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To business that we love, we rise betimes, And go to it with delight.


The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment and happiness. - EMERSON.

How often we find, in the history of men of genius, that they neglected the studies or the business to which they were put, and took to something more congenial to their tastes ! How often we find them rebelling against the injunctions and the arrangements of parents and guardians, and making arrangements of their own ! - ROBERT WATERS.

If you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes in a table of different shapes, - some circular, some

triangular, some square, some oblong, - and the persons acting these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes, we shall

generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular; while the square

person has squeezed himself into the round hole. -SYDNEY SMITH.

I cannot too often repeat that no man struggles perpetually and victoriously against his own character. - SIR H. L.


“What the child admired, The youth endeavored, and the man acquired"

There is hardly a poet, artist, philosopher, or man of science mentioned in the history of the human intellect, whose genius was not opposed by parents, guardians, or teachers. In these cases Nature seems to have triumphed by direct interposition ; to have insisted on her darlings having their rights, and encouraged disobedience, secrecy, falsehood, even flight from home and occasional vagabondism, rather than the world should lose what it cost her so much pains to produce.- E. P. WHIPPLE.

I hear a voice you cannot hear, Which says, I must not stay; I see a hand you cannot see, Which beckons me away.


“JAMES WATT, I never saw such an idle young fellow as you are," said his grandmother; "do take a book and.........

JAMES WATT You are trying to make that boy another you; one is enough!

............employ yourself usefully. For the last half-hour you have not spoken a single word. Do you know what you have been doing all this time ? Why, you have taken off and replaced, and taken off again, the teapot lid, and you have held alternately in the steam, first a saucer and then a spoon, and you have busied yourself in examining and collecting together the little drops formed by the condensation of the steam on the surface of the china and the silver. Now, are you not ashamed to waste your time in this disgraceful manner ?" The world has certainly gained much through the old lady's failure to tell James how he could employ his time to better advantage!

"But I'm good for something," pleaded a young man whom a merchant was about to discharge for his bluntness. "You are good for nothing as a salesman," said his employer. "I am sure I can be useful," said the youth. "How? Tell me how." " I don't know, sir, I don't know." "Nor do I," said the merchant, laughing at the earnestness of his clerk. "Only don't put me away, sir, don't put me away. Try me at something besides selling. I cannot sell; I know I cannot sell." " I know that, too," said the principal; "that is what is wrong." "But I can make myself useful somehow," persisted the young man; "I know I can." He was placed in the counting-house, where his aptitude for figures soon showed itself, and in a few years he-became not only chief cashier in the large store, but an eminent accountant.

Thomas Edward of Aberdeen, Scotland, celebrated his acquisition of the art of walking by losing himself, so that father, and mother, and neighbors were about to give up the search in despair, when some one happened to look in the pig-pen, and there lay the scamp fast asleep by the side of some little pigs, the brood of a sow so savage that no grown person dared venture into the sty. He had formed a taste for excursions into the wide world, and almost every day he would bring home priceless treasures, such as tadpoles, beetles, frogs, crabs, mice, rats, spiders, and bugs. These pets he would liberate, and watch them run around and hide, greatly to his own delight, and the terror of everybody else. Whipping and scolding only seemed to stimulate him to greater exertions in his work of capturing living curiosities.

His mother tied him by the leg to a table; but Thomas dragged the table to the fire, burned off the rope and escaped, returning at dusk with a large collection of living creatures. She hid all his clothes, but he had a grand trip in an old petticoat, bringing back some fine specimens, and a fever which nearly killed him. As soon as he could get out again, he brought back, hid in his shirt, a nest full of wasps of the most enterprising kind. The wasps seemed on the best of terms with Thomas, but they took exceptions to every other member of the family, until peace was finally restored when his father plunged the whole nest into hot water.

Tommy had taken all the conceit out of his parents as to their ability to control him, but before giving him up altogether, they resolved to see if the schoolmaster could not reclaim him. He tried. He failed. Tommy would play truant most of the time, or turn the school into a menagerie. One morning a jackdaw poked his head out of Tommy's pocket, and began to caw during prayers, and Thomas Edward was dismissed in disgrace. He was sent to another school, until one day, a lot of horse-leeches escaped from a bottle and crawled up the legs of nearly every boy in school, drawing blood. He was again dismissed. His parents tried to reinstate him. “ I would not take him back for twenty pounds," said the teacher with a shudder.

