The Queen of the World


            This title best fits Victoria, the true queen of the world, but it fits her best because she is the best type of a noble wife, the queen of her husband's heart, and of a queen mother whose children rise up and call her blessed.


            "I noticed," said Franklin, "a mechanic, among a number of others, at work on a house a little way from my office, who always appeared to be in a merry humour; he had a kind word and smile for every one he met. Let the day be ever so cold, gloomy, or sunless, a happy smile danced on his cheerful countenance. Meeting him one morning, I asked him to tell me the secret of his constant flow of spirits.


            "'It is no secret, doctor,' he replied. 'I have one of the best of wives; and, when I go to work, she always has a kind word of encouragement for me; and, when I go home, she meets me with a smile and a kiss; and then tea is sure to be ready, and she has done so many little things through the day to please me that I cannot find it in my heart to speak an unkind word to anybody.'"


            Some of the happiest homes I have ever been in, ideal homes, where intelligence, peace, and harmony dwell, have been homes of poor people. No rich carpets covered the floors; there were no costly paintings on the walls, no piano, no library, no works of art. But there were contented minds, devoted and unselfish lives, each contributing as much as possible to the happiness of all, and endeavouring to compensate by intelligence and kindness for the poverty of their surroundings. One cheerful, bright, and contented spirit in a household will uplift the tone of all the rest. The keynote of the home is in the hand of the resolutely cheerful member of the family, and he or she will set the pitch for the rest."


            "Young men," it is said, "are apt to be over bearing, imperious, brusque in their manner; they need that suavity of manner, and urbanity of demeanour, gracefulness of expression and delicacy of manner, which can only be gained by association with the female character, which possesses the delicate instinct, ready judgement, acute perceptions, wonderful intuition. The blending of the male and female characteristics produces the grandest character in each.


            The woman who has what Helen Hunt so aptly called "a genius for affection," - she, indeed, is queen of the home. "I have often had occasion", said Washington Irving, "to remark the fortitude with which woman sustains the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character that at times it approaches sublimity."


            If a wife cannot make her home bright and happy, so that it shall be the cleanest, sweetest, cheer fullest place her husband can find refuge in, - a retreat from the toils and troubles of the outer world, - then God help the poor man, for he is virtually homeless. "Home-keeping hearts," said Longfellow, "are happiest." What is a good wife, a good mother? Is she not a gift out of heaven, sacred and delicate, with affections so great that no measuring line short of that of the infinite God can tell their bound; fashioned to refine and soothe and lift and irradiate home and society and the world; of such value that no one can appreciate it, unless his mother lived long enough to let him understand it, or unless, in some great crisis of life, when all else failed him, he had a wife to re-enforce him with a faith in God that nothing could disturb?


            Nothing can be more delightful than an anecdote of Joseph H. Choate, of New York, our Minister at the Court of St. James. Upon being asked, at a dinner party, who he would prefer to be if he could not be himself, he hesitated a moment, apparently running over in his mind the great ones on earth, when his eyes rested on Mrs. Choate at the other end of the table, who was watching him with great interest in her face, and suddenly replied, "If I could not be myself, I should like to be Mrs. Choate's second husband."


            "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones." It is the little disputes, little fault-findings, little insinuations, little reflections, sharp criticisms, fretfulness and impatience, little unkindness, slurs, little discourtesies, bad temper, that create most of the discord and unhappiness in the family. How much it would add to the glory of the homes of the world if that might be said of every one which Rogers said of Lord Holland's sunshiny face: "He always comes to breakfast like a man upon whom some sudden good fortune has fallen”!


            The value of pleasant words every day, as you go along, is well depicted by Aunt Jerusha in what she said to our genial friend of Zion's Herald": -


            "If folks could have their funerals when they are alive and well and struggling along, what a help it would be”! she sighed, upon returning from a funeral, wondering how poor Mrs. Brown would have felt if she could have heard what the minister said. "Poor soul, she never dreamed they set so much by her!


            "Miss' Brown got discouraged. Ye see, Deacon Brown, he'd got a way of blaming everything on to her. I don't suppose the deacon meant it, - 't was just his way, - but it's awful wearing. When things wore out or broke, he acted just as if Miss' Brown did it herself on purpose; and they all caught it, like the measles or the whooping cough.


