Day 43 – Worldly Wisdom


Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658)

Baltasar Gracian was a Spanish Jesuit, Writer, and philosopher.

Worldly Wisdom

Everything is at its Acme:

especially the art of making one’s way in the world. There is more required nowadays to make a single wise man than formerly to make Seven Sages, and more is needed nowadays to deal with a single person than was required with a whole people in former times.

Character and Intellect:

the two poles of our capacity; one without the other is but halfway to happiness. Intellect sufficeth not, character is also needed. On the other hand, it is the fool’s Continue reading


Day 42 – Howard Roark’s Courtroom Speech

This is an excerpt from a book entitled Fountainhead.  Howard Roark is giving a speech to the people in court.  You can listen, or you can read the text below.

Howard Roark’s Courtroom Speech

“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer Continue reading

Day 41 – Notes on Human Life

Leonardo Da Vinci

Notes on Human Life
Leonardo di Vinci
Translated by Edward McCurdy

    Seeing that I cannot choose any subject of great utility or pleasure, because my predecessors have already taken as their own all useful and necessary themes, I will do like one who, because of his poverty, is the last to arrive at the fair, and not being able otherwise to provide himself, chooses all the things which others have already looked over and not taken, but refused as being of little value. With these despised and rejected wares—the leavings of many buyers-I will load my modest pack, and therewith take my course, distributing, not indeed amid the great cities, but among the mean hamlets, and taking such rewards as befits the things I offer.

Thou, O God, dost sell unto us all good things at the price of labour.

The soul desires to dwell in the body because without the members of that body it can neither act nor feel.

In life beauty perishes, not in art. Continue reading

Day 40 – The Whistle


The Whistle
A letter written by Benjamin Franklin

I received my dear friend’s two letters, one for Wednesday and one for Saturday.         This is again Wednesday.  I do not deserve one for to-day, because I have not answered the former.  But, indolent as I am, and averse to writing, the fear of having no more of your pleasing epistles, if I do not contribute to the correspondence, obliges me to take up my pen; and as Mr. B. has kindly sent me word that he sets out to-morrow to see you, instead of spending this Wednesday evening as I have done its namesakes, in your delightful company, I sit down to spend it in thinking of you, in writing to you, and in reading over and over again your letters.

    I am charmed with your descriptions of Paradise, and with your plan of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion that, in the meantime, we should draw all the good we can from this world.  In my opinion, we might all draw more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would take care not to give too much for whistles.  For to me it seems that most of the unhappy people we meet with are become so by neglect of that caution.

    You ask what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse my telling one of myself. Continue reading

Day 38 – The Ambitious Guest

Crawford Notch is the steep and narrow gorge of the Saco River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, located almost entirely within the town of Hart's Location. Roughly half of that town is contained in Crawford Notch State Park.

Crawford Notch is the steep and narrow gorge of the Saco River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, located almost entirely within the town of Hart’s Location. Roughly half of that town is contained in Crawford Notch State Park.

The story I picked today came out of a book titled American Authors, which was edited by Lessie Lee Culpepper and Mildred McClary Tymeson.  I decided to start with Nathaniel Hawthorne as I couldn’t recall reading any of his work before.   When you’re finished reading, take a moment to read about the Willey family that may have inspired Nathaniel to write this story. The link is below…

The Ambitious Guest
By Nathaniel Hawthorne

One September night a family had gathered round their hearth and piled it high with the driftwood of mountain streams, the dry cones of the pine, and the splintered ruins of great trees that had come crashing down the precipice.  Up the chimney roared the fire, and brightened the room with its broad blaze.  The faces of the father and mother had a sober gladness; the children laughed; the eldest daughter was the image of Happiness at seventeen; and the aged grandmother, who sat knitting in the warmest place, was the image of Happiness grown old.  They had found the” herb, heart’s-ease,” in the bleakest spot of all New England.  This family were situated in the Notch of the White Hills, where the wind was sharp throughout the year and pitilessly cold in the winter, giving their cottage all its fresh inclemency before it descended on the valley of the Saco.  They dwelt in a cold spot and a dangerous one; for a mountain towered above their heads so steep that the stones would often rumble down its sides and startle them at midnight.

The daughter had just uttered some simple jest that filled them all with mirth, when the wind came through the Notch and seemed to pause before their cottage, rattling the door with a sound of wiling and lamentation before it passed into the valley.  For a moment it saddened them, though there was nothing unusual in the tones.  But the family were glad again when they perceived that the latch was lifted by some traveler, whose footsteps had been unheard amid the dreary blast which heralded his approach, and wailed as he was entering, and moaning away from the door.

Continue reading