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Title: "Boy Wanted": A Book of Cheerful Counsel

Author: Nixon Waterman

Release date: October 19, 2014 [eBook #47148]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Edwards, Paul Clark and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


“Boy Wanted”

Do not loiter or shirk,
Do not falter or shrink;
But just think out your work
And then work out your “think”.


Cloth, 12mo, each, $1.25.



[Pg 1]






[Pg 2]

Copyright, 1906


All Rights Reserved

[Pg 3]

—the boy who discerns
He can never be “it”
Until he develops
Some “git-up-and-git.”

[Pg 4]

[Pg 5]

Acknowledgments are hereby made to the publishers of Life, Success, Saturday Evening Post, Woman’s Home Companion, St. Nicholas, Christian Endeavor World, Young People’s Weekly, Youth’s Companion, and other periodicals, for their courteous permission to reprint the author’s copyrighted poems which originally appeared in their publications.


In presenting this book of cheerful counsel to his youthful friends, and such of the seniors as are not too old to accept a bit of friendly admonition, the author desires to offer a word of explanation regarding the history of the making of this volume.

So many letters have been received from people of all classes and ages requesting copies of some of the author’s lines best suited for the purpose of engendering a sense of self-help in the mind of youth, that he deems it expedient to offer a number of his verses in the present collected form. While he is indebted to a great array of bright minds for the prose incidents and inspiration which constitute a large portion of this volume, he desires to be held personally responsible for all of the rhymed lines to be found within these covers.

It may be especially true of advice that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” but it is hoped that in this present form of tendering friendly counsel the precepts will be accepted in the same cheerful spirit in which they are offered.

The author realizes that no one is more urgently in need of good advice and the intelligence to follow it than is the writer of these lines, and none cries more earnestly the well-known truth—

Oh, fellow men and brothers,
Could we but use the free
Advice we give to others,
How happy we should be!

[Pg 6]

While the title of this book and the character of its contents make it obvious that it is a volume designed primarily for the guidance of youth, no one should pass it by merely because he has reached the years of maturity, and presumably of discretion. As a matter of fact Time cannot remove any of us very far from the fancies and foibles, the dreams and dangers of life’s morning hours.

Age bringeth wisdom, so they say,
But lots of times we’ve seen
A man long after he was gray
Keep right on being “green.”

N. W.

[Pg 7]


 The life partnership. When to begin. Foresight. “Boy Wanted.” The power of mind. “Couldn’t and Could.” Selfmade men. “Deliver the Goods.” 
 Genius defined. Inspiration and perspiration. “Stick to It.” Genius and patience. “Keep Pegging Away.” Examples of patience. “The Secret of Success.” 
 What is a fair chance? Abraham Lincoln. Depending on self. “Myself and I.” The importance of the present moment. “Right Here and Just Now.” Poverty and success. “Keep A-Trying.” 
 Precocity. Starting too soon as bad as starting too late. The value of health. “Making a man.” The worth of toil. “How to Win Success.” Sharpened wits. “The Steady Worker.” 
 Wasting time. “The ‘Going-to-Bees!’” The possibilities of one hour a day. “Just This Minute.” The vital importance of properly employing leisure moments. “Do It Now.” 
 The value of smiles. “To Know All is to Forgive All.” Hope and strength. “A Cure for Trouble.” Carlyle on cheerfulness. “The One With a Song.” Pessimism as a barrier to success. “A Smile and a Task.” A profitable virtue. “An Open Letter to the Pessimist.” 
 Practicality. “Hank Streeter’s Brain-Wave.” Self-esteem. “The Valley of Never.” Opportunity and application. “Yender Grass.”[Pg 8] 
 The value of little things. Sowing and reaping. The power of habit. “‘I Wish’ and ‘I Will.’” Jenny Lind’s humble beginning. Canova’s genius. Present opportunities. “‘Now’ and ‘Waitawhile.’” 
 Heeding the sign-post. The value of guide-books. “The World’s Victors.” Good books a boy’s best friend. The danger of knowing too much. “My Boyhood Dreams.” Reading and reflecting. 
 Are you the boy wanted? Money and success. “On Getting Rich.” Thinking and doing. Life’s true purpose. “The Mother’s Dream.” 

[Pg 9]


Lincoln’s Birthplace Frontispiece
Patrick Henry Delivering His Celebrated Speech Facing page23
Whittier’s Birthplace " "35
Watt Discovering the Condensation of Steam " "49
Longfellow’s Birthplace " "61
Garfield as a Canal Boy " "75
Birthplace of Benjamin Franklin " "89
Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon " "101

[Pg 10]
[Pg 11]



Nothing is impossible to the man who can will.—Mirabeau.

Ho, my brave youth! There’s a “Boy Wanted,” and—how fortunate!—you are the very boy!

Who wants you?

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some with you.—Joubert.

The big, busy, beautiful world wants you, and I really do not see how it is going to get on well without you. It has awaited your coming so long, and has kept in store so many golden opportunities for you to improve, it will be disappointed if, when the proper time arrives, you do not smilingly lay hold and do something worth while.

When are you to begin?

Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.—Garfield.

Oh, I sincerely hope that you have already begun to begin; that is, that you have already begun to train your hand and head and heart for making the most of the opportunities that await you. In[Pg 12] fact, if you are so fortunate as to own thoughtful, intelligent parents, the work of fitting you for the victories of life was begun before you were old enough to give the subject serious consideration.

Work has made me what I am. I never ate a bit of idle bread in my life.—Daniel Webster.

“When shall I begin to train my child?” asked a young mother of a wise physician.

“How old is the child?” inquired the doctor.

“Two years.”

In the blackest soils grow the fairest flowers, and the loftiest and strongest trees spring heavenward among the rocks.—Holland.

“Then you have already lost just two years,” was his serious response.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, when asked the same question, said: “You must begin with the child’s grandmother.”

Without courage there cannot be truth; and without truth there can be no other virtue.—Walter Scott.

But no matter what has or has not been done for you up to the present time, you and I know that from now on your future welfare will be largely of your own making and in your own keeping. If you will thoughtfully plan your purpose as definitely as conditions will permit and then learn to stick to it through thick and thin, your success in life is quite well assured, and you need not fear that at the end of the journey you will have to say, as does many a man while retrospectively viewing his years:

[Pg 13]

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.—Phelps.
O’er life’s long and winding pathway,
Looking backward, I confess
I have not at looking forward
Been a genuine success.

What is there for you to do?

Work is the inevitable condition of human life, the true source of human welfare.—Tolstoi.

Everything and anything you can do or care to do. You are to take your pick of all the trades, professions, and vocations of mankind. Look about you and note the thousand and one things now being done by the men of to-day. It will not be so very long till all of these men will be old enough to retire from active service, and then you and the other boys, who in the meantime have grown to man’s estate, will be called upon to perform every one of the tasks these men are now doing. Doesn’t it look as if there would be plenty of honest, earnest, wholesome toil for hand and head in store for you as soon as you are ready to undertake it? You cannot wonder that the busy old world is ever and always hanging out its notice—


People do not lack strength; they lack will.—Victor Hugo.
“Wanted—A Boy.” How often we
This quite familiar notice see.
Wanted—a boy for every kind
Of task that a busy world can find.
[Pg 14]
He is wanted—wanted now and here;
There are towns to build; there are paths to clear;
There are seas to sail; there are gulfs to span,
In the ever onward march of man.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge one yourself.—Froude.
Wanted—the world wants boys to-day
And it offers them all it has for pay.
’Twill grant them wealth, position, fame,
A useful life, and an honored name.
Boys who will guide the plow and pen;
Boys who will shape the ways for men;
Boys who will forward the tasks begun,
For the world’s great work is never done.
The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.—Napoleon.
The world is eager to employ
Not just one, but every boy
Who, with a purpose stanch and true,
Will greet the work he finds to do.
Honest, faithful, earnest, kind,—
To good, awake; to evil, blind,—
A heart of gold without alloy,—
Wanted—the world wants such a boy.
While we are considering when to begin, it is often too late to act.—Quintilian.

No, the world does not insist that you are to accept a position and begin work with your hands at once, but it wishes you to begin to think right things. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” What you think will have much to do in determining what you are to become.

The mind is master of the man,
And so “they can who think they can.”

[Pg 15]

Where boasting ends, there dignity begins.—Young.
Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools.—Napoleon.

This influence of the mind in thus shaping the man is very well set forth by James Allen, who says: “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind-elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.”

I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard.—Garrison.

So it is not too early for you to begin to think bravely and resolutely and hope[Pg 16]fully upon the life you intend to live, and to cultivate the mental and physical strength that shall help you later on to put your good thoughts into permanent good deeds. Certainty of victory goes far toward winning battles before they are fought. The boy who thinks “I can” is much more likely to succeed in life than is the one who thinks “I can’t.”


While you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.—Dr. Johnson.
“Couldn’t” and “Could” were two promising boys
Who lived not a great while ago.
They had just the same playmates and just the same toys,
And just the same chances for winning life’s joys
And all that the years may bestow.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.—Franklin.
And “Could” soon found out he could fashion his life
On lines very much as he planned;
He could cultivate goodness and guard against strife;
He could have all his deeds with good cheer to be rife,
And build him a name that would stand.
When passion is on the throne, reason is out of doors.—Matthew Henry.
But poor little “Couldn’t” just couldn’t pull through
All the trials he met with a sigh;
When a task needed doing, he couldn’t, he knew;
And hence, when he couldn’t, how could he? Could you,
If you couldn’t determine you’d try?
[Pg 17]
I wasted time, and now time doth waste me.—Shakespeare.
So “Could” just kept building his way to success,
Nor clouding his sky with a doubt,
But “Couldn’t” strayed into the slough of Distress,
Alas! and his end it is easy to guess—
Strayed in, but he couldn’t get out.
And that was the difference ’twixt “Couldn’t” and “Could”;
Each followed his own chosen plan;
And where “Couldn’t” just wouldn’t “Could” earnestly would,
And where one of them weakened the other “made good,”
And won with his watchword, “I can!”
Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.—Marden.

By reading between the lines we can infer from the foregoing that what the world really wants is men—good men. But the world is old enough and wise enough to know that if it does not train up some good boys, there will be no good men, by and by. “As the twig is bent the tree is inclined.” “The child is father of the man.”

Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds.—Emerson.

So the world simply wishes to inform you, here and now, that it will count on your assistance as soon as you have had sufficient time and opportunity to prepare properly for the many chances it has in store for you. It notifies you in good season of the important use it hopes[Pg 18] to make of you. It does not wish you to be confronted suddenly with a life problem you cannot solve intelligently. You must be so well equipped that you will not make life a “fizzle.”

When I don’t know whether to fight or not, I always fight.—Nelson.

A “fizzle,” as defined by the dictionaries, is a bungling, unsuccessful undertaking.

What is a gentleman? I’ll tell you: a gentleman is one who keeps his promises made to those who cannot enforce them.—Hubbard.

Life is, or ought to be, a splendid undertaking. Some make a success of it; some make a “fizzle;” some make a sort of half-and-half. Every one who lives his or her life must make something of it. What that “something” is depends very largely on the individual person. Heredity has something to do with it; environment has something to do with it; yet we like to think it is the individual who has most to do with the finished product.

All men are to some degree “self-made,” although they are slow to admit it except in instances where the work has been well done.

When one begins to turn in bed it is time to turn out.—Wellington.
The loser declares it is Fate’s hard plan,
But the winner—ho, ho!—he’s a “self-made” man.

It is unfair for the loser to blame[Pg 19] others for his deficiencies and delinquencies. No one’s reputation is likely to suffer much lasting injury as long as he keeps his character unspotted. What others may say of us is not of so much moment; the important question is, “Is it true?”

When I found I was black, I resolved to live as if I were white, and so force men to look below my skin.—Alexandre Dumas.
Of strife others make us, we’ve little to fear
Because we can surely defeat it;
Few persons get into hot water, ’tis clear,
But they furnish the fuel to heat it.
Impossible? I trample upon impossibilities!—Pitt.

On the other hand the winner is ungrateful when he credits to his own ability the help and good influence he has derived from his associates and his surroundings. No one lives by, to, or for himself, alone. A great man adds to his greatness by generously praising those who have aided in his advancement.

We are, most of us, selfishly slow to confess
How much others aid us in winning success;
But the Fourth of July and the oyster must see
What failures, without any crackers, they’d be.
When all is holiday, there are no holidays.—Lamb.

This timely notice telling you what the world is going to ask you to perform is as if you were told to prepare to take an extended and important journey. It[Pg 20] would require some time for you to procure a trunk and a traveling-bag and to select wearing apparel suitable for the undertaking. Then, too, you would need to study maps and time-tables so as to select the best lines of travel and to make advantageous connections with trains and steamships. Furthermore, it would be for your best interests to read books describing the countries through which you were to pass, and to learn as much as possible regarding their peoples and customs.

Let’s take the instant by the forward top.—Shakespeare.
I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else.—Franklin.
I feel and grieve, but, by the grace of God, I fret at nothing.—John Wesley.

As a matter of fact you are preparing to start on an extended and important journey. You are going out into the big world, by and by, to do business. You are going into partnership with the world, after a fashion. You are to put into the business your honesty, industry, integrity, and ability, and in return for your contributions, the world is to bestow upon you all the honor, fame, goodwill, and happiness of mind that your manner of living your life shall merit. The world is only too willing to bargain for the highest and noblest and best products of the human mind with any one who can

[Pg 21]


We can sing away our cares easier than we can reason them away.—Beecher.
The world will buy largely of any one who
Can deliver the goods.
It is ready and eager to barter if you
Can deliver the goods.
But don’t take its order and make out the bill
Unless you are sure you’ll be able to fill
Your contract, because it won’t pay you until
You deliver the goods.
Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.—Michael Angelo.
The world rears its loftiest shafts to the men
Who deliver the goods.
With plow, lever, brush, hammer, sword, or with pen
They deliver the goods.
And while we their eloquent epitaphs scan
That say in the world’s work they stood in the van,
We know that the meaning is, “Here lies a man
Who delivered the goods.”
Anxiety never yet successfully bridged over any chasm.—Ruffini.
And rude or refined be your wares, still be sure
To deliver the goods.
Though a king or a clown, still remember that you’re
To deliver the goods.
If you find you are called to the pulpit to preach,
To the grain-fields to till, to the forum to teach;
Be you poet or porter, remember that each
Must deliver the goods.

[Pg 22]

[Pg 23]



True merit is like a river, the deeper it is the less noise it makes.—Halifax.

You hope, and perchance believe, no doubt, that when you have a full opportunity to show the world what sort of timber you are made of that it will look upon you as being a “genius.” Almost every boy cherishes some such aspiration. And why not? Such a trend of thought is to be encouraged. It is proper and commendable. We would all be geniuses if we could.

We know what we are, but not what we may be.—Shakespeare.

The world admires a genius. If he is the genuine article it seeks his autograph, prints his picture in books and newspapers, and when he passes away it is likely to build a monument over his remains.

Vacillation is the prominent feature of weakness of character.—Voltaire.

And can we all be geniuses? Some say we can and some say we cannot, quite. Some say geniuses are born and some say they are self-made.

