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   Chapter 30 A LETTER FROM MR. BIGGS.

The Story of a Country Town By E. W. Howe Characters: 5603

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


MY Dear Sir,-Occasionally a gem occurs to me which I am unable to favor you with because of late we are not much together. Appreciating the keen delight with which you have been kind enough to receive my philosophy, I take the liberty of sending herewith a number of ideas which may please and benefit you, and which I have divided into paragraphs with headings.

HAPPINESS.

I have observed that happiness and brains seldom go together. The pin-headed woman who regards her thin-witted husband as the greatest man in the world, is happy, and much good may it do her. In such cases ignorance is a positive blessing, for good sense would cause the woman to realize her distressed condition. A man who can think he is as "good as anybody" is happy. The fact may be notorious that the man is not so "good as anybody" until he is as industrious, as educated, and as refined as anybody, but he has not brains enough to know this, and, content with conceit, is happy. A man with a brain large enough to understand mankind is always wretched and ashamed of himself.

REPUTATION.

Reputation is not always desirable. The only thing I have ever heard said in Twin Mounds concerning Smoky Hill is that good hired girls may be had there.

WOMEN.

1. Most women seem to love for no other reason than that it is expected of them.

2. I know too much about women to honor them more than they deserve; in fact I know all about them. I visited a place once where doctors are made, and saw them cut up one.

3. A woman loses her power when she allows a man to find out all there is to her; I mean by this that familiarity breeds contempt. I knew a young man once who worked beside a woman in an office, and he never married.

4. If men would only tell what they actually know about women, instead of what they believe or hear, they would receive more credit for chastity than is now the case, for they deserve more.

LACK OF SELF-CONFIDENCE.

As a people we lack self-confidence. The country is full of men that will readily talk you to death privately, who would run away in alarm if asked to preside at a public meeting. In my Alliance movement I often have trouble in getting out a crowd, every farmer in the neighborhood feeling of so much importance as to fear that if he attends he will be called upon to say something.

IN DISPUTE.

In some communities where I have lived the women were mean to their husbands; in others, the husbands were mean to their wives. It is usually the case that the friends of a wife believe her husband to be a brute, and the friends of the husband believe the wife to possess no other talent than to make him miserable. You can't tell how it is; the evidence is divided.

MAN.

There is only one grade of men; they are all contemptible. The judge may se

em to be a superior creature so long as he keeps at a distance, for I have never known one who was not constantly trying to look wise and grave; but when you know him, you find there is nothing remarkable about him except a plug hat, a respectable coat, and a great deal of vanity, induced by the servility of those who expect favors.

OPPORTUNITY.

You hear a great many persons regretting lack of opportunity. If every man had opportunity for his desires, this would be a nation of murderers and disgraced women.

EXPECTATION.

Always be ready for that which you do not expect. Nothing that you expect ever happens. You have perhaps observed that when you are waiting for a visitor at the front door, he comes in at the back, and surprises you.

WOMAN'S WORK.

A woman's work is never done, as the almanacs state, for the reason that she does not go about it in time to finish it.

THE GREATEST OF THESE IS CHARITY.

If you cannot resist the low impulse to talk about people, say only what you actually know, instead of what you have heard. And, while you are about it, stop and consider whether you are not in need of charity yourself.

NEIGHBORS.

Every man over-estimates his neighbors, because he does not know them so well as he knows himself. A sensible man despises himself because he knows what a contemptible creature he is. I despise Lytle Biggs, but I happen to know that his neighbors are just as bad.

VIRTUE.

Men are virtuous because the women are; women are virtuous from necessity.

ASHAMED OF THE TRUTH.

I believe I never knew anyone who was not ashamed of the truth. Did you ever notice that a railroad company numbers its cars from 1,000, instead of from 1?

KNOWING ONLY ONE OF THEM.

We are sometimes unable to understand why a pretty little woman marries a fellow we know to be worthless; but the fellow, who knows the woman better than we do, considers that he has thrown himself away. We know the fellow, but we do not know the woman.

AN APOLOGY.

I detest an apology. The world is full of people who are always making trouble and apologizing for it. If a man respects me, he will not give himself occasion for apology. An offence cannot be wiped out in that way. If it could, we would substitute apologies for hangings. I hope you will never apologize to me; I should regard it as evidence that you had wronged me.

OLDEST INHABITANTS.

The people of Smoky Hill are only fit for oldest inhabitants. In thirty or forty years from now, there will be a great demand for reminiscences of the pioneer days. I recommend that they preserve extensive data for the only period in their lives when they can hope to attract attention.

Be good enough, sir, to regard me, as of old, your friend.

L. Biggs.

To Ned Westlock, Twin Mounds.

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