A third school was tried. A centipede was found in another boy's desk, and Thomas knew nothing about it. It was in accord with the eternal fitness of things for him to be guilty, so the teacher whipped him severely and said: “Go home and tell your father to get you on board a man-of-war, as that is the best school for irreclaimables such as you."

He was six years old and could not write his name. He refused absolutely to go to school again, and his discouraged parents consented for him to go out and earn his living. Repression of every kind had been tried in vain upon his upspringing. instincts and propensities for the study of animal life; restraint at last removed, what glorious expression they found ! How hard he worked that he might gain leisure for study ! He learned the trade of a shoemaker, and worked at the bench for life, rearing a family of eleven children and storing away a wonderful amount of knowledge of birds and beasts and insects. But, from the lack of ability to read and write, he could not classify and use what he learned. So, slowly and laboriously, he acquired these useful arts. In the hope of getting money to study to better advantage, he once sold six cart-loads of specimens, the result of nine years of labor, for only twenty pounds.

He often tried to get employment as a naturalist, and failed only because he could not read and write rapidly. If he had been encouraged as a child to catch and study his charming specimens, and to learn to read and write about them, who shall say that his unequaled love of investigation would not have led him to become more than an Agassiz or a Tenney ? But he had been wedged so tightly into a square hole that he never got out!

You cannot look into a cradle and read the secret message traced by a divine hand, and wrapped up in that bit of clay, any more than you can see the North Star in the magnetic needle. God has loaded the needle of that young life so it will point to the star of its own destiny; and though, you may pull it around by artificial advice and unnatural education, and compel it to point to the star which presides over poetry, art, law, medicine, or your own pet calling, until you have wasted years of a precious life, yet, when once free, the needle flies back to its own star.

"Rue it as he may, repent it as he often does," says Robert Waters, "the man of genius is drawn by an irresistible impulse to the occupation for which he was created. No matter by what difficulties surrounded, no matter how unpromising the prospect, this occupation is the only one which he will pursue with interest and pleasure. When his efforts fail to procure means of subsistence, and he finds himself poor and neglected, he may, like Burns, often look back with a sigh and think how much better off he would be had he pursued some other occupation, but he will stick to his favorite pursuit, nevertheless."

Civilization will mark its highest tide when every man has chosen his proper work. No man can be ideally successful until he has found his place. Like a locomotive he is strong on the track, but weak anywhere else.

"Like a boat on a river," says Emerson, “every boy runs against obstructions on every side but one. On that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea."

Only a Dickens can write the history of "Boy Slavery," of boys whose aspirations and longings have been silenced forever by ignorant parents; of boys persecuted as lazy, stupid, or fickle, simply because they were out of their places; of square boys forced into round holes, and oppressed because they did not fit; of boys compelled to pore over dry theological books when the voice within continually cried "Law," "Medicine," " Science," “ Art," or “ Business; " of boys tortured because they were not enthusiastic in employments which they loathed, and against which every fibre of their being was uttering perpetual protest.

It is often a narrow selfishness in a father which leads him to wish his son a reproduction of himself.

" You are trying to make that boy another you. One is enough," said Emerson. John Jacob Astor's father wished his son to be his successor as a butcher, but the instinct of commercial enterprise was too strong in the future merchant.

Nature never duplicates men. She breaks the pattern at every birth. The magic combination is never used but once. Frederick the Great was terribly abused because he had a passion for art and music and did not care for military drill. His father hated the fine arts and imprisoned the boy. He even contemplated killing his son, but his own death placed Frederick on the throne at the age of twenty-eight. This boy, who was thought good for nothing, because he loved art and music, made Prussia one of the greatest nations of Europe.

The perusal of a book, the execution of a model, or the superintendency of a water-wheel of his own construction, whirling the glittering spray from some neighboring stream, absorbed all of Isaac Newton's thoughts when a boy, whilst the sheep were going astray and the cattle were devouring or treading down the neighbors' corn. This convinced his mother that her son was not made for a farmer, as she had hoped.

How stupid and clumsy is the blinking eagle at perch, but how keen his, glance, how steady and true his curves, when turning his powerful wing against the clear blue sky!

Ignorant parents compelled the boy Arkwright to become a barber's apprentice, but Nature had locked up in his brain a cunning device destined to bless humanity, and do the drudgery of millions of England's poor; so he must needs say " hands off " even to his parents, as Christ said to his mother, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ?"

