The Project Gutenberg EBook of Revisiting the Earth, by James Langdon Hill

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Title: Revisiting the Earth

Author: James Langdon Hill

Release Date: July 11, 2011 [EBook #36697]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Roberta Staehlin, David Garcia, Mary Meehan
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Author of "The Immortal Seven," "The Scholar's Larger Life," "The Worst Boys in Town," "Favorites of History," "The Century's Capstone," "Memory Comforting Sorrow," "A Crowning Achievement," etc.

"We know not the future,—the past we have felt"


Copyright, 1920, by Richard G. Badger

All Rights Reserved

Made in the United States of America

The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A.

"'Tis sweet to remember! I would not forego
The charm which the Past o'er the Present can thro"



CHAPTER I. Revisiting the Earth
CHAPTER II. The Picture Land of the Heart
CHAPTER III. The Dearest Spot on Earth to Me
CHAPTER IV. The Land of Used-to-be
CHAPTER V. Seen Through the Long Vista of Departed Years
CHAPTER VI. Where we Played Mumble-the-Peg
CHAPTER VII. The Scene of the School Fights
CHAPTER VIII. Touching a Long Slumbering Chord
CHAPTER IX. What Had Become of the Old Eccentricities
CHAPTER X. To See and Feel the Past
CHAPTER XI. A Return to One's Holy Land
CHAPTER XII. Looking up the Sons of Well-Remembered Mothers
CHAPTER XIII. Things that had Passed Away "Still Live"
CHAPTER XIV. Where a Visitant Sees More than a Resident
CHAPTER XV. Where I Met Myself
CHAPTER XVI. Retracing the Old Paths
CHAPTER XVII. Going Back to my Padan-Aram
CHAPTER XVIII. A New Knock at an Old Door


The Little Seminary of Letters

"I Remember, I Remember the House Where I Was Born"

The Little Sanctuary

Paradise Lost—Before the Salem Fire

Paradise Regained—After the Conflagration

The Meeting of "The Senate"

A Seat of Learning Full of Memories

The Grounds of the Beloved College

The Greatest Pleasure Given To Man




To revisit the earth after one's departure from it has always been a common wish among men. The frequency with which this desire is expressed in biographies and in literature, keeps the project alive, and works it to the front in one's plans. Benjamin Franklin presents the thought in such attractive dress that we incline to adopt it for a programme. There is one item in his proposition that calls for argument at the bar of public opinion. It touches the length of the interval that should be suffered to elapse before the visit is made. So rapid is the growth, so radical are the changes, that if one's reappearance is too long delayed he would recognize nothing in the new conditions. He might as well set himself down in some other unfamiliar place. The postponement should not exceed a third of a century. It is his world that a man wants to see, and each one has his own. His antecedents and experiences have given to it a distinctive character.

To Open Books that are Sealed

On a golden day the thought came to me unbidden, I have seen three and thirty years rise and fall since I have viewed the identical spots that I would care most to look upon. Instantly I made the resolve, I will visit, in the first eight weeks of summer, every place in which I have lived or loved or labored. I ascertained, in advance, the name of some kindly disposed person at each point in my itinerary, who could identify the site of the house in which I lived, if it is not still standing, also of the school and church that I attended. The letter I had written was handed in one case to the editor of the local paper, who featured it, in his columns, asking for the names of persons now living who remembered me. Here is plainly seen an insuperable objection to waiting Ben Franklin's interval of one hundred years before revisiting the earth. This correspondence, which contributed immeasurably to the pleasure and profit of the project, ought to be undertaken, while there are two parties to conduct it. Where one's coming is expected and welcomed he passes at once into the right relations to the place, also into the atmosphere he desires.

Let Me Drop a Hint Here Like a Seed

I care not how widely you have traveled if you have never made a pious pilgrimage to your childhood's shrines—you have still missed your superlative pleasure.

It is possible for you to live your life over and the part commended for you to live over again is when you were young.

Here is rejuvenation. To live one's life over is to live it twice. This amounts to doubling it. Who would not do it? If the period of time during which one may live on the earth is fixed, it certainly is limited, if there is a possible way to live twice, what one does live, he would better be extremely hospitable to the scheme. Opposition will come from three sources, first from the man who thinks himself taken up by the future and by his hopes. But it is patience that works "experience and experience hope." Hope detached from the present and the past is such a baseless fabric of a vision that it probably will not leave even so much as a wreck behind. Another man will counter with the familiar statement that his eyes are on the front of his head and he only travels in the direction that they lead.

Now my kind, optimistic brother, I have a word here for you. You are traveling in blinders. You are a mechanical pace-setter. All your training is for the middle of the road. It is counted a physical deformity if a person cannot turn his head. It is an expression of opprobrium to find people stiff-necked. The chief office of a vehicle is to carry on, yet for use at home, a carriage that cannot be turned round would be extremely inconvenient.

Pausing for a Fore-taste

The observation car giving the best view to be had of the mountain landscape as it waltzes by, is placed at the rear of the train. The most extravagant demonstrations of joy and gratitude, our most hallowed feelings come from looking back on what has been done unto us and for us.

Hesitancy about revisiting the earth comes lastly from those who think they have lost their interest in days that are gone, that forgetfulness has done its sad work, that the dead past has buried its dead. It is to witness the miracle of a resurrection that we are uttering our cry.

Waymarks of the Journey

They assume that a fact or a name is gone into oblivion when, for example, they are unable by a repeated effort to recall it. The mind is a delicate organism. You cannot well force things. It has its own laws of suggestion. Once coming into the old surroundings, which rake up the past, standing again on a recognized corner, which carry one's thoughts back with delight into familiar haunts, the law of association will put on the tip of your tongue names and incidents that you supposed to be clean forgotten. If a person had asked me to give the name of the first barber that ever set foot in the town of my boyhood home, I would have believed it sunk in oblivion. In the summer coming upon the cross-roads, I said, "Here stood the first barber shop in town." The name of the negro, even, that kept it flashed on my mind. It was Stanbach, the last syllable as he pronounced it ended with the German guttural. His son, a little freckled mulatto, was called Johnnie Stanbach. When a little full-blooded negro appeared, Johnnie would not associate with him. He was "too black," "black enough to smut a body."

The Mind's Re-invigoration

When Hon. James O. Crosby, an eminent lawyer, in my native village, having a large practice in the courts of the county, met the father of John R. Mott of merited distinction, a living force, this was the dialogue: "How do you do, Mr. Mott!" "How do you do, Mr. Crosby!" and then taking Mr. Crosby's hand Mr. Mott said to him, "Your face seems familiar but I cannot seem to recall your name." This occurrence gives a volume of experience in revisiting the earth. When Mr. Mott badgered his mind to recall Mr. Crosby's name, his intellect balked, utterly, and continuously refused to act. The mind often halts, even as to common words. One's mental powers come to a sudden pause, like circus horses, and a man recovers their use, not by any effort of will, but by some sudden, and almost impulsive, suggestion. Recent events and dates are easily lost or pass into confusion while those of long prior time still hold firm root and their right place in remembrance. As we have seen, a quick, unerring, even unconscious mental spring, acting according to the laws of the association of ideas will unaided and without effort, bring a name, pent up in one's memory, promptly forward for his instant use. The value of this power is beyond estimation. Occurrences supposed to be forgotten are very much alive, when upon old familiar ground. Revisiting the earth is a simple string of these acts of spontaneous recollection. If you hear a few notes of music, the inseparable association, that exists in the mind, suggests the rest of the tune. That is a very apt expression, when a person says he is haunted by a tune. It implies an existence, in the chambers of the brain, that is making a stir and which he supposed to be dead. The simple act of thus recalling an event is in itself the most wonderful of all mental processes.

The Re-creation of the World

I heard of a man who had over-looked the fact that memory paints with fast colors, also that a recollection that is dim in one locality is bright in another. On reaching a scene of early associations, on picking up a thing, he found it was like one of the links of a chain, that one being stirred, others were moved and the man was found discoursing on How I improved my memory in one evening. On revisiting the earth, memories are awakened which, but for coming upon the old soil, would probably have slept silently to the end of life. It is given to me, to have a distinct testimony in this matter. Many others can corroborate these hints by startling facts in their own lives and without any stretch of their imagination. I was brought to the belief, that a person may not ever forget anything. The recollection turns out to be a faithful, painstaking, autobiographer. This almost scares a person. A wand seemed to be waved and forth came people and anecdotes and events that he supposed were in oblivion. There turns out to be, not only a recollection of the head, but also a memory of the heart. The process is different. On the one hand a boy commits to memory and learns by rote, on the other hand there are some things he loves. All these he knows by heart. This is an undying, imperishable recollection. It is the immortality of the affections. Vividness of feeling does it. All that pertains to home, he learns by heart. It is as indestructible as his eternal being. "Dot must be der vonderful blace Ohm, to make der British cry. I tink to myself, I vill go and see dis blace, Ohm, vot der vos no blace like. Vich is der vay to 'Ohm, Sweet Ohm?'" Where the affections have been unlocked and the whole inner man has been stirred,—a high water mark has been registered in one's memory that can never be eradicated. Your heart shall live forever, so shall all of your heart's histories. They give you something that the thieving years can never take away. I have pleasure in adding to the assurance of it.

Blessing in the Guise of an Excursion

It is now only one hundred and eighty generations, as we used to be taught, since Adam, peace to his memory and his ashes, who was grandfather of us all. There are thus but one hundred and seventy-eight generations between us and him. This would take but one hundred and seventy-eight father-to-son steps to bring us to the original family home in the Garden of Eden. There are only one hundred and eighty life-times to review. The grandfather of Noah, who was six hundred years old when he encountered the flood, was Methuselah, who remembered Adam. If our line of ancestry is so short, and if all the progress we have made has been accomplished within a history so brief, it is little wonder that the transformations to be witnessed in one of these not numerous generations are so incredible and so instructive.

I do not know, but I may class traveling among our duties. It opens new spheres of thought and observation and places us in new relations to mankind and makes us better students of human nature. Leisure is sweet to the taste and for that reason it soon palls. Pleasure is a by-product. Enjoyment is greatest when it is incidental to some well-advised quest. Idleness is the least pleasure of a holiday. To make high festival of a pilgrimage to a shrine is more common in the older nations than in our own. It is the habit of the human mind to love that which is memorial in its character. We cannot, as Longfellow says, buy with gold the old associations. "He that is searching for rare and remote things will neglect those that are obvious and familiar. It is remarkable," continues Dr. Johnson in the preface to his dictionary, "that in reviewing my collection of words I found the word 'sea' unexemplified." I have had many vacations, in places wide apart. Having gone further and fared worse, returning to what is nearer, having an inspiration of beauty upon it, I say, touching Revisiting the Earth, as David declared of Goliath's sword, There is none like that, give me it. Never did a child perform an errand with more alacrity than I executed this mission.



The day is blue above, without a cloud. Will you walk with me through our village, gentle reader? We will begin at the handsome open square. Now as we advance my heart leaps at the sight of my birthplace. What a pretty location it is! Here is "the cot of my father:" "In youth it sheltered me." It is the "loved spot which my infancy knew." "How dear to my heart" is this "scene of my childhood." Happy childhood thus early blessed with blessings hereditary to all after hours! There is no place so suggestive and interesting in our adult years as that in which we began life. It is one of those exquisite situations which paint their own picture insensibly in the memory while you look on them, natural, daguerreotypes, as it were. Considered only as a house, it left some things to be desired but it is never to be considered only as a house. Why is it that we thus love the place of our birth? Why have all men done the same? The son of the mist, in Scott, in his dying hour, begged that he might be turned so that his eyes could rest once more upon his native hills and close with their latest vision fixed there. Why did the hero of Virgil, in his death hour, manifest his love for the place of his birth which is so beautifully narrated by that immortal bard? It is an instinct, which gives to it a place in the human heart, and such an expression in human thought. Like poetry it is born with us, not made. There probably is no stronger feeling in us than that of attachment to our first home. A man transplanted to another field may have succeeded well. His condition may have been vastly improved and yet he may have drooped without apparent cause, in his temporary home, pining for those days which were passed in the Eden of his life. I could not get enough of the place. Must I leave thee, dear sacred spot, how can I leave thee? My heart was full and the tears started to my eyes as I gazed around upon every object. The words of my earliest progenitor, on leaving our ancestral garden, as quoted by Milton, came to me, "Must I leave thee, paradise?"

The Vine Must Have the Wall

Luther could appear in battle scenes for social and religious reform with undaunted spirit. He could oppose the enemies of his faith without a trembling nerve. He could resist those, bent on his destruction, with the courage and calmness of a Christian hero, but when upon a journey to meet the Counts of Mansfield, he came in sight of his own native Eisleben, the great man was overcome with emotion and he bowed his head and wept.

"The Man Returned who Left these Haunts a Boy"

Congress voted unanimously in 1824 to invite Lafayette to visit this country. He was received everywhere with great demonstrations of popular enthusiasm and his progress through the country resembled a continuous triumphal procession. He visited, in succession, each of the twenty-four states, and all the principal cities which vied to do him honor, but relatively he was unmoved. A splendid coach was at his service. He passed beneath an elaborate arch blazoned with words of welcome, but Lafayette relatively was unmoved. Sitting quietly with no expectation excited, before a screen in a public assembly, the curtain lifted and there stood his birthplace, in speaking beauty and suggestiveness and all the deeps of his heroic nature were broken up and he sobbed audibly like a child. The strong old home still held him to its heart.

How is such a birthplace marked? Chiefly by a gush of rich emotion in the heart of him who claims it as his own. Nature attends to that. A boy has warm affections. A birthplace may have no Forefathers' Rock. Peregrine White was not born there. No Charter Oak or Washington Elm, with living dignity may identify the place. There may be no cellar which concealed the royal judges, nor any door pierced by Indian bullets, nor drums which awaked the sleepers at Lexington and Concord, yet it is distinctively sacred to one's childhood days. It has the deep endearment of a darling home.

"I remember, I remember
The house where I was born
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn."

"Where is my home? I want to go before dark," said a spirited little fellow of three years. The action of his inner nature was like the turning of the needle to the pole. Thus an unfortunate child will put up a fight for his birthright and he will not yield without returning to the struggle. He wants his heritage.


The Gate to Life

Somehow my heart keeps flying back to my birthplace as Antony's kept flying back to Egypt. If a man has no heart, if he is altogether lacking in veneration the attention given to his birthplace by other persons would impress it upon his notice. "Where were you born?" asks the life insurance agent. What has that to do with it? How does that affect the situation? Why does he not limit himself to vital statistics, like your age, habits, general health? Through more than three thousand closely printed pages, Who's Who in America, carefully mentions in each biography the birthplace of the subject. There must be some reason for making this one of the chief facts when the space is needed to tell of positions held, wealth and fame acquired.

At this point a daily paper comes to my desk containing an interesting recital touching America the Beautiful. We are informed that Miss Bates "has a most sympathetic personality" and "is a native of Falmouth on Cape Cod." Are the song and person better or different from that which they would have been if instead of Falmouth the birthplace had been Yarmouth or Barnstable or Wellfleet Several towns in France are disputing the honor of being the birthplace of General Foch. The papers and magazines speak of his genius, of his responsible position, the most distinguished in military history, of his never-resting blow-on-blow method of conquering, but they cut the thread of an interesting narrative short, to consider the question of his birthplace as if that, after all, was a principal question. It seems that "the Lord shall count when he writeth up the people that this man was born there." Agents and learned men, and it appears even the deity, attach significance to the place of one's birth. So then will I.

"Dear native village, I foretell,
Though for a time I say farewell,
That wheresoe'er my steps shall tend,
And whensoe'er my course shall end,
My soul will cast the backward view,
THE LONGING look alone on you."

But there are spots on the sun. There's a fly in the ointment. I am suffering from an incurable complaint. I was born too soon. I cannot now put the clock back. Besides we are entering on a new era. There is to be an overturning. Society and the ways of government and the methods of business are to be changed and I want to be a witness and would like to be a factor. The temper of each generation is a surprise. This new period is to be different in its ideals, employments, and conditions and I would like to be entirely of it.

Footprints on the Sands of Time

I took up the other day a book of fiction that is equally the delight of the child and of the man and opened it where a picture represented the surprise of Robinson Crusoe at discovering the print of a man's foot on the seashore. On revisiting the earth it touches one's emotion after being orphaned, islanded, for a generation from one's father to come upon his footprints in his old haunts. Without the experience of it, on visiting an early home, no one would imagine, what a shadowy train of memory, involving all the past, would come crowding before his eyes, filling his heart with a pleasant pain, and a sweet bitterness. Only once stand in the old environment and feel the atmosphere of early living conditions and a vivid panorama of faces that it was thought had vanished and scenes that it was supposed had faded will unroll "when fond recollection presents them to view." I hardly realized how sweet those memories were to me until my visit. I began to see that one must get away from home, be exiled for a while, to gain a pensive mood. Homesickness is in reality a spiritual instinct, a needed, useful force. Howard Payne felt its power when living in a garret in Paris, on the edge of starvation, he longed for his "lowly thatched cottage again," as David longed for a drink of the water of the well of his birthplace, which is by the gate of Bethlehem. This locality was the playground of my childhood. It is connected with the sweetest ties that can bind one's thoughts to the past. I stand in a fixed position. This is the location of my earliest recollection. Here memory began. This was a new birth. Commencing in the community and continuing all along thereafter, by inquiry, I have sought widely to ascertain at what point in the lives of other persons, recollection made a start. From his biography by his daughter I learn that my whilom instructor, Professor Austin Phelps, remembered Napoleon's death, an event that occurred when he was two. Franklin says he was a reader from his infancy. Samuel Johnson, before he was two, had begun to take a permanent hold upon events. One of my associates recalls a theatric incident that occurred when he was two. My recollection made no registration until after I was three and this was a scene here in my father's new unfinished church, and among its primitive temporary seats which were without backs. Thus I stand where my outlook on the world began. At that point I see myself for the first time in my career. Other events follow in close order but it has been a great pleasure that my angel mother and her beloved church are ineffaceably pictured on the front page of my book of remembrance.

Things Sweet to Remember

To discover that modest House of Prayer in which my father began his ministry was like a miracle, like finding someone who had risen from the dead. My eye was not satisfied with seeing it twice or thrice. I contemplated it as I would the "House not made with hands," I could have kneeled and kissed the threshold of this historic but very lowly temple. It seemed a construction transported, ready-built into this world and located in one of its most delightful spots. It seemed different, like a piece of meteoric stone which for a fact appears here but whose home has been in the skies, and like the stony pillow on Judea's plain it became to my vision a House of God. This is a holy land to me. It savors of the assemblies of the saints. If I were looking for beauty I would return to that divine abode. A stranger not knowing the antecedents of the little sanctuary would discern no form nor comeliness in it. It was an hour when one could think of but two things, one was home, and one was heaven. These earthly objects have a comeliness, a simple dignity, and nattiness which are beyond the reach of art. How it elevates the spirit to stand, thrilled by a beautiful romance and find that it is not romance at all but unspeakably sacred reality.

"Aye call it holy ground
The soil where first they trod."


Oh the brave, the noble souls who have laid foundations. They were elect people set apart to a sacred service which has no equal in this world's history. I am not "the wretch

Who never to himself hath said
This is my own my native land."



The flood gates of memory opened wide as the lamented Queen of England, with the weight of eighty years resting upon her, was wheeled in her chair, from room to room in the old fashioned brick palace at Kensington. Here in this unpretentious princely abode with its beautiful name, she was born, and here when she was waked very early out of heavy sleep to be hailed, Queen, she said prettily, "I will be good."

She kept her word. Here remain, as she left them her doll's house, the miniature counter where she sold ribbons and laces to imaginary customers, the doll's linen, marked with her own childish cross-stitch and the furniture and mementoes which cause the plain, irregular, rather homely structure to be hallowed as the shrine of Victoria. Here she saw her little set of cooking utensils, her child's scrapbook and little boxes of paints with camel's hair brushes. She lingered lovingly over these objects, which once meant so much to her, and as the vivid association and tender suggestiveness of her surroundings touched her feelings, in the presence of a group of dolls, being amid her toys, she desired the attendants who accompanied her to withdraw, expressing the desire, in that sacred place, to be alone.

The Glory of Life in its First Spring

On revisiting the earth I wanted to be alone on reaching my memory room. In that corner stood my trundle bed and about here, well say about there, is where I kneeled to say my earliest prayers. I have never felt so rich since, as I did when I came into the undisputed and sole possession of a hair-covered trunk which I could lock and bear away the key. Into this trunk I emptied the week's accumulation of all my week-day pockets as often as I put on my Sunday clothes. In this old hide-bound trunk were my sainted mother's letters, and missives with my own name in large John Hancock looking letters on the back, from my grandfather who kept store and sometimes sent me pocket pieces of money. On the outside of the pack, always in view, always to be kept, no more resembling others than an electric light resembles a tallow dip, was the first letter personally addressed to me that I ever received. Here was a child's cheap album containing photographs of Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, of a family of Albinos having white hair and pink eyes, and of a fat boy only 16 years old that had struck me with wonder. Here is a red morocco bag in which I kept my ill-gotten gains in marbles. Although forbidden to play "keeps" myself, the neighbor's boy, a surer shot, did not hesitate with my capital to engage in the excitement and to make a "divy" of the proceeds, while I watched the game, and as a better disciple carried the bag. I used to feel a real pride in my collection. I knew the price of each kind and computed the value of them all to a cent. That day was marked by the event when I exchanged so many of the brown, baked, clay sort, for a big taw alley (made of alabaster). Some of the big chinas were striped in varied colors and we made a sharp difference between those where the bright color was laid on and soon began to wash and wear and those where it was baked in like the pictures on cups, where it is as indestructible as the material itself. To this day I cannot see boys playing at marbles without feeling a strong desire to join them.

The Rule of the Shekel

Among playthings my specialty was marbles. I specialized on three lines, blue clays, real agates, the handsomest of all marbles, and big glass center-pieces. I knew well just what I must hold to dominate the market and just how many of the common sort a boy would give for an alley taw, or tor, as we used to pronounce it. Taw is the line or limit from which the players shoot. Others would have returned from the visit to the old time school-house to the hotel. I knew a merchant well, who being delighted with his entertainment in Lucerne did not think it worth while to go out to the leaf-embowered pool to see Thorwaldsen's Lion. Naples has such outstanding beauty that the visitor is ready to "die" and thus omits any visit to Vesuvius, the most famous elevation in the world. But I went from the school-ground to the place, where the soil was once beaten to the hardness of a floor, by the village boys, who, each of them, placed one or two marbles in a ring and in turn shot at them and he who obtained most of them by beating them out of the ring was the winner. We were happy

"To kneel and draw
The chalky ring and knuckle down at taw."

Here in this trunk were my old club skates which I used to sharpen myself and tie on with strings and leathern thongs, and here was an old ball which, I, having first ravelled the yarn, wound myself and cut the cover out of an old boot top in the good democratic days of town-ball or of "Two-old-cat," when we chose up, for the ins, and did not leave the playing to a few, and half of them from out of town, when a "foul" and "daisy-cutter" were unknown terms. While one dear, sweet, not-to-be-valued-with-the-Gold-of-Ophir object remained among them, it has been hard for me to "put away childish things." Most people are extremely like one's self, and choosing among relics would be supposed to first take one of the sandals of Empedocles, fabled to have been cast forth by Aetna. This father of rhetoric, statesman, prophet, and reformer threw himself into that volcano to disappear and leave no trace and thus establish a belief that he was so beloved of the gods that he was translated. But the volcano would not stand for this imposition and threw out one of his sandals. But I am not interested in such a relic when it is compared with a little token that tells of the deep desire there is in every heart to be remembered.

The Last Wish of Ambitious Minds

We shrink from the fate of being dropped out of sight and out of thought. It strikes a pang to a mother's heart to even hear the adage "out of sight, out of mind." Trading upon her warm feelings, she was solicited to buy, as a birthday gift for her boy, a little china cup, highly colored, inscribed with the words, "remember me." This little token proved to be the best seller on the market. The longer it is kept the greater is the desire to keep it. The child is not asked to prize the gift. The legend upon it tells rather her intensest longing. Her one deepest wish at the moment of final parting could not be better expressed.

"A place in thy memory, dearest,
Is all that I claim:
To pause and look back when thou hearest
The sound of my name."

The absence of the giver makes the gift more dear. I do not call this idolatry. A German doctor of divinity has expressed the common feeling in an exaggerated form, by saying that he loved God, in his mother and in his wife and children. He saw God-likeness in them and they commended the love of God to him. Certainly next to pleasing God the desire to honor the memory of my father and mother has been my highest incentive in life. One of these motives does not leave off when the other begins. It is a kind of piety which is natural to me. It is spontaneous and seems divinely implanted. Reverence toward Godly people is at least a schooling in piety. I mean of course God's church and God's Book when I speak of my mother's church and my mother's bible. When one is given his old seat in his childhood's home, his mother seems near, and he feels like saying to her,

"I've passed through many a changing scene
Since thus I sat by thee;
O, let me look into thine eyes;
Their meek, soft, loving light
Falls like a gleam of holiness
Upon my heart tonight."

That great truth which Gray tells us he discovered for himself, and which very few people learn, till they find it by experience, went to my heart, that in this world a human being never can have more than one mother.

It is a peculiar expression that people use when they say that they "keep" Lent, or "keep" Sunday, or "keep" Christmas, or "keep" a birthday. They mean that they observe it, and by thus marking it they get something out of it which is pleasant and suggestive. We all have our little festivals, life's private anniversaries, these jubilees of the heart which we love to celebrate. That day is a high day, when the old homestead becomes an inspiration point. Stores, long ago laid by in the memory, come forth from their hiding places. In unexpected exaltation of spirit, one is lifted above himself.

Strikes a Chord Unconsciously

He gets out of himself and lives for the hour a sort of sublime life. It was worth the trip to obtain such a revelation of my own mind. Of all the works of the Creator's power and wisdom the mind bears most plainly the private mark of the invisible God. Things have almost a miraculous power to visualize persons. This is true to an extent that will not be believed. And here is a perplexity. Shall I insist upon the point? The incredible part is the particular thing I want to emphasize. The trundle bed, the hair-covered trunk, the stairs, the door, the window become active factors, and the faculties awaking out of long heavy slumber become vocal. Faces and tones are at once recalled and intensely vivid remembrances take shape, hue and voice. Spirits of father and mother, are ye here, entering into the high communion of this hour? The suggestiveness of the environment was such that somehow and suddenly, I was a boy again. This is such a day as that in which our parents blessed us, and such a day as that in which our mother fulfilled both of those relations to us. Her love was like spikenard, perfuming the house. Two good friends I there summoned to go with me, memory and resolution. One of these friends reinforces the work of the other. When I vividly remember, I want to make a consecration. I want to do some sacrificial act, and to do it distinctively for mother's sake. Now, henceforth, "No day without something learned: no day without something done." I took some live coals off the home altar to start new fires. Our ancestors had, what they styled "living" money and "dead" money. In emergencies they sought to convert dead resources into currency. My legacy is a memory and the old battered trunk which was a little world in itself.

Old Home Looks Young Again

In the days of my top and kite-hood, the trunk had constantly to be opened because something had been forgotten. How small a thing it was to contain as much as I thought there was in it. I showed my regard for it by the things I entrusted to it. The germ of every home I ever had was in it. Its contents I have almost idolized. I speak advisedly, I would rather lose the house than what, reserved from it, has come down with me through the years, taken with their setting. A boy likes a place to keep his things. A boy accumulates. That's his nature. An associate has just said that his first memory was a suit that had pockets. There is something in a boy's constitution that gives him a large use for pockets. To empty them is not a convenience, merely, but a necessity, as in his use of them they project like two bay-windows. His nature necessitates a trunk. There must be a secret spot around which can rally the sentiments that a home awakens and conserves. A mother loves to get a Bible into this trunk, which is to be the center-point to his heart and home. Mother's sentiment was well chosen. This book will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from this book. They do not go together. They do not keep company. This Bible had about it what it calls "a sweet smelling savor." A new pocket book, a gift from my grandfather, was also quite redolent but the odor of these was different.

The Odor of Apple Blossoms

I read in an old legend that a Damascus Blade gave forth both sparks and perfume. My sense of smell was always exceedingly acute. It has guarded me often against exposure. I can instantly detect invisible forms of peril. I knew a way to find out about those qualities of a Damascus Blade. A boy is always ready to educate himself by the use of his sense perceptions, and is particularly prompt with taste and smell. I had from the first a rare, refreshing pleasure from flowers, perfumes, aromatic materials producing a sweet odor when burned and the smell of fruits. I used to love the fragrance of new hay and of the freshly plowed ground and of the earth when moistened by a quick summer shower, the scented fumes wafted from the land when approached from the ocean, and the fishy smell of the shore when you have reached it. The odor of a well-kept light harness when well warmed up on a fine gaited horse, and the odor of the varnish on the carriage, I, to this hour, remember from my boyhood days. I loved the intensity of odors so peculiar, so unlike those of summer, that we used to notice after the frost had fallen, when the winter was at hand, and the aroma of the woods having been first imprisoned, was exhaled by a warm sun, in a cloud of incense. All the sense perceptions were wide open to the mind. We were constantly learning. Life was a school without recesses or vacations and had a full corps of instructors in all the departments.

"Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee." "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification."



The particular thing taught in the early school, as I recall it, was to make a bow. When a boy was about to speak a piece he made his manners and at the conclusion of his address he again caused his head to descend and made a quick nervous stoop. Declamation was made of three parts, two of which were the introductory bow and the concluding one. If the bow was grotesque, the speaker was recalled, not only to bow, but to do it gracefully. It is nothing to the credit of those scholars that in later life they sometimes forgot to perform the gracious act, which this master sacrificed other items to teach. The schedule, day by day, was a mere overture to the main performance which came at the end of the term which was the exhibition. This came "the last day." As the libraries were small the pupils searched high and low to find a "piece." This was a new task to those who had been simple answer-hunters. In arithmetic they were informed in advance what result they must attain and to reach it was to do their sums. But now there is involved also the human equation.

Dolling Up

When they came "to speak in public on the stage," they were noisily dressed. They would have looked better and felt better in customary apparel, but they were ill at ease and this helped to mark a red-letter day.

The whole town was moved. The scholars were full of excitement over the glory of the occasion. The country side was deserted. The farmers with all the members of their families appeared in town. There was no room to stable the horses and so they were covered with many other articles besides blankets, there being no uniformity to their uniform. They were tied for the very long evening in the lee of some stack or shed. The boy who spoke the last piece excited great admiration, particularly, in the minds of his proud father and of his adoring mother.

"So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory's thrill is o'er,
And hearts that once beat high for praise
Now feel that pulse no more."