            "And the minister a-telling how the deacon brought his young wife here when 't wa' n't nothing but a wilderness, and how patiently she bore hardship, and what a good wife she'd been! Now the minister wouldn't have known anything about that if the deacon hadn't told him. Dear! Dear! If he'd only told Miss' Brown herself what he thought, do believe he might have saved the funeral.


            "And when the minister said how the children would miss their mother, seemed as though they couldn't stand it, poor things!


            "Well, I guess it is true enough, - Miss' Brown was always doing for some of them. When they was singing about sweet rest in heaven, I couldn't help thinking that that was something Miss' Brown would have to get used to, for she never had none of it here.


            "She'd have been awful pleased with the flowers. They were pretty, and no mistake. Ye see, the deacon wa' n't never willing for her to have a flower-bed. He said 't was enough prettier sight to see good cabbages a-growing; but Miss' Brown always kind of hankered after sweet-smelling things, like roses and such.


            "What did you say, Levi ? 'Most time for supper? Well, land's sake, so it is! I must have got to meditating. I' ve been a-thinking, Levi you needn't tell the minister anything about me. If the pancakes and pumpkin pies are good, you just say so as we go along. It ain't best to keep everything laid up for funerals."


            It is the grand secret of a happy home to press the affection you really have.


            "He is the happiest," it was said by Goethe, "be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." There are indeed many serious, too serious-minded fathers and mothers who do not wish to advertise their children to all the neighbours as "the laughing family." If this be so, yet, at the very least, these solemn parents may read the Bible. Where it is said, "provoke not your children to wrath," it means literally, "do not irritate your children;" "do not rub them up the wrong way.


            Children ought never to get the impression, that they live in a hopeless cheerless, cold world; but the household cheerfulness should, transform their lives like sunlight, making their hearts glad with little things, rejoicing upon small occasion.


            "How beautiful would our home-life be if every little child at the bed-time hour could look into the faces of the older ones and say: 'We've had such sweet times to-day.'"


            "To love, and to be loved," says Sydney Smith, "is the greatest happiness of existence."

Finding What You Do Not Seek


            Dining one day with Baron James Rothschild, Eugene Delacroix, the famous French artist, confessed that, during some time past, he had vainly sought for a head to serve as a model for that of a beggar in a picture which he was painting; and that, as he gazed at his host's features, the idea suddenly occurred to him that the very head he desired was before him. Rothschild, being a great lover of art, readily consented to sit as the beggar. The next day, at the studio, Delacroix placed a tunic around the baron's shoulders, put a stout staff in his hand, and made him pose as if he were resting on the steps of an ancient Roman temple. In this attitude he was found by one of the artist's favourite pupils, in a brief absence of the master from the room. The youth naturally concluded that the beggar had just been brought in, and with a sympathetic look quietly slipped a piece of money into his hand. Rothschild thanked him simply, pocketed the money, and the student passed out. Rothschild then inquired of the master, and found that the young man had talent, but very slender means. Soon after, the youth received a letter stating that charity bears interest, and that the accumulated interest on the amount he had given to one he supposed to be a beggar was represented by the sum of ten thousand francs, which was awaiting his claim at the Rothschild office.


            This illustrates well the art of cheerful amusement even if one has great business cares, - the entertainment of the artist, the personation of a beggar, and an act of beneficence toward a worthy student.


            It illustrates, too, what was said by Wilhelm von Humboldt, that "it is worthy of special remark that when we are not too anxious about happiness and unhappiness, but devote ourselves to the strict and unsparing performance of duty, then happiness comes of itself." We carry each day nobly, doing the duty or enjoying the privilege of the moment, without thinking whether or not it will make us happy. This is quite in accord with the saying of George Herbert, "The consciousness of duty performed gives us music at midnight."


            Are not buoyant spirits like water sparkling when it runs? "I have found my greatest happiness in labour," said Gladstone. "I early formed a habit of industry, and it has been its own reward. The young are apt to think that rest means a cessation from all effort, but I have found the most perfect rest in changing effort. If brain-weary over books and study, go out into the blessed sunlight and the pure air, and give heart-felt exercise to the body. The brain will soon become calm and rested. The efforts of Nature are ceaseless. Even in our sleep the heart throbs on. I try to live close to Nature, and to imitate her in my labours. The compensation is sound sleep, a wholesome digestion, and powers that are kept at their best; and this, I take it, is the chief reward of industry."


