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THE GIRL WANTED - A BOOK OF FRIENDLY THOUGHTS
First digital edition 2017 by Gianluca Ruffini
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I:I CHOOSING THE WAY
Starting right. - The strength of early impressions. - “Environment.” - The will and the way. - Planning the future. “Mother’s Apron Strings.”
The ability to do things. - Elegant and useful accomplishments. - The value of thoroughness. - “What Have We Done Today?” - The service of the heart. - “Sympathy.” - “Only A Word.”
CHAPTER III:THE JOY OF DOING
The power of enthusiasm. - Working with heart and hand. - Looking on the bright side. - “Just This Minute.” - Happiness and its relation to health. - Paths of sunshine. - “The Sculptor.”
CHAPTER IV:SOME EVERY-DAY VIRTUES
The desire to do right. - The importance of every-day incidents. - True culture. - “A Rose to the Living.” - Patience as a virtue. - “This Busy World.”
CHAPTER V:THE VALUE OF SUNSHINE
“Likableness” as a desirable quality. - The present the best of all times. - The sunshiny girl. - “The Prize Winner.” - The necessity of being prepared. - “The Conqueror.”
CHAPTER VI:A MERRY HEART
Smoothing the way with a smile. - The unselfishness of happiness. - “The Point of View.” - The joy of living for others. - “The Better Armor.” - Cultivating happiness. - “Song or Sigh.”
CHAPTER VII:GOLDEN HABITS
Good habits and bad. - The strength of habit. - “True Gentility.” - Manners and personality. - “What Are You Going to Do?” - The worth of good breeding. - “Drudgery.”
CHAPTER VIII:THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
The inspiration of success. - Building day by day. - “Morning Gates.” - The value of a purpose. - Women’s growing sphere. - “Man, Poor Man.” - Opportunities and responsibilities. - “Morning Prayer.”
The pleasure of giving to the public this volume has been brought about by the publication of the author’s work entitled, “Boy Wanted,” which he presented as “a book of cheerful counsel to his young friends and such of the seniors as are not too old to accept a bit of friendly admonition.” The warm welcome accorded that book, and the many requests it has called forth for a similar companion volume for girls, has prompted the author to prepare the series of papers offered herewith, with the hope that they, too, may find as many youthful friends (between the ages of seven and seventy) awaiting them. In the present volume, as in “Boy Wanted,” the fine prose thoughts are selected from the writings of a very large number of the world’s foremost teachers and philosophers of all times, while the author, with a due sense of modesty, lays claim to all such examples of versification as are to be found within this book. In these days when the women of the world, with such splendid success, are writing books for the moral guidance and spiritual uplift of the men and youth of every land, an author need not feel called upon to apologize when he presumes to address his remarks to readers of the opposite sex, as did John Ruskin, to such fine purpose, in the “Pearls for Young Ladies.” Since his own mother, wife, sisters, daughters and many of his best friends belong to the feminine half of humanity, any man who is a careful observer, a logical reasoner, and an adequate writer ought to be able to say something of worth and interest to the women and girls to whom he is permitted to address himself. If in this volume, the author is able to impart to others, in a small degree, the beneficent influence he has received through the splendid precepts and noble examples of the women to whom he owes so much, he will deem himself grandly rewarded for the labor of love herein set forth. Nor is the author unconscious of the great purpose that should underlie the writing of a series of papers designed to direct the daughters of our land toward the greatest factor in the making and the perpetuity of a nation, a noble and beautiful womanhood. For observation, has taught the world that, we’re almost sure to find good men, when, all in all, we choose to take them, Are, nearly nine times out of ten, what mothers, wives and sisters make them.
CHAPTER I:I CHOOSING THE WAY
Starting right. - The strength of early impressions. - “Environment.” - The will and the way. - Planning the future. “Mother’s Apron Strings.”
Yes, my good girl, I am very glad that we are to have the opportunity to enjoy a friendly chat through the medium of the printed page, with its many tongues of type.
Just here I have a favor to ask of you, and that is that you will consent to let us talk chiefly about yourself and the manner in which you aregoing to live all the golden tomorrows that are awaiting you.
In a discussion of the topics which are to follow, it will be well for you to understand that there has never been a period in the world’s history when a girl was of more importance than she is just now. Indeed, many close observers and clear thinkers are of the opinion that there never has been a time when a girl was of quiteso much importance as she is today.
Some of our most able writers tell us that we are just on the threshold of“the women’s century,”and that the great advance the world is to witness in the forthcoming years is to be largely inspired by, and redound to the glory of, the women of the earth.