When Mr. Edison, the famous electri[Pg 24]cian and inventor, was asked for his definition of genius he answered: “Two per cent is genius and ninety-eight per cent is hard work.” On another occasion when asked: “Mr. Edison, don’t you believe that genius is inspiration?” he replied, “No! genius is perspiration.”

Conduct is three-fourths of life.—Emerson.

This definition of genius quite agrees with that given by the American statesman, Alexander Hamilton, who said: “All the genius I have lies in just 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 genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”

We must not yield to difficulties, but strive the harder to overcome them.—Robert E. Lee.

Helvetius, the famous French philosopher, says: “Genius is nothing but a continued attention,” and Buffon tells us that “genius is only a protracted patience.”

Through every clause and part of speech of a right book, I meet the eyes of the most determined men.—Emerson.

Turner, the great landscape painter, when asked how he had achieved his great success, replied: “I have no secret but hard work. This is a secret that many never learn, and they do not succeed because they do not learn it. Labor[Pg 25] is the genius that changes the world from ugliness to beauty.”

All your Greek will never advance you from secretary to envoy, or from envoy to ambassador; but your address, your air, your manner, if good, may.—Chesterfield.

“The man who succeeds above his fellows,” says Lord Lytton, “is the one who early in life clearly discerns his object and toward that object habitually directs his powers. Even genius itself is but fine observation strengthened by fixity of purpose. Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius.”

“Am I a genius?”

’Tis the mind that makes the body rich.—Shakespeare.

Now that you have asked the question, why not carefully think it over and determine what the answer should be? Have you patience and determination? Are you cultivating the habit of sticking to it?


To read without reflection is like eating without digesting.—Burke.
O prim little postage-stamp, “holding your own”
In a manner so winning and gentle.
That you’re “stuck on” your task—(is that slang?)—you will own,
And yet, you’re not two-cent-imental.
I have noted with pride that through thick and through thin
You cling to a thing till you do it,
And, whatever your aim, you are certain to win
Because you seem bound to stick to it.
[Pg 26]
I learnt that nothing can constitute good breeding that has not good nature for its foundation.—Bulwer.
Sometimes when I feel just like shirking a task
Or quitting the work I’m pursuing,
I recall your stick-to-it-ive-ness and I ask,
“Would a postage-stamp do as I’m doing?”
Then I turn to whatever my hands are about
And with fortified purpose renew it,
And the end soon encompass, for which I set out,
If, only, like you, I stick to it.
The sages declare that true genius, so called,
Is simply the will to “keep at it.”
A “won’t-give-up” purpose is never forestalled,
No matter what foes may combat it.
And most of mankind’s vaunted progress is made,
O stamp! if the world only knew it,
By noting the wisdom which you have displayed
In sticking adhesively to it.
To acquire a few tongues, says a French writer, is the task of a few years; but to be eloquent in one is the labor of a life.—Colton.

Genius has a twin brother whose name is Patience. The one is quite often mistaken for the other, which is not strange since they resemble each other so closely their most intimate friends can scarcely tell them apart. These two brothers usually work together, which enables the world to tell who and what they are, for whenever either of them is employed singly and alone he is hardly ever recognized.

To be proud of learning is the greatest ignorance.—Bishop Taylor.

One of these brothers plants the tree and the other cares for it until the fruit is finally matured. The tree which[Pg 27] Genius plants would never amount to much if Patience were to grow tired of watering and caring for it. There are weeds to be kept down, branches to be pruned, the soil must be looked after, worms’-nests must be destroyed, and many things must be done before the fruit is ready to harvest.

Life is not so short but that there is always room enough for courtesy.—Emerson.

If Patience were to refuse to work at any time the whole undertaking would prove a failure. But he does not. He performs his plain, simple duty, day after day, year after year, until, after long waiting, there is the beautiful fruit at last. It looks very pretty, but it is not yet quite ripe. Pick it too soon and it will shrivel up and lack flavor. But Patience has learned to wait until the day and the hour of perfection is at hand, and lo! there is his great reward!

A man’s own good breeding is the best security against other people’s ill manners.—Chesterfield.

The people say: “See this wonderful fruit that grew on the tree which Genius planted!” But Genius, who is wiser than the multitude, says, “See this wonderful fruit that grew on the tree which Patience tended!”

Common sense bows to the inevitable and makes use of it.—Wendell Phillips.

Patience and perseverance are the qualities that enable one to work out his problems in school and his larger prob[Pg 28]lems in the big university of the busy world.

Above all things, reverence yourself.—Pythagoras.
Toil holds all genius as his own,
For in his grasp a strength is hid
To make of polished words or stone
A poem or a pyramid.

It has been very truly said that if we will pick up a grain a day and add to our heap we shall soon learn by happy experience the power of littles as applied to intellectual processes and possessions.

To Adam, Paradise was home; to the good among his descendants, home is Paradise.—Hare.

The road to success, says one of the world’s philosophers, is not to be run upon by seven-league boots. Step by step, little by little, bit by bit; that is the way to wealth, that is the way to wisdom, that is the way to glory. The man who is most likely to achieve success in life is the one who when a boy learns to


To give happiness is to deserve happiness.—Rosseau.
Men seldom mount at a single bound
To the ladder’s very top;
They must slowly climb it, round by round,
With many a start and stop.
And the winner is sure to be the man
Who labors day by day,
For the world has learned that the safest plan
Is to keep on pegging away.
[Pg 29]
Self-respect,—that corner-stone of all virtues.—John Herschel.
You have read, of course, about the hare
And the tortoise—the tale is old—
How they ran a race—it counts not where—
And the tortoise won, we’re told.
The hare was sure he had time to pause
And to browse about and play,
So the tortoise won the race because
He just kept pegging away.
A little toil and a little rest,
And a little more earned than spent,
Is sure to bring to an honest breast
A blessing of glad content.
And so, though skies may frown or smile,
Be diligent day by day;
Reward shall greet you after while
If you just keep pegging away.
This, then, is a proof of a well-trained mind, to delight in what is good, and to be annoyed at the opposite.—Cicero.

The Chinese tell of one of their countrymen, a student, who, disheartened by the difficulties in his way, threw down his book in despair, when, seeing a woman rubbing a crowbar on a stone, he inquired the reason, and was told that she wanted a needle, and thought she would rub down the crowbar till she got it small enough. Provoked by this example of patience to “try again,” he resumed his studies, and became one of the foremost scholars of the empire.

There never was so much room for the best as there is to-day.—Thayer.

After more than ten years of wandering[Pg 30] through the unexplored depths of the primeval forests of America in the study of birds and animals, Audubon determined to publish the results of his painstaking energy. He went to Philadelphia with a portfolio of two hundred sheets, filled with colored delineations of about one thousand birds, drawn life-size. Being obliged to leave the city before making final arrangements as to their disposition, he placed his drawings in the warehouse of a friend. On his return in a few weeks he found to his utter dismay that the precious fruits of his wanderings had been utterly destroyed by rats. The shock threw him into a fever of several weeks’ duration, but with returning health his native energy came back, and taking up his gun and game-bag, his pencils and drawing-book, he went forward to the forests as gaily as if nothing had happened. He set to work again, pleased with the thought that he might now make better drawings than he had done before, and in three years his portfolio was refilled.

A healthful hunger for a great idea is the beauty and blessedness of life.—Jean Ingelow.
A laugh is worth a hundred groans in any market.—Lamb.
There is no real life but cheerful life.—Addison.

When Carlyle had finished the first volume of his “French Revolution” he lent the manuscript to a friend to read.[Pg 31] A maid, finding what she supposed to be a bundle of waste paper on the parlor floor used it to light the kitchen fire. Without spending any time in uttering lamentations, the author set to work and triumphantly reproduced the book in the form in which it now appears.

A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.—Thoreau.
There is one thing in this world better than making a living, and that is making a life.—Russell.

“How hard I worked at that tremendous shorthand, and all improvement appertaining to it! I will only add to what I have already written of perseverance at this time of my life, and of a patient and continuous energy which then began to be matured within me, and which I know to be the strong point of my character, if it have any strength at all, that there, on looking back, I find the source of my success.” Such is Charles Dickens’s testimony to the value of sticking to it.

A man must be one of two things; either a reed shaken by the wind, or a wind to shake the reeds.—Handford.

One of the clever characters created by the pen of George Horace Lorimer says: “Life isn’t a spurt, but a long, steady climb. You can’t run far up hill without stopping to sit down. Some men do a day’s work, and then spend six lolling around admiring it. They rush at a thing with a whoop and use up all their wind in that. And when they’ve rested and[Pg 32] got it back, they whoop again and start off in a new direction.”

There is nothing at all in life except what we put there.—Madame Swetchine.

Says the poet, James Whitcomb Riley, “For twenty years I tried to get into one magazine; back came my manuscripts eternally. I kept on. In the twentieth year that magazine accepted one of my articles.”

He is, in my opinion, the noblest who has raised himself by his own merit to a higher station.—Cicero.

The eminent essayist, William Mathews, tells us: “The restless, uneasy, discontented spirit which sends a mechanic from the East to the South, the Rocky Mountains, or California, renders continuous application anywhere irksome to him, and so he goes wandering about the world, a half-civilized Arab, getting the confidence of nobody, and almost sure to die insolvent.”

A page digested is better than a volume hurriedly read.—Macaulay.

The boys who stick to it, and the men who stick to it, are the ones who achieve results. It does not pay to scatter one’s energies. If a man cannot succeed at one thing he is even less likely to succeed at many things. Just here would be a good place, I think, to tell how Johnny’s father taught him


He that can have patience can have what he will.—Franklin.
One day, in huckleberry-time, when little Johnny Wales
[Pg 33]
And half-a-dozen other boys were starting with their pails
To gather berries, Johnny’s pa, in talking with him, said
That he could tell him how to pick so he’d come out ahead.
“First find your bush,” said Johnny’s pa, “and then stick to it till
You’ve picked it clean. Let those go chasing all about who will
In search of better bushes, but it’s picking tells, my son;
To look at fifty bushes doesn’t count like picking one.”
Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself.—Plato.
A man who dares waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of time.—Darwin.
And Johnny did as he was told, and, sure enough, he found
By sticking to his bush while all the others chased around
In search of better picking, it was as his father said;
For while the others looked, he worked, and thus came out ahead.
And Johnny recollected this when he became a man,
And first of all he laid him out a well-determined plan;
So, while the brilliant triflers failed with all their brains and push,
Wise, steady-going Johnny won by “sticking to his bush.”


[Pg 34]
[Pg 35]


There is nothing impossible to him who will try.—Alexander.

If you just get a chance?

Oh, certainly, it would be unfair for us grown-ups to expect you, a mere inexperienced youth, to win without giving you a fair opportunity.

But what is a fair opportunity?

The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.—Gibbon.

Opinions regarding what is best for the making of a boy differ greatly. Some assert that a child born with a silver spoon in its mouth is not likely to breathe as deeply and develop as well as one that is born without any such hindrance to full respiration.

He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green.—Bacon.

Kind parents, a good home training, a chance to go to school, influential friends, good health, and some one to stand between you and the hard knocks of the world all serve to make a boy’s surroundings truly enviable. Under such conditions any boy ought to win. Yet some boys have won without these advantages.

The two noblest things are sweetness and light.—Swift.
The wise prove, and the foolish confess, by their conduct, that a life of employment is the only life worth leading.—Paley.
The world belongs to the energetic.—Emerson.
He who hurts others injures himself; he who helps others advances his own interests.—Buddha.
He that sips of many arts drinks of none.—Fuller.
There is a higher law than the constitution.—William H. Seward.

Abraham Lincoln was born of very[Pg 36] poor parents in a very crude cabin. Some years later the family passed through a long, cold, Indiana winter with no shelter but a shed built of poles, open on one side to the frosts and snows. Even when a cabin took the place of this rude “camp” it was left several years, we are told, without floor, doors or windows. His biographers inform us that here in the primeval forest Abraham Lincoln spent his boyhood. His bed of leaves was raised from the ground by poles, resting upon one side in the interstices of the logs of which the hut was built, and upon the other in crotches of sticks driven into the earth. The skins of animals afforded almost the only covering allowed this truly miserable family. Their food was of the simplest and coarsest variety and very scarce. Here Mrs. Lincoln died when Abraham was nine years old, and her lifeless form was placed in a rude coffin which Abraham’s father made with his own hands. The grave was dug in a cleared space in the forest and there Nancy Hanks Lincoln was buried. Many months passed before it was practicable to secure a preacher who, when he came, gathered the family about him in the woods and[Pg 37] spoke a few words over the mound of sod. When fame had come, Mr. Lincoln used to say that he never attended school for more than six months in all his life—in no spirit of boastfulness, however, like many a self-made American, but with a regret that was deeply felt. While a boy he worked out his sums on the logs and clapboards of the little cabin, evincing the fondness for mathematics that remained with him through life. But even amid his dark isolation some light found its way to his slowly expanding mind. He got hold of a copy of “Aesop’s Fables,” read “Robinson Crusoe” and borrowed Weems’s “Life of Washington,” filling his mind with the story of that noble character. One night after he had climbed up the pegs, which served as a ladder to reach his cot, which in the more finished condition of the cabin had been placed in the attic, he hid the book under the rafters. The rain which came in before morning soaked the leaves so that he was compelled to go to the farmer from whom he had borrowed the book and offer to make good the loss. That unphilanthropic neighbor exacted as its price three days’ work in the corn-field,[Pg 38] and at the end of that time the damaged volume came into the youthful Abraham’s absolute possession. It was a long way from those rude surroundings to the presidential chair in the White House at Washington, but “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right,” he made the journey to the glory of himself and the American people.

He that has no cross will have no crown.—Quarles.

What a fine demonstration of the power and efficacy of self-help! It is quite enough to convince any boy that there is no difficulty he cannot overcome when once he has formed an invincible partnership between


A strenuous soul hates a cheap success.—Emerson.
Myself and I close friends have been
Since ’way back where we started.
We two, amid life’s thick and thin,
Have labored single-hearted.
In every season, wet or dry,
Or fair or stormy weather,
We’ve joined our hands, myself and I,
And just worked on together.
All that is great in man comes through work, and civilization is its product.—Smiles.
Though many friends have been as kind
And loving as a brother,
Myself and I have come to find
Our best friends in each other,
[Pg 39]
For while to us obscure and small
May seem the tasks they bend to,
We’ve learned our fellow-men have all
They and themselves can tend to.
Ability and necessity dwell near each other.—Pythagoras.
Myself and I, and we alone,
You and yourself, good neighbor,
Each in his self-determined zone
Must find his field of labor.
That prize which men have called “success”
Has joy nor pleasure in it
To satisfy the soul unless
Myself and I shall win it.
The only amaranthine flower is virtue.—Cowper.

Dr. Arnold, whose long experience with youth at Rugby gave weight to his opinion, declared that “the difference between one boy and another consists not so much in talent as in energy.” “The longer I live,” says Sir Thomas Buxton, another student of human character, “the more certain I am that the great difference between men, between the great and the insignificant, is energy, invincible determination, an honest purpose once fixed, and then death or victory. This quality will do anything in the world; and no talents, no circumstances, will make a two-legged creature a man without it.”

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.—Beaconsfield.

Says an old Latin proverb: “Oppor[Pg 40]tunity has hair in front, but is bald behind. Seize him by the forelock.”

