And generally there is a disposition to undervalue common flowers. There are few that will trouble themselves to examine minutely a blossom that they have often seen and neglected; and yet if they would question such flowers and commune with them, they would often be surprised to find extreme beauty where it had long been overlooked.
It is not impertinent to offer flowers to a stranger. The poorest child can proffer them to the richest. A hundred persons turned into a meadow full of flowers would be drawn together in a transient brotherhood.
It is affecting to see how serviceable flowers often are to the necessities of the poor. If they bring their little floral gift to you, it cannot but touch your heart to think that their grateful affection longed to express itself as much as yours.
You have books, or gems, or services that you can render as you will. The poor can give but little and can do but little. Were it not for flowers, they would be shut out from those exquisite pleasures which spring from such gifts. I never take one from a child, or from the poor, without thanking God, in their behalf, for flowers.
The characteristic of heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.
R. W. Emerson.
There is always a best way of doing everything, if it be to open a book. Manners are the happy ways of doing things. They form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. Manners are very communicable; men catch them from each other.
The power of manners is incessant,—an element as unconcealable as fire. The nobility cannot in any country be disguised, and no more in a republic or a democracy than in a kingdom. No man can resist their influence. There are certain manners which are learned in good society, and if a person have them, he or she must be considered, and is everywhere welcome, though without beauty, or wealth, or genius. Give a boy address and accomplishments, and you give him the mastery of palaces and fortune wherever he goes.
Bad behavior the laws cannot reach. Society is infested with rude, restless, and frivolous persons who prey upon the rest. Bad manners are social inflictions which the magistrate cannot cure or defend you from, and which must be intrusted to the restraining force of custom. Familiar rules of behavior should be impressed on young people in their school-days.
ESSENCE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES