1. Several misprints corrected. A complete list of corrections may be found at the end of the text.
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HOW TO SUCCEED;
Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune.
ORISON SWETT MARDEN, A.M., M.D.
"Pushing to the Front; or, Success Under Difficulties," and "Architects of Fate; or, Steps to Success and Power."
* * * * *
PUBLISHED BY THE CHRISTIAN HERALD, LOUIS KLOPSCH, Proprietor, BIBLE HOUSE, NEW YORK.
Copyright, 1896, BY LOUIS KLOPSCH.
I. First, Be a Man, 5 II. Seize Your Opportunity, 14 III. How Did He Begin? 27 IV. Out of Place, 49 V. What Shall I Do? 58 VI. Will You Pay the Price? 66 VII. Foundation Stones, 81 VIII. The Conquest of Obstacles, 99 IX. Dead in Earnest, 115 X. To Be Great, Concentrate, 128 XI. At Once, 140 XII. Thoroughness, 149 XIII. Trifles, 160 XIV. Courage, 169 XV. Will Power, 183 XVI. Guard Your Weak Point, 192 XVII. Stick, 209 XVIII. Save, 220 XIX. Live Upward, 229 XX. Sand, 238 XXI. Above Rubies, 256 XXII. Moral Sunshine, 275 XXIII. Hold Up Your Head, 287 XXIV. Books and Success, 296 XXV. Riches Without Wings, 318
HOW TO SUCCEED.
FIRST, BE A MAN.
The great need at this hour is manly men. We want no goody-goody piety; we have too much of it. We want men who will do right, though the heavens fall, who believe in God, and who will confess Him. —REV. W. J. DAWSON.
All the world cries, Where is the man who will save us? We want a man! Don't look so far for this man. You have him at hand. This man—it is you, it is I; it is each one of us!... How to constitute one's self a man? Nothing harder, if one knows not how to will it; nothing easier, if one wills it. —ALEXANDER DUMAS.
"I thank God I am a Baptist," said a little, short Doctor of Divinity, as he mounted a step at a convention. "Louder! louder!" shouted a man in the audience; "we can't hear." "Get up higher," said another. "I can't," replied the doctor, "to be a Baptist is as high as one can get."
But there is something higher than being a Baptist, and that is being a man.
Rousseau says: "According to the order of nature, men being equal, their common vocation is the profession of humanity; and whoever is well educated to discharge the duty of a man cannot be badly prepared to fill any of those offices that have a relation to him. It matters little to me whether my pupil be designed for the army, the pulpit, or the bar. To live is the profession I would teach him. When I have done with him, it is true he will be neither a soldier, a lawyer, nor a divine. Let him first be a man; Fortune may remove him from one rank to another, as she pleases, he will be always found in his place."
"First of all," replied the boy James A. Garfield, when asked what he meant to be, "I must make myself a man; if I do not succeed in that, I can succeed in nothing."
"Hear me, O men," cried Diogenes, in the market place at Athens; and, when a crowd collected around him, he said scornfully, "I called for men, not pigmies."
One great need of the world to-day is for men and women who are good animals. To endure the strain of our concentrated civilization, the coming man and woman must have an excess of animal spirits. They must have a robustness of health. Mere absence of disease is not health. It is the overflowing fountain, not the one half full, that gives life and beauty to the valley below. Only he is healthy who exults in mere animal existence; whose very life is a luxury; who feels a bounding pulse throughout his body; who feels life in every limb, as dogs do when scouring over the field, or as boys do when gliding over fields of ice.
Dispense with the doctor by being temperate; the lawyer by keeping out of debt; the demagogue, by voting for honest men; and poverty, by being industrious.
"Nephew," said Sir Godfrey Kneller, the artist, to a Guinea slave trader, who entered the room where his uncle was talking with Alexander Pope, "you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world." "I don't know how great men you may be," said the Guinea man, as he looked contemptuously upon their diminutive physical proportions, "but I don't like your looks; I have often bought a much better man than either of you, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas."
A man is never so happy as when he suffices to himself, and can walk without crutches or a guide. Said Jean Paul Richter: "I have made as much out of myself as could be made of the stuff, and no man should require more."
"The body of an athlete and the soul of a sage," wrote Voltaire to Helvetius; "these are what we require to be happy."
Although millions are out of employment in the United States, how difficult it is to find a thorough, reliable, self-dependent, industrious man or woman, young or old, for any position, whether as a domestic servant, an office boy, a teacher, a brakeman, a conductor, an engineer, a clerk, a bookkeeper, or whatever we may want. It is almost impossible to find a really competent person in any department, and oftentimes we have to make many trials before we can get a position fairly well filled.
It is a superficial age; very few prepare for their work. Of thousands of young women trying to get a living at typewriting, many are so ignorant, so deficient in the common rudiments even, that they spell badly, use bad grammar, and know scarcely anything of punctuation. In fact, they murder the English language. They can copy, "parrot like," and that is about all.
The same superficiality is found in nearly all kinds of business. It is next to impossible to get a first-class mechanic; he has not learned his trade; he has picked it up, and botches everything he touches, spoiling good material and wasting valuable time.
In the professions, it is true, we find greater skill and faithfulness, but usually they have been developed at the expense of mental and moral breadth.
The merely professional man is narrow; worse than that, he is in a sense an artificial man, a creature of technicalities and specialties, removed alike from the broad truth of nature and from the healthy influence of human converse. In society, the most accomplished man of mere professional skill is often a nullity; he has sunk his personality in his dexterity.
"The aim of every man," said Humboldt, "should be to secure the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole."
Some men impress us as immense possibilities. They seem to have a sweep of intellect that is grand; a penetrative power that is phenomenal; they seem to know everything, to have read everything, to have seen everything. Nothing seems to escape the keenness of their vision. But somehow they are forever disappointing our expectations. They raise great hopes only to dash them. They are men of great promise, but they never pay. There is some indefinable want in their make-up.
What the world needs is a clergyman who is broader than his pulpit, who does not look upon humanity with a white neckcloth ideal, and who would give the lie to the saying that the human race is divided into three classes: men, women and ministers. Wanted, a clergyman who does not look upon his congregation from the standpoint of old theological books, and dusty, cobweb creeds, but who sees the merchant as in his store, the clerk as making sales, the lawyer pleading before the jury, the physician standing over the sick bed; in other words, who looks upon the great throbbing, stirring, pulsing, competing, scheming, ambitious, impulsive, tempted, mass of humanity as one of their number, who can live with them, see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and experience their sensations.
The world has a standing advertisement over the door of every profession, every occupation, every calling: "Wanted—A Man."
Wanted, a lawyer, who has not become the victim of his specialty, a mere walking bundle of precedents.
Wanted, a shopkeeper who does not discuss markets wherever he goes. A man should be so much larger than his calling, so broad and symmetrical in his culture, that he would not talk shop in society, that no one would suspect how he gets his living.
Nothing is more apparent in this age of specialties than the dwarfing, crippling, mutilating influence of occupations or professions. Specialties facilitate commerce, and promote efficiency in the professions, but are often narrowing to individuals. The spirit of the age tends to doom the lawyer to a narrow life of practice, the business man to a mere money-making career.
Think of a man, the grandest of God's creations, spending his life-time standing beside a machine for making screws. There is nothing to call out his individuality, his ingenuity, his powers of balancing, judging, deciding.
He stands there year after year, until he seems but a piece of mechanism. His powers, from lack of use, dwindle to mediocrity, to inferiority, until finally he becomes a mere part of the machine he tends.
Wanted, a man who will not lose his individuality in a crowd, a man who has the courage of his convictions, who is not afraid to say "No," though all the world say "Yes."
Wanted, a man who, though he is dominated by a mighty purpose, will not permit one great faculty to dwarf, cripple, warp, or mutilate his manhood; who will not allow the over-development of one faculty to stunt or paralyze his other faculties.
Wanted, a man who is larger than his calling, who considers it a low estimate of his occupation to value it merely as a means of getting a living. Wanted, a man who sees self-development, education and culture, discipline and drill, character and manhood, in his occupation.
As Nature tries every way to induce us to obey her laws by rewarding their observance with health, pleasure and happiness, and punishes their violation by pain and disease, so she resorts to every means to induce us to expand and develop the great possibilities she has implanted within us. She nerves us to the struggle, beneath which all great blessings are buried, and beguiles the tedious marches by holding up before us glittering prizes, which we may almost touch, but never quite possess. She covers up her ends of discipline by trial, of character building through suffering by throwing a splendor and glamour over the future; lest the hard, dry facts of the present dishearten us, and she fail in her great purpose. How else could Nature call the youth away from all the charms that hang around young life, but by presenting to his imagination pictures of future bliss and greatness which will haunt his dreams until he resolves to make them real. As a mother teaches her babe to walk, by holding up a toy at a distance, not that the child may reach the toy, but that it may develop its muscles and strength, compared with which the toys are mere baubles; so Nature goes before us through life, tempting us with higher and higher toys, but ever with one object in view—the development of the man.
In every great painting of the masters there is one idea or figure which stands out boldly beyond everything else. Every other idea or figure on the canvas is subordinate to this idea or figure, and finds its real significance not in itself, but, pointing to the central idea, finds its true expression there. So in the vast universe of God, every object of creation is but a guide-board with an index finger pointing to the central figure of the created universe—Man. Nature writes this thought upon every leaf; she thunders it in every creation; it exhales from every flower; it twinkles in every star.