The only knowledge that a man has is the knowledge he can use.—Macaulay.
What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.—Addison.
There is a sufficient recompense in the very consciousness of a noble deed.—Cicero.

When Thomas A. Edison went out into the world to make his way, he had received only two months’ regular schooling, but his mother had early impressed upon his mind the thought that he must atone for his lack of school training by developing a taste for reading. His biographers tell us that the “Penny Encyclopedia” and Ure’s “History of the Sciences” were in his hands at a time when most boys, having become acquainted with stories of adventure, look for mystery in every bush and resolve to become pirates and Indian fighters. There are many stories of his early acuteness. One relates how when a boy of twelve or fourteen he was employed in selling papers on a railroad train in Michigan, and upon receiving advance news of a battle of the Rebellion fought at that time he secured fifteen hundred papers on credit, telegraphed the headlines to the stations along the route, and sold his wares at a premium. It was after this exploit that he conceived the idea of starting a daily paper of his own. Securing some old type from the “Detroit Free Press,”[Pg 41] he set up his establishment in a car and began the publication of the “Grand Trunk Herald,” the first newspaper ever published on a train. He also installed in the car a laboratory for making experiments in chemistry, and both his newspaper and his experiments flourished until one unlucky day when he set fire to the car with phosphorus. This was too much for the conductor who promptly threw the young editor and scientist with all his belongings out on the station platform, and in addition boxed his ears so roughly as to cause him to be ever after partly deaf. But misfortune could not dampen his ardor. His lack of schooling was more than atoned for by his grit, ambition and studious habits. With the possession of these qualities and the disposition to make the most of spare moments, this famous physicist, chemist, mechanician, and inventor has done more for himself, and more for humanity and the advancement of civilization than any of the college-bred workers in industrial sciences during the last half-century.

The only failure a man ought to fear is failure in cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.—George Eliot.
The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.—Disraeli.
He needs no tears who lived a noble life.—Fitz James O’Brien.

“Yesterday’s successes belong to yesterday with all of yesterday’s defeats and[Pg 42] sorrows,” says a present day philosopher. “The day is here! The time is now!”


I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser to-day than he was yesterday.—Abraham Lincoln.
“If I’d ’a’ been born,” says Sy Slocum to me,
“In some other far-away clime,
Or if I could ’a’ had my existence,” says he,
“In some other long-ago time,
I know I’d ’a’ flourished in pretty fine style
And set folks a-talkin’, I ’low,
But what troubles me is there’s nothin’ worth while
A-doin’ right here and just now.”
Hurry not only spoils work, but spoils life also.—Lubbock.
“Them folks that can dwell in a country,” says Sy,
“Where they don’t have no winter nor storm,
And the weather ain’t ready to freeze ’em or fry,
By gettin’ too cold or too warm,
Have got all the time that they want to sit down
And think out a project so great
That it’s just about certain to win ’em renown
And bring ’em success while they wait.”
I cannot hear what you say for listening to what you are.—Emerson.
Says Sy, “Folks a-livin’ here ages ago,
Before all the chances had flown
For makin’ a hit, wouldn’t stand any show
To-day at a-holdin’ their own.
Good times will come back to our planet, I ’low,
When I’ve faded out of the scene;
But it hurts me to think that right here and just now
Is a sorry betwixt and between.”
[Pg 43]
At that I got tired a-hearin’ Sy spout,
And says I, “Sy, you like to enthuse
Regardin’ the marvelous work you’d turn out
If you stood in some other man’s shoes;
But while all your ’might-’a’-been’ praises you sing,
It’s worth while recallin’ as how
That no man on earth ever does the first thing
That he can’t do right here and just now!”
Honest labor wears a lovely face.—Decker.

Jean Paul Richter, who suffered greatly from poverty, said that he would not have been rich for worlds.

“I began life with a sixpence,” said Girard, “and believe that a man’s best capital is his industry.”

I am a part of all that I have seen.—Tennyson.

Thomas Ball, the sculptor, whose fine statues ornament the parks and squares of Boston, used as a lad to sweep out the halls of the Boston Museum. Horace Greeley, journalist and orator, was the son of a poor New Hampshire farmer and for years earned his living by typesetting. Thorwaldsen, the great Danish sculptor, was the son of humble Icelandic fisher-folk, but by study and perseverance he became one of the greatest of modern sculptors. In the Copenhagen museum alone are six hundred examples of his art.

If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.—Marcus Aurelius.

Benjamin Franklin, philosopher and[Pg 44] statesman, was the son of a tallow-chandler, and was the fifteenth child in a family of seventeen children. This would seem to go far toward proving that it is no misfortune to be born into a home of many brothers and sisters. Lord Tennyson, too, was the third child in a family of eleven children, all born within a period of thirteen years. They formed a joyous, lively household, amusements being agreeably mingled with their daily tasks. They were all handsome and gifted, with marked personal traits and imaginative temperaments. They were very fond of reading and story-telling. At least four of the boys—Frederick, Charles, Alfred, and Edward—were given to verse-writing.

A thing is never too often repeated which is never sufficiently learned.—Seneca.
Any man may commit a mistake, but none but a fool will continue in it.—Cicero.

John Bunyan, author of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” which is said to have obtained a larger circulation than any other book in English except the Bible, was a tinker. Linnaeus, the great Swedish botanist, and most influential naturalist of the eighteenth century, was a shoemaker’s apprentice.

As a matter of fact, a man’s first duty is to mind his own business.—Lorimer.

George Stephenson, the English engineer and inventor, was in his youth a stoker in a colliery, learning to read and[Pg 45] write at a workingmen’s evening school. Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning-jenny, and founder of the great cotton industries of England, never saw the inside of a school-house until after he was twenty years of age, having long served as a barber’s assistant.

Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.—Whipple.

John Jacob Astor began life as a peddler in the streets of New York, where his descendants now own real estate worth hundreds of millions.

Civility costs nothing and buys everything.—Lady Montague.

Shakespeare in his youth was a wool-carder.

Cheerful looks make every dish a feast.—Massinger.

Thousands of other examples might be mentioned to show that lowly birth is no barrier to lofty attainment. It has been truly said that genius ignores all social barriers and springs forth wherever heaven has dropped the seed. The grandest characters known in art, literature, and the useful inventions, have illustrated the axiom that “brave deeds are the ancestors of brave men,” and, as Ballou has told us, “it would almost appear that an element of hardship is necessary to the effective development of true genius. Indeed, when we come to the highest achievements of the greatest minds, it seems that they were not limited by race,[Pg 46] condition of life, or the circumstances of their age.”

Character, good or bad, has a tendency to perpetuate itself.—Hodge.

So we see that it is something within the boy rather than conditions about him that is to determine what he is to become. A boy with a good mind with which to think and a determination to do, is pretty sure of doing something worth while. The whole world knows that so much depends on whether or not the boy cultivates a determination to


Do not hang a dismal picture on your wall, and do not deal with sables and glooms in your conversations.—Emerson.
Say “I will!” and then stick to it—
That’s the only way to do it.
Don’t build up a while and then
Tear the whole thing down again.
Fix the goal you wish to gain,
Then go at it heart and brain,
And, though clouds shut out the blue,
Do not dim your purpose true
With your sighing.
Stand erect, and, like a man,
Know “They can who think they can!”
Keep a-trying.
Pray for a short memory as to all unkindnesses—Spurgeon.
Do to-day thy nearest duty.—Goethe.
Had Columbus, half seas o’er,
Turned back to his native shore,
Men would not, to-day, proclaim
Round the world his deathless name.
[Pg 47]
So must we sail on with him
Past horizons far and dim,
Till at last we own the prize
That belongs to him who tries
With faith undying;
Own the prize that all may win
Who, with hope, through thick and thin
Keep a-trying.


[Pg 48]
[Pg 49]


If you will not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.—Franklin.

Learn to do, without overdoing. Too much striving for success is as bad as too little.

Bishop Hall says: “Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.”

The only true conquests—those which awaken no regrets—are those obtained over our ignorance.—Napoleon.

“You have too much respect upon the world,” Shakespeare tells us. “They lose it that do buy it with much care.”

Do not cram books into your head until you crowd pleasant thinking out of it.

A moderately informed man standing firmly on his two good legs is a much superior man to the wise professor who is unable to leave his bed.

The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise high with the occasion.—Abraham Lincoln.

“What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” And what does it profit him if he shall become a multi-millionaire and lose his health of mind or body?

Success that costs more than it is worth is failure.

[Pg 50]

If you want to be missed by your friends, be useful.—Robert E. Lee.

Make haste slowly. Be ambitious but not foolish.

Learn a few things and learn them well. He who grasps much holds little. Upon investigating the fund of information possessed by a great many young persons it has been found that the matter with it is the “smatter.”

Herbert Spencer says the brains of precocious children cease to develop after a certain age, like a plant that fails to flower.

The man of grit carries in his presence a power which spares him the necessity of resenting insult.—Whipple.

“Those unhappy children who are forced to rise too early in their classes are conceited all the forenoon of their lives and stupid all the afternoon,” says Professor Huxley. “The keenness and vitality which should have been stored up for the sharp struggle of practical existence have been washed out of them by precocious mental debauchery, by book-gluttony and lesson-bibbing. Their faculties are worn out by the strain put upon their callow brains, and they are demoralized by worthless, childish triumphs before the real tasks of life begin.”

If you would create something you must be something.—Goethe.

Carlyle’s words upon this subject are worth remembering: “The richer a nature, the harder and slower its develop[Pg 51]ment. Two boys were once members of a class in the Edinburgh Grammar School: John, ever trim, precise, and a dux; Walter, ever slovenly, confused, and a dolt. In due time John became Baillie John, of Hunter Square, and Walter became Sir Walter Scott, of the universe. The quickest and completest of all vegetables is the cabbage.”

Manners must adorn knowledge and smooth its way through the world.—Chesterfield.
Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.—Spurgeon.

We all know that there is a happy medium between too much preciseness and slovenliness; between laziness and an unwarranted degree of mental activity; between ignorance and an intellect ground to an edge too fine to carve its way through a hard world.

The least error should humble, but we should never permit even the greatest to discourage us.—Bishop Potter.

“It is now generally conceded on all hands,” says Professor Mathews, “that the mind has no right to build itself up at the expense of the body; that it is no more justifiable in abandoning itself without restraint to its cravings, than the body in yielding itself to sensual indulgence. The acute stimulants, the mental drams, that produce this unnatural activity or overgrowth of the intellect, are as contrary to nature, and as hurtful to the man, as the coarser stimulants that unduly excite the body. The mind, it has been well said,[Pg 52] should be a good, strong, healthy feeder, but not a glutton. When unduly stimulated, it wears out the mechanism of the body, like friction upon a machine not lubricated, and the growing weakness of the physical frame nullifies the power it incloses.”

The most manifest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness.—Montaigne.

The foundations for a splendid working constitution are laid during boyhood.

You are laying yours now.

Men are born with two eyes, but with one tongue, in order that they may see twice as much as they say.—Colton.

Is it to be a good, firm, durable foundation that will stand through all the years to come? Or is it being built of faulty material and in a manner so careless that in the by and by when, at great pains and expense you have built your life structure upon it, you will find it untenable or so unstable that it will require a great share of your time and attention to keep it patched up so that you can continue to dwell within it?

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

Are you playing and working with moderation or are you so thoughtless that you sometimes, in a single hour, inflict wrongs upon your health and your constitution, the sorry effects of which you cannot overcome during your lifetime?

It may be possible that you are studying too hard at school.

[Pg 53]

Method is the hinge of business, and there is no method without order and punctuality.—Hannah More.

I know that there are many who will smile at the suggestion that the average American schoolboy sticks too closely to his books, but I am sure that such is frequently the case.

The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.—Emerson.

Sometimes the boy’s parents and teachers are eager to have their boy “show off” to the best advantage possible. They urge him, crowd him, compel him to develop as rapidly as he can. In their eagerness to secure results they employ the formulas that require the least possible time for completing the important task of


The elect are those who will, and the non-elect are those who won’t.—Beecher.
Hurry the baby as fast as you can,
Hurry him, worry him, make him a man.
Off with his baby-clothes, get him in pants,
Feed him on brain-foods and make him advance.
Hustle him, soon as he’s able to walk,
Into a grammar school; cram him with talk.
Fill his poor head full of figures and facts,
Keep on a-jamming them in till it cracks.
Once boys grew up at a rational rate,
Now we develop a man while you wait.
Rush him through college, compel him to grab
Of every known subject a dip and a dab.
Get him in business and after the cash
All by the time he can grow a mustache.
[Pg 54]
Let him forget he was ever a boy,
Make gold his god and its jingle his joy.
Keep him a-hustling and clear out of breath,
Until he wins—Nervous Prostration and Death!
Much talent is often lost for want of a little courage.—George Eliot.

A sorry picture, isn’t it? No doubt it sets forth, in an extreme manner, the evils that arise from crowding a child into boyhood, and a boy into manhood; still, no one who observes carefully will doubt that such wrongs are constantly being committed by hundreds of ambitious parents and well-meaning teachers.

The crowning fortune of a man is to be born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment and happiness.—Emerson.

Yet, I think you have little to fear along the lines of over-study. You must train your mind to grapple with tasks while you are young, for if you do not begin now you may not, later on, be able to summon that concentration of thought that is necessary for winning success along any line of endeavor.

“Difficulties are the best stimulant. Trouble is a tonic,” says one of our wise essayists.

No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for any one else.—Charles Dickens.

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill, our antagonist is our helper,” says Edmund Burke. “This conflict with difficulty makes us acquainted with our object, and[Pg 55] compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.”

The fewer the words the better the prayer.—Luther.
Life is a grind; a sorry few
Are blunted in their aim,
And some are sharpened, keen and true,
And carve their way to fame.

“Don’t take too much advice—keep at the helm and steer your own ship,” says Noah Porter. All of which is very good advice.

Next to excellence is the appreciation of it.—Thackeray.

The boy that the world wants most is the one who will think for himself at the same time he is hearing words of wisdom from others. A boy who tried to follow all the advice given him would probably find himself unable to do anything at all. Everyone and everything seems eager to give him the short cut to fortune, as I have endeavored to set forth in a bit of nonsense rhyme which I call the secret of


The great are only great because we are on our knees; let us rise up.—Proudhon.
“How shall I win success in life?” the young man asked, whereat:
“Have push,” replied the Button; “And a purr-puss” said the Cat.
“Find out the work you’re sooted for,” the Chimney-Sweeper said,
[Pg 56]
Just as the Match and Pin remarked: “And never lose your head.”
“Aspire to grater, finer things,” the Nutmeg cried. The Hoe
Said: “Don’t fly off the handle,” and the Snail remarked: “Go slow.”
“Be deaf to all that’s told you,” said the Adder. “’Mid the strife
I’ve found it best,” remarked the Heart, “to beat my way through life.”
Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquisition is that of good books.—Colton.
“Select some proper task and then stick to it,” said the Glue.
“Look pleasant,” said the Camera; “And tied-y,” said the Shoe.
“Have nerve!” exclaimed the Tooth. The Hill remarked; “Put up a bluff!”
“And keep cool,” said the Ice, whereat the young man cried: “Enough!”
Never suffer youth to be an excuse for inadequacy, nor age and fame to be an excuse for indolence.—Haydon.