Interest in these things so then developed that Mr. Caldwell had to compose dialogues of a spicy picturesque character for our public use. He incited his scholars to enter into the spirit of their single pieces and dialogues and his exhibitions surprised and delighted the audiences so admirable became the performance of children and youth. Fine declamation was to him what painting is to an artist, or melody to the musician, it was a passion, and nerved him for effort. Scholars still live all about who can "witness if I lie." The stage afterward must have claimed many of those actors for they showed unquestioned genius for the art of theatrical representation. The conditions were primitive, but for the platform we must have curtains, so when the eventful moment came, sheets and table-cloths instead were pulled aside, these being the only curtains that were available and we had to live with what we had. The "stage properties" were hastily gathered from the homes of participants.

Fitted for a Day Sure to Come

As the parents attended these exhibitions, the contagion caught them and then followed the lyceum. It swept the town, it was the most popular thing ever. I distinctly remember the evening when they discussed Neal Dow's Maine liquor law, my father participating. One of our neighbors carried the honor of out-talking the whole field. Let his thoughts slide into the familiar current and they flowed on easily and indefinitely. For debate they caught at Bulwer's dramatic sentence, The pen is mightier than the sword, and they argued the pros and cons without getting a verdict, leaving thus to Germany and the Allies to bring the time honored discussion to an end with a demonstration that no one will ever be able effectively to question. To these meetings each man brought a candle but no candle-stick. From the lighted end, he would drop a little tallow on the desk, and thus set up the candle, that it would give light to all that were in the house. What a sight greeted us the next morning.

"The Isles of Greece!
The Isles of Greece!"

Friction matches, which according to Faraday, were the most useful invention of the age were not then sold, loose in boxes, but were made in cards, each match being detached only a part of its length from the others which stood with it in a thin layer of wood. The word, Lyceum, marks an era in the United States. It means a great school of debate, a college that grants no degrees. It gives me a sadness that is not akin to pain, to hear a young person designate a building as Lyceum Hall, using the word as if it were Grampian Hall or Hamilton Hall, having no glorious, clear conception of what the name of the hall signified to the early community. Tradesmen, farmers, professional men, themselves readers and thinkers, above all restless and eager disputants would meet night after night to discuss the unselfish problems of life. At first they were not allowed to speak upon irritable subjects. They tried to escape both the Scylla and the Charybdis of religious and political contentions, but in early days narrow was the way. Some sanguine souls sought to build a suspension bridge over the foaming waters of controversy and to find a way of union for the bitter strife and dissension that only cases of conscience can supply. This little community-university was co-educational. The women too were welcomed, not only to the meeting where their presence was a stimulus to the debaters, but to participation in the conduct of the lyceum paper, which, read by one of the sterner sex, often contained contributions by the women. In it were witty conundrums, based on local names and conditions, pointed suggestions, humorous hits at the hardships they were at the moment experiencing, which enabled the people to laugh at their own privations. Deep feeling and marked literary ability were often shown in the contributions to this unprinted paper. It was for just such pages as these that the first poems of Lucy Larcom were produced, and she says that if she had learned anything by living it was that education may proceed "not through book learning alone, sometimes entirely without it."

Flights of Oratory

The outstanding feature of the lyceum was the report of the critic. He must be a bright glad witty man without a shade of vulgarity, a perfect master of all those nice little arts which give zest to conversation and a quaint coloring and a good deal of it, to his thoughts. I have a pleasant record of him. His chief theme was always, The Ladies. No one of them could do anything poorly enough to get anything but a warm encomium. If the debaters did well it was because the ladies by their presence gave just such cheer as bands of music contributed to Napoleon's army, when getting their heavy cannon over St. Bernard Pass. This critic never had the affrontery to lecture the participants. "Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" Mathew Arnold came over here to lecture us, from the know-it-all point of view, and began his work without any specific preparation for any evening, discussing no sympathetic theme, and the people declined to hear. The great benefit of the lyceum, to say the least of it, was that the whole conduct of it rested solidly on the men who blended in it and habitually attended it. It came right up out of the intellectual force, the convictions, the good neighborhood feeling and intelligence of the community. These debates developed leaders in the various departments of mental effort. It sent debaters straight into the State legislature. It was like running a magnet over a dust heap, in that it revealed metal, and drew it out, and this was what people were looking for. Any one who looks over the surface of our towns finds many minds, endowed by nature with brilliant faculties and framed by their Creator for great usefulness and honor, waiting to have their energies awakened and invigorated.

Choosing the Front Subject

The thing that made the lyceum was in the air. What is discussed now in the papers was then a theme for argument, evenings, in the stores and taverns. Our word caucus, is derived from the Caulkers, ship-builders, hardy, upright efficient men who gave tone and character to the meeting that they with others held, to discuss politics and the other live issues of the day. To increase the number of parts taken, certain grave, slow men, not likely to share in the discussions, noted chiefly for their moderation and caution, were named in advance as judges, and their decision was to be based first, on the weight of argument, and then on the merits of the question. To keep up the excitement, the decision was sometimes appealed to the house. If I close my eyes and open the chambers of memory I distinctly see the young men, with many signs of diffidence rising timidly to participate in the proceedings. At the earlier meeting, two persons had been appointed to maintain the affirmative and two other members were requested to maintain the negative. The free-for-all fray was let loose with the old time question, Does any one desire to debate that question? Sometimes we had "rough house" which was always followed at the next meeting of the lyceum by a capacity audience. As Samson found the honey, so these lyceums discovered talent where it would be looked for least. Men came to look for good in each other under these conditions, and that helped some. And there is a partial explanation of the fact that so many men, who became prominent in early politics, were from small towns. Great opportunity was given for discovering and developing latent literary and oratorical talent and for invigorating and confirming every germ of reform and political aspiration. Leaders were discovered in the various departments of investigation and of influence. It must be kept in mind that the communities were to an exceptional degree homogeneous and over-whelmingly American.

Educating Themselves

I never look upon the panorama of the past where vivid life forms have lost little of their original distinctness without thinking of the village oracles who exercised their eloquence in these local, free schools of debate. They gave a permanent bias and coloring to the genius and taste and style, in all their subsequent years, to men distinguished for their talents, whom the lyceums discovered and trained, who shone splendidly in after life. To find the place of the lyceum in the evolution of the debaters, we will eliminate genius. To draw a rude likeness was once genius. In mechanics genius ceased to be recognized as soon as labor could equal the result, once attributed to nature's gift, acting unaided. Whittier tells us that when he began life verse-making was a monopoly. Good citizenship is not a gift or an inheritance any more than is good soldiering. Courage alone does not make the soldier nor honesty alone the citizen. Training is essential to both. In the recent constitutional convention held in Massachusetts those who worked like Trojans, looked forward with apprehension, to the oratorical assaults, that would be made upon their results. They recognized the disproportionate advantage, but a real advantage never-the-less, of oratory, and this was not over-looked but acknowledged. For a fact, some excellent ideas went begging for the support of those who had talents and training for speaking exceptionally well. One who surpasses the ordinary standards, but a little, takes a position quite in advance of his fellows. Superiority on the race course is a matter of seconds and half-seconds. The honor bestowed by us on excellence in public address is greater than that attributed to men in literature or the professions, in business, or invention. The difference becomes so plain and is so conspicuous that it gains attention. The ablest speaker arouses the sympathies and gains the result. Where a cause is to be presented I have heard this formula. A poor cause, a good speaker. A good cause, any speaker. All of us have been present when a fine speaker having what may be called the wit of speech where a laugh was loaded with a principle where the address was clear, sparkling, above all things witty, wit being the rarest of qualities and surest of appreciation, the audience worked up by the rough and ready eloquence of a popular orator, reaching indeed an extraordinary pitch of excitement, has swept everything with the weaker side of the case. No accomplishment gains consideration for its possessor and his cause so speedily as public speaking. When billions were being raised in Liberty Loans, during the German war, the telling factor was the four-minute speakers that came out of the Phillips debating societies in the various communities, and these speakers having come to the front show some disposition to remain there.

A New Impetus

Here is brought to light the reason, that those northern states in which these elementary schools of patriotism and freedom have existed, cling so tenaciously, for local government, to the old town meeting. In this country where the motive power is public opinion, the ability to help in forming it is greatly to be coveted. The power of the lyceum would be instantly admitted, if we could use it for a moment as a negative quantity, and show how completely unfitted for public work many of our strongest factors would have been, had these little schools of oratory never opened their doors. I share in the well expressed opinion that there are four kinds of human activity for which a man must have a natural preparation, music, the sculptor's art, the painter's art, these three, and the highest forms of oratory. For these, most successful men must have aptitude. But to a person with the gift of utterance, occasion must say, Oratory, come forth! Money does not talk. Culture not wealth is the mark of distinction. Take a man whose father was poor and also the descendant of poor men with all their ideas of life associated with conditions of extreme poverty. The atmosphere and practices were such that Henry Wilson besought the legislature to change his name from Jeremiah Jones Colbaith to that one that he made famous as United States senator and as vice-president being elected on the ticket with Grant. He had known what it was to ask his mother for bread when she had none to give. Before he was twenty-one he had never had but two dollars and had never spent more than one dollar. At the end of an eleven years' apprenticeship to a farmer, he received a yoke of oxen and six sheep which he sold for eighty-four dollars. During these eleven years he never had more than twelve months schooling. The turning point in his life was the lyceum which he attended, following the lines of argument, but lacking courage to share in the debate. But one evening when the discussion was thrown open to the audience he engaged in it to the delight of his friends. His pastor called upon him and expressed his gratification and the lyceum increased in popularity as a place to hear him. His pastor urged him to seek an education. The lyceum had awakened his dormant powers. His special forte, his biographer says, was extemporaneous speaking and debate. In meetings held once or twice a week he acquired the drill he needed for coming conflicts.

The Onward Upward Course

Henry Clay rose to fame, by a sudden impulse at the meeting of a lyceum in Lexington. He overcame timidity and embarrassment, that had oppressed him, and in this favorite forum for the display of youthful talent, first exhibited the evidence of his extraordinary powers of oratory. His hour had struck. In this school for the highest powers of debate he discovered himself. He used a very common expedient and made it great and was proud to descend from the summit of political preferment to honor that arena, such as any community can provide, in which any ambitious young man can educate himself. Both Mr. Beveridge's brilliant oratory and Dolliver's success, as the greatest campaigner America has produced, are proof, that a training field is an indispensable condition of getting results, in the study of eloquence and in the art of oratory.



In Bates Hall in the old public library in Boston, lying open on one of the ledges to any visitor, was an Ignorance Book, in which any one could ask a question on which he desired information, and after an interval, return to find it was answered. The Redwood library at Newport, R. I., has had, upon a commodious desk, a book by means of which readers can take their intellectual needs to those who have the ability to meet them. The Lyceum was once a great solvent. Nothing has taken its place. It was an evil day when this profoundly useful educational institution closed its doors. People are sitting on its front steps awaiting a reopening. They have, before them, a new map, a new world, and a new set of questions.

What is Your Problem

Can a person change his disposition? The features of children are as diverse as their faces, all have the family likeness, but each has his own peculiar temperament.

Is it the brain, and not the soul, that does the thinking? Is man a machine and not a living spirit, inhabiting a physical body? Do people speak advisedly who use the expression "Keeping soul and body together?"

Why did not the slaves in the South do more for their own emancipation?

Why does a minister use a text? This custom prevails among pulpit orators who do not believe in miracles or in the inspiration of the Scripture or in the authority of the Bible. There's a reason. What is it?

Our teachers, in faithfulness and friendship, used to stand next to our parents and are entitled to and will ever receive our most grateful recollections. They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations. On revisiting the earth there was one instructor who beside exercising a benign and stimulating personal influence had high qualities and remarkable fitness for his noble profession, whom I would cheerfully make a sabbath day's journey to honor. Let me preserve his name, S. H. Folsom. Schoolmaster was about the right word for him for he was master as well as teacher. His severity is to be attributed to the times rather than to him. It is said that a drowning man can in two minutes live over again every incident in a long and checkered career, and a boy does not doubt the possibility of such phenomena, if he has been publicly requested, by the master, to remain after school to be whipped. We all remember him with kindly feelings and there are hundreds of his pupils living who have not lost their sense of indebtedness to him.

On the Road to Learning

A boy lays up nothing against a noble, faithful, patient teacher who whips him. Pain is nothing to boys. They give it, and suffer it, in their sports, many of which have penalties. They uplift tearful eyes, but it is in entreaty, and not in rage. It was from him I acquired a life-long practice of the little economies of time. We are now so interlocked with others, we are so far from living or laboring alone that our time is much disposed of by other people. "Do you ever reflect how you pass your life? If you live to seventy-two, which I hope you may, your life is passed in the following manner: an hour a day is three years. This makes twenty-seven years sleeping, nine years dressing, nine years at table, six years playing with children, nine years walking, drawing, and visiting, six years shopping, and three years quarrelling."

I now save the time I used to spend in going to the postoffice. I used to reckon how many trips would make twenty miles. Still the flight of time grieves me. I must draw tighter and tighter every string. The school that I attended was a mere vest-pocket edition of the one which, year by year, like a starling, keeps adding to the nest, on which Mr. Folsom now looks down in benediction. This building has a telephone switchboard. I recognized only the switch which in my day was a weeping willow. When a gone feeling was experienced, a boy could dig up a small coin, go to a grocery and buy a pickle, but now schools have a buffet car attachment supplied by the woman's club.

The By-product of Development

It was an unrealized deprivation, but I do not seem to remember, when I was under the ferule, the teacher's maid, such as waits upon the children at the new training school here, nor do I seem to recall the school physician, such as the city now elects, nor the piano, nor the victrola, nor do I remember any free transportation to and from school except by "punging" when we had to take what came in terms of the sleigh driver's whip.

The principle of the Declaration of Independence was taken literally that all are created equal, which makes in education a Procrustes' bed and every boy or girl in a class, supposed to be equally capable, as they were not, was to be stretched to learn lessons of equal length. They trained up a child in the "way." The way was first fixed. It was a grown up theory. They thought more of the way than of the child. The child's primitive nature had no play. The process often lost the scholar his childhood. He was robbed of his birthright. The old maxims even, also taught that anything saved from sleep was so much saved.

With his pen, Mr. Folsom could, with unerring grace, draw an eagle, put an inscription into his mouth and thus stir in his pupils astonishment and patriotic feeling. In writing he made a specialty of capital letters, which had the last touch of nicety. Any line of his writing was as neatly molded as Spencerian copy. We had thus two epochs in our school, the Ciceronian and the Spencerian periods. One was distinguished by the graces of speech, the other by waves of ink. We have always been given to understand, that if the cradles in a neighborhood were assembled the occupant of one of them would call those present to order. It is thought to be a wonder that an American is born knowing how to conduct a public meeting. He early learns how to make motions. It is instinctive to know that a motion cannot have more than two amendments offered, at the same time, and to know the order in which they must be put, the second amendment before the first. When we wonder at some of the traits of colts we are told that they are born with their peculiarities; so with boys. The crown of everything was public declamation.

Best When Most Catching

All paths led to the exhibition as we have seen. Other studies were subordinated to the all absorbing preparation for it. Other branches suffered from eclipse. The taste for it became very great. It fixed the boy's bent. The men having a lyceum, the boys took the infection and even had a relapse. In our community they formed a lyceum, and among the questions discussed was this: Which is preferable, city or country life? Having the stern rule that the less favored one must also stand up I was invited at the age of ten to share in the deliberations. I became so absorbed in some of the follies, presented by my opponents, and so lost sight of the occasion, that, when called upon by name, I was startled. The boys took sides in the universal conflicts of opinion. Nobody could find rest on a fence. It was a picket fence. The ground was the only safe place to stand on. As a regiment takes on the character of its colonel, so a school in a particular degree, reflects the teacher. I cannot tell how we all came out of the craze. When penmanship was the rage and writing became epidemic the scholars developed the villainous habit of scribbling always and everywhere. As stationery was not plentiful they used the leaves and margins, not only of their own books, but those of the others. They decorated the walls and desks. As the nights were extremely cold, the ink would be turned by the frost from a liquid to a solid state. Hence the bottles were placed on the stove for thawing purposes and would sometimes decorate the ceiling or empty their contents on the stove and floor, accompanied by a detonation like that of a pistol.

The Love of Conquest

Now this man Folsom understood human nature in its initial stages. His insight showed him that boys and girls crave some reward and recognition, so when he could approve a youngster's conduct and application, he would award him a diminutive ticket on which, in his beautiful writing, was the word Perfect. By touching up emulation he ruled the school. When ten small tickets were carefully acquired they would be proudly cashed up into a somewhat larger chromo with the same device. Before we call anyone lucky, who takes a prize, let us call him unlucky, who is without the desire to make the effort to win it. It is fine for him to contend to the uttermost for even the meanest prize that is within his reach, because by such strenuous contention, his nature grows and by lack of it, nature decays. A poor boy cannot rival the wealthy, in items of luxury, but in a school he finds himself in a little republic, where the prizes do not fall to the rich, because they are such. A boy out of an humble home may have lacked recognition and to receive it makes him a new creature. To find himself appreciated and well-liked touches a spring at the center of his being. A boy is often made over by the quickening thought that to him might fall one of the little early prizes of life.

The Impulse From Incentive and Reward

The fire and the force to do great things were slumbering in Senator Wilson's soul.... "His future course of life," his biographer says, was affected by Mrs. Eastman, who handed him, when he was eight years old, a little book. "Now carry it home with you and read it entirely through and you shall have it." A book he had never owned. To him it was a golden treasure. He hurried home to read it. He coveted the prize. In seven days he called to say that he had read it from end to end. This little book, a Testament, he kept all his living days, saying, that the presentation of it was the starting point in his intellectual life. The reason, as Sir Walter Scott believed, why the passion for books so lifts up a poor boy, is that he makes himself a master of what he possesses, before he can acquire more. Queen Judith, a princess of rare accomplishment, promised a finely illuminated book of Saxon poems, to which, her son, Alfred the Great, when young had been listening with enthusiasm, to such of her sons as should the soonest be able to read them. The innate energy of those dormant talents of "the Darling of the English" was roused and he made his name the brightest that adorns Anglo-saxon history. He became the most illustrious monarch that ever filled the English throne. He founded the University of Oxford, established trial by jury, and sought to emulate the deeds, to the recital of which he so early loved to listen. It is said that when this promise of the book was made, "Alfred returning to Queen Judith, eagerly inquired if she actually intended to give the book to the person who would soonest learn to read it?" His mother repeated the promise, with a smile of joy at the question; the young prince took the book, found out an instructor, and learned to read, and soon recited all its contents to her.

The Fascination of Matching Abilities and Efforts

Oh for some angel visitant to stir the waters of the Bethesda of self-improvement as it was once done by the use of this principle of emulation in our class in spelling. Alphabetically the scholars were called out into a line, toeing a crack in the floor. Beginning at the head of the class the master puts out the word and those who have studied their lesson pass above those who have not. It is an unequalled revelation for a boy's later life. How came I at the foot? When one boy has competitors and they attend to their business and he does not, he will gravitate downward. I had been trained in the catechism to believe that it was first Adam and then Eve, but this theory was upset, when we stood up to spell. I can still see one of those girls stick to the head of the class. Blessed be the bad roads, "kind the storm" that housed the girl, for a day, as on her return she went to the foot. At length she modestly said to the master, "Put out any word in the book and I will spell it." With such proficiency we challenged the nearest district school to a spelling match.

The Tug of War

Before the interest began to flag, it was understood that as a final test, every body in the house should rise and spell down. With blushing honors, under the spell of emulation, this unobtrusive girl would rally her powers, and hold her timid self up to meet all comers by sheer force of a moral courage, unsurpassed by men who go over the top and look into the cannon's mouth. The audience grows breathless. She clings to her position like that which Oliver Wendell Holmes called The Last Leaf. Our best girl won. Our boys seeing any members of the defeated school would use their two palms for a trumpet and shout the pivotal word, on which our victory turned, "Phthisic." It was a great incitement to strive to equal or excel when a rival was seen to take a reward for doing what we might have done, but didn't. The name of the winner became a household word and was garlanded. I have felt depressed by my consciousness of the unworthiness of the response, that my life has made, to such an excellent instructor in penmanship and spelling. His name is embalmed in all our hearts. The terms of school soon ended. Beyond this we have no record of our eminent teacher's life and as Bunyan says of one of his characters "We saw him no more."



It is with diffidence that I name a suggestion that has been very much on my heart since retreading these streets and revisiting these early haunts. It is to get rich, not with dollars in the purse, but deposits in the bank of memory. No other human faculty can be more rapidly and strongly and surely developed than an ability to keep things in mind. Yet many people are making use of methods that impoverish recollection. Devices are increasing for memory-saving which have the effect of memory destroying. A faculty's development is arrested from want of use. The memory has not grown, but the habit of putting things down with a pencil has developed. Our schedule of work is not unfolded in the mind and committed to memory but is committed to little slips of paper. Things are not carried in the brain but in the pocket and are in danger of being laid off with one's apparel. We feel dependent on the memoranda. Our best power, that likes to be trusted, that responds to discipline, has no growth, but wastes away instead, owing to defective nutrition, and lack of exercise. The memory falls into a stunted and partially disabled condition. That minister, the most widely read of any American clergyman, sharply points out, that a capacity falling into disuse, falls also into a dying process, and is extirpated and withdrawn. Any capacity kept under, allowed no range or play, suppressed, is soon stupefied and blunted. A man was endowed with a fine faculty, and has not turned it to account, "Take, therefore, the talent from him."

Developing a Real and Fixed Deformity

We once had to remember our errands but parents now hand to children a written list. Facts, stories, incidents are not stored in the intellect, but in a cabinet. Mental equipment, then, is all gone in the event of a fire. Instead of being thankful that the cabinet maker was preserved it would have been better to have saved the cabinet. There is more in that than in him.

In the intemperate man the better parts of his nature do not have fair play. His body is disordered, his brain confused, by a succession of trespasses. All diseases and abuses are self limited. Improvement would come, by a delivery from his baneful habit, and by strengthening his principles. Memory when respected, when it uses its wings and makes nothing of time or distance is an angel power. It is full of rural incidents and has a great deal of nature and of soul in it. The past is not altogether dead. It must be used to enable us to understand the real living history around us. Now look. Do you observe that every child has a health instinct? Intuitively it seeks the open air. A child is not fussy about the weather. Those have the best health that go out under all skies. Take notice that a child's birthright is freedom. When walking with his mother he seeks to unclasp his hand from hers and make a little detour in the grass along the way. His nature revolts at following, forever, when out for pleasure, a beaten path. Seeing real life reflected, you do not fail to notice, that in coasting, which in childhood could be called, The Great Joy, the girls take a prominent part, and there is no effort by the elders to play the spy nor block the sport. Here are boys and girls together, oblivious of sex, like a family, in beautiful, healthful, animating sport. It is remarkable that coasting keeps first place, seeing that it involves climbing up as well as sliding down. The return walk, involving a change of position, an interchange of mind, a fine spirit of comradeship, a greatly increased intake of ozone became for a fact a cordial of incredible virtue. God sets all little children playing for this. He lays the necessity of play upon them, and the restless little fellows hunger and thirst for physical activities. On a holiday the city is emptied into the country to enjoy for a few hours the true conditions of a healthy physical condition.

An Increased Reverence for the Human Organization

The bashful athlete, as if by mere chance, takes hold of the rope just opposite to the pretty girl of the party, I mean to one of the pretty girls of the party, whose ear he wishes to command. As the boys owned the sleds, the spirit of gallantry greatly promoted proprietorship, in a double runner, which was vital to the social spirit of the sport. One that could fly was the ideal aimed at. It seemed animate. It was well shod. A heavy load gave momentum. It was guided with rare judgment, watched, compared with others, improved, made to look better, until its associated owners prided themselves in it, as a thing of life and beauty and speed, as mariners do in a ship. Some people have to go abroad to find folks who seem eager for an excuse to get out, to even take their meals in the open air. The European seems chafed in his own house. He takes his supper with his family in the face of all the world, and enjoys the publicity. He walks about to see how other families are faring, and they do not resent it. It would not disturb him to take his dinner on the side-walk on Broadway. So in Southern California, nobody shuts a door. The weather, being about like our April, the barber shops and restaurants have no heat and often a strong current of air, that the natives would enjoy, came streaming in through wide-open doors and windows.

The Open-door Policy

Book stores were not warmed at all. One morning at breakfast I rose and put on my overcoat, and a visitor at the next table, at the conclusion of the meal said, What part of the country do you come from, that you have to put on your overcoat? The reason those people put their doctors out of business is not alone in the climate but in their becoming accustomed to living in God's great and good out-of-doors. We could live much colder than we do, and live more largely out of doors, and reap at least some of the benefits that people gain by going abroad.

In looking over the familiar places, when revisiting the earth, that were once the haunts of the idlers of the town, I was struck by the entire absence of whittling in which they formerly engaged. Who could reckon their indebtedness to the pine, which supplied the favorite material? Each man kept in pretty good order, if he owned nothing else, a fine piece of cutlery, with a history which he had made familiar to the minds of his easy-going associates. To whittle with an edgeless knife is dull sport, hence at intervals, each loafer would lay his right foot upon his left knee, and upon the leather of his heavy boot characteristic of that day, would strop the blunt blade until he had put it again on edge.

Our Knives Confiscated by Teachers

Every loss is thought to have its compensation. If whittling is out of vogue, the benches before the boys at school are, for that reason, better preserved. A common present to a boy in that day was a pretty good knife. Boys are very imitative. They sought to whittle and would notch the school desks until their edges were serried into a semblance of a cross-cut saw. As the term of school wore on the teacher had made himself the custodian of most of the fancy hardware owned by the ingenious scholars. Not remote from the school-house door we turn aside and stand over the identical spot where we sat, with our heels wide apart, facing a chum, and played mumble-the-peg, or mumblety-peg, as the boys pronounced it.

"The boys were playing some old game, beneath that same old tree;
I have forgot the name just now,—you've played the same with me,
On that same spot; 'twas played with knives, by throwing so and so;
The loser had a task to do,—there, twenty years ago."

As the knives were thrown from a series of positions, the winner would show himself something of the savage still, for when the loser failed to make the knife blade stick in the ground, he would, with the heavy handle of the knife, drive a peg into the ground, by a certain number of blows, which the loser was compelled to draw out with his teeth. The severity of the penalty was not in using a long peg, like a wooden tooth-pick, but a short one that could still be struck a blow or two after it was below the surface of the soil. Thus the unskillful player had to root for it, while the boys, being called together, encircled him and jeered.

Happy Hours by Living Streams

The appearance and needs of this dirty-faced boy caused the whole bunch to hie away to the swimming-hole. The Romans seem always to have been looking out for places to bathe and always finding them. So with boys. Where is the boy that did not strive to get to the water? Who is there that did not, in his youth, love some stream? Here is the landscape toward which the mind, during the interval of a generation, has fondly turned. Last summer I followed the same old path to exactly the same square foot of ground on the willow-lined shore from which I had a hundred times stepped into the stream. I could locate exactly the spot where a bigger boy, who wanted to race, raised an oar and told me to jump over to lighten the boat, which I had to do, and there in deep water, as it was sink or swim, survive or perish, I paddled the best I could and learned to swim in one short, self-taught lesson.

Healing in the Pool

This illustrates again the health instincts of boys which they seek to obey without knowing the why and wherefore of the feeling that impels them to bathe often. Swedenborg had to have a revelation from heaven to enable him to catch a glimpse of his malady which he ought to have known by intuition. His nature was all the time complaining, and what an expression that is when men speak of their "complaints," when by pains, which are warnings, nature is reporting her grievances at head-quarters. But the heavens were opened and Swedenborg went into ecstasy over the kindness of the angel whose message to him was a warning not to eat so much. The body shows divine workmanship as well as the soul. When young we follow nature and the result is a red-blooded, vigorous youngster, and if, as we went on in life, we had souls enough to appreciate the free air and sunlight with their health-giving properties, which are so lavishly bestowed upon us, we should better reverence the temple in which the spirit dwells. A recent association formed in Boston for the erection of a monument to Franklin, used in the picture, on their certificate of membership, the figure of Franklin with a kite leaning against him and a view of the telegraph. The kite employed by the philosopher in his experiment is a plaything of the young, while the experiment it served to make so successful, is the last word in science when applied to light, heat and transportation. The picture shows the connection between our sport and the great realities of life.

And That Reminds Me

Play underlies the future responsibilities and events of life. Recreation has a direct relation to efficiency. I wish that some boys that I know would play a little more. To watch boys is to study their character. The story of a boy's life deserves to be written as well as the life of a man. A boy has been pointed out who on returning from school is seized and imprisoned in a back parlor with nothing to look at but his weary lessons. He is pining. His eye needs brightening. His blood wants reddening. An Oriental traveler, watching a game of cricket, was astonished to hear that some of those playing were rich. He asked why they did not pay some poor people to do it for them. The play will show itself in still greater riches when radical important work is undertaken and when an entire revolution in the world's methods is to be accomplished. Exercise, like mathematics, cannot be seized by might nor purchased by money. It is not true that every hour taken from a child's play is an hour saved. In some cases, where a boy is given a little time to play, it is done grudgingly. Thinking now of efficiency they hire, here, leaders to teach children to play. Vivacious representatives of the Young Women's Christian Association sent word through the little villages along the Volga that there would be games for the Russian children on the village squares. These refugee children had seen so many sorrows that they had forgotten that they were young. Whole towns turned out. They looked on in wonder. "Have you brought us bread?" they asked, as the games were about to be started. The spirit of joy had forsaken them and needed to be recalled. Little games of competition and emulation, that were mirth-producing and health-giving, gave the impression that "Some angels must have been at play." As Thoreau says of animals, so we may say of human beings, that their most important part is their anima, their vital spirit.

One of Life's Schools

When revisiting the earth I met on intimate terms a classmate. I was in and out of his place of business many times. He had plenty to do. Indeed he had too much to do. The distinct impression he made upon me was, that he was being hurried, all the time, a little faster than he could well travel. Hurry, if continuous, becomes simply worry under another name. Let a person catechize his own experiences on this subject: it will have a salutary effect. He drew me into a confidential conversation, in which he said, that he was not earning a good living and asked me what I thought of his situation. I advised him at once to take a vacation and refresh his mind. He was working like a quarry slave. A person needs to stand away from a house to see it. He needed to readjust himself. His mind had lost its spring. A little recreation would do him more good, than the same time in the treadmill. Sometimes you see that a man made up what mind he has, when he was too tired; it was no proper expression of him.

