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6/>e MIRROR IFublished Weekly <^\ w U IFrisov* « * y v^i ® Vol. XYIL—No. 19. IT was Thanksgiving Day. From the Atlantic to the Pacific the peo ple of this great nation offered up thanks for real or imaginary bless ings received. As a people they had much to be thankful for. They were at peace with all the world. The sea sons had been propitious, and the la bors of the husbandman had been abundantly rewarded. Throughout tbe whole year the wheels of industry had revolved almost unceasingly, and millions of workers had been employed at living wages, and their countenances reflected the contentedness felt within their bosoms. Commerce and trans portation had achieved new successes, and the figures representing the vol ume of business transacted elicited a smile of satisfaction even from the jaundiced pessimist. From out the bowels of the earth great riches had been taken, and Plutus’ hidden treas ures had been exposed to view. The mountains, the plains, the forests, the streams, the turbulent kingdom of old Neptune, and even the waters un der the earth had contributed to the material welfare of the natiou. Science boasted its new discoveries, and the de sire for wealth and fame had been tbe cause of many new and useful inven tions. Education had made giant strides toward the goal of perfection, and the dark clouds of ignorance and prejudice were pierced, here and there, by tbe divine rays of truth, and tolera tion followed in the wake of enlighten ment. It was Thanksgiving Day. Joy per vaded the air. From the pulpits and altars of the churches millions had keen exhorted to give thanks, and many souls, too busy, or too careless to ■•member the Creator on other days, lad on this day poured out their thanks to the Source of all Being with fall hearts and willing lips. In thou sands of homes, when the family gath ered around the table to partake of the good things the all-bountiful Mother Xarth had provided, the parents neg lected not to instruct their children to be thankful at all times, and to remem ber in the days of their prosperity their lees fortunate fellow mortals. And the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, and those of unsound mind, and those sep arated from the world for overt acts committed against the laws of organ ised society,—all these were remem bered, and many prayers went up in their behalf, and many acts of kind mss were they the recipients of, so that the conditions of even these were amel iorated, and the distance between them and their more fortunate sisters and brethren was lessened. There is something grand, something snblime in the very thought of a whole nation giving thanks. It matters little to what deity our thanks are offered. All conceptions of the Supreme Power must necessarily be clouded —more or less —with the errors due to our defec tive understanding. Being finite, we cannot fully comprehend the Infinite. If man could fully comprehend the In finite Being, he would be the equal of that Being. No two persons capable »f independent thought can form the same conception of God. There are as mauy theological dogmas in the world as there are independent think ers. But true thankfulness is benefi cial to the individual whose soul iB per meated by it, and to all who witness the manifestations resulting from the state of mind we call thankfulness, or gratitude— and that regardless of the be lief or opinions entertained by the one who renders thanks. Therefore the benefit a nation derives from a gen eral thanksgiving, is incalculable. And as long as an individual, or a nation, can feel sincerely thankful, is there hope for that individual, or nation. Mean, sordid natures are incapable of DISCOURAGED. X STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1903. giving sincere thanks. That blessed privilege is reserved for those only in whose bosoms reside generous feelings, whose souls are capable of expansion under the influence of elevated senti ments. But there come times in almost every man’s life when he truly believes that his state is so desperate that the past reveals nothing to be thankful for, and the future contains nothing to hope for. In such a state of mind was the subject of this sketch, on that particu lar Thanksgiving Day afternoon when judging from the surface of things, all things conspired to make for the hap piness, or at least the contentedness, of each and all who breathed the crisp, invigorating autumn air, or came with in the zone of influence of the cumula tive happiness of the joyous mulitude. A middle aged man sat by the one window of a small and poorly furnished room. He had sat there for hours watching the gladsome crowds of men and women, youths and maidens, and children passing below on the street — some for social pleasure bound, some to attend the afternoon services in the churches, and some to take part in, or to witness some game or frolic. He saw their smiling, cheerful faces; he heard their merry shouts and laughter; but the subdued or unfettered gladness of the passing throng struck no respon sive chords in his bosom. Whichever way he looked clouds of darkness en compassed him. Looking back into the hazy regions of the past he saw on ly the fleeting shadows of hopes that had but “allured to fly;” surveying the area revealed by the present moment he beheld in it nothing of a nature to revive his drooping spirit; casting his glance into the cavernous darkness of the future he discovered only weird, and undefinable shapes, that beckoned to him, but disappeared, and were replaced by other equally undefinable shapes be fore he had time to photograph their like ness upon his memory. And his heart sank within him, and the light in his eyes grew dim, and he bowed his head upon his knees, and the spirit of des pair overmastered him, and his sonl cried out to be released from bondage. And the minutes, the hours passed; and the sun slunk behind the western hills, and the darkness spread a black mantle over the land. But he noticed not the flight of time; regarded not the disappearance of the god of day; the darkness in his soul was greater, deeper than the material darkness that shrouded the laud. He heard not the footsteps that crossed his threshold, uor yet when they ap proached to where he sat, dimly revealed in the faint, fitful light of a street lamp