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wise resolve, sooner? Can such a simple result spring only from the long and intricate process of experience? Alas! it is not till time, with reckless hand, has torn out half the leaves from the book of human life, to light the fires of passion with, from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number, and to remember, faintly at first, and then more clearly, that upon the earlier pages of that book was written a story of happy innocence, which he would fain read over again. Then come listless irresolution, and the inevitable inaction of despair; or else the firm resolve to record upon the leaves that still remain a more noble history than the child's story with which the book began."
- HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
XXII. A GOOD DAUGHTER
1. A good daughter! - there are other ministries of love, more conspicuous than hers, but none in which a gentler, lovelier spirit dwells, and none to which the heart's warm requitals more joyfully respond. There is no such thing as a comparative estimate of a parent's affection for one or another child. There is little which he needs to covet, to whom the treasure of a good child has been given.
2. But a son's occupations and pleasures carry him more abroad; and he lives more among temptations, which hardly permit the affection that is following him, perhaps over half the globe, to be wholly unmingled with anxiety, till the time when he comes to relinquish the shelter of his father's roof for one of his own; while a good daughter is the steady light of her parent's house.
3. Her idea is indissolubly connected with that of his
happy fireside. She is his morning sunlight and his evening star. The grace, and vivacity, and tenderness of her sex have their place in the mighty sway which she holds over his spirit. The lessons of recorded wisdom, which he reads with her eyes, come to his mind with a new charm, as they blend with the beloved melody of her voice.
4. He scarcely knows weariness which her song does not make him forget, or gloom which is proof against the young brightness of her smile. She is the pride and ornament of his hospitality, and the gentle nurse of his sickness, and the constant agent in those nameless, numberless acts of kindness, which one chiefly cares to have rendered because they are unpretending but all-expressive proofs of love.
5. And then what a cheerful sharer is she, and what an able lightener of a mother's cares! What an ever-present delight and triumph to a mother's affection! Oh, how little do those daughters know of the power which God has committed to them, and the happiness God would have them enjoy, who do not, every time that a parent's eye rests on them, bring rapture to a parent's heart!
6. A true love will, almost certainly, always greet their approaching steps. That they will hardly alienate. But their ambition should be, not to have it a love merely which feelings implanted by nature excite, but one made intense and overflowing by approbation of worthy conduct; and she is strangely blind to her own happiness, as well as undutiful to them to whom she owes the most, in whom the perpetual appeals of parental disinterestedness do not call forth the prompt and full echo of filial devotion.
-JOHN GORHAM PALFREY.
THE FUTURE OF WOMAN
I. What highest prize hath woman won
What mightiest work by woman done
2. Wait, boastful man! though worthy are
For this the worth of woman shows:
Ever as man in wisdom grows,
3. Oh, not for wealth, or fame, or power,
To make of earth a heaven!
Heaven's brightest rose shall bloom,
Her advent yet to come!
XXIII. BE PUNCTUAL
I. An economical use of time is the true mode of securing leisure. It enables us to get through business, and carry it forward, instead of being driven by it. On the other hand, the miscalculation of time involves us in perpetual hurry, confusion, and difficulties, and life becomes a mere shuffle of expedients usually followed by disaster. Nelson once said, "I owe all my success in life to having been always a quarter of an hour before my time."
2. A proper consideration of the value of time will inspire habits of punctuality. Nothing begets confidence in a man sooner than the practice of this virtue, and nothing shakes confidence sooner than the want of it. He who holds to his appointment, and does not keep you waiting for him, shows that he has regard for your time as well as for his own. Thus punctuality is one of the modes of testifying respect.
3. We naturally come to the conclusion that the person who is careless about time will be careless about business. When Washington's secretary excused himself for the lateness of his attendance, and laid the blame upon his watch, Washington quietly replied, "Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary." Franklin once said to a servant who was always late, but always ready with an excuse, “I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else."
4. The unpunctual man is a general disturber of others' peace and serenity. He is systematically late, regular only in his irregularity. He always arrives at his appointment after the hour, gets to the railway station after the train has started, and posts his letter when the mail has closed.
It will generally be found that the men who are thus habitually behind time are habitually behind success, and that they become grumblers and railers against fortune.
5. Attention, application, accuracy, method, punctuality, and dispatch are the principal qualities required for the efficient conduct of business of any sort. It is the precept of every day's experience that steady attention to matters of detail lies at the root of human progress, and that diligence, above all, is the mother of what is erroneously called "good luck."
6. A French statesman, being asked how he contrived to accomplish so much work, and at the same time attend to his social duties, replied, "I do it simply by never postponing till to-morrow what should be done to-day." It was, said of an unsuccessful public man that he used to reverse this process, his maxim being "never to transact to-day what could be postponed till to-morrow."
7. But bear in mind this: there may be success in life without success in business. The merchant who failed, but who afterward recovered his fortune, and then spent it in paying his creditors their demands in full, principal and interest, thus leaving himself a poor man, had a glorious success; while he who failed, paid his creditors ten cents only on a dollar, and afterward rode in his carriage and occupied a magnificent mansion, was sorrowfully looked on by honest men as lamentably unsuccessful.
8. True success in life is success in building up a pure, honest, energetic character—in so shaping our habits, our thoughts, and our aspirations as to best qualify us for a higher life. Wordsworth well describes the "happy warrior" as one who "makes his moral being his prime care":
"'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
Upon that law, as on the best of friends;