The town of Haddonfield, in New Jersey, took its name from her; and the tradition concerning her courtship is often repeated by some patriarch among the Quakers.
Her medical skill is so well remembered, that the old nurses of New Jersey still recommend Elizabeth Estaugh's salve as the "sovereignest thing on earth."
The following beautiful lines from Whittier, though inspired by another, well apply to this Quakeress of the olden time:
As pure and sweet, her fair brow seemed Eternal as the sky; And like the brook's low song, her voice,— A sound that could not die.
And half we deemed she needed not The changing of her sphere, To give to heaven a shining one, Who walked an angel here.
The blessing of her quiet life Fell on us like the dew; And good thoughts, where her footsteps pressed, Like fairy blossoms grew.
Sweet promptings unto kindest deeds Were in her very look; We read her face as one who reads A true and holy book.
* * * *
We miss her in the place of prayer, And by the hearth-fire's light; We pause beside her door to hear Once more her sweet "Good-night."
* * * *
Still let her mild rebuking stand Between us and the wrong, And her dear memory serve to make Our faith in goodness strong.
* * * * *
IN THE TRENCHES OF THE CRIMEA—PUTS DOWN THE GREAT TAIPING REBELLION IN CHINA IN 1863-4—HERO OF THE SOUDAN—BEARDS THE MEN-STEALERS IN THEIR STRONGHOLDS, AND MAKES THE PEOPLE LOVE HIM.
At the present writing (Summer of 1884), General Gordon, who has won the heart of the world by his brave deeds, is exciting a great deal of interest on account of his perilous position in Khartoum. A sketch of his career will be acceptable to not a few readers.
The likeness which accompanies this chapter is from a photograph taken not long ago at Southampton, England; but no portrait gives the expression of the man. His smile and his light-blue eyes can not be painted by the sun. The rather small physique, and mild and gentle look, would not lead the ordinary observer to recognize in General Gordon a ruler and leader of men; but a slight acquaintance shows him to be a man of unusual power and great force of character.
His religious fervor and boundless faith are proverbial—so much so that some men call him a fatalist; whilst others say, like Festus, "Thou art beside thyself." Neither of these judgments is true, though it is certainly true that, from a desire to oblige others, Gordon has sometimes made errors in judgment that have led him into sad dilemmas. To say nothing of his second visit to the Soudan, to oblige Ismail Pasha, and his rash and most dangerous embassy to King John of Abyssinia, to oblige Tewfik Pasha, we need but allude to his unwise acceptance of the post of private secretary to Lord Ripon in India. He was overpersuaded, and to please others he sacrificed himself. To those who knew him, it was not surprising that almost the first thing he did on landing at Bombay was to throw up his appointment and rush off to China, where he was instrumental in preventing war between that country and Russia.
The active life of General Gordon, who is about fifty years old, may be divided into the following sections: the Crimea and Bessarabia; China (the suppression of the Taiping rebellion); Gravesend (the making of the defenses at Tilbury); and the Soudan. A later and shorter episode occurs in his visit to Mauritius and the Cape, the latter colony being the only place in which his great capabilities and high character were unappreciated.
In the Crimea General Gordon worked steadily in the trenches, and won the praise of his superior officers for his skill in detecting the movements of the Russians. Indeed, he was specially told off for this dangerous duty. Lord Wolseley, then a captain, was a fellow-worker with Gordon before Sebastopol.
In 1856 Gordon was occupied in laying down the boundaries of Russia, in Turkey and Roumania, for which work he was in a peculiar manner well fitted, and he resided in the East, principally in Armenia, until the end of 1858. During this time he ascended both Little and Great Ararat.
In 1860 he was ordered to China, and assisted at the taking of Pekin and the sacking and burning of the Summer Palace. This work did not seem to be much to his taste.
China was the country destined to give to the young engineer the sobriquet by which he is now best known—"Chinese" Gordon. Here he first developed that marvelous power, which he still holds above all other men, of engaging the confidence, respect, and love of wild and irregular soldiery.
The great Taiping rebellion, which was commenced soon after 1842 by a sort of Chinese Mahdi—a fanatical village schoolmaster—had attained such dimensions that it had overrun and desolated a great portion of Southern China, and threatened to drive the foreigners into the sea. Nanking, with its porcelain tower, had been taken, and was made the capital of the Heavenly King, as the rebel chieftain, Hung, now called himself. His army numbered some hundreds of thousands, divided under five Wangs, or kings, and the Imperialists were driven closer and closer to the cities of the seacoast.
In 1863 the British Government was applied to for assistance, and Captain Gordon was selected to take command of the Imperial forces in the place of an American adventurer named Burgevine, who had been cashiered for corrupt practices. The Ever-victorious Army, as it was called, numbered 4,000 men, when the young engineer took the command. Carefully and gradually he organized and increased it, and as he always led his men himself, and ever sought the post of danger, he soon obtained their fullest confidence, and never failed to rally them to his support.
He wore no arms, but always carried a small cane, with which he waved on his men, and as stockade after stockade fell before him, and city after city was taken, that little cane was looked upon as Gordon's magic wand of victory. He seemed to have a charmed life, and was never disconcerted by a hailstorm of bullets. Occasionally, when the Chinese officers flinched and fell back before the terrible fusillade, he would quietly take one by the arm and lead him into the thickest of the enemy's fire, as calmly as though he were taking him in to dinner. Once, when his men wavered under a hail of bullets, Gordon coolly lighted his cigar, and waved his magic wand; his soldiers accepted the omen, came on with a rush, and stormed the defense. He was wounded once only, by a shot in the leg, but even then he stood giving his orders till he nearly fainted, and had to be carried away.
Out of 100 officers he lost almost one-half in his terrible campaign, besides nearly one-third of his men. But he crushed the rebellion, and rescued China from the grasp of the most cruel and ruthless of spoilers. His own estimate was that his victories had saved the lives of 100,000 human beings.
Then he left China without taking one penny of reward. Honors and wealth were poured at his feet, but he accepted only such as were merely honorary. He was made a Ti-Tu—the highest title to which a subject can attain—and he received the Orders of the Star, the Yellow Jacket, and the Peacock's Feather. When, however, the Imperial messengers brought into his room great boxes containing L10,000 in coin, he drove them out in anger. The money he divided amongst his troops. And yet he might well have taken even a larger sum. One who knew how deeply the empire was indebted to him, wrote, "Can China tell how much she is indebted to Colonel Gordon? Would 20,000,000 taels repay the actual service he has rendered to the empire?"
Gordon returned home to England, and, avoiding all the flattering notice that was continually thrust upon him, he retired to his work at Gravesend, where, from 1865 to 1871, he labored at the construction of the Thames Defenses.
Here he passed six of the happiest years of his life—in active work, in deep seclusion from the world of wealth and fashion, but in a state of happiness and peace. His house was school, hospital, and almshouse, and he lived entirely for others. "The poor, the sick, the unfortunate were welcome, and never did supplicant knock vainly at his door."
Gutter children were his especial care. These he cleansed and clothed, and the boys he trained for a life at sea. His evening classes were his delight, and he read and taught his children with the same ardor with which he had led the Chinese troops into battle. For the boys he found suitable places on board vessels respectably owned, and he never lost sight of his proteges. A large map of the world, stuck over with pins, showed him at a glance where he had last heard from one of these rescued waifs. "God bless the Kernel," was chalked upon many a wall in Gravesend; and well might the poor bless the man who personified to them the life and daily walk of one who "had been with Jesus." To them he was the "Good Samaritan," pouring in oil and wine; and they blessed and reverenced him, and gave him a love which he valued more than royal gifts.