The right-minded boy will be thoughtful but not so much absorbed that he is unable to take in the educative, uplifting sunshine all about him.

The greatest man is he who chooses with the most invincible reason.—Seneca.

Sharpen your wits as the woodman must sharpen his axe, but counsel moderation. The woodman who would stay at the stone and grind his axe all away in attempting to put a razor edge on it would be deemed very foolish.

Of course you will be, you must be[Pg 57] thoughtful, for as Ruskin says: “In general I have no patience with people who talk about ‘the thoughtlessness of youth’ indulgently. I had infinitely rather hear of the thoughtlessness of old age, and the indulgence of that. When a man has done his work, and nothing can in any way be materially altered in his fate, let him forget his toil, and jest with his fate, if he will, but what excuse can you find for wilfulness of thought at the very time when every crisis of fortune hangs on your decision? A youth thoughtless, when all the happiness of his home forever depends on the chances or the passions of an hour! A youth thoughtless, when the career of all his days depends on the opportunity of a moment! A youth thoughtless, when his every action is a foundation-stone of future conduct, and every imagination a fountain of life or death! Be thoughtless in any after years, rather than now, though, indeed, there is only one place where a man may be nobly thoughtless, his death-bed. Nothing should ever be left to be done there.”

Self-conquest is the greatest of all victories.—Plato.
Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright.—Franklin.
My liveliest delight was in having conquered myself.-Rousseau.

But whatever else we may forget, let us remember that it is not work, but over[Pg 58]work that kills. Exercise gained through good, wholesome work is the greatest life-preserver man has yet discovered.

The great hope of society is in the individual character.—Channing.

“I always find something to keep me busy,” said Peter Cooper in explaining how he had preserved so well his strength of mind and body, “and to be doing something is the best medicine one can take.”

No thoroughly occupied man was ever yet very miserable.—Landor.

The ones who live the longest and best lives are the cheerful workers, those who find a good excuse for liking the task that comes to their hands. The greatest joy and the truest success do not come to the idler, nor the one who overworks, nor yet to the one who does things by fits and starts, but to


The habit of looking on the bright side of things is worth more than a thousand pounds a year.—Samuel Johnson.
Whene’er the sun was shining out, Squire Pettigrew would say,
“Now, hurrah, boys! it’s just the time to be a-making hay,
Because, you see, the sun’s so hot ’twill cure it right away!”
Then all the mowers kept right on a-mowing.
But when a cloud obscured the sun Squire Pettigrew would shout,
“Oh, now’s the time for working while the sun is blotted out,
[Pg 59]
A cooling cloud like that will make our muscles twice as stout!”
And that’s the way he kept his men a-going.
Nothing of worth or weight can be achieved with a half mind, with a faint heart, and with a lame endeavor.—Barrow.
Hence, little did it matter were the weather wet or dry,—
If sunshine filled the valleys or if clouds o’erspread the sky,
He’d always think of something which he deemed a reason why
’Twas just the time for him to keep a-working.
The strong man is the man with the gift of method, of faithfulness, of valor.—Carlyle.
But, now and then, or so it seemed, the reasons he would seek
For working on, were quite far-fetched and faulty, so to speak,
But, oh, they were not half so “thin” as are the many weak
Excuses lazy people give for shirking.


[Pg 60]
[Pg 61]


Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.—Cromwell.

“If I had the time!”

Yes, indeed! Time is a very necessary factor in the doing of things. Time is money. Money is capital. Capital is power. The one who is in the possession of the most power and uses it to the best purpose has the best chance for winning success.

The greatest work has always gone hand in hand with the most fervent moral purpose.—Sidney Lanier.

Other things being equal, the boy who devotes an extra half-hour every morning or evening to the study of the forthcoming day’s lessons will get on better than his classmates who do not thus mentally fortify themselves.

No true and permanent fame can be founded except in labors which promote the happiness of mankind.—Sumner.

So in the world’s big life-school, the man who finds time to think about and to study the tasks and duties that confront him will make a better showing than the ones who thoughtlessly and in an unprepared manner blunder into the work that is before them.

“If I had the time!”

[Pg 62]

The greatest men have been those who have cut their way to success through difficulties.—Robertson.

That is the sorry cry coming from the lips of thousands of unhappy persons of all classes and ages. But the saddest feature of it all is, that they have the time and do not know it. Or, if they do know it, they still go on trying to deceive themselves and others by repeating the same old, threadbare excuse the world has always offered as the reason why it has not made the progress it should have done.

One has only to know the twenty-six letters of the alphabet in order to learn everything else that one wishes.—Duke of Argyle.

Now, my boy, stop a moment and honestly think it over. Haven’t you the time? Isn’t it the disposition to make the most of your opportunities that is lacking? How much time did you waste yesterday? How much time are you going to waste to-day?

Strength is like gunpowder; to be effective it needs concentration and aim.—Mathews.

Let us not lose sight of the sorry fact that in wasting an hour we suffer a double loss and commit a double wrong. We not only lose that particular hour, but we are suffering a moral weakness to impair the strength of our life purpose, which will result in making us more likely to waste other golden hours yet to come.

And what is a wasted hour? This is a question well worth considering. Mo[Pg 63]ments spent in bright, healthful, joyous play are not wasted. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It should be remembered, also, that “All play and no work makes Jack a dull shirk.”

Success treads on the heels of every right effort.—Smiles.

We should play with the same keen zest with which we should work. We must not work all the while; we must not play all the while. Good, vigorous play prepares one for the enjoyment of work; good, vigorous work prepares one for the enjoyment of play. Those who dawdle in a listless, half-and-half way find no joy in working or playing.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.—Emerson.

It is an error to think that play cannot be made to serve a good and useful purpose. Give one boy a knife and a stick and he will produce only a lot of shavings as the result of his whittling. Give another boy a knife and a stick and he will carve out some object or invention of use and beauty. Give one man leisure and he will produce nothing or worse than nothing to show for his wasted hours. Give another man leisure and he will master some trade or profession or theme of study that will make him of happy worth to himself and the world.

That is the best government which teaches us to govern ourselves.—Goethe.

It is not the lack of time, but the lack[Pg 64] of the will to improve our spare moments, that keeps us from going toward success. We mean to do great things some time, but we haven’t the will to begin to build just now. We prefer to belong to that great host of procrastinators who are known as


The chains of habit are too weak to be felt till they are too strong to be broken.—Dr. Johnson.
Suppose that some fine morn in May
A honey-bee should pause and say,
“I guess I will not work to-day,
But next week or next summer,
Or some time in the by and by,
I’ll be so diligent and spry
That all the world must see that I
Am what they call a ‘hummer’!”
Wise evolution is the sure safeguard against a revolution.—Roosevelt
Of course you’d wish to say at once,
“O bee! don’t be a little dunce,
And waste your golden days and months
In lazily reviewing
The things you’re ‘going’ to do, and how
Your hive with honey you’ll endow,
But bear in mind, O bee, that NOW
Is just the time for ‘doing.’”
The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint.—Lavater.
Suppose a youth with idle hands
Should tell you all the splendid plans
Of which he dreams, the while the sands
Of life are flowing, flowing.
[Pg 65]
You’d wish to say to him, “O boy!
If you would reap your share of joy,
You must discerningly employ
Your morning hours in sowing.”
God sows the self-same truth in every heart.—Alicia K. Van Buren.
He who would win must work! The prize
Is for the faithful one who tries
With loyal hand and heart; whose skies
With toil-crowned hopes are sunny.
And they who hope success to find
This homely truth must bear in mind:
“The ‘going-to-bees’ are not the kind
That fill the hive with honey.”
Are you a shepherd, or one of the herded?—Edmund Vance Cooke.

“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” How clearly these words of Horace Mann set forth the experience of thousands of persons, day by day.

There is a destiny that makes us brothers.—Edwin Markham.

Channing tells us, “it is astonishing how fruitful of improvement a short season becomes when eagerly and faithfully improved. Volumes have not only been read, but written, in flying journeys. I have known a man of vigorous intellect, who has enjoyed few advantages of early education, and whose mind was almost engrossed by the details of an extensive business, but who composed a book of[Pg 66] much original thought, in steamboats and on horseback, while visiting distant customers.”

If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great enterprises, even though they fail.—Seneca.

The thought recorded by Jeremy Taylor is well worth remembering, that he who is choice of his time will also be choice of his company, and choice of his actions; lest the first engage him in vanity and loss, and the latter, by being criminal, be throwing his time and himself away, and going back in the accounts of eternity.

No one is free who is not master of himself.—Shakespeare.

The plea, “If I had the time,” is well met by Matthew Arnold, who says: “And 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.”

A thought may touch and edge our life with light.—Trowbridge.

“Oh, what wonders have been performed in ‘one hour a day,’” says Marden. “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 make an ignorant man a well-informed man in ten years. One hour a day would earn enough to pay for two daily and two[Pg 67] weekly papers, two leading magazines, and 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.”

Nothing is too high for a man to reach, but he must climb with care and confidence.—Hans Andersen.
Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them, then, or bear with them.—Marcus Aurelius.
Do good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good.—William Penn.

There is little excuse for continued ignorance these times. If one’s time is spent at a point remote from institutions of learning, or his days are so occupied that he cannot avail himself of their advantages, he can be a pupil in an ably conducted correspondence school, that most worthy of educational means whereby the youth in the isolated rural home, the shut-ins who by force of circumstances are prisoned within narrow walls, the night-watchman whose leisure comes at a time when all other schools[Pg 68] are closed, the seeker after knowledge of any kind, at any time and at any place reached by the great governmental postal system, can be brought into close touch with a great fountain of learning and inspiration of which one may absorb all he will. From this time forth it will ill become any man to say that he has no chance to acquire an education, or that he has no opportunity to improve upon the mental equipment he already possesses. Instruction is within the reach of all. The schoolmaster is abroad as he has never been before. Wherever the postman can deliver a letter, in cottage or mansion, in the closely packed tenements of the city or in the remote farm homes reached by the rural free delivery routes, there the trained college professor makes his daily or weekly visits, giving his “heart to heart” talks with each of his thousands of pupils. He is with the boys as they follow the plow, the men who go down into the mines, the girls who serve at the loom and the lathe, pointing out the way that leads, through self-help, to happiness.

One great cause of failure of young men in business is the lack of concentration.—Carnegie.
Better say nothing than not to the purpose.—William Penn.
Diligence is the mother of good luck.—Franklin.

It is more true to-day than ever before, that “they can who think they can.”[Pg 69] The means are more nearly at hand if one is determined to try them. Nothing but the spirit of procrastination can keep man or boy from setting about it to help himself toward better things. When to begin is the stumbling-block in the way of most persons. There is but one time when we can do anything. That time is NOW! To delay a year, a week, a day may prove most unfortunate. Indeed, trouble lies in the way of those who are disposed to defer the doing of their duty for even


One to-day is worth two to-morrows.—Franklin.
Whene’er he faced a task and knew
He should begin it,
He could not start to put it through
For “just a minute.”
And, though the case demanded speed
He could not move just then; but he’d
Be ready for it, yes, indeed!
In “just a minute.”
My young friend, do you know that there is but one person who can recommend you? Who is that, sir? Yourself.—Emerson.
His purposes were out of rhyme
By “just a minute.”
The whole world seemed ahead of time
By “just a minute.”
He could not learn to overhaul
His many duties, large and small,
But had to beg them, one and all,
To “wait a minute.”
[Pg 70]
Think before you speak.—Washington.
In manhood he was still delayed
By “just a minute.”
He might have won, had Fortune stayed
For “just a minute.”
But at the end of life he railed
At “cruel Fate,” and wept and wailed
Because he knew that he had failed
By “just a minute.”
There are people who do not know how to waste their time alone, and hence become the scourge of busy people.—De Bonald.
It is better to be alone than in bad company.—Washington.
Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, and patriotic men are better than gold.—Abraham Lincoln.

If we make a careful study of the lives of the world’s great men and women, we shall find that their distinction was achieved by making the most of their spare minutes. The ordinary, commonplace, and inevitable tasks of life and the effort required to make a living are remarkably similar in the daily experience of most men and women. It is what one does with the remaining leisure moments that determines his individual taste and trend, and eventually gives him such distinction as he may attain. It is in our leisure hours that we are permitted to follow our “hobbies,” and it is in them that our truer selves find expression. Many of the greatest men in the world’s history achieved their fame outside of their regular occupations in the spare moments of time which most people think are of no serious use. Marden[Pg 71] wisely observes that “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 great majority of youth who go to the bad are ruined after supper. Most of them who climb upward to honor and fame devote their evenings to study or work or the society of the wise and good. For the right use of these leisure hours, what we have called the waste of life, the odd moments usually thrown away, the author would plead with every youth.”

Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.—P. T. Barnum.
Let none falter who thinks he is right.—Abraham Lincoln.
The truest test of civilization is not the census, not the size of cities, not the crops; no, but the kind of man the country turns out.—Emerson.

Watt learned chemistry and mathematics while working at his trade of a mathematical-instrument maker. Darwin composed most of his works by writing his thoughts on scraps of paper wherever he chanced to be. Henry Kirke White learned Greek while walking to and from a lawyer’s office. Elihu Burritt acquired a mastery of eighteen languages and twenty-two dialects by improving the fragments of time which he could steal from his occupation as a[Pg 72] blacksmith. Hundreds of similar examples could be given in which men have achieved distinction by improving the odd moments which others waste.

Inherited wealth is an unmitigated curse when divorced from culture.—Charles William Eliot.

And you, oh, my boy! when you have reached the age where the world has a right to expect that you will begin to prepare yourself for the work that is before you, lay hold, I beseech you, of these “spare moments,” and weld them into a beautiful purpose that shall make your life a joy to yourself and to all who shall come within the zone of your influence. Do not fail to improve the moments because they are so few. The fewer there are the more the need of improving them. Do not procrastinate, do not put off, do not defer the work of self-improvement till a more favorable time. Know that with the coming of every opportunity you have a duty to perform. That you must help yourself whenever you can, and that you must


The wisdom of nations lies in their proverbs, which are brief and pithy. Collect and learn them; they are notable measures and directions for human life; you have much in little; they save time in speaking, and upon occasion may be the fullest and safest answers.—William Penn.
If you have a task worth doing,
Do it now!
In delay there’s danger brewing,
Do it now!
[Pg 73]
Don’t you be a “by-and-byer”
And a sluggish patience-trier;
If there’s aught you would acquire,
Do it now!
Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.—Franklin.
If you’d earn a prize worth owning,
Do it now!
Drop all waiting and postponing,
Do it now!
Say, “I will!” and then stick to it,
Choose your purpose and pursue it,
There’s but one right way to do it,
Do it now!
Don’t flinch, flounder, fall over, nor fiddle, but grapple like a man. A man who wills it can go anywhere, and do what he determines to do.—John Todd.
Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss as possible about it.—Dickens.
All we have is just this minute,
Do it now!
Find your duty and begin it,
Do it now!
Surely you’re not always going
To be “a going-to-be”; and knowing
You must some time make a showing
Do it now!


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Joy is not in things, it is in us.—Wagner.