Open thy bosom, set thy wishes wide, And let in manhood—let in happiness; Admit the boundless theatre of thought From nothing up to God ... which makes a man! —YOUNG.
SEIZE YOUR OPPORTUNITY.
"The blowing winds are but our servants When we hoist a sail."
You must come to know that each admirable genius is but a successful diver in that sea whose floor of pearls is all your own. —EMERSON.
Who waits until the wind shall silent keep, Who never finds the ready hour to sow, Who watcheth clouds, will have no time to reap. —HELEN HUNT JACKSON.
The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. —DISRAELI.
Do the best you can where you are; and, when that is accomplished, God will open a door for you, and a voice will call, "Come up hither into a higher sphere." —BEECHER.
Our grand business is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. —CARLYLE.
"When I was a boy," said General Grant, "my mother one morning found herself without butter for breakfast, and sent me to borrow some from a neighbor. Going into the house without knocking, I overheard a letter read from the son of a neighbor, who was then at West Point, stating that he had failed in examination and was coming home. I got the butter, took it home, and, without waiting for breakfast ran to the office of the congressman for our district. 'Mr. Hamer,' I said, 'will you appoint me to West Point?' 'No, —— is there, and has three years to serve.' 'But suppose he should fail, will you send me?' Mr. Hamer laughed. 'If he don't go through, no use for you to try, Uly.' 'Promise me you will give me the chance, Mr. Hamer, anyhow.' Mr. Hamer promised. The next day the defeated lad came home, and the congressman, laughing at my sharpness, gave me the appointment. Now," said Grant, "it was my mother's being without butter that made me general and president." But he was mistaken. It was his own shrewdness to see the chance, and the promptness to seize it, that urged him upward.
"There is nobody," says a Roman Cardinal, "whom Fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she finds he is not ready to receive her, she goes in at the door, and out through the window." Opportunity is coy. The careless, the slow, the unobservant, the lazy fail to see it, or clutch at it when it has gone. The sharp fellows detect it instantly, and catch it when on the wing.
The utmost which can be said about the matter is, that circumstances will, and do combine to help men at some periods of their lives, and combine to thwart them at others. Thus much we freely admit; but there is no fatality in these combinations, neither any such thing as "luck" or "chance," as commonly understood. They come and go like all other opportunities and occasions in life, and if they are seized upon and made the most of, the man whom they benefit is fortunate; but if they are neglected and allowed to pass by unimproved, he is unfortunate.
"Charley," says Moses H. Grinnell to a clerk born in New York City, "take my overcoat tip to my house on Fifth Avenue." Mr. Charley takes the coat, mutters something about "I'm not an errand boy. I came here to learn business," and moves reluctantly. Mr. Grinnell sees it, and at the same time one of his New England clerks says, "I'll take it up." "That is right, do so," says Mr. G., and to himself he says, "that boy is smart, he will work," and he gives him plenty to do. He gets promoted, gets the confidence of business men as well as of his employers, and is soon known as a successful man.
The youth who starts out in life determined to make the most of his eyes and let nothing escape him which he can possibly use for his own advancement, who keeps his ears open for every sound that can help him on his way, who keeps his hands open that he may clutch every opportunity, who is ever on the alert for everything which can help him to get on in the world, who seizes every experience in life and grinds it up into paint for his great life's picture, who keeps his heart open that he may catch every noble impulse and everything which may inspire him, will be sure to live a successful life; there are no ifs or ands about it. If he has his health, nothing can keep him from success.
Zion's Herald says that Isaac Rich, who gave one million and three quarters to found Boston University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, began business thus: at eighteen he went from Cape Cod to Boston with three or four dollars in his possession, and looked about for something to do, rising early, walking far, observing closely, reflecting much. Soon he had an idea: he bought three bushels of oysters, hired a wheelbarrow, found a piece of board, bought six small plates, six iron forks, a three-cent pepper-box, and one or two other things. He was at the oyster-boat buying his oysters at three o'clock in the morning, wheeled them three miles, set up his board near a market, and began business. He sold out his oysters as fast as he could get them, at a good profit. In that same market he continued to deal in oysters and fish for forty years, became king of the business, and ended by founding a college. His success was won by industry and honesty.
"Give me a chance," says Haliburton's Stupid, "and I will show you." But most likely he has had his chance already and neglected it.
"Well, boys," said Mr. A., a New York merchant, to his four clerks one winter morning in 1815, "this is good news. Peace has been declared. Now we must be up and doing. We shall have our hands full, but we can do as much as anybody."
He was owner and part owner of several ships lying dismantled during the war, three miles up the river, which was covered with ice an inch thick. He knew that it would be a month before the ice yielded for the season, and that thus the merchants in other towns where the harbors were open, would have time to be in the foreign markets before him. His decision therefore was instantly taken.
"Reuben," he continued, addressing one of his clerks, "go and collect as many laborers as possible to go up the river. Charles, do you find Mr.——, the rigger, and Mr.——, the sailmaker, and tell them I want them immediately. John, engage half-a-dozen truckmen for to-day and to-morrow. Stephen, do you hunt up as many gravers and caulkers as you can, and hire them to work for me." And Mr. A. himself sallied forth to provide the necessary implements for icebreaking. Before twelve o'clock that day, upward of an hundred men were three miles up the river, clearing the ships and cutting away ice, which they sawed out in large squares, and then thrust under the main mass to open up the channel. The roofing over the ships was torn off, and the clatter of the caulkers' mallets was like to the rattling of a hail-storm, loads of rigging were passed up on the ice, riggers went to and fro with belt and knife, sailmakers busily plied their needles, and the whole presented an unusual scene of stir and activity and well-directed labor. Before night the ships were afloat, and moved some distance down the channel; and by the time they had reached the wharf, namely, in some eight or ten days, their rigging and spars were aloft, their upper timbers caulked, and everything ready for them to go to sea.
Thus Mr. A. competed on equal terms with the merchants of open seaports. Large and quick gains rewarded his enterprise, and then his neighbors spoke depreciatingly of his "good luck." But, as the writer from whom we get the story says, Mr. A. was equal to his opportunity, and this was the secret of his good fortune.
A Baltimore lady lost a valuable diamond bracelet at a ball, and supposed it was stolen from the pocket of her cloak. Years afterward, she walked the streets near the Peabody Institute to get money to purchase food. She cut up an old, worn out, ragged cloak to make a hood of, when lo! in the lining of the cloak, she discovered the diamond bracelet. During all her poverty she was worth thirty-five hundred dollars, but did not know it.
Many of us who think we are poor are rich in opportunities if we could only see them, in possibilities all about us, in faculties worth more than diamond bracelets, in power to do good.
In our large eastern cities it has been found that at least ninety-four out of every hundred found their first fortune at home, or near at hand, and in meeting common everyday wants. It is a sorry day for a young man who cannot see any opportunities where he is, but thinks he can do better somewhere else. Several Brazilian shepherds organized a party to go to California to dig gold, and took along a handful of clear pebbles to play checkers with on the voyage. They discovered after arriving at Sacramento, after they had thrown most of the pebbles away, that they were all diamonds. They returned to Brazil only to find that the mines had been taken up by others and sold to the government.
The richest gold and silver mine in Nevada was sold for forty-two dollars by the owner, to get money to pay his passage to other mines where he thought he could get rich.
Professor Agassiz told the Harvard students of a farmer who owned a farm of hundreds of acres of unprofitable woods and rocks, and concluded to sell out and try some more remunerative business.
He studied coal measures and coal oil deposits, and experimented for a long time. He sold his farm for two hundred dollars and went into the oil business two hundred miles away. Only a short time afterward the man who bought the farm discovered a great flood of coal oil, which the farmer had ignorantly tried to drain off.
A man was once sitting in an uncomfortable chair in Boston talking with a friend as to what he could do to help mankind. "I should think it would be a good thing," said the friend, "to begin by getting up an easier and cheaper chair."
"I will do it," he exclaimed, leaping up and examining the chair. He found a great deal of rattan thrown away by the East India merchant ships, whose cargoes were wrapped in it. He began the manufacture of rattan chairs and other furniture, and has astonished the world by what he has done with what was before thrown away. While this man was dreaming about some far off success, he at that very time had fortune awaiting only his ingenuity and industry.
If you want to get rich, study yourself and your own wants. You will find millions of others have the same wants, the same demands. The safest business is always connected with men's prime necessities. They must have clothing, dwellings; they must eat. They want comforts, facilities of all kinds, for use and pleasure, luxury, education, culture. Any man who can supply a great want of humanity, improve any methods which men use, supply any demand or contribute in any way to their well-being, can make a fortune.
But it is detrimental to the highest success to undertake anything merely because it is profitable. If the vocation does not supply a human want, if it is not healthful, if it is degrading, if it is narrowing, don't touch it.
A selfish vocation never pays. If it belittles the manhood, blights the affections, dwarfs the mental life, chills the charities and shrivels the soul, don't touch it. Choose that occupation, if possible, which will be the most helpful to the largest number.
It is estimated that five out of every seven of the millionaire manufacturers began by making with their own hands the articles on which they made their fortune.
One of the greatest hindrances to advancement and promotion in life is the lack of observation and the disinclination to take pains. A keen, cultivated observation will see a fortune where others see only poverty. An observing man, the eyelets of whose shoes pulled out, but who could ill afford to get another pair, said to himself, "I will make a metallic lacing hook, which can be riveted into the leather." He succeeded in doing so and now he is a very rich man.