Come what will, the future is sufficiently alluring to cause you to cherish it most fondly and to determine that you will make the years that are before you as bright and beautiful and as“worth while”as it is possible for you to do.
It is a glorious privilege to dwell in the very forefront of time, in the grandest epoch of the world’s history and to feel that we are permitted to be observers of, and if it may so be, active participants in, the fascinating events that are occurring all about us.
Yet with all the grand achievements that are being encompassed in every field of human endeavor, the world to-day, needs most, that which the world has ever most needed--words helpful and true, hearts kind and tender, hands willing and ready to lift the less fortunate over the rough places in the paths of life, goodness and grace, gentle women and gentlemen.
And so here we find ourselves, just at this particular spot and at this very moment, with all of the days, months, years,yes, the whole of eternity,still to be lived!
At first thought it seems like a great problem, does this having to decide how we are going to live out all the great future that is before us. Yet, when we come to think it over, we see that it is not so difficult after all; for, fortunate mortals that we are, we shall never have to live it but one moment at a time. And, better still, that one moment is always to be the one that is right here and just now where we can see it and study it and shape it and do with it as we will.
Just this minute!
Surely it will not require a great deal of effort on the part of any one of us to live the next sixty seconds as they should be lived. And having lived one moment properly, it ought to be still easier for us to livethe next one as well, and then the next, and the next until, finally, we continue to live them rightly, just as a matter of habit.
When we come to understand clearly that time is the thing of which lives are made, and that time is divided into a certain number of units, we can then pretty closely figure out, by simple processes in arithmetic, how much life is going to be worth to us.
What we are doing this minute, multiplied by sixty, tells us what we are likely to accomplish in an hour.
What we do in an hour, multiplied by the number of working hours in every twenty-four, tells us what we may expect to achieve in a day.
What we do in a day, multiplied by three hundred and sixty-five, shows us what it is probable we shall accomplish in a year.
What we do in a year, when multiplied by the number of years of youth and health and strength, we have reason to believe are yet before us, sets forth the result we may hope to secure in a lifetime. For it is not hard for us to comprehend that.
If, ever, while this minute’s here,weuse it circumspectly,we’lllive this hour, this day, this year, Yes, all our lives, correctly.
As the work of the builder is preceded by the plans of the architect, so the deeds we do in life are preceded by the thoughts we think. The thought is the plan; the deed is the structure.
“As the twig is bent the tree is inclined.”Wordsworth tells us:“The child is father of the man.”Which means, also, that the child is mother of the woman. That which we dream today we may do tomorrow. The toys of childhood become the tools of our maturer years.
So,it follows that an important part of the work and occupation of one’s early years should be to learn to have right thoughts, which, later on in life, are to become right actions.
The pleasant, helpful girl is most likely to become the pleasant, helpful woman. The seed that is sown in the springtime of life determines the character of the harvest that must be reaped in the autumn.
The cultivation of the right point of view means so much in determining one’s attitude toward all that the years may bring. Three centuries ago it was written:“What is one man’s poison is another’s meat or drink.”So,there are many things in life that bring pleasure to some and distress to others.
There is a beautiful little story about a shepherd boy who was keeping his sheep in a flowery meadow, and because his heart was happy, he sang so loudly that the surrounding hills echoed back his song. One morning the king, who was out hunting, spoke to him and said:“Why are you so happy, my boy?”
“Why should I not be happy?”answered the boy.“Our king is not richer than I.”
“Indeed,”said the king,“pray tell me of your great possessions.”
The shepherd boy answered:“The sun in the bright blue sky shines as brightly upon me as upon the king. The flowers upon the mountain and the grass in the valley grow and bloom to gladden my sight as well as his. I would not take a fortune for my hands; my eyes are of more value than all the precious stones in the world. I have food and clothing, too. Am I not, therefore, as rich as the king?”
“You are right,”said the king, with a smile,“but your greatest treasure is your contented heart. Keep it so, and you will always be happy.”
So much of life’s happiness depends upon one’s immediate surroundings that wherever it is a matter of choice they should be made to conform as nearly as possible to the thoughts and tastes one wishes to cultivate. As amatter,of course but few persons can have just the surroundings they would like, but it is possible that by pleasant thinking all of us can make the surroundings we have more likable. We can, at least, be thoughtful of the character of the friends and companions we choose to have with us, and it is they who are the most vital and influential part of our
Shine or shadow, flame or frost, Zephyr-kissed or tempest-tossed, Night or day, or dusk or dawn,weare strangely lived upon.
Mystic builders in the brain,Mirth and sorrow, joy and pain, Grief and gladness, gloom andlight, build, oh, build my heart aright!
O ye friends, with pleasant smiles,helpme build my precious whiles; Bring me blocks of gold to make Strength that wrong shall never shake.