Let us suppose that you must go into partnership for life with some other boy, as the world is about to go into partnership with you, would you not wish him to have, first of all, a cheerful disposition?

Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience.—P. T. Barnum.

Has it ever occurred to you that the world entertains the same thought regarding yourself?

It is easy to understand why a partnership, the members of which pleasantly pull together, is more likely to thrive than is one wherein they are always complaining of each other and sadly prophesying failure.

The world, as your partner, will be toward you what you are toward it.

The day is immeasurably long to him who knows not how to value and use it.—Goethe.
Smile, once in a while,
’Twill make your heart seem lighter;
Smile, once in a while,
’Twill make your pathway brighter;
[Pg 76]
Life’s a mirror; if we smile,
Smiles come back to greet us;
If we’re frowning all the while,
Frowns forever meet us.
It is a maxim with me not to ask what, under similar circumstances, I would not grant.—Washington.
Next to virtues, the fun in this world is what we can least spare.—Strickland.

“As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely into your rooms,” says James Allen, “so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can result only from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and good will and serenity. There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with good will for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prison-hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all—such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to the possessor of such thoughts.”

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

Says Robert Louis Stevenson: “A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she[Pg 77] is radiating a focus of good will; and his or her entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted.”

Ideas go booming through the world louder than cannon. Thoughts are mightier than armies. Principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots.—Paxton.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor,” says Dickens.

Give but a smile to sorry men,
They’ll give it, bettered, back again.
Method is like packing things in a box; a good packer will get in half as much again as a bad one.—Cecil.

Bovee very truly says, “The cheerful live longest in years, and afterwards in our regards.”

If it required no brains, no nerve, no energy, no work, there would be no glory in achievement.—Bates.

“I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies,” said Sydney Smith, “but am otherwise very happy.” How often those with whom we meet are sorely afflicted and yet their cheerful faces do not betray their troubles. They are too considerate of our happiness to sadden our minds with their woes. Those whom we deem fretful without sufficient excuse, if indeed any excuse justifies the habit of fretting, may be much more sorely afflicted than we think they are. There is a world of sympathetic truth in that old saying

[Pg 78]


It is not what one can get out of work, but what he may put in, that is the test of success.—Lilian Whiting.
If I knew you and you knew me—
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine
The meaning of your heart and mine,
I’m sure that we would differ less
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree
If I knew you and you knew me.
If I knew you and you knew me,
As each one knows his own self, we
Could look each other in the face
And see therein a truer grace.
Life has so many hidden woes,
So many thorns for every rose;
The “why” of things our hearts would see,
If I knew you and you knew me.
There is only one real failure in life possible; and that is, not to be true to the best one knows.—Canon Farrar.

“If a word will render a man happy,” said one of the French philosophers, “he must be a wretch, indeed, who will not give it. It is like lighting another man’s candle with your own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what the other gains.” Another wise writer says: “Mirth is God’s medicine; everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety—all the rust of life, ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth.”

Confidence imparts a wonderful inspiration to its possessor.—Milton.

Orison Swett Marden, than whom no man’s golden words have done more to[Pg 79] make the world brighter and better, says: “We should fight against every influence which tends to depress the mind, as we would against a temptation to crime. A depressed mind prevents the free action of the diaphragm and the expansion of the chest. It stops the secretions of the body, interferes with the circulation of the blood in the brain, and deranges the entire functions of the body.”

The most important attribute of man as a moral being is the faculty of self-control.—Herbert Spencer.

“Do not anticipate trouble,” says Franklin, “or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

Self-control, I say, is the root virtue of all virtues. It is at the very center of character.—King.

One of our present day apostles of the gospel of cheerfulness tells us that worry is a disease. “Some people ought to be incarcerated for disturbing the family peace, and for troubling the public welfare, on the charge of intolerable fretfulness and touchiness.”

The boy whom the world wants will be wise, indeed, if he includes in his preparations for meeting the years that are before him—

In the long run a man becomes what he purposes, and gains for himself what he really desires.—Mabie.


Trouble is looking for some one to trouble!
Who will partake of his worrisome wares?
Where shall he tarry and whom shall he harry
At morning and night with his burden of cares?
[Pg 80]
They who have hands that are idle and empty,
They without purpose to build and to bless;
They who invite him with scowls that delight him
Are they who shall dwell in the House of Distress.
I owe all my success in life to having been always a quarter of an hour beforehand.—Lord Nelson.
Trouble is looking for some one to trouble!
I’ll tell you how all his plans to eclipse:
When he draws near you be sure he shall hear you
A-working away with a song on your lips.
Look at him squarely and laugh at his coming;
Say you are busy and bid him depart;
He will not tease you to stay if he sees you
Have tasks in your hands and a hope in your heart.
The period of greenness is the period of growth. When we cease to be green and are entirely ripe we are ready for decay.—Bryan.
Trouble is looking for some one to trouble!
I shall not listen to aught he shall say;
Out of life’s duty shall blossom in beauty
A grace and a glory to gladden the way.
I shall have faith in the gifts of the Giver;
I shall be true to my purpose and plan;
Good cheer abounding and love all-surrounding,
I shall keep building the best that I can.
Prepare yourself for the world as the athletes used to do for their exercises; oil your mind and your manners to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do.—Chesterfield.

“Give, O give us, the man who sings at his work!” says Thomas Carlyle. “Be his occupation what it may, he is equal to any of those who follow the same pursuit in silent sullenness. He will do more in the same time—he will do it better—he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible to fatigue while he marches to music. The very stars are said to make harmony as they revolve in their spheres.[Pg 81] Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, altogether past calculation its powers of endurance. Efforts to be permanently useful must be uniformly joyous—a spirit all sunshine—grateful for very gladness, beautiful because bright.”

Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things, and hence its importance.—Matthew Arnold.
In all things, to serve from the lowest station upwards is necessary.—Goethe.
To do nothing by halves is the way of noble minds.—Wieland.

Have you a cheerful member in your circle of friends, a cheerful neighbor in the vicinity of your home? Cherish him as a pearl of great price. He is of real, practical value to all with whom he comes in contact. His presence in a neighborhood ought to make real estate sell for a bit more a square foot, and life more prized by all who partake of his good cheer. He greets the world with a smile and a laugh—a real laugh, born of thought and feeling—not a superficial veneer of humor the falsity of which is detected by all who hear it. “How much lies in laughter,” says Carlyle “It is the cipher-key wherewith we decipher the whole man. Some men wear an everlasting simper; in the smile of another lies the cold glitter, as of ice; the fewest are able to laugh what can be called laughing, but only sniff and titter and snicker from the throat outward, or at least produce some whiffing, husky cach[Pg 82]ination, as if they were laughing through wool. Of none such comes good.”

Whatever your occupation may be, and however crowded your hours with affairs, do not fail to secure at least a few minutes every day for refreshment of your inner life with a bit of poetry.—Charles Eliot Norton.

Do you like the boy who in a game of ball is whining all the time because he cannot be constantly at the bat?

Isn’t the real manly boy the one who can lose cheerfully when he has played the game the best he possibly could and has been honestly defeated?

Nothing of us belongs so wholly to other people as our looks.—Glover.

Nothing is ever well done that is not done cheerfully. The one with a growl spoils whatever joy good fortune may seek to bring him. The man with whom the whole world loves to be in partnership is


Our greatest glory consists, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.—Goldsmith.
The cloud-maker says it is going to storm,
And we’re sure to have awful weather,—
Just terribly wet or cold or warm,
Or maybe all three together!
But while his spirit is overcast
With the gloom of his dull repining,
The one with a song comes smiling past,
And, lo! the sun is shining.
A noble manhood, nobly consecrated to man, never dies.—William McKinley.
The cloud-maker tells us the world is wrong,
And is bound in an evil fetter,
But the blue-sky man comes bringing a song
Of hope that shall make it better.
[Pg 83]
And the toilers, hearing his voice, behold
The sign of a glad to-morrow,
Whose hands are heaped with the purest gold,
Of which each heart may borrow.
It is easy finding reasons why other folks should be patient.—George Eliot.

The one who thinks the world is full of good people and kindly blessings is much richer than the one who thinks to the contrary. Some men live in a world peopled with princes of the royal blood; some in a world of want and wrong-doers. Those whom we distrust are likely to distrust us. To believe a man is a man helps to make him so at heart. To think him a rascal is a start for him in the wrong direction. The world smiles at us if we smile at it; when we frown it frowns. It is the armor of war and not that of love that invites trouble. He who carries a sword is the most likely to find a cause for using it. The man who remembers it was a beautiful day yesterday is a great deal happier than he who is sure it is going to storm to-morrow.

Sympathy is two hearts tugging at one load.—Parkhurst.
Though life is made up of mere bubbles,
’Tis better than many aver,
For while we’ve a whole lot of troubles,
The most of them never occur.

In the thousand and one little every[Pg 84]day affairs of life the man who is disposed to take things by the smooth handles saves himself and those about him an endless amount of worry. The pessimist is an additional sorrow in a world that holds for all of us some glints of sunshine and some shreds of song. It was of one such sorry soul that I penned the lines—

What folly to tear one’s hair in sorrow, just as if grief could be assuaged by baldness.—Cicero.
He growled at morning, noon and night,
And trouble sought to borrow;
On days when all the skies were bright
He knew ’twould storm to-morrow.
A thought of joy he could not stand
And struggled to resist it;
Though sunshine dappled all the land
This sorry pessimist it.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.—Franklin.

Occasionally we meet a person well along in years who has not yet acquired sufficient wisdom to understand that without some of the elements of a storm in the sky we could never look upon that most marvelously beautiful spectacle—a rainbow.

Give us to go blithely about our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.—Stevenson.

Without hunger and thirst, food and drink would be superfluous; without cold, warmth would lose its grateful charm; without weariness, rest were of no avail; without grief, gladness would[Pg 85] lose its delight. The thoughtful, thankful soul will keep the lips from complaining and the hands from wrong-doing by always supplying them with


Teach your child to hold his tongue, he’ll learn fast enough to speak.—Franklin.
Keep a smile on your lips; it is better
To joyfully, hopefully try
For the end you would gain, than to fetter
Your life with a moan and a sigh.
There are clouds in the firmament ever
The beauty of heaven to mar,
Yet night so profound there is never
But somewhere is shining a star.
There is no use arguing with the inevitable; the only argument with the east wind is to put on your overcoat.—Lowell.
Keep a task in your hands; you must labor;
By deeds is true happiness won;
For stranger and friend and for neighbor,
Rejoice there is much to be done.
Endeavor by crowning life’s duty
With joy-giving song and with smile,
To make the world fuller of beauty
Because you are in it a while.
A young man cannot honestly make a success in any business unless he loves his work.—Edward Bok.

“Of all virtues cheerfulness is the most profitable. While other virtues defer the day of recompense, cheerfulness pays down. It is a cosmetic which makes homeliness graceful and winning. It promotes health and gives clearness and vigor to the mind; it is the bright weather[Pg 86] of the heart in contrast with the clouds and gloom of melancholy.” These words from the writings of one of our sunniest philosophers are worth much gold to one who will ever keep them in mind.

There is a great deal more to be got out of things than is generally got out of them, whether the thing be a chapter of the Bible or a yellow turnip.—MacDonald.

Sydney Smith says that “all mankind are happier for having been happy; so that, if you make them happy now, you make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it.” This being true we should do all in our power to turn men from gloom to gladness; from the shadows to sunshine. With this purpose in mind I have written


The boy who does not go to school does not know what Saturday is.—Babcock.
Brother—you with growl and frown—
Why don’t you move from Grumbletown,
Where everything is tumbled down
And skies are dark and dreary?
Move over into Gladville where
Your face will don a happy air,
And lay aside your cross of care
For smiles all bright and cheery.
A faithful friend is a strong defence, and he that hath found him hath found a treasure.—Ecclesiasticus.
In Grumbletown there’s not a joy
But has a shadow of alloy
That must its happiness destroy
And make you to regret it.
In Gladville we have not a care
But, somehow, looks inviting there
[Pg 87]
And has about it something fair
That makes us glad to get it.
The three things most difficult are, to keep a secret, to forget an injury, and to make a good use of leisure.—Chilo.
’Tis strange how different these towns
Of ours are! Good cheer abounds
In one, and gruesome growls and frowns
Are always in the other.
If you your skies of ashen gray
Would change for sunny skies of May,
From Grumbletown, oh, haste away;
Move into Gladville, brother.


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The talent that is buried is not owned. The napkin and the hole in the ground are far more truly the man’s property.—Babcock.

“Hitch your wagon to a star!”

Such is the advice Emerson gave to ambitious youth. He meant well, no doubt, and indeed, his words are all right if taken with a pinch of salt. A boy should dream great dreams, of course, but he ought to set his dream-gauge so as to have it indicate a line of endeavor it will be possible for him to follow.

That which some call idleness I call the sweetest part of my life, and that is my thinking.—Felsham.
“Hitch your wagon to a star,”
Sounds eloquent, of course,
But it might prove more prudent, far,
To hitch it to a motor-car,
Or a steady-going horse.
We must learn to bear and to work before we can spare strength to dream.—Phelps.

The type of boy the world counts on to do it the most lasting good is the youth that does not permit the wings of fancy to carry him so far into the blue empyrean that he cannot touch the solid earth with at least the tiptoes of reason.

As Wingate truly says: “There is no use in filling young people’s minds with[Pg 90] vain hopes; not every one can make a fortune or a national reputation, but he who possesses health, ordinary ability, honesty and industry can at least earn a livelihood.”

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.—Mark Twain.

If you are striving to be a level-headed boy you will understand that if you keep your eyes fastened on the stars all the while you are likely to overlook a thousand opportunities lying all about your pathway.

Let’s not despise just common things,
For here’s a truth there is no dodging,
The bird that soars on proudest wings
Comes down to earth for board and lodging.
Success comes only to those who lead the life of endeavour.—Roosevelt.

Some of the poets and others advise you to aim at the sky or the sun or something of that sort, for by so doing you will shoot higher than you would if you aimed at the ground.

I would advise you to aim directly at the target you wish to hit. Don’t shoot over it or under it; shoot at it.

The most certain sign of wisdom is a continued cheerfulness.—Montaigne.

Dreaming great things is good but doing simple things may be better. There ought to be, and there will be more dreams than deeds, just as there are more blossoms on the tree than can mature and ripen into perfect fruit.

[Pg 91]

Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.—Wordsworth.

We shall always have to divide our attention between the things we can do and the things we should like to do. Dreaming is an interesting pastime but we should not devote too many precious moments to


“If” this or that were thus and so,
Oh, wouldn’t it be clever!
But “ifs,” alas! won’t make it so
Though we should “if” forever.
Yet, while “ifs” cannot help a mite,
We’d all be less contented
And life would hold far less delight
“If” “iffing” were prevented.
Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves.—Babcock.

When the time arrives for a boy to cease dreaming and to begin doing he should seize upon the highest duty that comes to his hands and waste not a moment in dilatory uncertainties. “Thrift of time,” says Gladstone, “will repay you in after-life with a thousandfold of profit beyond your most sanguine dreams.”

Have the courage to appear poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting.—Irving.

