S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Sir Arthur Helps
Be cheerful, no matter what reverse obstruct your pathway, or what plagues follow you in your trail to annoy you. Ask yourself what is to be gained by looking or feeling sad when troubles throng around you, or how your condition is to be alleviated by abandoning yourself to despondency. If you are a young man, nature designed you to be of good cheer; and should you find your road to fortune, fame, or respectability, or any other boon to which your young heart aspires, a little thorny, consider it all for the best, and that these impediments are only thrown in your way to induce greater efforts and more patient endurance on your part. Far better spend a whole life in diligent, aye, cheerful and unremitting toil, though you never attain the pinnacle of your ambitious desires, than to turn back at the first appearance of misfortune, and allow despair to unnerve your energies, or sour your naturally sweet and cheerful disposition. If you are of the softer, fairer portion of humanity, be cheerful; though we know full well that most affections are sweet to you when compared with disappointment and neglect, yet let hope banish despair and ill forebodings. Be cheerful: do not brood over fond hopes unrealized, until a chain, link after link, is fastened on each thought and wound around the heart. Nature intended you to be the fountain-spring of cheerfulness and social life, and not the travelling monument of despair and melancholy.
Resolveand tell your wife of your good resolution. She will aid it all she can. Her step will be lighter and her hand will be busier all day, expecting the comfortable evening at home when you return. Household affairs will have been well attended to. A place for everything, and everything in its place, will, like some good genius, have made even an humble home the scene of neatness, arrangement, and taste. The table will be ready at the fireside. The loaf will be one of that order which says, by its appearance, You may come and cut again. The cups and saucers will be waiting for supplies. The kettle will be singing; and the children, happy with fresh air and exercise, will be smiling in their glad anticipation of that evening meal when father is at home, and of the pleasant reading afterwards.
No doubt hard work is a great police-agent. If everybody were worked from morning till night, and then carefully locked up, the register of crimes might be greatly diminished. But what would become of human nature? Where would be the room for growth in such a system of things? It is through sorrow and mirth, plenty and need, a variety of passions, circumstances, and temptations, even through sin and misery, that mens natures are developed.
Infinite toil would not enable you to sweep away a mist; but by ascending a little, you may often look over it altogether. So it is with our moral improvement: we wrestle fiercely with a vicious habit, which could have no hold upon us if we ascended into a higher moral atmosphere.