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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAn Ambitious Man - Chapter 10
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An Ambitious Man - Chapter 10 Post by :BizSuccess Category :Long Stories Author :Ella Wheeler Wilcox Date :May 2012 Read :3393

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An Ambitious Man - Chapter 10

CHAPTER X

Ever since early girlhood Joy Irving had formed a habit of jotting down in black and white her own ideas regarding any book, painting, concert, conversation or sermon, which interested her, and epitomising the train of thought to which they led.

The evening after her walk and talk with the rector of St Blank's, she took out her note-book, which bore a date four years old under its title "My Impressions," and read over the last page of entries. They had evidently been written at the close of some Sabbath day and ran as follows:-


Many a kneeling woman is more occupied with how her skirts hang than how her prayers ascend. I am inclined to think we all ought to wear a uniform to church if we would really worship there. God must grow weary looking down on so many new bonnets.

I wore a smart hat to church to-day, and I found myself criticising every other woman's bonnet during service, so that I failed in some of my responses.

If we could all be compelled by some mysterious power to THINK ALOUD on Sunday, what a veritable holy day we would make of it! Though we are taught from childhood that God hears our thoughts, the best of us would be afraid to have our nearest friends know them.

I sometimes think it is a presumption on the part of any man to rise in the pulpit and undertake to tell me about a Creator with whom I feel every whit as well acquainted as he. I suppose such thoughts are wicked, however, and should be suppressed.

It is a curious fact, that the most aggressively sensitive persons are at heart the most conceited.

I wish people smiled more in church aisles. In fact, I think we all laugh at one another too much and smile at one another too seldom.

After the devil had made all the trouble for woman he could with the fig leaf, he introduced the French heel.

It is well to see the ridiculous side of things, but not of people.

Most of us would rather be popular than right.


To these impressions Joy added the following:-


It is not the interior of one's house, but the interior of one's mind which makes home.

It seems to me that to be, is to love. I can conceive of no state of existence which is not permeated with this feeling toward something, somebody or the illimitable "nothing" which is mother to everything.

I wish we had more religion in the world and fewer churches.

People who believe in no God, invariably exalt themselves into His position, and worship with the very idolatry they decry in others.

Music is the echo of the rhythm of God's respirations.

Poetry is the effort of the divine part of man to formulate a worthy language in which to converse with angels.

Painting and sculpture seem to me the most presumptuous of the arts. They are an effort of man to outdo God in creation. He never made a perfect form or face--the artist alone makes them.

I am sure I do not play the organ as well at St Blank's as I played it in the little church where I gave my services and was unknown. People are praising me too much here, and this mars all spontaneity.

The very first hour of positive success is often the last hour of great achievement. So soon as we are conscious of the admiring and expectant gaze of men, we cease to commune with God. It is when we are unknown to or neglected by mortals, that we reach up to the Infinite and are inspired.

I have seen Marah Adams to-day, and I felt strangely drawn to her. Her face would express all goodness if it were not so unhappy. Unhappiness is a species of evil, since it is a discourtesy to God to be unhappy.

I am going to do all I can for the girl to bring her into a better frame of mind. No blame can be attached to her, and yet now that I am face to face with the situation, and realise how the world regards such a person, I myself find it a little hard to think of braving public opinion and identifying myself with her. But I am going to overcome such feelings, as they are cowardly and unworthy of me, and purely the result of education. I am amazed, too, to discover this weakness in myself.

How sympathetic dear mamma is! I told her about Marah, and she wept bitterly, and has carried her eyes full of tears ever since. I must be careful and tell her nothing sad while she is in such a weak state physically.

I told mamma what the rector said about lying. She coincided with him that Mrs Adams would have been justified in denying the truth if she had realised how her daughter was to be affected by this knowledge. A woman's past belongs only to herself and her God, she says, unless she wishes to make a confidant. But I cannot agree with her or the rector. I would want the truth from my parents, however much it hurt. Many sins which men regard as serious only obstruct the bridge between our souls and truth. A lie burns the bridge.

I hope I am not uncharitable, yet I cannot conceive of committing an act through love of any man, which would lower me in his esteem, once committed. Yet of course I have had little experience in life, with men, or with temptation. But it seems to me I could not continue to love a man who did not seek to lead me higher. The moment he stood before me and asked me to descend, I should realise he was to be pitied--not adored.

I told mother this, and she said I was too young and inexperienced to form decided opinions on such subjects, and she warned me that I must not become uncharitable. She wept bitterly as she thought of my becoming narrow or bigoted in my ideas, dear, tender-hearted mamma.

Death should be called the Great Revealer instead of the Great Destroyer.

Some people think the way into heaven is through embroidered altar cloths.

The soul that has any conception of its own possibilities does not fear solitude.

A girl told me to-day that a rude man annoyed her by staring at her in a public conveyance. It never occurred to her that it takes four eyes to make a stare annoying.

Astronomers know more about the character of the stars than the average American mother knows about the temperament of her daughters.

To some women the most terrible thought connected with death is the dates in the obituary notice.

As a rule, when a woman opens the door of an artistic career with one hand, she shuts the door on domestic happiness with the other.

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