New England Legends and Folklore

Strange Beliefs, Customs, & Superstitions

Mt. St. Vincent Orphans Asylum
Mt. St. Vincent Orphans Asylum.

The Whiting Farmhouse
The Whiting Farmhouse.
        We have heard till we cease to heed that drink is the great waste of society. Great Britain spends annually two hundred and fifty millions of dollars in drink. Our own statistics are nearly as bad. It is the one thing — even if it does no reach the proportion of a vice — that keeps more men out of a competence than all other causes combined. The twin habits of smoking and beer drinking stand for a respectable property to al who indulge in the, — a thing the greater part will never have, though they have had it.

The Whiting Farm
The Whiting Farm.
"The gods sell all things at a fair price," says the proverb; but they sell nothing dearer than those two indulgences, since the price is commonly the man himself.
        The simple conclusion that common sense forces upon us is that a young man fronting life cannot afford to drink; he cannot afford the money; he cannot afford to bear the reputation, nor run the risks it involves.
        I refer next to the habit of light and foolish spending. Emerson says, "The farmer’s dollar is heavy; the clerk’s is light and nimble, leaps out of his pockets, jumps onto cards and faro tables." But it gets into no more foolish place than the till of the showman, and minstrel troupe, and theatrical company. I do not say these things are bad. When decent, they are allowable as an occasional recreation but here, as before, the sense of proportion must be observed; not what I like, but what I can afford.

The Almshouse
The Almshouse.

        It has been said that no one should carry coin loose in the pocket, as too easily got at. I would vary it by applying the Spanish proverb, "Before forty, nothing, after forty, anything." If one has been careful in early life he may be careless after. At first let the purse be stout and well tied with stout strings; later there need be no purse, but only an open hand.
        It seems to be an excess of simplicity to suggest that a young man should purchase nothing that he does not actually want, nothing because it is cheap; to resist the glittering appeals of jewels and gay clothing and delicate surroundings. These will come in due order.
        (3.) It is an essential condition of thrift that one should keep to legitimate occupations. There is no thrift in chance; its central ideas is order, — a series of causes and effects along the line of which forethought can look and make its calculations. Speculation makes the few rich and the many poor. Thrift divides the prizes of life to those who deserve them. If the great fortunes are the result of speculation, the average competencies have their foundations and permanence in thrifty ways.

An Ingleside Roadway
An Ingleside Roadway.

Group at the Gates of the Orphan Asylum
Group at the Gates of the Orphan Asylum.

© Laurel O’Donnell 1996 - 2006, all rights reserved
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