The parents of Michael Angelo had declared that no son of theirs should ever follow the discreditable profession of an artist, and even punished him for covering the walls and furniture with sketches. The fire burning in his breast was kindled by the Divine Artist, and would not let him rest until he had immortalized himself in the architecture of St. Peter's, in the marble of his Moses, and on the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

Hugh Miller's parents dedicated their son to the ministry, the Scotch poor being always anxious to have at least one son s' wag his maw in the poopit." An uncle offered to pay his way in college, but a voice within spoke louder than his parents or uncle. The stone quarry was his college, and he preferred to hammer his education from the old red sandstone.

Galileo was set apart for a physician, but when compelled to study anatomy and physiology, he would hide his Euclid and Archimedes, and stealthily work out the abstruse problems. He was but eighteen when he discovered the principle of the pendulum in the lamp left swinging in the cathedral at Pisa. He invented both the microscope and telescope, enlarging knowledge of the vast and minute alike.

Pascal's father determined that his son should teach the dead languages, but the voice of mathematics drowned every other call, haunting the boy until he laid aside his grammar for Euclid.

The father of Joshua Reynolds rebuked his son for drawing pictures, and wrote on one: "Done by Joshua out of pure idleness." Yet this "idle boy " became one of the founders of the Royal Academy.

Turner was intended for a barber in Maiden Lane, but became the greatest landscape-painter of modern times. Claude Lorraine, the painter, was apprenticed to a pastry-cook; Moliere, the author, to an upholsterer; and Guido, the famous painter of Aurora, was sent to a music school. The Quakers called a meeting to decide what should be done with Benjamin West, as painting was not in accord with their belief. One Friend at length arose and said: " God has bestowed on this youth a genius for art; shall we question his wisdom ?" The women kissed the lad, and the men, laying their hands upon his head, consecrated him to the career of an artist.

Schiller was sent to study surgery in the military school at Stuttgart, but in secret he produced his first play, " The Robbers," whose first performance he had to witness in disguise. The irksomeness of his prison-like school so galled him, and his longing for authorship so allured him, that he ventured, penniless, into the inhospitable world of letters. A kind lady aided him, and soon he produced the two splendid dramas which made him immortal.

The physician Handel wished his son to become a lawyer, and so tried to discourage his fondness for music. But the boy got an old spinet and practiced on it secretly in a hayloft. When the doctor visited a brother in the service of the Duke of Weisenfelds, he took his son with him. The boy wandered unobserved to the organ in a chapel, and soon had a private concert under full blast. The duke happened to hear the performance, and wondered who could possibly combine so much melody with so much evident unfamiliarity with the instrument. The boy was brought before him, and the duke, instead of blaming him for disturbing the organ, praised his performance, and persuaded Dr. Handel to let his son follow his bent.

Nature never lets a man rest until he has found his place. She haunts him and drives him until all his faculties give their consent, and he falls into his proper niche.

Daniel Defoe had been a trader, a soldier, a merchant, a secretary, a factory manager, a commissioner's accountant, an envoy, and an author of several indifferent books, before he wrote his masterpiece, "Robinson Crusoe."

Wilson, the ornithologist, failed in five different professions before he found his place.

Erskine spent four years in the navy, and then, in the hope of more rapid promotion, joined the army. After serving more than two years, he one day attended a court, out of curiosity, in the town where his regiment was quartered. The presiding judge, an acquaintance, invited Erskine to sit near him, and said that the pleaders at the bar were among the most eminent lawyers of Great Britain. Erskine took their measure as they spoke, and believed he could excel them. He at once began the study of law, in which he soon stood alone as the greatest forensic orator of his country.

A. T. Stewart studied for the ministry, and became a teacher, before he drifted into his proper calling as a merchant, through the accident of having lent money to a friend. The latter, with failure imminent, insisted that his creditor should take the shop as the only means of securing the money.

" Jonathan," said Mr. Chace, when his son told of having nearly fitted himself for college, "thou shalt go down to the machine-shop on Monday morning." It was many years before Jonathan escaped from the shop, to work his way up to the position of a man of great influence as a United States Senator from Rhode Island.

James Smeaton's father intended his son for a lawyer, but Nature had marked her bias for engineering upon every fibre of his being too deep to be erased by his parents. He was found one day in petticoats on the top of his father's barn, fixing the model of a windmill which he had made.

It has been well said, that if God should commission two angels, one to sweep a street crossing, and the other to rule an empire, they could not be induced to exchange callings. Not less true is it that he who feels that God has given him a particular work to do can be happy
only when earnestly engaged in its performance. Happy the youth who finds the place which his dreams have pictured. If he does not fill that place, he will not fill any to the satisfaction of himself or others. A parent might just as well decide that the magnetic needle will point to Venus or Jupiter without trying it, as to decide what profession his son shall adopt.

