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“I heard the letters talking, saw thought forming, felt the syllables writing as my hands wandered over the sensitized paper, smelling the perfume of dead men’s thoughts.”
I was nearly thirty-nine years old when I became a student at the Astor and began a life so different from the lives I had lived in Glasgow, Chicago, Austin and Galveston, that I might have been born again for it. Virtually, I was reborn. In that great and terrible alembic of pestilence and death through which I was passed in Galveston, all the small delights and frivolities of my life vanished; and I came out of its fires, holding firmly to one adequate virtue in their place—henceforward to be through all the days of my life, an all competent motive, and an all sufficient reward—the homely virtue of duty. And I have never regretted this exchange though at first I found, as all the servants of duty must do,
“That they who follow her commands,
Must on with heart, and knees, and hands,
Through the long gorge, the upper light to win.
But still the path is upward, and once
The toppling crags of Duty scaled, the soul
Stands clear upon the shining table lands,
To which our God himself is moon and star.”
For moral and spiritual gifts are bought, and not given. We pay for them in some manner, or we go empty away. It is every day duty that tells on life. Spiritual favors are not always to be looked for, and not always to be relied on. After the glory of Mt. Tabor, the disciples were not willing to go to Calvary with Christ. They forsook him and fled.
In my little home of three rooms, things were not uncomfortable; we made the best of what we had, and we found out how few are the real necessities of life, and how much we could do without, and yet be happy enough. For if the heart is young, nothing is too hard; and when these meagre days were over, we often talked of the good time we had had in them. For if love be of your company, I declare poverty to be an exquisite experience. We found out then the heart of love, and of many other things; she taught us economy and self-denial, for we would all have wanted rather than have let Alice miss any of her small desires. She did her best to give us some knowledge of life, but with myself she did not succeed very well. I was so hopeful, that I would not foresee evil, and as yet I fully trusted humanity. Moreover, I had so often been wonderfully helped in great anxieties, that I could not believe the time would ever come when the hard eye of misfortune
“... would not know it vain,
To empty what heaven brimmed again.”
Soon after we were fairly settled, just as we were sitting down to supper one night, Mary opened the door. With a cry of pleasure I made a place for her chair between myself and Alice, and as I did so, I got a glimpse of my daughter, that I have never forgotten, nor ever shall forget. She was then in her nineteenth year, a tall graceful girl in a long dark costume, and a soft gray beaver hat. Her hands were out-stretched, her face shining with love, and I had a sudden great pride and pleasure in her beauty and affection. She is now sixty years old, and of course changed in every way, but nothing can deprive me of this soul photograph of her, while the dew of youth, and the glory of family affection transfigured her. I know this, because I have been thrice since to the very shoal of Time, and turning back to life again, have brought that picture back with me. If I had not turned back, it would have gone with me.
In a moment she was sitting at my side, and Lilly had brought her a cup and plate, and was serving her with smiles and exclamations of pleasure. But at that moment Mary cared little for food. She had Alice within her arm, and was kissing her small lifted face with the tenderest affection. Then she turned to me. “Mamma!” she cried, “let me come home! I want to come home! While you were fifty miles away, I could bear it; but now that you are almost in the next street, I cannot endure to be away from you.”
“I would like you to be at home, Mary,” I answered. “It would be a great joy to all of us. But the Sykes’ have been very kind to you, and you cannot treat them badly.”
“Dear Mamma! I would not do so for any reason. But they are going on a trip out West, and railway traveling makes me ill. Mrs. Sykes knows this, and she says she hopes Lilly will go to help her with the children.”
“I would like to go!” Lilly cried with enthusiasm. “I would like nothing better.”
The discussion of this subject made the evening very interesting; and it was finally decided that Lilly should go with the Sykes family, and Mary remain at home. And I may add here, that the glamour of the Great West so infatuated the child, that she has been haunted by its vastness and its promises to this very day. To go West, far far West, has been the dream of her life—a dream that has never come true. But if it had come true, what then? Who can tell? I have always found that the things I planned, desired, and worked for, if they came at all, brought with them disappointment and regret; while those that came to me unsought and unexpected proved to be the very things I needed most of all.