We must, however, hasten on, and see him transferred from Gravesend to the Danube, and thence to the Soudan. He succeeded Sir Samuel Baker in the government of these distant territories in Egypt in 1873. The Khedive Ismail offered him L10,000 a year, but he would only accept L2,000, as he knew the money would have to be extorted from the wretched fellaheen. His principal work was to conquer the insurgent slave-dealers who had taken possession of the country and enslaved the inhabitants. The lands south of Khartoum had long been occupied by European traders, who dealt in ivory, and had thus "opened up the country." This opening up was a terrible scourge to the natives, because these European traffickers soon began to find out that "black ivory" was more valuable than white. So they formed fortified posts, called sceribas, and garrisoned them with Arab ruffians, who harried the country and organized manhunts on a gigantic scale. The profits were enormous, but the "bitter cry" of Africa began to make itself heard in distant Europe, and the so-called Christian slave-dealers found it more prudent to withdraw. This they did without loss, for they sold their stations to Arabs, and the trade in human beings went on as merrily as ever. Dr. Schweinfurth, the African explorer and botanist, visited one of these slave-dealing princes in 1871, and found him surrounded by an almost regal court, and possessed of more than vice-regal power. He was lord of thirty stations, all strongly fortified, and stretching like a chain into the very heart of Africa. Thus his armies of fierce soldiery, Arab and black, were able to make raids over whole provinces, and gather in the great human harvest to supply the demands of Egypt, Turkey, and Arabia. This famous man was named Sebehr Rahma; and although he was defeated by Colonel Gordon and sent down to Cairo, he never quite lost favor at the Egyptian Court, and was not long since appointed commander in chief of the Soudan, to uphold the power of Egypt against the Mahdi! The scandals of the slave-trade, combined with the lust of conquest, were the causes out of which grew the famous expedition of Sir Samuel Baker to the Soudan. The love of conquest made it pleasing in the eyes of the Khedive Ismail, and the desire to uproot the infamous slave-trade obtained for the enterprise the warm approval of the Prince of Wales, and the hearty co-operation of Sir Samuel Baker, who displayed the greatest courage and energy in the conduct of the enterprise.
From this first expedition the two succeeding ones of Colonel Gordon may be said to have arisen. The struggle against the slave-hunters had developed into a war, and the Khedive began to fear that their power would grow until his own position at Cairo might become endangered. The slave-king Sebehr must be destroyed, together with his numerous followers and satellites.
Gordon was not long in perceiving why he was selected for the office of governor; for we find him writing home, "I think I can see the true motive of the expedition, and believe it to be a sham to catch the attention of the English people." With him, however, it was no sham. He was determined to do what he was professedly sent to do, viz.: put down the slave-trade. "I will do it," he said, "for I value my life as naught, and should only leave much weariness for perfect peace."
How hard he found his task to ameliorate the condition of the wretched inhabitants, we perceive from such an outburst as this, amongst many similar: "What a mystery, is it not? Why are they created? A life of fear and misery, night and day! One does not wonder at their not fearing death. No one can conceive the utter misery of these lands—heat and mosquitoes day and night all the year round. But I like the work, for I believe I can do a great deal to ameliorate the lot of the people."
This spirit of unselfishness and of a sublime charity runs through all his work. Every man, black or white, was "neighbor" to him, and he ever fulfilled the command of his Lord, to "love his neighbor as himself." Against oppression he could, however, be stern and severe. Not a few ruffians whom he caught red-handed in flagrant acts of cruelty were executed without mercy. So that the same man who, by the down-trodden people, was called the "Good Pasha," was to the robber and murderer a terror and avenger.
When at Khartoum he was on one occasion installed with a royal salute, and an address was presented, and in return he was expected to make a speech. His speech was as follows: "With the help of God, I will hold the balance level." The people were delighted, for a level balance was to them an unknown boon. And he held it level all through his long and glorious reign, which lasted, with small break, from February, 1874, until August, 1879.
During those five years and a half he had traveled over every portion of the huge territory which was placed under him—provinces extending all the way to the Equatorial Lakes. Besides riding through the deserts on camels and mules 8,490 miles in three years, he made long journeys by river. He conveyed a large steamer up the Nile as far as Lake Albert Nyanza, and succeeded in floating her safely on the waters of that inland sea. He had established posts all the way from Khartoum to Gondokora, and reduced that enormous journey from fifteen months to only a few weeks. He writes respecting these posts in January, 1879: "I am putting in all the frontier posts European Vakeels, to see that no slave caravans come through the frontier. I do not think that any now try to pass; but the least neglect of vigilance would bring it on again in no time."
This is only one out of hundreds of instances of the hawk-eyed vigilance of the governor-general. The vast provinces under his sway had never been ruled in this fashion before.
One strain runs through all his numerous letters written during the five years he remained in the Soudan, and that is the heart-rending condition of the thousands of slaves who were driven through the country, and the cruelty of the slave-hunters. Were we to begin quoting from those letters, we should outrun the limits of this sketch. He had broken the neck of the piratical army of man-stealers, and their forces were scattered and comparatively powerless. So many slaves were set free that they became a serious inconvenience, as they had to be fed and provided for.
And yet there was no shout of joy at the capital, whence he had set out years before, armed with the firman of the khedive to put an end to the slave trade. On the contrary, We find him saying: "What I complain of in Cairo is the complete callousness with which they treat all these questions, while they worry me for money, knowing by my budgets that I can not make my revenue meet my expenses by L90,000 a year. The destruction of Sebehr's gang is the turning-point of the slave-trade question, and yet, never do I get one word from Cairo to support me."
One more extract:
"Why should I, at every mile, be stared at by the grinning skulls of those who are at rest?
"I said to Yussef Bey, who is a noted slave-dealer, 'The inmate of that ball has told Allah what you and your people have done to him and his.'
"Yussef Bey says, 'I did not do it!' and I say, 'Your nation did, and the curse of God will be on your land till this traffic ceases.'"
This man, Yussef Bey, was one of the most cruel of the slave-hunters, and renowned for the manner in which he tortured his victims, more especially the young boys. He also cruelly murdered the interesting and peaceful king of the Monbuttos, so graphically described in Schweinfurth's "Heart of Africa."
In June, 1882, Yussef Bey met his deserts, for going out with an army of Egyptian troops to meet the Mahdi, he and all his men were cut to pieces, scarcely one surviving.
Much of Gordon's time, during his first expedition, had been occupied in strengthening the Egyptian posts south of Gondokoro, stretching away toward the country of King M'tesa. So badly were they organized that it took him twenty-one months to travel from Gondokoro to Foweira and Mrooli, his southernmost points. There he found that it would be impossible to interfere with the rival kings of that region without becoming involved in a war, and he returned from the lake districts "with the sad conviction that no good could be done in those parts, and that it would have been better had no expedition ever been sent."
We conclude our imperfect sketch with the following quotation, describing General Gordon's resignation:
"I am neither a Napoleon nor a Colbert," was his reply to some one who spoke to him in praise of his beneficent rule in the Soudan; "I do not profess either to have been a great ruler or a great financier; but I can say this: I have bearded the slave-dealers in their strongholds, and I made the people love me."
What Gordon had done was to justify Ismail's description of him eight months before. "They say I do not trust Englishmen; do I mistrust Gordon Pasha? That is an honest man; an administrator, not a diplomatist!"
Apart from the difficulties of serving the new khedive, Gordon longed for rest. The first year of his rule, during which he had done his own and other men's work, the long marches, the terrible climate, the perpetual anxieties, had all told upon him. Since then he had had three years of desperate labor, and had ridden some 8,500 miles. Who can wonder that he resented the impertinences of the pashas, whose interference was not for the good of his government or of his people, but solely for their own?
But it was not for him to stay on and complain. To one of the worst of these pashas he sent a telegram which ran, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." Then he sailed for England, bearing with him the memory of the enthusiastic crowd of friends who bade him farewell at Cairo. It is said that his name sends a thrill of love and admiration through the Soudan even yet. A hand so strong and so beneficent had never before been laid on the people of that unhappy land.
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BITS OF COMMON SENSE AND WISDOM ON A GREAT SUBJECT.
Homely phrases sometimes carry in them a truth which is passed over on account of its frequent repetition, and thus they fail to effect the good they are intended to do. For instance, there is one with reference to woman, which asserts that she is man's "better half;" and this is said so often, half in satire and half in jest, that few stop to inquire whether woman really be so. Yet she is in good truth his better half; and the phrase, met with in French or Latin, looks not only true but poetical, and in its foreign dress is cherished and quoted. She is not the wiser—in a worldly sense—certainly not the stronger, nor the cleverer, notwithstanding what the promoters of the Woman's Rights movements may say; but she is the better. All must feel, indeed, that, if the whole sins of the present world could be, and were, parceled into two huge heaps, those committed by the men would far exceed those of the women. We doubt whether any reflective man will deny this. On the other hand, the active virtues of man, his benevolence and good deeds, might equal those of woman; but his passive virtues, his patience and his endurance, would be much smaller. On the whole, therefore, woman is the much better half; and there is no good man but owes an immense deal to the virtues of the good women about him. He owes, too, a considerable deal of evil to their influence, not only of the absolutely bad, for those a pure man shuns, but the half-good and respectably selfish women of society—these are they who undermine his honesty, his benevolence, and his purity of mind.
