Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]


HEN Elbert Hubbard was storing up in his Scrap Book the fruits of other men's genius, he did not contemplate a volume for publication se He was merely gathering spiritual provisions for his own refreshment and delectation se do

To glance at the pages of his Scrap Book is to realize how far and wide he pursued the quest, into what scented rose gardens of Poetry, and up what steep slopes of Thought. To Alpine Valleys of classical literature it led him, and through forests and swamps of contemporary writing. For him it was the quest that mattered, it was the quest he loved so se The Reader will remember Keats' dream of

a very pleasant life.” I had an idea that a Man might pass a very pleasant life in this manner: Let him on a certain day read a certain page of full Poesy or distilled Prose, and let him wander with it, and muse upon it, and reflect from it, and dream upon it: until it becomes stale-But when will it do so? NeverWhen a man has arrived at a certain ripeness in intellect any one grand and spiritual passage serves him as a starting-post towards all the 'two-and-thirty Palaces.' How happy is such a voyage of conception, what delicious, dili

gent indolence!Elbert Hubbard's lifelong labor has placed in all our hands the power to realize Keats' dream. Here in Hubbard's Scrap Book the Reader will find “ full Poesy” and “ distilled Prose,” of a pleasing savor to the tongue and a strangely nourishing relish to the intelligence. Let the reader browse but a moment and—to use Keats' imagehe will find the sails of his soul set for one of those high voyages of the spirit which give to life its most exalted meaning, and bring back as cargo the thrice-tried gold of ecstasy and vision. What inspired Elbert Hubbard should set other pulses to beating. What stimulated and uplifted him should furnish others with strength for the struggle against the eroding sameness of the workaday world. Such at least is the purpose to which the book is dedicated; such is the pious hope of Elbert Hubbard's literary executors.


[ocr errors]

HERE is an ancientlegend which
tells us that when a man first
achieved a most notable deed
he wished to explain to his tribe

what he had done. As soon as he began to speak, however, he was smitten with dumbness, he lacked words, and sat down. Then there arose-according to the story-a masterless man, one who had taken no part in the action of his fellow, who had no special virtues, but afflictedthat is the phrase—with the magic of the necessary words. He saw, he told, he described the merits of the notable deed in such a fashion, we are assured, that the words“ became alive and walked up and down in the hearts of all his hearers.” Thereupon, the tribe seeing that the words were certainly alive, and fearing lest the man with the words would hand down untrue tales about them to their children, they took and killed him. But later they saw that the magic was in the words, not in the man.





HE other evening I was a little late in going down to dinner, and this was the reason: I noticed a number of dead bees lying on the floor of the lookout where I am accustomed to work-a sight that I encounter every spring. The poor things had come in through the open window. When the windows were closed they found themselves prisoners. Unable to see the transparent obstacle, they had hurled themselves against the glass panes on all sides, east, north, south and west, until at last they fell to the floor exhausted, and

died. But, yesterday, I noticed among the bees, a great drone, much stronger than the bees, who was far from being dead, who, in fact, was very much alive and was dashing himself against the panes with all his might, like the great beast that he was. “Ah! my fine friend,” said I, “it would have been an evil day for you had I not come to the rescue. You would have been done for, my fine fellow; before nightfall you would be lying dead, and on coming up-stairs, in the evening with my lamp, I would have found your poor little corpse among those of the other bees.” Come, now, like the Emperor Titus I shall mark the day by a good deed: let us save the insect's life. Perhaps in the eyes of God a drone is as valuable as a man, and without any doubt it is more valuable than a prince.

