Friends and Neighbors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Friends and Neighbors.


THERE is room in the world for the wealthy and great,
For princes to reign in magnificent state;
For the courtier to bend, for the noble to sue,
If the hearts of all these are but honest and true.

And there’s room in the world for the lowly and meek,
For the hard horny hand, and the toil-furrow’d cheek;
For the scholar to think, for the merchant to trade,
So these are found upright and just in their grade.

But room there is none for the wicked; and nought
For the souls that with teeming corruption are fraught. 
The world would be small, were its oceans all land,
To harbour and feed such a pestilent band.

Root out from among ye, by teaching the mind,
By training the heart, this chief curse of mankind! 
’Tis a duty you owe to the forthcoming race—­
Confess it in time, and discharge it with grace!


“THE foolish thing!” said my Aunt Rachel, speaking warmly, “to get hurt at a mere word.  It’s a little hard that people can’t open their lips but somebody is offended.”

“Words are things!” said I, smiling.

“Very light things!  A person must be tender indeed, that is hurt by a word.”

“The very lightest thing may hurt, if it falls on a tender place.”

“I don’t like people who have these tender places,” said Aunt Rachel.  “I never get hurt at what is said to me.  No—­never!  To be ever picking and mincing, and chopping off your words—­to be afraid to say this or that—­for fear somebody will be offended!  I can’t abide it.”

“People who have these tender places can’t help it, I suppose.  This being so, ought we not to regard their weakness?” said I.  “Pain, either of body or mind, is hard to bear, and we should not inflict it causelessly.”

“People who are so wonderfully sensitive,” replied Aunt Rachel, growing warmer, “ought to shut themselves up at home, and not come among sensible, good-tempered persons.  As far as I am concerned, I can tell them, one and all, that I am not going to pick out every hard word from a sentence as carefully as I would seeds from a raisin.  Let them crack them with their teeth, if they are afraid to swallow them whole.”

Now, for all that Aunt Rachel went on after this strain, she was a kind, good soul, in the main, and, I could see, was sorry for having hurt the feelings of Mary Lane.  But she didn’t like to acknowledge that she was in the wrong; that would detract too much from the self-complacency with which she regarded herself.  Knowing her character very well, I thought it best not to continue the little argument about the importance of words, and so changed the subject.  But, every now and then, Aunt Rachel would return to it, each time softening a little towards Mary.  At last she said,

“I’m sure it was a little thing.  A very little thing.  She might have known that nothing unkind was intended on my part.”

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Friends and Neighbors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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