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tender character; instead of wasting itself in secret repinings.1
"I dwell too much upon the evils of my lot," said she to herself, one bright summer morning, when a thousand sights and sounds of joy breathed their influence into her soul. "I waste, in dreams of that, which never can return, the spirits and the health which should gladden the present hour. I have been too inactive; employment might divert my thoughts. Unhappy as I am, if I can contribute to the happiness of others, should not this rouse me to something like energy and hope ?"2
I like one that will forget a cause of quarrel with a friend, whose back is already at the wall; and remember nothing of him but his kindness. 3
Tyne heart, tyne all; it is making more of money than it is worth, to grieve about it. *
Howe'er disguised in its own dignity,
True dignity abides with him alone,
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
I can conceive nothing so respectable, as the spirit which rises above misfortune, and prefers honourable privations to debt, or dependence."
True hope is based on energy of character. mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope, because it knows the mutability of human affairs, and how slight a circumstance may change the whole course of events. Such a spirit, too, rests upon itself; it is not confined to
1 Justus Möser. (Mrs. Austin's tr.)
6 Bride of Lammermuir.
partial views, or one particular object. And if, at last, all should be lost, it has saved itself—its own integrity and truth.1
To-day's misfortune has given a wise cast to my mind. Spirits and folly will have their turn again. To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit, respectfully, to one's lot, bless the Goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation, which only makes our weakness more contemptible by showing we are not what we wish to appear."
You would have me believe my husband is jealous: suppose it true; I know a cure for jealousy: It is to speak the truth to my husband at all times; to hold up my mind and my thoughts before him as pure as that polished mirror; so that, when he looks into my heart, he shall only see his own features reflected there.3
Do not torment yourself or your husband with unreasonable exactions. Try to make yourself and all around you agreeable. It will not do to leave a man to himself, till he comes to you; to take no pains to attract him, or to appear before him with a long face.
Try to appear cheerful and contented, and your husband will be so; when you have made him happy, you will become so, not in appearance, merely, but in reality.
As soon as you are cheerful you will be lively and alert, and every moment will afford you an opportunity of letting fall an agreeable word.4
1 Von Knebel (Mrs. Austin's tr.).
2 Horace Walpole (last series of Letters to Sir Horace Mann). 3 Scott (Kenilworth).
4 See a beautiful letter from an old married woman to a sensitive young one, in "Fragments from German Prose Writers," by Mrs. Austin.
The bleakest rock, upon the loneliest heath,
And thus the heart, most seared to human pleasure,
So dutiful a daughter, cannot but prove a good wife.
Tears, whose pure innocence might tempt an angel
let me gaze
Let me be silent let me hold
fast!you your eyes, and find, in them,-every thing-comfort, and joy, and hope!3
The conquest o'er each erring thought,
Had she been mine, she would have wrought!
I had not wandered, wild and wide,
With such an angel for my guide;
Nor heaven, nor earth could then reprove me,
We celebrate nobler obsequies, to those we love, by drying the tears of others, than by shedding our own; and the fairest funeral wreath we can hang on their tomb, is not so fair as a fruit-offering of good deeds."
Remember that one act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world.
How despicable is that humanity, which can be contented to pity, where it might assuage.
Love of our neighbour doth imply readiness, upon all
Goethe (Mrs. Austin's tr.).
5 Jean Paul (Mrs. Austin's tr.)
occasions, to do him good, to promote and advance his benefit in all kinds.
It doth not rest in good opinions of mind, and good affections of heart, but from those roots doth put forth abundant fruits of real benevolence; it will not be satisfied with faint desires, or sluggish wishes, but will be up and doing what it can for its neighbour.
Such is true charity, which will render a man a general benefactor, in all matters, upon all occasions; affording to his neighbour all kinds of assistance and relief, according to his neighbour's need, and his own ability: it will make him a bountiful dispenser of his goods to the poor, a comforter of the afflicted, a visiter of the sick, an instructor of the ignorant, an adviser of the doubtful, a protector of the oppressed, a hospitable entertainer of strangers, a reconciler of differences, an intercessor for offenders, an advocate of those who need defence, a succourer of all that want help.
Such is a charitable man; the sun is not more liberal of its light and warmth, than he is of beneficial influence.
He disperseth, and giveth to the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and he shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense him: he shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Thus the pious man giveth, that is, with a free heart and pure intention, bestoweth his goods upon the indigent, without designing any benefit, or hoping for any requital to himself, except from God,-in conscience, respect, and love to Whom he doeth it.
The pious man doth disperse and give, while he lives, not reserving the disposal of all at once upon his death, or by his last will. And he doth it constantly, through all the course of his life, whenever good opportunity presents itself. He doth it not by fits, or by accident, according to unstable causes or circumstances moving him, (when bodily temper or humour inclineth him, when a sad object
makes vehement impression on him, when shame obligeth him to comply with the practice of others, when he may thereby promote some design, or procure some glory to himself,) but his practice is constant and uniform, being drawn from steady principles, and guided by certain rules, proceeding from reverence to God, and good will towards man, following the clear dictates and immutable laws of conscience.
What is in itself fit and right to be done, every man's own conscience plainly tells him; and whensoever he gives himself time seriously to consider and review his actions, it accordingly either applauds or condemns him, and affords him great pleasure and satisfaction from the sense of his having answered the chief ends of his creation, and complied with the highest obligations of his nature, in having endeavoured to promote the universal welfare and happiness of mankind, by the practice of truth and righteousness, meekness, goodness, and charity; or else, it cannot but secretly reproach, and severely condemn him, for having acted the contrary part.1
We may consider that there is no sort of duties which God hath more expressly commanded, or more earnestly inculcated, than those of bounty and mercy towards our brethren.
"Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thy iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor."
It is, indeed, observable that, among the parts of righteousness (which word is used to comprehend all virtue and goodness), this of exercising bounty and mercy is peculiarly called righteousness. The righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth; blessed are those that consider the poor."
1 Clarke (Sermon I. of Seventeen Sermons on several Occasions, 1705).
2 Dan. iv. 27.
3 See Psalm xxxvii. 21. 26.; also, Psalm xli. 1, 2, 3.