Loafing and Laboring

What was once play has become work and what was once work in the garden, wood-yard, and barn may now become play. A person can stop work and yet not have any recreation. When a person after excessive physical exertion is resting he is not recreating. You do not say of persons at rest that "they shout for joy, they also sing." After sunset, the lonely twilight hours, with Jacob, represented the accepted, needed rest and after that came the pensive reverie, the dream and with it the ladder and the angel ministration. In his own person, every one must have noticed, that after a period of rest, often as late as Sabbath afternoon, come the holy influences of the hour, the music that is audible to the fine ear of thought, the stillness, the purity, the balm. A man, who is busy all the time or tired all the time, breaks the curfew law of God. The evening concentrates the retrospect, also the prospect of our lives. If you are communing with a confidential friend you do not like to have any body else talking in the room at the same time. You want to become attuned, like musicians, about to begin to play.

Foibles of the Famous

These persons are often quarrelsome, in spite of the fact, that their constant employment is the production of harmony. It is the effect of play, to bring into harmony. This is one of its most benign results. A man, found to be out of harmony with the spirit of the place, or of the time, only awaits displacing. M. Protopopoff, the last minister of the interior under the old regime in Russia, told nearly the whole truth when he said to an Associated Press representative, who visited him in prison, that his crime consisted of "not understanding the spirit of my age." Mistaking the time, he became a worker for a separate peace with Germany. That man of the past is not as black as he first appeared, for he has at least this redeeming trait, finding himself out of harmony with the temper of his time, he confesses it, and incriminates himself, and does not bitterly criticise those participating in the advent of a new era, which is the common practice, under such conditions.



The proof that a robust, daring, well-fed boy starts by being a sort of half domesticated little animal as well as a Sunday school immortal is set out in his school fights. These best illustrate how hard it is to eradicate the savage, hereditary traits of our early barbaric ancestry. It is suggested that all fully domesticated animals dislike children. They have an instinctive fear of their tricks and their thoughtlessness.

The rude jostle, pretty nearly instinctive with boys coming from school, breaks the peace. There is the quick impulse to resist aggression with violence, particularly on the part of an impulsive unrelenting temper, not adverse to battle. Wrestling and boxing were very much in vogue, a generation ago, which made the average boy very ready with his fists and anxious if there was to be a clinch, to get "the underholt." This preparedness increased the likeliness of a clash. If a boy took occasion to state the events that led up to Armageddon, we used to hear, He called me names. His budding sense of honor, an exaggerated feeling of obligation to take care of his better self, his name, was the most frequent incentive to try conclusions.

Precipitating a Fracas

The tendency to give a nickname, to remind a boy in a word of the color of his hair, or the cut of his clothes, or of some unfortunate incident in his life or that of his family was painfully wide-spread, and it hurt like a blow and started resentment. A boy, that by his disposition and taste, was too proud to fight could not always keep out of it as the active belligerent might be overbearing or might be, at the time, imposing on some helpless party. This is an unprovoked declaration of war when peace can only be had by conquering it. It is interesting to study a man's life in terms of those early scuffles. In Pilgrim's Progress the fight of Christian and Apollyon was the kernel of the story. Henry Higginson, "Bully Hig," a business man of remarkable success in Boston, was the leader of the Latin school forces and engagements which were as fiercely fought as some in which the same boys later took part on the battle fields of the South. A boy's anger and a boy's pain pass away like clouds on a summer morning and leave the sky purer and fairer than before. Boy's fights often began with snow-balling. They were implied by the use of the word snow-forts, on the old site of which we took occasion to stand. For days the boys would roll up immense snow-balls to form the redoubt. They worked, like the ants, those sociologists of the insect-world who combine their efforts to move an object toward the ant hill, approach the thing to be moved, using all their strength wherever they can apply it, causing the object to stagger along, and the small, industrious, courageous creatures by frantic partisan effort landed it where individual work never could have so well located it. Those who built the fort were determined to defend it. They talked over their grievances until they seemed bigger than they were. Trouble would soon begin to boil, like the witches' brew into which all kinds of ingredients entered and the situation soon forced all boys to take sides.

Sectional and Factional Fights

It was common to hear the inquiry, Are you on my side? It started a campaign. There was no neutral zone. There were no pacifists. If a snow fort was to be stormed the snow-balls were dipped in water and were as hard as canister. The contending forces were under boy commanders. The volatile spirit of the organization lasted after the snow was gone. The contending parties were easily provoked. Boys used to take off their coats and lay them aside like those that stoned Stephen. The question to be settled was Who is bigger? The custom was to place a chip upon the shoulder and flatly dare a fancied antagonist to knock it off, which being done, hostilities were let loose with a spring. The other boys would gather about and witness the excitement, their only concern being to see that there was every way a square deal. Until such a time as one or the other would say, Hold, enough, I am through. Things were then deemed settled. An incidental indication that boys before re-birth were little animals, was the use of their nails. The face of him that was worsted would bear a diagram of the battle.

Suffering From Personal Collision

On reaching home his mother's consternation and sympathy and displeasure at the injury he had received, causing her haste to apply a soft sponge and remedial lotions, would displace all effort to ascertain if her boy was in any degree at fault in bringing on the fray. It is no wonder that there is an enormous increase in the number of physicians in these days if boys thus settle who is the best man. The doctors, we are told, got rich upon small pay, yet now they flourish in treble numbers, as they are required, upon all foot-ball grounds, in particular, and upon all athletic fields in general. Life in miniature is exhibited by the petty incidents of a school boy's history. A single bold adventure is decisive sometimes of a campaign. A challenge to fight two boys at once has been known to give a courageous youngster reputation. The opposition did not want to fight but was intent to discover if the new lad in school would keep his ground saying, like the Scotch thistle, Don't touch me.

There has been during a generation such a fine growth of sentiment that many of the former things, like corporal punishment, have passed away. In school Luther was flogged every day. We have no other right to associate ourselves with a great reformer except in the matter we are now considering. The school thrashing was shown to be a method of separating the chaff from the wheat.

Birch, Beech, and Willow Were the Branches Taken

It certainly was not the custom in our day for the teacher to get down on his knees to the pupils and offer them peppermints if they would only consent to behave. In the government exhibit at Omaha, in a World's Fair, was a series of framed pictures, filled with painful suggestions, illustrating what may be termed, the evolution of the disuse of the switch. The world has moved on to some new conception of moral suasion. These pictures, however, were from real life, as many of us can testify. If any one wanted glimpses of the good old time, there they were. First was a small boy being flogged by a pretty lady teacher. I know that picture to be correct. In the next instance the boy was curled up in bitter anticipation of what was going to happen to him. Next a boy was holding out a ruler at arm's length. Then followed very properly the dunce cap and the fool stool. Then we witnessed the process of shaking or churning where the churner grasps the lapels of the churnee's coat and proceeds to violently agitate the latter with many oscillations. The most suggestive picture of an old-fashioned school was where the discipline appeared to be founded on Solomon's warning. The master stands near the stove with his book in one hand and switch in the other with only one eye on the book. New Jersey now prohibits by law corporal punishment in schools. Eight states prescribe a penalty for excess amounting to cruelty. In Arizona alone the law gives authority to whip. In ten states the courts have decided that, as flogging has been the commonest mode of discipline from time immemorial, the teacher requires no permission to use the birch. In Providence a teacher in the primary grade has to get the written consent of the parents to whip a boy and have it filed with the city superintendent. All these formalities have been developed since the period that we are canvassing.

America's Unhappy Hour

The incident of flogging a pupil did not seem to disturb the school nor seem to interrupt the studies appreciably except when it was one of the big boys that had incurred the master's displeasure. When it was obvious that there was to be a battle royal it became the custom for the tender-hearted, larger girls to rise, without a word or sign from them or the teacher, and pass quietly out of the room at the instant it became plain that hostilities were to begin. The ruler, introduced into the school as an aid in drawing, was often used as a punitive instrument. When the old attendants upon the school get together as jolly good fellows, their word being now unquestioned on any matter of fact, it is noticeable that in reciting their sufferings, it was never the master's fortune to get hold of the guilty party. According to their testimony, the boy that introduced the disorder was not the one that stood for the infliction of punishment. There is usually one boy in school that can on occasion, look cross-eyed and another boy that can move his ears. This comes to the attention of the apple-cheeked girl, who laughing, showed all her teeth like a row of white piano keys. Her fear of discipline made her press the palm of her hand over her pretty mouth, in a sudden, forced attempt to suppress a giggle. The boy, who came next into the comedy, was likeliest to meet the frown of him who must, at once, rule his little empire into a terrified silence.

Putting on the Character with the Coats of Gentlemen

The gymnasium, organized athletics, the ambition of boys to gain a place on the various teams has brought in a milder reign. Another influence is the reflex effect of wearing better clothes. Dress strangely changes the person and curiously affects the character. One of the best preventives of rude Sabbath breaking is a nicely folded, well-fitting Sunday suit. With a rough, coarse, untearable suit goes rough usage all around, and with fine clothes goes politeness of manner. The clothing worn used to be much thicker and heavier. About the neck was a comforter, tippet, scarf, or even a small sized shawl. Men wore fur standing collars, cow-hide boots, and tucked the lower ends of their trousers' legs into them, in rough weather and when engaged in rough work. A bootjack was the commonest kind of household furniture. Boys wore heavy calf-skin boots with attractive red tops, which they desired to have seen, and this foot-wear was copper-toed so that a boy could lie on his face on his sled and steer it in its swift descent of the hill, by ploughing first one toe and then the other into the icy roadway. Any one's feelings will indicate to him, that he must treat himself, and that he must be treated differently by others, when he is clad in light woolens and in thin foot-wear. He must have more civilized walks, a more even warmth in the house, and a more genteel order of life. It shows the reflex influence of refined dress.

New Facings to Old Opinions

On revisiting the earth it is an amazement to find, that in so short a time, most boys are made millionaires. They sit in a building at school, that cost scores of thousands of dollars. In their own right, they walk into a library, worth tens of thousands, housed in a building that is high priced. The latest books are added to their library. Money has been expended to have a card catalogue made. It used to be tiresome to get about town, and to visit the metropolis, but great stores of money have been used to give them ease and save the wear and tear. Boys have parks to play in and have artificial skating rinks and table luxuries and new forms of furniture and free text-books. Boats drop down the James river loaded with melons. At Norfolk one negro tosses a watermelon to another colored man and he to another until they are loaded in a car which starts express at night, when it is cool, for the northern cities. Boats and trains and service cost money, but it seems very little to a boy in his new circumstances, who has luxuries which we used to do without. Not much was done for us children, compared with present home furnishings, which have Hawthorne's "Wonder Books" and Longfellow's "Evangeline" and pictured illustrations of the world and of life. In our early days most of our picture books were brought from England. If boys then lived in a poor part of the city it was a chosen location for saloons but now boys do not have to live in a location where they have saloons. This improvement of a boy's environment is greatly to his advantage.

Fair to Illustrate by the Best Examples

The most frequent question asked the visitor is how things, taking the years together, seem to be going. The improvement in conditions is glaring. This is not, and cannot be, without result. This of itself makes a showing in men. It was the same quality of seed that fell among thorns and by the way-side and upon stony places. In visiting the field, the first observation is not touching the seed, but outside conditions, and their direct relation to the product. Men reveal even more plainly the effect of extraneous influences. It is said that on hearing the younger Silliman lecture, an enthusiastic auditor exclaimed, "Why, he beats the old gent!" The elder Silliman, who had been listening to the lecture, overheard the remark, and gaining the attention of its author, quietly observed, "Of course he does. He stands upon my shoulders." The old stock was good and stood high but the new generation has the advantage of better position and of a finer outlook.



If houses have souls, as Hawthorne believed and taught, and can admire and remember, there is one residence, toward which I turn my willing pilgrim feet, on revisiting the earth, which supports his way of thinking. I was hardly within the door of this dwelling, once occupied by my father, himself a clergyman, when it began to reel off to me, the impressions it had received and retained, for a generation. First, came in minute detail, with all the vividness of moving pictures, a recital touching the old-fashioned donation party which, like the husking-bee and the quilting-bee or house-raising, requires a good deal of interpretation to those, living in days, when money flows like water. The mingling of work and pleasure, combining philanthropy and social enjoyment was the custom of the time. All came together in a fine spirit of neighborliness and all the labor and all the supplies for the feast were gratuitously furnished. A Donation Party was featured particularly by spare-ribs, also by cake, bags of flour, and pies, also by all kinds of things both from the cellar and larder of the members of the parish. The soiree with refreshments, was always a surprise, with this exception that the minister's wife was asked, with a knowing look, if the dominie was to be at home. The outstanding fact was the overwhelming abundance of everything. The party over, when we sat down to a meal, we began just where we left off at the last repast.

The Past at Least is Secure

Wood, in sled lengths, used to be dragged to our door. Coal was unknown to our experience. When a man had a pig-sticking, in anticipation of the school-teacher's coming to his house to board, he brought a portion of the result to the manse, as if to obtain and enjoy a blessing on the rest. A minister's salary was by necessity used for pocket money. The occasions were joyous, social, extremely helpful, and welcome. The cake left a precious memory behind. Sometimes the lambs of the flock combined to procure something that the shepherd was known to need. What killed the Donation Party and buried it, beyond the hope of resurrection, was the fun and ridicule and wit that came to be aimed at its ludicrous features. A colored porter, on a Pullman car, said he had a good position until the comic papers took up the prevalent method of collecting tips and made it ridiculous. One must orient himself to place the right estimate upon this party at the minister's house. He was not in those days independent to the point of being defiant. There was no beggary, no humiliation, and the people were generous, considering that they had, in many cases, difficult problems of their own. If a minister went into a community to live, as they did, there was a fine feeling all around.

Where a Critical Struggle was Beginning

As I stood in the floor of my early home all the situations were plainly outlined for me. In the front corner of one of the best rooms, stood the study table of the dominie, on which he wrote the ministerial recommendations. Ministers used to be mediators: that was their office. This kindly disposition, to put the influence of one's name, and the weight of his ministerial character, behind any good thing, that seemed to need promoting, could be developed into a form of second nature. The new form of charity, "Not alms, but a friend," did not reduce the number of letters of recommendation. We were taught that a little kindness is often worth more than a great deal of money. The poor, unemployed man lacked opportunity, acquaintance, and recognition. The minister, in pure disinterestedness, brothers him. The usual form of helpfulness is a letter. The misfortune is that everybody can recommend anybody. Exaggerations can be given to certain qualities and a discreet silence observed with regard to others. Thus Mrs. Stowe accentuates the negro's peculiarly religious character and disposition. Thus Wendell Phillips never tells the truth, and yet he always tells truth.

Rising Young Men

The relation of this subject to the book canvasser is extremely suggestive. Some of those who have written their names highest on the rolls of deserved honor have followed this laudable calling. The foremost American, George Washington, sold two hundred copies of Bydell's "American Savage." Our most melodious poet, Longfellow, sold books by subscription. Our pre-eminent orator, Daniel Webster, handled de Tocqueville's "America." Our greatest general, the hero of Appomattox, Ulysses S. Grant, canvassed for Irving's "Columbus." And our magnetic statesman, James G. Blaine, began his career as a canvasser for a life of Henry Clay. In the small, dark, dingy parlors of country hotels, travelers on rainy days often now find copies of books that were sold, or rather traded, to the well-fed, good natured, boniface in exchange for entertainment. I can remember items that I have read in these books. I can now go to the tavern and the table where I read after dinner from Butler's book his explanation of the reason that he lost more cases after he became celebrated as a lawyer than he did before. After his fame was established clients flocked to him, with desperate cases. They did not balk at the amount of his retaining fee. As these hotly contested cases had been put through all of their preliminary stages, in all the lower courts, Benjamin F. Butler has lost each one of these chances to get his client by. The case was substantially decided adversely before the great lawyer appeared in it at all.

Tendency to Exaggerate Rather than to Daguerreotype

The dependence of the agent upon ministers is a testimonial to their sympathy. It stamps them as leaders and establishes the fact that their influence in the community is effective. Great evils are wrought in churches and communities by the fact that indorsements are so easily obtained. A man who wants testimonials can get them. Some of our little home missionary churches in the West, that deserve better things, are grievously tormented. This department of religious helpfulness has been so sadly overworked that it is suggestive to find one Christian association of young men that now omits to give letters of recommendation, feeling that discrimination is always difficult and certainly invidious.

The Practice Has Boomerang Implications

When one is in doubt about recommending a person or thing he ought to take the elder Weller's advice with regard to widows, "Don't." A letter of recommendation ought not to express the judgment of him who seeks it, but of him who gives it. Recommendations too often embody the opinion of the applicant only voiced in the words of a man of influence and position. The pen had over-employment as compared with the feet. We ought to help convicts, released from prison, at the expiration of their sentence, to get employment; but the employer ought to be put in possession of the facts. There is probably no one of us but can say that his letters of recommendation have surpassed in fruitfulness every other form of helpful service. By them currents have been set in motion that have changed the course of many a life. Among those eminent deeds that have caused most of happiness to others, that the angels unmistakably approved, stand out foremost in all one's past those instances in which a letter of introduction and of unhesitating recommendation has brought certain rare spirits into appropriate positions of usefulness and honor. An aged clergyman, loving and beloved, tells a wondering company, how one of Boston's merchant-princes went up to the metropolis of New England, cherishing in his pocket as his chief possession, a letter that meant every word it said and into which a whole country church, through its minister, had put its true estimate of a young, manly, Christian character, also its well wishes and its hopes.

Things with a Difference

There is a saying that Adam once returned to the earth where he recognized no country but Spain. "Ah," said he, "this is exactly as I left it." Since 1880 we have built more than five hundred cities in America, among them some of the smartest in the world. We once lived here, in a plain country town, and now forsooth they have a little doll of a city. In a Boston burial ground there is an enclosed grave-lot. The iron fence is warping and rusting and crumbling. On the iron gate-way to the lot is moulded the caption, "Never to be disturbed." Nature the same, everything else changes is the rule. Even in hoarse, brutal, unprogressive Russia everything is becoming new fangled, dress, features, manners, pursuits, all are becoming new. The alterations, in our former place of abode, have been so unconsciously and so gradually made, as to escape the attention of the resident. The secrecy with which all forms of business was conducted is an example. "No admittance" signs were once so much used that the form could have been manufactured in lots and kept in stock to supply the constant demand. It used to be the custom, in paying a bill, for a man as he drew out his pocket-book, to turn half way around, and with his back to the gentleman he was dealing with, open the wallet and examine his money.

There has been an astonishing increase in the number of employments, as compared with the few different vocations of earlier days. Medical men and lawyers had no specialties as they do now. Many doctors today, who would like an all-round development, would better enjoy a country practice. The sons of the physicians have gone into vocations that were hardly recognized when their fathers began practice. One of the electrical firms asked to be given, for their work alone, the entire graduating class of 1900 from Cornell University.

The Changing World

The slang of a generation ago, some of it is given a permanent place in our language, and while in the dictionaries it is rated as a colloquialism, it is thus recognized. It has increased so greatly in the speech of the people, it comes freely also from student bodies, from the trades and sports and from the war camps, that it will now keep the lexicon makers busy.



Swearing has grown milder. The grossness and blasphemy are largely barred, while the expletives that technically may not be swearing at all, being used for raciness, vigor and emphasis, have increased one hundred fold.

A symptom of decadence is the elimination of book-stores. Speaking broadly it is impossible to find a stall with a stock of books except in the larger cities. When desirous of substantial reading matter I am sometimes able to buy biographies and other books, worth while, at the drug store in a country town. On moving into flats, families commit an unpardonable sin in disposing of their books. The most sickening sight in New York, Chicago, or Boston is to see second-hand books faded and weather-beaten exposed on the street for sale at a seedy, feeble price.

In spite of the strong drift of governments toward democracy, in revisiting the earth, I detected an exaggeration of class feeling as compared with the early days when there were no poor in the whole town and hardly any very rich. Our pleasures were then more simple and our life, on the whole, more serious.

The increased height in houses is apparent. As the family prospers, it seeks to have the walls in the second story carried up full height, that they may not show inside the pitch of the roof which is the distinguishing mark of a cottage.

The Unexpected Happens

I suppose that the passing years make little or no impression on a well-built stone wall, but where growth and prosperity abound they are not likely to preserve many of the primitive buildings and land-marks, but if any living man had predicted the entire remaking and reshaping of this place of my early residence the reply would have been that if the Lord would work a miracle then might this thing be. The man who professed to know just how we are made, as an automobile maker knows a car, tells us that in seven years we get, physically, a brand new outfit, that old things pass away, and all things become new. As we have not now the same bodies so we have not the same mind. Our ideals, our manners are different. We are different. We have had many a re-birth. Time has brought changes that could no more be withstood than you could resist the earth in its revolution. It is the miracle of a generation, which to relate, were not a history but a piece of poetry, and would sound to many ears like a fable. The growth in population and in wealth, during a long constructive period, has kept up the clatter of the hammer, the cry of "mort," and the scent of the resinous odor of the pine. Inventions and improvements have placed man in a new relation to the globe he inhabits. Since new ideas began to prevail former methods have been discarded. Even a snake, with years, sheds its scales and envelopes itself in a new skin. The sun once stood still, and the Jordan was arrested in its banks, but life and the stream of events have flowed on without pause or rest. People who have never made a visit, like ours, will talk freely, far from wisely, about what they have always said, and always thought, as if they had always looked through the same eyes, and judged by the same standards. Not so. You looked on life as it seemed then and are looking again with the picture shifted. Your whole point of view is changed. When a man says, "I have always felt," he means that he has felt thus, back part way, or to a given point, but not so certainly much beyond it.

The Past Looks Like a Dream

We made from recollection and were aided by inquiry, a catalogue of the false prophets who early moved away, to the big cities, saying that the place where we had lived would never increase much in business or population. There is a French proverb which warns people not to use the words "never or always." The Wall Street Journal has just used that unreliable forbidden word "never." It heads an article, "Cheap Food Never Again." Any man living in our old place of residence would be wary of the use of the term "never." He would feel that almost any good fortune may come. With tractors and gang-plows operating in the Land of the Dakotas, South Dakota alone being a quarter larger than all New England, and Montana, the third largest state in the union, very much more than equal in size to England, Scotland, Ireland combined and Texas as big as Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, and Switzerland together, these states being now chiefly unfarmed, with shoals of immigrants after the war to work these fields, bounded only by the sky line, how can a man use the expression, Cheap Food Never Again? The statesman Cambon said that never would Rome cease to belong to the people and that never would Rome be the capital of the king of Italy. A Clergyman here, of high authority and position, showed how all the sovereigns of the chief European nations were blood relatives and announced that there could never be another great war. He became positive. He said such a thing was unthinkable. Look next at the harvest of death in the German war. "He who, outside of mathematics, pronounces the word 'impossible' lacks prudence."

Achilles Pondered in His Tent

Yankee Doodle's criticism was quite just. He could not see the town because there were so many houses. We need to get away from the crowded streets and narrow lanes and talkative people to win a true perspective. I wanted to sit down alone and think things over. The people, generally, were as strange to me as I was to them, and yet there was a time, when I was as well-known to everybody, as a child is to his own mother, and when I knew everybody in town. All the alterations of things are wondrously complete, but these were nothing to the change of appearance in the faces of the people. The old familiar countenances, where were they? I looked here and I looked there and everywhere but they had largely vanished from above and below the earth. The character of the dog has undergone less change, than that of the human master, to whom he is so strangely attached. Change, that immutable law of nature, had wrought such shifts in the faces among old acquaintances that all smiles of recognition were wanting. But when I look in the glass I see no change. To the people I must have appeared as the veriest Rip Van Winkle. It was not the fault of the thrifty, prosperous place that I had slept so long, but like Rip Van Winkle it was in me to come back, and I am trying to learn to say with him, Everything is changed and I am changed. He recalled the occurrences before he entered upon his extended slumber and returned to find that the place was altered. It was enlarged and more populous and had rows of houses which he had not seen before. The dress of the people, too, was of a different fashion from that to which he was accustomed but whether under the somnolent influences of his lethargies, or free from them, he mused amid all the changes of outward affairs upon one immutable scene, "the lordly river moving on its silent but majestic course."



On revisiting the earth nothing is more remarkable than to find that with each man goes one striking characterization. There is usually one prevalent well-founded recollection based upon a temperamental peculiarity, and the impression was made, that the former citizen was fortunate to leave that one item in the memory of the people. You make reference to him, "Oh, yes, he was our town clerk for twenty years." As often as you mention him you are told again the fact which distinguishes him. One beloved character was Abiel Bassett. "Oh yes, he was our good deacon, Deacon Bassett." He was a farmer. As such, he made his living, but that was nothing to the point. "Deacon Bassett"—that was all. Cain stands in the catechism for one fact. There are two things beside, that could be said of him. It is not usual to mention them. Judas must have had excellent qualities or he would not have been made an apostle. One thing attaches to him. If a person's picture is to be taken he might like to designate the occasion and expression, but then he might show self-consciousness which spoils everything. He must not appear to want "to be seen of men." History wants to make his picture a likeness, just as he is, and as his friends see him, every day. On revisiting the earth I find that one act is always stated of my father. It gave him earthly immortality. It was not his greatest act nor his best. He took no pose for the permanent picture. Joseph Jefferson, Kate Claxton and Edwin Booth had, each of them, one part that fitted them like a garment and fully expressed them. It would inevitably become the favorite selected for a "Benefit Night." Audiences in part determined their public character. My father took his permanent position thus by a kind of election.

He was not consulted. History does not say, "How would you like to have your picture taken now?" He is caught like a fly in the amber and there he remains. His repute is imperishable. Thus statuesque is history.

Forgetting all Except One Truth

My mother left one clear-cut impression. It remained like the imprint of a fern leaf on a rock, a suggestive though accidental record of the years gone by. It was a simple picture stamped with a strange indelibility, like the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, the daring of Daniel, the greed of Shylock, the indecision of Hamlet, the jealousy of Othello, the furious driving of Jehu. One story was told with endless iteration by the old-time neighbors who feel themselves under no obligation to laboriously dig up a second story when the usual one is the best and is so thoroughly characteristic. Thus all other occurrences are suffered to fade from the community's recollection. When a patriarch was returning from battle with his spoils, a priest, meeting him, stretched forth his arms and blessed him. In this pose history's snap-shot was taken. After thousands of years we find that he "abideth a priest continually." Such men are the moral pivots of society. Their claim on remembrance, like William the Silent, Charles the Bold, Richard the Lion-Hearted turned upon one conspicuous thing and history will so nail that one fact down and so hammer it that it is practically impossible to effect a readjustment, as in the matter of Daniel Webster's physical condition while making his Rochester speech and of the obloquy cast upon Chief Justice Taney in the Dred-Scott decision, that the negro "had no rights that the white man was bound to respect." The learned judge never made that affirmation. His sympathies in the recital were against, rather than with, the sentiment he named. In revisiting the earth you find that history did not fasten upon the best form of characterization and you try to argue. Oh never mind now, our story is a good one; it will have to stand. It has been attacked before.

Personalities of Rarest Types

The difficulty has been pointed out of recalling our childhood, exactly as it was, for the reason that as we travel backward, we take our present selves with us. Imagination is now less active, and so things are shorn of their size and of their exaggerated features. On coming to town we miss the lion of the place. Our juvenile Hall of Fame was featured by the Sagamore of the tribe. In the good old days society had its leader, its model, its dictator who would have led an army or governed a kingdom. He merited the description by which the Norse sages so often carried a meaning of high praise when they declared one to be "not an every-day man." His individual life was less lost in the crowd. His isolation reacted on his character. His residence was one of the show places of the town. It was the resort for the itinerant politician, holding out the glad hand, who was to speak in the evening, and was with us to electioneer. In such a community it falls usually to one and the self-same family to entertain. The house is known as the Quaker tavern, or the Methodist tavern. Its hospitality is proverbial. It had its spare room. This became locally quite famous for the celebrities it had welcomed, before they had come to their later fame. Hospitality in this form is the grace of small, remote, detached places. The minister's house had a prophet's chamber, with a "bed and a table and a stool and a candle-stick" so that when any "holy man of God" passed by he could turn in thither. A minister's wife said plaintively that she never knew how many she was cooking a meal for. On one occasion she had provided a custard pie, more than ample, for the few she then had in mind. It was however necessary later to cut it into six pieces and that, notwithstanding the fact that it was imperative, by an unforseen situation, for the mother herself and her daughter not to "care for any" that day. The minister's family adopted a code of S. O. S. signals which it would sound around F. H. B., "Family hold back," M. I. K., "more in the kitchen." To the manse any minister, though a total stranger and unannounced, could come with complete assurance. The itinerant and his horse were now and then forced by a snow-storm to remain a few days until the roads were broken up and settled.

Poet of the One-Hoss Shay Said, "No Extra Charge"

The lobby, in the earlier country tavern, was universally called the bar-room. Travel was thus staging from one bar-room to another. The tables were served by the village belles. Other employment, as in factories or stores, did not then exist. The inn holder was a conspicuous man. He picked up the news from the stage driver and his passengers. When the old-fashioned Concord stage coach approached town the four fine horses were slowed down into an easy pace for a few furlongs but reaching the suburbs, the horses were given the word, and the long whip was cracked and they dashed into town, making the arrival peculiarly enlivening.

Presently the country landlord would appear on the long broad platform to sound the summons to the table. This was done by the loud violent ringing of a dinner bell, which was swung by a whole arm-movement on both sides of the artist's body, and made to publish in double tones its noisy welcome. The ringer's whole anatomy entered for the time being into the contortion for producing sound.

Every institution is said to be the lengthened shadow of some personality. It was a happy thought that gave those men the title of fathers of their country. The term is very significant of their munificence or of some real thing that made them kings in the hearts of men. Those names are enshrined in some academy, or other school, or bank, or business house, or attached to some central conspicuous street. A return to the residence discovers that imagination had given it a part of its size and that its proportions were carried over from the local prominence of its occupant. "I saw an angel standing in the sun," said St. John. Position gives size. A man who stands near a camp fire projects portentous dimensions on space behind him. The aristocracy of such a man sometimes was certainly not in his dress. He wore the old-fashions, walked in the old ways, and was a revelation of things that had passed away. He wore a heavy, tall, silk cylinder hat in which he carried a bandana handkerchief, valuable papers, and a large pocket-book that was wrapped round with a thin band of leather that was passed under a succession of loops. We used to call him a gentleman of the old school. We used to secretly wonder how he escaped the flood.

Links with the Past

When he adopted his style of dress his apparel was the last word in fashion. It suited his taste, was becoming, comfortable, and satisfactory. His course was consistent. He adhered to it and kept right on. Toward the last of his career he depended somewhat upon it to make him a marked man. Such an individual with obsolete manners was, like Melrose Abbey, impressive in its decay. In his age, disliking changes, his distrustful mind would cling to what was nearest to him, his appearance. He did not see why his style of dress should be interfered with. He made no reckoning with time. That item alone gives a rude awakening to a recruit. In a call for troops he was passed by. Again in a call for troops he is summoned. He is substantially what he felt himself before to be, only time, simply time has passed and he is twenty-one and takes a new relation to his own parents and to his country and to his fortune. The city of Washington used to contain a set of pensioned admirals, retired army officers and officials, who still wore the hall marks of their life when at its climax. The simple revolution of the earth made them fossils and relics and reminders that the procession of which they had been honored members had now for the greater part turned the corner and passed out of view. Sometimes an old man and his wife, tall and antique in appearance, resembling Abraham and Sarah of old, are distinguished chiefly for looking "like the afternoon shadow of other people."