Hopes are good, but patiently worked-out realities are better. Hope is for to-morrow. Work is for to-day. The hope that lulls one into a dreamy inactivity, with the promise that all will be well, whether or no, is sometimes a hin[Pg 92]drance in the path toward success. We must not succumb too fully to


Hope is the real riches, as fear is the real poverty.—Hume.
Hope’s a magical compound
To increase our strength, we’ve found,
It can charm our bars and barriers all away.
With its impulse, which we borrow,
We can always do to-morrow
Lots and lots of things we never do to-day.
Small pleasures, depend upon it, lie about us as thick as daisies.—Jerrold.

Hope is the architect but brawn is the builder. An architect’s most elaborate design for a mansion, on paper, cannot protect one from the elements as well as can the crudest little cabin actually built by hands. Those who spend much time in dreaming wonderful plans and waiting for a ready-made success to come and hunt them up may be interested in learning about


Go after two wolves, and you will not even catch one.—Russian.
Hank Streeter used to sit around the corner grocery store,
A-telling of the things he’d like to do;
“But, pshaw!” said Hank, “it ain’t no use to tackle ’em before
Fate settles in her mind she’ll help you through.
[Pg 93]
And ’tain’t no use to waste your time on triflin’ things,” said he;
“The feller that secures the biggest plum
Is the one that thinks up something that’s a winner, so, you see,
I’m waitin’ for a brain-wave to come.”
In all God’s creation there is no place appointed for the idle man.—Gladstone.
“The men that make the biggest hits,” so Hank would often say,
“They ain’t the ones, or so I calculate,
That get their everlastin’ fame a-workin’ by the day;
No, sir! They sort o’ grab it while you wait.
They spend their time a-thinkin’ till they strike some new idee
That’s big enough to make the hull world hum.”
“And that’s my plan for winnin’ out,” said Hank; “and so,” said he,
“I’m waitin’ for a brain-wave to come.”
Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.—Mark Twain.
And there he sat a-waiting: in the winter by the stove,
In summer-time he sat outside the store;
And, while his busy neighbors all about him worked and throve,
He just kept on a-talking more and more;
Kept on a-getting poorer, and, while time it hauled and tacked,
Hank had to make a meal off just a crumb,
Till death it had to take him,—caught him in the very act
Of waiting for a brain-wave to come.
[Pg 94]
Labor is the genius that changes the world from ugliness to beauty, and changes the great curse to a great blessing.—Opie Read.
The man that’s born a genius,—well, I s’pose he’s bound to win,
But most of us are born the other way;
And, after all is said and done, the man who pitches in
And works,—well he’s a genius, so they say.
If he can’t win a dollar, why, he tries to earn a dime;
If he can’t have it all he’ll capture some:
For doing just the best we can is better, every time,
Than waiting for a brain-wave to come.
I have seldom known any one who deserted truth in trifles that could be trusted in matters of importance.—Paley.
There are many echoes in the world, but few voices.—Goethe.
Consequences are unpitying.—George Eliot.

But it is to be remembered that the youth who does not think well of himself is not likely to do well. “Ability, learning, accomplishment, opportunity, are all well,” says Mathews, “but they do not, of themselves, insure success. Thousands have all these, and live and die without benefiting themselves or others. On the other hand, men of mediocre talents, often scale the dizzy steeps of excellence and fame because they have firm faith and high resolve. It is this solid faith in one’s mission—the rooted belief that it is the one thing to which he has been called,—this enthusiasm, attracting an Agassiz to the Alps or the Amazon, impelling a Pliny to explore the volcano in which he is to lose his life, and nerv[Pg 95]ing a Vernet, when tossing in a fierce tempest, to sketch the waste of waters, and even the wave that is leaping up to devour him,—that marks the heroic spirit; and, wherever it is found, success, sooner or later, is almost inevitable.”

They who wish to sing always find a song.—Swedish.

The youth who will start out in life’s morning with a well-defined idea of the goal he wishes to gain, and who will keep going in the right direction need have little fear that his journey will finally end in


Whoever in the darkness lighteth another with a lamp, lighteth himself also.—Auerbach.
The city of Is sets on top of a hill
And if you would learn of its beauty
Take Right-Away street and keep going until
You pass through the gateway of Duty.
But some miss the way, though the guide-board is plain,
And leisurely wander forever,
Sad-hearted and weary, down By-and-By lane
That leads to the Valley of Never.
Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and good, and dwell as little as possible on the dark and base.—Cecil.
If you start in the morning and follow the sun
With a heart that is earnest and cheery,
The way is so short that your journey is done
Before you have time to be weary.
But wait till the day is beginning to wane
And then, though you rightly endeavor,
You are likely to wander down By-and-By lane
That leads to the Valley of Never.

[Pg 96]

A little integrity is better than any career.—Emerson.
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.—Mark Twain.
Sweep first before your own door, before you sweep the doorsteps of your neighbors.—Swedish.

When we come to observe life very closely we learn that the law of recompense is always in operation, and that when all things are considered, one man’s lot does not seem so much better or another’s so much worse than the fortune of those about him as a superficial glance might lead us to think. Says Hamerton: “I used to believe a great deal more in opportunities and less in application than I do now. Time and health are needed, but with these there are always opportunities. Rich people have a fancy for spending money very uselessly on their culture because it seems to them more valuable when it has been costly; but the truth is, that by the blessing of good and cheap literature, intellectual light has become almost as accessible as daylight. I have a rich friend who travels more, and buys more costly things than I do, but he does not really learn more or advance farther in the twelvemonth. If my days are fully occupied, what has he to set against them? only other well-occupied days, no more. If he is getting benefit at St. Petersburg he is missing the benefit I am getting round my house, and in it. The sum of the[Pg 97] year’s benefit seems to be surprisingly alike in both cases. So if you are reading a piece of thoroughly good literature, Baron Rothschild may possibly be as well occupied as you—he is certainly not better occupied. When I open a noble volume I say to myself, ‘Now the only Croesus that I envy is he who is reading a better book than this.’”

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counsellor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.—Addison.

There is many a boy who is quite sure the neighbor’s boy has an easier time and a better prospect of success. Grown-ups, too, are frequently of the opinion that they could do so much better if they were in somebody else’s shoes. Between the success which others attain and that which we achieve, we can very readily distinguish


Calmness is a great advantage.—Herbert.
When the other fellow gets rich it’s luck,
Just blundering luck that brings him gains,
But when we win it’s a case of pluck
With intelligent effort and lots of brains.
Man becomes greater in proportion as he learns to know himself and his faculty. Let him once become conscious of what he is, and he will soon learn to be what he should.—Schelling.

The country boy is sure that if he could get into the large city where there are more and greater chances for doing things he would make a great success. The city boy is quite as certain that if he[Pg 98] could get out into a country town where the competition is not so fierce and where there is more room to grow he would do something worth while. In discussing this subject, Edward Bok says: “It is the man, not the place that counts. The magnet of worth is the drawing power in business. It is what you are, not where you are. If a young man has the right stuff in him, he need not fear where he lives or does his business. Many a large man has expanded in a small place. The idea that a small place retards a man’s progress is pure nonsense. If the community does not offer facilities for a growing business, they can be brought to it. Proper force can do anything. All that is needed is right direction. The vast majority of people are like sheep, they follow a leader.”

Men must know that in this theater of man’s it remaineth only to God and angels to be lookers-on.—Bacon.
It is no man’s business whether he is a genius or not; work he must, whatever he is, but quietly and steadily.—Ruskin.

For the solace and enlightenment of those who think they are the victims of an unkind fortune and that conditions are better elsewhere I herewith offer Deacon Watts’s remarks concerning


The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, without a thought of fame.—Longfellow.
“This world is full of ‘yender grass,’” says Deacon Watts to me;
[Pg 99]
“When I’m a-mowin’ in the field, the grass close by,” says he,
“Is short and thin and full of weeds; but over yender, why,
It looks to me as if the grass is thick and smooth and high.
But sakes alive! that ain’t the case, for, when I mow to where
The grass I saw from far away looked all so smooth and fair,
I find it’s jest as short and thin as all the rest, or wuss;
And that’s the way the things of earth keep on a-foolin’ us!
Be not simply good, be good for something.—Thoreau.
Progress depends upon what we are, rather than upon what we may encounter. One man is stopped by a sapling lying across the road; another, passing that way, picks up the hindrance and converts it into a help in crossing the brook just ahead.—Trumbull.
“’Bout every day you’ll hear some man complainin’ of his lot,
And tellin’, if he’d had a chance like other people, what
He might have been! He’d like to know how he can ever win
When all the grass that comes his way is all so short and thin.
But over in the neighbors’ fields, why, he can plainly see
That they’re in clover plumb knee-deep and sweet as sweet can be!
At times it’s hard to tell if things are made of gold or brass;
Some men can’t see them distant fields are full of ‘yender grass.’
Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.—Beecher.
Great is wisdom; infinite is the value of wisdom. It cannot be exaggerated; it is the highest achievement of man.—Carlyle.
“I’ve learned one thing in makin’ hay, and that’s to fill my mow
[Pg 100]
With any grass that I can get to harvest here and now.
The ‘yender grass’ that ’way ahead is wavin’ in its pride
I find ain’t very fillin’ by the time it’s cut and dried.
Hope springs eternal, so they say, within the human breast:
Man never is, the sayin’ goes, but always to be, blest.
So my advice is, Don’t you let your present chances pass,
A-thinkin’ by and by you’ll reap your fill of ‘yender grass.’”


[Pg 101]


It is ours to climb and dare.—Frederick Lawrence Knowles.

“Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.” The saying is old but the truth is ever new.

Oh, sweet is life when youth is in the blood.—Denis McCarthy.

It is the little things that count, day by day, in the forming of character. The way in which we employ our moments finally becomes the way in which we employ our years.

Down in the busy thoroughfares are boys the world shall know some day.—Samuel Ellsworth Kiser.

As a matter of course every boy will, if he can, do some big, beautiful thing out there in the years to come. But it is a foregone conclusion that every boy must do a vast number of little things before he shall do the larger things. The “trifles” are always at hand waiting to be done, day after day, year after year. And it is the way in which a boy does these little things that gives him the standing he holds in the estimation of those with whom he is intimately associated.

“As the twig is bent, the tree’s in[Pg 102]clined.” A habit is easy to form but hard to break. Yet the strongest of habits are formed just a little at a time—a small strand is added each day until there is a mighty cable that cannot be broken except by a mighty effort. If it is a good habit, its strength makes it all the better! If it is a bad habit, its strength makes it so much the worse.

To him who presses on, at each degree new visions rise.—Julia Ward Howe.
To doubt is failure, and to dare, success.—Frederick Lawrence Knowles.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat, but to lie there is disgrace.—Edmund Vance Cooke.

Where is the boy who cannot see the fallacy in such illogical reasoning as this: “Now, I will be careless while I am young so that I may be careful when I am older. I will remain ignorant and poorly informed while I am a boy, so that I may be wise when I am a man. I will bend one way while I am a twig so that I shall incline in another direction when I become a tree. I will do wrong things while my character is being formed so that I may do right things when my habits become fixed.” All such reasoning is very, very foolish, isn’t it? And yet there are some illogical youths who deem it will be easy to have one character and disposition as boys and quite a different one when they come to be men. By some strange hocus-pocus they hope to be able to sow a crop of “wild oats” and later on reap[Pg 103] a harvest of good wheat. It cannot be done.

Do it right now and do it well.—John Townsend Trowbridge.

Any farmer’s boy will tell you that “as ye sow, so shall ye reap.” When the farmer wishes to harvest wheat he does not sow oats. When he wishes a crop of potatoes he does not plant gourds. He has learned that what he plants in the spring he will harvest in the autumn. It is equally as true of life. That which we sow in youth we reap in our maturer years. We must not try to deceive nature and our own consciences. We shall get back from the years what we give to the years.

Condemn no creed! Dig deep beneath the sod and at the root thou’lt find the truth of God.—Alicia K. Van Buren.

The boy who early gets into the habit of doing things right is pretty sure to go on doing them so all his life, and without much effort on his part. The will is strengthened by exercise in the same manner as are the muscles. We learn to do easily that which we do often.

It is adversity, not prosperity, which breeds men; as it is the storm, and not the calm, which makes the mariner.—Melvin L. Severy.
The slow long way may be the best.—Nathan Haskell Dole.
He who lifts his brother man in turn is lifted by him.—John Townsend Trowbridge.
As the twig is archetypal of the tree, so childhood builds the ladder up which manhood climbs.—Melvin L. Severy.

The youth who says “No” to little temptations will, later on in life, be perfectly able to say “No” to temptations of any size. And how many a man’s career has been made glorious simply because he learned, while a youth, to say “No” whenever his moral conscience[Pg 104] told him it was the thing he should say! How true are the teachings of the wise moralist who tells us: “A very little word is ‘No.’ It is composed of but two letters and forms only one syllable. In meaning it is so definite as to defy misunderstanding. Your lips find its articulation easy. Diminutive in size, evident in import, easy of utterance, frequent in use, and necessary in ordinary speech, it seems one of the simplest and most harmless of all words. Yet there are those to whom it is almost a terror. Its sound makes them afraid. They would expurgate it from their vocabulary if they could. The little monosyllable sticks in their throat. Their pliable and easy temper inclines them to conformity, and frequently works their bane. Assailed by the solicitations of pleasure they are sure to yield, for at once and resolutely they will not repeat ‘No!’ Plied with the intoxicating cup they seldom overcome, for their facile nature refuses to express itself in ‘No!’ Encountering temptation in the hard and duteous path they are likely to falter and fall, for they have not the boldness to speak out the decided negative ‘No!’[Pg 105] Amid the mists of time, and involved in the labyrinthine mazes of error, they are liable to forget eternal verities and join in the ribald jest, for they have not been accustomed to utter an emphatic ‘No!’ All the noble souls and heroes of history have held themselves ready, whenever it was demanded, to say ‘No!’ The poet said ‘No!’ to the sloth and indolence which was consuming his precious hours, and wove for himself in heavenly song a garland of immortality.”

All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.—Edwin Markham.
The greatest, strongest, most skilled is he who knows how to wait, and wait patiently.—Charles the Ninth.

“No” might seem to be but a mere trifle of a word yet the boy who learns to say it on every right occasion has already conquered many of the foes that are likely to beset him along life’s pathway. Every boy should cultivate his will until it is strong enough for him to depend upon it at all times. With the proper amount of will he is sure to have sufficient “won’t” to resist all the temptations that wrong may offer him.

The man in whom others believe is a power, but if he believes in himself he is doubly powerful.—Willis George Emerson.

In developing a strength that enables him to say “No!” to wrong things a boy becomes strong enough to say “Yes!” to right things. His “I won’t!” with which he meets wrong suggestions engenders his “I will!” toward the wholesome and[Pg 106] commendable undertakings in which he should be interested.

One forgives everything in him who forgives himself nothing.—Chinese.

