Saturday, November 27, 2010


May 11, 1926

Most of the way down the narrow road of this life, we have to travel alone. And a great deal of the way is passed in hunger.

But there are compensations, and these light the way and perfume the very air—even when it is heavy with the mist of yesterday's rain.

God has sprinkled beauty in this world in lavish fashion. The hills and moutains, the streams that clatter over their beds of white stones with a song upon their rippling lips, the music that leaps from the throats of hundreds of different varieties of birds, the matchless flowers in their gorgeous gowns and scented as only God could perfume them, and then your friends—few, perhaps—but many so genuine and true. And to a few, "love's brief immortality."

Everywhere compensations for our losses. And so often we dwell upon our losses without measuring our gains which may far outweight them.

So I would say: Believe in yourself. Look life in the eye. Smile at its hurts. Do not cringe under the lash.

William De Morgan was past 60 before his first novel was published, but when he died many years later he was one of the most noted writers in the world. Goethe finished "Faust" at the age of 80. Henry Ford was unknown in the world of businesses at 40. Col. W. R. Nelson was 40 when he started his Kansas City Star which has recently been appraised as worth more than six millions of dollars. Peary was around 50 years of age when he finally planted the stars and stripes at the North Pole.

These men had to believe in themselves. If they hadn't no one else ever would have known their remarkable abilities.

We sleep to wake.

Believe in yourself.

Monday, November 22, 2010


May 10, 1926

If we always understood, we wouldn't make any mistakes. The story of the human race has always been one of groping and striving. The unknowable. That something which might satify.

Moment by moment, hour by hour, days into years, this reaching, this dreaming, this longing of the mind and heart and soul goes on.

Every step out of ignorance is a step toward God and His world.

Happiness is a relative term, in its last analysis and yet unless there be interests in life that tend to create and build out of that which lies so dormant in our natures, we can know little happiness. We try to act independently. But that is impossible.

Everything we do or think is eternally woven into the endless skein of human throb and feeling. Somebody, somewhere is always affected by what we think or do.

You may this day be storing in your heart that which may not blood for years.

The explorer is always a benefactor. The achievement in itself is trivial to him. It is enough for him to feel that in the doing of his job there may also rest the end.

So it is that we have our expeditions to the ends of the earth. Our pole searchers, and those to whom dark continents and the charted "unexplored" mean only a search for knowledge and a desire to understand.

We are most misjudged by the ignorant by our sincerest searches after true expression and the largest development of our natures. Not being us, they, of course, are unable to travel with us.

What an epitaph for any man: "He strove to understand!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Passing of Old Ways

May 8, 1926


THE new today seems to be in the saddle. Changes are rapid and radical. So that we look upon the old as something far, far away.

But attractive as all new things are, there is something so mellow, rich and tried about the old. As in the case of an old friend who has gone through all our faults, our strange and often irritating ways, but who has caught the gold and lived on that.

Most of us prefer the new to the old, but every experience is blessed where we come in contact with something that has long been tried and which has stood the test.

To go into an old house a hundred or so years old, or to sit upon the ledge of a rock foundation that has held a beautiful structure for a long, long time is to feel the silent spirit of all that has hovered there.

I like the old farms that have stood for years. I like to wander over them. I like to listen to the stories of those who have worked them and loved them for so long.

What would we do without memory to sweeten this cup of life?

How memory beautifies every experience of life. I lifted from my desk among some choice papers today a letter that was written to me by my mother over a quarter of a century ago. It took me back to all that boyhood. The familiar hand, the quiet smile and warm arms that were always warm. The quaint humor but always and always that gentle solicitation for "my darling boy."

One works better, surer and happier anyway after one has crept back into he old things and old ways of old friends—if only to get a new, fresh breath.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


May 7, 1926



For 15 years this little machine has been my companion. In a room of quiet, and one so often silently lonely, each small key has imprinted upon the page the simple thoughts from my heart.

It has written nothing new. Just human expressions of one mind, colored by the better thoughts of other minds, but bathed in the heart of this writer's desires.

Have they been worth while? This little typewritter won't say. It simply serves these fingers. Fingers that have tried at so many other tasks—but this at least the happiest of all.

Just thoughts from a very imperfect and often blundering life. Thoughts inspired by the beauty and loveliness of others, sweetened by the sweetness of nobler lives.

This little typewritter is my sacred shrine sometimes. Because I tell it so much. Often what I tell it never gets farther than its imprint—and then is tucked away or else destroyed. Because we had our little talk anyway. And sometimes all we need is the little talk—even though merely given to the faithful and obedient machine.

For, you see, the one you want most of all to talk to isn't always around. Maybe just in your heart where you store your hunger and your love.

But many of the simple talks go out into the big world, as this and others have gone.

This little typewritter is always ready. It never finds fault. But I think it does keep saying: "Do better, do better, do better!"

Of course, we never know whether it is worth its keep, but we keep talking to it anyway.

We do so much not knowing why. Perhaps sometime it will all be explained.




All risks are a test of faith.
Obscurity may be the greatness with nobody around to announce it.
This we know, that God took great risks in placing each one of us in the world. But it isn't what we fail or achieve in that marks our worth. Often it is what we fail in totally, so long as the purpose and intention were fine.
The chambered nautilus casts off its outgrown shell. Each changing purpose of our lives gives newer zest and clothes new tasks.
If we do nothing that involves risks, we are apt to do nothing worth mentioning.
The tiny baby in its warm, soft clothes sleeps to its risks. But in a few years it finds itself wound about with their urge.
We are enveloped with risks. What we gain, we gain by risking.
With the crumbling or our fondest desires, we are faced with an horizon of risks. We challenge our ignoreance again and again. And our intelligence is asserted only as we newly arise and determine to risk more.
When things don't look plain, there is always the cloud of confusion about. And you have to risk a great deal to get out of a cloud. You say: "Why are clouds?" But you know why when they have passed.
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"
And if risks gather, isn't happiness worth the risk?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Gettysburg Times - Apr 30, 1926


You cannot recall hours. They trot by in single file one by one—but they never turn and look back. When they have passed, they have gone forever.

Those hours mean all in all to you. They glitter with gold. They are saturated with the most precious perfume. They dangle with opportunities. But they say nothing. They have no publicity agenda. Their silence is as impressuve as the grave. And yet all the color of life and hope beams from their separate 60 minutes!

Walt Mason, the unique and original writer of rhymes, once spoke of these travelling hours by telling people to "ride them till their backs are sore." "For," said he, "60 minutes have you—60 minutes—and no more."

The great task of education should be, not to fill our mind with things that would clog it, but with ideas that would move other ideas through that mind—keep it clean, fit to easily and quickly grasp useful information and interests, and as quickly to discard that which might never prove of use.

Fifteen minutes today given to selected reading every day in the year would give to any man or woman a fund or information in a very short time that the wisest, a hundred years ago, would have been proud to possess.

But how many—even the most intelligent—ever give this brief space of time to additional learning? How many make it a point to hunt out some new item of information each day?

If there are days in which you find it impossible to read, a few moments given at odd times to what you have read, or seen or heard, in serious thinking, will be as fresh food to the mind.

It was said of Hercules, the god or force, that "whether he sat, or walked, or whatever he did, he conquered." So, with you, no matter where you are, or what you may be doing, think, use your eyes, and rise just a little higher in thought space.

Don't waste a single minute. You need them all. Everybody does.