The influence man receives from woman is of a very mixed character. But of all the influence which woman has over man, that which is naturally most permanent, for good or evil, arises from the marriage tie. How we of the cold North have been able to emancipate woman from the deplorable depth into which polygamy would place her, it is not easy to say. That it is a state absolutely countenanced—nay, enjoined—in the Old Testament, it would be useless to deny. But custom and fair usance are stronger than the Old Testament; and the Jews, who readily adopt the laws of the country under which they live, forbid polygamy to their brethren in Christian lands, whilst they permit and practice it where it exists, as with the Mahometan and Hindoo. Under its influence the character of woman is terribly dwarfed. She sinks to nothing where she would be, as she should be, of half the importance of life at least.
To preserve her position, it will be necessary for all good women to try and elevate the condition of their sisters. With all of us, "the world is too much with us, day by day;" and worldly success plays so large a part in the domestic drama, that woman is everywhere perceptibly influenced by it. Hence, to return to the closer consideration of the subject from our own point of view, the majority of men's wives in the upper and middle classes fall far short of that which is required of a good wife. They are the wives not made by love, but by the chance of a good match. They are the products of worldly prudence, not of a noble passion; and, although they may be very comfortable and very well clad, though they may think themselves happy, and wear the very look of health and beauty, they can never be to their husbands what a wife of true and real tender love would be.
The consequence is that, after the first novelty has passed away, the chain begins to rub and the collar to gall. "The girl who has married for money," writes a clergyman, "has not by that rash and immoral act blinded her eyes to other and nobler attractions. She may still love wisdom, though the man of her choice may be a fool; she will none the less desire gentle, chivalrous affection because he is purse-proud and haughty; she may sigh for manly beauty all the more because he is coarse and ugly; she will not be able to get rid of her own youth, and all it longs for, by watching his silver hair." No; and, while there comes a curse upon her union—whilst in the long, long evenings, in the cold Spring mornings, and in the still Summer days, she feels that all worth living for is gone, while she is surrounded by all her body wants—her example is corrupting others. The scorned lover, who was rejected because he was poor, goes away to curse woman's fickleness and to marry some one whom he can not love; and the thoughtless girls, by whom the glitter of fortune is taken for the real gold of happiness, follow the venal example, and flirt and jilt till they fancy that they have secured a good match.
Many women, after they have permanently attached a husband of this sort, sit down, with all the heroism of martyrs, to try to love the man they have accepted, but not chosen. They find it a hard, almost an impossible task. Then comes the moment so bitterly predicted by Milton, who no doubt drew from his own feeling and experience, when he put into the mouths of our first parents the prophecy that either man should never find the true partner of his choice, or that, having found her, she should be in possession of another. This is far too often true, and can not fail to be the source of a misery almost too bitter to be long endured.
It says much for our Anglo-Saxon wives that their constancy has passed into many proverbs. When a woman really loves the man who marries her, the match is generally a happy one; but, even where it is not, the constancy of the wife's affection is something to be wondered at and admired. No after ill-usage, no neglect, or want of love, will remove the affection once given. No doubt all women, when they fall in love, do so with that which they conceive to be great and noble in the character of the object. But they still love on when all the glitter of novelty has fallen off, and when they have been behind the scenes and found how bare and gloomy was the framework of the scene they admired. All illusions may be gone; the hero may have sunk into the cowardly braggart; the saint into the hypocritical sinner; the noble aspirant into a man whose mouth alone utters but empty words which his heart can never feel; but still true love remains, "nor alters where it alteration finds." The duration of this passion, the constancy of this affection, surprises many; but, adds a writer, such persons—
"Know not woman, the blest being Who, like a pitying angel, gifts the mean And sordid nature even with more love Than falls to the lot of him who towers above His fellow-men; like parasitic flowers That grow not on high temples, where the showers And light of heaven might nourish, but alone Cloth the rent altar and the fallen stone."
There must be some great reason, some combination of feeling, for this. M. Ernest Feydeau, in a popular story of very bad principles, seems to hit the right nail on the head. "What woman," he asks, "would not love her husband, and be ever true to him, without thinking of a lover, if her husband would give her that which a lover gives her, not alone attention, politeness, and a cold friendship, but a little of that balm which is the very essense of our existence—a little love?" Probably these very bad men, for whom women will so generously ruin themselves, are, by their nature, soft and flattering; and, after cruelties and excesses, will, by soft words and Belial tongues, bind to them yet more closely the hearts of their victims.
The ideal wife has been often painted, but the real far exceeds her. When Ulric von Hutten wrote to Frederick, he painted such a portrait as must have made that staunch advocate for the marriage of the clergy glow with admiration. "Da mihi uxorem," he commences. "Get me a wife, Frederick, after my own heart, such as you know I should like—neat, young, fairly educated, modest, patient; one with whom I may joke and play, and yet be serious; to whom I may babble and talk, mixing hearty fun and kisses together; one whose presence will lighten my anxiety and soften the tumult of my cares."
It is not too much to say that the great majority of wives equal this ideal. United to such a woman, a man becomes better. He can never be the perfect man unless married. With marriage he undertakes those duties of existence which he is born to fulfill. The excitements of life and of business, the selfishness of daily existence, diminish; the generosities of the heart expand; the health of the mind becomes daily more robust; small repressions of selfishness, daily concessions, and daily trials, render him better; the woman of his choice becomes his equal, and in lifting her he lifts himself. He may not be a genius, nor she very clever; but, once truly married, the real education of life begins. That is not education which varnishes a man or a woman over with the pleasant and shining accomplishments which fit us for society, but that which tends to improve the heart, to bring forward the reflective qualities, and to form a firm and regular character; that which cultivates the reason, subdues the passions, restrains them in their proper place, trains us to self-denial, makes us able to bear trials, and to refer them, and all our sentiments and feelings to their proper source; which makes us look beyond this world into the next. A man's wife, if properly chosen, will aid in all this. The most brilliant and original thinker, and the deepest philosopher we have—he who has written books which educate the statesmen and the leaders of the world—has told us in his last preface that he, having lost his wife, has lost his chief inspiration. Looking back at his works, he traces all that is noble, all that is advanced in thought and grand in idea, and all that is true in expression, not to a poet or a teacher, but to his own wife; in losing her he says he has lost much, but the world has lost more. So, also, two men, very opposite in feelings, in genius, and in character, and as opposite in their pursuits, declared at a late period in their lives—lives spent in industry and hard work, and in expression of what the world deemed their own particular genius—"that they owed all to their wives." These men were Sir Walter Scott and Daniel O'Connell. "The very gods rejoice," says Menu the sage, "when the wife is honored. When the wife is injured, the whole family decays; when the contrary is the case, it flourishes." This may be taken as an eternal truth—as one of those truths not to be put by, not to be argued down by casual exceptions. It is just as true of nations as it is of men; of the whole people as it is of individual families. So true it is, that it may be regarded as a piece of very sound advice when we counsel all men, married or single, to choose only such men for their friends as are happy in their wedded lives. No man can afford to know a broken family. Quarreling, discord, and connubial disagreements are catching. With unhappiness at home, no man is safely to be trusted, no woman to be sought in friendship. The fault may not be his or hers, but it must be between them. A man and woman must prove that they can be a good husband and wife before they can be admitted to have proved that they are good citizens. Such a verdict may seem harsh, but it is necessary and just. Young people just married can not possibly afford to know unhappy couples; and they, in their turn, may, with mutual hypocrisy, rub on in the world; but in the end they feel that the hypocrisy can not be played out. They gradually withdraw from their friends and acquaintance, and nurse their own miseries at home.
All good men feel, of course, that any distinctive separation of the sexes, all those separate gatherings and marks which would divide woman from man, and set her upon a separate pedestal, are as foolish as they are really impracticable. You will find no one who believes less in what certain philanthropists call the emancipation of women than a happy mother and wife. She does not want to be emancipated; and she is quite unwilling that, instead of being the friend and ally of man, she should be his opponent. She feels truly that the woman's cause is man's.
"For woman is not undeveloped man, But diverse. Could we make her as the man, Sweet love were slain, whose dearest bond is this— Not like to like, but like in difference."