Boys Did Not Know What to Make of Them

On revisiting the earth the old albums are the first things inevitably brought out and was there ever anything more grotesque and unearthly than that which is shown in their hideous, faded contents? A woman, in those days, so deformed her fine form, that the wonder was expressed, and the surprise, that with that make-up she ever got a husband.

When de Tocqueville was in this country looking for evidences of democracy in America, he frankly states in the introduction to his epoch-making book that he saw more than there was. Impossible. You cannot find what does not exist, yet his untruth is the exact unqualified truth. He that seeketh findeth. He plainly saw signs of democracy before he left the company's dock as he landed from the ship. He saw it too at the hotel. It takes a big volume to tell all the tokens he discovered. If he had been accompanied by a twin brother, different in heart, in sympathies, and in his specialty he could in turn have found money kings, railroad kings, kings of fortune, landlords, laborers in a stand-up fight with capitalists. McAllister found a social set limited in number to four hundred. A real estate man takes a different view of the Hawthorne house or of Independence Hall or the Old South Church from the antiquarian. Dr. W. J. Dawson knew a man who sailed with Napoleon but could tell of him later but two items, one of which had some reference to silk hosiery, that his mind probably revolted at, as extravagant or as prudish. Of the same incident, some said it thundered, others said an angel spake. An artist and a banker traveled together abroad and on hearing their recital you would suppose they visited different lands.

Heroes and Fine Old Gentlemen

One of the curiosities of history was the great game of follow-my-leader, that the whole community used to play. Under the hat of the great man of the village was a brain large enough for the ruler of a nation. He seemed the peer of a Bismarck in executive force. We have had since a high grade of general education but then we had a giant. He had an individuality peculiar and surprising. His mental traits were exceptional. The dominant features of his character were energy, industry, and courage. He was an able, genial, hard-working man, a treasure and a blessing, but giving some evidence of rusty mental machinery and of being belated in the world's history and of absolute inability to train a successor. A modern, typical exhibition of the relation of the big man to the town was given at Three Oaks, Michigan, when Admiral Dewey gave a cannon to the committee that after the Spanish war was arranging a memorial to the dead soldiers and sailors. It was offered to the city that in proportion to its population would make the largest contribution to the monument. Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco all vied with each other. The case turned on the clear swung conception of one master mind. It would never be possible, Mr. E. K. Warren observed, "to rouse all the inhabitants of a large city to give to such a cause," but every man, woman and child in Three Oaks would give a dime or a dollar on condition that he himself gave a thousand times the amount. The people owe a debt of gratitude to such a man, a marked individual specimen of human worth, with a character of his own, who plays the part of fountain to their reservoir. There is a fine reflex influence in being what the New Testament calls "a lover of good men." There is nothing better that can enter the human soul than admiration and reverence for high character. They are the crown of our moral nature. One element in them is appreciation. It was a fine training for boys to show and feel deference. This is one thing that a boy does not bring into the world with him. It is not natural to look up.

Sounds a Characteristic Note

We live in an age of interrogation when all things are questioned, not only as to their right to exist, but particularly as to their right in any degree to rule. Every age has its own lesson and adds its own peculiar gift to those preceding it. Are we better or worse? This only I know that these men were beacon lights to the young, illuminating their path and beckoning them on, and deserve to be enshrined in a perpetual and revered remembrance. From all this there has come a reaction. Congressmen and legislators have not lowered in grade, far from that, as the elimination of the bar from the capital would be one of many evidences, but the public intelligence has risen so that they, relatively, seem to have descended. Instead of a century plant the usual attraction now is a garden. A great social revival has been abroad; the people are getting together. There is now more concerted action. In the business world individuals are forming alliances. Interests are being confederated. As the community spirit comes to consciousness the individuality of men diminishes. Society forms into clubs, chambers of commerce, and into boards of directors in which men are less marked individually and much, even of their personality, is concealed by the extravagant multiplication of societies and institutions and meetings of every kind. The churches have pretty nearly lost the individual, since the introduction of team work, itself a blessing, but the individual has withered. He is leveled down and smoothed out by the necessity of acting only in conjunction with groups.

Some Incongruities of Character

The Arabian Nights would make queer history, yet they would prove a wet fuse and fail to kindle the mind if they did not suggest actual experience. Who is your "old man" that sticks to your shoulders putting you in Sinbad's class? Each village carries its unconventional character. He gives a touch of color to the place. Rip Van Winkle, an old drunkard, who slept for twenty years in the Catskills was a great favorite with the children. They would shout for joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, and taught them to fly kites. He was surrounded by a troop of them. He had a distinct individuality. He was a hero, with all his characteristics well marked. A person on revisiting the earth misses such a striking familiar figure in the neighborhood. We saw Mrs. Van Winkle beat up old Rip with a broom-stick, but although she was a clean, tidy, thrifty person who kept her house swept and garnished in spite of her improvident husband, in the estimation of the boys she was not to her well-known husband a companion character.

"Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean."

Young eyes are sharply drawn to persons so dissimilar in their tastes. Children are quick to see that this very difference in taste produced a peculiar situation. Our early life is peopled with distinctive and marked characters and they have gone along with us through life. It is the peculiar outstanding people that, like a burr, stick to the memory.



It is a matter of common knowledge that Washington at the time of his death was the richest man in the country. All are familiar with the fact that he acquired property through his brother Lawrence, and the widow Custis whom he married, but less attention is given to the suggestive fact that he invested widely in land in what was then the West. We have letters to his agents. Judson destroyed all his own letters and papers touching private matters, but there they are, in Washington's case, and he who runs may read. He had been a surveyor. He knew a good thing when he saw it. His invariable rule was to buy quality. Showing the same wisdom he did in his campaigns and his farewell address, which has never lost its influence, he turned to the West to do his buying. Entirely aside from the Revolution, if Washington had not been a great general, he was well started on lines that would have made him a very substantial citizen. The confidence he expressed in the West is believed to be, and has been stated to be, a higher monument to his fame than the metal-tipped, slender, tapering sky-pointing and heaven-reaching obelisk reared in his honor near the banks of the Potomac. He was invited to visit France but could not, he said, bring his affairs into a state of order, during the remainder of his life, and the matters that most needed his care were his large purchases of land in the West which now, with some little contiguous territory are worth Twenty Million Dollars. Washington remains our richest president not only relatively but absolutely.

People Looked, People Wondered, People Praised

We find him making a sixth journey to see his lands which were located on the right and left banks of the river, and bounded thereby, forty-eight miles and a half. This portrayal makes very obvious what is implied when it is said of an individual that he is not a good business man. He simply lacks what Washington had, intensity of interest in his affairs, energy of mind, promptness. We do not say foresight, there is no such thing as foresight, we mean insight, good judgment, and a fine knowledge of the trend of things, a perception of the direction taken by popular movements. Washington was accused of being close-fisted, but some one takes the ground that a man must close his fist if there is something in it that others were seeking by illegitimate means to get. At his death he was worth a half million dollars, and four hundred thousand dollars of it lay in western lands. "Would God we may have wisdom to improve the opportunity," a prayer in which many persons who have had much better chances than ever came to him, pressed as he was with patriotic service, wished they had joined, but who allowed opportunity to knock at the door and turn away, unwelcomed. What a sight to Washington, now revisiting the earth, would a night view of Pittsburgh be with her deep fires and the lid off. Washington's insight was apparent by locating his purchases near the possibilities of a city whose tonnage exceeds that of any other city of the Union, whose vast manufacturing interests send up volumes of smoke that become a pillar of cloud by day and whose furnaces are pillars of fire by night, to lead the people on to prosperity and success. The mind has less influence on the will than many persons suppose. A man may know a fact and then do nothing about it. A lazy man may know the advantage of wealth and yet be without the motive to attain it. It is often a poor boy who has felt poverty and has some feeling about it that makes success with him a passion. He who hesitates is lost. It was the plunge of Curtius that saved Rome.

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

That great orator of nature to whom school-boys are so much indebted for energetic, passionate, effective declamations, Patrick Henry, father of fifteen children, made his widow and eleven surviving children rich by his early judicious purchases, like Washington, of lands. This much needs to be said, lest fortune be thought of as a blind goddess. A man that once was cutting grass and herding cattle earning his bread by the sweat of his brow is now Prince Fortunatus. No chance luck about it, for the opportunity that beckoned him called to others but their ears were dull of hearing. All of us, who are interested in vital reforms, must have been attracted to the career of Gerrit Smith, who gave thirty thousand dollars to destitute old maids and widows in the state of New York. No public subscription lacked his name, and he always gave away $50,000.00 and not seldom $100,000.00 each year. In his business life of fifty-six years he gave away $8,000,000.00 and left an estate of more than a million dollars. Such a recital, as in the case of Washington, makes us curious to find the sources of such philanthropy. We find that with rare acumen he developed the business of his father, who when a poor youth, kept a small store and traded for furs at first hands with the Indians. When his partner Mr. Astor bought real estate in New York city, the elder Smith purchased sixty thousand acres of land in the central part of the state of New York, of which enough was sold at auction to repay the purchase price and still leave enough to make him the largest landholder in the state. Subsequent additions made him the owner of more acres than any other man in the Union. Such a preparative study as this gave me intensest interest, when revisiting the earth, in treading the beautiful field, my birthplace, that my father bought in Iowa at the Government price of a dollar and a quarter an acre, that has since been sold at $205.00 an acre and the price paid for it at the last sale of it was $300.00 an acre and the buyer was offered $3,000.00 for his bargain. It is the percentage of gain that tells the story. It seems like the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

The Death of the Mortgage

Besides learning these items and handling the papers that confirmed them, out came a fact that took my breath away. Once men profited by nature's bounty. To him that hath is given. That is the common way. Now comes the uncommon thing. From him that hath not is (not) taken away even that he hath. The sun and stars now look down upon a changed condition. The wildest dream has come true, a by-product of the war. It is one of the many things begun under circumstances which the German treaty-breakers, the disturbers of the peace, thrust upon us, a thing designed to aid agriculturists to feed our armies and allies, which, with the war over, will never be abated. We raise our eyes, and see a moneyed millennium coming down a common country road. It is in the form of an original system of rural credits. The Treasury Department of the United States has inaugurated a Federal Farm-Loan Bureau. Its outstanding feature is, if a borrower of a large amount pays his interest, he never hears again of the debt. Interest at six and a half per cent not only takes care of that item, but it pays it off, in less than a generation, also the money borrowed. A farmer at the start requires money for buildings, machinery, and herds. The aching heart of many a widow bereft of her home by the foreclosure of a mortgage on her property will see the deep significance in the sacrament that I am seeking to describe. The process is called amortization. The syllable "mort" as in "mortal," means death of the debt. From the first the mortgage is struck with death.

A Heaven-sent Device

So happy to all concerned is this method, resembling a co-operative bank, of obtaining a greatly needed working capital that we may well rejoice with a large class of deserving people, who for the first time have the means of doing a larger, more profitable business, with the sting and hazard graciously removed. With what bitterness we have all heard the children of the poor recite the anguish that came into the home when the mortgage, like the naked sword suspended by a hair over the head of Damocles, came to do its dreaded office! "But the children began to be sorely weary," says Bunyan, "and they cried out unto Him that loveth pilgrims to make their way more comfortable." We have come to see the Government make the way of the children who inherit a mortgage more comfortable. All's well! You have no trouble with the interest. Only go on as you have been going. The farm, the home, are all yours. The mortgage is dead.

They Were a Family Again

A day on a real farm did not have a dull moment in it. It was not only full of incident and instruction but as compared with a generation ago it was different. Immediately a very young calf was noticed that, to use the farmer's unexpected phrase, his mother does not "claim." I supposed he would say that his mother would not "own." The cow was put in a stall, in a barn, the calf being nourished and thus openly adopted by the mother they became effusively chummy. At first the cow "did not care" for the calf. When care began a noticeable regard commenced.

How Much Like Folks

More curious still it seemed to find that in breaking out of a pasture the cattle were led by one member of the herd. The community of cattle would be quiet and contented except for one breaching individual. Here again I went to school to a farmer in the use of words. In his reference to this creature he designated the trouble maker as an "outlaw." I had not thought of applying that word to cattle.

Absence of the Big Stick

I stood still and wondered at the constant and varied use of the voice by a farmer as he moves about among the creatures that he owns. Armed with a whip, like an Irishman with his shillalah at a fair, I supposed he would keep it flourishing about his head and that he would be accompanied by a dog. An owner will not trust his cattle to the care of a man that employs a shepherd dog. Cattle must be kept quiet. A dog wakes them all up and sets back the gain that they would make for the day. Farmers and drovers are whistling, singing, calling, shouting, talking, all the time to their creatures and they like it.

An Outlaw in the Herd

It is everywhere, I suppose, well known that the western spirit has always been less tolerant of an outlaw than the people of the East are. I asked the ranch man what course he took with an outlaw among cattle. "As soon as I detect him I get rid of him, not stopping at anything to do it." On the fourth of July I went out upon the piazza of the hotel, and looking up the street I saw a man, hung in effigy, upon a telephone pole in front of his own store, with his name placarded upon the suspended figure, that it should not be a case of mistaken identity. He had offended the decencies of life. The townspeople waited for a day or two to see if the authorities took it up. There was nothing doing. Then the citizens made public what they thought of the outlaw.

Testing Mighty Principles by Small Experiments

It seems that Schopenhauer had a gold piece which he used to put beside his plate at the table where he ate, surrounded by the young officers of the German army, and which was to be given to the poor, the first time he heard any conversation that was not about promotion or women. If this experiment were tried one's contribution to charity would not be large, provided the subjects were changed in the various well known localities. In the time of the great inflation in Chicago when any one could make his fortune by simply buying building sites and selling out before the ink had dried with which the first transfer was recorded, the subject discussed in hotels and offices would be Corner Lots.

These locations were sold and resold, each time at a large advance on the former price, and became the inexhaustible topic of conversation. Everybody was growing rich on paper and The City of the Lakes was the Mecca of speculators, a genuine Eldorado, where affluence was made easy, and first lessons in finance were given. The original gold coin was staked amid specific well understood surroundings. When environment changes topics change. In one town all the talk is money, money. At a public table in some localities where once it was all horse talk, in one corner of the dining room, the interchange of mind is on the speed of automobiles, the improvement made in cars since two years ago, the amount of gasoline to the mile, and the comparative excellence of the different manufactures.

In revisiting the earth on coming into close relations with each town, I found it had its distinctive atmosphere. The value of land did not depend upon the soil nor upon the climatic conditions so much as upon the human equation. Two communities upon the same railway with like physical conditions will find themselves growing apart. One place might have slightly inferior outward conditions. These are speedily overcome. Watch it grow.

The Home of the Angels

In this garden of the earth one quickly loses his heart to Los Angeles. Her hotels are the last word in luxury. Thousands of citizens having become rich in Iowa spend their money in this Land of the Afternoon. While they have found California about as nature made it, besides the elements of the air and soil, Los Angeles has an atmosphere that is purely social. It is an attractive place to live, choice people have assembled there, and so, under pleasant conditions, others are drawn. The money in Pasadena never came out of the soil contiguous to the place. A man buying land saw how things were tending and the neighborhood in which he was going and said to the driver that he need not go any farther. The lay of the land and quality would make no difference. The atmosphere was alien and he was through. In the same state you find towns that are as unlike as if they stood on different continents. In San Francisco, all unannounced, you, on crossing a street, pass an equatorial, invisible line into the Chinese quarter which, in atmosphere, is five thousand miles away. There is in Paris an activity, a rapidity of movement that you do not find in Holland or in England. The people walk faster, talk faster, eat faster, ride faster, and live faster in all respects than do their neighbors. The English love the past and protest against the removal of the ancient land-marks, while the French love innovation. The atmosphere of the city of Washington, not being like most national capitals, a center of trade, is world-wide from that of Chicago. So much is it out of the popular drift that while a state was voting over-whelmingly for constitutional prohibition the measure was discountenanced by both of its senators. One atmosphere has in it a kind of vitalizing life, a perpetual marvel and a perpetual delight, reviving every faculty and affection, while in another the doctors administer quinine to the saffron-colored sojourners in its fever-haunted marshes.

New Forms of Matter, New Crystallizations

Every region has its peculiar fitness for some particular kind of growth, Missouri apples, Michigan peaches, California oranges, Kentucky blue-grass, Wisconsin clover. To the south and west is the corn belt. Specific well-known places are best adapted to the varied form of animal life. The three northern continents are temperate; the three southern continents are tropical. In these warmest regions nature displays its fullest energy, its greatest diversity, its richest colors, and development. The animal kingdom grows in strength and perfection in this privileged zone, yet man presents his purest and most perfect type at the center of the temperate continents. At the base of the Himalayas vegetation is of a tropical character; at an elevation of five thousand feet European plants succeed. Wheat grows at an elevation of thirteen thousand feet, barley at fifteen thousand. We do not look for the best trees on the bleak mountain top but in the genial valley. As we go up the struggle for existence increases until even the sturdiest fail to thrive above the "timber line." Number one wheat can be produced only in localities where the summers are short and the winters long and cold. Corn is capable of the widest cultivation, but even that has its northern and southern limits. Climate is nature's smile and goes with the land. No man can farm against the climate and no medication can do for an invalid what the half-tropical sunshine will do in an oasis city. There is no more fascinating study than that of the sustaining, producing, and modifying effects of atmosphere.

A Lesson that Will Last a Lifetime

It enhances our interest as we return to breathe again the air that made us ourselves as distinguished from others. We have known well our own standards, our ideals, our resolves, but how came we with what we find ourselves possessed. It adds interest to the old temples to visit the quarries which furnish them forth. In revisiting the earth it thrills us to look at the rock whence we were hewn. Our temptations were those peculiar to that locality. What I know about temptation is entirely different from what a remote stranger would guess. Our struggles were such as that environment occasioned and are not appreciated by persons in a different zone. Each soul has its own climate. Even man's sight responds to his environment. On watch, day in, day out, on a sailing vessel, scanning the distant horizon, the eye, becoming adapted to it, is far-sighted. It can hardly read fine print held close to the person. Even children brought up at the seaside and accustomed to far sights have to patiently await a readjustment of their vision. I can now trace, in my being, some reflex effect of each set of surroundings, in which for a term of years, I was placed. My experience in a new environment amounted to a re-birth. One educator considers the proximity of a mountain, worth at least to the student, one endowed professorship. "Let no one say he has written my life," said Walpole. "He has not the needful information. He never knew the crowd of little things which went to make my individual being and career. No one knows them but myself." One's interruptions and trials and crises and providences come with such surroundings as he then has and it is a striking experience, when revisiting the earth, to discover for one's self the agencies and influences by which he was moulded.



It is said that at Florence there is a circular hall, faced with separate mirrors. In the center is a statue of exquisite beauty. Each of these mirrors reflects the image of the statue at different angles, and consequently exhibits some particular point more prominently and accurately than any of the others. Artists study the statue through these mirrors, and thus can estimate the beauty of each separate part, and form a better judgment of the perfection of the whole. Let me show you, gentle reader, how you will get the truest conception of yourself. If you please, stand for a moment in this hall. In each mirror you will see yourself in the most impressionable period in your life. There is a reflection at the moment your destiny beckoned you, when you were in the act of getting hold of yourself and without ceremony began your career, seeming to yourself to be like Saul, who "went to seek his father's asses and found a kingdom."

As in water face answers to face so, in one angle of a mirror you recognize a first-rate likeness of yourself as you sat for the first time under your own vine and fig tree, remembering this long after as though you had seen a great sight. Like St. John you turned to see the voice that spake to you. Its last cadence may die in the air but it leaves an impression that will never fade.

Casting a Reflection Means Nothing Bad

These looking-glasses show your figure, life-sized, standing on a corner. Emergency met you. It really proved a providential interposition, and now these fortunate interventions mark the period in your life more than the days and months and years, and they were accompanied by an interior guidance, more distinctly discerned now, than it was felt at the time. There is none so homely but loves a looking-glass; however little or much a man is favored in looks he notices reflections made of himself, particularly if question is raised touching his appearance as viewed by his critics. In his autobiography Mr. Seward records that no matter what care and diligence we exercise and whatever be a man's ability or inclination, the mysterious factor is a vital force in the world and has to be reckoned with. Judicial preferment was the aim of his ambition. He meant to be a lawyer, and he wished to be a judge. His early bias in this direction was caused by his observation of the deference paid to his father as a justice of the peace.

"One day," said President Lincoln, "an emigrant stopped at my store, and asked me to buy a barrel of odds and ends, of little value, for which he had no room in his wagon. I found in it a two-volume copy of Blackstone's Commentaries. I devoured them. I never read anything which so interested and thrilled me. Soon after I began the study of law, and that is how I came to be a lawyer."

The Glory of Supremacy

Old soldiers cannot be made to keep their seats as an excursion train pulls into Gettysburg. "There is where I was wounded. There is where we met the charge." It is touching to witness the comraderie, their sympathy. As they from the car windows come into sight of their struggles and victories they cannot avoid exclaiming "There we made our stand. There we advanced."

"There a man with forty-eight wounds was left for dead, and yet revived and lived beyond all expectations." One thing would be Spangler Springs from which, one night both sides drank. There the First Maryland, a Confederate regiment, clashed with the Second Maryland and two brothers, named Clark, were brought face to face, one being in each regiment and hence on each side of the fight. The Bloody Angle is a sort of Holy of Holies. You stand and read from an open book "The High Water Mark." Up to this point of ground, thus indicated, things seemed outwardly to be going one way. Turning points in history have a location on the earth. On a spot so exactly known as to bear the legend, cut in stone, "High Water Mark," the fortunes of war so abruptly turn that General Lee himself said, "This is the beginning of the end." Napoleon wanted Hougoumont, for as Hugo says, "This bit of earth, could he have taken it, would perhaps have given him the earth." On a piece of very common ground near Luz Jacob received an uninvited angel visitation. The stone on which he rested his head was only one of thousands. But with the morning what a change! It came like a beautiful vision

"That loves to come at night,
To make you wonder in the morn,
What made the earth so bright."

His pillow became a pillar and he said, "This is the gate of heaven. The heart sanctifies the place." Like any boy, egged on by curiosity I have stood just inside the door and seen the Israelites shuffling about with their hats on and the Rabbi reading the evening service, all being in motion, in imitation probably of the forty years' travel to Canaan. The command of a prophet to the people was distinctly "Take off thy shoes for this is holy ground." There was no command to take off the hat. They were to respect their contact with the location. It is the spot set apart by the deep experience that becomes hallowed. If a struggle, be it physical or moral, is victorious the place is consecrated by it forever.

The entire planet is redeemed by such a dedication of the many revered localities in it.

Silent Sentinels of the Silent Years

There is the rock of all rocks in the western world. It has done the most for our ideals, for the tone and character of our institutions. Poets, like Mrs. Hemans, and orators like Webster and Choate have glorified it and cannot stay their praise. It is ever new, it is ever old. Its hold is upon one's imagination. In its undivided influence, yet in its already cloven form, ever perfect in its detached pieces it is ever living in its broken body. Many representatives from many states were once gathered at Plymouth Rock to put forth their Burial Hill confession. "Standing by the ..." they say. The place is an inspiration. It is tonic. It gives an uplift. It lends elevation. "We do now declare our adherence ... we declare that the experience...." It has stood the test. It has worked. All honor for well-located facts. They are well grounded. In this is their solidity.

A visit is not required of us, yet most of us have taken part in so pious a duty. America's foremost shrine is Mt. Vernon. With more vividness than by any other method we can almost see the form of him twice elected unanimously to the Presidency, whose character is America's greatest gift to the world. Plymouth is a close second, as a Mecca for willing pilgrim feet. Baptized into the Puritan spirit and versed in Pilgrim lore, in no other way can a lover of their annals so clearly discern the real Pilgrims as by inhabiting for a brief period their haunts. One of the patriarchs built "there" an altar because "there" he had an affecting experience. In all statements of the deeper life specific use is made of the adverb of place, making the plain implication that the location is immortalized. It has entered for keeps into his life.

Sunny Silent Homes

Each of us stands in a peculiar relation to a holy land. It includes a shrine. "We have just the right morning light in which to see it. Well, now look, my dear, the curtain is up. Before us are the white houses set in emerald green. Is not that a pretty picture?" There is a sepulchre in this garden. Adjacent to the town, in the burial ground, where the esteemed forefathers of the hamlets sleep, is the early grave of my angel mother. Our hearts glow with a burning gratitude to the local authorities for their affectionate, guardian care over that sacred enclosure. What varied pages have been written in history and in the book of life by the sleepers here. It is a spot further removed from perdition and nearer to paradise than any other in all the world. "My mother, mother, mother." The meaning of the word deepens just in proportion as one's nature is developed. Repetition is a form of emphasis. And such a mother! Her affection was her diadem. In her excess of tenderness she caused her hand to rest upon my head in blessing as she taught me to say after her, sentence by sentence, the Lord's prayer, the most precious item of instruction in the religious history of our race.

"Oh for the touch of a vanished hand
And the sound of a voice that is still."

I stand in life's Holy of Holies. There are hours which the heart would still leave in silence. They have given me an emotion of indescribable tenderness towards her. I will tell you a tale of tears. Before the iron had entered into my soul, before my memory had a tomb in it, before it became the cemetery, the Greenwood, the Mt. Auburn of the soul, my first grief here set me out alone, like one set apart by sorrow. The scene one can no more leave behind him than he can leave his own soul. My spirit is joined with her spirit. Feeling that I had visited the place to honor her and do reverence to the spot I felt like speaking, "Mother, we are here." The incense from her dear heart has perfumed my existence. The odor of the ointment that once filled the house now fills the little world in which she moved. Is this praising my mother? I do not wish to praise her but to describe her.

Heart Histories Laid Open

I give a deep interpretation to a custom used in many countries at funerals where a violin is played at the head of the coffin, and questions are addressed to the deceased in the course of which it is customary to ask pardon for having injured or offended the departed one during life. My questions are all framed and have been, lo these many years. The dead past has not buried its dead. Memory makes the present sacred with a light, like that of the stars which has been many years on its way. Nothing that ever enters into the field of experience is left unrecorded. There the record lies and I am testifying touching the place and the hour at which it is blazoned forth. It is at the spot where you point and say "There the mortal put on immortality." Her spirit hovers near us, to awaken in us, a motive to reflect back certain qualities in a remote degree upon her, in respect and blessing. In pictures we often see a pilgrim, home from his wanderings, leaning upon a staff, at such a grave. As I write of it and think of the occasion my heart swells in gratitude for receiving the impulse to revisit the earth. It is well-worthwhile for one to travel far to sit for a few moments in his early home with only God and his mother. An appeal is made to reverence, which is a very much needed address. I wish we could learn from Europe the noble and beautiful use it makes of those who have gone down to their windowless homes by keeping their graves and memories green and imperishable and particularly by transferring their virtues into the daily life of the community. The ancient Egyptians blended with the actual present, current, daily life a galaxy of characters whose influence they would not willingly let die. The ancient Romans made their daily paths, near just such memorial places, as we can show with pride, in a garden of graves. So many monuments are scattered through these busy years of a laborious life, that I cannot enter each sanctuary of sorrow nor pause to read each inscription. The statues, those calm and majestic intelligences, make up an impressive congregation of the silent, and exert a magic influence upon the soul.

A Legacy of Pleasant Memories

A mother in heaven can be brought to view and a heavenly childhood reinstated when visiting the spot where sacred dust is buried. This is the place that faithful fantasy most frequently portrays.

"Oft, in the stilly night,
Ere Slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!"

I hold the sentiment of him who said, "My heart melts with compassion for the motherless affectionate lonesome boy who suffers for the want of intelligent sympathy, for someone who marks his little sorrows, binds up his wounds, wipes off his tears, and kisses him as he goes to bed." Our deepest feelings require a foothold on the earth. Like Antaeus they get strength by touching the soil. There must be certain spots around which patriotic feeling and family feeling and religious feeling can rally, like Bunker Hill and Lexington and Concord and Appomattox and Yorktown and Independence Hall and the old home and the old church. Where feeling is wide-spread it needs certain locations and community centers to give it points of contact with the solid, visible, tangible earth. The influence of a family would be deplorably weakened if once for all it should be detached from any specific habitation that it could claim as a home. Home, home, there is no place like it. "A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there."

At Torwood two ministers met and spent a day in high spiritual communion. Later one of them, Mr. Kidd, of Queen's Ferry parish, having sore trial and depression of spirits, sent a note to his friend, the minister at Culross, informing him of his troubles and dejection of spirits and desiring a visit. "I cannot go," was the reply, "but tell Mr. Kidd to remember Torwood." The answer was effective. That was a place. It had its atmosphere that could be recalled. The Pilgrim in his progress believes in what he sees from the mountain. When on low ground he cannot quite discern the celestial city, he keeps his course, staking everything upon the experience at an earlier well-remembered place.

The World Teaches an Attentive Mind

When revisiting the earth surprise was expressed that we carried so much feeling into the pilgrimage. Said a business man, "You have very many old residenters where you live. They have some beautiful graveyards in Boston. When any one dies here, why he's dead. He's just dead. We mustn't expect anything more from him because the man is dead. We try to get someone to take his place. That poor fellow is dead." Marshall Field is dead in Chicago; Phillips Brooks, in Boston; Edward Payson, in Portland; and Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore; Peter Cooper, in New York, yet in their cities they are an active force and even in their ashes live their wonted fires. Meade and Howard and Sickles and Pickett and Longstreet and Lee live evermore. A visit to the best marked monumental field in the world makes you feel afresh the grandeur of their achievement.

"Death may rob us of the painter
But his works to us belong,
He may steal from us the singer,
But he cannot seize the song.
And, though he may take the lives that
Mean our share of joy, yet he
May not rob us of the treasure
Of a single memory!"

"If you wound the tree in its youth," we read in the story of an African farm, "the bark will cover over the gash, but when the tree is very old, peeling the bark off and looking carefully you will see the scar there still. All that is buried is not dead." And that is a fact too. I bow my head now and grieve over certain acts or rebukes or injustices or humiliations or wounds. They all come in review, they are all there; I come upon them on occasion. Someone has told us that the pearls of life and of home, like the pearls of the deep sea, grow around wounds and are the costly burials of pain.

