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Lessons in Life A Series of Familiar Essays   By:

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LESSONS IN LIFE.

A SERIES OF FAMILIAR ESSAYS.

BY

TIMOTHY TITCOMB, AUTHOR OF "LETTERS TO THE YOUNG," "GOLD FOIL," ETC.

PREFACE.

The quick and cordial reception which greeted the author's "Letters to the Young," and his more recent series of essays entitled "Gold Foil," and the constant and substantial friendship which has been maintained by the public toward those productions, must stand as his apology for this third venture in a kindred field of effort. It should be and probably is unnecessary for the author to say that in this book, as in its predecessors, he has aimed to be neither brilliant nor profound. He has endeavored, simply, to treat in a familiar and attractive way a few of the more prominent questions which concern the life of every thoughtful man and woman. Indeed, he can hardly pretend to have done more than to organize, and put into form, the average thinking of those who read his books to place before the people the sum of their own choicer judgments and he neither expects nor wishes for these essays higher praise than that which accords to them the quality of common sense.

SPRINGFIELD, MASS., November , 1861.

CONTENTS.

LESSON I. MOODS AND FRAMES OF MIND LESSON II. BODILY IMPERFECTIONS AND IMPEDIMENTS LESSON III. ANIMAL CONTENT LESSON IV. REPRODUCTION IN KIND LESSON V. TRUTH AND TRUTHFULNESS LESSON VI. MISTAKES OF PENANCE LESSON VII. THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN LESSON VIII. AMERICAN PUBLIC EDUCATION LESSON IX. PERVERSENESS LESSON X. UNDEVELOPED RESOURCES LESSON XI. GREATNESS IN LITTLENESS LESSON XII. RURAL LIFE LESSON XIII. REPOSE LESSON XIV. THE WAYS OF CHARITY LESSON XV. MEN OF ONE IDEA LESSON XVI. SHYING PEOPLE LESSON XVII. FAITH IN HUMANITY LESSON XVIII. SORE SPOTS AND SENSITIVE SPOTS LESSON XIX. THE INFLUENCE OF PRAISE LESSON XX. UNNECESSARY BURDENS LESSON XXI. PROPER PEOPLE AND PERFECT PEOPLE LESSON XXII. THE POETIC TEST LESSON XXIII. THE FOOD OF LIFE LESSON XXIV. HALF FINISHED WORK

LESSONS IN LIFE.

LESSON I.

MOODS AND FRAMES OF MIND.

"That blessed mood In which the burden of the mystery, In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world Is lightened." WORDSWORTH.

"Oh, blessed temper, whose unclouded ray Can make to morrow cheerful as to day." POPE.

"My heart and mind and self, never in tune; Sad for the most part, then in such a flow Of spirits, I seem now hero, now buffoon." LEIGH HUNT.

It rained yesterday; and, though it is midsummer, it is unpleasantly cool to day. The sky is clear, with almost a steel blue tint, and the meadows are very deeply green. The shadows among the woods are black and massive, and the whole face of nature looks painfully clean, like that of a healthy little boy who has been bathed in a chilly room with very cold water. I notice that I am sensitive to a change like this, and that my mind goes very reluctantly to its task this morning. I look out from my window, and think how delightful it would be to take a seat in the sun, down under the fence, across the street. It seems to me that if I could sit there awhile, and get warm, I could think better and write better. Toasting in the sunlight is conducive rather to reverie than thought, or I should be inclined to try it. This reluctance to commence labor, and this looking out of the window and longing for an accession of strength, or warmth, or inspiration, or something or other not easily named, calls back to me an experience of childhood.

It was summer, and I was attending school. The seats were hard, and the lessons were dry, and the walls of the school room were very cheerless. An indulgent, sweet faced girl was my teacher; and I presume that she felt the irksomeness of the confinement quite as severely as I did. The weather was delightful, and the birds were singing everywhere; and the thought came to me, that if I could only stay out of doors, and lie down in the shadow of a tree, I could get my lesson. I begged the privilege of trying the experiment... Continue reading book >>




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