The very virtues of woman, not less than her faults, fit her for her attachment to man. There is no man so bad as not to find some pitying woman who will admire and love him; and no man so wise but that he shall find some woman equal to the full comprehension of him, ready to understand him and to strengthen him. With such a woman he will grow more tender, ductile, and appreciative; the man will be more of woman, she of man. Whether society, as it is at present constituted, fits our young women to be the good wives they should be is another question. In lower middle life, and with the working classes, it is asserted that the women are not sufficiently taught to fulfill their mission properly; but, if in large towns the exigencies of trade use up a large portion of the female population, it is no wonder that they can not be at the same time good mill-hands, bookbinders, shopwomen, and mothers, cooks, and housewives. We may well have recourse to public cookery, and talk about working men's dinners—thus drifting from an opposite point into the coming socialism—when we absorb all the home energies of the woman in gaining money sufficient for her daily bread. Yet these revelations, nor those yet more dreadful ones which come out daily in some of our law courts, are not sufficient to make us overlook the fact that with us by far the larger portion of marriages are happy ones, and that of men's wives we still can write as the most eloquent divine who ever lived, Jeremy Taylor, wrote, "A good wife is Heaven's last, best gift to man—his angel and minister of graces innumerable—his gem of many virtues—his casket of jewels. Her voice is sweet music—her smiles his brightest day—her kiss the guardian of his innocence—her arms the pale of his safety, the balm of his health, the balsam of his life—her industry his surest wealth—her economy his safest steward—her lips his faithful counselors—her bosom the softest pillow of his cares—and her prayers the ablest advocate of Heaven's blessings on his head."
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WHAT THE "BREAD WINNERS" LIKE IN THEIR WIVES—A LITTLE CONSTITUTIONAL OPPOSITION.
It would not be holding the balance of the sexes fairly, if after saying all that can be said in favor of men's wives, we did not say something on the side of women's husbands. In these clever days the husband is a rather neglected animal. Women are anxious enough to secure a specimen of the creature, but he is very soon "shelved" afterwards; and women writers are now so much occupied in contemplating the beauties of their own more impulsive sex that they neglect to paint ideals of good husbands. There has been also too much writing tending to separate the sexes. It is plain that in actual life all the virtues can not be on one side, and all the faults on the other; yet some women are not ashamed to write and speak as if such were really the case. The wife is taught to regard herself as a woman with many wrongs, because her natural rights are denied her. She is cockered up into a domestic martyr, and is bred into an impatience of reproof which is very harmful and very ungraceful. If we look about us, we find that in our cities, especially, this is producing some very sad results. Some of the men are getting very impatient at the increasing demands of women for attention, for place, and for consideration; and, on merely selfish grounds, it is hardly doubtful whether our women in the upper and middle classes do not demand too much. It is evident that, as society is constituted, man is the working and woman, generally, the ornamental portion, of it, at least in those classes to which Providence or society has given what we call comfortable circumstances. Woman may do, and does do, a great deal of unpleasant, tiresome work; she fritters away her time upon occupations which require "frittering;" but beyond that she does not do the "paying" work. The husband, or houseband, still produces the money. He is the poor, plain, working bee; and the queen bee too often sits in regal state in her comfortable hive while he is toiling and moiling abroad.
It results from the different occupations of the two sexes, that the husband comes home too often worried, cross, and anxious; that he finds in his wife a woman to whom he can not tell his doubts and fears, his humiliations and experience. She, poor woman, with little sense of what the world is, without any tact, may bore him to take her to fresh amusements and excitements; for, while he has been expending both brain and body, she has been quietly at home. A certain want of tact, not unfrequently met with in wives, often sets the household in a flame of anger and quarreling, which might be avoided by a little patience and care on the part of the wife.
It is not in human nature for a man who has been hard at work all day to return to his home toiled and weary, or with his mind agitated after being filled with many things, and to regard with complacency little matters which go awry, but which at another time would not trouble him. The hard-working man is too apt to regard as lazy those who work less than himself, and he therefore looks upon the slightest unreadiness or want of preparation in his wife as neglect. Hence a woman, if she be wise, will be constantly prepared for the return of her husband. He, after all, is the bread-winner; and all that he requires is an attention less by far than we should ordinarily pay to a guest. In the good old Scotch song, which thrills our heart every time it is sung, and makes us remember, however skeptical we may have grown, the true worth and divinity of love, the wife's greatest pleasure is that of looking forward to the return of her husband. She puts on-her best clothes and her sweetest smile; she clothes her face with that fondness which only a wife's look can express; she makes her children look neat and pretty—"gi'es little Kate her cotton gown, and Jock his Sunday coat" because the husband is returning. There is not a prettier picture throughout the whole range of literature. How her love breathes forth—
"Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue; His breath like caller air; His very foot has music in 't As he comes up the stair."
And the love which thus colors with its radiant tints the common things of this life, which makes poverty beautiful, and the cottage richer than the palace, will be sure to teach the heart which possesses it how to manage the husband.
In "managing a man"—an important lesson, which some women are very anxious to impress upon others—immense tact and delicacy are wanted, but are very seldom found. Wives should remember that they had better, very much better, never try to manage, than try and not succeed. And yet all men like to be managed, and require management. No one can pretend to be the be-all and end-all in a house. It is from his wife that the husband should learn the true value of things—his own dignity, his position, and even his secondary position by her side as manageress. But, if she be wise, she will not make this too apparent. Directly the voice gets too loud, the tone too commanding, and the manner too fussy, the unhappy man begins to suspect that he is being "managed," and in nine cases out of ten sinks into utter imbecility, or breaks away like an obstinate pig. Both these symptoms are bad, and perhaps the first is the worst. No true woman can love and reverence a man who is morally and intellectually lower than herself, and who has driveled down into a mere assenting puppet. On the other hand, the pig-headed husband is very troublesome. He requires the greatest care; for whatever his wife says he will refuse to do; nay, although it may be the very essence of wisdom, he will refuse it because he knows the behest proceeds from his wife. He is like a jibbing horse, which you have to turn one way because you want him to start forward on the other; or he more closely resembles the celebrated Irish pig, which was so obstinate that his master was obliged to persuade him that he was being driven to Dublin, when his back was towards that city, and he was going to Athlone!
One part of management in husbands lies in a judicious mixture of good humor, attention, flattery, and compliments. All men, as well as women, are more or less vain; the rare exceptions of men who do not care to be tickled by an occasional well-turned compliment only prove the rule. But, in the case of a husband, we must remember that this love of being occasionally flattered by his wife is absolutely a necessary and natural virtue. No one needs to be ashamed of it. We are glad enough to own, to remember, to treasure up every little word of approval that fell from the lips of the woman we courted. Why should we forget the dear sounds now she is our wife? If we love her, she may be sure that any little compliment—an offered flower, a birthday gift, a song when we are weary, a smile when we are sad, a look which no eye but our own will see—will be treasured up, and will cheer us when she is not there. Judiciously used, this conduct is of the greatest effect in managing the husband. A little vanity does not, moreover, in such cases as these, prove a man to be either a bad man or a fool. "All clever men," says a great observer, "are more or less affected with vanity. It may be blatant and offensive, it may be excessive, but not unamusing, or it may show itself just as a large soupcon, but it is never entirely absent." The same writer goes on to say that this vanity should by no means be injudiciously flattered into too large a size. A wife will probably admire the husband for what he is really worth; and the vanity of a really clever man probably only amounts to putting a little too large a price on his merits, not to a mistake as to what those merits are. The wife and husband will therefore think alike; but, if she be wise, she will only go to a certain point in administering the domestic lumps of sugar. "A clever husband," says the writer we have quoted, "is like a good despot; all the better for a little constitutional opposition." Or the same advice may be thus put, as it often is, by a wise and cautious mother-in-law: "My dear," she would say, "you must never let your husband have matters all his own way."