When a boy has learned to say, and to feel the strength that is in the words, “I will!” he ceases to make use of the words, “I wish,” for his will is sufficient to make his wish a living reality. And what a world of difference there is between the involved meanings of the words,


Not in rewards, but in the strength to strive, the blessing lies.—John Townsend Trowbridge.
“I Wish” and “I Will,” so my grandmother says,
Were two little boys in the long, long ago,
And “I Wish” used to sigh while “I Will” used to try
For the things he desired, at least that’s what my
Grandma tells me, and she ought to know.
“I Wish” was so weak, so my grandmother says,
That he longed to have someone to help him about,
And while he’d stand still and look up at the hill
And sigh to be there to go coasting, “I Will”
Would glide past him with many a shout.
It makes considerable difference whether a man talks bigger than he is, or is bigger than he talks.—Patrick Flynn.
They grew to be men, so my grandmother says,
And all that “I Wish” ever did was to dream—
To dream, and to sigh that life’s hill was so high,
[Pg 107]
While “I Will” went to work and soon learned, if we try,
Hills are never so steep as they seem.
“I Wish” lived in want, so my grandmother says,
But “I Will” had enough and a portion to spare:
Whatever he thought was worth winning he sought
With an earnest and patient endeavor that brought
Of blessings a bountiful share.
No man doth safely rule but he that hath learned gladly to obey.—Thomas à Kempis.
And whenever my grandma hears any one “wish,”
A method she seeks, in his mind to instill,
For increasing his joys, and she straightway employs
The lesson she learned from the two little boys
Whose names were “I Wish” and “I Will.”
By varied discipline man slowly learns his part in what the Master Mind has planned.—Nathan Haskell Dole.

“Trifles” are the beginnings of things which finally develop into all that is worth while.

The acorn is a trifle, yet within it is hidden an oak tree, and a whole forest of oak trees. The tiny little brooklet is only a trifle yet it flows on and on till it becomes a mighty river.

It is a ridiculous thing for a man not to fly from his own badness, which indeed is possible, but to fly from other men’s badness, which is impossible.—Marcus Aurelius.

The first rude little pencil sketch made by the child that has an inborn love of drawing is but a trifle, yet it may be the beginning of an art career that shall brighten the whole world.

[Pg 108]

Yet with steadfast courage that rather would die than turn back.—Nathan Haskell Dole.

The first few lines written by the embryo poet constitute but a trifle, yet with a word of encouragement it may sometime be followed by songs that shall make all mankind happier and better.

One thing we must never forget, namely: that the infinitely most important work for us is the humane education of the millions who are soon to come on the stage of action.—George T. Angell.
In every sincere and earnest man’s heart God has placed a little niche where the poetic, the spectacular, and the legendary hold full sway.—Willis George Emerson.

It was just a trifling incident that developed one of the greatest vocalists the world has ever known. We are told that Jenny Lind, at the beginning of her life, was a poor, neglected little girl, homely and uncouth, living in a single room of a tumble-down house in a narrow street at Stockholm. When the humble woman who had her in charge went out to her daily labor, she was accustomed to lock Jenny in with her sole companion, a cat. One day the little girl, who was always singing to herself like a canary-bird, “because,” as she said, “the song was in her and must come out,” sat with her dumb companion at the window warbling her sweet child-like notes. She was overheard by a passing lady, who paused and listened, struck by the trill and clearness of the untutored notes. She made careful inquiry about the child and became the patroness of the little Jenny who was at once supplied with a music-teacher. She loved the art of song, and[Pg 109] having a true genius for it she made rapid progress, surprising both patroness and teachers, and presently, became the world’s “Queen of Song.”

The generous heart should scorn a pleasure which gives others pain.—Anonymous.
Neither education nor riches can take the place of character, yet we can all get as much character as we want.—Patrick Flynn.
A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows on rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.—Goethe.

How trifling was the incident that brought about, by a happy accident, the development of the genius which slept in the soul of the sculptor Canova! A superb banquet was being prepared in the palace of the Falieri family in Venice. The tables were already arranged, when it was discovered that a crowning ornament of some sort was required to complete the general effect of the banqueting board. Canova’s grandfather, who brought him up, was a stone-cutter, often hewing out stone ornaments for architects; and as he lived close at hand, he was hastily consulted by the steward of the Falieris. Canova chanced to go with his grandfather to view the tables, and overheard the conversation. Though but a child his quick eye and ready genius at once suggested a suitable design for the apex of the principal dishes. “Give me a plate of cold butter,” said the boy; and seating himself at a side table he rapidly moulded a lion of proper proportions, and so true to nature in its[Pg 110] pose and detail as to astonish all present. It was put in place and proved to be the most striking ornamental feature of the feast. When the guests, on being seated, discovered the lion, they exclaimed aloud with admiration, and demanded to see at once the person who could perform such a miracle impromptu. Canova was brought before them, and his boyish person only heightened their wonder. From that hour the head of the opulent Falieri family became his kind, appreciative, liberal patron. Canova was placed under the care of the best sculptors of Venice and Rome and became a grand master of his art.

A good conscience expects to be treated with perfect confidence.—Victor Hugo.
Build new domes of thought in your mind, and presently you will find that instead of your finding the eternal life, the eternal life has found you.—Jenkin Lloyd Jones.

But it may be truthfully said that every boy does not possess some latent genius, waiting to be discovered by some one who will foster and develop it. Then there is all the more need of making the very most of the small talents one may possess. One need not be a Canova, or a Shakespeare, in order that he may become something worth while to those with whom he dwells in close association.

There is no power on earth that can enslave a man who is mentally free; no power that can free a man who is mentally enslaved.—Patrick Flynn.

Every nook and corner of the world is waiting for the fine characters that[Pg 111] are to make it a pleasant place in which to dwell. Blest is that household, however humble, in which there are bright, manly, truthful, kind-hearted boys, ever ready to make the hours brighter, and the home dearer, by their tender thoughtfulness of those about them.

He who is plenteously provided from within, needs but little from without.—Goethe.

Are you going to win the admiration of the world, by and by?

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly, until he knows that every day is Doomsday.—Emerson.

Have you already won the admiration of that little, all-important world that now lies just about you? Does the mother, or father, or sister, or brother, who knows you best, hold you in the highest esteem? If you do not win the love of those who know you so well, how can you hope to be loved by the world which can never come into such close and tender relations with you?

Do not sing with a too exact correctness. Put in personality.—William Tomlins.

Do not wait for some big event out there in the years to come. Begin just here and now, by seizing upon the “trifles” that lie all about you. The great wall of solid masonry is not put into place all at once; it is laid patiently and carefully, brick by brick. So manhood must be built a “trifle” at a time until a character is established that temptation cannot totter to the earth.

[Pg 112]

Tyranny is always weakness.—James Russell Lowell.
If we see rightly and mean rightly, we shall get on, though the hand may stagger a little; but if we mean wrongly, or mean nothing, it does not matter how firm the hand is.—Ruskin.

And every boy ought to thank his lucky stars that he does not have to wait for some special occasion to offer itself before he can begin to develop the traits that shall waken the warmest regard of those about him, and bring to his own sense of well-doing the reward born of all virtue. This very day there are many “trifles” strewn in his pathway. If he shall make the most of them, larger opportunities will be vouchsafed him. The one important consideration is whether he is ready to begin to build at the present moment, and to utilize the splendid “trifles” all about him, or will procrastinate till such time as he can by some great sweep of action, establish his reputation all at once and full-born. If he has decided on the latter course he should be moved to give the most earnest and serious consideration to the startling differences that exist between


It is better to hold back a truth than to speak it ungraciously.—St. Francis de Sales.
Little Jimmie “Waitawhile” and little Johnnie “Now”
Grew up in homes just side by side; and that, you see, is how
[Pg 113]
I came to know them both so well, for almost every day
I used to watch them in their work and also in their play.
It is ever true that he who does nothing for others, does nothing for himself.—George Sand.
Little Jimmie “Waitawhile” was bright and steady, too,
But never ready to perform what he was asked to do;
“Wait just a minute,” he would say, “I’ll do it pretty soon,”
And tasks he should have done at morn were never done at noon.
He put off studying until his boyhood days were gone;
He put off getting him a home till age came stealing on;
He put off everything, and so his life was not a joy,
And all because he waited “just a minute” when a boy.
The artist who can realize his ideal has missed the true gain of art, as “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s heaven for?”—Edward Dowden.
But little Johnnie “Now” would say, when he had work to do,
“There’s no time like the present time,” and gaily put it through.
And when his time for play arrived he so enjoyed the fun!
His mind was not distressed with thoughts of duties left undone.
Keep but ever looking, whether with the body’s eye or the mind’s and you will soon find something to look on.—Browning.
In boyhood he was studious and laid him out a plan
Of action to be followed when he grew to be a man;
[Pg 114]
And life was as he willed it, all because he’d not allow
His tasks to be neglected, but would always do them “now.”
Great hearts alone understand how much glory there is in being good. To be and keep so is not the gift of a happy nature alone, but it is strength and heroism.—Jules Michelet.
And so in every neighborhood are scores of growing boys
Who, by and by, must work with tools when they have done with toys.
And you know one of them, I guess, because I see you smile;
And is he little Johnnie “Now” or Jimmie “Waitawhile”?

[Pg 115]


Courage is a virtue that the young cannot spare; to lose it is to grow old before the time; it is better to make a thousand mistakes and suffer a thousand reverses than to run away from the battle.—Henry Van Dyke.

Of what value is this book to you?

Perhaps there is more involved in the answer to this question than a careless consideration of it might lead one to think. Shakespeare says: “A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear of him that hears it, never in the tongue of him that makes it.”

So it is that the value of advice depends not so much upon the giver as it does upon the one who receives it.

He needs no other rosary whose thread of life is strung with beads of love and thought.—Persian.

Emerson has observed that he who makes a tour of Europe brings home from that country only as much as he takes there with him. This same truth holds good in the reading of books and in listening to sermons and lectures. He that has not eyes with which to see, will see nothing. He that has not ears with which to hear, can hear nothing.

A sign-post indicating which road to[Pg 116] take to reach a certain destination surely ought to be of great value to a traveler in a strange land. If the traveler, having failed to cultivate the habit of observing his surroundings, passes by the sign-post without seeing it, or if he reads its directions and says to himself: “I think I know better; I shall reach my destination by whatever road I choose to travel,” then the sign-post is of no true use to him. Not that it is not a good sign-post. No, the sign-post is all right; it is the traveler who is wrong. He must go his own way and, perhaps, journey far, and fare sadly before he arrives at the place he seeks—the destination he might have reached pleasantly and in good season. Franklin tells us that experience is a dear teacher but fools will learn from no other.

Truth is a cork; it is bound to come to the top.—Willis George Emerson.
He who will not answer to the rudder must answer to the rock.—Archbishop Herve.

Now this book which you hold in your hand is only a guide-post, or perhaps we had better call it a guide-book. It is intended for the use of the boys of our land and all other persons who are not too old or too wise to learn more.

It is not erudition that makes the intellectual man, but a sort of virtue which delights in vigorous and beautiful thinking, just as moral virtue delights in vigorous and beautiful conduct.—Hammerton.

Every boy is starting out on a long, interesting, and tremendously important journey. It will lie mostly through a[Pg 117] strange country and is a journey which must, in a very large sense, be traveled alone by each individual person. There are many partings of the ways; many perplexing forks in the road.

Give what you have. To some one it may be better than you dare to think.—Longfellow.

The thoughtful boy will ever feel called upon to ask his highest understanding: “Which is the right road for me to take?” He will not carelessly pass by the sign-posts without learning what they have to tell him, nor will he forget or refuse to be guided by their instructions and admonitions.

There are men who complain that roses have thorns. They should be grateful to know that thorns have roses.—Max O’Rell.

If a sign post says: “Danger! Go Slowly!” he will govern his movements accordingly. If the sign-post says: “Railroad Crossing. Beware of the Engine!” he will not blindly plunge ahead without waiting to see if his course is clear. He will understand that many others have traveled the way before him and have learned by experience that it is well for all to take heed and do as the sign-post directs.

I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.—Benjamin Franklin.

This life-long pathway upon which every boy is starting is a winding, intricate, interesting way, and many there are who turn into the wrong roads that are ever leading off from the main-traveled[Pg 118] track. It is the purpose of this volume to serve as a guide-book for the boy who desires to reach Happiness and Helpfulness, Prosperity and Splendid Manhood in the most direct and efficient manner. At every turn of life’s way it will warn him from the blind paths that would bring him, by the way of Idleness, Carelessness, Ignorance, and Extravagance, to the unfortunate land of Failure, of Broken Hopes, and of Life Misspent.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.—Barrie.
There is a certain sweetness and elegance in “little deeds of kindness,” and in letting our best impulses have free play on common occasions.—Joseph May.

“A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” In these pages over which your eye is passing are spoken the words of a large and distinguished company of the world’s best and wisest men and women. Emerson says: “Every book is a quotation; every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone-quarries, and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”

The school of the intellectual man is the place where he happens to be, and his teachers are the people, books, animals, plants, stones, and earth round about him.—Hammerton.

“In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” The value of well-selected quotations to serve as finger-posts to guide us day by day is thus set forth by the great German poet, Goethe: “Whatever may be said against such collections which present authors in a disjointed form they nevertheless bring about many[Pg 119] excellent results. We are not always so composed, so full of wisdom, that we are able to take in at once the whole scope of a work according to its merits. Do we not mark in a book passages which seem to have a direct reference to ourselves? Young people especially, who have failed in acquiring a complete cultivation of the mind, are roused in a praiseworthy way by brilliant quotations.”

Heroism is simple and yet it is rare. Everyone who does the best he can is a hero.—Josh Billings.
One of the dearest thoughts to me is this—a real friend will never get away from me, or try to, or want to. Love does not have to be tethered.—Anna R. Brown.

And if it shall so happen that some word or sentence or sentiment contained in this book shall rouse in a praiseworthy way just one boy—the very boy whose thought is dwelling on these lines at this very moment—all of this labor of love shall have been abundantly rewarded. For just one boy roused to his best efforts can grandly gladden his own home circle and, perchance, the whole wide world.

In all situations wherein a living man has stood or can stand, there is actually a prize of quite infinite value placed within his reach—namely, a Duty for him to do.—Carlyle.

“Why, the world is at a boy’s feet,” says Burdette, “and power, conquest, and leadership slumber in his rugged arms and care-free heart. A boy sets his ambition at whatever mark he will—lofty or grovelling, as he may elect—and the boy who resolutely sets his heart on fame, on health, on power, on what he will;[Pg 120] who consecrates every faculty of his mind and body on ambition, courage, industry, and patience, can trample on genius; for these are better and grander than genius.”

To have what we want is riches, but to be able to do without is power.—George MacDonald.

The past is gone forever; the present is so brief and fleeting we can scarcely call it our own; in the future lies our larger, better hope of a happier civilization. Not the men of yesterday, not the men of to-day, but the men of to-morrow, the boys, are the ones who are to make the world right. They are


Let every man be occupied in the highest employment of which his nature is capable, and die with the consciousness that he has done his best.—Sydney Smith.
Hurrah for the beacon-lights of earth,—
The brave, triumphant boys!
Hurrah for their joyous shouts of mirth,
And their blood-bestirring noise!
The bliss of being shall never die,
Nor the old world seem depressed
While a boy’s stout heart is beating high,
Like a glad drum in his breast.
Of course I know that it is better to build a cathedral than to make a boot; but I think it better actually to make a boot than only to dream about building a cathedral.—Ellen Thornycroft Fowler.
Ye wise professors of bookish things,
That burden the souls of men,
Go trade your lore for a boy’s glad wings,
And fly to the stars again.
Nor grope through a shrunken, shrivelled world
That the years have made uncouth,
But march ’neath the flaunting flags unfurled
By the valiant hands of youth.
[Pg 121]
The most enviable of all titles is the character of an honest man.—Abraham Lincoln.
Oh, never the lamp of age burns low
In its cold and empty cup.
But youth comes by with his face aglow,
And a beacon-light leaps up.
The gloomiest skies grow bright and gay,
And the whispered clouds of doubt
Are swept from the brows of the world away
By a boy’s triumphant shout.
An act of yours is not simply the thing you do, but it is also the way you do it.—Phillips Brooks.

