|PASSION FOR DISPLAY.
– The world is crazy for show. There is not one person in a thousand
who dares fall back on nothing but his real simple self for power to get
through the world, and to extract enjoyment as he goes along. There is
too much of that living in the eyes of other people. There is no end to
the aping, the mimicry, the false airs, and the superficial arts. It requires
rare courage, we admit, to live up to one’s enlightened convictions
in these times. Unless you consent to join in the general cheat, you are
jostled out of reach, there is no room for you among the great mob of
pretenders. If a man dares to live considerably within his means, and
is resolute in his purpose not to appear more than he, really is, let
him be applauded, for there is something fresh and rare in such an example.
In the family the law of pleasing ought to extend from the highest to
the lowest. You are bound to please your children; and your children are
bound to please each other; and you are bound to please your servants,
if you expect them to please you. Some men are pleasant in the household,
and nowhere else. I have known such men. They were good fathers, and kind
husbands. If you had seen them in their own home you would have thought
they were almost angels; but if you had seen them in the street, or in
the counting-house, or anywhere else outside of their own house, you would
have thought them almost demoniac. But the opposite is apt to be the case.
When we are among our neighbours, or among strangers, we hold ourselves
with self-respect, and endeavour to act with propriety; but when we get
home, we say to ourselves, “I have played a part long enough, and
now I am going to be natural.” So we sit down, and are ugly, and
snappish, and blunt, and disagreeable. We lay aside those little courtesies
that make the roughest floor smooth, that make the hardest things like
velvet, and that make life pleasant. We expand all our politeness in places
where it will be profitable – where it will bring silver and gold.
NATIONAL IDEAS OF PARADISE.
THE Laplander believes Paradise to be situated in the centre of the snows
of Sweden. The Muscogulgees imagine it among the islands of the vast Pacific.
The Mexicans conceived that those who died of wounds, or were drowned,
went to a cool and delightful place, there to enjoy all manner of pleasure;
those who died in battle or captivity were wafted to the palace of the
sun, and led a life of endless delight. After an abode of four more years
in this splendid habitation, they animate clouds and birds of beautiful
feather, and or sweet song; having at the same time liberty to ascend
to heaven, or descend to earth, to such sweet flowers, and warble enchanting
songs. The Tonquinese imagine the forest and the mountains to be peopled
with a peculiar kind of genii, who exercise and influence over the affairs
of mankind; and in their ideas relative to a state of future happiness,
they regard a delightful climate, and atmosphere surcharged with a throne
profusely covered with garlands of flowers, as the summit of earthly felicity.
Among the Arabs, a fine country, with abundance of shade, forms the principal
object of their promised bliss. There is a tribe of America who believe
that the souls of good men are conveyed to a pleasant valley, abounding
the guavas and other delicious fruits. The heaven of the Celts was called
“Flashinnis,” the “island of the good and brave;”
their hell, “Ilfurin,” “the island of cold climate.”
While the Druids, as we are informed by Ammianus Marcellus, believed that
the souls of good men were wafted, in progressive course, from planet
to planet, enjoying, at every successive change, a more sublime felicity
than in the last.