An observing barber in Newark, N. J., thought he could make an improvement on shears for cutting hair, and invented "clippers" and became very rich. A Maine man was called from the hayfield to wash out the clothes for his invalid wife. He had never realized what it was to wash before. He invented the washing-machine and made a fortune. A man who was suffering terribly with toothache, said to himself, "There must be some way of filling teeth to prevent them aching;" he invented gold filling for teeth.
The great things of the world have not been done by men of large means. Want has been the great schoolmaster of the race: necessity has been the mother of all great inventions. Ericsson began the construction of a screw-propeller in a bath-room. John Harrison, the great inventor of the marine chronometer, began his career in the loft of an old barn. Parts of the first steamboat ever run in America were set up in the vestry of an old church in Philadelphia by Fitch. McCormick began to make his famous reaper in an old grist-mill. The first model dry-dock was made in an attic. Clark, the founder of Clark University of Worcester, Mass., began his great fortune by making toy wagons in a horse-shed.
Opportunities? They crowd around us. Forces of nature plead to be used in the service of man, as lightning for ages tried to attract his attention to electricity, which would do his drudgery and leave him to develop the God-given powers within him.
There is power lying latent everywhere, waiting for the observant eye to discover it.
First find out what the people need and then supply that want. An invention to make the smoke go the wrong way in a chimney might be a very ingenious thing, but it would be of no use to humanity. The patent office at Washington is full of wonderful devices, ingenious mechanism; not one in hundreds is of earthly use to the inventor or to the world, and yet how many families have been impoverished and have struggled for years mid want and woe, while the father has been working on useless inventions. These men did not study the wants of humanity. A. T. Stewart, as a boy, lost eighty-seven cents when his capital was one dollar and a half, in buying buttons and thread which people would not purchase. After that he made it a rule never to buy anything which people did not want.
The first thing a youth, entering the city to make his home there, needs to do is to make himself a necessity to the person who employs him, according to the Boston Herald. Whatever he may have been at home, it counts for nothing until he has done something that makes known the quality of the stuff that is in him. If he shirks work, however humble it may be, the work will soon be inclined to shirk him. But the youth who comes into a city to make his way in the world, and is not afraid of doing his best whether he is paid for it or not, is not long in finding remunerative employment. The people who seem so indifferent to employing young people from the country are eagerly watching for the newcomers, but they look for qualities of character and service in actual work before they manifest confidence or give recognition. It is the youth who is deserving that wins his way to the front, and when once he has been tested his promotion is only a question of time. It is the same with young women. There are seemingly no places for them where they can earn a decent living, but the moment they fill their places worthily there is room enough for them, and progress is rapid. What the city people desire most is to find those who have ability to take important places, and the question of gaining a position in the city resolves itself at once into the question of what the young persons have brought with them from home. It is the staying qualities that have been in-wrought from childhood which are now in requisition, and the success of the boy or girl is determined by the amount of energetic character that has been developed in the early years at home. Take up the experience of every man or woman who has made a mark in the city for the last hundred years, and it has been the sterling qualities of the home training that have constituted the success of later years.
Don't think you have no chance in life because you have no capital to begin with. Most of the rich men of to-day began poor. The chances are you would be ruined if you had capital. You can only use to advantage what has become a part of yourself by your earning it. It is estimated that not one rich man's son in ten thousand dies rich. God has given every man a capital to start with; we are born rich. He is rich who has good health, a sound body, good muscles; he is rich who has a good head, a good disposition, a good heart; he is rich who has two good hands, with five chances on each. Equipped? Every man is equipped as only God could equip him. What a fortune he possesses in the marvelous mechanism of his body and mind. It is individual effort that has accomplished everything worth accomplishing in this world. Money to start with is only a crutch, which, if any misfortune knocks it from under you, would only make your fall all the more certain.
HOW DID HE BEGIN?
There can be no doubt that the captains of industry to-day, using that term in its broadest sense, are men who began life as poor boys. —SETH LOW.
Poverty is very terrible, and sometimes kills the very soul within us, but it is the north wind that lashes men into Vikings; it is the soft, luscious south wind which lulls them to lotus dreams. —OUIDA.
'Tis a common proof, That lowliness is young ambition's ladder —SHAKESPEARE.
"Fifty years ago," said Hezekiah Conant, the millionaire manufacturer and philanthropist of Pawtucket, R. I., "I persuaded my father to let me leave my home in Dudley, Mass., and strike out for myself. So one morning in May, 1845, the old farm horse and wagon was hitched up, and, dressed in our Sunday clothes, father and I started for Worcester. Our object was to get me the situation offered by an advertisement in the Worcester County Gazette as follows:
WANTED IMMEDIATELY.—At the Gazette Office, a well disposed boy, able to do heavy rolling. Worcester, May 7.
"The financial inducements were thirty dollars the first year, thirty-five the next, and forty dollars the third year and board in the employer's family. These conditions were accepted, and I began work the next day. The Gazette was an ordinary four-page sheet. I soon learned what 'heavy rolling' meant for the paper was printed on a 'Washington' hand-press, the edition of about 2000 copies requiring two laborious intervals of about ten hours each, every week. The printing of the outside was generally done Friday and kept me very busy all day. The inside went to press about three or four o'clock Tuesday afternoon, and it was after three o'clock on Wednesday morning before I could go to bed, tired and lame from the heavy rolling. In addition, I also had the laborious task of carrying a quantity of water from the pump behind the block around to the entrance in front, and then up two flights of stairs, usually a daily job. I was at first everybody's servant. I was abused, called all sorts of nicknames, had to sweep out the office, build fires in winter, run errands, post bills, carry papers, wait on the editor, in fact I led the life of a genuine printer's devil; but when I showed them at length that I had learned to set type and run the press, I got promoted, and another boy was hired to succeed to my task, with all its decorations. That was my first success, and from that day to this I have never asked anybody to get me a job or situation, and never used a letter of recommendation; but when an important job was in prospect the proposed employers were given all facilities to learn of my abilities and character. If some young men are easily discouraged, I hope they may gain encouragement and strength from my story. It is a long, rough road at first, but, like the ship on the ocean, you must lay your course for the place where you hope to land, and take advantage of all favoring circumstances."
"Don't go about the town any longer in that outlandish rig. Let me give you an order on the store. Dress up a little, Horace." Horace Greeley looked down on his clothes as if he had never before noticed how seedy they were, and replied: "You see, Mr. Sterrett, my father is on a new place, and I want to help him all I can." He had spent but six dollars for personal expenses in seven months, and was to receive one hundred and thirty-five from Judge J. M. Sterrett of the Erie Gazette for substitute work. He retained but fifteen dollars and gave the rest to his father, with whom he had moved from Vermont to Western Pennsylvania, and for whom he had camped out many a night to guard the sheep from wolves. He was nearly twenty-one; and, although tall and gawky, with tow-colored hair, a pale face and whining voice, he resolved to seek his fortune in New York City. Slinging his bundle of clothes on a stick over his shoulder, he walked sixty miles through the woods to Buffalo, rode on a canal boat to Albany, descended the Hudson in a barge, and reached New York, just as the sun was rising, August 18, 1831.
For days Horace wandered up and down the streets, going into scores of buildings and asking if they wanted "a hand;" but "no" was the invariable reply. His quaint appearance led many to think he was an escaped apprentice. One Sunday at his boarding-place he heard that printers were wanted at "West's Printing-office." He was at the door at five o'clock Monday morning, and asked the foreman for a job at seven. The latter had no idea that the country greenhorn could set type for the Polyglot Testament on which help was needed, but said: "Fix up a case for him and we'll see if he can do anything." When the proprietor came in, he objected to the newcomer and told the foreman to let him go when his first day's work was done. That night Horace showed a proof of the largest and most correct day's work that had then been done. In ten years Horace was a partner in a small printing-office. He founded the New Yorker, the best weekly paper in the United States, but it was not profitable. When Harrison was nominated for President in 1840, Greeley started The Log Cabin, which reached the then fabulous circulation of ninety thousand. But on this paper at a penny a copy, he made no money. His next venture was the New York Tribune, price one cent. To start it he borrowed a thousand dollars and printed five thousand copies of the first number. It was difficult to give them all away. He began with six hundred subscribers, and increased the list to eleven thousand in six weeks. The demand for the Tribune grew faster than new machinery could be obtained to print it. It was a paper whose editor always tried to be right.
At the World's Fair in New York in 1853 President Pierce might have been seen watching a young man exhibiting a patent rat trap. He was attracted by the enthusiasm and diligence of the young man, but never dreamed that he would become one of the richest men in the world. It seemed like small business for Jay Gould to be exhibiting a rat trap, but he did it well and with enthusiasm. In fact he was bound to do it as well as it could be done. Young Gould supported himself by odd jobs at surveying, paying his way by erecting sundials for farmers at a dollar apiece, frequently taking his pay in board. Thus he laid the foundation for the business career in which he became so rich.
Fred. Douglass started in life with less than nothing, for he did not own his own body, and he was pledged before his birth to pay his master's debts. To reach the starting-point of the poorest white boy, he had to climb as far as the distance which the latter must ascend if he would become President of the United States. He saw his mother but two or three times, and then in the night, when she would walk twelve miles to be with him an hour, returning in time to go into the field at dawn. He had no chance to study, for he had no teacher, and the rules of the plantation forbade slaves to learn to read and write. But somehow, unnoticed by his master, he managed to learn the alphabet from scraps of paper and patent medicine almanacs, and no limits could then be placed to his career. He put to shame thousands of white boys. He fled from slavery at twenty-one, went North and worked as a stevedore in New York and New Bedford. At Nantucket he was given an opportunity to speak in an anti-slavery meeting, and made so favorable an impression that he was made agent of the Anti-Slavery Society of Massachusetts. While traveling from place to place to lecture, he would study with all his might. He was sent to Europe to lecture, and won the friendship of several Englishmen, who gave him $750, with which he purchased his freedom. He edited a paper in Rochester, N. Y., and afterward conducted the New Era in Washington. For several years he was Marshal of the District of Columbia. He became the first colored man in the United States, the peer of any man in the country, and died honored by all in 1895.