Of the multitudes of boys who are to become the world’s victors, he will succeed best who earliest in life learns carefully to observe and to appreciate the character of his surroundings, and to build into the structure of his manhood the high and abiding influences that come to his hands. As one of our great thinkers given to deep introspection has so impressively said, life, itself, may be compared to a building in the course of construction. It rises slowly, day by day, through the years. Every new lesson we learn lays a block on the edifice which is rising silently within us. Every experience, every touch of another life on ours, every influence that impresses us, every book we read, every conversation we have, every act of our commonest days adds to the invisible building.

Always say a kind word if you can, if only that it may come in, perhaps, with singular opportuneness, entering some mournful man’s darkened room like a beautiful firefly, whose happy convolutions he cannot but watch, forgetting his many troubles.—Arthur Helps.
Not in war, not in wealth, not in tyranny, is there any happiness to be found—only in kindly peace, fruitful and free.—Ruskin.
You must help your fellow-men; but the only way you can help them is by being the noblest and the best man that it is possible for you to be.—Phillips Brooks.
The humblest subscriber to a mechanics’ institute has easier access to sound learning than had either Solomon or Aristotle, yet both Solomon and Aristotle lived the intellectual life.—Hammerton.

Plenty of good, wholesome play and[Pg 122] healthful recreation, every boy needs and must have if he means to round out a fine physical and moral development, but idleness and indifference, evils that creep into the hours that are given up to something that is neither work nor play, must never be tolerated. “The ruin of most men dates from some vacant hour,” says Hillard. “Occupation is the armor of the soul; and the train of Idleness is borne up by all the vices. I remember a satirical poem, in which the devil is represented as fishing for men and adapting his baits to the taste and temperament of his prey; but the idler, he said, pleased him most, because he bit the naked hook. To a young man away from home, friendless and forlorn in a great city, the hours of peril are those between sunset and bedtime; for the moon and stars see more of evil in a single hour than the sun in his whole day’s circuit. The poet’s visions of evening are all compact of tender and soothing images. They bring the wanderer to his home, the child to his mother’s arms, the ox to his stall, and the weary laborer to his rest. But to the gentle-hearted youth who is thrown upon the rocks of a pitiless city, ‘home[Pg 123]less amid a thousand homes,’ the approaching evening brings with it an aching sense of loneliness and desolation, which comes down upon the spirit like darkness upon the earth. In this mood his best impulses become a snare to him; and he is led astray because he is social, affectionate, sympathetic, and warm-hearted. If there be a young man thus circumstanced within the sound of my voice, let me say to him, that books are the friends of the friendless, and that a library is the home of the homeless. A taste for reading will always carry you into the best possible society, and enable you to converse with men who will instruct you by their wisdom, and charm you with their wit; who will soothe you when fretted, refresh you when weary, counsel you when perplexed, and sympathize with you at all times.”

The man who tries and succeeds is one degree less of a hero than the man who tries and fails and yet goes on trying.—Ellen Thornycroft Fowler.
Oh, do not pray for easy lives—pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers,—pray for powers equal to your tasks.—Phillips Brooks.
To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.—Henri Frederic Amiel.
Books are the voices of the dumb,
The tongues of brush and pen;
The ever-living kernels from
The passing husks of men.

It is from good books as well as from living personages that boys will receive much of the good advice which they[Pg 124] must follow in order that they may make the most of life. Life is too short for a boy to investigate everything for himself. There is much that he must accept as being true. He has not the time to follow every road to its end and ascertain if the sign-posts have all told the truth. Strive as we may we are still dependent for much of our information upon the hearsay of others. No one person can begin to know everything.

If instead of a gem or even a flower, we could cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.—George MacDonald.
What must of necessity be done you can always find out, beyond question, how to do.—Ruskin.
When I hear people say that circumstances are against them, I always retort: “You mean that your will is not with you!” I believe in the will—I have faith in it.—Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Every thinking boy clearly understands that he knows much more to-day than he did a year ago. And he has good reason for thinking that if he shall remain among the living he will know many things a year from now that he does not know to-day. To live is to learn. Hence it is that youth should be modest in the presence of age, for silver hair and wisdom are more than likely to dwell together. No youth should think too lightly of his own mental endowments and his fund of information, neither should he permit his very lack of knowledge to lead him to think that he has acquired about all the secrets that nature and the great world have to divulge. Every boy should be cool-headed, clear-[Pg 125]headed, long-headed, level-headed, but not big-headed. Should he become afflicted with a serious attack of “enlargement of the brain” it is more than likely that when he has reached the years of soberer manhood he will look back with a sense of good-humored humiliation to


If you do not scale the mountain, you cannot view the plain.—Chinese.
I remember, I remember
When I was seventeen;
I was the cleverest young man
The world had ever seen.
The universe seemed simple then,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I don’t know lots of things
I did know when a boy.
There is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, sincere earnestness.—Dickens.
I remember, I remember
This old world seemed so slow;
I’d teach it how to conquer things
When once I got a show!
’Twas such a charming fairy tale!
But now ’tis sorry play
To find how hard I have to work
To get three meals a day.
To leave undone those things which we ought to do, to leave unspoken the word of recognition or appreciation that we should have said, is perhaps as positive a wrong as it is to do the thing we should not have done.—Lillian Whiting.
I remember, I remember
The things I planned to do;
I meant to take this poor old earth
And make it over new.
[Pg 126]
It was a most delightful dream;
But now ’tis little cheer
To know the world when I am gone
Won’t know that I was here.
Those who can take the lead are given the lead.—Arthur T. Hadley.
When a family rises early in the morning, conclude the house to be well governed.—Chinese.

This somewhat overdrawn picture of human conceit and egotism holds a lesson for each and all of us. He who knows it all can learn no more, and he who can learn no more is likely to die ignorant. There are guide-posts all along our ways which if heeded will direct us toward the very destinations we should reach. And nothing else is so full of suggestion and inspiration as is a good book. In it we can enter the very heart of a man without being abashed by the author’s august presence.

Duty determines destiny. Destiny which results from duty performed may bring anxiety and perils, but never failure and dishonor.—William McKinley.

When quite young, the poet, Cowley, happened upon a copy of Spenser’s “Faerie Queen”, which chanced to be nearly the only book at hand, and becoming interested he read it carefully and often, until, enchanted thereby, he irrevocably determined to be a poet. The effect this same poem had upon the Earl of Southampton when he first read it is worth remembering. As soon as the book was finished Spenser took it to this noble patron of poets and sent[Pg 127] it up to him. The earl read a few pages and said to a servant, “Take the writer twenty pounds.” Still he read on, and presently he cried in rapture, “Carry that man twenty pounds more.” Entranced he continued to read, but presently he shouted: “Go turn that fellow out of the house, for if I read further I shall be ruined!”

Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.—Franklin.

Dr. Franklin tells us that the chance perusal of De Foe’s “Essay on Projects” influenced the principal events and course of his life. The reading of the “Lives of the Saints” caused Ignatius Loyola to form the purpose of creating a new religious order,—which purpose eventuated in the powerful society of the Jesuits.

It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.—Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Dickens’s earliest and best literary work, the “Pickwick Papers,” was begun at the suggestion of a publisher of a magazine for whom Dickens was doing some job-work at the time. He was asked to write a serial story to fit some comic pictures which chanced to be in the publisher’s possession.

Blessed is he who has found his work. From the heart of the worker rises the celestial force, awakening him to all nobleness, to all knowledge.—Thomas Carlyle.

While yet a mere boy Scott chanced upon a copy of Percy’s “Reliques of Ancient Poetry,” which he read and re-read[Pg 128] with great interest. He purchased a copy as soon as he could get the necessary sum of money and thus was early instilled into his soul a taste for poetry in the writing of which he was destined to attain such eminence. The translation of “Götz von Berlichingen” was Scott’s first literary effort and this work, Carlyle says, had a very large and lasting influence on the great novelist’s future career. In his opinion this translation was “the prime cause of ‘Marmion’ and the ‘Lady of the Lake,’ with all that has followed from the same creative hand. Truly a grain of seed that had lighted in the right soil. For if not firmer and fairer, it has grown to be taller and broader than any other tree; and all nations of the earth are still yearly gathering of its fruit.”

Nothing that is excellent can be wrought suddenly.—Jeremy Taylor.
Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset.—Emerson.
A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.—Milton.

Thus we see how much there is in life for those who observe their surroundings, who read the directions on the guide-posts, who study the guidebooks and who are wise enough to receive and to utilize the advice and suggestions that are everywhere offered them, and which their reason tells them are good.

[Pg 129]


Resolve to cultivate a cheerful spirit, a smiling countenance, and a soothing voice. The sweet smile, the subdued speech, the hopeful mind, are earth’s most potent conquerors, and he who cultivates them becomes a very master among men.—Hubbard.

“Boy Wanted”

Are you the boy?

If you have carefully read and digested the foregoing chapters you have a pretty clear understanding of the sort of boy the world prefers for a life partner. You have learned that you must

Ask no favors of “luck,”—win your way like a man;
Be active and earnest and plucky;
Then your work will come out just about as you plan
And the world will exclaim, “Oh, how lucky!”
They also serve who only stand and wait.—Milton.

In studying the history of the lives of successful men we are constantly being impressed with the thought that they make the most out of their surroundings, whatever their surroundings may be. They do not wait for a good chance to succeed; they take such chances as they can get and make them good. We very soon learn that

[Pg 130]

Two things fill me with awe: the starry heavens above, and the moral sense within.—Kant.
The ones who shall win are the ones who will toil;
The future is all in our keeping;
Though fortune may give us the seed and the soil,
We must still do the sowing and reaping.
The realities of to-day surpass the ideals of yesterday.—Frothingham.
The person who considers everything will never decide on anything.—Italian.

We learn, also, that one may achieve a full measure of success without accumulating much money, and may accumulate much money without achieving success. “Mere wealth is no more success than fools’ gold is real gold,” says one of our wise essayists. “Collaterals do not take the place of character. A man obtains thousands or millions of dollars by legal or illegal thieving, and society, instead of sending him to prison, receives him in its parlors. Men bow low when he passes, as in the fable the people bowed to the golden idols that were strapped on the back of a donkey, who was ass enough to swell with pride in the thought that all this reverence was for him. The man who puts his trust in gold and deposits his heart in the bank, and thinks money means success, is like the starving traveler in the desert, who, seeing a bag in the distance, found in it, instead of food which he sought, nothing but gold, and flung it from him in disappointment, and died for want of some[Pg 131]thing that could save his life. The soul will starve if gold alone administers to its needs. Better to be a man than merely a millionaire. Better to have a head and heart than merely houses and lands.”

Nobody can carry three watermelons under one arm.—Spanish.

It is along such lines of thinking that I offer these thoughts


When men speak ill of thee, live so that nobody will believe them.—Plato.
Get riches, my boy! Grow as rich as you can;
’Tis the laudable aim of each diligent man
Of life’s many blessings his share to secure,
Nor go through this world ill-conditioned and poor.
Get riches, my boy! Ah, but hearken you, mind!
Get riches, but those of the genuine kind.
Get riches,—not dollars and acres unless
You thoughtfully use them to brighten and bless.
The great high-road of human welfare lies along the old highway of steadfast well-being and well-doing, and they who are the most persistent, and work in the truest spirit, will invariably be the most successful; success treads on the heels of every right effort.—Samuel Smiles.
Get riches, not such as with money are bought,
But those that with love and high thinking are wrought;
Get rubies of righteousness, jewels of grace,
Whose brightness Time’s passing shall never efface.
Get riches! Do not, as the foolish will do,
In getting your money let money get you
To steal life’s high purpose from heart and from head
And prison the soul in a pocket instead.
Get riches! Get gold that is pure and refined;
Get light from above; get the love of mankind;
Get gladness through all of life’s journey; and then
Get heaven, forever and ever. Amen.

[Pg 132]

He overcomes a stout enemy who overcomes his own anger.—Greek.

The wide-awake boy will see the advantage of carrying in his thought these words of Lavater: “He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, and ceases when he has no more to say is in possession of some of the best requisites of man.”

Stones and sticks are flung only at fruit-bearing trees.—Persian.
The man of words and not of thoughts
Is like a great long row of naughts.

“There is a gift beyond the reach of art, of being eloquently silent,” says Bovee, and Caroline Fox tells us that “the silence which precedes words is so much grander than the grandest words because in it are created those thoughts of which words are the mere outward clothing.” To speak to no purpose is as idle as the clanging of tinkling cymbals.

Let every man be occupied, and occupied in the highest employment of which his nature is capable, and die with the consciousness that he has done his best.—Sydney Smith.
A thoughtful man will never set
His tongue a-going and forget
To stop it when his brain has quit
A-thinking thoughts to offer it.

“If thou thinkest twice before thou speakest once,” says Penn, “thou wilt speak twice the better for it.”

It is this matter of thinking, of con[Pg 133]sidering, of weighing one’s words and deeds that compels the moments, the days and the years to bring the success that some mistakenly think is only a matter of chance.

It is an uncontroverted truth that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them.—Swift.

It is this habit of careful thinking that is going to make you remember that you owe it not only to yourself to make your life the truest success you can, but you owe it to your family, your friends, your enemies—if such you have—to the whole world with which you are in partnership, and to the stars above you.

The great successes of the world have been affairs of a second, a third, nay, a fiftieth trial.—John Morley.

But above all others there is one who, either in spirit or in her living presence, must ever and always be near to you, and for whose sake you will—God helping you!—stand up in your boots and be a man!


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.
Boy, your mother’s dreaming; there’s a picture pure and bright
That gladdens all her gracious tasks at morning, noon and night;
A picture where is blended all the beauty born of hope,
A view that takes the whole of life within its loving scope.
[Pg 134]
Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be.—Pythagoras.
She’s dreaming, fondly dreaming, of the happy future when
Her boy shall stand the equal of his grandest fellow men
Her boy, whose heart with goodness she has labored to imbue,
Shall be, in her declining years, her lover proud and true.
Courage consists, not in blindly overlooking danger, but in meeting it with the eyes open.—Jean Paul Richter.
She’s growing old; her cheeks have lost the blush and bloom of spring,
But oh! her heart is proud because her son shall be a king;
Shall be a king of noble deeds, with goodness crowned, and own
The hearts of all his fellow men, and she shall share his throne.
Boy, your mother’s dreaming; there’s a picture pure and bright
That gladdens all her gracious tasks at morning, noon and night;
A view that takes the whole of life within its loving scope;
O Boy, beware! you must not mar that mother’s dream and hope.

Transcriber's Note:

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible. Some minor corrections of spelling and puctuation have been made.