“Oh, mother! I do love you, and I will try to be good!”
Blinding tears came to my eyes, and I saw this scene no longer. I was out among the works of nature, and my instructor was by my side.
“Despise not again the humble and the commonplace,” said he, “for upon these rest the happiness and well-being of the world. Few can enter into and appreciate the startling and the brilliant, but thousands and tens of thousands can feel and love the commonplace that comes to their daily wants, and inspires them with a mutual sympathy. Go on in your work. Think it rot low and mean to speak humble, yet true and fitting words for the humble; to lift up the bowed and grieving spirit; to pour the oil and wine of consolation for the poor and afflicted. It is a great and a good work—the very work in which God’s angels delight. Yea, in doing this work, you are brought nearer in spirit to Him who is goodness and greatness itself, for all his acts are done with the end of blessing his creatures.”
There was another change. I was awake. It was broad daylight, and the sun had come in and awakened me with a kiss. Again I resumed my work, content to meet the common want in my labors, and let the more gifted and brilliant ones around me enjoy the honors and fame that gathered in cloudy incense around them.
It is better to be loved by the many, than admired by the few.
Mark Clifford had come up from New York to spend a few weeks with his maternal grandfather, Mr. Lofton, who lived almost alone on his beautiful estate a few miles from the Hudson, amid the rich valleys of Orange county. Mr. Lofton belonged to one of the oldest families in the country, and retained a large portion of that aristocratic pride for which they were distinguished. The marriage of his daughter to Mr. Clifford, a merchant of New York, had been strongly opposed on the ground that the alliance was degrading—Mr. Clifford not being able to boast of an ancestor who was anything more than an honest man and a useful citizen. A closer acquaintance with his son-in-law, after the marriage took place, reconciled Mr. Lofton in a good measure to the union; for he found Mr. Clifford to be a man of fine intelligence, gentlemanly feeling, and withal, tenderly attached to his daughter. The marriage was a happy one—and this is rarely the case when the external and selfish desire to make a good family connection is regarded above the mental and moral qualities on which a true union only can be based.