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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Culture and Life

How It Happens

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -

How It HappensHOW IT HAPPENS. – One fruitful source of discontent, and one great bar to the enjoyment in this world, is the practice of comparing one’s life with the life of others; utterly ignoring the fact that every person has an inner as well as an outer life; or, in the old-fashioned words of the Bible, “that every heart knoweth its own bitterness.” How often is the remark made by superficial observers, “how happy such and such persons must be! If I were only they!” when, ten to one, these very persons, oblivious of their wealth and position, are weary and heartsore, with the din and battle of life. The longer one lives, the more one is impressed with the fallibility of all judgment in this respect. That the face is calm, and the brow placid, is no sign that there is inward peace. There are reticent natures, whose most painful thoughts and feelings are never communicated; sensitive natures, which, shrinking from misapprehension, and fastidious in the quality of sympathy, shut, and bolt, and bar the window of their souls, lest some biting sting come through it. And such are often they whom lookers-on envy for their “happiness.” What revelations would there be, were the masks removed from human hearts and faces! – were the soft and oily spoken brought face to face with their own surreptitious malice and mischief-making! – were a man’s “best friend” shown up to him in his true colours, stripped of his hypocritical, self-seeking disguises! – were those persons who, “What faults soever they may have, think themselves at least thoroughly disinterested,” made to see the tangled web of motive which envelopes every action! Alas! how would human being start away from each other, and how many fair superstructures of human faith would topple to the ground” Blessed are they who can believe, even in the face of the direst evidence, that which they wish to believe; who, like some flowers, enjoy the fresh dew and brightness of morning, and softly close their eyes to the chill of the coming night. – FANNY FERN.