A woman who abdicates all her authority, who is not queen over her kitchen, her chamber, and her drawing-room or best parlor, does a very dangerous and foolish thing, and will soon dwarf down into a mere assenting dummy. Now old Burleigh, the wise counselor of Queen Elizabeth, has, in his advice to his son, left it upon record that "thou shalt find there is nothing so irksome in life as a female fool." A wife who is the mere echo of her husband's opinions; who waits for his advice upon all matters; who is lazy, indolent, and silly in her household; fussy, troublesome, and always out of the way or in the way when she is traveling; who has no opinions of her own, no temper of her own; who boasts that "she bears every thing like a lamb;" and who bears the breakage of her best china and the desecration of her white curtains with tobbaco-smoke with equal serenity; such a woman may be very affectionate and very good, but she is somewhat of a "she-fool." Her husband will too often first begin to despise and then to neglect her. She will follow so closely on the heels of her husband's ideas and her husband's opinions that she will annoy him like an echo. Her genuine love will be construed into something like cunning flattery; her very devotion will be mistaken; her sweet nature become tiresome and irksome, from want of variety; and, from being the mistress of the house, she will sink into the mere slave of the husband. A wife should therefore learn to think, to walk alone, to bear her full share of the troubles and dignities of married life, never to become a cipher in her own house, but to rise to the level of her husband, and to take her full share of the matrimonial throne. The husband, if a wise man, will never act without consulting his wife; nor will she do any thing of importance without the aid and advice of her husband.
There is, however—and in these days of rapid fortune-making we see it constantly—a certain class of men who rise in the world without the slightest improvement in their manners, taste, or sense. Such men are shrewd men of business, or perhaps have been borne to the haven of fortune by a lucky tide; and yet these very men possess wives who, although they are of a lower sphere, rise at once with their position, and in manner, grace, and address are perfect ladies, whilst their husbands are still the same rude, uncultivated boors. These wives must be wise enough to console themselves for their trials; for indeed such things are a very serious trial both to human endurance and to human vanity. They must remember that they married when equals with their husbands in their lowliness, and that their husbands have made the fortune which they pour at their feet. They will recollect also that their husbands must have industry, and a great many other sterling good qualities, if they lack a little polish; and, lastly, that they are in reality no worse off than many other women in high life who are married to boors, to eccentric persons, or, alas! too often to those who, with many admirable virtues, may blot them all by the indulgence in a bosom sin or an hereditary vice.
The last paragraph will lead us naturally enough to the faults of husbands. Now, although we are inclined to think that these are greatly exaggerated, and that married men are, on the whole, very good—excellent men and citizens, brave men, battling with the world and its difficulties, and carrying forward the cumbrous machine in its path of progress and civilization—although we think that, as a class, their merits are actually not fully appreciated, and that the bachelors (sly fellows!) get very much the best of it—still, we must admit that there is a very large class of thoroughly bad husbands, and that this class may be divided into the foolish, the careless, and the vicious sub-classes, each of which would require at least a volume to be devoted to their treatment and castigation. Nay, more than a volume. Archdeacon Paley notes that St. John, apologizing for the brevity and incompleteness of Gospel directions, states that, if all the necessary books were written, the world would not contain them. So we may say of the faults of foolish husbands; we will, therefore, say no more about them, but return to the part which the wives of such men ought to play.
In the first place, as a true woman, a wife will be as tender of those faults as she can be. She will not talk to her neighbors about them, nor magnify them, nor dwell upon them. She, alas! will never be without her share of blame; for the world, rightly or wrongly, often dowers the wife with the faults of the husband, and, seeing no possibility of interfering and assigning to each his or her share, suspects both. Moreover, in many cases she will have to blame herself chiefly. We take it that the great majority of women marry the men that they choose. If they do not do so, they should do so. They may have been unwise and vain enough to have been pleased and tickled by the flattery of a fool. When they have married him, they find him, as Dr. Gregory wrote to his daughters, "the most intractable of husbands; led by his passions and caprices, and incapable of hearing the voice of reason." A woman's vanity may be hurt when she finds that she has a husband for whom she has to blush and tremble every time he opens his lips. She may be annoyed at his clownish jealousy, his mulish obstinacy, his incapability of being managed, led, or driven; but she must reflect that there was a time when a little wisdom and reflection on her own part would have prevented her from delivering her heart and her person to so unworthy a creature.
Women who have wicked husbands are much more to be pitied: In early life the wives themselves are innocent; and, from the nature of things, their innocence is based upon ignorance. Here the value of the almost intuitive wisdom and perception of the gentler sex comes into full play. During courtship, when this perception is in its full power and vigor, it should be freely exercised. Scandal and common report, in themselves to be avoided, are useful in this.
Women should choose men of character and of unspotted name. It is a very old and true remark—but one may as well repeat what is old and trite when that which is new would be but feeble repetition at the best—that a good son generally makes a good husband; a wise companion in a walk may turn out a judicious companion through life. The wild attempt to reform a rake, or to marry a man of a "gay" life, in the hope that he will sow "his wild oats," is always dangerous, and should never be attempted. A woman who has a sense of religion herself should never attach herself to a man who has none. The choice of a husband is really of the greatest consequence to human happiness, and should never be made without the greatest care and circumspection. No sudden caprice, no effect of coquetry, no sally of passion, should be dignified by the name of love. "Marriage," says the apostle, "is honorable in all;"' but the kind of marriage which is so is that which is based upon genuine love, not upon fancy or caprice; which is founded on the inclination of nature, on honorable views, cemented by a similarity of tastes, and strengthened by the true sympathy of souls.
Love is the tyranny So blessed to endure! Who mourns the loss of liberty, With all things else secure?
Live on, sweet tyranny! (Cries heart within a heart) God's blossom of Eternity, How beautiful thou art!
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WHAT HE SAYS OF RELIGIOUS GRUMBLERS—GOOD-NATURE AND FIRMNESS—PATIENCE—OPPORTUNITIES—FAULTS—HOME—MEN WHO ARE DOWN—HOPE—HINTS AS TO THRIVING, ETC.
John Ploughman's Talk, says the author, Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, the famous London preacher, "has not only obtained an immense circulation, but it has exercised an influence for good." As to the "influence for good," the reader will judge when he has read the following choice bits from the pages of that unique book. And we feel sure that he will thank us for including John among our "Brave Men and Women."
When a man has a particularly empty head, he generally sets up for a great judge, especially in religion. None so wise as the man who knows nothing. His ignorance is the mother of his impudence and the nurse of his obstinacy; and, though he does not know B from a bull's foot, he settles matters as if all wisdom were in his fingers' ends—the pope himself is not more infallible. Hear him talk after he has been at meeting and heard a sermon, and you will know how to pull a good man to pieces, if you never knew it before. He sees faults where there are none, and, if there be a few things amiss, he makes every mouse into an elephant. Although you might put all his wit into an egg-shell, he weighs the sermon in the balances of his conceit, with all the airs of a bred-and-born Solomon, and if it be up to his standard, he lays on his praise with a trowel; but, if it be not to his taste, he growls and barks and snaps at it like a dog at a hedgehog. Wise men in this world are like trees in a hedge, there is only here and there one; and when these rare men talk together upon a discourse, it is good for the ears to hear them; but the bragging wiseacres I am speaking of are vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds, and their quibbling is as senseless as the cackle of geese on a common. Nothing comes out of a sack but what was in it, and, as their bag is empty, they shake nothing but wind out of it. It is very likely that neither ministers nor their sermons are perfect—the best garden may have a few weeds in it, the cleanest corn may have some chaff—but cavilers cavil at any thing or nothing, and find fault for the sake of showing off their deep knowledge; sooner than let their tongues have a holiday, they would complain that the grass is not a nice shade of blue, and say that the sky would have looked neater if it had been whitewashed.
GOOD-NATURE AND FIRMNESS.
Do not be all sugar, or the world will suck you down; but do not be all vinegar, or the world will spit you out. There is a medium in all things; only blockheads go to extremes. We need not be all rock or all sand, all iron or all wax. We should neither fawn upon every body like silly lap-dogs, nor fly at all persons like surly mastiffs. Blacks and whites go together to make up a world, and hence, on the point of temper, we have all sorts of people to deal with. Some are as easy as an old shoe, but they are hardly ever worth more than the other one of the pair; and others take fire as fast as tinder at the smallest offense, and are as dangerous as gunpowder. To have a fellow going about the farm as cross with every body as a bear with a sore head, with a temper as sour as verjuice and as sharp as a razor, looking as surly as a butcher's dog, is a great nuisance; and yet there may be some good points about the man, so that he may be a man for all that; but poor, soft Tommy, as green as grass and as ready to bend as a willow, is nobody's money and every body's scorn. A man must have a backbone, or how is he to hold his head up? But that backbone must bend, or he will knock his brow against the beam.