Where New Chapters Begin

Returning from voluntary exile, to my father's house, not as a prodigal son, to make confession of sins, or of wasted patrimony or of wasted life, but to gain impressions from early places, where any boy gets the most important part of his education, seeing that it is in our youth that we lay the foundation of whatever character, position, or usefulness we later attain, I was most deeply stirred at those places that directly touch my interior life. "There is a story lodged in a room here," said Bushnell in speaking of Yale College, "that I pray God his recording angel may never suffer to be effaced." I removed my hat and bowed alone in silence standing before a place hallowed by a neighbor. He had everybody's sympathy on account of his bereavements. Adjacent to our garden was his barn, which he used as a devotional closet and like Daniel, as we infer, prayed aloud. When his voice broke the silence with spontaneous, vital prayer and grew tremulous with emotion and earnestness, there was a power and pathos in it, that penetrated the center of my soul and woke to life all the slumbering feeling of my better nature. A sense of awe took entire possession of me. My deference would have been less if I had been bowed, and with him, hearing the several petitions. But as it was I was conscious only of his communion and thought all the time of the two persons concerned in it.

Nothing Insignificant, Nothing

It is the early life that makes the after life. As every little brook, rivulet, and stream give depth and volume to the broad after current so in sailing up a river. As we make a journey to a birthplace we keep meeting the rills and tributaries to which we are so much indebted. One of them is named Example, a gentle effective teacher, who, it is said, lays his hand on your shoulder and remarks, This is the way to do it. In revisiting the earth by a singular discovery we find we are closely drawn where we took the hard lessons taught by Experience. This is the teacher that is said to throw us into the deep pool, exclaiming briskly: Now, swim. Human existence is rarely a great prairie stretching monotonously onward to the great river. Blessings and misfortunes meet us in disguise. Just as in the world's history, and in the history of invention, and in our political annals, we have our great days so we do in our personal experience, when destiny turns on a pivot. If one will give a recital of the ten most memorable days of his life the rest of it would be a matter of easy inference by his hearers. The time between them, and all its events, seem compressed into the narrowest space, verily a hand's breadth. Hidden forces have been at work, progress has been made with painstaking, untold influences meanwhile have not been idle, and upon a day all unforeseen springs of action are touched, concentrated power is let loose and a resistless energy awakes to action.

Halcyon Days

Our great days are the fruit of past toil. To count time only by sunrises and sunsets omits, in the reckoning, the human equation. Where daily wages and yearly dividends are concerned, it is a very convenient system, but it is no measure of our real life. Noah's ark answered to float lazily and safely on the old flood, but steam and electricity are internal powers. These forces enable a navigator to steer right out into the teeth of a storm.

Distinguished natural historians have given us a fine classification of the animal kingdom. But to put men in rows, and to put days into the orders shown in the calendars does not make them tally with what we know of them by observation and experience. Even a plant is a distinct individual. No other one is just like it. Yet it reveals its type. Species cannot be confounded, a briar will clasp a solid trunk of a tree and weave its tendrils and leaves through the branches of the pine to its top, but the briar was briar in every thorn and leaf and the pine was itself in all its green needles of which Nature makes her sweetest wind harp in the world. We are alike in the general features and attributes of body and soul. We are under similar laws, have similar wants, have a similar origin, common sympathies, and a common destiny, yet no two of us are alike. Nature never repeats itself. It has been shown that there is little difference in man's bodily stature. A fathom, or thereabouts, a little more or a little less is the ordinary elevation of the human family. Should a man add a cubit to his stature, he is followed along the streets as a prodigy; should he fall very far short of it, people pay money for a sight of him as a great curiosity. But were there any exact measurements of mental statures, we should be struck by an amazing diversity. It is obvious also that on certain days we are more alive and capable than on others, yet we are the same persons with the same education, with the same capabilities, and antecedents. On occasion, from causes of which at the time we were somewhat unconscious, our ideas and resolves were awaked and become effective. Some new energies, we did not know we had, were unlocked and came into play, and life was transfigured, on that spot, and that is the locality we long to revisit.

"I am a Part of All that I have Seen"

The place where any event in our history has occurred becomes a memorial of the feelings which that event excited in us. When one comes back to those places, it is as when one reads old letters or meets old friends. Byron affirms that after the most careful recollection of his experience, he could recall only eleven days of happiness, which he could wish to live over again. Memory hits the high places. Only relatively do the others come up into recognition. Mr. James Russell Lowell, standing upon the Alps, turned toward Italy, and raising his hat, exclaimed, "Glories of the past, I salute you." We express a like salutation. Grave ideas, movements, and reforms have their birthplace and their cradle, and we cannot fail to be interested in them. Long afterward, tender recollections come back to us like the murmurs of a distant hymn, and it is a great pleasure to listen to such voices.

One day we have full view of the delectable mountains, on another day we are mired in the slough of despond. There is a joyful holiday for the human intellect, which it will not soon forget, when the light blazes on us, and then come days of drudgery,—who cannot respond to this!—when our powers are shut up and will not come forth. Some of our best days seem reserved for celestial visitants. In others we "grunt and sweat under a weary life." There are many toilsome days of monotonous travel that we would gladly exchange for the single spectacle of Vesuvius in the plenitude of its eruptive power.

Those ideal days, in which we visited Mt. Washington, the loftiest object in our Atlantic country, made more grand with our greatest name, or in which we saw Niagara, the most remarkable waterfall in the world's scenery, or in which we heard the Messiah, or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, perhaps the grandest piece of music ever composed by man, would stand in a succession of days and yet stand apart from them in our memory. So in the pulpit. Robert Hall was for fifty years the Prince of Preachers. His first three efforts had been failures. One day distinguished him. He did not know that the Princess Charlotte was dead till he entered his church and the sermon he preached then was the richest and most eloquent of all the hundreds delivered in the realm.

There's a Reason

Dole out to a person six minutes and tell him to take them and go back and use them simply for what they would be worth, at different times, in his career and he could probably revolutionize his whole life. Many men could thus easily have made themselves rich, others could have made themselves happy. Sleeping crimes, that awake at unexpected times and produce an awkward situation, could have been omitted. Many a man has become little in a trice. The rudder of principle was caught by a swift current from his grasp, and he became ship-wrecked when near a safe port, where sails might have been furled in peace, and golden opinions won. All things would be a matter of only six minutes. The issue of a single day may change all the schemes of the most ambitious. A family of aristocrats may be prominent in government for seven centuries and in a specified day an armistice is signed wherein their kind of a world comes to its end. We are cleansed as by fire. We undergo a regeneration. We find a new world. Former things are past away. The slate is wiped clean. A leaf is turned. The pen is dipped for the rewriting of history. We have new lines of thought; we have a new map of Europe. To put that country back into its former dismal environment would be like attempting to force an eagle back into its long discarded shell. Men have dreamed of a brighter day approaching and lo, the dream comes true. Events were once showing a new trend when Dr. Charles Hodge and Dr. Musgrave were walking out together—both old men—when Dr. Musgrave said: "Charley, this train is moving, and if you are going to get aboard you had better hurry." A new spirit has now gone abroad which no walls can bound or circumscribe. The unforgettable picture, drawn by Mary Antin, of the immigrant Jew, leading the procession of his children into the schoolroom with reverence, as though it were the Lord's temple, bowing before the teacher, as the high Priestess of the one true God, and offering his homage, in impossible English, exhibits the act of one morning, for which an unseen agency had prepared the way. Yet it is the event that signalizes the place and makes the day so impressive.



One of the outstanding features of revisiting the earth was to find, in the banks and stores, in the professional and political offices, the sons of women, full of thought, who used to magnetize me by their presence and character. I have a passion for tracing the indebtedness of successful sons to their fine mothers. In visiting the Studebakers' wagon ware-rooms in Chicago it starts a sensation to sit in the chariot presented by the government to Lafayette, but it was more affecting to see in their counting room a large portrait of their mother. These honorable and phenomenally successful men recognize the source of their power. Now and then a speaking likeness seemed to us in our early years so scenic that it is indelibly stamped upon us. This was true of the words under the picture of an old man and a boy playing checkers, which adorned the impressive, never to be forgotten, first page of The Child's Own Book.

"To teach his grandson draughts
His time he did employ
Until at last the old man
Was beaten by the boy."

The unlooked-for element in the case came from the infusion of a high quality and ability which were a mental inheritance that the lad gained from his mother. Like Rizpah, like the mother of the Gracchi, mothers seem to feel themselves selected for their high office. Their turn of mind is to acquit themselves well in it and with all their hearts to try to rise to a level with their responsibilities.

Consecrated Their Talents to Elevation of Humanity

They look right after the future of their boys. That welcome, resplendent orb, the day-star, fades only at the rising of the sun. The mother of Zebedee's children thought there was no position too commanding for her boys. Nothing would be too good. It did not occur to her that either of them would be inadequate for an exalted position. She had not a moment's hesitation in seeking to have her boys well-placed in life. Such confidence in them is inspirational and makes the boys themselves look up. If there is a dispute between a boy and his teacher he feels that his side of the case is not considered and he takes the matter home to his mother. "She understands." She believes in her boy and this helps him to believe in himself. She does not believe he was wrong in his intention.

Nothing so stirs the mother-spirit as a closed door. In fact it seems to develop curiosity in any woman to know what is behind it. When she reads, No Admittance to the Public, over an entrance it seems to arouse a determination to get in at any price. No matter what is inside she is ready to die to get there. There may be an exclusive social set in the place where she lives. The society is probably not as good as that which she already enjoys but shut a door in her face or against her children

"And there is not a high thing out of heaven
Her pride o'ermastereth not."

Without realizing why they do it the woman's club trades on this principle. If the number that would naturally join the organization is two hundred and seventy-five the limit of the membership is set at two hundred and fifty and the waiting list is crowded with impatient applicants. The reflex influence is felt by all who have already joined and this greatly enhances the privilege of those who are already members. We sometimes see a fence post standing on nothing. The earth of a bank has all slidden away from it but the fence was fastened to it and held it up. This, sometimes the family does for a boy. Such a mother will go without new gloves and up-to-the-minute costumes while her son is being educated. Knowing all the traditions of his school days it is plain that the teaching in school did less for him than the influence of his mother at home. She would cause him to see factors and movements in a great world of which her own active mind had caught glimpses.

A Reproof to Defamers of Human Nature

I do not care what later delights may be in store for a neglected child, there will be a void, a sin of omission, a cheat, a missing factor in his composition, a loneliness, if the mother element was absent in his development. In this was the safety of Samuel in the poisoned air of Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons. The environment was exactly the same for the boys of both families but one boy, as compared with the bad lot, was so enveloped by the mother influence that he was kept pure amid surroundings which were charged with temptations. I used to be greatly impressed with the vast amount of what the Chinamen called the By and By there is in the life of one of these mothers. No day is self-contained. Her happiness depends upon a succession of futures. Intersect her career at what point you will and you find her mind taken up with coming events. The harvest of her struggles is to be reaped later. Life's deferred gains bulk up largely in her life. She reminded me of Washington's campaigns which were not usually immediately fruitful. McKinley's mother or Moody's mother or Garfield's mother, like Bunyan's Pilgrim, was in heaven before she had come at it by the consummation of glory in the life of her son. All her wishes and prayers were more than met. But there was the day by day life that had to be lived while this fruition was in a very remote future. I visited the home of a mother who said her happiness would be complete if she could only see her son fitted for life and well settled in it.

The slogan "Back to the land" carries a meaning a little obscured until one recalls the conditions of a generation ago when the people lived closer to nature than they do now. We can only go back to a place where we were. It implies an earlier connection with land that we can go back to it. It may have been a family connection. This spirit of association is seen in that singular expression, "Thou hast been our dwelling place" (How a residence for us?) "In all generations." We must then have lived in what has gone before, if we had our dwelling place in former generations.

One an Illustration of Many

In the generation just gone a mother wanted her son to have a better educational equipment and suggested, no matter what the sacrifice, that they leave the land and move to town to put the boy into a higher grade of schools. Her husband opened a general country store of the old type for the sale of anything the people needed and if he did not have it he would get it. He sold everything from needles to nails, from harvesters to quinine capsules, from ready-made boots to dried codfish. It was a convenience to have the post office boxes in a front corner of the store which was a place of general resort. I recall the frequent sight, a farmer's wife, paying for postage stamps by handing out eggs from a basket up to any number the postmaster might indicate. I once saw an article lying upon the counter that I desired to buy and said to the storekeeper that I would take it. The woman put out her hand deprecatingly and said, "I am trading for it." Now this is what she meant,—the country merchant had fixed the price on his wares. Then when farm produce is offered in exchange he presumes to fix the price on that also. One of the parties to the transaction is left out of the account. "If you fix the price on yours ought I not to fix the price on mine?" He cannot live without the store and the store cannot live without the customer. A basis of agreement must be reached. Cannot you give me a little better trade? We speak of a storekeeper as in trade in a large city. The expression has come with the people from their earlier homes. One of the causes of the high price of living is the use of the telephone in ordering supplies hastily from the store which are paid for, in the lump, without visiting the stores and stalls and considering the relative value of the commodities in view of all the facts. Any one knows that on visiting the market and seeing the great variety of supplies offered for sale he used his money in a different way from what he expected. In Washington, where Daniel Webster used to go to market with a basket on his arm, the people are finding themselves benefited by the free open air in going to the tempting remarkable markets.

The Lure of the Store

The general store in our town was a landmark. It was central to the community. In it gathered each evening the men of the place and questions of the day were discussed around the old drum stove. Store haunting developed into a habit in winter when there was little to do. Here men played checkers through long evenings and tried to reach the king row. This place of merchandise was a political hotbed. It filled a place that even the church could not supply, also in exposing evil doers to scorn. Skulduddery would here get some body blows. Public opinion is police, ever on the alert, without pay in a small town. "Opinion is the queen of the world." It is feared and is the chief deterrent. Both men and women are saved by it, which is very much more active and a better recognized agency in small places than in great. It pretty nearly rules the town. People bow to it. Town talk has an unequalled power to regulate, restrain and actually govern conduct. In small communities the real ruler can be rightfully named the Public.

The store was the place for the born story-teller. A man with thrilling adventures in the seven seas found in this "senate" a responsive auditory. A woman knew where her husband could be found if any one called and wanted to see him.

He Lived With His Mother's Spirit

Ibsen represents the Master Builders as oppressed by a strange fear. He hears the young knocking at the door and he fears that the young will enter in and dispossess him. A mother, with nobleness of nature and sweetness of disposition, is too magnanimous for such an apprehension. In my visit no one needed to inquire who was the mother of one man whom I met, his success and the honors paid him bore testimony to her worth. Providence was kind to him. I remember the mother so revered by the son, as fragile yet dignified, and the fineness of the feminine element imparted gentility to her boy. Watch the expression on such a face, keep your gaze fixed on it and you will learn a lesson for life. A man's nature when submitted to tests turns on its quality. He was sought in society and was the life of many a company. "Did you ever meet his mother?" was asked. "No." "Well, if you had you would understand him. He is what she made him." To these sons the mothers reveal themselves. To them, the mothers are no more alike than fair women are alike in the eyes of their worshippers. A mother's love has a peculiar carrying quality. The real significance of her patience is not seen at once. It is like orders given to a sea commander, not to be opened until he gets into a certain latitude. "What I do thou knowest not now." After-meanings are disclosed with touching beauty.


Astonished as if He Had Seen a Vision

In determining what kind of women these mothers were we are to compare their standards, not with ours now, but with the standards of the times in which they lived.

When revisiting the earth the ordinary life of the people had in it a great fascination. I wonder that the pleasures of memory and association are not more vividly realized in connection with the people we have known. The lessons are very salutary. With the hope of having my ideas more nearly approach my ideals I resolved increasingly to cultivate admiration. If called upon off-hand to cite one of the most striking impressions it would be that a pure, beautiful, intelligent, and well-bred woman "is the most attractive object of vision and contemplation in the world." I thought that nature had lavished her gifts about equally without and again within the human family. It is not a question of six of one and half a dozen of the other, but of half a dozen and a dozen. There is no answer to the question, What will God give us when he takes the sea? It is its only parallel. Without detracting from it there is also a world of beauty in an amazing river, always arriving, always departing; its banks wondrously deeply colored with green and gold. The mountains and the canyon and the waterfall have commanding attractions. These are without the human race, but for objects of study and enthusiasm and deference I turn to those made but little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor.

Let me add another recollection of the moment, that my eyes, my ears, my whole soul seemed sometimes to be just opening upon what appeared to me a new fact that such a mother of charming character, such as I used to see, was the day-star of that apotheosis of mother which reached its climax in the last year of the German war. A nation does not know what it has until it comes to exhibit it.

Retrospect is Cheering

The son of such a mother who became philanthropic looked benevolent. The commercialized look their part. Business men are in the saddle. Sons succeed sires as we pass into trade. The teachers and accountants and the scholars looked somewhat bookish. The boys had been making faces. Each man had made his. I never knew a man equally transfigured with one I saw. It is not guessing, it is not flattery, it is exact truth. It is not to be discussed under general rules. It is a real case with a particular history. It is a confirmed expression. It has atmosphere, almost a dim remote shade of halo. This is labeled on him for the townspeople to read. It fell to me thus to take a few short lessons in heredity. On returning to the homes of these people I remembered the pictures they had upon their walls that were all new and different to boyhood's eyes and seemed a real part of the make-up of the town. I now turn to the belief that they had their influence on the families. The religious portrayal of the child Samuel and so of others were silent evangelists and remained right there till they fixed an impression. I remember that mothers held their boys up to these pictures and encouraged them to talk to them, which they did, and now they report the conversation. Queenly mothers! Blessed among women shall they be!

"All my fears are laid aside,
If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died!"

You may think that children cannot understand or don't care. They can understand and they do care. It is not a matter of the mind only but of the instinct. Mother's chair and father's Bible make a place for themselves in the family history. In one year, 1782, there were born in four families residing in three different states Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Lewis Cass, and Martin Van Buren. The families were undistinguished as such from the multitude of others about them. Not so, however, with the sons, for just the reason that has now come under our observation.

The woman who stands in her humble doorway and waves her tearless adieu to her brave enlisted son is no less a hero than he. She remains to keep the home fires burning and suffers a thousand deaths through her affections and fears. She makes the larger sacrifice for she would give many lives for the boy who has but one to lose.

No Love Like Mother Love

A mother with a baby lying across her knees was asked, "Do you love it?" She looking up, her face radiant, with the light indescribable, said, taking a very deep breath, "I love it so that if Christ had not gone to Calvary to give my boy life eternal, if by so doing I could secure life eternal for him, I would go to hell that he might go to heaven."

A soldier, returning home, was telling a mother about her son found dying on the field after a battle. Said she, "I wish I had been there." "You were there all right," was the rejoinder, "you came first to the boy's mind. He had your name on his lips when he died." The mother has first place when the boy is in the stress of life. Ambulance men and nurses find her in sweet companionship when they reach the wounded boy. These were his passions, love of mother, home, and country. We had the evidences on the surface of the life that was lived within.

If Archimedes had a station on which to rest his lever he could move the world. The world had been moved by a power unknown to him. Our country is the station where the lever rested.

"Turning the Bend in the Road"

Never before in all the history of our world have so many deaths occurred from war in so short a time. The very gates of death would seem to have been literally crowded by such multitudes passing through them. The soldiers have given to the world "a new death." Fresh inspiration was imparted to the French heart by the soldier at Verdun, a mere lad, who, wounded, called upon the dead to rise and fight the Germans. There is a spiritual partnership between dead heroes and living patriots. The Kaiser, in addressing his troops, made this utterance, "No mercy will be shown, no prisoners will be taken. The Huns, under King Attila, made a name for themselves which is still mighty in traditions and legends today." He omitted from his thought that part of the "traditions and legends" on which our minds are dwelling. The old chroniclers relate that Peter and Paul appeared to Attila in camp and terrified him with threats, a visit immortalized by Raphael. This factor that a governor of Judea had not reckoned with, was suggested to Pilate's wife. A woman's intuitions do not ask to have a cautionary signal repeated. She does not mean to invite tragedy and go spell-bound to destruction. An acknowledged leader in modern art, Kaulbach, so depicts character and so sees it in action and situation as to take a spectator by storm. With great power he reveals the spirits of the Huns and Romans who perished under the walls of the eternal city as renewing the combat in the air. A characteristic trait of the Germans appears by displaying the ruler of the Huns as an equal with the figure of the Teutonic "Gott." The Huns who destroyed seventy cities in Greece and barbarously murdered eleven thousand virgins, whose bones are preserved in the church of St. Ursula in Cologne, found that angel forces were against them. Those whom they had slain reappeared so that they had to encounter an immortal assemblage which had been mustered to resist them.

Presence of Our Celestial Helpers

"Alas, my master, how shall we do?" said the servant of Elisha in terror, when, his eyes being opened, he saw the mountains full of horses and chariots of fire. Our soldiers with rapturous joy testified that guardian spirits watched over them. The Scriptures abound with allusions to invisible benefactors. Shakespeare, to whom no side of human nature was unknown, with splendid genius, having to deal with the irresolute temper of Hamlet, calls to his aid a factor from the militant hosts of heaven. "Look! my lord! It comes." It was his father's spirit in arms. "Lend thy serious hearing to what I shall unfold, list, list, oh list." It is often stated that the great Charlemagne is not dead but on occasions places himself at the head of the nation, to lead it forward again to victory and glory. The world does not fight its battles for nothing. It would be just as erroneous to speak lightly of Marathon or Waterloo or Bunker Hill, or Vicksburg, or the third Battle of Piave which ended the German war by removing Austria-Hungary from the field and creating an indefensible Bavarian front, as it would be to underrate the significance of our recent national awakening. On revisiting the earth I felt in every place a great ground swell of national feeling. War is the last thing in the world to go according to program. This keeps people guessing and wakeful and interesting to others because they are themselves so interested. The whole country had become a great university for the study of folks in their elemental character. We can get a helpful vision when we take a straight look at people, elevated in feeling so preoccupied as to be unconscious of the self-revelation they are making. Shakespeare is right when he makes love control the destinies of his heroines. They may aspire reasonably but they were never meant to trample upon their own hearts and the hearts of others. We believe there are few men whose ambition has not been at some time during their lives the very slave of their affections. The great yearning of old and young in affections as well as intellect is to be appreciated. We are sure that there is a friend or lover for us somewhere, a companion for every thought and wish.

Out of Evil Cometh Good

The mother has come to her own as a by-product of the war. Such is her elevation that you will explore the pages of history and read the annals of mankind in vain to find anything that is a parallel to it. And now comes Governor Coolidge of Massachusetts stating by proclamation that when Lincoln's mother, "a wonderful woman, faded away in his tender years from her death bed in humble poverty, she dowered her son with greatness. There can be no proper observance of a birthday which forgets the mother." It has been a profoundly moving thought, when crossing the ocean, that two miles underneath there lay the live Atlantic telegraph cord stretching from one shore to the other. Vitalized with living messages of love and welfare, with the speed of lightning, on Mother's Day, the mysterious current communicated to the country the number of letters and the weight of the mail in tons that were on their way to gladden the mother who was keeping the home fires burning. Some women who are mothers started a wave of moral power which will never cease to roll until it has enveloped the earth. "Thy son liveth" is an assurance that, with a new accent, is now given when a boy makes the supreme sacrifice. His life hitherto has been but preparative. The separation of the living and the dead is less complete than formerly. The voters in Baldwin, Maine, paid tribute to the only boy that, from that town, died in the service, by standing, one hundred and fifty of them, in silence with their heads bowed. It is reported that the lips of three or four of the veterans moved as though uttering a prayer for the lad. Thus a new attitude is taken by many people toward death and towards the departed. Some say they feel as close as ever to those who, though they have turned a leaf in their biography, are characters in a story that still goes on. The feature of the war has been "the thinning of the veil between life and death." Forever living, incapable of death, seems the new verdict touching those promising young men who while they paid the price, bequeathed to those who survived, the glory and the honor.

Pushed by Unseen Hands

It is believed that we have lived to see the meting out of some divine awards. "Germany's collapse is the most dramatic judgment in the history of the world." In all the growth of Christianity, no such certitude has been so universally and emphatically expressed, touching the continuance of human personality. It is the diapason of a new literature produced by the war. It colors correspondence. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle feels that death has not robbed him of his son's companionship. The family feeling seems to continue unimpaired. "We are seven" is the sentiment, when "we are not all here," but "some are in the church-yard laid."

"All houses wherein men had lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go;
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro."



There are three things which every man persuades himself he can do better than anyone else: poke the fire, handle the reins, and tell a story. Unless the poker is hidden, the next man will take it and give the embers two or three additional touches. This is a universal trait. In case of peril, it is instinct in a man, to make motions in reaching out to take the lines. If a story is known to another person, it is pure nature in him on hearing it told, to show how some detail might have been better rendered. I add a fourth thing that a person wants to improve upon no matter who is handling it. If my splendid teacher were again instructing me out of a book showing the difference between memory and recollection I would have to bite my tongue to compel it to silence. I should indeed of all men be the most miserable unless I could bear testimony. You say the miracle of memory has been the theme of your study. That for a summer was mine. It is common for scholars, taking what they call a palimpsest, an ancient manuscript and applying chemical process to so renovate it as to enable them to plainly read it. The effusions of later profane poets and the recent chronicles of monks have been over-spread upon the precious parchments. The orations of Cicero and precious versions of the New Testament have been over-laid and were regarded as lost. The early inscriptions were supposed to be effaced from our own memories.

Books Written by Ourselves

But a magician, in an instant, seemed to touch, with a sponge, the whole surface of the memory, and things that had been invisible were found to be well embalmed and made immortal. All that had become dim was found to be stereotyped forever. Thus every stage of one's existence leaves him some memorial of its presence in the life of today. I did not know what large deposits I had once been making in the bank of memory. This is occasioned by the fact that a boy lives his first years more keenly alive, to the things about him, than does a man. Even our food does not later have its earlier relish. If a man thinks, that what he recalls of a thing, when absent from it, is the whole of his memory of it, he very much underestimates the fact. It is the glow of youth, the freshness of heart, that give us those bright memories by which we save the past from the extinguishing stroke of oblivion,

"Like to some dear, familiar strain,
For which we ask and ask again,
Ever, in its melodious store,
Finding a spell unheard before."

The flaming sword which once guarded the gates of our youthful paradise is not turned against us preventing, as in the case of our first parents, our return to our early homes, as many persons, by keeping at a distance, appear to believe. One can approach this Eden boldly. The password at the gate is Welcome. Any pilgrim like myself will have his astonishment divided between the disclosure made of his own power of recollection and of the unforeseen suggestiveness of the place, when memory faithful to her task unties her budget.

It was a blessing to me to be well born, yet I was born with neither a gold nor a silver spoon in my mouth. My warfare has been at my own charges. While my classmates and associates were enjoying a winter vacation, I taught a country school. There is a choice spot to me. To revisit the earth without viewing that scene and unclasping, there, the book of memory would be like quitting London before one has stood within the shadowed aisles of Westminster or coming back from Italy without entering the gates of the Eternal City.

A Hard Road to Travel

I thought I had seen mud before but slow progress to the rural school-house gave me a deep experience of it. Any evidence of road making could not be found. There was a track, we could not lose it, yet you could not make much headway in it. The condition of the road conditioned the opening of the school. The roads were three rods wide and often three feet deep, particularly when the frost was coming out of the ground. They then became yeasty, which heaves the sub-soil, and stirs and mixes the surface loam, in preparation for seed sowing in the spring. It was not a time to be abroad. Traveling was then a very different act from that which it has now become. The conditions were beyond conception and utterance. As memory is the recognizing faculty, it identified, on the way, the same old farmhouse hastening indeed to its ruin, the same old fire which glows upon the ample hearth, the same old well thumbed Bible which lies, as ever, upon the altar, the same "old oaken bucket" which hangs in the well. My heart made me so familiar with the neighborhood that I could have mapped it, from recollection, without other aid. The vividness of everything touched me. It was like an experience of reading snowbound in Whittier's old home. It is like standing in the presence of the Lion of Lucerne after being indebted only to memory for a conception of a strange reality. No words can possibly describe the impression. All the men that lived hereabouts were so well known to me that were my imagination strong enough I might almost have seen their ghosts. Many of those I knew in active life had passed the summit and were going down the hill; indeed some have already gone out of sight. The names and works of some of them are now nearly stranded on the stream of time. But they once exercised a powerful influence on the local life of their day. We plodded our way to school and all carried our dinners. At noon-tide we were brought into a fine intimacy.

Teaching and Learning

I never had such close association with boys and girls. Some of the warm-hearted little creatures would exchange portions of their dinner with each other, not for variety only but as an expression of kindly feeling. The generosity of the little people was a very real and fine thing. They give what they want. They love to bestow. It is to them a pleasure and a luxury. When they met on the first day of school it was pathetic to see the intensity of their pleasure on being again with each other. They lived on scattered farms, miles apart, and were gladder to see one another than anybody should be. No one ought to feel so isolated and detached, or, on the other hand, so yoked up with adults as if on the principle of breaking in a colt with a cart-horse. They love to be with those of their own age and kind. They return to the original meaning of fellowship, fellow in the same ship. Many of their interests are the same. Their destination is identical. A young man's social nature craves the companionship of his mates. He is susceptible most of all to the influences of good or evil from young persons of his own age and tastes and ambitions in life. We are told distinctly what "the fellowship of kindred minds" is like.

Transported Back to the Past

In one hand, I hold, as I write, that marvel of creative volumes Webster's spelling book, of which more than a million copies are still sold annually. "The boy that stole the apples," as in "Fable First," is still in a composed attitude in the tree just where he placed himself long years ago waiting for "The old man to try what virtue there was in stones." It is remarkable that every individual in school recited from Webster's spelling-book. If I could choose a picture of myself it would be at the time when I sat in a country school-house and had a little Abecedarian that hung down her head and kept one thumb in her mouth, stand at my knee learning letters beginning with the "perpendicular reading" on the alphabetical page and coming later, in an eventful day, to "horizontal reading" beginning, of course, with the monosyllabic and well-remembered words, "Go on." The wonder that abides with me is how those tiny scholars that had only set foot on the first step of learning's ladder, were kept in school after being taught only in three or four brief intervals during the day to know their letters, by sight, and as some one expressed it also by name, for six wearisome hours with nothing doing to enable them to beguile their time. The Kindergarten was yet to be. The scheme of public transportation by which all scholars are assembled at one central point in a township and graded and given instruction by methods adapted to their years had never then come to the attention of the people not even in their dreams. With no slates, no stationery, no desks in front of them, no attention from anyone, their natures as playful as kittens, accustomed to the sweep of the fields, full of animal spirits and frolic, packed for the day in a box-like room when, to use their expression "school's up," out they would rush tumultuously to enjoy God's great and good out-of-doors. To "keep school" my implements of learning were a ruler, a bell, and a Bible. The "district" supplied a water-pail and tin dipper. About midway to recess after "school's in," as a reward for fine behavior, one envied scholar was designated to pass the water. In this common sacrament we all partook, in beautiful communion of spirit, day after day from the same rusty dipper, microbe, baccilli, and other like organisms not being then invented.

