonderful laws
on which their own bodily happiness is based, and the humanities by
which they could live in peace and goodwill with those about them."
Nothing else is so important to man as the study and knowledge of
himself, and yet he knows less of himself than he does of the beasts
about him.

The human body is the great poem of the Great Author.  Not to learn how
to read it, to spell out its meaning, to appreciate its beauties, or to
attempt to fathom its mysteries, is a disgrace to our civilization.

What a price mortals pay for their ignorance, let a dwarfed,
half-developed, one-sided, short-lived nation answer.

"A brilliant intellect in a sickly body is like gold in a spent
swimmer's pocket."

Often, from lack of exercise, one side of the brain gradually becomes
paralyzed and deteriorates into imbecility.  How intimately the
functions of the nervous organs are united!  The whole man mourns for a
felon.  The least swelling presses a nerve against a bone and causes
one intense agony, and even a Napoleon becomes a child.  A corn on the
toe, an affection of the kidneys or of the liver, a boil anywhere on
the body, or a carbuncle, may seriously affect the eyes and even the
brain.  The whole system is a network of nerves, of organs, of
functions, which are so intimately joined, and related in such close
sympathy, that an injury to one part is immediately felt in every other.

Nature takes note of all our transactions, physical, mental, or moral,
and places every item promptly to our debit or c