There is a time to do as others wish, and a time to refuse. We may make ourselves asses, and then every body will ride us; but, if we would be respected, we must be our own masters, and not let others saddle us as they think fit. If we try to please every body, we shall be like a toad under a harrow, and never have peace; and, if we play lackey to all our neighbors, whether good or bad, we shall be thanked by no one, for we shall soon do as much harm as good. He that makes himself a sheep will find that the wolves are not all dead. He who lies on the ground must expect to be trodden on. He who makes himself a mouse, the cats will eat him. If you let your neighbors put the calf on your shoulders, they will soon clap on the cow. We are to please our neighbor for his good to edification, but this is quite another matter.
Patience is better than wisdom; an ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains. All men praise patience, but few enough can practice it; it is a medicine which Is good for all diseases, and therefore every old woman recommends it; but it is not every garden that grows the herbs to make it with. When one's flesh and bones are full of aches and pains, it is as natural for us to murmur as for a horse to shake his head when the flies tease him, or a wheel to rattle when a spoke is loose; but nature should not be the rule with Christians, or what is their religion worth? If a soldier fights no better than a plowboy, off with his red coat. We expect more fruit from an apple-tree than from a thorn, and we have a right to do so. The disciples of a patient Savior should be patient themselves. Grin and bear it is the old-fashioned advice, but sing and bear it is a great deal better. After all, we get very few cuts of the whip, considering what bad cattle we are; and when we do smart a little, it is soon over. Pain past is pleasure, and experience comes by it. We ought not to be afraid of going down into Egypt, when we know we shall come out of it with jewels of silver and gold.
ON SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES.
Some men never are awake when the train starts, but crawl into the station just in time to see that every body is off, and then sleepily say, "Dear me, is the train gone? My watch must have stopped in the night!" They always come into town a day after the fair, and open their wares an hour after the market is over. They make their hay when the sun has left off shining, and cut their corn as soon as the fine weather is ended. They cry "Hold hard!" after the shot has left the gun, and lock the stable-door when the steed is stolen. They are like a cow's tail, always behind; they take time by the heels and not by the forelock, if indeed they ever take him at all. They are no more worth than an old almanac; their time has gone for being of use; but, unfortunately, you can not throw them away as you would the almanac, for they are like the cross old lady who had an annuity left to her, and meant to take out the full value of it—they won't die, though they are of no use alive. Take-it-easy and Live-long are first cousins, they say, and the more's the pity. If they are immortal till their work is done, they will not die in a hurry, for they have not even begun to work yet. Shiftless people generally excuse their laziness by saying, "they are only a little behind;" but a little too late is much too late, and a miss is as good as a mile. My neighbor Sykes covered up his well after his child was drowned in it, and was very busy down at the Old Farm bringing up buckets of water after every stick of the house had been burned; one of these days, he'll be for making his will when he can't hold a pen, and he'll be trying to repent of his sins when his senses are going.
He who boasts of being perfect is perfect in folly. I have been a good deal up and down in the world, and I never did see either a perfect horse or a perfect man, and I never shall till two Sundays come together. You can not get white flour out of a coal sack, nor perfection out of human nature; he who looks for it had better look for sugar in the sea. The old saying is, "Lifeless, faultless;" of dead men we should say nothing but good; but as for the living, they are all tarred more or less with the black brush, and half an eye can see it. Every head has a soft place in it, and every heart has its black drop. Every rose has its prickles, and every day its night. Even the sun shows spots, and the skies are darkened with clouds. Nobody is so wise but he has folly enough to stock a stall at Vanity Fair. Where I could not see the fool's cap, I have nevertheless heard the bells jingle. As there is no sunshine without some shadows, so is all human good mixed up with more or less of evil; even poor-law guardians have their little failings, and parish beadles are not wholly of heavenly nature. The best wine has its lees. All men's faults are not written on their foreheads, and it's quite as well they are not, or hats would need very wide brims; yet as sure as eggs are eggs, faults of some sort nestle in every bosom. There's no telling when a man's sins may show themselves, for hares pop out of the ditch just when you are not looking for them. A horse that is weak in the legs may not stumble for a mile or two, but it is in him, and the driver had better hold him up well. The tabby cat is not lapping milk just now, but leave the dairy door open, and see if she is not as bad a thief as the kitten. There's fire in the flint, cool as it looks: wait till the steel gets a knock at it, and you will see. Every body can read that riddle, but it is not every body that will remember to keep his gunpowder out of the way of the candle.
If we would always recollect that we live among men who are imperfect, we should not be in such a fever when we find out our friend's failings; what's rotten will rend, and cracked pots will leak. Blessed is he who expects nothing of poor flesh and blood, for he shall never be disappointed. The best of men are men at the best, and the best wax will melt.
"It is a good horse that never stumbles, And a good wife that never grumbles."
That word home always sounds like poetry to me. It rings like a peal of bells at a wedding, only more soft and sweet, and it chimes deeper into the ears of my heart. It does not matter whether it means thatched cottage or manor-house, home is home; be it ever so homely, there is no place on earth like it. Green grows the house-leek on the roof forever, and let the moss flourish on the thatch. Sweetly the sparrows chirrup and the swallows twitter around the chosen spot which is my joy and rest. Every bird loves its own nest; the owls think the old ruins the fairest spot under the moon, and the fox is of opinion that his hole in the hill is remarkably cozy. When my master's nag knows that his head is toward home he wants no whip, but thinks it best to put on all steam; and I am always of the same mind, for the way home, to me, is the best bit of road in the country. I like to see the smoke out of my own chimney better than the fire on another man's hearth; there's something so beautiful in the way in which it curls up among the trees. Cold potatoes on my own table taste better than roast meat at my neighbor's, and the honeysuckle at my own door is the sweetest I ever smell. When you are out, friends do their best, but still it is not home. "Make yourself at home," they say, because every body knows that to feel at home is to feel at ease.
"East and west, Home is best."
Why, at home you are at home, and what more do you want? Nobody grudges you, whatever your appetite may be; and you don't get put into a damp bed.
MEN WHO ARE DOWN.
No man's lot is fully known till he is dead; change of fortune is the lot of life. He who rides in the carriage may yet have to clean it. Sawyers change-places, and he who is up aloft may have to take his turn in the pit. In less than a thousand years we shall all be bald and poor too, and who knows what he may come to before that? The thought that we may ourselves be one day under the window, should make us careful when we are throwing out our dirty water. With what measure we mete, it shall be measured to us again, and therefore let us look well to our dealings with the unfortunate.
Nothing makes me more sick of human nature than to see the way in which men treat others when they fall down the ladder of fortune: "Down with him," they cry, "he always was good for nothing."
"Down among the dead men, down, down, down, Down among the dead men, there let him lie."
Dog won't eat dog, but men will eat each other up like cannibals, and boast of it too. There are thousands in this world who fly like vultures to feed on a tradesman or a merchant as soon as ever he gets into trouble. Where the carcass is thither will the eagles be gathered together. Instead of a little help, they give the sinking man a great deal of cruelty, and cry, "Serves him right." All the world will beat the man whom fortune buffets. If providence smites him, all men's whips begin to crack. The dog is drowning, and therefore all his friends empty their buckets over him. The tree has fallen, and every body runs for his hatchet. The house is on fire, and all the neighbors warm themselves. The man has ill luck, therefore his friends give him ill usage; he has tumbled into the road, and they drive their carts over him; he is down, and selfishness cries, "Let him be kept down, then there will be the more room for those who are up."
How aggravating it is when those who knocked you down kick you for not standing up! It is not very pleasant to hear that you have been a great fool, that there were fifty ways at least of keeping out of your difficulty, only you had not the sense to see them. You ought not to have lost the game; even Tom Fool can see where you made a bad move. "He ought to have looked the stable-door;" every body can see that, but nobody offers to buy the loser a new nag. "What a pity he went so far on the ice!" That's very true, but that won't save the poor fellow from drowning. When a man's coat is threadbare, it is an easy thing to pick a hole in it. Good advice is poor food for a hungry family.
"A man of words and not of deeds Is like a garden full of weeds."
Lend me a bit of string to tie up the traces, and find fault with my old harness when I get home. Help my old horse to a few oats, then tell him to mend his pace. Feel for me and I shall be much obliged to you, but mind you, feel in your pocket, or else a fig for your feelings.