"What has been done can be done again," said the boy with no chance who became Lord Beaconsfield, England's great prime minister. "I am not a slave, I am not a captive, and by energy I can overcome greater obstacles." Jewish blood flowed in his veins, and everything seemed against him, but he remembered the example of Joseph, who became prime minister of Egypt four thousand years before, and that of Daniel, who was prime minister to the greatest despot of the world five centuries before the birth of Christ. He pushed his way up through the lower classes, up through the middle classes, up through the upper classes, until he stood a master, self-poised upon the topmost round of political and social power. Rebuffed, scorned, ridiculed, hissed down in the House of Commons, he simply said, "The time will come when you shall hear me." The time did come, and the boy with no chance but a determined will, swayed the sceptre of England for a quarter of a century.
"I learned grammar when I was a private soldier on the pay of sixpence a day," said William Cobbett. "The edge of my berth, or that of the guard-bed, was my seat to study in; my knapsack was my bookcase; a bit of board lying on my lap was my writing table, and the task did not demand anything like a year of my life. I had no money to purchase candles or oil; in winter it was rarely that I could get any evening light but that of the fire, and only my turn, even of that. To buy a pen or a sheet of paper I was compelled to forego some portion of my food, though in a state of half starvation. I had no moment of time that I could call my own, and I had to read and write amidst the talking, laughing, singing, whistling, and bawling of at least half a score of the most thoughtless of men, and that, too, in the hours of their freedom from all control. Think not lightly of the farthing I had to give, now and then, for pen, ink, or paper. That farthing was, alas! a great sum to me. I was as tall as I am now, and I had great health and great exercise. The whole of the money not expended for us at market was twopence a week for each man. I remember, and well I may! that upon one occasion I had, after all absolutely necessary expenses, on a Friday, made shift to have a half-penny in reserve, which I had destined for the purchase of a red herring in the morning, but when I pulled off my clothes at night, so hungry then as to be hardly able to endure life, I found that I had lost my half-penny. I buried my head under the miserable sheet and rug, and cried like a child.
"If I, under such circumstances, could encounter and overcome this task," he added, "is there, can there be in the world, a youth to find any excuse for its non-performance?"
"I have talked with great men," Lincoln told his fellow-clerk and friend, Greene, according to McClure's Magazine, "and I do not see how they differ from others."
He made up his mind to put himself before the public, and talked of his plans to his friends. In order to keep in practice in speaking he walked seven or eight miles to debating clubs. "Practicing polemics," was what he called the exercise.
He seems now for the first time to have begun to study subjects. Grammar was what he chose. He sought Mentor Graham, the schoolmaster, and asked his advice.
"If you are going before the public," Mr. Graham told him, "you ought to do it."
But where could he get a grammar? There was but one in the neighborhood, Mr. Graham said, and that was six miles away.
Without waiting for more information the young man rose from the breakfast-table, walked immediately to the place, borrowed this rare copy of Kirkham's Grammar, and before night was deep in its mysteries. From that time on for weeks he gave every moment of his leisure to mastering the contents of the book. Frequently he asked his friend Greene to "hold the book" while he recited, and when puzzled by a point he would consult Mr. Graham.
Lincoln's eagerness to learn was such that the whole neighborhood became interested. The Greenes lent him books, the schoolmaster kept him in mind and helped him as he could, and even the village cooper let him come into his shop and keep up a fire of shavings sufficiently bright to read by at night. It was not long before the grammar was mastered.
"Well," Lincoln said to his fellow-clerk, Greene, "if that's what they call science, I think I'll go at another."
He had made another discovery—that he could conquer subjects.
The poor and friendless lad, George Peabody, weary, footsore and hungry, called at a tavern in Concord, N. H., and asked to be allowed to saw wood for lodging and breakfast. Half a century later he called there again, but then George Peabody was one of the greatest millionaire bankers of the world. Bishop Fowler says: "It is one of the greatest encouragements of our age, that ordinary men with extraordinary industry reach the highest stations."
Greeley's father, because the boy tried to yoke the off ox on the near side, said: "Ah! that boy will never get along in the world. He'll never know enough to come in when it rains."
He was too poor to wear stockings. But Horace persevered, and became one of the greatest editors of his century.
Handel's father hated music, and would not allow a musical instrument in the house; but the boy with an aim secured a little spinet, hid it in the attic, where he practiced every minute he could steal without detection, until he surprised the great players and composers of Europe by his wonderful knowledge of music. He was very practical in his work, and studied the taste and sensitiveness of audiences until he knew exactly what they wanted; then he would compose something to supply the demand. He analyzed the effect of sounds and combinations of sounds upon the senses, and wrote directly to human needs. His greatest work, "The Messiah," was composed in Dublin for the benefit of poor debtors who were imprisoned there. The influence of this masterpiece was tremendous. It was said it out-preached the preacher, out-prayed prayers, reformed the wayward, softened stony hearts, as it told the wonderful story of redemption, in sound.
A. T. Stewart began life as a teacher in New York at $300 a year. He soon resigned and began that career as a merchant in which he achieved a success almost without precedent. Honesty, one price, cash on delivery, and business on business principles were his invariable rules. Absolute regularity and system reigned in every department. In fifty years he made a fortune of from thirty to forty million dollars. He was nominated as Secretary of the Treasury in 1869, but it was found that the law forbids a merchant to occupy that position. He offered to resign, or to give the entire profits of his business to the poor of New York as long as he should remain in office. President Grant declined to accept such an offer.
Poor Kepler struggled with constant anxieties, and told fortunes by astrology for a livelihood, saying that astrology as the daughter of astronomy ought to keep her mother; but fancy a man of science wasting precious time over horoscopes. "I supplicate you," he writes to Moestlin, "if there is a situation vacant at Tuebingen, do what you can to obtain it for me, and let me know the prices of bread and wine and other necessaries of life, for my wife is not accustomed to live on beans." He had to accept all sorts of jobs; he made almanacs, and served anyone who would pay him.
Who could have predicted that the modest, gentle boy, Raphael, without either riches or noted family, would have worked his way to such renown, or that one of his pictures, but sixty-six and three-quarter inches square (the Mother of Jesus), would be sold to the Empress of Russia, for $66,000? His Ansedei Madonna, was bought by the National Gallery for $350,000. Think of Michael Angelo working for six florins a month, and eighteen years on St. Peter's for nothing!
Dr. Johnson was so afflicted with king's-evil that he lost the use of one eye. The youth could not even engage in the pastimes of his mates, as he could not see the gutter without bending his head down near the street. He read and studied terribly. Finally a friend offered to send him to Oxford, but he failed to keep his promise, and the boy had to leave. He returned home, and soon afterward his father died insolvent. He conquered adverse fortune and bodily infirmities with the fortitude of a true hero.
Ichabod Washburn, a poor boy born near Plymouth Rock, was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Worcester, Mass., and was so bashful that he scarcely dared to eat in the presence of others; but he determined that he would make the best wire in the world, and would contrive ways and means to manufacture it in enormous quantities. At that time there was no good wire made in the United States. One house in England had the monopoly of making steel wire for pianos for more than a century. Young Washburn, however, had grit, and was bound to succeed. His wire became the standard everywhere. At one time he made 250,000 yards of iron wire daily, consuming twelve tons of metal, and requiring the services of seven hundred men. He amassed an immense fortune, of which he gave away a large part during his life, and bequeathed the balance to charitable institutions.
John Jacob Astor left home at seventeen to acquire a fortune. His capital consisted of two dollars, and three resolutions,—to be honest, to be industrious and not to gamble. Two years later he reached New York, and began work in a fur store at two dollars a week and his board. Soon learning the details of the business, he began operations on his own account. By giving personal attention to every purchase and sale, roaming the woods to trade with the Indians, or crossing the Atlantic to sell his furs at a great profit in England, he soon became the leading fur dealer in the United States. His idea of what constitutes a fortune expanded faster than his acquisitions. At fifty he owned millions; at sixty his millions owned him. He invested in land, becoming in time the richest owner of real estate in America. Generous to his family, he seldom gave much for charity. He once subscribed fifty dollars for some benevolent purpose, when one of the committee of solicitation said, "We did hope for more, Mr. Astor. Your son gave us a hundred dollars." "Ah!" chuckled the rich furrier, "William has a rich father. Mine was poor."
Elihu Burritt wrote in a diary kept at Worcester, whither he went to enjoy its library privileges, such entries as these: "Monday, June 18, headache, 40 pages Cuvier's 'Theory of the Earth,' 64 pages of French, 11 hours' forging. Tuesday, June 19, 60 lines Hebrew, 30 Danish, 10 lines Bohemian, 9 lines Polish, 15 names of stars, 10 hours' forging. Wednesday, June 20, 25 lines Hebrew, 8 lines Syriac, 11 hours' forging." He mastered eighteen languages and thirty-two dialects. He became eminent as the "Learned Blacksmith," and for his noble work in the service of humanity. Edward Everett said of the manner in which this boy with no chance acquired great learning: "It is enough to make one who has good opportunities for education hang his head in shame."