A Boy a "Feeble Beginning of a Mighty End"

As soon as the school was established civilization was safe. Many of the scholars were almost men and women in size, but they were not as old as their stature indicated. A real responsibility fell upon the teacher, for all the training that some young citizens ever had, was obtained in one of these little crowded school-houses that dot the farming communities of the state. Many began an active useful life without troubling any other school, college, or academy. At their freedom year, came to many of them a point where their education stopped and their adult life began. It gave to my work a peculiar interest, as I tried like John Adams, when teaching in Worcester, to regard the school as the world in miniature, that before me were the country's future jury-men, judges, tradesmen, capitalists, law-makers and office-holders. One only had to imagine, what might prove true, that a certain boy was to go upon the bench of the Superior Court, as proved to be the case in one of my classes, that another was to be a titled clergyman, as came true, that others were to be honored in the high administration of executive offices, it turned out to be a fact, in order to stimulate a teacher to that course of effort, without which youth fitted for those respective offices would be lost. What government we had was never called government. I never happened to find any bad boys. A thorough search in the gallery of memory has been made in vain to discover them. Anyway they did not exist to me. I taught branches that I had never myself taken in school. My mind was let out to its limit to keep one day ahead of my classes.

Human Nature Unchanged

Life was full orbed in that little "knowledge box" as it was sometimes used for meeting by the Society of Friends and so on "fourth day," for a little space of time, school gave way to a Quaker wedding. The very profound and continued silence that preceded the ceremony made it extremely impressive. I shut my eyes and it all comes before me. The beauty of the bride, and the maxim accords with truth, she that is born of beauty is half married, she needs to borrow nothing of her sisters, gave her that attractiveness which conferred an immediate power over others. This beau ideal of a young Quakeress, her simple, modest, consistent apparel, which was chiefly drab, relieved by the use of dark olive colored material, enlisted everyone's attention. Without the aid of priest or magistrate, without prayer or music, after a fitting quiet interval, they took each other by the hand and in the presence of witnesses, among them all the school, including the teacher, solemnly and calmly promised to take each other for husband and wife, to live together in the fear of God, faithfully, so long as they should live. A record was then produced for signatures. It was signed by the happy company, the bride using her new name. After the relatives had signed, good feeling so prevailed that the scholars down to those of few years added their signatures, which detracted nothing from the legality of the document.

"O! not in the halls of the noble and proud,
Where fashion assembles her glittering crowd;
Where all is in beauty and splendor arrayed,
Were the nuptials perform'd of the meek Quaker maid.
'Twas there, all unveil'd, save by modesty, stood
The Quakeress bride, in her pure satin hood;
Her charms unadorned by garland or gem,
Yet fair as the lily just pluck'd from its stem.
The building was humble, yet sacred to Him
Before whom the pomp of religion is dim;
Whose presence is not to the temple confined,
But dwells with the contrite and lowly of mind."

Here I formed my strange liking, to which I have to plead guilty, for country boys. These sturdy little men did not complain of their lot though at times it was hard. They had the ring of the genuine coin. With entire naturalness they assumed that they had their own way to make. Their calculations were not based upon a legacy. A young man in need of money who has expectation from an unmarried aunt looks upon toil in a different way from what he would if she had nothing to bestow. "What is the matter with Kansas?" When this question was raised it was found that she had been helped, and by that act she was done for.

The Coronation of Labor

Here is the secret of country boys when they go up to the city. They are not done for. The reflex influence of this is often a hindrance. It is not self help. It overlooks economy, enterprise, personal initiative, and intense application. The young man with money usually takes a young partner from the country to get the practical ability and energy. The country home is like a bee-hive for industry in every profitable way. Farm life looks toward more productiveness. Eight or ten hour limits are not observed in days that are from morn to dusk. The country boy does a lot of unrequited labor. He hitches up, breaks out the road, and takes the whole bunch to the evening singing school. He takes off the wagon body, puts it upon runners, and stows it so full of mortal souls that they had to be cautioned, by their parents, as the sons of Jacob were by their father, "not to fall out by the way." Lay a plank on the ground, someone has truly said, and a million people can walk it without thought of losing balance. Lift it twenty-five feet and only one in a thousand will dare to walk it. Lift it one hundred feet and not more than one in a million will venture upon it. Country boys keep their balance near the ground. As persons grow stilted they lose their poise. If they have a disposition to rise higher it is by the old way of climbing, step by step, making each rise count one. They are not at first familiar with the elevator to carry them up and so suppose that their chance is by the stair-case. "One thing I must observe," says an Englishman, writing from Andover, "that I think wants rectifying, and that is their pluming pride when adjoined to apparent poverty." John G. Brady had not only "apparent poverty," but the real thing when deserted by his father, when he was made a ward of a Children's Aid Society. He became governor of Alaska. Some such boys were ravenous for knowledge. They were awkward and uncouth but possessed minds that were bright, vigorous, susceptible, and retentive. It was a joy to teach them.

Not Criticism, Just Description

"You're a colt," said a farmer, "bye and bye you will grow to be a staid old horse. Till you do steady down and lose your coltish tricks I will enter with you into the spirit of your colthood, for I know you're not vicious. There is not a streak of evil in your nature." I saw a fine picture at one of the world's fairs of the School of Charlemagne, at the moment that Alcuin is informing the emperor that the poor boys have surpassed the rich in scholarship. It is a symbol of the way that things level up in every country. Country boys learn to feel their way, which is the healthiest method, and I have had frequent painful occasions to contrast it with the plunging method that we are frequently called to witness. At no other point, at the same exposition to which I have referred, were gathered so dense a crowd as about the model school for the blind. A poor girl without sight was reading about some boys that came upon a hive of wild bees and honey. When a word seemed difficult to her, she would instinctively apply both hands to the pages. Men coming from all quarters into this presence would unconsciously uncover their head. Feeling one's way excites sympathy. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Have any of the rulers believed on Him? No, no, no, it was the common people that heard Him gladly. City merchants advertising for a clerk often say, "One from the country preferred." I used to see the boys studying the map of the future and laying out work for manhood and age. Their longings were to be men. They were panting to have a part in the great drama of life and would rush in as soon as any door was open. It did not occur to them that the world already owed them a living, that they were to be fed by the raven. The man who calls upon Jupiter was to put his own shoulder to the wheel.

To Go to the Top, First Go to the Bottom

It is a riddle that persons, like the Lawrences, coming from the country, Groton, into the city out-step the natives and become their masters. Country life and country education are at least practical and invigorating to body and mind and hence those who are thus qualified triumph in the race of life. Country training and experience serve as a foothold for progress. Amos Lawrence, the initial genius in Boston in that line of merchant princes that founded Lawrence and the mills in Lowell and Ipswich (when one of the mills of Ipswich was losing one hundred dollars a day, one of the Lawrences was sick and the only comment was "too much Ipswich,") when a clerk in a dry-goods store sold a parcel of goods, promising to have them delivered in Charlestown by twelve o'clock M.,—the porter, who was to take them over, failed to return as soon as was expected,—loaded the goods on a wheelbarrow and trundled them over the long bridge, through the streets thronged with ladies and gentlemen, and had them there on time. It was a natural act of the country boy. A city young man would have felt an inclination to wait. Andrew Carnegie came over from Scotland with only a sovereign in his pocket but with sovereignty in his soul and fired a stationary engine at two dollars and a half a week.

The Renewal of the Face of the World

Jeremiah says, "Pharaoh King of Egypt" is but a noise. He agitates the atmosphere. He is a clamorous self advertiser. On the other hand a country boy reaching the city is often obliged to raise the simple bread and butter question. Give us this day our daily bread. I used to find these boys extremely capable and very warmly affectionate. City boys gave their mothers what money would buy, while the country boys gave their mothers what money could not buy, and no one was happier than the country mother with a letter from her boy telling her that there was so much love in his letter that he would have trouble in getting it into the envelope. She thought she saw that he was winning a widening way into recognition from his employer, also from his associates. Such a man is likeliest to realize in life all the promise he gave in boyhood. If a country boy lost a step he felt that he must make it up. I could stand before that boy, hat in hand, and pay him honor and respect. He is not top heavy. He is solid. The corner stones of character are laid in place and well laid. Splendid specimens of boyhood, first work hard to supply their needs and then go on to make money to supply their wants. By all the rules of the business world they have earned all that they have gained.

Cables Binding to Safe Moorings

On "first day" there being no school I worshiped with Quakers and never to this hour have departed from their heaven-born doctrines. When George Fox prayed, the spirit bearing witness with his spirit, men trembled, and so were called Quakers because they thus quaked. The wonder is not that they were agitated, but that people do not quake where they sit in profound silence until the spirit moves. When a person rises one's first thought is, There, that's the motion of the spirit, the inner witness. It is the responsive factor in us that makes the Quaker doctrine take hold. They have an Inward Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. A friend, a lady with a serene, intelligent, illumined face, fluent and correct in expression, with most engaging modesty, moved by the spirit, arose and spoke, with a power stronger than human genius, her understanding being opened, her heart enlarged, in a manner wonderful to herself exhorting us to take heed to the light within us. That was reasonable. Who could say nay to such entreaty assuming that there is in us that which of itself responds to it, "as face answers to face in a glass?" In the intense quiet, in the solemn silence, all being retired into the presence chamber of God, the attitude being that of Samuel when he said, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth" when an angel voice speaks to us who would not follow whithersoever it leads the way? "Go feel what I have felt" and you will know by experience how Quakers get their name. It is a respectful doctrine; it only urges recognition of what hath shined into our hearts to give us light.

Revisiting the earth I say now, on the site where I taught school, what I felt then, that Quaker doctrines are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Even the men's manners are gentle and winsome and kindly, and kindly enough to proceed from the spirit. When conducting social affairs I have in uncounted cases asked that we might imitate the Quakers who before leaving their positions, beginning in the high seats, shake hands with those on the right and left who are next to them, it means we are on a level and on good terms, we must be social.

A Fashion that is Wearing Away

When men were clad in short clothes, wearing knee buckles, laces, and ruffles, and frills, and fringes, and finery, and frippery, the Quakers took strong ground for plain, unaffected simplicity in male attire and they carried the day. Honor to whom honor is due, I am with them as usual. The weather worn, long used, hard used little one room, one story school-house without an entry, is now in declining condition and exceedingly infirm. It seems broken, decrepit, wears a look of great age, seems inclined to melancholy and its dissolution is near. The dear old seminary of letters was not young when I was introduced to it. Change and decay have passed rapidly upon it. There is no making life stand still. I went back to it with my heart in my eyes. Its well worn old threshold and its battered entrance spoke of hospitality to vigorous youngsters who had reached their freedom year, when education stopped, and their adult life began. It was assumed that the door, exposed to the weather, would bind a little at the bottom, and so simultaneously with putting their hands to the latch the children would strike the door at the bottom with one of their heavily shod feet. The act was so unconscious and so natural that no impression was made except on the door.

Time Can Obliterate as Well as Create

The floor of that little edifice wore sundry patches of new white pine boards which were nailed over the crevices and flaws which gave the appearance of new cloth in an old garment. This rickety fabric has ceased forever from the name and form of a seat of learning, but it is tight full of memories and of public favor. A child when going through a museum said he liked the sculpture better than a painting because he could walk around the sculpture. With that feeling of regard for sacred places and times and things which we felt in our childhood, I viewed that building and went round about it, that I might tell it to the generation following. If anyone shall say,

"A bare old house with windows dim,
A bare old house is still to him,
And it is nothing more,"

I shall still look upon it with reverence. It has performed its office and its pictured form will bring up facts and throng my vacant hours with beautiful visions. Lord Jeffrey speaks fondly of that "dear retired adored little window" where he labored and prepared himself for the arrival of that brighter day which is almost sure to come to those who are careful to fit themselves for the duties that accompany it.

A Table of Priorities

The progress of the allied forces in the German war seemed at first very slow, partly because of the colossal number of men engaged, but chiefly because Germany derived a great advantage at the start. It is a difficult matter to make up for a bad beginning. On revisiting the earth we seemed to be set down upon a commanding eminence, having a panoramic view of occurences which showed distinctly the path we had trodden. If we noticed the milestones, we observed a succession, that was unbroken, that led directly to the place where, with different ways opened to us, we made life's vocational adventure. In the light of that first move we see the way to every subsequent position. Years rise up like the steps of the Pyramids and more and more extensive becomes the review of life. How different a landscape looks when we have simply reversed our steps and are faced the other way. I must always remember it as one of the pleasures of life, that all the invisible lines that connect every later service and place of residence were set vibrating from the desk where I taught my first term of country school when I was seventeen.


Tremendous Trifles

Taking deliberately one's position, here, that point in life, of which everyone's personal history has so many examples, the peak Teneriffe, the effect of volcanic action, after much slumbering, fills all the foreground. From such a mount of vision "see thy way in the valley."

"There's a chain of causes
Linked to effects,"

that seemed trifles, that, on a review of life, have a new significance. It can be seen at a glance that all subsequent events are a lengthened chain from this early landmark, at which, hat in hand, I stood. The connection is direct, the links are distinctly interlocked. As in the growth of a stalk of corn, each section makes a close jointure with the next below it as well as with the next above it, so is it in any individual career. The same school, the second winter, was needed to give publicity to a situation, which resulted in an invitation to take the school at the community center, an elevation which had not even in dreams and reveries entered my mind. Out of this came an appointment to teach in a college town and so to this hour every stage has brought about the next step which the last one made inevitable. In that first school was struck the medial key-note. It is the C, and the whole melody of life rests upon it. Some people remark upon fruit and flower, as if detached and independent of their seed. Not by God's mercy! Personal history has its teachings, a golden thread runs through it, on which are strung, a series of events in a logical succession, represented in pictures unrivalled for their distinctness, delineated by time's own hand and lifted out into powerful relief. The more widely I looked for connected events the more I saw. It pleased the Father to command the light to shine out of darkness. Dull and unimaginative as I am, even I felt the divinity stir within me, and I found it difficult to suppose otherwise than that, while the public takes no cognizance of such things, yet a look into one's personal biography exhibits a moving picture of Providence. To feel that we are tethered to a place of beginning, though we live on the other side of the world, is not to say that we would like to go back there to reside. We are viewing it only as a factor in our past life. It was like the experience once of reading Whittier's Hampton Beach when there. It made past history realistic. It was like standing in the presence of the Lion of Lucerne after being indebted only to memory for your conception of its vivid character. No words can possibly describe the impression, of thus revisiting the earth and doing our own thinking instead of sending some neighbor to do it for us.

Critical Periods

Instead of seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, how much more self-respecting for each of us to himself stand in the actual presence of these silent talkers and perceive the guide marks to all the paths which led us through the tangle of life. Above all else one lesson blazes out in letters of living light. How careful Providence is about beginnings. It is only in looking down upon the battle field that we can clearly discern the maneuvers that lead to victory. We must place ourselves at a given point, not too remote from the causes, that make our history, to justly estimate them, if we could begin again, that tragic wish having been conceded to us, all our activity would be best used at these clearly discerned centers. To gain greater effectiveness opportunity here makes his call upon us and comes unawares and his approach is invariably disguised in humble garb.

"Master of human destinies am I.
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait;
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel, and mart, and palace, soon or late
I knock unbidden once at every gate.
Those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore;
I answer not, and I return no more."



When in the company of a citizen, I am reviewing my place of early residence, while he obviously knows the town well, yet I see all that he does and recollection faithful to its office supplies me with an image of the past which he does not perceive. He gets no glimpse of the panorama that is passing in review before me. In looking over an illustrated volume of the place there are two pictures on each page. There is the one I now see, and to my inner sight there is just above it the one I remember. It is a case of what philosophers call Compound Perception. The absence of the object is contrasted with its presence. You imagine it gone, and perceive the blank it would leave. You observe the object, you also consider it as a negative quantity, for a moment thinking it away. There is the depot. I do not need to have it pointed out. Beside this building I instantly see the picture of another station unobserved by the present generation, which was connected with a different route. Before the Rock Island and before the Central of Iowa, we had the underground R. R. In Grinnell that came first. It did a good business. It had a through line. Its chief station still exists. The glamor of the past is upon it. I knew the station master. I am on intimate terms with one of its conductors. When its train was made up any one could compute its horse-power. The place had public spirit enough for a half dozen average towns. There is the church where the college diplomas were awarded. How plainly I also saw the church where I was, at its completion, an habitual hearer of the Word, that stood on the same noble corner. I never could understand how any mortal could be hired to tear down the earlier sacred edifice. It must have been done by aliens. No one could have bribed me to do it. There isn't money enough. I would as soon have lifted my hand against her who gave me being. The fate of Uzza, whom the Lord smote for a smaller impiety, would have given me alarm.

A Sort of Homesickness

All religious annals will be searched in vain for a better example of the community church. Everybody attended it. All our pleasures were connected with it. Anyone could get the key to hold a meeting. There was always something doing. It had a part in everything that interested the people. When in the Civil War there were victories, the farmers came in, and there sang Praise God, etc., and when we had reverses there was a meeting to appoint a fast. Far away down the gallery of memory hangs a picture. It is a church scene. The figures are the deacons and others, in colors that are fresh and glowing to this hour. The artist that could portray them on canvas would be immortalized in that one act. Extremely fastidious critics would call them old fashioned, but they have at least this merit, they are life-like. It would be becoming in us to honor them as they, in their day, honored the community. I recollect nearly every family that sat under the benign ministry of that church, and could come near to designating each pew they occupied. There was a kind of exaltation about the place, which held the fire, in the old days, on God's altars, and the quaint bare building became as the temple on Mount Zion. Never in the splendid temples, seen in after life, where the wealth of princes had been lavished, to decorate the world famous cathedrals, where stained windows shed an impressive light over the solemn courts, and where the ponderous organ rolls its deep thunders on the ear, have I seemed to be so near the Holy of Holies, as on one or two occasions when my heart was lifted up in that unadorned place of worship. Once the clergyman had pronounced the blessing and the congregation were dispersing when I lingered behind to make a single vow. Tear down that church! I could not have stood it to be present. To some meeting houses they attach a card giving, in plain letters, the church's name and age.

Recollections of Other Years

If, as a boy, I had been asked to prepare a tablet to place on that heaven-blessed house of prayer, I should have put up the sign, "The Lord lives here." There was a solemnity, in its very simplicity, and an impressiveness not artificial, which to a religious fanatic might easily seem supernatural.

The large plain room was pervaded, in the evening, by a dim religious light that proceeded from a few reeking kerosene lamps. Any kind of a meeting was opened with prayer and much decorum and orderliness were observed by the citizens, old and young. The church took everything hard that concerned its own folks. The building was our cradle of liberty. Both men and boys rocked that cradle. A large sweetly toned bell, joyously rung by lads at day break on Independence Day, was finer music to our juvenile ears than would be the combined bands of the world. In the capitol at Richmond, a painting is exhibited, representing the Earl of Chatham pointing to a little flame on the altar of liberty. At that flame how many torches have been lighted. Some have held that the church must be opened only to old age, but that was not the view then and there held. I loved the church. I never saw it surpassed. All its ideals are mine today. I have labored and sacrificed to exhibit them and realize them in other places. If the older present resident members were to visit the people that once had their church home with them there, they would find no trouble in recognizing the leaven which had been carried away from that sanctuary. Temperaments were different, all were unlike and individual, with unequal education, with diverse talents, not able to see with each other's spectacles, yet all learned from each other and all united on the big things. I feel myself indebted to those with whom I associated there, some of whom afterward obtained high and merited distinction. Some of them, God has made princes in the earth. There is the place where they grew up and there they had their vision of service. My warmest prayers have always been for their success. A throng of recollections which I can not repress starts from every corner of the old church and attends my walks about the streets.

Through Tears of Memory

There is no other such dark day as when a boy parts with his home and his native state for good, to find a home God only knows where, and the old life that meant so much to him is over. There were our friends, there was our home, and there are our graves, my father having given commandment concerning his bones. Pardon me, gentle reader, if for the moment I speak with a personal accent. An individual cannot inherit his experience. It is my feeling that it is well to know some part of the world thoroughly. "He who is everywhere is nowhere." Neither a globe-trotter, running like a wandering Jew all over the world, nor a tramp knows the countries he travels over. Here in my early day was a place without amusements.

The hoe, the hod, the plough, the scythe, the shovel, the woodsaw, and the axe, these are all old friends of mine. It is possible that as things are now viewed our sphere had in it a trifle too much of constraint, that the soul had hardly free play enough to unbend and recreate the mind, that we settled down too early, like well broken horses, to the work of life. A little shadow passes over my mind as I think of the analogy to bitting a horse. But when at sunset all nature rings the Angelus, we all say in our hearts, God bless the town and all its people.

Unterrified Visitors

"It would be no unprofitable thing," said Increase Mather, "for you to pass over the several streets and call to mind those who lived here so many years ago." On my approach, the homes of my day, that now survive, seemed to come right out to meet me. The old citizens appeared to start forth from their portrait frames. "They come like shadows and so depart." The old time town was revivified. The dry bones were stirred and made to live. The gates opened their arms widely finding us early residents and bold enough to enter. The same bordered walk led up to the front door. Houses, Say on. You want to speak. Utter your voices. Tell your story. I know its truth. You will not startle me. Many appeared to answer me as I stood, with my greetings, before them. Our old relations are all in my heart. In my day, everybody knew his neighbor and his neighbor was everybody. As is known of ancient Athens, at its best, quoting from an oration writer, "It is impossible for a man in this city to be of good repute or otherwise without all of us knowing it."

Even the most beautiful scenery needs absence to gain its hold upon us, and to unite a new and an old revaluation into something better than either. There is an old proverb, What is ever seen, is never seen. What is always heard, is never heard. The sound of Niagara becomes inaudible to the waiters at the hotels. "To feel the same thing always and not to feel at all, come to the same thing." A man casts his shadow over "A land where all things always seem the same."

When the World was Young

As a boy goes zig-zagging along, dilatorily, of a May morning to school, in and out, among and around the byways, where anything unusual is proceeding, he actually knows a town better than many a man who has lived in it longer, and I would not barter the pleasant memories of my early home for treasures of gold. I would not exchange even the impressions made indelibly on my mind for a gift of public office. There is nothing that I care to take in exchange for my soul. Upon the side of Mt. Blanc is a little patch of verdure called Le Jardin. It is always green. In the deserts are oases. In the ocean wastes we find islands of tropical beauty, so here with nature's extreme fertility we have, enameled with flowers, what they call in Evangeline's land a Grand Pre, extending to the horizon's out-most rim.

You Can't Paint the Sunrise

In boyhood's happy days, in the jocund season of youth, the grass grew quietly in the highways of the town, and bleating sheep and frolicsome calves sported about on the verdant savannas. In the days of which I am writing, cattle and horses were lawful commoners, and roamed at will over much of the town plat. On rising early a boy would find a group of small cattle just in the act of making up its mind that day was breaking. Some would be rising from their hard beds, some had risen and commenced to graze, others were still lying as they had reposed all night, the dew glistening on their hair. Mists were floating over the low grounds in the swales of the prairies, but the reddening east was waking all nature into newness of life, and presently, the ever-punctual sun rose up to do his circuit of the earth. It was a healthy boy's walk amid the fields of morning and he was enraptured with the delightful vision. The day began earlier then. It was long, and like a clothes-line being so extended, required a prop in the middle, hence dinner could not be deferred then until an evening hour. Noon is now becoming as extinct as the mastodon. It faded out. It seems unreal, and belongs to the past. Boys did not carry watches and became quite expert in using a north and south fence for a divider in finding that medial line that cuts the day in halves. We still have the expressions A. M. and P. M. but we make little use of the M. We have God's time, and man's time, for the sake of daylight saving, but my memory testifies that we used the daylight for about all it was worth, anyway up to our limit, at both ends of the day. People then were much more expressive than they are now. If they felt refreshed and exuberant they did not care who knew it. We used to feel with Dickens, Give us, oh give us, the man who sings at his work! He will do more in the same time, he will do it better. He will persevere longer.

"Amidst the storm the Pilgrims sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea,
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthems of the free."

Children were very much more commonly sung to sleep with a mother's foot upon the rocker of the cradle. If we could take out of our minds the fact that the hymn most widely used was for children, we all would say, How beautiful! Pious hymns and patriotic songs were the great leaders. Down through the corridors of time I can still hear the voices of both men and women who sang as they wrought. They who found that their wives did not sing when employed about the house set themselves to find the reason of the suspension and to remove it. This being done, unconsciously the house was gladdened again by impromptu song. From the fact that men worked more in solitary, quiet places, as contrasted with factories, having heavy machinery, men used to whistle. Some became very expert. When one man would say, Let's see how does that tune go? the custom was for the other to take up a few bars by whistling. When soldiers or parades or processions were passing, if the band should stop, those marching would take up some patriotic or other air and all would whistle it. This would spread to the boys on the side walk and extend through the town, and be revived the next day.

Another Relic of the Past

Men worked more hours and had more chores to do, early and late, so being physically weary, when they sat down to read there was a kind of physical preparation for it. The eye did not drop on a newspaper casually at any time. To begin to read required then a kind of personal adjustment illustrated remotely by that of a person who sits down when about to partake of a meal. Thus we used to see people take a book, and get ready to read it as you often see a person now who is about to sing in public, show what he is going to do by using a moment or two in getting himself ready for it.

It augurs well to discover more generally established what the French call the Hotel of God. The Hospital used to be in the same class with the Hospice. It was originally an outgrowth of the church, through the element of charity, very much as we find it on missionary ground in foreign lands. There was usually a chapel included in the construction.

It seemed on review to be the strong and rugged that were struck down, while the semi-invalids appeared to live to ripe old age. He who wins in the first round, does not always seem to come out, in the final test, as the best man. The battle is not to the strong. Like Romulus and Remus placed in a trough, cast adrift on the Tiber, nourished in the marshes by a wolf, some persons seem to be strengthened by the worst things to which they are exposed, while others succumb at their approach. It is hard to pass this same matter over as applied to the college without setting down outstanding illustrations. Some who were distinctly strong, like the pendulum of a dying clock soon passed away.

"A Flood of Thoughts Comes O'er Me"

It became a great trial to me that our forbears never half believed one of the most eloquent and profound statements of the inspired volume. Recognizing, in faith, these beautiful words, what a mockery is artificial light, and how unnecessary a watcher. "Surely the darkness shall cover me, the night shall be light about me, the darkness and the light are both alike." When a soul had left its body and is wearing a crown, it was then the custom, when one of our neighbors had been invited, to be a guest in heaven, for some one of us who felt tenderly and neighborly to offer to serve as a watcher. It was then counted good form for someone other than a member of the family to keep awake throughout the night and that, in no remote part of the house out of which the spiritual world had just received a tenant. It was then the rule of my life never to resist my good impulses and to me it seemed to fall to render this melancholy duty which struck into my soul with terror. My fright, I suppose would have been less if I had lived a better life. I noticed the rattling of the plastering over head.


"Deep horror then my vitals froze."

I did not know that a bureau with its closed drawers contained so much creaking. It seemed a self-starter. A mid-night lunch had been made ready. I was usually fond of the pleasures of the table, but this repast was the least welcome of any I ever tasted. I needed no artificial aid to keep awake. I was far removed from drowsiness. My eyes would not be surprised at anything in that presence except sleep. This night seemed as much too long as all other nights seemed to me too short, but I sat it out alone till the day, to my inexpressible relief, dawned over the distant fields. Soon after I reached my room some of my associates called me to wake me for breakfast. "You didn't suppose I was asleep, did you?" Lord Brougham pretended to die in order to read what was said of him in the papers. At Athens, Alabama, a minister preached his own funeral sermon for he said, "I know my own faults and my own good points as nobody else knows and I am not going to have people after I am gone talking of a thing they don't understand." The whole affair was arranged as if it had been the real thing, with the minister's family in the pew in deepest mourning. By very much of what I had been reading, and by more, that all along I had been hearing, while my motives were well enough in volunteering my services as a watcher, yet I was surprised to find how ill-fitted I was for the office. The minds of ingenuous childhood would not now be subjected to quite so much frightfulness. There seems to be something in them when well stirred up, that responds with fearful alacrity to that kind of address. It can be found any time in children if one has the lamentable disposition to try to appeal to it. By an unintended combination of circumstances I had been supplied with uncommon numbers of ghost stories until I was afraid to be out alone, particularly in some localities where it was extra dark.

On leaving the neighbor's house for home I would induce someone to stand in the door until I, after moving rapidly, should shout back that I was safe.

Stepping Into the Past

The bogy-man in the cellar is not conjured with in governing children now as much as formerly, still a child likes those plays best which give a good deal of exercise to the imagination. So on the other hand the ills we imagine afflict us most. The microscope magnifies the object without altering it. How the thoughts of those troubled times of long ago come trooping over the hills and valleys of memory after so many years have been passed to our account in the book of the Recording Angel. There are some sights that we can never forget. Some occurrences are so scenic and suggestive that they come home unbidden to every man's heart and are with him in the market and on the street.

The College Empire

When I first came on the campus the students' rooms were bare and uninviting. No freshman's room was carpeted. A mat in front of his desk and one in front of his bed, a very plain bureau, three or four chairs, a wash-stand, pail, pitcher and bowl, and a few text-books made the outfit. An apartment was featured best by what it did not have. We lived the simple life. "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The new president came in the morning of an opening educational era, during which more improvements have been made than occurred in long centuries before. With great distinction he served his day and its sun sank before the horizon in its evening splendor and that of his youthful, buoyant successor rose in its morning glory. The initial steps or incidents in the election of the present sovereign if ever known are now lost to history. The event was so spontaneous and natural that we can only say in scriptural language, Now it came to pass. The vote was only a memorandum. It was what everyone wanted, everybody expected.

In my day we all knew one another. A college may be good as an institution of learning and still fall far short of supplying what we feel this elite college did for us. The elective system has not been wholly a blessing. If left to himself, a student might elect to follow the line of the least resistance. In one of these institutions the whole class never meets together after the first day for any academic purpose. The class is no longer the social unit it once was. No two men take exactly the same course.