Before Christmas Lilly was home again, but by this time I had made up my mind that I could not be parted from my children any more. We must stay together. God could care for us in one family, as well as in two. How faithless I had been to doubt this! So after Lilly had partially exhausted her delightful enthusiasm about her journey, and I saw that the clock was traveling up-hill to midnight, I told them so.
“Dear ones!” I said, “we will not separate any more. I will work a little harder, and there is plenty in the home here, for you both to do. Lilly will keep house, and look after our meals, and Mary——”
“O Mamma!” Mary interrupted, “there is all the winter sewing yet to do. Rent a sewing-machine, and Mary will make warm dresses for us all.”
“Can you, dear?” I asked.
“I could make a dress pretty well, when I went to Mrs. Sykes. I learned a great deal while I was there. She frequently had a dressmaker in the house, and then I helped her, and so learned a great deal. I can make our dresses as well as any ordinary modiste.”
“That will be a great help to us,” I said, “and one, or the other of you, will find time every fine day to give Alice a walk, and when she is able, to hear her read.”
Both girls eagerly accepted their duty to their sick sister, and Mary said, with an excitement not very common with her, “I vote, Mamma, that we stay together, and fight the battle of life out on that line.”
“And you, Lilly, what do you say?”
“Let us stay together, even if we live on bread and water.”
I was the proudest and happiest mother in the world at that moment, and I answered joyfully, “You are right, dears, we will fight the battle out on this line.”
“What a game it will be!” cried Lilly. “All of us for Mamma, and Mamma for all of us! We shall win! No doubt of it!”
And that night as I lay silently happy and thoughtful, with the children sleeping at my side, the grand old rallying cry of a famous English school wherever gathered for honorable strife, suddenly rung in my ears,
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”
For more than twenty years I had not heard it, but at that moment it pealed and pealed, and pealed through my consciousness, as if all the bells of Kendal Church were ringing it. Over and over I heard it. My heart beat to its shrill music, my fingers tattooed it on the bed cover, I could hardly lie still. Why had it come to me at this hour? I had forgotten it for so long—so long. Doubtless its memory had been evoked by Lilly’s cheerful resolute exclamation, “What a game it will be!” For it was easy for me to unconsciously think of this brave child, playing up any good or honorable game of life, to the last moment of that great game, when
“Death holds the odds,
Of his unequal fray.”
And “if a woman is game as she is mild, and mild as she is game,” a late great writer says, “that should satisfy any of us.”
Many and many a time since that happy hour, in straits of all kinds, I have been encouraged and strengthened by this plucky rallying cry of English schoolboys, and I have said to my failing spirit, “Now, Amelia, the game is hard, and the odds are against you, but you cannot sneak out because of that. ‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’”
About six weeks ago, I felt as if I really must give up. I had been writing for five years without even a day’s rest, and my present task of recalling, and feeling the past all over, had thoroughly exhausted me. “I can do no more,” I said, and with old, tired eyes, full of unshed tears—for old eyes dare not weep—and a sad heart, scarcely beating, I fell upon my bed, and was at once in a deep sleep. I was awakened by a crowd of schoolboys from Professor Stone’s school which is just above my house. They were singing or chanting all together some school slogan. I know not what, but it awoke in my soul, the old battle cry of the classes on their English playground,
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”
And the cheerful, resolute noise was like old wine to my heart. I rose confidently, and went to my study and wrote for nearly three hours without any feeling of weariness. In that time, I got over the hard bit of road, that had so discouraged me, and the next morning I could sit down cheerfully at my desk, and repeat my usual grace before writing:
“I say to my Maker,
Thanks! for the day’s work,
That my Lord gives me.”
Not a week after this event, one of those strange coincidences of which life is full, if we only noticed them, occurred. Lilly sent me a stirring little song on this very subject, written by Henry Newbolt, a well known lawyer of London, and I will transcribe its two last verses, because they so well illustrate what I have said about the influence of this ancient school cry,
“The sand of the desert is sodden red,
Red with the wreck of a square that broke—
The Gattling’s jammed, and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The River of Death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour’s a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks,
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’
“This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it, dare forget.