"I was born in poverty," said Vice-President Henry Wilson. "Want sat by my cradle. I know what it is to ask a mother for bread when she has none to give. I left my home at ten years of age, and served an apprenticeship of eleven years, receiving a month's schooling each year, and, at the end of eleven years of hard work, a yoke of oxen and six sheep, which brought me eighty-four dollars. I never spent the sum of one dollar for pleasure, counting every penny from the time I was born till I was twenty-one years of age. I know what it is to travel weary miles and ask my fellow-men to give me leave to toil. * * * In the first month after I was twenty-one years of age, I went into the woods, drove a team, and cut mill-logs. I rose in the morning before daylight and worked hard till after dark, and received the magnificent sum of six dollars for the month's work! Each of these dollars looked as large to me as the moon looks to-night."
"Many a farmer's son," says Thurlow Weed, "has found the best opportunities for mental improvement in his intervals of leisure while tending 'sap-bush.' Such, at any rate, was my own experience. At night you had only to feed the kettles and keep up the fires, the sap having been gathered and the wood cut before dark. During the day we would always lay in a good stock of 'fat-pine' by the light of which, blazing bright before the sugar-house, in the posture the serpent was condemned to assume, as a penalty for tempting our first grandmother, I passed many a delightful night in reading. I remember in this way to have read a history of the French Revolution, and to have obtained from it a better and more enduring knowledge of its events and horrors and of the actors in that great national tragedy, than I have received from all subsequent reading. I remember also how happy I was in being able to borrow the books of a Mr. Keyes after a two-mile tramp through the snow, shoeless, my feet swaddled in remnants of rag carpet."
"That fellow will beat us all some day," said a merchant, speaking of John Wanamaker and his close attention to his work. What a prediction to make of a young man who started business with a little clothing in a hand cart in the streets of Philadelphia. But this youth had the indomitable spirit of a conqueror in him, and you could not keep him down. General Grant said to George W. Childs, "Mr. Wanamaker could command an army." His great energy, method, industry, economy, and high moral principle, attracted President Harrison, who appointed him Postmaster-General.
Jacques Aristide Boucicault began his business life as an employe in a dry goods house in a small provincial town in France. After a few years he went to Paris, where he prospered so rapidly that in 1853 he became a partner and later the sole proprietor of the Bon Marche, then only a small shop, which became under his direction the most unique establishment in the world. His idea was to establish a combined philanthropic and commercial house on a large scale. Every one who worked for him was advanced progressively, according to his length of employment and the value of the services he rendered. He furnished free tuition, free medical attendance, and a free library for employes; a provident fund affording a small capital for males and a marriage portion for females at the expiration of ten or fifteen years of service; a free reading room for the public; and a free art gallery for artists to exhibit their paintings or sculptures. After his sudden death in 1877, his only son carried forward his father's projects until he, too, died in 1879, when his widow, Marguerite Guerin, continued and extended his business and beneficent plans until her death in 1887. So well did this family lay the foundations of a building covering 108,000 square feet, with many accessory buildings of smaller size, and of a business employing 3600 persons with sales amounting to nearly $20,000,000 annually, that every department is still conducted with all its former success in accordance with the instructions of the founders. They are here no longer in their bodily presence, but their spirit, their ideas, still pervade the vast establishment. Everything is still sold at a small profit and at a price plainly marked, and any article which may have ceased to please the purchaser can, without the slightest difficulty, be exchanged or its value refunded.
When James Gordon Bennett was forty years old, he collected all his property, three hundred dollars, and in a cellar with a board upon two barrels for a desk, himself his own type setter, office boy, publisher, newsboy, clerk, editor, proof-reader and printer's devil, he started the New York Herald. In all his literary work up to this time he had tried to imitate Franklin's style; and, as is the fate of all imitators, he utterly failed.
He lost twenty years of his life trying to be somebody else. He first showed the material he was made of in the "Salutatory," of the Herald, viz., "Our only guide shall be good, sound and practical common-sense applicable to the business and bosoms of men engaged in everyday life. We shall support no party, be the organ of no faction or coterie, and care nothing for any election or any candidate from President down to constable. We shall endeavor to record facts upon every public and proper subject stripped of verbiage and coloring, with comments when suitable, just, independent, fearless and good-tempered."
Joseph Hunter was a carpenter, Robert Burns a ploughman, Keats a druggist, Thomas Carlyle a mason, Hugh Miller a stone mason. Rubens, the artist, was a page, Swedenborg, a mining engineer. Dante and Descartes were soldiers. Ben Johnson was a brick layer and worked at building Lincoln Inn in London with trowel in hand and a book in his pocket. Jeremy Taylor was a barber. Andrew Johnson was a tailor. Cardinal Wolsey was a butcher's son. So were Defoe and Kirke White. Michael Faraday was the son of a blacksmith. He even excelled his teacher, Sir Humphry Davy, who was an apprentice to an apothecary.
Virgil was the son of a porter, Homer of a farmer, Pope of a merchant, Horace of a shopkeeper, Demosthenes of a cutler, Milton of a money scrivener, Shakespeare of a wool stapler, and Oliver Cromwell of a brewer.
John Wanamaker's first salary was $1.25 per week. A. T. Stewart began his business life as a school teacher. James Keene drove a milk wagon in a California town. Joseph Pulitzer, proprietor of the New York World, once acted as stoker on a Mississippi steamboat. When a young man, Cyrus Field was a clerk in a New England store. George W. Childs was an errand boy for a bookseller at $4 a month. Andrew Carnegie began work in a Pittsburg telegraph office at $3 a week. C. P. Huntington sold butter and eggs for what he could get a pound or dozen. Whitelaw Reid was once a correspondent of a newspaper in Cincinnati at $5 per week. Adam Forepaugh was once a butcher in Philadelphia.
Sarah Bernhardt was a dressmaker's apprentice. Adelaide Neilson began life as a child's nurse. Miss Braddon, the novelist, was a utility actress in the provinces. Charlotte Cushman was the daughter of poor people.
Mr. W. O. Stoddard, in his "Men of Business," tells a characteristic story of the late Leland Stanford. When eighteen years of age his father purchased a tract of woodland, but had not the means to clear it as he wished. He told Leland that he could have all he could make from the timber if he would leave the land clear of trees. A new market had just then been created for cord wood, and Leland took some money that he had saved, hired other choppers to help him, and sold over two thousand cords of wood to the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad at a net profit of $2600. He used this sum to start him in his law studies, and thus, as Mr. Stoddard says, chopped his way to the bar.
It is said that the career of Benjamin Franklin is full of inspiration for any young man. When he left school for good he was only twelve years of age. At first he did little but read. He soon found, however, that reading, alone, would not make him an educated man, and he proceeded to act upon this discovery at once. At school he had been unable to understand arithmetic. Twice he had given it up as a hopeless puzzle, and finally left school almost hopelessly ignorant upon the subject. But the printer's boy soon found his ignorance of figures extremely inconvenient. When he was about fourteen he took up for the third time the "Cocker's Arithmetic," which had baffled him at school, and ciphered all through it with ease and pleasure. He then mastered a work upon navigation, which included the rudiments of geometry, and thus tasted "the inexhaustible charm of mathematics." He pursued a similar course, we are told, in acquiring the art of composition, in which, at length, he excelled most of the men of his time. When he was but a boy of sixteen, he wrote so well that the pieces which he slyly sent to his brother's paper were thought to have been written by some of the most learned men in the colony.
Henry Clay, the "mill-boy of the slashes," was one of seven children of a widow too poor to send him to any but a common country school, where he was drilled only in the "three R's." But he used every spare moment to study without a teacher, and in after years he was a king among self-made men.
The most successful man is he who has triumphed over obstacles, disadvantages and discouragements.
It is Goodyear in his rude laboratory enduring poverty and failure until the pasty rubber is at length hardened; it is Edison biding his time in baggage car and in printing office until that mysterious light and power glows and throbs at his command; it is Carey on his cobbler's bench nourishing the great purpose that at length carried the message of love to benighted India;—these are the cases and examples of true success.
OUT OF PLACE.
The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment and happiness. —EMERSON.
The art of putting the right man in the right place is perhaps the first in the science of government, but the art of finding a satisfactory position for the discontented is the most difficult. —TALLEYRAND.
It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are already possessed of, before that which would fall to them by such a division. —ADDISON.
I was born to other things. —TENNYSON.
How many a rustic Milton has passed by, Stifling the speechless longings of his heart, In unremitting drudgery and care! How many a vulgar Cato has compelled His energies, no longer tameless then, To mould a pin, or fabricate a nail. —SHELLEY.
"But I'm good for something," pleaded a young man whom a merchant was about to discharge for his bluntness. "You are good for nothing as a salesman," said his employer. "I am sure I can be useful," said the youth. "How? Tell me how." "I don't know, sir, I don't know." "Nor do I," said the merchant, laughing at the earnestness of his clerk. "Only don't put me away, sir, don't put me away. Try me at something besides selling. I cannot sell; I know I cannot sell." "I know that, too," said the principal; "that is what is wrong." "But I can make myself useful somehow," persisted the young man; "I know I can." He was placed in the counting-house, where his aptitude for figures soon showed itself, and in a few years he became not only chief cashier in the large store, but an eminent accountant.