I threw open the window, and, by means of a napkin, began chasing the insect toward it; but the drone persisted in flying in the opposite direction. I then tried to capture it by throwing the napkin over it. When the drone saw that I wished to capture it, it lost its head completely; it bounded furiously against the glass panes, as though it would smash them, took a fresh start, and dashed itself again and again against the glass. Finally it flew the whole length of the apartment, maddened and desperate. “Ah, you tyrant!" it buzzed. “ Despot! you would deprive me of liberty! Cruel executioner, why do you not leave me alone? I am happy, and why do you persecute me?" After trying very hard, I brought it down and, in seizing it with the napkin, I involuntarily hurt it. Oh, how it tried to avenge itself! It darted out its sting; its little nervous body, contracted by my fingers, strained itself with all its strength in an attempt to sting me. But I ignored its protestations, and, stretching my hand out the window, opened the napkin. For a moment the drone seemed stunned, astonished; then it calmly took Aight out into the infinite. Well, you see how I saved the drone. I was its Providence. But (and here is the moral of my story) do we not, stupid drones that we are, conduct ourselves in the same manner toward the providence of God? We have our petty and absurd projects, our small and narrow views, our rash designs, whose accomplishment is either impossible or injurious to ourselves. Seeing no farther than our noses and with our eyes fixed on our immediate aim, we plunge ahead in our blind infatuation, like madmen. We would succeed, we would triumph; that is to say, we would break our heads against an invisible obstacle. And when God, who sees all and who wishes to save us, upsets our designs, we stupidly complain against Him, we accuse His Providence. We do not comprehend that in punishing us, in overturning our plans and causing us suffering, He is doing all this to deliver us, to open the Infinite to us.-Victor Hugo.

T is not possible to have the tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains true pictures or statues of had washed them out. Orange, yellow Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, and scarlet, all are changed to one melanno, nor of the kings or great choly russet hue se The birds, too, have

personages of much later taken wing, and have left their roofless years; for the originals can not last, and dwellings. Not the whistle of a robin, the copies can not but leese of the life not the twitter of an eavesdropping and truth. But the images of men's wits swallow, not the carol of one sweet, and knowledges remain in books, ex- familiar voice. All gone. Only the disempted from the

mal cawing of a wrong of time, and Serene, I fold my hands and wait,

crow, as he sits capable of perpet. Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea: and curses that the ual renovation de I rave no more 'gainst time or fate, harvest is over; or Neither are they For, lo! my own shall come to me.

the chit-chat of an fitly to be called

idle squirrel, the images, because I stay my haste, I make delays:

noisy denizen of a they generate still, for what avails this eager pace?

hollow tree, the and cast their seeds i stand amid the eternal ways,

mendicant friar of in the minds of And what is mine shall know my face. a large parish, the others, provoking

absolute monarch and causing infinite Asleep, awake, by night or day,

of a dozen acorns. actions and opin- The friends I seek are seeking me;

-Longfellow. ions in succeeding No wind can drive my bark astray, ages: so that, if the Nor change the tide of destiny.

HAT moods, invention of the

what passions, ship was thought What matter if I stand alone?

what nights of desso noble, which car- I wait with joy the coming years:

pair and gathering rieth riches and My heart shall reap where it has sown, storms of anger, commodities from And garner up the fruit of tears.

what sudden cruelplace to place, and

ties and amazing consociateth the The waters know their own, and draw tendernesses are mostremote The brook that springs in yonder heights. buried and hidden regions in partici- So flows the good with equal law

and implied in pation of their Unto the soul of pure delights.

every love story! fruits, how much

What a waste is more are letters to The stars come nightly to the sky,

there of exquisite be magnified, The tidal wave unto the sea;

things! So each which as ships, Nor time nor space, nor deep nor high, spring sees a mil. pass through the Can keep my own away from me.

lion glorious bevast sea of time, “Waiting,” by John Burroughs

ginnings, a sunlit and make ages so

heaven in every distant to participate of the wisdom, opening leaf, warm perfection in every illuminations, and inventions the one of stirring egg, hope and fear and beauty bethe other?—Francis Bacon.

yond computation in every forest tree;

and in the autumn before the snows come T is the Indian summer. The rising they have all gone-of all that incal

sun blazes through the misty air culable abundance of life, of all that hope like a conflagration. A yellowish, smoky and adventure, excitement and delicioushaze fills the atmosphere, and a filmy ness, there is scarcely more to be found mist lies like a silver lining on the sky, than a soiled twig, a dirty seed, a dead The wind is soft and low. It wafts to us leaf, black mould, or a rotting feather. the odor of forest leaves, that hang

-H. G. Wells. wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous Speech is the index of the mind.-Seneca.

« PreviousContinue »