During very hard times two Italian artists called at our country home, asking if we did not want some sketching done, and they unrolled some elegant pictures, showing their fine capacity. We told them we had no desire for sketches, but we had a cistern to clean, and would pay them well for doing it. Off went their coats, and in a few hours the work was done and their wages awarded. How much more honorable for them to do what they could get to do rather than to wait for more adapted employment!
Why did not the girls of Northampton spend their summers embroidering slippers or hemming handkerchiefs, and thus keep at work unobserved and more popular? Because they were not fools. They said: “Let us go up and see Mount Adams, and the Profile, and Mount Washington. We shall have to work only five hours a day, and all the time we will be gathering health and inspiration.” Young men, those are the girls to seek when you want a wife, rather than the wheezing victims of ruinous work chosen because it is more popular. About the last thing we would want to marry is a medicine-chest. Why did not the students of Dartmouth, during their vacation, teach school? First, because teaching is a science, and they did not want to do three months of damage to the children of the common school. Secondly, because they wanted freedom from books as man makes them, and opportunity to open the ponderous tome of boulder and strata as God printed them. Churches and scientific institutions, these will be the men to call—brawny and independent, rather than the bilious, short-breathed, nerveless graduates who, too proud to take healthful recreation, tumble, at commencement day, into the lap of society so many Greek roots.
Passing along a country road quite recently, we found a man, a horse and wagon in trouble. The vehicle was slight and the road was good, but the horse refused to draw, and his driver was in a bad predicament. He had already destroyed his whip in applying inducements to progress in travel. He had pulled the horse’s ears with a sharp string. He had backed him into the ditch. He had built a fire of straw underneath him, the only result a smashed dash-board. The chief effect of the violences and cruelties applied was to increase the divergency of feeling between the brute and his master. We said to the besweated and outraged actor in the scene that the best thing for him to do was to let his horse stand for a while unwhipped and uncoaxed, setting some one to watch him while he, the driver, went away to cool off. We learned that the plan worked admirably; that the cold air, and the appetite for oats, and the solitude of the road, favorable for contemplation, had made the horse move for adjournment to some other place and time; and when the driver came up, he had but to take up the reins, and the beast, erst so obstinate, dashed down the road at a perilous speed.