This, they all with a joyful mind,
Bear through life like a torch aflame,
And falling fling to the host behind—
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’”
The agreement made between my daughters and myself to play the game together, and not apart, was faithfully kept through many changeful years. It would seem that literature in the shape I followed it then, might be a rather monotonous life. We found it full of interest and variety. There was always something to tell, or some plan to talk over, when we gathered for our evening meal. For one event leads to another, and that often in the most unforeseen manner. Thus, in the present agreement, Mary had decided to take care of the family sewing, but she quickly pointed out to me, that material for winter garments must be bought immediately, and I promised to try and go with her in the afternoon. I had thought of this necessity during the night, and had come then to a conclusion, I had once thought nothing would ever make me accept.
I had a valuable ring, a diamond guard to my wedding ring. I had not worn it since we left Galveston, and its disappearance had not been named. I could not bear to speak of it, and I dare say the children thought I had sold it for some necessity. But I felt that I must now part with it, and I experienced real, palpable pain, when I came to this conclusion; my heart ached just as my head might have ached, and I hope none of my readers will ever have to thole such suffering. It does not seem worth while for any of them to be sorry for a woman, who had a heartache about the loss of a diamond ring. Well, it was not the diamonds; it was the memories hidden in their shining depths.
One Sunday afternoon while I was strolling with my lover in the laurel woods round the Salutation Inn at Lake Windermere, Robert gave it to me. It was then just three months before our marriage, and ever after, it had been associated with some of the sweetest episodes of our happy life together. Three or four times since my widowhood, I had been in such extremity, that I had resolved to turn it into gold, but every time something happened which saved my amulet.
For I was superstitious about it. To me it was an amulet. I believed that while I wore it in my breast, Robert would remember me, and in times of perplexity and trouble, help and counsel. Every one has some superstition. I say “every one” with consideration, and from a rather extensive knowledge of personal superstitions. The richest, shrewdest, most truly religious man I ever knew, had two or three apparently very silly ones; yet they ruled his life, and in some measure his enormous business, and he told me he had never defied them, but to his sorrow or loss. So I must not be too much blamed for having a very tender superstition about my ring, and a strong reluctance to part with it.
I waited all night for the premonition that something would happen this time also to save the ring, but no whisper of comfort, no sign of salvation came, and when I awoke in the morning, it was with the conviction that I must now part with this very last memento of a life forever gone from me. With tears I took it out of the little pocket, which I had made for it in the bosom of my dress, and dropped it into my purse. Then I went to the breakfast table, and found the children so happy over their new plans, that I could not bear to dash their hopes and enthusiasms by any mention of the sad duty before me.
We talked for an hour about the kind of dresses wanted, and neither Mary nor Lilly were extravagant in their desires. Lilly only stipulated that she would like a dark blue cloth, because that color suited her, and Mary said, with a comical little laugh, “I don’t care so much about color, Mamma, but do not dress us alike. I don’t want to hear people say, ‘They are the two Miss Barrs, illustrated by Black Watch tartan dresses;’ for you know, Mamma, dear, you have an unquenchable taste for Black Watch tartan.” I could not help laughing at the accusation, for I acknowledge that to this day, the sombre, handsome tints of the Black Watch regiment attract me.
“You see, Mamma,” she added, “we are not going to live in Scotland, and in New York I have noticed dark sage green with pale blue trimmings is in favor. I should like to be in the fashion. I don’t care about color. Any color suits me.”
So with laughter and happy voices in my ears, and a little tremor in my heart, I turned into Broadway. My fear was now, that I should not be able to sell my ring, and so bring disappointment and waiting to those whose happiness was my first concern. I had no clear idea where to go, but I thought on Broadway I would be likely to find the best jewelry stores, and I considered myself very clever, when I cunningly resolved, not to take the first offer made me, but to ask at least in three different places.
About Fourteenth Street I met a policeman, a fat, rosy, good-natured-looking man, and I asked where the best jewelry store could be found. He walked a few steps with me, and then pointed out Tiffany’s in Union Square.
“They are clean gentlemen there,” he said, “and they’ll neither charge you too much—nor give you too little.”
So I went to Tiffany’s, and a very pleasant gentleman asked me what I wished. I took my ring out of my purse, and showing it to him, said, “I have to sell this ring. Will you buy it?”
He looked at the ring, and then at me, and said, “It is a beautiful ring. I am sorry you have to part with it.”
“Will you buy it?” I asked again, and I was aware that my voice trembled.