"Out of an art," says Bulwer, "a man may be so trivial you would mistake him for an imbecile—at best, a grown infant. Put him into his art, and how high he soars above you! How quietly he enters into a heaven of which he has become a denizen, and unlocking the gates with his golden key, admits you to follow, an humble reverent visitor."
A man out of place is like a fish out of water. Its fins mean nothing, they are only a hindrance. The fish can do nothing but flounder out of its element. But as soon as the fins feel the water, they mean something. Fifty-two per cent of our college graduates studied law, not because, in many cases, they have the slightest natural aptitude for it, but because it is put down as the proper road to promotion.
A man never grows in personal power and moral stamina when out of his place. If he grows at all, it is a narrow, one-sided, stunted growth, not a manly growth. Nature abhors the slightest perversion of natural aptitude or deviation from the sealed orders which accompany every soul into this world.
A man out of place is not half a man. He feels unmanned, unsexed. He cannot respect himself, hence he cannot be respected.
You can enter all kinds of horses for a race, but only those which have natural adaptation for speed will make records; the others will only make themselves ridiculous by their lumbering, unnatural exertions to win. How many truck and family-horse lawyers make themselves ridiculous by trying to speed on the law track, where courts and juries only laugh at them. The effort to redeem themselves from scorn may enable them by unnatural exertions to become fairly passable, but the same efforts along the line of their strength or adaptation would make them kings in their line.
"Jonathan," said Mr. Chace, when his son told of having nearly fitted himself for college, "thou shalt go down to the machine-shop on Monday morning." It was many years before Jonathan escaped from the shop to work his way up to the position of a man of great influence as a United States Senator from Rhode Island.
Galileo was sent to the university at Pisa at seventeen, with the strict injunction not to neglect medical subjects for the alluring study of philosophy or literature. But when he was eighteen he discovered the great principle of the pendulum by a lamp left swinging in the cathedral.
John Adams' father was a shoemaker; and, trying to teach his son the art, gave him some "uppers" to cut out by a pattern which had a three-cornered hole in it to hang it up by. The future statesman followed the pattern, hole and all.
There is a tradition that Tennyson's first poems were published at the instigation of his father's coachman. His grandfather gave the lad ten shillings for writing an elegy on his grandmother. As he handed it to him, he said; "There, that's the first money you ever earned by your poetry, and take my word for it, it will be the last."
Murillo's mother had marked her boy for a priest, but nature had already laid her hand upon him and marked him for her own. His mother was shocked on returning from church one day to find that the child had taken down the sacred family picture, "Jesus and the Lamb," and had painted his own hat on the Saviour's head, and had changed the lamb into a dog.
The poor boy's home was broken up, and he started out on foot and alone to seek his fortune. All he had was courage and determination to make something of himself. He not only became a famous artist, but a man of great character.
"Let us people who are so uncommonly clever and learned," says Thackeray, "have a great tenderness and pity for the folks who are not endowed with the prodigious talents which we have. I have always had a regard for dunces,—those of my own school days were among the pleasantest of the fellows, and have turned out by no means the dullest in life; whereas, many a youth who could turn off Latin hexameters by the yard, and construe Greek quite glibly, is no better than a feeble prig now, with not a pennyworth more brains than were in his head before his beard grew."
"In the winter of 1824, there set in a great flood upon the town of Sidmouth, the tide rose to a terrible height. In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house, with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused. Mrs. Partington's spirit was up: but I need not tell you the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington. She was excellent at a slop or a puddle, but she should not have meddled with a tempest."
How many Dame Partingtons there are of both sexes, and in every walk of life!
The young swan is restless and uneasy until she finds the element she has never before seen. Then,
"With arched neck Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows Her state with oary feet."
What a wretched failure was that of Haydon the painter. He thought he failed through the world's ingratitude or injustice, but his failure was due wholly to his being out of place. His bitter disappointments at his half successes were really pitiable because to him they were more than failures. He had not the slightest sense of color, yet went through life under the delusion that he was an artist.
"If it is God's will to take any of my children by death, I hope it may be Isaac," said the father of Dr. Isaac Barrow. "Why do you tell that blockhead the same thing twenty times over?" asked John Wesley's father. "Because," replied his mother, "if I had told him but nineteen times, all my labor would have been lost, while now he will understand and remember."
A man out of place may manage to get a living, but he has lost the buoyancy, energy and enthusiasm which are as natural to a man in his place as his breath. He is industrious, but he works mechanically and without heart. It is to support himself and family, not because he cannot help it. Dinner time does not come two hours before he realizes it; a man out of place is constantly looking at his watch and thinking of his salary.
If a man is in his place he is happy, joyous, cheerful, energetic, fertile in resources. The days are all too short for him. All his faculties give their consent to his work; say "yes" to his occupation. He is a man; he respects himself and is happy because all his powers are at play in their natural sphere. There is no compromising of his faculties, no cramping of legal acumen upon the farm; no suppressing of forensic oratorical powers at the shoemaker's bench; no stifling of exuberance of physical strength, of visions of golden crops and blooded cattle amid the loved country life in the dry clergyman's study, composing sermons to put the congregation to sleep.
To be out of place is demoralizing to all the powers of manhood. We can't cheat nature out of her aim; if she has set all the currents of your life toward medicine or law, you will only be a botch at anything else. Will-power and application cannot make a farmer of a born painter any more than a lumbering draught horse can be changed into a race horse. When the powers are not used along the line of their strength they become demoralized, weakened, deteriorated. Self-respect, enthusiasm and courage ooze out; we become half-hearted and success is impossible.
Scott was called the great blockhead while in Edinburgh College. Grant's mother called the future General and President, "Useless Grant," because he was so unhandy and dull.
Erskine had at length found his place as a lawyer; he carried everything before him at the bar. Had he remained in the navy he would probably never have been heard from. When elected to Parliament, his lofty spirit was chilled by the cold sarcasm and contemptuous indifference of Pitt, whom he was expected by his friends to annihilate. But he was again out of his place; he was shorn of his magic power and his eloquent tongue faltered from a consciousness of being out of his place.
Gould failed as a storekeeper, tanner and surveyor and civil engineer, before he got into a railroad office where he "struck his gait."
When extracts from James Russell Lowell's poem at Harvard were shown his father at Rome, instead of being pleased the latter said, "James promised me when I left home, that he would give up poetry and stick to books. I had hoped that he had become less flighty." The world is full of people at war with their positions.
Man only grows when he is developing along the lines of his own individuality, and not when he is trying to be somebody else. All attempts to imitate another man, when there is no one like you in all creation, as the pattern was broken when you were born, is not only to ruin your own pattern, but to make only an echo of the one imitated. There is no strength off the lines of our own individuality.
Anywhere else we are dwarfs, weaklings, echoes, and the echo even of a great man is a sorry contrast to even the smallest human being who is himself.
WHAT SHALL I DO?
No man ever made an ill-figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them. —SWIFT.
Blessed is he who has found his work,—let him ask no other blessing. —CARLYLE.
Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing. —SYDNEY SMITH.
He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause. —BEECHER.
I am glad to think I am not bound to make the world go round; But only to discover and to do, With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints. —JEAN INGELOW.
"Do that which is assigned you," says Emerson, "and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses or Dante, but different from all these."
"I felt that I was in the world to do something, and thought I must," said Whittier, thus giving the secret of his great power. It is the man who must enter law, literature, medicine, the ministry, or any other of the overstocked professions, who will succeed. His certain call—that is, his love for it, and his fidelity to it—are the imperious factors of his career. If a man enters a profession simply because his grandfather made a great name in it, or his mother wants him to, with no love or adaptability for it, it were far better for him to be a day laborer. In the humbler work, his intelligence may make him a leader; in the other career he might do as much harm as a boulder rolled from its place upon a railroad track, a menace to the next express.
Lowell said: "It is the vain endeavor to make ourselves what we are not, that has strewn history with so many broken purposes, and lives left in the rough."
"The age has no aversion to preaching as such," said Phillips Brooks, "it may not listen to your preaching." But though it may not listen to your preaching, it will wear your boots, or buy your flour, or see stars through your telescope. It has a use for every person, and it is his business to find out what that use is.
The following advertisement appeared several times in a paper without bringing a letter:
"WANTED.—Situation by a Practical Printer, who is competent to take charge of any department in a printing and publishing house. Would accept a professorship in any of the academies. Has no objection to teach ornamental painting and penmanship, geometry, trigonometry, and many other sciences. Has had some experience as a lay preacher. Would have no objection to form a small class of young ladies and gentlemen to instruct them in the higher branches. To a dentist or chiropodist he would be invaluable; or he would cheerfully accept a position as bass or tenor singer in a choir."
At length there appeared this addition to the notice:
"P.S. Will accept an offer to saw and split wood at less than the usual rates."
This secured a situation at once, and the advertisement was seen no more.
Don't wait for a higher position or a larger salary. Enlarge the position you already occupy; put originality of method into it. Fill it as it never was filled before. Be more prompt, more energetic, more thorough, more polite than your predecessor or fellow-workmen. Study your business, devise new modes of operation, be able to give your employer points. The art lies not in giving satisfaction merely, not in simply filling your place, but in doing better than was expected, in surprising your employer; and the reward will be a better place and a larger salary.
"He that hath a trade," says Franklin, "hath an estate; and he that hath a calling hath a place of profit and honor. A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees."
