“Now, what am I to do next?”
It is a happy thing for us that this is really all we have to concern ourselves about — what to do next. No man can do the second thing. He can do the first. If he omits it, the wheels of the social Juggernaut roll over him, and leave him more or less crushed behind. If he does it, he keeps in front, and finds room to do the next again; and so he is sure to arrive at something, for the onward march will carry him with it. There is no saying to what perfection of success a man may come, who begins with what he can do, and uses the means at his hand. He makes a vortex of action, however slight, towards which all the means instantly begin to gravitate. Let a man but lay hold of something — anything, and he is in the high road to success — though it may be very long before he can walk comfortably in it. — It is true the success may be measured out according to a standard very different from his.
But in Hugh’s case, the difficulty was to grasp anything — to make a beginning anywhere. He knew nobody; and the globe of society seemed like a mass of adamant, on which he could not gain the slightest hold, or make the slightest impression. Who would introduce him to pupils? Nobody. He had the testimonials of his professors; but who would ask to see them? — His eye fell on the paper. He would advertise.
Letters for the post.
Nothing but drought and dearth, but bush and brake,
Which way soe’er I look, I see.
Some may dream merrily, but when they wake,
They dress themselves, and come to thee.
George Herbert. — Home.
He got his writing materials, and wrote to the effect, that a graduate of a Scotch university was prepared to give private lessons in the classics and mathematics, or even in any of the inferior branches of education, &c., &c. This he would take to the Times next day.
As soon as he had done this, Duty lifted up her head, and called him. He obeyed, and wrote to his mother. Duty called again; and he wrote, though with much trepidation and humiliation, to David Elginbrod.
It was a good beginning. He had commenced his London life in doing what he knew he ought to do. His trepidation in writing to David, arose in part, it must be confessed, from the strange result of one of the experiments at Arnstead.
This was his letter. But he sat and meditated a long time before he began it.
“My dear friend, — If I did not think you would forgive me, I should feel, now that I have once allowed my mind to rest upon my conduct to you, as if I could never hold up my head again. After much occupation of thought and feeling with other things, a season of silence has come, and my sins look me in the face. First of them all is my neglect of you, to whom I owe more