“We cannot,” he answered. “Our house does nothing in that way of business, but I can send you to a gentleman who will buy it, and who will be certain to treat you fairly, and to give you its value.”
And I could not help believing him, for his face and voice were full of sympathy, as I answered, “Thank you, sir. That is all I want.”
Then he took a card from his pocket book, wrote a few lines on it, and enclosing it in an envelope, addressed the message, whatever it was, to Mr. John Henry Johnston, Bowery and Grand Street.
I knew nothing of these localities, but when I reached the friendly policeman at Fourteenth Street again, he told me exactly how to find the place. And the unaffected kindness of these two men in some strange way drew all the sorrow out of my heart, and I walked down the Bowery full of interest in all the strange shops and sights I saw there; for it appeared to be full of people, in every kind of dress the continent of Europe could supply. In fact it was full of emigrants in their national costumes, waiting for the evening emigrant train, and in the meantime, seeing what they could of the city of New York.
At length I came to Grand Street, and saw the store I wanted. It was a large handsome store, and I walked into it, and asked for Mr. Johnston. His appearance rather astonished me. He looked to be about thirty-seven years old, but his hair was snow white. He had a pleasant, intelligent, kind face, and his manner was most prepossessing. He read the card sent him, and said politely, “Come into my office, Madame.”
I told him my name, then he looked at my ring, and said, “The stones are good, and it is of English make, I think. I may say, I am sure.”
“It was bought in Glasgow, from the firm of Alexander McDonald—but for all that, may be of English make,” I answered.
He spent a little time in examining the ring, then sent for another gentleman, and asked him to appraise its value; while this was being done, he asked me if I was the Amelia Barr who wrote for the Christian Union. In a short time, the second gentleman having finished his examination, Mr. Johnston told me what he would give me for the ring, and I was amazed. I had not expected half as much, and I joyfully accepted his offer. Then and there, we finished the transaction, and my ring was gone from me forever. But when he put it in the safe, and the iron door shut heavily upon it, I could have shrieked. It hurt me so! It hurt me so! If it had not been for the three dear girls waiting for the money, I should even then have said, “Give it back to me. I cannot, cannot part with it!”
As it was, I did not speak, but as I rose to go away, Mr. Johnston asked me to sit awhile, and being excited and trembling, I thought it well to do so. Thus began a very sincere friendship between Mr. Johnston’s family and my own. Mrs. Johnston was called Amelia, and this simple circumstance made our first meeting a very pleasant one. For several years the Johnstons were true friends, but Mrs. Johnston died early, and in later years I have lost sight of Mr. Johnston. He did me many favors, but there is one above all others, which I can never forget. It was in connection with my ring, and it gives me yet a warmth at my heart to remember it.
About three weeks after it had passed from my possession, a small parcel came to me, and when I opened it I saw the little box in which I had always kept my treasure. With trembling fingers I opened it, and there lay my ring, changed indeed, but still my ring. The stones had been removed, and over the vacancy caused by their removal, had been placed a scroll of gold, inscribed in black enamel with the word “Faith.” Fortunately, I was alone in my home, and I went to my room and falling on my knees, I laid the changed ring in my open palm before God. What I said, He knows, and there are many of my readers who will understand without my explanation. I thought God would see, and be sorry for me.
Was I not happy? Yes, at first very happy, but gradually my feelings changed. The beloved amulet, denuded of its splendor and value, was such an evident symbol of myself, and my fortune, that I could not help a kind of sorrowful astonishment, followed by a gush of passionate weeping. “O Robert! Robert!” I cried, and then both words and tears failed, and I laid my head on the bed, and was dumb; because my loss was so irreparable, that even God could not restore
“The weeping hopes, the memories beyond tears,
The many, many, blessed, unforgotten years.”
At that hour my heart was empty of all but grief.
Very soon, however, I heard my children’s voices on the stairs. They were talking softly but happily, and I rose and bathed my face, and to their eager call of “Mamma! Mamma!” I went to meet them. Then I showed them the changed ring, and I am sure that wherever Mr. Johnston was at that hour, his heart must have glowed with the warmth of the good wishes sent to him. I also tried to be pleased and happy, for I told myself, that if there had been any real reason for the grief I had just indulged, God would have spoken a word of comfort to me, yet when I showed Him the changed ring, He did not. My tears had been useless, for there is no deliverance through tears, unless God wipes them away.
