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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

"S    C

mark of such unwholesomely divided   minds   is   the

ssion for interference with others :  the Fox without the

il was of this breed, but had (if his biographer is to be

isted)  a certain antique civility now out of date.    A

in may have a flaw, a weakness that unfits him for the

ities of life, that spoils his temper, that threatens Ms

tegrity, or that betrays Mm into cruelty.    It has to be

.nquered;   but it must never be suffered to engross his

Loughts.    The true duties lie all upon the farther side,

id must be attended to with a whole raind so soon as this

reliminary clearing of the decks has been effected.    In

rder that he may be kind and honest, it may be needful

e should become a total abstainer ;   let Mm become so

hen, and the next day let Mm forget the circumstance.

drying to be kind and honest will require ail Ms thoughts ;

t mortified appetite is never a wise companion ;  in so far as

le has had to mortify an appetite, he will still be the worse

man ;  and of such an one a great deal of cheerfulness will

be required in judging life, and a great deal of humility in

judging others.

It may be argued again that dissatisfaction with our
life's endeavour springs in some degree from duEness.
We require Mgher tasks, because we do not recognize the
height of those we have. Trying to be kind and honest
seems an affair too simple and too inconsequential for
gentlemen of our heroic mould ; we had rather set our-
selves to sometMng bold, arduous, and conclusive ; we
had rather found a scMsm or suppress a heresy, cut off
a hand or mortify an appetite. But the task before us,
wMch is to co-endure with our existence, is rather one of
microscopic fineness, and the heroism required is that of
patience. There is no cutting of the Gordiaii knots of
life ; each must be smilingly unravelled.

To be honest, to be kind  to earn a little and to spend
a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for
his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and
not be embittered, to keep a few friends but these without
capitulation  above all, on the same grim condition, to
keep friends with himself  here is a task for all that a man
has of fortitude and delicacy. He has an ambitious soul