In a fable in Judges the fig-tree, among others, was invited to become king over the forest. After the olive tree had refused to give up its fatness, which " pleased God and man," to reign over the trees, the fig-tree replied, " Why should I forsake my sweetness and good fruit and go to be promoted over the trees ? " What a rebuke in this beautiful fable to the thousands of people who forsake the sweetness and richness of their own nature to do something for which they are totally unfitted !

As king over the stalwart oak and lofty pine, the fig tree would have been a dead failure, and as much out of place as some of our politicians are in Congress; but for bearing figs the oak and pine are its inferiors. Bearing figs is the grandest thing in the world for a fig-tree. It shines in its own sphere; but, stripped of its fig-bearing power, it has no excuse for existence. Sometimes a mother, who reigns a majestic queen in her own household, forsakes her quiet sweetness of home rule for a noisy, rough, public career, for which she has not the slightest qualification.

What a ridiculous exhibition a great truck horse would make on the race-track ; yet this is no more incongruous than the popular idea that law, medicine, and theology are the only desirable professions. How ridiculous, too, for fifty-two per cent. of our American college graduates to study law! How many young men become poor clergymen by trying to imitate their fathers, who were good ones; or poor doctors and lawyers for the same reason. The country is full of men who are
out of place, "disappointed, soured, ruined, out of office, out of money, out of credit, out of courage, out at elbows, out in the cold." The fact is, nearly every college graduate who succeeds in the true sense of the word, prepares himself in school, but makes himself after he is graduated. The best thing his teachers have taught him is how to study. The moment he is beyond the college walls he ceases to use books and helps which do not feed him, and seizes upon those that do.

We must not jump to the conclusion that because a man has not succeeded in what he has really tried to do with all his might, he cannot succeed at anything. Look at a fish floundering on the sand as though he would tear himself to pieces. But look again: a huge wave breaks higher up the beach, and covers the unfortunate creature. The moment his fins feel the water, he is himself again, and darts like a flash through the waves. His fins mean something now, while before they beat the air and earth in vain, a hindrance instead of a help.

If you fail after doing your level best, examine the work attempted, and see if it really be in the line of your bent or power of achievement. Goldsmith found himself totally unfit for the duties of a physician; but who else could have written the "Vicar of Wakefield" or the "Deserted Village" ? Cowper failed as a lawyer. He was so timid that he could not plead a case, but he wrote some of our finest poems.

Moliere found that he was not adapted to the work of a lawyer, but he left a great name in literature. Voltaire and Petrarch abandoned the law, the former choosing philosophy, the latter, poetry. Cromwell was a farmer until forty years old.

Very few of us, before we reach our teens, show great genius or even remarkable talent for any line of work or study. The great majority of boys and girls, even when given all the latitude and longitude heart could desire, find it very difficult before their fifteenth or even before their twentieth year to decide what to do for a living. Each knocks at the portals of the mind, demanding a wonderful aptitude for some definite line of work, but it is not there. That is no reason why the duty at hand should be put off, or why the labor that naturally falls to one's lot should not be done well. Samuel Smiles was trained to a profession which was not to his taste, yet he practiced it so faithfully that it helped him to authorship, for which he was well fitted. Fidelity to the work at hand, and a genuine feeling of responsibility to our parents or our employers, ourselves, and our God, will eventually bring most of us into the right niches at the proper time.

Garfield would not have become President if he had not previously been a zealous teacher, a responsible soldier, a conscientious statesman. Neither Lincoln nor Grant started as a baby with a precocity for the White House, or an irresistible genius for ruling men. So no one should be disappointed because he was not endowed with tremendous gifts in the cradle. His business is to do the best he can, wherever his lot may be cast, and advance at every honorable opportunity in the direction towards which the inward monitor points. Let duty be the guiding-star, and success will surely be the crown, to the full measure of one's ability and industry.

Most work is uncongenial, and the great majority of men and women think they would be happier in some other place. To almost every one the day of choice comes. What career? What shall my life's work be? If instinct and heart ask for carpentry, be a carpenter; if for medicine, be a physician. With a firm choice and earnest work, a young man or woman cannot help but succeed. But if there be no instinct, or if it be weak or faint, one should choose cautiously along the line of his best adaptability and opportunity. No one need doubt that the world has use for him, but great honor and fortune are not for all. True success lies in acting well your part, and this every one can do. Better be a first-rate hod-carrier than a second-rate anything.