So I placed the ring on my finger, and wore it that night, and when the mystery of sleep wrapped me like a garment, I found out that God had not been indifferent to my tears, and that He had royal compassion for the sorrowful and broken-hearted who had not dared to expect anything.
For a little while, I wore it constantly, thinking I could accustom myself to its company, but it had been too long a part of myself and my life. A sudden glimpse of it could sometimes destroy a day’s work, and if I purposely looked at it, the heart overruled the head, and I was not able to write at all. It depressed me, and put down the soft pedal on all thought and mental expression. So I finally laid it away among the sacred things of my affections, my father’s, mother’s, and husband’s last letters, the lock of Robert’s dark hair just tinged with gray, the golden curls from my children’s brows, the flowers that had bloomed on their graves. Among such treasures it found its place—the last memento of a love and a life, dead, and gone forever.
Some of my readers will very likely say that I was foolishly superstitious regarding this ring, and evidently considered it as an amulet or charm. I will answer them in the words of a very learned man, who wrote on this subject, and then leave them to argue the question as it seems to appeal most powerfully to their experience, or their prejudices.
“As to Charms, a coin, a pebble, any trifle long carried on the person, becomes imbued with the personality. Sometimes they have such strange ways of remaining with one, that we cannot help suspecting they have a will of their own. Who has not been amazed at the persistency with which a coin, a key, a button, a pebble picked up and put in the pocket, stays there? Or how some card will lurk in our pocketbook, till it is plain it is there of its own intention. In a little time, we can’t help feeling as if these things know a great deal that we do not know; and we treat them with liking and respect, and even care.”
Let those who say they never do “such silly things,” deny; the wise, who dare affirm or acknowledge the foible, will be a large majority.
By whatever power or influence my ring held me, its putting away was an advantageous thing. Since Robert’s death my life had been, to my own apprehension, two-fold: a sharply defined life above consciousness, and a vague, haunting, dreamlike life below consciousness. The latter had troubled most of my hours of rest and solitude; and living in it, either waking or sleeping, I was sad with regrets and self-accusations. A night spent in its gloom robbed the next day of vitality and active mentality. I was depressed, and work of any kind is not done as well as it could be, if gone to with cheerfulness, yes, even with gladness. But with the removal of the ring from my person, the last link between the past and the present life was broken. I know not how it came about, but gradually I was able to dismiss “Memory’s rapturous pain.”
“For when I drank of that divinest anguish,
How could I taste the empty world again?”
Yes, I began to forget. At first I could not believe it, and I struggled against the fact. I told my heart to remember, but it was only telling love to do what love had once done of itself. I found it useless, as all have done, and will do to struggle against the deepest nature of things. For God has appointed time to console affliction, and living loves and inexorable wants and duties, compel us to accept the present as compensation for all that has been taken away, and so for a while,
“... we do not quite forget,
Nor quite remember, till the past days seem,
The waving memory of a lovely dream.”
Every event has two or three causes, and probably quite as many issues, and Mr. Johnston’s friendship carried Lilly back to mission work. She went with him and a Mr. Swartout to the Five Points Mission one Sunday afternoon, and at this time the Five Points Mission was the pet philanthropy of New York. There was always a great number of visitors there on the Sabbath, but it was the number of poor children that attracted Lilly. She had a singular aptitude for interesting and managing them, and this faculty had been trained and exercised by her famous pastor, Dr. Joseph Brown of the Kent Road Church, Glasgow, especially in the poor children’s dinners supplied by the city and private charity. So this Sunday afternoon decided her life for the next two years or more, and also had a helpful influence on our own home.
For the attention of the Reverend George Mingens, Superintendent of New York’s city missions, was soon drawn to her fine voluntary work, and he asked her to join his missionary helpers. But I was extremely averse to her even visiting the Five Points district, though I acknowledged to myself the native and natural quality of her evangelism. My father delighted in his home missions, and my Uncle John died at Sierra Leone after seven years missionary labor there. A picture of his lonely grave in the African desert hung in my father’s study, and was one of the first things I heard a story about. It was only a poor woodcut taken from a Churchman Magazine, but as I grew older my imagination easily supplied the lions on the horizon, and the negro kneeling beside it.