Follow your bent. You cannot long fight successfully against your aspirations. Parents, friends, or misfortune may stifle and suppress the longings of the heart, by compelling you to perform unwelcome tasks; but, like a volcano, the inner fire will burst the crusts which confine it and pour forth its pent-up genius in eloquence, in song, in art, or in some favorite industry. Beware of "a talent which you cannot hope to practice in perfection." Nature hates all botched and half-finished work, and will pronounce her curse upon it.
Your talent is your call. Your legitimate destiny speaks in your character.
If you have found your place, your occupation has the consent of every faculty of your being.
If possible, choose that occupation which focuses the largest amount of your experience and tastes. You will then not only have a congenial vocation, but will utilize largely your skill and business knowledge, which is your true capital.
There is no doubt that every person has a special adaptation for his own peculiar part in life. A very few—the geniuses, we call them—have this marked in an unusual degree, and very early in life.
A man's business does more to make him than anything else. It hardens his muscles, strengthens his body, quickens his blood, sharpens his mind, corrects his judgment, wakes up his inventive genius, puts his wits to work, starts him on the race of life, arouses his ambition, makes him feel that he is a man and must fill a man's shoes, do a man's work, bear a man's part in life, and show himself a man in that part. No man feels himself a man who is not doing a man's business. A man without employment is not a man. He does not prove by his works that he is a man. A hundred and fifty pounds of bone and muscle do not make a man. A good cranium full of brains is not a man. The bone and muscle and brain must know how to do a man's work, think a man's thoughts, mark out a man's path, and bear a man's weight of character and duty before they constitute a man.
Whatever you do in life, be greater than your calling. Most people look upon an occupation or calling as a mere expedient for earning a living. What a mean, narrow view to take of what was intended for the great school of life, the great man-developer, the character-builder; that which should broaden, deepen, heighten, and round out into symmetry, harmony and beauty, all the God-given faculties within us! How we shrink from the task and evade the lessons which were intended for the unfolding of life's great possibilities into usefulness and power, as the sun unfolds into beauty and fragrance the petals of the flower.
"Girls, you cheapen yourselves by lack of purpose in life," says Rena L. Miner. "You show commendable zeal in pursuing your studies; your alertness in comprehending and ability in surmounting difficult problems have become proverbial; nine times out of ten you outrank your brothers thus far; but when the end is attained, the goal reached, whether it be the graduating certificate from a graded school, or a college diploma, for nine out of every ten it might as well be added thereto, 'dead to further activity,' or, 'sleeping until marriage shall resurrect her.'
"Crocheting, placquing, dressing, visiting, music, and flirtations, make up the sum total for the expense and labor expended for your existence. If forced to earn your support, you are content to stand behind a counter, or teach school term after term in the same grade, while the young men who graduated with you walk up the grades, as up a ladder, to professorship and good salary, from which they swing off into law, physics, or perhaps the legislative firmament, leaving difficulties and obstacles like nebulae in their wake.—You girls, satisfied with mediocrity, have an eye mainly for the 'main chance'—marriage. If you marry wealthy,—which is marrying well according to the modern popular idea,—you dress more elegantly, cultivate more fashionable society, leave your thinking for your husband and your minister to do for you, and become in the economy of life but a sentient nonentity. If you are true to the grand passion, and accept with it poverty, you bake, brew, scrub, spank the children, and talk with your neighbor over the back fence for recreation, spending the years literally like the horse in a treadmill, all for the lack of a purpose,—a purpose sufficiently potent to convert the latent talent into a gem of living beauty, a creative force which makes all adjuncts secondary, like planets to their central sun. Choose some one course or calling, and master it in all its details, sleep by it, swear by it, work for it, and, if marriage crowns you, it can but add new glory to your labor."
Dr. Hall says that the world has urgent need of "girls who are mother's right hand; girls who can cuddle the little ones next best to mamma, and smooth out the tangles in the domestic skein when things get twisted; girls whom father takes comfort in for something better than beauty, and the big brothers are proud of for something that outranks the ability to dance or shine in society. Next, we want girls of sense,—girls who have a standard of their own regardless of conventionalities, and are independent enough to live up to it; girls who simply won't wear a trailing dress on the street to gather up microbes and all sorts of defilement; girls who don't wear a high hat to the theatre, or lacerate their feet with high heels and endanger their health with corsets; girls who will wear what is pretty and becoming and snap their fingers at the dictates of fashion when fashion is horrid and silly. And we want good girls,—girls who are sweet, right straight out from the heart to the lips; innocent and pure and simple girls, with less knowledge of sin and duplicity and evil-doing at twenty than the pert little schoolgirl of ten has all too often. And we want careful girls and prudent girls, who think enough of the generous father who toils to maintain them in comfort, and of the gentle mother who denies herself much that they may have so many pretty things, to count the cost and draw the line between the essentials and non-essentials; girls who strive to save and not to spend; girls who are unselfish and eager to be a joy and a comfort in the home rather than an expense and a useless burden. We want girls with hearts,—girls who are full of tenderness and sympathy, with tears that flow for other people's ills, and smiles that light outward their own beautiful thoughts. We have lots of clever girls, and brilliant girls, and witty girls. Give us a consignment of jolly girls, warm-hearted and impulsive girls; kind and entertaining to their own folks, and with little desire to shine in the garish world. With a few such girls scattered around, life would freshen up for all of us, as the weather does under the spell of summer showers."
WILL YOU PAY THE PRICE?
The gods sell anything and to everybody at a fair price. —EMERSON.
All desire knowledge, but no one is willing to pay the price. —JUVENAL.
There is no royal path which leads to geometry. —EUCLID.
There is no road to success but through a clear, strong purpose. A purpose underlies character, culture, position, attainment of whatever sort. —T. T. MUNGER.
Remember you have not a sinew whose law of strength is not action; you have not a faculty of body, mind, or soul, whose law of improvement is not energy. —E. B. HALL.
"We have but what we make, and every good Is locked by nature in a granite hand, Sheer labor must unclench."
"Oh, if I could thus put a dream on canvas!" exclaimed an enthusiastic young artist, pointing to a most beautiful painting. "Dream on canvas!" growled the master, "it is the ten thousand touches with the brush you must learn to put on canvas that make your dream."
"There is but one method of attaining excellence," said Sydney Smith, "and that is hard labor."
"If only Milton's imagination could have conceived his visions," says Waters, "his consummate industry alone could have carved the immortal lines which enshrine them. If only Newton's mind could reach out to the secrets of nature, even his genius could only do it by the homeliest toil. The works of Bacon are not midsummer-night's dreams, but, like coral islands, they have risen from the depths of truth, and formed their broad surfaces above the ocean by the minutest accretions of persevering labor. The conceptions of Michael Angelo would have perished like a night's phantasy, had not his industry given them permanence."
Salvini contributes the following to the Century as to his habits of study before he had established himself as a past master of tragedy: "I imposed upon myself a new method of study. While I was busying myself with the part of Saul, I read and reread the Bible, so as to become impregnated with the appropriate sentiments, manners and local color. When I took up Othello, I pored over the history of the Venetian Republic and that of the Moorish invasion of Spain. I studied the passions of the Moors, their art of war, their religious beliefs, nor did I overlook the romance of Giraldi Cinthio, in order the better to master that sublime character. I did not concern myself about a superficial study of the words, or of some point of scenic effect, or of greater or less accentuation of certain phrases with a view to win passing applause; a vaster horizon opened out before me—an infinite sea on which my bark could navigate in security, without fear of falling in with reefs."
His method was not new, but he considered it so, and gives his opinion in quotation-marks. He speaks of characters with which, his name is not always associated by writers on the stage, but is correct, I think, in the main.
Many years ago a little boy entered Harrow school and was put in a class beyond his years, wherein all the other boys had the advantage of previous instruction. His master used to reprove his dullness, but all his efforts could not raise him from the lowest place in the class. The boy finally procured the elementary books which the other boys had studied. He devoted the hours of play and many of the hours of sleep to mastering the elementary principles of these books. This boy was soon at the head of his class and the pride of Harrow. The statue of that boy, Sir William Jones, stands to-day in St. Paul's Cathedral; for he lived to be the greatest Oriental scholar of Europe.
"What is the secret of success in business?" asked a friend of Cornelius Vanderbilt. "Secret! there is no secret about it," replied the commodore; "all you have to do is to attend to your business and go ahead." If you would adopt Vanderbilt's method, know your business, attend to it, and keep down expenses until your fortune is safe from business perils.
"Work or starve," is nature's motto,—and it is written on the stars and the sod alike,—starve mentally, starve morally, starve physically. It is an inexorable law of nature that whatever is not used, dies. "Nothing for nothing," is her maxim. If we are idle and shiftless by choice, we shall be nerveless and powerless by necessity.
The mottoes of great men often give us glimpses of the secret of their characters and success. "Work! work! work!" was the motto of Sir Joshua Reynolds, David Wilkie, and scores of other men who have left their mark upon the world. Voltaire's motto was "Toujours au travail" (always at work). Scott's maxim was "Never be doing nothing." Michael Angelo was a wonderful worker. He even slept in his clothes ready to spring to his work as soon as he awoke. He kept a block of marble in his bedroom that he might get up in the night and work when he could not sleep. His favorite device was an old man in a go-cart, with an hour-glass upon it, bearing this inscription: "Ancora imparo" (still I'm learning). Even after he was blind he would ask to be wheeled into the Belvidere, to examine the statues with his hands. Cobden used to say, "I'm working like a horse without a moment to spare." It was said that Handel, the musician, did the work of a dozen men. Nothing ever daunted him. He feared neither ridicule nor defeat. Lord Palmerston worked like a slave, even in his old age. Being asked when he considered a man in his prime, he replied, "Seventy-nine," that being his own age. Humboldt was one of the world's great workers. In summer he arose at four in the morning for thirty years. He used to say work was as much of a necessity as eating or sleeping. Sir Walter Scott was a phenomenal worker. He wrote the "Waverley Novels" at the rate of twelve volumes a year. He averaged a volume every two months during his whole working life. What an example is this to the young men of to-day, of the possibilities of an earnest life! Edmund Burke was one of the most prodigious workers that ever lived.
