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A Lazy, Idle Brook Henry van Dyke

A Better Acquaintance

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Table Of Contents: Fisherman's Luck

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IT is an age in which such encouragement is greatly needed. We have fallen so much into the habit of being always busy that we know not how nor when to break it off with firmness. Our business tags after us into the midst of our pleasures, and we are ill at ease beyond reach of the telegraph and the daily newspaper. We agitate ourselves amazingly about a multitude of affairs,--the politics of Europe, the state of the weather all around the globe, the marriages and festivities of very rich people, and the latest novelties in crime, none of which are of vital interest to us. The more earnest souls among us are cultivating a vicious tendency to Summer Schools, and Seaside Institutes of Philosophy, and Mountaintop Seminaries of Modern Languages.

We toil assiduously to cram something more into those scrap-bags of knowledge which we fondly call our minds. Seldom do we rest tranquil long enough to find out whether there is anything in them already that is of real value,--any native feeling, any original thought, which would like to come out and sun itself for a while in quiet.

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For my part, I am sure that I stand more in need of a deeper sense of contentment with life than of a knowledge of the Bulgarian tongue, and that all the paradoxes of Hegel would not do me so much good as one hour of vital sympathy with the careless play of children. The Marquis du Paty de l'Huitre may espouse the daughter and heiress of the Honourable James Bulger with all imaginable pomp, if he will. CA NE M'INTRIGUE POINT DU TOUT. I would rather stretch myself out on the grass and watch yonder pair of kingbirds carrying luscious flies to their young ones in the nest, or chasing away the marauding crow with shrill cries of The young birds, all ignorant of the passing danger, but always conscious of an insatiable hunger, are uttering loud remonstrances and plaintive demands for food. Domestic life begins again, and they that sow not, neither gather into barns, are fed.

Do you suppose that this wondrous stage of earth was set, and all the myriad actors on it taught to play their parts, without a spectator in view? Do you think that there is anything better for you and me to do, now and then, than to sit down quietly in a humble seat, and watch a few scenes in the drama? Has it not something to say to us, and do we not understand it best when we have a peaceful heart and free from dolor? That is what IN-DOLENCE means, and there are no better teachers of it then the light-hearted birds and untoiling flowers, commended by the wisest of all masters to our consideration; nor can we find a more pleasant pedagogue to lead us to their school than a small, merry brook.

And this was what our chosen stream did for us. It was always luring us away from an artificial life into restful companionship with nature.

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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