            "Owing to ingrained habits," said Horaoc Mann, "work has always been to me what water is to a fish. I have wondered a thousand times to hear people say, 'I don't like this business, or 'I wish I could exchange it for that;' for with me, when I have had anything to do, I do not remember ever to have demurred, but have always set about it like a fatalist, and it was as sure to be done as the sun was to set."


            "One's personal enjoyment is a very small thing, but one's personal usefulness is a very important thing." Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness. "The most delicate, the most sensible of all pleasures," says La Bruyere, "consists in promoting the pleasures of others." And Hawthorne has said that the inward pleasures of imparting pleasure is the choicest of all.


            "Oh, it is great," said Carlyle, "and there is no other greatness, - to make some nook of God's creation more fruitful, better, more worthy of God, - to make some human heart a little wiser, manlier, happier, more blessed, less accursed!" The gladness of service, of having some honour able share in the world's work, what is better than this?


            "The Lord must love the common people," said Lincoln, "for he made so many of them and so few of the other kind." To extend to all the cup of joy is indeed angelic business, and there is nothing that makes one more beautiful than to be engaged in it.


            "The high desire that others may be blest savours of heaven."


            The memory of those who spend their days in hanging sweet pictures of faith and trust in the galleries of sunless lives shall never perish from the earth.

Doing Good by Stealth, and Having It Found Out By Accident


            "This," said Charles Lamb, "is the greatest pleasure I know." "Money never yet made a man happy," said Franklin; "and there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness." To do good with it, makes life a delight to the giver. How happy, then, was the life of Jean Ingelow, since what she received from the sale of a hundred thousand copies of her poems, and fifty thousand of her prose works, she spent largely in charity; one unique charity being a "copyright" dinner three times a week to twelve poor persons just discharged from the neighbouring hospitals! Nor was any one made happier by it than the poet.


            John Ruskin inherited a million dollars. "With this money he set about doing good," says a writer in the "Arena." "Poor young men and women who were struggling to get an education were helped, homes for working men and women were established, and model apartment houses were erected. He also promoted a work for reclaiming wasteland outside of London. This land was used for the aid of unfortunate men who wished to rise again from the state in which they had fallen through cruel social conditions and their own weakness. It is said that this work suggested to General Booth his colonisation farms. Ruskin has also ever been liberal in aiding poor artists, and has done much to encourage artistic taste among the young. On one occasion he purchased ten fine watercolour paintings by Holman Hunt for $3,750, to be hung in the public schools of London. By 1877 he had disposed of three-fourths of his inheritance, besides all the income from his books. But the calls of the poor, and his plans looking toward educating and ennobling the lives of working men, giving more sunshine and joy, were such that he determined to dispose of all the remainder of his wealth except a sum sufficient to yield him $1,500 a year on which to live."

            Our own Peter Cooper, in his last days, was one of the happiest men in America; his beneficence shone in his countenance.


            Let the man who has the blues take a map and census table of the world, and estimate how many millions there are who would gladly exchange lots with him, and let him begin upon some practicable plan to do all the good he can to as many as he can, and he will forget to be despondent; and he need not stop short at praying for them without first giving every dollar he can, without troubling the Lord about that. Let him scatter his flowers as he goes along, since he will never go over the same road again.


            No man in England had a better time than did Du Maurier on that cold day when he took the hat of an old soldier on Hampstead road, and sent him away to the soup kitchen in Euston to get warm. The artist chalked on a blackboard such portraits as he commonly made for "Punch," and soon gathered a great quantity of small coins for the grateful soldier; who, however, at once rubbed out Du Maurier's pictures ant put on "the faithful dog," and a battle scene, as more artistic.


            "Chinese Gordon," after serving faithfully and valiantly in the great Chinese rebellion, and receiving the highest honours of the Chinese Empire, returned to England, caring little for the praise thus heaped on him. He took some position at Gravesend, just below London, where he filled his house with boys from the streets, whom he taught and made men of, and then secured them places on ships, - following them all over the world with letters of advice and encouragement.

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