George Stephenson used to work at meal time, getting out loads of coal while the miners were at dinner in order that he might earn a few extra shillings to buy a spelling-book and an arithmetic. His associates thought he was very foolish, and asked him what good it would do to learn to read and cipher. He told them he was determined to improve his mind; so he studied whenever he could snatch a minute before the engine's fire, and in every possible situation until he had a good, practical, common-sense education.
Garibaldi's father decided that Guiseppe should be a minister, because the boy was so sorry for a cricket which lost its leg. Samuel Morse's father concluded that his son would preach well because he could not keep his head above water in a dangerous attempt to catch bait in the Mystic River. President Dwight told young Morse he would never make a painter, and hinted that he never would amount to much any way if he did not study more. Although under the teaching of West and Allston in London, he became a tolerable portrait painter, he did not find his sphere until returning from England on a sailing vessel, he heard Professor Jackson explain an electrical experiment in Paris, when the thought of the telegraph flashed into his mind and he found no rest, until he flashed over the wire the first message, "What hath God wrought!" on the experimental line between Baltimore and Washington: this was May 24, 1844.
William H. Vanderbilt was by far the wealthiest man in the world. Chauncey M. Depew estimated his fortune at two hundred millions. He left his eight children ten millions each, except Cornelius and William K., who had sixty-five millions each. Commodore Vanderbilt, his father, amassed a fortune of eighty millions of dollars in his own lifetime, and that too at a time when it was more difficult to make money than it is now.
Mr. C. P. Huntington is a good example of a self-made man. His father was a Connecticut farmer. The farm was left to him, but he traded it off for a lot of clocks which he peddled in mining districts for gold dust and nuggets. He and Mark Hopkins formed a partnership and opened a hardware store in California. They united with Leland Stanford in the construction of a railroad, and they all got rich rapidly. Mr. Huntington is one of the greatest railroad operators of the country. He always acted upon the principle that he would control the stock of any road in which he was interested. He is one of the most methodical men of all the millionaires of this country. He is very plain in his manner, strictly temperate, and very abstemious in his living. He said he never knew what it was to be tired.
Russell Sage used to keep a grocery store in Troy, N. Y. He finally associated himself with Jay Gould, who used to be a constant borrower of money of him. Mr. Sage probably keeps more ready money on hand than any other millionaire. He can nearly always control ten millions or more at call. He has never speculated in stocks to any extent. Mr. Sage's word is as good as any bond. He has no taste for ordinary diversions, except driving.
Philip D. Armour, who has the appearance of a prosperous farmer, was born on a farm near Watertown, N. J. He became fired with a desire to see the "Boundless West." His mind seemed to run to hogs, and with a financial instinct he made up his mind that there was a fortune in transporting the hogs from where they were so plenty to where there were so few of them and so many to eat them. He could now purchase every hog in the world and then have money left to buy a railroad or two.
Mrs. Hetty Green is probably the richest woman in the world. Her fortune has grown from the little industry of her father in New Bedford, Mass. She has raised the nine millions left her by her father and nine millions left her by her aunt to thirty millions. She is a woman of great ability and courage. She once took with her five millions of dollars of securities in a satchel on a street car to deposit with her banker on Wall street.
The probabilities are that billionaires will be as plentiful in the twentieth century as millionaires are to-day, through hard work, self-denial, rigid economy, method, accuracy, and strict temperance, for not one of the self-made millionaires are intemperate. John D. Rockefeller never tastes intoxicating liquor. He seems as unvarying in his method and system as the laws of the universe. Jay Gould did not use wine or intoxicating liquor of any kind. Mr. Huntington does not even drink coffee, while William Waldorf Astor merely takes a sip of wine for courtesy's sake. Not one of the leading millionaires uses tobacco, and not one of them is profane. Very rich men are almost always honest in their dealings, so far as their word is concerned. William Waldorf Astor, until recently, has been considered the richest man in the world, but John D. Rockefeller surpasses him now, it is said. The whole wealth of Croesus was little more than the income of this modern Croesus for one year. Mr. Rockefeller controls about eighty or ninety millions of capital stock in the Standard Oil Trust. The Standard Oil Company is one of the best managed corporations in the world.
Two centuries and a quarter ago, a little, tempest-tossed, weather-beaten bark, barely escaped from the jaws of the wild Atlantic, landed upon the bleakest shore of New England. From her deck disembarked a hundred and one careworn exiles.
To the casual observer no event could seem more insignificant. The contemptuous eye of the world scarcely deigned to notice it. Yet the famous vessel that bore Caesar and his fortunes, carried but an ignoble freight compared with that of the Mayflower. Though landed by a treacherous pilot upon a barren and inhospitable coast, they sought neither richer fields nor a more congenial climate, but liberty and opportunity.
A lady once asked Turner the secret of his great success.
"I have no secret, madam, but hard work."
"This is a secret that many never learn, and they don't succeed because they fail to learn it. Labor is the genius that changes the world from ugliness to beauty, and the great curse to a great blessing."
See Balzac, in his lonely garret, toiling, toiling, waiting, waiting, amid poverty and hunger, but neither hunger, debt, poverty nor discouragement could induce him to swerve a hair's breadth from his purpose. He could wait, even while a world scoffed.
"Mankind is more indebted to industry than to ingenuity," says Addison; "the gods set up their favors at a price and industry is the purchaser."
Rome was a mighty nation while industry led her people, but when her great conquests of wealth and slaves placed her citizens above work, that moment her glory began to fade, and vice and corruption, induced by idleness, doomed the proud city to an ignominious history. Even Cicero, Rome's great orator, said, "All artisans are engaged in a disgraceful occupation;" and Aristotle said, "The best regulated states will not permit a mechanic to be a citizen, for it is impossible for one who lives the life of a mechanic, or hired servant, to practice a life of virtue. Some were born to be slaves." But, fortunately there came a mightier than Rome, Cicero or Aristotle, whose magnificent life and example forever lifted the false ban from labor and redeemed it from disgrace. He gave dignity to the most menial service, and significance to labor.
Christ did not say, "Come unto me all ye pleasure hunters, ye indolent and ye lazy;" but "Come all ye that labor and are heavy laden."
Columbus was a persistent and practical, as well as an intellectual hero. He went from one state to another, urging kings and emperors to undertake the first visiting of a world which his instructed spirit already discerned in the far-off seas. He first tried his own countrymen at Genoa, but found none ready to help him. He then went to Portugal, and submitted his project to John II., who laid it before his council. It was scouted as extravagant and chimerical. Nevertheless, the king endeavored to steal Columbus's idea. A fleet was sent forth in the direction indicated by the navigator, but, being frustrated by storms and winds, it returned to Lisbon after four days' voyaging.
Columbus returned to Genoa, and again renewed his propositions to the Republic, but without success. Nothing discouraged him. The finding of the New World was the irrevocable object of his life. He went to Spain, and landed at the town of Palos, in Andalusia. He went by chance to a convent of Franciscans, knocked at the door and asked for a little bread and water. The prior gratefully received the stranger, entertained him, and learned from him the story of his life. He encouraged him in his hopes, and furnished him with an admission to the Court of Spain, then at Cordova. King Ferdinand received him graciously, but before coming to a decision he desired to lay the project before a council of his wisest men at Salamanca. Columbus had to reply, not only to the scientific arguments laid before him, but to citations from the Bible. The Spanish clergy declared that the theory of the antipodes was hostile to the faith. The earth, they said, was an immense flat disk; and if there was a new earth beyond the ocean, then all men could not be descended from Adam. Columbus was considered a fool.
Still bent on his idea, he wrote to the King of England, then to the King of France, without effect. At last, in 1492, Columbus was introduced by Louis de Saint Angel to Queen Isabella of Spain. The friends who accompanied him pleaded his cause with so much force and conviction that he at length persuaded the queen to aid him.
Lord Ellenborough was a great worker. He had a very hard time in getting a start at the bar, but was determined never to relax his industry until success came to him. When he was worked down to absolute exhaustion, he had this card which he kept constantly before his eyes, lest he might be tempted to relax his efforts: "Read or Starve."
Show me a man who has made fifty thousand dollars, and I will show you in that man an equivalent of energy, attention to detail, trustworthiness, punctuality, professional knowledge, good address, common sense, and other marketable qualities. The farmer respects his savings bank book not unnaturally, for it declares with all the solemnity of a sealed and stamped document that for a certain length of time he rose at six o'clock each morning to oversee his labors, that he patiently waited upon seasonable weather, that he understood buying and selling. To the medical man, his fee serves as a medal to indicate that he was brave enough to face small pox and other infectious diseases, and his self-respect is fostered thereby.
The barrister's brief is marked with the price of his legal knowledge, of his eloquence, or of his brave endurance during a period of hope-deferred brieflessness.
A rich man asked Howard Burnett to do a little thing for his album. Burnett complied and charged a thousand francs. "But it took you only five minutes," objected the rich man. "Yes, but it took me thirty years to learn how to do it in five minutes."