Just How it Feels

A boy's relation to his home is changed the instant his feet betake themselves to classic ways. His face is set toward an independent career. It is a beginning of a detachment and the home is behind this program and perhaps without quite recognizing all the results and sacrifices that are involved. No family is ever again quite the same after it has a son graduated from college. The plane of life is lifted all around. The kind of atmosphere in which he must live and move and have his being, for four years, will affect him. The traditions and the predominant type of student character will give him a pull which it is hoped is in the right direction. Where the majority of the students are disposed to do right, and to make a serious use of their great opportunities, the chances are that the graduate will feel his life long that he paid his tuition to the college, when he was for a fact most indebted to his associates. All testimony shows that students recite to the faculty and learn from one another. We are well beyond the old heresy that a boy goes to college for his mental training, enters society for his social life, and the church for his religious development. The college ideal, as stated, is to give a boy opportunity to do for himself the best he can do, also to do for each student the best that can be done for him and to give all possible advantage to the poorest student.

Just Plain Friends

We all drank at the same fountain and felt the thrill of the same spirit. There was no caste or social class. We may well doubt whether higher life success would have attended us, if we launched from a different port. An earnest endeavor was made to put a young man on an equality with the demands of his time. It undertook to furnish a basis from which it was possible for him to advance himself to that level of usefulness, in his generation, to which his native gifts relegated him. The college cannot undertake to supply brains. In the presence of stupidity even the gods are powerless. I do not need to praise the college. As Cromwell said of his government, "This is a thing that speaks loudly for itself." Webster made, in the greatest address ever delivered to a jury, much of the proverb, Murder will out, but this is no peculiarity of murder. Character will out, mental discipline will out, education will out, and the lack of education will out. Without this item some vocations cannot be entered at all, and there is no vocation in which the mental training would not be a fine additional equipment.

Rekindled Fires

At my Alma Mater, on revisiting the earth, in conversation with friends the inquiry was altogether natural, at Commencement, as to how I would approach things, if I were to begin my studies again. I would try to remember that it is the intensity of the work that does the good. A horse needs, in practice, to be tested at his top speed. He must have the occasional fast mile to fit him for a real occasion. The mind requires to be tasked. The faculties ought then to be alert. The need is of "sinewy thinking." Gird up the loins of the mind. Pull yourself together. We read of One who, as he prayed, sweat. Study and have it over. Dawdling over a newspaper is the arch enemy of all this. When one reads he ought to read with attention. If, by this power, we throw our whole minds upon an important subject, we make it a prompt and easy matter of recollection. Genius is really intensity of thought, feeling, emotion, activity. All the faculties are in earnest. "A man is not educated, till he has the ability to summon, in case of emergency," said Webster, "all his mental power in vigorous exercise to effect his object." The great gain is in the undivided, intense mental power of application. Be all there. Play hard. To spend two hours on a lesson that could better be done in one is a suicidal process. The greatest benefit of study is the trained power to concentrate the faculties. What one sees, he ought to see strongly. The importance of this matter lies in the fact, that the habits which a student acquires while pursuing his studies, generally adhere to him through life.

If I could begin again, I would give my chief attention to disciplinary study. If a person has a fair library, as every man and woman should have, he would acquire information, daily, his life long. While a student, his aim should be discipline. It is a vice for him to spend so much time over fugitive ephemeral literature which is like the grass, in the morning it flourisheth, in the evening it withereth. After hard work, skimming over such gossipy literature as one finds in the papers may restore tone to the mind but it is not to be classed as reading, but as recreation. Its effect dies with the day that gave it birth.

Of all my studies, I have rejoiced most in the discipline acquired by the study of Latin. If I could go back and acquire early a classical enthusiasm I would make myself sure of the educational passion.

Fortune Keeps Her Own Secrets

There is a certain fluency of speech, fertility of expedient and power of application which a student should cultivate for what Lord Coke called the "occasion sudden." The appeal to students to aim at good public speaking, while in college, and to awaken then and there, the active powers of the soul, is based upon two observations: that Albert Beveridge like recent orators showed his gait while still in his university, and that such gifts are not ideal but practical and not studied merely for their own sake but because of their connection with our civil liberty. To attain an end so indispensable if, in my studies, I was worked out to my limit, I would incline to the discussion of questions that would not send me to the library but into the open air, themes on which I could prepare myself during a stroll, subjects that I could stick in the corner of a mirror to formulate while I shaved.

Why did not the negroes do more to help secure their own emancipation?

Can a man change his disposition?

Why do ministers that do not believe in the inspiration of the Bible use a text? A man will take a text and explain it away. Why did he choose it?

Is it the brain or the soul that does the thinking? Is our body the agent or is it a living spirit that uses the organisms? Is it the imagination whose wings uplift or am I at the center of the circle of my faculties making use of them?

Is there any causal relation between justice and victory in arms?

Some Social Features

This student life establishes certain relationships both with the institution, also with individuals which are felt to be the choicest holding of a man's whole later life. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Here is a strong illustration of how deep and enduring are the attachments of an eager hearted boy. They are more ardent perhaps than they should have been, but there they are, and the college gains thus a token of attachment and tender recollection of unreturnable youth. The most exquisite, the most unforeseen, the most compensative feature of my life has been, my personal friendship with the professors. Some of them I admired extravagantly. Silhouetted upon my memory for all time is my first sight of Professor Leonard F. Parker. I remember a particular day when we gathered somewhat early for a Sabbath service. Some of us who were to be his pupils had no acquaintance with him even by sight. Assuming that the leading scholar of the place would attend the meeting it was for us a question of identification. Soon there came a man in the succession not a farmer, possibly a resident clergyman, and some of us thought it might be he. But something within me said "Query." I tried to make it into the professor.

A good man doubtless, but I wanted to see something in this worshiper that was not in him. He did not fill the picture. He did not make me say, It is enough. Soon there came a man who needed no badge, no signature, no guarantee. His face was an index of him. All of us joined in a common feeling of relief. We felt his presence. We knew that this was the man. The bearing of a professional man in those days was more sedate than now, occasioned by what he thought to be due to his professorship. He looked upon his office as a high and sacred calling, and it met all the ends of his ambition if he could be, not teaching students, but educating men and women. It is said of the Roman conquerors that they were so used to victory that they carried on their faces the secret of an imperial people who knew not defeat.

"Fixing Up"

There was an obvious neatness about him and a perfection of dress, which usually requires an absence of anything which draws attention to itself. He excelled all men whom I have ever known in the teaching profession for enkindling among his pupils an ardent zeal in their literary pursuits. A great personal force was needed in those days to teach disciplinary studies only, in an effective manner, and to dominate the industrial spirit and the trade spirit by those classical enthusiasms which were the joy and ornament of his youth. Mercantilism was unbridled in the general community, yet it is an acknowledged fact, that at the beginning the responsibility of the teacher has much to do with the success of the school. No teaching is worth much without enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is generated by concentrating interest at a focal point. One cannot teach for more than he is.

A little history is worth a great deal of opinion. By his unusual gifts, by his out-reaching personal sympathies, by the individual impress of a great teacher, many of his pupils became interested through him in the classics. Let him be judged by his product. I never hear President Main in one of those vigorous, fine-phrased, official statements, in language impressive, copious and beautiful, the outward sign of an inward grace, making a sort of an Iliad out of a routine college president's report, without saying to myself and to others,—That power of statement, discipline of mind, felicity of speech, the administration itself, if you please, are the fruitage of patient discipline acquired in his early and long study of Greek. Alexander of Macedon used to say that he owed his life to his father, but to his teacher, Aristotle, a greater debt, for it was that philosopher who taught him how to make the most of life. While the ability to teach is a treasure committed to earthly vessels, some are of finer clay than others.

He Had no Pet Virtue

The Professor was a natural leader, full of vision and initiative, whose heart was in his work, and the old college impulse never left him, and he represents a part of what has given a worthy name and character to the college. A man gets to do what he is fitted to do. I do not believe he will be allowed to come back from the other world to this but he will hardly know what to do with himself when separated from those interesting associations on which so much of his happiness depended. A father or mother or both would come to town, wander about the place, invariably in company with the object of their affection. These parents are not first of all astronomical, or philosophical, or mathematical, they are human, and they are not there to hear about the new water-works or the freshly paved streets, or the perfect miracle of an artificial lake. They are there because their treasure is, and a kind word spoken to them about their young hopeful is like a spark of fire upon tinder. These folks used to wait about the doors and walk the streets and hope to throw themselves in the Professor's way, with the idea that he would talk with them a little about their scion. I was once driving the distance between two railroads and a dark night and a continuous downpour of rain settled drearily upon me, and I was forced to stop at random at a farm house, and beg for entertainment. Disposing of my case in a few words, the family resumed its talk relative to a letter they had received from the Professor about their descendant in whom were centered great expectations. And when they had said everything that could be said, someone, as if by accident, would pull a string and let loose again the flood of talk about that letter. Someone, coming in, for a moment, out of the storm, would divert the attention, and then they would apply the flail again to that letter and thrash out some further kernels of wheat that they had not at first noticed. The family, of course, found out that I knew the Professor, and so, although I was to start in the morning while it was still dark, the mother was unexpectedly up, and had the table so spread, that she could at once sit down, when I did, and talk over her happiness and the rewards of her self-sacrifice in having a boy at college. She had hoped and believed all that had been written, and yet it was a great comfort to have the professor say it.

A Disposition to Build Tabernacles

He lived close to the people. When Christian, in the Pilgrim's Progress, found himself in the City of Destruction, he departed speedily out of it, whereas our professor would consider if the situation was remediless. I was present when he, having given the best of his life to the college, under the weight of his years, resigned. It was touching, as a great American author has pointed out, to see the new attitude that the community had taken toward him, putting him into a new relationship and into a new atmosphere, in which it was recognized that he was undeniably and irresistibly older than he had been. People had hardly thought that he was not a permanent feature. The evidences of Christianity stand very much in facts. I point to the fact of his consistent fruitful life and to the fact of his triumphant peaceful death. They make a fresh volume on the evidences of Christianity. I have heard of a man who had one foot in the grave, but here was a man who had one foot in heaven. Dear friend, and my father's friend, friend of my youth, and all my later years, teacher, counselor, encourager, model of my student life, to whom my heart was knit in all the ardor of the first enthusiasm over the idea of going to college, to whom my obligations are beyond computation, Thou hast thyself gone to sit at the feet of the Great Teacher.



I can thankfully say that I have been on earth twice, once walking on air, when I graduated from college, and again when I, walking across the College campus, with heart lifted up, tenderly recalling the past, saw the jejune young hopeful that I used to be and sat down with him under a birch, the queen of trees,—many savage nations worship trees,—and debated for an hour with this young blonde, that I met, that I used to be, this question, Which is better for the person graduating, the opportunities which were lined up, reaching out their hands to us, that we had, or the greater academic advantages which the students now enjoy. I could not seem to make him see that the present advantages develop opportunities which are quite as acceptable and fruitful as those that in early days came to us ready-made.

The Old and New

Discussion over, this rather immature youngster, that I met, that I used to be, rising up, I getting up, went down town, or perhaps more properly, he went down town and I went with him. He found a man, I did not so easily recognize, that was Sophomoric at about the same period that he was and I experienced a bad quarter of an hour. The situation had in it an uncomfortable pinch. I became self-conscious. I found myself stammering and protesting the past. We had come upon a tall, sparsely-haired, gray-bearded bent figure, with a smooth shiny head, with furrows in his cheeks and forehead, having evidently, as Webster so well said, come down to us from another generation. I knew that he was of my age but I never dreamed that I was of his. This callow stripling then started to show us around, and unlike Elihu, in the days of Job, who apologized for showing his opinion, seeing he was so young, asserted that once we were led by the clergy, then by lawyers, then by business men, but that now everything pointed to a great revival of the college and its influence in affairs. Then he stood right out apart and began to plaster praise on his own institution. I thought that the young man gestured too much, and I told him so, but he dramatically with open mouthed vehemence of adoration told of her spirit, her fellowship. I tried to use the soft pedal, suggesting that perhaps he had too many exciting topics to discuss thus in public, and that we might later adjourn to a restaurant where we could make an afternoon of it. But he was in high spirits and made his talk like a young man who had the world at an advantage. It was June in his personal history and the top tide of his youthful happiness. That part of his existence was so satisfactory to him that he liked to dwell upon it.

Words Pale and Inadequate

I kept noticing that I was much more interesting to this unripe young sprig, who, I thought, had much to learn, and whose mind seemed like an unweeded garden, than he was even to me, for I had seen him before, while I had for him all the interest that is excited by a relic, something designed by Providence to arrest attention, like those that after a great convulsion of nature came out of their graves and went into the city and appeared unto many.

Then this sappy, beardless representative of the rising generation that I met, that I used to be, with the Aurora-spirit, had the effrontery to ask me how it happened that a man had but one youth and then came age and infirmity, while a college, like a nation, seems under favorable administration to have a re-birth and a renewal of the vitality of youth twice or even thrice. I thought that the excess of his knowledge was too much for him and that he was cross examining me, and so side-stepping the main issue, I stammered out something about the excessive beauty of the classic town with embowered streets and sunny gardens, a sort of a metropolis of education, the very capital of a little republic of letters.

There seemed to be equality in all the competitions for the prizes of student life, with no favors and yet no privilege denied. There was fair play and all good feeling, with no caste of wealth, and no apology for the laggard. Even when whipping up a little I flagged miserably in all the conversation. This lad, in his leading strings, was an incomparable gossip. I felt that he had a kind of genius for picking up news. Anyway he used great liberality in the diffusion of it. He was I thought a charitable reporter. While he had breathed the classic atmosphere of the place, yet all the books he had to read had been dumped there, like a sort of terminal moraine. For scholars today the whole stock would be not only a curiosity, but a relic, being little else than folios on serious subjects. They were books that must be reverenced, as members of the eldest liturgical church would reverence the bones of the blessed martyrs. I inquired, Do you participate in athletics? Yes, by dividing cord wood into stove lengths, toying with the spade, coquetting with big bundles of grain. Golf and basket ball were not in his day introduced into the college curriculum. I thought he was flippant. I felt that comparisons were odious, as some one must suffer when a comparison is instituted. So I said with a good deal of voice, My Friend, hear me, I am older than thou. Your question shows what your diploma cannot cover nor absolve. Nobody thinks that you lack courage. I wish now that you would try and be polite.

"Far Away and Long Ago"

So far from gratifying this wish, in another connection he put it right up to me, that I was looking around with complaisance, as though it was a college of this present size and appearance that I graduated from, but that such was not the historic fact. It did not seem nice in the stripling to move right out in the direction of ocular demonstration, and make particular inquiry of me about the library and chapel and training field and gymnasium that I used in that college that I graduated from. His very impudence made him interesting to me. But I wished he would cultivate more repose and serenity. He had sense enough to know better but his resources in that direction were not immediately available.

As we were looking around I observed that this young tyro was all the time tipping his hat and bowing and scraping as often as a pretty face came within the horizon, and so I knew that there was a way I could divert his remarks from poor me, and that was to ask him outright about the girls. I was astonished that I had not named them to the fledgling before. I was amazed that I was capable of passing them by so long. He said that there was nothing like them, that the air was favorable to their elegance and charm, that there was no place of its size in that state or in any other that could show fairer specimens of the various kinds of feminine attractiveness. But in his talk on the comeliness of the young ladies I noticed that he quoted from an actress who seems to have said that three things are necessary for success on the stage, vivacity, ability and beauty, and I told him that I could not be too thankful that the stage of practical life did not insist on these rigid requirements.

Stepping Stones in Recent History

It was a holiday within a holiday to traverse the town with this lambkin. I came to the right place to squarely meet him. Here they introduce people to themselves. This stripling that I used to be seemed bent on hiring a horse and carriage to show me about. That was his only idea of hospitality. On the best streets in town, he did not have far to go, the livery stables were as convenient to the homes of the people as the school-houses and churches. A very convenient location was near the public library. His fear was that all the horses would be already taken as there were a good many visitors in town. If the high steppers were out we would find their keepers in more or less rickety arm chairs tilted back against the side of a wall awaiting their return.

There are two panels placed side by side in the old palace at Potsdam. The left contains Napoleon refusing the queenly Louise favorable terms of peace at Tilsit, the right contains the nephew of that Napoleon receiving notoriously hard terms from the son of the beautiful Louise at Sedan. Entire shifts in history are vividly seen in companion pictures. On the left is a picture of the horse with the caption, The Greatest Pleasure-giver to Man. On the right is the picture of a Ford. All that a man hath will he give in exchange for an automobile. The left exhibits what God made, the right, what man made. No one living in the city will look at a horse. He now shows that he feels that he is something left over. Survey the specimens that remain, low-headed, tail-switching, creatures, with an indolent air, shuffling gait, abject, pitiable objects with mis-shapen, stumbling legs in front. No one doubts but that it takes all day to go anywhere and return with these antique, stunted, gaunt-ribbed, swollen-jointed, knock-kneed, piteous-eyed creatures that now survive. Knowing the pleasure that young people once had in horses and ponies, it seems odd to find that the rising generation has almost forgotten their existence.


Worthy of Unstinted Praise

But they had a fine history. Stonewall Jackson, the hero of the flank movement, gained his great victories and his great reputation by the celerity of his movements, made possible by the familiarity of Southerners with horses. When pressed in battle the Russians could fall back sullenly and the Japanese unfamiliar with horses could not strike their flank nor cut off their retreat. The mastery of nations has sometimes come from the possession of horses. The amazing spread of Mohammedanism came from the same sort of ownership. The horse gave to Paul Revere and to Phil Sheridan their place in history. He was in their day the greatest factor in strategy and surprise. He is docile, affectionate, and capable of a deep and lasting attachment. He has a real craving for human notice. He dislikes to be left in a solitary position. Essentially by his very nature he must love something. It touches the heart to have a horse reach out his fore foot and begin to paw until his master assures him that he recognizes him. This is what the horse likes. I confess to a feeling of pride when, leaving him untied at the door, I have gone into a house and have heard him whinny for me to return when he might have gone off and left me. Although there were other persons all about he would neigh at my approach and turn his well-shaped head, full of character, with clear intelligent eyes of the speaking kind, toward me. Such a warm-blooded sensitive horse will always exhibit in ways of his own the friendly relations that exist between us.

Time Tries All Things

On revisiting the earth it is found that the owner of a high-stepper, threatened with speed, can now only lead a shame-faced kind of existence. If out in the daylight he feels like apologizing to every one he meets. This man used to electrify the street with his tallyho coach crowded with gaily dressed guests accompanied by a footman and a trumpeter, with a hitch of four noble grays showing by their arched necks and high knee action that they felt pride in belonging to a rich man. As in the case of the bicycle, the fashion changed abruptly. He had to load a lot of portable property into the carriage to get some poor relation to take the outfit for a gift. I find that a person can now buy a discarded silver-mounted harness for the cost of a halter and that the people today like an upholstered life. Gasoline spelled the doom of the horse and it must be said now that Dobbin's future never looked so uninviting.

There are four new experiences for which no description ever adequately prepares us, the view of a volcano in violent eruption, a visit to the home of cliff dwellers (prehistoric peoples who left their homes just as they used them), a walk on a moving glacier, and the first survey of the Grand Canyon. I was lifted off my feet by discovering, when talking with that college youngster and comparing things closely, that the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—have had another added to them. Each of those we named over uses a distinctive organ. The surface of the whole body contributes to the sense of touch. These are pointed out as the receiving agents of the mind which keeps her hidden seat and receives communication from the distant provinces of her empire. They put us in possession of just the information needed concerning external things. On revisiting the earth it is awakening to engage in controversy with the young scion of the college that I used to be, touching learning's last word. He believed that we had all the possible senses defined and numbered like the fingers on the hand and now comes the new sense of balance having the exact function we have been naming. I remember the moment and the place where I was made conscious of this sixth sense. I did not learn it. I had it. I had bought a bicycle. I had no teacher. I was sitting on it in the hall giving the animal a little gentle exercise. "Keep your balance. Employ what sense you have; you do not need to acquire it, use it." It is so with aviators. We call them bird men. They were born, like birds, with a certain innate sense of equilibrium. Birds find out when to go north and to go south and how to build and line their own nests and where to find their food and how to maintain themselves in the air. All this is in them. Nature takes care of that. A small child, learning to walk, shows that he has an instinctive faculty of adjustment and equipoise and tries early to get his little legs to support his position. An untutored lad when mounted thinks he is riding a horse, whereas the quadruped, knowing at once that the boy does not know anything about his business, allows him to simply balance himself while he gives him a ride. The boy voyages like an unballasted ship. He does not acquire a new sense; he follows his intuitions and all is well. A seed of grain would not differ from a dust speck or tiny pebble except for what it is, but it is yet to manifest by its inherent vitality. You would not know, looking at a boy, that he has this instinct of balance, but he has and he will find it and use it. As the pilgrim with his staff wends his way to Mecca, so I went to that place to meet that particular stripling. He was the youngster that was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found. I wanted to stay beside him much longer. His heart was young. He was fresh for his work.

The World a Wheel

The skeleton of a horse is given in an automobile catalogue. He is depicted as a fossil and the statement is made, These animals were used until about the year 1900. Every man, woman, and child in the state of South Dakota could be seated at one time in the automobiles owned by the people of that one state. Eighty per cent of those cars have been bought in the last two years. It seems like flying or ballooning after jolting for years in a heavy farm wagon, and what miles they were! The Dutch are economical of money, but have been very profuse of time. Their conveyances by sea or land have been slow and "Dutch speed" has grown into a proverb for tardiness, but now, with scarfs over their heads, Dutch women loll in the back seats of a Pierce-Arrow with, not the father, but a son, in the family to drive. While in my earlier life I had never dodged an automobile and I have never been injured by one except in my disposition, we are all unspeakably indebted to them for getting people out-of-doors and for contributing more to the temperance reformation than all the lectures in Christendom. The automobile enforces the same abstinence upon the people that the railroads require of engineers. Automobiles plainly show that the only place for saloons is that place Rev. William A. Sunday so graphically describes, and while our streets do not yet come up to the requirements of the boulevards of the New Jerusalem as described by St. John, yet we are done with those crossings at the street corners made up of granite stringers. Carriages had worn down the softer material just before and just after the granite crossings, so that if a person rode rapidly length-wise of the street he would jolt and bite his tongue at every intersection. These depressions in the road were called "Thank you, marms," because persons in passing each corner would forcibly be made to bow their heads, as if in expression of gratitude, to some imagined object. Another transformation has overtaken the community, changing its general appearance in some cases for the better, almost beyond recognition.

Pigs is Pigs

All barns in the towns are upon the market and dealers in lumber have opened a second-hand department where they dispose of what is left of the barns to farmers for the construction of granaries. Back to the farm applies now even to lumber. The horse, the cow, and the pig once formed a part of the family circle and how kindly and carefully were they provided for. The execrable back alley was conducted on the pig-sty basis. How slatternly the old back alley fence would look now that the parking system is adopted by neighbors. In earlier days the sumptuous houses were fenced or hedged always. After the old English idea the grounds were private. It remains now to have fences removed among denominations. They stand for the old time privacy and exclusiveness that once prevailed in business. Down south they forced business out into the open, requiring by ordinance that all employees shall be paid in the public square. The parking system proceeds upon the principle that a resident owes something to the town. The present ideal is to induce people not to shut the blinds or draw the shades when the house is lighted but to see in the evening how far each little candle can throw its beams.



At the sight of the Eternal City, Luther prostrated himself and exclaimed,—Holy Rome, I salute thee. A graduate of Andover, on approaching the Sacred Hill, feels a disposition to manifest a like deference. Before him rises the hallowed ground. Andover is not large but there are those who love her. She was always a good mother to me. Andover on the map you can cover with your thumb, but you cannot so cover Andover. Its vital expansive influence has gone out through all the world and its words to the end of it. In an outburst of passionate eloquence, Mr. Webster once exclaimed, "What has America given to the world? It has given to the world the character of Washington." What has Andover given to the world? There is the East. There is India. There is our Western coast, where rolls the Oregon. There are our colleges and churches at home and over seas. In these she has given the world immortal names that were not born to die. It is said that no man now living can read even the alphabets of all the languages through which her sons have sought to interpret the Word of God to the world. Think the graduates of Andover out of it at that time, and sacred literature and religious results would drop immeasurably below their actual attainments. Andover, the very name is beautiful, especially when you look at it in the light of the old days. Its memories are delightful. There I sat at the feet of my own Gamaliel.

The Land We Love

It is impossible that any institution living or dead, in this country or any other, ever gained a firmer hold on the affections of her alumni. If love is the greatest thing in the world, Andover had it in a sort of double measure. With some knowledge of the whole field I do not know of any other place that so takes hold of its students on their affectional side. To do this, all experience teaches that a place must not be too large. A country home grows tendrils around a man's heart that a house numbered with others, in a uniformly brick-faced block, fails to do. A thoroughly cultivated or built-up country is much less beloved by its people than an open one that is close to nature. A strictly fenced locality where all surfaces are exclusively appropriated, leaving only the dusty highways to the people, does not gain the attachment that we all feel for Andover, beautiful for situation. When the Creator prepared the Seminary grounds on that crowning elevation he left little for the hand of man to do in the way of improvement. In my day, the oak tree was still standing into which Dr. Pearson climbed to locate buildings, trace the walks and indicate the settings for trees. Being located in a county that has more people in it than the entire state of Vermont and four times as much wealth, a county of cities, it has afforded great opportunity for students to get experience in pulpit work and the incidental wherewithal. It gave me no trouble or inconvenience the last year of my studies to earn eight hundred dollars. Most students on reaching Andover begin, I began like the rest, by occupying the little Union Chapel on the slope of the Blue Hill in Readville, on the edge of Hyde Park. The honorarium was five dollars, and the fares from Boston. In that pulpit, that has meant so much to under-graduates, Phillips Brooks preached his last sermon. Rev. Samuel F. Smith, author of America, was on his way to preach there when death overtook him and arrested his journey.

Lines Cast in Pleasant Places

When I sing America I think of Andover. She is what S. F. Smith thought of, for in a nature stroke, writing the words in Andover, he sings, "I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills," just as Whittier so simply depicts other delightful features of Essex County which were indelibly impressed upon the sensitive plate of his brain. We discern the scenery behind the words. This the Swiss heart does when it is pathetically affected in hearing, in music, as if upon bells, "The return of the Cows." There never has been a nation without patriotism. There never has been a people without a God. The author of the hymn so much used in our great revival of national feeling was in Andover to study theology and produced our most common expression of patriotism. Andover was well born. She has beauty in her own right. This is evident since the first time she sat for her picture. My relations have been such, that it falls to me at times, having visitors from a remote part of the land, to entertain them and to show them the East. For typical New England towns I have usually taken them to Plymouth, Concord and Andover. These three. But in the matter of a large fairly well-trained and useful progeny, the greatest of these is Andover. Dr. Henry M. Storrs used to style the place, the mother of his mind.

Andover is Different

It is Acadian. In other residential localities it is their custom not to point out any celebrities except millionaires. Everything in the community is leveled to its cash basis and a habit of doing it is ingrained, and unconsciously money slips into the conversation and out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks. But in Andover names do not stand just for mere crude wealth. The homes of the professors were never handled as a commercial proposition. Everything was not computed in terms of bankable wealth. Prosperity was only one word, another was welfare. That noun of all nouns, dollar, was not so often heard as the name Andover. The teaching force is as uncommercialised as Agassiz, Lafayette, or John Brown. Their wealth is their learning and their character. "Now how much is he worth?" He is worth a lot to his pupils. Here is a community which every member belongs to with a conscious pleasure and pride. All the ideals bounded by the dollar are replaced. She had an entirely different code of values, which were not pecuniary.

Where Every Prospect Pleases

I felt that I was exalted to heaven in point of privilege to be there at all. Here I had my first view of acres of girls. At the end of the study hours they would throng through the gates of the Abbott Female Seminary—"The Fem Sem"—and spread out over the town, young, joyous, carefree, fresh-faced, handsomely dressed. It was a delight to see them about.

"The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the Heavenly fields
Or walk the golden streets."

So many of the books in the library with which I was most familiar, my father's, were published at Warren F. Draper's in Andover that on reaching the town, which my imagination had always placed in Class A, I sent my baggage to the Mansion House that I might not deny myself two things, to go on foot with much feeling up the long hill, also to get a first preliminary glimpse of Draper's. Could so much that is good come out of that Nazareth? It was a travesty on my expectation. I was looking for a book store like Appletons' or Revell's, or Harpers'. When my father graduated, there were thirty different parts on the Commencement programme and I was looking for things on an immense scale like that.

A World of Tender Memories

Andover develops the "We" feeling. The students constitute a brotherhood, while with the years the word grew greatly yet it never outgrew its original manifestation. That little word We is the talisman that awakes the consciousness that there must be sympathy, fellowship and co-operation among students, among those in the same high calling between pastor and people, as there must be for good results between teacher and pupil, between physician and patient. The Seminary gave to us that soul of kindred, which so few understand. It is an essence which perfumes life. Its influence is nothing less to me than sacred, and the benefit received is beyond any estimate I compute. In anticipation of a recent particular visit to that shrine of the heart, for no other purpose than to express my admiration amounting even to reverence, also my indebtedness, to that far famed and justly distinguished seat of learning, I arranged with that useful, unselfish, helpful resident, Charles C. Carpenter, that we should canvass together the sacred precincts. Among holy places none is holier than this. My errand there was to see a great deal and to feel a great deal. I bow with deep veneration at the remembrance of each one of the ornaments of the place. We walked about among the friends whom we had known who were resting in God's acre. The inscriptions made for us a book of remembrance. Some personality lingered about the most far-away name. We lingered long where sleep the great who made themselves a record among the mighties. No other spot in the land, of equal space, contains the dust of so much eminence. By one of the ironies of history those who differed most, where the contention was so sharp between them, like Barnabas and Paul, that they departed asunder, one from the other, come close together in their burial.

Andover's Crowning Glory

When Oliver Alden Taylor, late of Manchester, was graduating from Union College his biographer says:[1] "We find him deliberating where he should resort for his theological education. His thoughts were turned toward Andover, but he says, 'I am afraid of the dislike of elegant speaking which is said to characterize the faculty.' He was reassured however with very faint praise, for he writes, 'Dr. Nott tells me that Andover is not opposed to good speaking, though the graduates are too generally poor speakers.'" We wish that he could have heard Richard Salter Storrs, father and son, Horace Hutchinson, Leonard Swain, George Leon Walker, or either of the brothers, Walter M. or John Henry Barrows, or as he was speaking of the faculty, Professor Park, or his very close second, a very different man but highly distinguished for brilliant uniform work, Austin Phelps.