whose rays penetrated his win dow, and gave the room and its objects a ghostly appearance. Only when he felt the touch of a gentle hand, and heard a kindly voice pronouncing his name, did he rouse himself to make sure his visitor was earthly. He half recognized the voice, but when his tear dimmed eyes beheld the form of an old man with a long white beard, and a countenance that was almost divine for its thoughtful benevolence, he felt reassured. “Oh, is it you, Father Muller?” Everybody called him “Father” Mul ler. Everybody reverenced him. Old in years, and experience, and thought; yet his heart was young. Poor in this world’s goods; rich in the treasures that the moths and the rust do not corrupt, that tempt not thieves to steal them. Unbidden the old man drew a chair close to where sat the grief-stricken younger man, and gently taking him by the hand, asked, “My son, why so disconsolate?” “Father,” he replied, “I am bowed down with sorrow because 1 can think of nothing to be thankful for. In my boyhood days those who by reason of “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” consanguinity should have been my friends and protectors, took advantage of my unsuspecting trustfulness, and mercilessly cast me off when I could be of no further use to them. I went into the world, but the world understood me not: —perhaps I expected too much. Because I would not flatter I had few friends, and because I refused to be flattered none remained my friends for , long. Because I tried to be just to all j men everyone thought me unjust to himself in particular, and because I dared to speak tbe truth about persons and events some considered me a base calumniator, while others likened me to a rude boor. Because I bowed not down before the golden calf, nor grov eled in the dust be'ore the Beats of the mighty, but on the contrary, tried to honor each man, whether king or beg gar, according to his actual worth, I have been dubbed, a crank, an eccentric and dangerous character. Health I have; I am able Mr earn the necessaries of life; my enemies grant me a certain amount of common sense; I am not by nature morose; I love mankind —yet am despised by mankind. I am misera ble because I stand alone in the world. One friend I had in whom my soul re joiced, on whose friendship I had built the temple of my hopes and laid the foundation of great and good things to come. But, alas! even that friend has lately grown cold, and the once delight ful bond binds us no more. The greatest misery that a sensitive soul can be subjected to is to feel that one is utterly forsaken. Never until now did I realize the soul-rending agony ex pressed in the cry et Jesus upon the cross: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?* ‘My God, my God, why hast thou for saken me?”’ “Has God forsaken you?” interrupt ed the old man. “I cannot tell. The sun shines as blithely as ever; the moon and the stars send their messages to my heart and mind as of yore; the earth also bedecks her bosom with beautiful adornments in countless variations, and I am not debarred from the pleasurable feelings resulting from the contemplation of the beautiful and snblime aspects of nature. But lam human, and crave human sympathies. lam intensely human; I love my kind and stand in awe before the lowest, and even the most degraded of human beings, for I see in them manifestations of the Uni versal Mind, powers and potentialities that indicate to thoughtful observers the almost unlimited possibilities of the human race. Yet I am shunned by my kind. They forsake me; and as in the totality of human feeling toward us we must look for the outward signs of the invisible Power that rules the universe, toward us, I see reflected, as it were, in their averted countenances the averted countenance of God.” “Are there not others similarly afflict ed? Are there not many whose condi tion is far more pitiable than yours?” “Should I be thankful because others are more wretched than I am ? Base is the man who gives thanks because others have less cause to be thankful than he. That old man in the Persian tale who grumbled because he had no sandals to put on his feet, but, on be holding a man who had no feet on which to put sandals, became content ed, and thanked God for his better for tune, was not the exalted being some have proclaimed him to be. There is something Pharisaical in the very thought of giving thanks because we are better, or more fortunate than oth er people. Let my soul overflow with pity for all whose miseries are greater, or more enduring than mine, but let it never be said of me that I felt thankful because in the pit of despair there were some of my fellow beings whose places were less desirable than mine!” “And have you no hope for better things in the future?” “Alasl What is hope? Hope is the ignis fatnns that lures us to the dismal swamps of life, and deserts us when we can advance no farther, nor retrace our steps over the path we have trav eled. Hope is the siren whose song en- chants us, but woe unto him who is overcome by the seductive influence of the song! Hope is a thief that robs us of our better judgment, and entices us to venture beyond our depth into the ocean of possibilities, and then mockingly dispirits us, and leaves us to our fate. Hope is a balloon that car ries us skyward, but bursts in midair, and when we fall to the earth we are dashed to pieces. Hope is a magic mir ror that shows us deceptive glimpses of the future, thus causing us to forget that only the present moment is our own. It is as foolish to build on hope as it is to play in a lottery in which there one chance to win against a million to lose.” For some time they sat in meditation lost, their look cast on the bare floor, on which fell the weird, fantastic, shifting shadows of objects impervious to the light of the swinging street lamp. Then the old man put his hand on the shoul der of his companion, and said: “The thoughts you have given utter ance to as respecting Hope convince me that you have indeed drunk copi ously the bitter waters of disappoint ment. And it must be admitted that much of what you have spoken about the illusiveness of Hope is true, but not all. Hope is very often a deceiver, but not always. But in the catalogue of things for which we should be thank ful there are many items we have not yet touched upon. Whether one should be