The tears that were shed; the smiles that beamed from glad faces; the tender words that were spoken, and repeated again and again; why need we tell of all these? Or why relate how happy the old man was when the dove that had flown from her nest came back with her mate by her side The dark year had passed, and there was sunshine again in his dwelling, brighter sunshine than before. Pierre never painted so good a picture again as the one that took the prize—that was his masterpiece.
The Young Baron Holbein has an immense picture gallery, and is a munificient patron of the arts. There is one composition on his walls he prizes above all the rest. The wealth of India could not purchase it. It is the same that took the prize when he was but a babe and lay in his mother’s arms. The mother who held him so tenderly, and the father who gazed so lovingly upon her pure young brow have passed away, but they live before him daily, and he feels their gentle presence ever about him for good.
“Come, William, a single day, out of three hundred and sixty-five, is not much,”
“True, Henry Thorne. Nor is the single drop of water, that first finds its way through the dyke, much; and yet, the first drop but makes room for a small stream to follow, and then comes a flood. No, no, Henry, I cannot go with you, to-day; and if you will be governed by a friend’s advice, you will not neglect your work for the fancied pleasures of a sporting party.”
“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, We were not made to be delving forever with tools in close rooms. The fresh air is good for us. Come, William, you will feel better for a little recreation. You look pale from confinement. Come; I cannot go without you.”
“Henry Thorne,” said his friend, William Moreland, with an air more serious than that at first assumed, “let me in turn urge you to stay.”
“It is in vain, William,” his friend said, interrupting him.
“I trust not, Henry. Surely, my early friend and companion is not deaf to reason.”
“No, not to right reason.”
“Well, listen to me. As I said at first, it is not the loss of a simple day, though even this is a serious waste of time, that I now take into consideration. It is the danger of forming a habit of idleness. It is a mistake, that a day of idle pleasure recreates the mind and body, and makes us return and necessary employments with renewed delight. My own experience is, that a day thus spent, causes us to resume our labors with reluctance, and makes irksome what before was pleasant. Is it not your own?”
“Well, I don’t know; I can’t altogether say that it is; indeed, I never thought about it.”
“Henry, the worst of all kinds of deception is self-deception. Don’t, let me, beg of you, attempt to deceive yourself in a matter so important. I am sure you have experienced this reluctance to resuming work after a day of pleasure. It is a universal experience. And now that we are on this subject, I will add, that I have observed in you an increasing desire to get away from work. You make many excuses and they seem to you to be good ones. Can you tell me how many days you have been out of the shop in the last three months?”