A Man of Noble Parts

While in the Himalaya Mountains they have many exalted peaks, still there is one that towers above the rest, Mt. Everest, the highest ascertained point on the surface of the globe. So at Andover there was a high general range of intellect, yet there existed one master mind that dominated the whole sphere. The pulpit was his throne. I had never seen a man take so high a position on the mount of God as Professor Edwards A. Park, at the crest of his popularity and power, did as he rose to his own high level in his masterpiece, the Judas sermon. I remember my delight and wonder. He magnetized his audience. I was greatly drawn to him. The heart of the congregation touches his. Deep calleth unto deep. There are those who testify that he became the first vigorous intellectual presence they ever encountered, and they gained much from the relation to so great a man. Of larger than ordinary mould, I suppose no real credit or desert fell to him for rising to his work like a giant refreshed, any more than belonged to Goliath for wielding a spear like a weaver's beam in his mighty hand instead of a weapon of ordinary size. He was one of those rare men who are scarcely ever duplicated. He was not classed with any one in his own or in previous or in subsequent times. His appeal was such that one's own moral sense confirmed all his teachings. The mark of talent is to do easily what is difficult for others. His imposing almost majestic presence, his powerful and brilliant intellect, his great learning, his genius, his uncommon gift of eloquence, his fervor, I do not now describe, after my memory of it, which shines to me like a star, but according to my idea cf what now it will seem to a stranger. It is impossible to reproduce his work in cold type. To attempt it is to spoil it. When we have seen him reported verbatim—that was not his sermon, only its ghost, its shade, its tenantless remains. The air about him became electric as he, having located Judas for a time nearly in front of him, a little to the right, dealt with him as one of the foes of the household. He considered his case past praying for. After he had his picture well drawn he put on more color and the moment he had him well blacked, with sudden great dramatic effect he swung a perfectly knock-out gesture, saying, "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born." It needs the Sinai voice to get the effect.

A Soul Melted Into a Voice

Passion, unabated emotion pervaded the great effort from the beginning to the end of the masterpiece. Every sentence, every word had been pruned of every ineffective syllable, like changing "penetrate" to the word of one syllable, "pierce". Every idea went to its mark like a bullet. There was not a cold or weak passage in it. In preparing his direct discourse he did not stick a stake and cart material to it. His great thoughts were not drawn from without but from his subject which he fathomed. He had depth, as someone said, for elephants to swim in and places for lambs to wade. He seemed from the first to be starting a great offensive. I took occasionally great delight in a few moments of his company and I always have congratulated myself that I lived for three years in the same town, and at the same time with so illustrious a person.

He is one of the stars, a planet I should say, in the firmament of the pulpit. "Go and feel his power" I used to say; no one can describe it. Everything seemed to conspire to make my life exceptionally happy and fortunate at Andover, knowing him at the zenith of his glory. Professor Park's work had the element of nicety about it. It was fascinating. We were spell-bound, lost in admiration, even in amazement. His elegance in diction would make one's sense of beauty ache. "Honor is the substance of my story," said the imposing, uplifting man starting on his moving recital, told in his unique, felicitous style, with utterance broken by emotion, of the life and death of Miss McKeen of Abbott Academy, of whose board of trustees he had been president for thirty years. That trinity of qualities, wisdom, eloquence, and pathos, swept everything. Rhetoric cannot be shut up in a book. Its play of words, even in a sympathetic auditory, and among vibrant hearers, while it sparkles, dies.



Ernest Renan tells us of the vanished city Is, which, years ago, disappeared below the waves. Up from those depths, fishermen say, that on calm summer nights they can hear the bells chiming. In my heart is a cherished Is. As the years rise and fall I love to hear the harmonies that float to me from its past. Distance does not dissipate the gentle sounds and they come to me like echoes from another life. At that enchanted time I met my heart's ideal and have been wondering ever since how it happened, that on seeing a certain face, it seems to you distinctive, set apart from all others. Is it familiar, because you have seen it before, or is it impressed on you, because it is an expression of your intuitive sense of what suits you, and what you like and what you want? The expression, love at first sight, would be intelligible enough if it was only finished with the words, when one's dream comes true. When it materializes it is of course all at once. A person busy with his profession, going along happily and more or less prosperously, meeting people, judging young folks, almost unconsciously forms an ideal of face, figure, graciousness, type, temperament, intelligence. This is the product of half a dozen years. The work of choosing, so far as he is concerned, is all done. His mind is made up. His idea is clearly defined. Jesse made Eliab pass before Samuel and the Lord said, "Look not on his countenance nor on his stature." Then Jesse called Abinadab, then Shammah, and seven passed in review, when David came along, who was ruddy and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to, "That's the one. This is he." First there is an image in the mind, and when the counterpart appears, instantly, of course, one recognizes it. Samuel did not shirk any real question nor did he make up his mind before he had any mind to make up. There was a choice to be made and he had come to a conclusion so far as he was concerned, and expressed himself at the earliest moment, without being irresolute or vacillating, which is an abomination when a social choice is to be made.

First View of Intimate Friends

There is in us a tendency to selection and preference of one human being before all others. This action of the heart is forceful and even almost irresistible to us and yet may not accord with other persons' ideas of appropriateness. This strange preference, in its early stages, and in its strength and duration, is nature's greatest sidelight upon our individuality. It is entertaining to see what people pass right by and then to see what they choose. It distinguishes itself most at the further end of a long life and seems to have an unfading quality which shows that it is nature itself. This tendency to selection affords people the strongest argument against Dr. Johnson's position that all marriages would be better made if they were arranged by the Lord Chancellor. Also against that multitude of students, of the subject and writers, who show that marriages seem best, last best, and are best for a fact, when the parties themselves have little to do in bringing them about, when all such matters are left to parents and others as in the royal families who rest everything on the pure merits of the case.

In waking hours, in reveries, and in dreams, pictures had been painted on the fancy, and now the lenses were given, through which they could be viewed. A vague and indistinct idea had now taken a form. It was very unromantic, but it seemed the expression of an intuition. It was like an acquaintance, accidentally met at the way-side. There seemed to be a susceptibility hid away, hitherto kept dormant, that the slightest cause seemed to magnetize.

Cupid's Marksmanship

However this may be, there is such instinctive insight in the human heart, that we often form our opinion, almost instantaneously, and such impressions seldom change and they are not often wrong. To notice anything, so casual, sounds like an imprudence and yet it is almost a revelation. It seems as if we were but renewing the relations of a previous existence. Some one, from this, goes on to inquire, What will the doubters of impressions do with a fact like this? Almost everyone has experienced something similar. In this house, we often speak of our instant meeting, our introduction, and the destinies which were made to swing on such a chance acquaintance. It wanted not a word, not a hint, for within was the consciousness of what was to be. The problem was solved. My foreshadowing was realized. If a person is looking for a lesson in Providence, here it is. I could plainly see how I had been led along. "Come live with me." The irrevocable yoke of life was on us. The mysteries of Providence are felt in the coincidence of two paths over surfaces so widely apart. We are astounded at this miracle of meeting. A breath, a lifting of the hand, an inconceivably small intervention would have diverted the attention of either of us. There, too, is the miracle of hinging so much of destiny and of happiness on so small an occasion, that might easily have been no occasion at all. It is like taking letters out of the alphabet. The art is in placing them side by side in such a way as to make words. Use no skill of location and the arrangement into which they have fallen is inappropriate and unfortunate. Standing apart the letters are meaningless. Jumbled or jarred together the chances are very much against their having any significance, but when brought to their final position, by what they spell together, they are read of all men with approbation. The first time that Mr. Paul R. George of Concord, N. H., met the young lady that became his wife he felt a little click in the neighborhood of his heart. Now about this "click" to which so many persons bear witness. Men are great imitators. They follow a crowd. But a hit duck flutters the water. It is like the late selective draft: a man is touched; he attempts no evasion; he knows he was selected and comes promptly forward and puts on the uniform. The way the mind receives this impress, is noticeable in the further fact that if Paul R. George had been abroad, and the meeting had been so casual that he received no introduction, it would have been permanent just the same. The heart never loses anything. Touch the right string later and the impression is sure to be reproduced. All that is peculiar about Mr. George's case is his confession. We know that matrimony is either heaven-made or done in purgatory. The issue seems too important to turn once for all on the original early choice of an inexperienced person. An individual is not thus forced to choose once for all in determining what college he will take. He may choose Williams and change to Dartmouth. Nor is it an unchangeable choice on entering business. He may begin with law and change to politics or he may incline to manufacturing and take to banking. If, however, he enters the matrimonial field, having put his hand to the plow, there is no turning around nor looking back.

Remember Lot's Wife

There are, however, some good rules for an individual to follow. One, for example, would be, to take a girl that was a favorite with other girls. Another to be uninfluenced in your choice by dowry. The question before the house is matrimony, not money making. Acquire lucre by another process. Too much is at stake to be moved now by thirty pieces of silver. The young man was worthy of all admiration who on his wedding trip asked the bride how much of a dot she had left after paying for her trousseau. She said, "Half a dollar." "Well," he said, "heave it over into the canal and let us make an even start." I can better understand how a girl could be induced to shy a silver coin into the canal than how she could be reconciled to parting with such a name as she sometimes must drop. Here is a girl just reported engaged to a soldier. Her name was Priscilla Weymouth Alden, which tells not only her illustrious descent but in just what locality, in the old colony, her branch of the family made its distinguished nest. In this country the wife or maiden invariably walks by the side of her male companion and never follows after him in Indian file, like geese returning from pasture. It is against nature for a man to say "my house" or my this or that. He should be unable to pronounce the word. In this house our account at the bank is open for either to check upon. Our exchequer, on the one hand, or our politics on the other, are a joint affair. The family is the unit. When Bunker Hill monument was still incomplete interest flagged. Money was gone. Work came to a full period. An appeal was made to the women of the land to hold a great fair to obtain the wherewithal so that the builder should bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying Grace, grace, unto it. Subscriptions and contributions hurried to its aid from every section and it rose to "meet the sun in his coming," "to be the last object on the sight of him who leaves his native shore and the first to gladden his who revisits it." It is not good for man to work alone. The house in which a man is married seems to him odd.

The Supply is Not Exhausted

Bridgewater is a belle among residential communities. The best place in this country or in any other to raise girls. The street is attractive. The house fine, yet it seems distinct, different. I think most men feel so about the house in which they were married. In all other shrines I had made a home. Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan-Aram to take a wife from thence, and God appeared unto Jacob again when he came out of Padan-Aram and blessed him. Under similar conditions the Duke of Buckingham dropped his purse so that the person finding it might feel that nothing but good fortune attends the visit to a home like that. I used to like to go there, yet I had to do, every day, the full work of an adult at home, and so it became plain that I would get along better if I could locate both of my interests in the same place. In speaking of weddings much is said with truth about "the negligible groom." I could not long live on angel cake and so I had to turn abruptly to face the prosier plain bread and butter question; so when the bird was caught and caged I took up the inquiries, What shall we eat and wherewithal shall we be clothed? It is a merciful provision that this latter question rests lightly upon the groom for the first decade, as some part of the hat the bride wore to Washington (it being understood that a wedding admits no variation but means either a trip to Washington or Niagara Falls) will reappear as a feature of her headdress with much variation of location during the next ten years.

The place of the wedding is always a conspicuous shrine. On revisiting the earth we were strolling around the streets, quite a number of soldiers were about and were entertaining the girls at a soda fountain, and one of the enlisted men told a pitiful story about swallowing a pin, and when a vivacious young lady expressed alarm and sympathy, "Oh," he said, "no harm could come of it; it was a safety pin."

Heart Histories

We go there often and sit on the stone steps of the old Unitarian church just as we did when we were young and foolish. Times have changed incredibly since the visit to Padan Aram or else a favorite and very accomplished writer just at this writing is all dead wrong in throwing the weight of his great influence against what he calls being "married without capital." This would cut out the wedding of Dr. Joseph Parker of the City Temple, London, the greatest expositor of scripture known to us. "Improvident" is the word his biographer uses "certainly when tested by the maxims of the world. He was twenty-two without having secured a definite position." But marriages are to be judged by their history. Let us hear the eloquent orator himself. He speaks of "Annie, the soul I loved, the girl who saved me and made me a man." His estimate of her varied from the opinion the editor we have quoted would have put upon her. She was gentle, domesticated, cultivated, with a poetic turn of mind, and like Mary of Bethany, religiously meditative. She read widely, being now more assiduous than ever in her Bible studies. Her appetite in this was twofold for her husband and herself. She asked God to bless him and He blessed them both. He was strong, constituted for public life, full of fire, and prepared to take the kingdom of heaven by violence. We feel like questioning Cupid's sanity when he brings together persons of such diverse natures, training, antecedents, and tendencies, but among opposites, in disposition, Cupid displays his best achievements. They took life together as they found it. To have "saved" one of the world's greatest forces, to have "made him a man" was more than an equivalent for living on short commons for some few weeks while they were getting under way. Working out good fortune together is great happiness to many young people who know each other well and without reservation believe in each other and in their future. A young man graduating or entering a business life must make his capital before he can share it. There is much to be said in favor of what many healthy spirited girls achieve when their affections are satisfied. Adam was asleep when he chose his wife and this is one reason why things proved so out of joint. The strong dissuasive to become "married without capital" would have borne heavily upon Peter H. Burnett when a clerk in a country store on two hundred dollars a year, less than four dollars a week beside his board.

Women Not Gone to the Dogs

He had met a beautiful girl and one day having dined with her family and talked with the young lady herself after dinner he came out of the house and was amazed to discover that the sun was gone from the sky. In a confused manner I enquired of her father what had become of the sun. He politely replied, "It has gone down." A new heaven and a new earth surrounded him. They were married and lived happily ever after. It was not Mrs. Burnett "and her lesser fraction." An humble home was paradise to him with the right girl. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox without it. Sometimes I think that the rich face greater problems in the matter of marriage than even the poor. Such a wedding based on affection goes far toward nullifying the phrase "lottery of marriage." An American girl can marry an English Duke if her father has money enough. In this country the prevalent sanctity of marriage can be attributed chiefly to the fact that among the rank and file, husbands and wives have generally married each other for love. Perhaps this statement would not apply to the smart set in some commercial cities. This young man did his best. He became the president of the Pacific Bank of San Francisco and the first Governor of California. And as for a young woman she will become quite a heroine, in hard outward conditions, if her affections are entirely satisfied. Having spirit and courage and health she often becomes quite a prop to the prosperity of the household. She does not need to be supported in idleness by her husband. As between the two, it is often the case that she can earn about as much as he can. A young lady has just become a bride who had been receiving a larger salary than her own father ever earned. In new countries, under pioneer conditions, that is true today, which was distinctly a fact in early New England, that a marriage was a partnership, which made for thrift. Of course affection works out her sums by different rules.

Shall the Union Survive

Chinese wives are valued by their weight. French marriages have been generally happier than the English owing to the comparative ascendency which the French wives possess over their husbands, or better, the equality we find that exists between them.

There is a proverbial prejudice in an English establishment against the interference of a woman in the husband's conduct of his private affairs. This is that one matter in which any theorist can prove his position, for in solving the problem it is natural to him to count the hits and not the misses. He arrays unquestioned facts and depends on those who follow his recital to jump at the conclusion he desires. It was suggestive to notice that Governor Burnett, when presenting such a fine specimen of feminine attractiveness, that while showing us that he was overwhelmed by it, did not directly describe the girl, but made us infer what the facts were by the situation and by the results she brought about. To make you appreciate the Lady of the Lake, Scott alludes to her in attitude and grace and lets the reader's mind supply the picture.

Lights in Their Dwellings

It is astonishing to notice what heroic young women have been doing in meeting rather hard conditions occasioned in part by the high cost of living. Give the girl all round confidence, imagine her susceptibilities and energies to be happily employed, and she will undertake a temporary encounter with poverty with bravery. The one she has chosen among men has to meet it whether he will or no. In addressing themselves to that problem, by united enterprise, some young people have passed their most joyous years. We find here the magic spell which transforms a house into a home. Musicians rarely give their best exhibition when singing or performing in a hostile atmosphere. It is so with women. Happiness is never an accident. There is no such thing as an accident. Everything has a cause if we can find it.



Forty years were long enough to eliminate all the Israelites of one generation. It appears that in that length of time all the adults of one generation that had dwelt in Egypt were gone except two. Reckoning things then on a scriptural basis and assuming that all who lived forty years ago are gone, except two, a grave responsibility obviously rests upon me, as I have seen more than a generation rise and wane, to let the people of the present age or period in a definite locality know how things look in that lifetime just preceding their own. I remember when we had preaching services Sunday afternoon in all our churches at three o'clock and by count in our church the attendance often differed only by two, forenoon, afternoon and evening. I remember when Christmas and Easter observances were introduced into Sabbath services, it having been customary from Puritan days in New England to make, on Sunday, next to no reference to them excepting in Catholic and Episcopal Churches.

Lost Facts of Local History

Unless one sticks a stake, at some definite point, say less than a generation ago, he is not likely to remember that powerful electric lights have not always been, like the images of the Israelites, on every high hill and under every green tree. It is hard for me to realize that at my table I burned the midnight oil in Lynn, particularly when the next morning was Sunday, and my library during my ministry of twelve years was never decorated with anything but a student lamp. The city was in the kerosene oil period. The front hall lamp used to drip petroleum upon the carpet on the stairs, and I was contributing my full share to give John D. Rockefeller a start in his oil-refining business, a start indeed that I hear he has not been slow to appreciate and improve. After reaching the big hall down town, as the lights supplied to Professor Churchill, the renowned elocutionist from Andover, seemed dim, I left the hall and went out and bought a student lamp and had a wick put in and filled it with kerosene, which if now brought into a blazing auditorium in these enlightened days would be like holding a candle to the sun. In a more significant way the city has turned from Darkness into light.

Publicity is Light

We stood in relation to the gambling evil about where the country now stands in relation to drunkeries, whose death warrant we have lived to see signed. The hand-writing was written on the wall touching lotteries but they were winked at when conducted only for sweet charity's sake even after the death-knell had sounded. In a church fair a fine young acquaintance got a pony for fifty cents as he held the lucky ticket. Unless a person has felt it or witnessed it, he little conceives the fury of the passion to which gambling appeals. When fired up, there are men who would cross Sheol on a rotten pole to make money in a game of chance. It starts an appetite that feeding does not satisfy. It seems to rage by the fuel it feeds on. These lotteries, like the plague of frogs, were everywhere. For constructing the earliest building of Williams College, that is in particular the mother of missionaries, a lottery was granted and $3500 were raised.[2] It goes with the blood in Massachusetts, for when the State was hard up she used to spring a lottery, in one of which Harvard College drew four tickets, and clergymen seemed to have been particularly successful, and teachers for purposes of publicity were likeliest of all to profit by the turn of the wheel, till at length the whole gambling fabric suddenly, like the walls of Jericho, fell down flat.

Cupid All Smiling

Here was purely and distinctively an American City. The people were homogeneous in language, modes of thought and type of character. She had the specific New England, or Yankee, cast of mind. For her factories, forces were drawn from the hillsides, particularly of New Hampshire. There were elderly people, as we shall see, but the prevailing type was youthful, and the young lady contingent was attractive and had a good deal of the quality which we call charm. I wrote a column for a local paper, out of my experience on "Tying the Silken Knot," and Dr. Henry Hinckley, referring to my contribution and using my title, went beyond even my testimony, affirming that the City of Shoes furnished more marriageable material to the square rod than any other city of its size, and he seemed to attribute the fact, not merely to the incident that they met here under pleasant auspices, but that they heard in churches that marriage is honorable and that it is not good for man to be alone.

A couple would come to the parsonage, and if the associate pastor went to the door the young man would say, "Where's your foreman?" meaning her husband. As the lady of the Manse was entirely supported by her wedding fees and had money to lend, and as I married more people than could be seated in my church, if they should come together at one time, I have often deeply regretted that in the hurry and toil of removal, it did not occur to me to invite them all to attend a special service to be arranged for them, with specific hymns, and a practical address. I think I can claim for the couples that I made happy, the banner low record in the small percentage of divorces.

The Royal Families

The house of one parishioner was built in the century before the last, while General Washington was alive and on the earth, and was rich in history and tradition. A call upon the family was a lesson out of Colonial Records, the paper on the wall like that at Mt. Vernon, being of the same period.

"And, from its station in the hall,
an ancient timepiece says to all,
"Through days of sorrow and of mirth,
Through days of death and days of birth,
Through every swift vicissitude
Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood,
And as if, like God, it all things saw,
It calmly repeats those words of awe

It knew more than I did, and could point out the moon's changes, and the seasons, and the seconds.

What makes the place? Not any one man, nor any group of men, but the inner spirit of the city, what I will call the genius of community life, which gives that indefinable tone that marks the city from the town, and that when amplified belongs only to an industrial assemblage of people. I attributed her phenomenal individualism, first to her unpedestaled idol, Rev. Parsons Cook, D.D., who made so much of individual work and accountability, also to her antecedents and atmosphere in which men working alone developed the contemplative habits of shoemakers. As they kept thinking they kept having new ideas and they had them hard. Families dwelt apart. Nothing is so revolutionary as the development of apartment hotels, and particularly of a prodigious number of restaurants. Her social, charitable and benefit associations must have arisen in the years under review, from almost a negligible quantity to well-nigh half a thousand.

A Social Revolution

In the self-evolving life of the place there has been a strong trend toward associated life, which has reconditioned everything. It is without a parallel in the entire history of the community. Cities are themselves prominent waymarks in human history. Cincinnatus, when at his plow, was summoned by voices from the city. The tendency toward congregate life is witnessed by the enormous increase in the number of play-houses and in the attendance upon them. In an earlier day one stood for a time in solitary prominence and has become grandfather to a big brood. There has been an astounding increase in what I will call the department of service. If a person is on the street in the late afternoon when the matinees are over, and the women's clubs, and as well the errands and social visits, he will see another form of new, associated life, in the descent by hundreds, upon all the new delicatessen shops, and similar departments in stores where cooked and nicely prepared foods are kept for evening tables. If anything has seemed hungrier than these individuals, it has been the furnace during severe weather.

The Glory of the Commonplace

Because of increasing wealth and education and refinement, people put out their work more into laundries and bakeries and general mutual business concerns. This, like mercy, blesses him that gives and him that takes. If anything is to be inferred from the growth in co-operative housekeeping in the last generation it will come to some real good, complete result, surely, in the next decade. Speed the day. It is of course the solution in part of the servant girl question. What was once a luxury is now assumed to be a necessity. As things are going, men will soon refuse a mansion in the skies, unless luxuries are promised that our ancestors never heard of. We would expect great development in a rural community that is in the knee-pant period. As Cicero said, "Nothing is discovered and perfected at the same time." We do well, for every reason, to make much of what is so delightfully historic.

Even patriotism is grounded and rooted in the past. I like a certain relish there is in the place. The soul of it, too, suits my fancy. Things, there, were in some way pitched in the right key. It took New York a hundred and seventy-five years to gain its first thirty-three thousand inhabitants. While our industrial city has developed very much more rapidly, the unlikeness ceases, when it comes to the matter of crooked streets, which prevail also in Boston, but some one has said that he does not include Boston when he speaks of the United States. In the inspired volume we read of a street that was called Straight, but that term would not be applied to Pearl St. in New York, which hits Broadway twice. Mr. Ruskin tells us that there is not one straight line in nature.

The Missing Link

Some newly revealed sources of wealth were uncovered, and the city received her crown. More new men with high grade mechanical skill came to be employed in the electric-light works than there were in Xenophon's famous army. A rare opportunity came and she did that which is rarely done. Some cities are famous for one thing. Kansas City for beef, Chicago for modesty, Hartford for insurance, Milwaukee for beer, Atlantic City for Board-walks, and Lynn for her new Boulevard to Nahant and Swampscott. After a North-Easter, particularly on a high full tide, when the spray is thrown over the tops of the telephone poles, the sight is exhilarating. There is education in contact with affairs. The place came to be the home of a capacious department-school of the mechanical arts, and of the latest and most popular of all the sciences. Her graduates filtered out into all the land. The situation was peculiar. There were sounds in the air like the cracking of the ice, at the incoming of spring, to prove to everybody that the Labor Movement was on the way unlike the ice which forms at the bottom and rises to the top. The Labor Movement was organized from the top downward, rather than from the bottom up. The reformers felt a disposition to criticize existing conditions. The custom prevailed of saying things derogatory to the place. Then came a rather general practice of habitually decrying one's town. Now there are two or three curious things about this habit of disliking one's own town. One of them is that this vice seems to coexist in human nature with even an intense degree of patriotism. Persons who are second to none in love of country are among those who will permit themselves to speak sneeringly of their particular town. Another amazing fact about this evil habit is its prevalence. Max O'Rell has noted that if you wish to hear some criticism of America you have only to go to Boston. Persons, who have ever lived in the country, are sure that their particular village is the worst place for gossip on the globe, and as if this were not dispraise enough, they will refer to their native towns as "dead and alive" places, or make some allusion to their having "gone to seed," or prove to you that the best families have moved elsewhere, or will apply the epithets "sleepy," "deserted," "God-forsaken," or else they will sum up their villifications in a single expression and style, for short, their native place as a "one-horse-town," and express thankfulness that there are so many roads by which any one can leave it. We all wish to be delivered from a man who so far from developing what I will call place-pride, does not speak well of his own folks. I know of a dog, that is said never to bark except at his own folks. The graduate of a college, on entering politics is often deprived of his rightful influence, by the popular feeling, that he feels called upon only to criticise. But the further peculiarity of the habit of which I am speaking is that it works on without discrimination. It involves some places that are entitled to exception.

Money in all Pockets

I had heard that money talked, but in this place it walked. It went up and down the streets. I used to be amazed at the amount of money that was out of doors. The plenitude of money, especially among young people, astonished me. I had seen money after harvest, "When the ship comes in," but here the young men and women were paid every week, and seemed to have their money right where they could lay their hands upon it. I had come from a place where people were well clothed, but here, it was different, they were well dressed. There were no slums, no streets of squalor. No quarters given over to the submerged tenth, to the socially non-elect. There were a few improvident, impoverished or really unfortunate families. One philanthropist drew the line on helping any family that showed intemperance or kept a dog.

The Oratorio Society, the far-famed choirs, with a master of assemblies, more than a captain, a host in himself developing enthusiasm in vocal music in the public schools, privately employed to visit Sunday-schools to get everybody to sing, not only had a great influence in the city, they had too much. They were exclusive, they smothered the lyceum, displaced the lecture, hushed elocution.

I used to complain publicly that the other arts did not get their hearing.

The Wine of Sweet Remembrance

As anyone who has lived in the past is expected to utter a wail that the former days were better than these, I will be true to type and say plainly that, nature being originally so profuse in her gifts, I greatly miss the glorious gardens of an earlier day. Blossom Street and Vine Street and Cherry Street tell, by their names, their own story: and the tall ranks of the dahlias and the color of the azaleas, still sometimes seen in miniature kindergartens, faintly indicate the early glories of the place.

In the good old times we had our sunken gardens. Their surface was often lower than the grade of the streets, and this low rich soil of deep alluvium had a perfect fury of productiveness.

So, too, in constructing their earliest House of Prayer, the oldest Congregational Church in the world[3] that stands on its original ground, for warmth, not having stoves, they adopted the policy, like the Germans, of digging themselves in, and laid the sills of their meeting-house three feet under ground. As they advanced they were children of fortune in the style and architecture of many of their public buildings.

The City Hall, in the period in which it was built, at the close of the Civil War, was a gem. When I have seen some of the monstrosities worked off on some of our cities and towns, made hideous under the guise of architecture, with churches that in design seemed studied insults to the Deity, I have repeatedly told the builders the exact amount of the fare to this city where they could at least get their ideas up, obtain a vision and gain a conception of what a building might become.

Ancientness is Falling Off

I have attributed a remarkable escape, speaking broadly, from such deformities, such travesties on the grace of architecture, the least developed of the arts, that with pain we are forced to contemplate, to the fact that this city is conspicuously a place of the people and they will not stand for cranky, crazy fads and obsessions. At any hour for forty years, a stranger to fear, with absolute confidence I could point to buildings that it would be well enough to call perfect of their kind. Once it would have been tolerable at a great Public Fair to exhibit inventions, wares, and products under a rough shed; but public taste has so advanced that at a World's Fair nothing less than a palace meets the general expectation. On revisiting the earth, one awakens to the fact that business organizations have set out to have buildings that are not only commodious and suitable but they must be attractive and interesting.

The same fact is apparent in the evolution of railway architecture when buildings must be pleasing as well as useful.

"Stray Historical Facts Corralled"

This city did not happen. She adopted the policy of faith, and made others believe in her because she believed in herself. She has attended strictly to business, and has come to hold twice as many people as the fourth largest state in the Union. In point of population, she is as much entitled to an exclusive Congressman and to two United States Senators as a state that is larger than New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland combined. Or to use a better measure, she exceeds in population one of the states that would overlay all New England. For my work, no better place could have been found beneath the all-beholding sun than this fair, expansive city, on its crescent bay, with its shore drive where the Indians once held their running matches, which has now become one of the boulevards of the world. Like the apple trees in an old New England orchard, the men were marked by individuality. They were fruitful, needed, prized, each had a place, but they were so different in the way they stood up. There were active men, gifted in speech, who had the training that came out of the old Lyceum and the Silsbee Street Debating Society. Oxford Street Chapel, the home of a sort of free-for-all religion, became a general receiver for all these organizations and for reformatory work generally and eloquence was dog-cheap. I have no doubt that many of these men are dead, but they are alive to me. I see them as of old. To me they live in the same houses and have the same peculiarities, and carry, on them, the same years that they then wore.

The By-products of Development

As I had been mixed up for some time with a professional set, I used to sit in mute surprise to see such men, knowing the value of things, with practised minds, devoting themselves to business life rather than the old time professions, to the arts rather than to the sciences. Some of these men had mental endowment enough to be physicians or Judges in Court, but they devoted their fine minds to manufacturing. Some of them, undoubtedly of great ability, did not deem themselves too good for business or for the world. Men speak of conducting a business, but you can not conduct a thing that is not moving, any more than a pilot can steer a boat that is lying still, although I suppose it is possible to conduct a vehicle when it is headed for the cemetery. They were just suited to the times, and to the place, and to the task, and each one seemed to contribute an individual part in making the city the world's great shoe centre. Some men were strong at home, others were good advertisers and solicitors and did work in the field from which all the manufacturers benefited, whose manner of life need not be changed if the Millennium had already come. For straight-forward, right-minded, high-principled men, who keep their word, and keep the faith, I am bold enough to invite the test, laid down in the inspired volume, which the great patriarch met with such intense concern. First came the overture that disaster should be averted from an imperiled city if fifty creditable men should be found in it. He felt some misgiving about finding fifty and entreated that the number be reduced to forty-five and then that he be answerable for finding only forty, then thirty, then twenty, then ten. I believe that if any one there were answering for that place during the Golden Age, he could not only begin with the smallest required number, ten, but that he could go up through the schedule and find twenty, thirty, forty, forty-five, and fifty.

[1] Page 104.

[2] See Harper's Cyclopedia, p. 390, and The Book of Berkshire, p. 30.

[3] See Cook's Centuries, p. 30.

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