Eggs are eggs, but some are rotten; and so hopes are hopes, but many of them are delusions. Hopes are like women, there is a touch of angel about them all, but there are two sorts. My boy Tom has been blowing a lot of birds'-eggs, and threading them on a string; I have been doing the same thing with hopes, and here's a few of them, good, bad, and indifferent.
The sanguine man's hope pops up in a moment like Jack-in-the-box; it works with a spring, and does not go by reason. Whenever this man looks out of the window he sees better times coming, and although it is nearly all in his own eye and nowhere else, yet to see plum-puddings in the moon is a far more cheerful habit than croaking at every thing like a two-legged frog. This is the kind of brother to be on the road with on a pitch-dark night, when it pours with rain, for he carries candles in his eyes and a fireside in his heart. Beware of being misled by him, and then you may safely keep his company. His fault is that he counts his chickens before they are hatched, and sells his herrings before they are in the net. All his sparrows'-eggs are bound to turn into thrushes, at the least, if not partridges and pheasants. Summer has fully come, for he has seen one swallow. He is sure to make his, fortune at his new shop, for he had not opened the door five minutes before two of the neighbors crowded in; one of them wanted a loaf of bread on trust, and the other asked change for a shilling. He is certain that the squire means to give him his custom, for he saw him reading the name over the shop door as he rode past. He does not believe in slips between cups and lips, but makes certainties out of perhapses. Well, good soul, though he is a little soft at times, there is much in him to praise, and I like to think of ope of his odd sayings, "Never say die till you are dead, and then it's no use, so let it alone." There are other odd people in the world, you see, besides John Ploughman.
MY FIRST WIFE.
My experience of my first wife, who will, I hope, live to be my last, is much as follows: matrimony came from Paradise and leads to it. I never was half so happy before I was a married man as I am now. When you are married, your bliss begins. I have no doubt that where there is much love there will be much to love, and where love is scant faults will be plentiful. If there is only one good wife in England, I am the man who put the ring on her finger, and long may she wear it. God bless the dear soul, if she can put up with me, she shall never be put down by me.
HINTS AS TO THRIVING.
Hard work is the grand secret of success. Nothing but rags and poverty can come of idleness. Elbow-grease is the only stuff to make gold with. No sweat, no sweet. He who would have the crow's eggs must climb the tree. Every man must build up his own fortune nowadays. Shirt-sleeves rolled up lead on to best broad cloth; and he who is not ashamed of the apron will soon be able to do without it. "Diligence is the mother of good luck," as Poor Richard says; but "idleness is the devil's bolster," John Ploughman says.
Make as few changes as you can; trees often transplanted bear little fruit. If you have difficulties in one place, you will have them in another; if you move because it is damp in the valley, you may find it cold on the hill. Where will the ass go that he will not have to work? Where can a cow live and not get milked? Where will you find land without stones, or meat without bones? Everywhere on earth men must eat bread in the sweat of their faces. To fly from trouble men must have eagle's wings. Alteration is not always improvement, as the pigeon said when she got out of the net and into the pie. There is a proper time for changing, and then mind you bestir yourself, for a sitting hen gets no barley; but do not be forever on the shift, for a rolling stone gathers no moss. Stick-to-it is the conqueror. He who can wait long enough will win. This, that, and the other, any thing and every thing, all put together, make nothing in the end; but on one horse a man rides home in due season. In one place the seed grows, in one nest the bird hatches its eggs, in one oven the bread bakes, in one river the fish lives.
Do not be above your business. He who turns up his nose at his work quarrels with his bread and butter. He is a poor smith who is afraid of his own sparks: there's some discomfort in all trades, except chimney-sweeping. If sailors gave up going to sea because of the wet, if bakers left off baking because it is hot work, if ploughmen would not plough because of the cold, and tailors would not make our clothes for fear of pricking their fingers, what a pass we should come to! Nonsense, my fine fellow, there's no shame about any honest calling; don't be afraid of soiling your hands, there's plenty of soap to be had. All trades are good to good traders. A clever man can make money out of dirt. Lucifer matches pay well, if you sell enough of them.
You can not get honey if you are frightened at bees, nor sow corn if you are afraid of getting mud on your boots. Lackadaisical gentlemen had better emigrate to fool's-land, where men get their living by wearing shiny boots and lavender gloves. When bars of iron melt under the south wind, when you can dig the fields with toothpicks, blow ships along with fans, manure the crops with lavender-water, and grow plum-cakes in flower-pots, then will be a fine time for dandies; but until the millennium comes we shall all have a deal to put up with, and had better bear our present burdens than run helter-skelter where we shall find matters a deal worse.
Keep your weather eye open. Sleeping poultry are carried off by the fox. Who watches not, catches not. Fools ask what's o'clock, but wise men know their time. Grind while the wind blows, or if not do not blame Providence. God sends every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest: he gives us our daily bread, but it is through our own labor. Take time by the forelock. Be up early and catch the worm. The morning hour carries gold in its mouth. He who drives last in the row gets all the dust in his eyes: rise early, and you will have a clear start for the day.
Can't do it sticks in the mud, but Try soon drags the wagon out of the rut. The fox said Try, and he got away from the hounds when they almost snapped at him. The bees said Try, and turned flowers into honey. The squirrel said Try, and up he went to the top of the beech-tree. The snow-drop said Try, and bloomed in the cold snows of Winter. The sun said Try, and the Spring soon threw Jack Frost out of the saddle. The young lark said Try, and he found his new wings took him over hedges and ditches, and up where his father was singing. The ox said Try, and ploughed the field from end to end. No hill too steep for Try to climb, no clay too stiff for Try to plough, no field too wet for Try to drain, no hole too big for Try to mend. As to a little trouble, who expects to find cherries without stones, or roses without thorns! Who would win must learn to bear. Idleness lies in bed sick of the mulligrubs where industry finds health and wealth. The dog in the kennel barks at the fleas; the hunting dog does not even know they are there. Laziness waits till the river is dry, and never gets to market; "Try" swims it, and makes all the trade. Can't do it couldn't eat the bread and butter which was cut for him, but Try made meat out of mushrooms.
If you want to do good in the world, the little word "Try" comes in again. There are plenty of ways of serving God, and some that will fit you exactly as a key fits a lock. Don't hold back because you can not preach in St. Paul's; be content to talk to one or two in a cottage; very good wheat grows in little fields. You may cook in small pots as well as big ones. Little pigeons can carry great messages. Even a little dog can bark at a thief, and wake up the master and save the house. A spark is fire. A sentence of truth has heaven in it. Do what you do right thoroughly; pray over it heartily, and leave the result to God.
Alas! advice is thrown away on many, like good seed on a bare rock. Teach a cow for seven years, but she will never learn to sing the Old Hundreth. Of some it seems true that when they were born Solomon went by the door, but would not look in. Their coat-of-arms is a fool's cap on a donkey's head. They sleep when it is time to plough, and weep when harvest comes. They eat all the parsnips for supper, and wonder they have none left for breakfast.
Once let every man say Try, Very few on straw would lie, Fewer still of want would die; Pans would all have fish to fry; Pigs would fill the poor man's sty; Want would cease and need would fly; Wives,and children cease to cry; Poor rates would not swell so high; Things wouldn't go so much awry— You'd be glad, and so would I.
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CAROLINE LUCRETIA HERSCHEL.
(BORN 1750—DIED 1848)
A NOBLE, SELF-SACRIFICING WOMAN.
March 16, 1750, and January 9, 1848. These are the dates that span the ninety-eight years of the life of a woman whose deeds were great in the service of the world, but of whom the world itself knows all too little. Of the interest attaching to the life of such a woman, whose recollections went back to the great earthquake at Lisbon; who lived through the American War, the old French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon; who saw the development of the great factors of modern civilization, "from the lumbering post wagon in which she made her first journey from Hanover to the railroads and electric telegraphs which have intersected all Europe;" of the interest which such a life possesses, apart from that which attaches to it as that of a noble, self-sacrificing woman, who was content to serve when she might have led in a great cause, but few will be insensible.
Caroline Herschel was born on the 16th of March 1750, and was the eighth child of ten children. Her father, Isaac Herschel, traced his ancestry back to the early part of the seventeenth century, when three brothers Herschel left Moravia through religious differences, they being Protestant. The father, Isaac, was passionately fond of music, to the study of which, as a youth, he devoted himself, and, at the time of his marriage in Hanover, was engaged as hautboy player in the band of the Guards. When, in the course of time, his family grew up around him, each child received an education at the garrison school, to which they were sent between the ages of two and fourteen; and at home the father strove to cultivate the musical talents of his sons, one of whom, William, soon taught his teacher, while another, Jacob, was organist of the garrison church.