The world has been very kind to many who were once known as dunces or blockheads, after they have become very successful; but it was very cross to them while they were struggling through discouragement and misinterpretation. Such lives do not show, however, that a numskull is sure to climb to the top. Because the last boy in his class became the great Henry Ward Beecher, there is no reason to conclude that the last boy in the next class, or the next, must become any thing great at all. There must be some life in the boy, or he will not rise under any circumstances until the day appointed for the resurrection of the dead. If he starts out in life as a failure, he will end as one, unless he gets thoroughly waked up in some way.

Give every boy and girl a fair chance and reasonable encouragement, and do not condemn them because of even a large degree of downright stupidity; for many so-called good-for-nothing boys, blockheads, numskulls, dullards, or dunces, were only boys out of their places, round boys forced into square holes.

"Let us people who are so uncommonly clever and learned," says Thackeray, "have a great tenderness and pity for the folks who are not endowed with the prodigious talents which we have. I have always had a regard for dunces, - those of my own school days were among the pleasantest of the fellows, and have turned out by no means the dullest in life; whereas, many a youth who could turn off Latin hexameters by the yard, and construe Greek quite glibly, is no better than a feeble prig now, with not a pennyworth more brains than were in his head before his beard grew."

George Stephenson, at twenty years of age, could neither read nor write, yet his name is inseparably linked with the introduction and development of railways.


Wellington was considered a dunce by his mother. At Eton he was called dull, idle, slow, and was about the last boy in school of whom anything was expected. He showed no talent, and had no desire to enter the army. His industry and perseverance were his only redeeming characteristics, in the eyes of his parents and teachers. But at forty-six he had defeated the greatest general living, except himself.

Goldsmith was the laughing-stock of his schoolmasters. He was graduated "Wooden Spoon," a college name for a dunce. He tried to enter a class in surgery, but was rejected. He was driven to literature. Dr. Johnson found him very poor and about to be arrested for debt. He made Goldsmith give him the manuscript of the "Vicar of Wakefield," sold it to the publishers, and paid the debt. This manuscript made its author famous. John Harvard was called a boy of no promise, but he founded Harvard College, and became one of the real benefactors of the race.

Robert Clive bore the name of "dunce " and “ reprobate " at school, but at thirty-two, with three thousand men, he defeated fifty thousand at Plassey and laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. Sir Walter Scott was called a blockhead by his teacher. When Byron happened to get ahead of his class, the master would say: "Now, Jordie, let me see how soon you will be at the foot again."

Sheridan's mother tried in vain to teach him the most elementary studies. Her death aroused his slumbering talents, as has happened in hundreds of cases, and he became one of the most brilliant men of his age. Dr. Chalmers was expelled from St. Andrews school because of his stupidity.

Dr. Isaac Barrow was such a dullard that his father said, "If it is God's will to take any of my children by death, I hope it may be Isaac." " Why do you tell that blockhead the same thing twenty times over ? " asked
John Wesley's father. “Because," replied his mother, "if I had told him but nineteen times, all my labor would have been lost, while now he will understand and remember."

Young Linaeus was called by his teachers almost a blockhead. Not finding him fit for the church, his parents sent him to college to study medicine. But the silent teacher within, greater and wiser than all others, led him to the fields; and neither sickness, misfortune, nor poverty could drive him from the study of botany, the choice of his heart, and he became the greatest botanist of his age.

Samuel Drew was one of the dullest and most listless boys in his neighborhood, yet after an accident by which he nearly lost his life, and after the death of his brother, he became so studious and industrious that he could not bear to lose a moment. He read at every meal, using all the time he could get for self-improvement. He said that Paine's "Age of Reason" made him an author, for it was by his attempt to refute its arguments that he was first known as a strong, vigorous writer.

We live in a superficial age, and we hurry along in a happy-go-lucky way, ignorant or heedless of the capacities of our minds and bodies. The precocious youth, the boy or girl of average intelligence, or the dunce, should alike study his own strength, his weakness, his likes, his dislikes, his bent. "Know thyself," was spoken of old at Delphi; and, though the oracle has long been mute, the words are of eternal significance. No better advice was ever given to man.

Philosophy finds its highest- province in the study of our own natures. Knowledge thus gained, and that alone, will teach the round boy to avoid the square holes as he would shun falsehood and dishonor. It has been well said that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them.


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