Arthur Wilton had been for several years a student; but he was one of the plodding sort, who make but slow progress. The principal barrier to his improvement arose from one defect in his character; and that was the habit in which he constantly indulged, of deploring the past, without making any very strong efforts toward amendment in the future. He was one evening seated in his room; a ponderous volume lay open on his study-table, and for a time he vainly tried to fix his attention thereon, till finally he closed the book, and leaning back in his chair, his brows contracted, and the lines about his mouth grew tense, as if his thoughts were anything but pleasing. As usual he was bemoaning his misspent hours.
“Ah,” said he, speaking in soliloquy, “they are gone, never more to return, the careless happy days of childhood, the sunny period of youth, and the aspiring dreams of mature manhood. I once indulged in many ambitious dreams of fame, and those dreams have never been realized. Many with whom I set out on equal ground have outstripped me in the race of life, and here am I alone. Many who were once my inferiors have nearly overtaken me, and doubtless they too will soon pass me by. What I very much prize is a true friend, and yet no friend approaches with a word of sympathy or encouragement; would that some would counsel me, as to how I may better my condition.” Thus far had Arthur Wilton proceeded in his soliloquy, when his eyelids were weighed down by drowsiness, and he soon sank into a deep slumber. In his dream an aged man, with a most mild and venerable countenance stood before him, who, addressing him by name, said: “Thy heart is full of sorrow; but if you will listen to, and profit by my words, your sorrow shall be turned into joy. You have been grieving over the hours which have been run to waste, without pausing to reflect, that while you have been occupied with