Of her very early childhood one gets the impression that Caroline was a quiet, modest little maiden, "deeply interested in all the family concerns," content to be eclipsed by her more brilliant and less patient elder sister, and overlooked by her thoughtless brothers, toward one of whom, William, she already began to cherish that deep affection which she maintained throughout their lives. The lives of this brother and sister, indeed, in this respect, recall to mind those of Charles and Mary Lamb. When she was five years old the family life was disturbed by war, which took away temporarily father and sons, and left the little girl at home, her mother's sole companion. Her recollections of this time are very dismal, and may be read at length in the memoir by Mrs. John Herschel, to which we are indebted for much aid. When she was seventeen her father died, and the polished education which he had hoped to give her was supplanted by the rough but useful knowledge which her mother chose to inculcate in her—an education which was to help to fit her to earn her bread, and to be of great assistance to her beloved brother William. He had now for some years been living at Bath, England, from which he wrote in 1772, proposing that his sister should join him there to assist him in his musical projects, for he had now become a composer and director. In August of this year she accomplished a most adventurous and wearisome journey to London, encountering storms by land and sea, and on the 28th of the month found herself installed in her brother's lodgings at Bath.
It will be necessary here to speak a little more at length of her brother's life as she found it when she joined him, as thereafter her own existence was practically merged in his, and, as she has said modestly of herself and her service: "I did nothing for my brother but what a well-trained puppy-dog would have done; that is to say, I did what he commanded me. I was a mere tool, which he had the trouble of sharpening." Posterity discredits this self-depreciation, while it admires it, and Miss Herschel's services are now esteemed at their true worth. Her brother then, when she came to Bath, had established himself there as a teacher of music, as organist of the Octagon Chapel, and, as we have said before, was a composer and director of more than ordinary merit. This was all a side issue, however. It was but a means to an end. His music was the goose that laid the golden egg, which, once in his possession, he turned over to the mistress of his soul—Astronomy.
Every spare moment of the day, we are told, and many hours stolen from the night, had long been devoted to the studies which were compelling him to become himself an observer of the heavens. He had worked wonders of mechanical invention, forced thereto by necessity; had become a member of a philosophical society, and his name was beginning to be circulated among the great, rumors of his work reaching and arresting even royal attention.
At this point his sister arrived, the quiet domestic life she had been living in Hanover being suddenly changed for one of "ceaseless and inexhaustible activity" in her brother's service, being at once his astronomical and musical assistant, and his housekeeper and guardian. Of the latter, his erratic habits made him in great need. "For ten years she persevered at Bath," says her biographer, "singing when she was told to sing, copying when she was told to copy, 'lending a hand' in the workshop, and taking her full share in all the stirring and exciting changes by which the musician became the king's astronomer and a celebrity; but she never, by a single word, betrays how these wonderful events affected her, nor indulges in the slightest approach to an original sentiment, comment, or reflection not strictly connected with the present fact." In an ordinary case this would not be remarkable, but in the present instance it acquires considerable significance from the fact that, to our best knowledge, Miss Herschel's was a temperament which would be strongly affected by the life she was leading, and her silence as to personal sentiment shows to what an extent she had become a tool in her brother's hands—rejoicing in his successes, and sympathizing in his sorrows, but never revealing to what depth of self-sacrifice she may have been plunged by her voluntary surrender and devotion to her brother.
As we understand her, Miss Herschel would have been eminently fitted to fill a position of high domestic responsibility; and no woman of this sort, who has once dreamed of a home of her own, with its ennobling and divine responsibilities, can, without a pang, give up so sweet a vision for a life of sacrifice, although it be brilliant with the cold splendors of science. Her life with her brother, as has been said, was one of ceaseless activity in all the capacities in which she served him. As housekeeper, she occupied a small room in the attic, while her brother occupied the ground-floor, furnished in new and handsome style. She received a sum for weekly expenses, of which she must keep a careful account, and all the marketing fell to her. She had to struggle with hot-tempered servants, and with the greatest irregularity and disorder in the household; while her imperfect knowledge of English (this was soon after her arrival at Bath) added a new pang to her homesickness and low spirits. Later on, in her capacity as musical assistant, we are told that she once copied the scores of the "Messiah" and "Judas Maccabaeus" into parts for an orchestra of nearly one hundred performers, and the vocal parts of "Samson," besides instructing the treble singers, of whom she was now herself the first. As astronomical assistant, she has herself given a glimpse of her experience in the following words: "In my brother's absence from home, I was, of course, left solely to amuse myself with my own thoughts, which were any thing but cheerful. I found I was to be trained for an assistant astronomer, and, by way of encouragement, a telescope adapted for 'sweeping,' consisting of a tube with two glasses, such as are commonly used in a 'finder,' was given me. I was 'to sweep for comets,' and I see by my journal that I began August 22, 1782, to write down and describe all remarkable appearances I saw in my 'sweeps,' which were horizontal. But it was not till the last two months of the same year that I felt the least encouragement to spend the star-light nights on a grass-plot covered with dew or hoar-frost, without a human being near enough to be within call. I knew too little of the real heavens to be able to point out every object so as to find it again without losing too much time by consulting the atlas." And, in another place, she says: "I had, however, the comfort to see that my brother was satisfied with my endeavors to assist him, when he wanted another person either to run to the clocks, write down a memorandum, fetch and carry instruments, or measure the ground with poles, etc., of which something of the kind every moment would occur." How successful she was in her sky-sweeping may be judged from the fact that she herself discovered no less than eight different comets at various times during her apprenticeship. Her work was not unattended by danger and accidents, and on one occasion, on a cold and cloudy December night, when a strip of clear sky revealed some stars and there was great haste made to observe them, in assisting her brother with his huge telescope she ran in the dark on ground covered with melting snow a foot deep, tripped, and fell on a large iron hook such as butchers use, and which was attached for some purpose to the machine. It entered her right leg, above the knee, and when her brother called, "Make haste," she could only answer by a pitiful cry, "I am hooked." He and the workmen were instantly with her; but they did not free her from the torturing position without leaving nearly two ounces of her flesh behind, and it was long before she was able to take her place again at the instrument.
It would be interesting, if it were but practicable, to give a brief journal of her life during the fifty years she lived in England, from the time of her arrival in Bath, August 28, 1772, till the time of her brother's death, August 25, 1822, after which she returned to Hanover.
We have given enough, perhaps, to suggest the mode and the activity of her life; but of her brother's marriage, and the trial it brought upon her in giving up the supreme place she had held in his love and companionship for sixteen years; of the details of her discoveries, and the interesting correspondence which accompanied them; of her various great and noble friends, and her relations with them; of the death of her brother, then Sir William Herschel, and the terrible blow it proved to her; of her return to Holland, to the home of another brother; of her sorrow and disappointment at the changes which had taken place in the home of her youth during the long years which had brought her to old age—she was then seventy-two—and to face "the blank of life after having lived within the radiance of genius;" of the comfort she derived from the members of her brother's family whom she had left behind in "happy England;" of the honors which the chief scientific men in the kingdom bestowed upon her—of all these matters we can do no more than to simply touch upon them as above, although, if we might refer to them at greater length, it would be but to increase our admiration and esteem for one of the strongest, most serviceable, and most faithful women that ever lived.
She died at eleven o'clock on the night of the 9th of January, 1848, at the age of ninety-eight; and the holy words were spoken in the same little chapel in the garrison in which, "nearly a century before, she had been christened and afterward confirmed." In the coffin with her was placed, at her request, "a lock of her beloved brother's hair, and an old, almost obliterated almanac that had been used by her father;" and with these tokens of the unswerving love and fidelity she had always borne to parent and brother, she was laid away to rest, leaving the memory of a noble woman, great in wisdom, and greater in womanliness, without which, in woman, wisdom is unhallowed.—S.A. CHAPIN, JR., in the Christian Union.
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THE PRINTING-PRESS THE MIGHTIEST AGENCY ON EARTH FOR GOOD AND FOR EVIL—THE FLOOD OF IMPURE AND LOATHSOME LITERATURE—WHAT CAN WE DO TO ABATE THIS PESTILENCE?—WHAT BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS SHALL WE READ?—HOW PROTECT OUR CHILDREN.