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He who ascends to mountain-tops, shall find
Byron: Childe Harold, Canto III, xlv.
23. There was a certain elderly gentleman who lived in a court
of the Temple, and was a great judge and lover of port wine. Every day he dined at his club and drank his bottle or two of port wine, and every night came home to the Temple and went to bed in his lonely chambers. This had gone on many years without variation, when one night he had a fit on coming home, and fell and cut his head deep, but partly recovered and groped about in the dark to find the door. When he was afterwards discovered, dead, it was clearly established by the marks of his hands about the room that he must have done so. Now, this chanced on the night of Christmas Eve, and over him lived a young fellow who had sisters and young country friends, and who gave them a little party that night, in the course of which they played at Blindman's Buff. They played that game, for their greater sport, by the light of the fire only; and once, when they were all quietly rustling and stealing about, and the blindman was trying to pick out the prettiest sister (for which I am far from blam. ing him), somebody cried, “ Hark! The man below must be playing Blindman's Buff by himself to-night!” They listened, and they heard sounds of some one falling about and stumbling against furniture, and they all laughed at the conceit, and went on with their play, morė light-hearted and merry than ever. Thus, those two so different games of life and death were played out together, blindfolded, in the two sets of chambers.
Dickens : The Uncommercial Traveller, chap. xiv.
All the world 's a stage,
and beard of formal cut,
Shakespeare: As You Like It, 11, vii.
Great honors are great burdens, but on whom
Ben Jonson : Catiline, III, i.
A man is not strong who takes convulsive-fits ; though six men cannot hold him then. He that can walk under the heaviest weight without staggering, he is the strong man. We need forever, especially in these loud-shrieking days, to remind ourselves of that. A man who cannot hold his
peace, till the time come for speaking and acting, is no right man.
Carlyle: Rousseau (Hero Worship).
Old Age, this is Mr. Professor; Mr. Professor, this is
Old Age. Mr. Professor, I hope to see you well. I have known you for some time, though I think you did not know me. Shall we walk down the street together?
Professor (drawing back a little). We can talk more quietly, perhaps, in my study. Will you tell me how it is you seem to be acquainted with everybody you are introduced to, though he evidently considers you an entire stranger?
Old Age. I make it a rule never to force myself upon a person's recognition until I have known him at least five years. Professor. Do
you mean to
have known me so long as that?
Old Age. I do. I left my card on you longer ago than that, but I am afraid you never read it; yet I see you have
it with you.
Old Age. There, between your eyebrows, — three straight lines running up and down; all the probate courts know that token, -"Old Age, his mark."
Professor. What message do people generally send back wben
first call on them? Old Age. Not at home. Then I leave a card and go. Next
year I call; get the same answer; leave another card. So for five or six, sometimes ten years or more. At last, if they don't let me in, I break in through the front door or the windows.
We talked together in this way some time. Then Old Age said again, - Come, let us walk down the street together, and offered me a cane, an eye-glass, a tippet, and a pair of over-shoes. No, much obliged to you, said I. I don't want those things, and I had a little rather talk with you here, privately, in my study. So I dressed myself up in a jaunty way and walked out alone; got a fall, caught a cold, was laid up with lumbago, and had time to think over this whole matter.
Holmes: Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.
2. For general reading
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
0. Henry 28. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty
cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at eight dollars per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young."
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray back yard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only one dollar and eighty-seven cents with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week does n't go far. Ex penses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only one dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling - something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an eight-dollar flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time be passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read : “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and col