Also I had a most disquieting memory of a little girl about eight years old, after a missionary meeting in Penrith Chapel, declaring that as soon as she was grown up, she was going to the heathen at the ends of the earth. She was going to tell them about their good brother Jesus, who stretched out his arms to them, even from the Cross. And I was ashamed before this ghost of a child from the past, and then remembered how Lilly had even neglected her school and her lessons to go to serve at the poor children’s dinners in Glasgow, finding in this service a consolation for a life lonely and not happy. So there was no reason at all to wonder at her enthusiasm for mission work. It was an inherited tendency, strengthened by the experience of three generations.
The next time Mr. Mingens called he made a proposal I had neither heart, nor argument to oppose. He said he had taken dinner the previous evening with Mr. and Mrs. William E. Dodge, and that during a conversation about city missions, Mrs. Dodge had expressed a desire that Miss Barr would act as her private missionary. He told us that Mrs. Dodge was very rich and charitable, and had letters every day asking her help in a variety of troubles, and that she thought Miss Barr would be the very person to investigate the real condition of the writers, and if their cases were worthy of help, to see that they obtained it.
The offer greatly pleased Lilly, and after she had an interview with Mrs. Dodge, she was taken captive by that lady’s spiritual and personal charms and was very happy in the work assigned her. The salary she received for it brightened all our lives, for it enabled us to rent and make the comfortable home we all longed to possess. For there was but one purse in the family. I carried it, but it belonged alike to all; and I never once remember Lilly asking for a dollar of her salary, for her private use or pleasure.
In the meantime my reputation grew imperceptibly as a tree grows. In a little more than a year after I began writing for the Christian Union I had a great deal to do for Dr. Stephen Tyng, a notable young clergyman of that day. My first literary work for him was to write twenty little stories about Olivet Chapel and its mission. They were to be about seven or eight hundred words long, and though all on the same subject, to be varied as much as possible. I found no difficulty in doing what he wished. It was only to make men of different creeds and nationalities, age and temperament, wealth and poverty, discuss the mission. To me it proved a pleasant mental exercise, and Dr. Tyng was more than satisfied, and paid me one hundred dollars. I thought the cars would never get me home. I was in such a hurry to tell the children, I must have taken two steps at once.
That day remains in my memory as a perfectly happy day, for Dr. Tyng paid me with such cordiality and unstinted praise, that my pleasure was doubled. Subsequently when Dr. Tyng and Dr. Hepworth began to publish a weekly newspaper, called the Working Church, they associated me with them in its preparation. This paper published the first novel I ever wrote, as simple a story as “Jan Vedder’s Wife,” but laid among the Cumberland Fells and in the city of Glasgow. At that time I knew nothing about book rights, and English rights, and I suppose Dr. Tyng never imagined a writer could be ignorant about such personal points, for he did not speak to me on the subject. So when Dr. Tyng had paid me for its publication in the Working Church I believed I had no further right in it. It was put away and forgotten, until about half a year ago, when I found it in a box full of old diaries, papers, et cetera. Its name was “Eunice Leslie” and if any one has early copies of the Working Church they will find it there, and I should be glad to hear of it.
Among my duties on this paper was the preparation of the columns of church news, and general news, and Dr. Lyman Abbott in writing to Dr. Tyng about the newspaper said, “They were well done,” and asked, “Who prepared them?” And as Dr. Abbott knew I was responsible for their accuracy and brightness, it was very kind of him to make the inquiry. It was a small kindness; it was done forty years ago, and Dr. Abbott has doubtless forgotten it, but I still remember how much it pleased me. As for Dr. Abbott, he may count it, as Wordsworth says, in
“That best portion of a good man’s life—
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness, and of love.”
Dr. Tyng showed me Dr. Abbott’s question, and his compliment to the general character of the Working Church as a popular religious weekly, and with a gay little laugh commented thus, “I am glad the doctor did not spell ‘Weekly’ with an ‘a.’” Then his countenance beamed with pleasure, and I can see him this moment, as I saw him then, standing with the note in his hand, as fine a type of a highly-cultured good-hearted gentleman as I ever met.
 Beowulf, A.D. 600.
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