Day by day I gather from All you give me. I become Yet a part of all I meetinthe fields and in the street.
Bring me songs of hope and youth,bringme bands of steel and truth,bringme love wherein to find Charity for all mankind.
Place within my hands the tools And the Master Builder’s rules, That the walls we fashion may Stand forever and a day.
Help me build a palace where All is wonderfully fair,builtof truth, the while, above, Shines the pinnacle of love.
If we are to receive help and strength from our friends we must lend them help and strength in return. And since the deeds of others inspire us we should not deem it impossible to make our deeds inspire them.
Helen Keller, who, though deaf and blind, has achieved so many wonderful and beautiful victories over the barriers that have beset her, says:“My share in the work of the world may be limited, but the fact that it is work makes it precious.... Darwin could work only half an hour at a time; yet in many diligent half-hours he laid anew the foundations of philosophy.... Green, the historian, tells us that theworld is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
In the same spirit the great French savant, Emile Zola, penned these words:“Let each one accept his task, a task which should fill his life. It may be very humble; it will not be the less useful. Never mind what it is, so long as it exists and keeps you erect! When you have regulated it, without excess--just the quantity you are able to accomplish each day,it will cause you to live in health and in joy.”
Some wise observer has said that one of the chief aims of life should be to learn how to grow old gracefully. This knowledge is deemed by many to be a great secret and a most valuable one. Yet it can hardly be called a secret since every girl and boy as well as every person of maturer years must know that it is but the working out of the laws of cause and effect. When character-building is begun on the right lines and those lines are followed to the end the result is as certain as it is beautiful. When we see agrandmother,whose life has been lived on the happy plane of pure thoughts and kind deeds we ought not to wonder that her old age is as exquisite as was the perfect bloom of her youth. We need not marvel how it has come about that her life has been a long and happy one. Here is the“secret:”
She knew how to forget disagreeable things.
She kept her nerves well in hand and inflicted them on no one.
She mastered the art of saying pleasant things.
She did not expect too much from her friends.
She made whatever work came to her congenial.
She retained her faith in others and did not believe all the world wicked and unkind.
She relieved the miserable and sympathized with the sorrowful.
She never forgot that kind words and a smile cost nothing, but are priceless treasures to the discouraged.
She did unto others as she would be done by, and now that old age has come to her, and there is a halo of white hair about her brow, she is loved and considered. This is the“secret”of a long life and a happy one.
Fortunate is the girl who is permitted to dwell within the living presence of such a matron and to be directed by her into the paths of usefulness and sunshine. And thrice fortunate is every girl who has for her guide and counselor a loving mother to whom she can go for light and wisdom with which to meet all the problems of life.
“Mother knows.”Her earnest, loving words are to be cherished above all others as many men and many women have learned after the long miles and the busy years have crept between them and“the old folks at home.”Do not, O Girl! I pray you, ever grow impatient, as boys sometimes do, to be set beyond the protecting care of
When I was but a careless youth, I thought the truly great Were those who had attained, in truth, To man’s mature estate. And none my soul so sadly triedorspoke such bitter thingsashe who said that I was tied To mother’s apron-strings.
I loved my mother, yet it seemed That I must break awayandfind the broader world I dreamed Beyond her presence lay. But I have sighed and I have cried O’er all the cruel stings I would have missed had I been tiedtomother’s apron-strings.
O happy, trustful girls and boys! The mother’s way is best. She leads you‘mid the fairest joys, Through paths of peace and rest. If you would have the safest guide,anddrink from sweetest springs, Oh, keep your hearts forever tiedtomother’s apron-strings.
[Transcriber’s Note: Sidenote quotations from the preceeding chapter are gathered in this section.]
What can be expressed in words can be expressed in life.Thoreau.
It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The habit of viewing things cheerfully, and of thinking about life hopefully, may be made to grow up in us like any other habit.Smiles.
A laugh is worth a hundred groans in any state of the market. --Charles Lamb.
The old days never come again, because they would be getting in the way of the new, better days whose turn it is.George MacDonald.
The man who has learned to take things as they come, and to let go as they depart, has mastered one of the arts of cheerful and contented living.Anonymous.
Cheerfulness is the very flower of health.Schopenhauer.
There are people who do not know how to waste their time alone, and hence become the scourge of busy people.De Bonald.
Not what has happened to myself to-day, but what has happened to others through me--that should be my thought.Frederick Deering Blake.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.Lowell.
The highest luxury of which the human mind is sensible is to call smiles upon the face of misery.Anonymous.
He who is plenteously provided for from within, needs but little from without.Goethe.
Each day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.Lavater.