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The Lights and Shadows of Real Life   By: (1809-1885)

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To all, as they pass through the world, come "light and shadow." Though the sun may be in the heavens, clouds often intervene, and cast deep shadows about our footsteps. But, it is a truth which we cannot too deeply lay to heart, that, in our life, as in nature, the exhalations which form the obscuring cloud arise from below. They are not born in the pure heavens, but spring out of the earth beneath. If there was nothing evil in the mind, there would be no cloud in the sky of our being, all would be "eternal sunshine."

If, therefore, in this book the lights and shadows are blessed; if, in a word, the clouds often hang heavy and remain long in the sky, the fault is in those whose histories we have written. But the sky does not always remain dark. As the heart becomes filled with better purposes through the trials and pains of adversity, or comes out purer from the furnace of affliction, the clouds disperse, and the blessed sunlight comes again. Lay this up for your consolation, all ye who are in trouble and affliction, and look hopefully in the future. It will not always remain dark as in the present time.


ACCOMPANYING this volume, is a brief auto biography. In circulating Mr. Arthur's "Sketches of Life and Character," the publisher met so frequently with an expressed desire to know something of one whose writings had made him a general favorite that he was led to solicit a personal sketch, to go with a new collection of his writings. It is but due to the author to say, that his concurrence in the matter was not without considerable reluctance. From this sketch it will be seen that Mr. Arthur is a self made man, and that he has gained his present enviable position through long and patient labor, and against the pressure of much that was adverse and discouraging. In his elevation he has this pleasing reflection, that in seeking to gain a high place for himself, he has dragged no one down, but rather, sought to carry along, in his upward way, all who could be induced to go with him.

The portrait given in this volume, was engraved from one recently painted by Lambdin, and is considered a very good likeness. Mr. Arthur is now in his forty second year, and looks somewhat younger than the artist has represented him.

For the information of those who wish to procure Mr. Arthur's Temperance Tales, the publisher would state, that in "Lights and Shadows of Real Life," are included all the stories contained in the recently issued edition of "Illustrated Temperance Tales," besides nearly two hundred pages of additional matter, thus making a larger, more miscellaneous, and more acceptable book for all readers.


In compliance with the earnest request of the publisher of this volume, I have, with a reluctance that I find it difficult to overcome, consented to furnish a brief sketch personal to myself. Although my name has been constantly appearing for some twelve or fifteen years, yet I have lost none of that, shrinking from notoriety and observation which made me timid and retiring when a boy. The necessity to write as a means of livelihood, and to write a great deal, has brought me so frequently before the public, that I have almost ceased to think about the matter as any thing more than an ordinary occurrence; but, now, when called upon to write about myself, I find that the edge of a natural sensitiveness is quite as keen as ever. But, I will call the feeling a weakness, and try to repress it until I have finished my present task.

I was born in the year 1809, near Newburgh, Orange County, New York; and my eyes first opened on the beautiful scenery of the Hudson. My earliest recollection is of Fort Montgomery, some six miles below West Point, on the river, where my parents resided for a few years previous to 1817. In the Spring of that year, they removed to Baltimore, which became my place of residence until 1841, when I came to Philadelphia, where I have since lived... Continue reading book >>

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