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- Round the World - 46/46 -


bubbles from the brook without money and without price. All that our race eats or drinks beyond this range must be inferior, if not positively injurious. Dress--what man, or rather what woman wears--is less and less comfortable in proportion to its frills and its cost, and no jewel is so refined as the simple flower in the hair, which the village maid has for the plucking. All that women overload themselves with beyond this range is a source of unhappiness. To be the most simply attired is to be the most elegantly dressed. So much for true health and happiness in all that we eat, and drink, and wear.

If we extend the inquiry to the luxuries and adornments of life, is there any music--which of course comes first--comparable in grandeur to that of the wave, stirring the soul with its mighty organ tones as it breaks upon the beach, or any so exquisitely fine as that of the murmuring brook which sings its song forever to every listener upon its banks, while above birds warble and the zephyr plays its divine accompaniment among the trees! We spend fortunes for picture-galleries, but what are the tiny painted copies compared to the great originals, the mountains, the glens, the streams and waterfalls, the fertile fields, the breezy downs, the silver sea! These are the gems of the universal gallery, the common heritage of man, the property of the humblest who has eyes to see, and as free as the air we breathe. We have our conservatories and spend our thousands upon orchids, but which of nature's smiles ranks with the rose and the mignonette, the daisy and the bluebell, and the sweet forget-me-not blooming for all earth's children, and which grow upon the window-sill of the artisan and which the laborer blesses at his cottage door!

If we go higher still in the scale, we find that the companionship of the gods is not denied to the steady wage-receiving man, for Shakespeare and our Burns and our Scott can be had for sixpence per volume. In this blessed age in which we are privileged to live even the immortals are cheap and visit the toiler. We see the rich rolling over the land in their carriages, but blessed beyond these is the man who strolls along the hedge-rows. The connoisseur in his gallery misses the health-giving breeze which brings happiness to the devotee who seeks the original afield. The lady in her overheated conservatory knows nothing of the joyous rapture of her more fortunate sister who gathers the spoils of the glen. Ah, my friends, ponder well over this truth: the more one dwells with her, the more one draws from her, the closer one creeps to her bosom, the sweeter is nature's kiss. From man's neglect of her for meaner substitutes come most of the disappointment and unhappiness of life. The masses of mankind are happy all round the world because their pleasures are drawn so largely from sources which lie open to all. The rich are not to be envied, for truly "there is no purchase in money" of any real happiness. When used for our own gratification, it injures us; when used ostentatiously, it brings care; when hoarded, it narrows the soul. Nature has not provided a means by which any man can use riches for selfish purposes without suffering therefrom. There is only one source of true blessedness in wealth, and that comes from giving it away for ends that tend to elevate our brothers and enable them to share it with us. Nature is gloriously communistic after all, God bless her! and sees that a pretty fair division is made, let man hoard as he may. The secret of happiness is renunciation.

Another advantage to be derived from a journey round the world is, I think, that the sense of the brotherhood of man, the unity of the race, is very greatly strengthened thereby, for one sees that the virtues are the same in all lands, and produce their good fruits, and render their possessors blessed in Benares and Kioto as in London or New York; that the vices, too, are akin, and also that the motives which govern men and their actions and aims are very much the same the world over. In their trials and sufferings, as in their triumphs and rejoicings, men do not differ, and so the heart swells and the sympathies extend, and we embrace all men in our thoughts, leaving not one outside the range of our solicitude and wishing every one well. The Japanese, Chinese, Cingalese, Indians, Egyptians, all have been made our friends through individuals of each race of whom we have heard much that was good and noble, pure lives, high aims, good deeds, and how can we, therefore, any longer dwell apart, believing our own land or our own people in any respect the chosen of God! No, no; we know now in a sense much more vivid than before that all the children of the earth dwell under the reign of the same divine law, and that for each and every one that law evolves through all the ages, the higher from the lower, the good from evil, slowly but surely separating the dross from the pure gold, disintegrating what is pernicious, consolidating what is beneficial to the race, so that the feeling that formerly told us that we alone had special care bestowed upon us gives place to the knowledge that every one in his day and generation, wherever found, receives the truth best fitted for his elevation from that state to the next higher, and so

"Ilka blade of grass keps its ain drap o' dew,"

and grows its own fruit after its kind. For these and many other reasons, let all thoughtful souls follow my example and visit their brethren from one land to another till the circle is complete.

The unprecedented advance made by western nations in the past and present generations, upon which we continually plume ourselves, is shared by the world in general. Wherever we have been, one story met us. Everywhere there is progress, not only material but intellectual as well, and rapid progress too. The oldest inhabitant has always his comparison to offer between the days of his youth and the advantages possessed by the youth of to-day. Matters are not as they were. We saw no race which had retrograded, if we except Egypt, which is now in a transitional state, and will ultimately prove no exception to the rule. The whole world moves, and moves in the right direction--upward and onward--the things that are better than those that have been and those to come to be better than those of to-day. The law of evolution--the higher from the lower--is not discredited by a voyage round the world and the knowledge of what is transpiring from New York round to New York again gives us joy this morning as we sum it all up.

The trip has been without a single unpleasant incident. We have not missed one connection, nor ever been beyond the reach of all the comforts of life, nor have we had one unhappy or even lonely hour. Every day has brought something new or interesting. And sitting here in our quiet mountain home this morning, I feel that there is scarcely a prize that could be offered for which I would exchange the knowledge obtained and the memories of things seen during my trip. One of the great pleasures of travel in the East is the unbounded hospitality--excessive kindness--everywhere met with. Will the numerous kind friends to whom we are so deeply indebted--a host far too great to name--please accept this general acknowledgment as at least a slight evidence that their goodness to us is not unappreciated? At every stage of our travels I have been struck with the cheering thought, that notwithstanding the indisputable fact that a vast amount of misery seems inseparable from human life, still the general condition of mankind is a happy one. Even the Hindoo in India, or the Malay in the Archipelago--and these seem to exist under the worst conditions--each of these constantly sees cause to bless his good fortune and render thanks--sincere, heartfelt thanks--to a kind Providence for casting his life in pleasant places, and not in damp, foggy England, or amid American frosts and snows. We have their sincere sympathy, I assure you. Nor is patriotism a peculiarly western virtue. No matter who or what he is, the man of the East in his heart exalts his own country and his own race, and esteems them specially favored of the gods. And indeed it is with nations as with individuals: as none are entirely good, so none are entirely bad. The unseen power is at work in all lands, evolving the higher from the lower and steadily improving all, so the traveller finds much to commend in every country, and seeing this he grows tolerant and liberal, and able more heartily to sing with Burns--

"Then let us pray that come it may-- As come it will, for a' that-- That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth, May bear the gree, for a' that; For a' that, and a' that, It's coming yet, for a'that, That man to man, the warld o'er Shall brothers be, for a' that."

In which hope, nay, in the confident and inspiring belief in the sure coming of the day of the Brotherhood of Man, I lay down my pen and bring to a close this record of my tour round the world.


Round the World - 46/46

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