thankful because one’s lot is happier than some other one’s; or whether one should rejoice because Hope, Proteus like assuming different shapes, coaxes one to new efforts in different direc tions, or phoenix-like, ever reappearing from tbe ashes of disappointment, fills one with new life, and impels one with a force that cannot be withstood;— these are questions that each individu al must settle to his own satisfaction with his own consciousness* But bethink you now, my son, have you not met with persons who were dis interestedly kind to you ? Has no one ever given you a drink of water in His name? Has no one ever assuaged your pain*, relieved you of a part of your burden, or comforted and encour aged you when you were about to sink under the combined Influence of the petty trials of a day and the enervating and soul-sickening strife that confronts ns throughout onr whole earthly exist tence?” The younger man lowered his head, and before his mind’s eye there passed, one after the other, the forms of those to whom in time past he had been be holden for kind acts, and words of en couragement and advice, well meant. At first there was an interval between the disappearing and oncoming forms; but as through the association of ideas his mind became more active, and thought flashed upon thought, illumin ating the partly obscured page of mem ory, the intervals gradually, but per ceptibly, diminished, until the forms crowded each other as they passed his mental review. And the blush of shame dyed his cheeks, and his con science reproved him for his want of gratitude, and he groaned in his heart because he had that day failed to dis tinguish the good from the evil, and, while regarding the nettle, he had declined to consider the violet that flowered under it. The old man silent ly observed him for a time. Then he again addressed his companion in terms at once soothing and firm: “My son, remember this: Whoever courts the good will of the world must swim with the stream. You say the world has misunderstood you: the world has misunderstood every man whose ideals were higher than the world’s ideals. You say your friends have forsaken you: if you have been true to your ideals the falling off of fairweather friends need not concern you. You say you cannot build on hopes: then build on truth and justice! These are the everlasting foundations, and whosoever builds on them shall re- joice in his work even tho the sky be overcast, and the world sneer, and po tentates and powers frown. Not the piling up of riches, nor the acquire-' Terms-i sl.ooper year, in advance i tKMH.j six Months BO cents. ment of fame are indications of the greatest success in life. He who has learned to be fair-minded, and has ac quired the habit of thinking without having his thoughts drawn from the direct line by bias; he who loves truth for truth’s sake, and makes his actions conform to his thoughts and belief, has achieved the greatest possible measure of success obtainable by man. Here is a field large enough for all competitors; here is a strife that breeds no envy; here is to be gained the one crown that causes no feeling of uneas iness to the wearer. And because you also may erect your standard for the right, and succor those who fight on the side of truth, it should awaken in you thoughts of thankfulness, and grateful emotions. And as the re membrance of kind words and actions, spoken and done unto you, does even now drive the spirit of despair from your soul, so will the remembrance of kind words and actions, spoken and done by you, comfort others, dis arm discontent, and pluck the dagger from the hand of the hopeless. A good deed never dies; it rewards the doer a hundredfold, for, “ ‘All the loving ties that bind us, While the days are going by, One by one we leave behind us, While the days are going by, But the seed of good we sow, Both in shade and shine will grow, And will keep our hearts aglow, While the days are going by.’ “Give me your hand. Hours of sad ness such as you have experienced this day come to every man whose spirit is at war with the world-spirit,—the spirit of superficialnesa and self-seeking. But let not even the darkest moment of your existence foster in your soul the belief that there is nothing to be thankful for. Thanklessness dwarfs the soul; thankfulness expands it. Good night!” “Stay, Father, stay!” cried the young er man. “Before you go let me thank you for your words of warning and ad vice. A new light is dawning in my soul. 1 confess I have taken a too nar row view of life. I surrounded myself with my miseries and the light could not penetrate through them. In the mansion of my soul there were no aper tures through which the sun could send its rays into the interior, and I was be numbed by the chilly dampness which my own mind created. Henceforth I will enter into the larger life, and the hope that leads me on to renewed ef forts in well-doing will not again for sake me utterly in transitory moments of disappointment; and the joyousness that has its birth in right living and in the right appreciation of the good each life is capable of effecting, will, I doubt not, bring forth manifold fruits of thankfulness. Good night!” 5599. Wedding Superstitions. The bride should not fail to shed a few tears on her wedding day. It is an omen of good luck in the future. It is unlucky for the bride to enter the church before the ceremony at one door and leave after the ceremony by another door. The bride should always cut the first piece of her wedding cake and pour out the first glass of wine for her guests if there are not too many. If the bride drops her handkerchief on the wedding day and the bridegroom picks it up, it is a sign that in the fu ture he will play second fiddle. It is said to be unlucky to tie shoes to any part of the carriage in which the bride and bridegroom go away, but it is lucky to throw an old shoe after the bride as she enters the carriage. In leaving the church the bride will do well to place her right foot formost if she wishes to be happy, healthy, etc., in the future, and she should always be the first to call her husband by name. After the wedding breakfast and re ception the bride should be careful to throw away and lose all the pins, if there are any about her. The brides maids should not keep the pins them selves or they will retard their chances of marriage.—Ex.