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with age ; the lid was gone—probably blown off by the wind—and within were stretched the bleaching bones of a human skeleton. A rude cross at the head of the grave stood partially upright, and a half-obliterated Dutch inscription preserved a record of the dead man's name and age. It was evidently some poor whaler of the last century, to whom his companions had given the only burial possible in this frost-hardened earth, which even the summer sun has no force to penetrate beyond a couple of inches, and which will not afford to man the shallowest grave.
During the whole of our stay in Spitsbergen we enjoyed unbounded sunshine. The nights were even brighter than the days, and afforded Fitz an opportunity of taking some photographic views by the light of a midnight sun. The cold was never very intense, though the thermometer remained below freezing; but about four o'clock every evening the salt-water bay in which the schooner lay was veneered over with a pellicle of ice, one-eighth of an inch in thickness, and so elastic that, even when the sea beneath was considerably agitated, its surface remained unbroken, the smooth round waves taking the appearance of billows of oil. If such is the effect produced by the slightest modification of the sun's power in the month of August, you can imagine what must be the result of his total disappearance beneath the horizon. No description can give an idea of the intense rigour of the six months' winter. Stones crack with the noise of thunder; in a crowded hut the breath of its occupants will fall in flakes of snow; wine and spirits turn to ice; the snow barns like caustic—if it touches the flesh it brings the skin away with it; the soles of your stockings may be burned off your feet before you o 2 •
feel the slightest warmth from the fire; linen taken but of boiling water instantly stiffens to the consistency of a wooden board; and heated stones will not prevent the sheets of the bed from freezing. If these are the effects of the climate within an air-tight, fire-warmed, crowded hut, what must they be among the dark, storm-lashed mountain peaks outside ?—Lord Dufferin's "Letters from High Latitudes."
LESSON LXXV. SELFISHNESS.
If I were asked what kind of young people were the most unhappy, what do you think my answer would be? The poor, or the sick, or the ugly, or the stupid? Oh no ! these may all be happy and useful. It is only the selfish, those that "seek their own," that are never satisfied. Like the daughters of the horse-leech, they cry, " Give, give," but never say, "It is enough;" for it would seem that the more people seek their own happiness the less they get of it It has been said, "The self, the I, the me, and the like, all belong to the evil spirit, and we know that he is not a happy spirit. No human being can be really happy who is not giving or trying to give happiness to others. The sixpence added to the hoard of the little selfish miser, or spent by the glutton in the cake-shop, may give a moment's pleasure, but will leave no pleasant thoughts behind; while the sixpence, part of which is dropped into the missionary box, part given to feed a poor starving child, part given to purchase a biscuit or an orange to please the little sister, will send the happy spender of it on her way bright-faced and light-hearted."
Here is a "Recipe for making every day happy." If each of us were to follow it, there would soon be an end of our many listless, disagreeable, unhappy days. "When you rise in the morning form a resolution to make the day a happy one to a fellow-creature. It is easily done—a left-off garment to the man who needs it, a kind word to the sorrowful, an encouraging expression to the striving; trifles, in themselves light as air, will do it, at least for the twenty-four hours; and if you are young, depend upon it, it will tell when you are old ; and if you are old, rest assured it will send you gently and happily down the stream of human time towards eternity. By the most simple arithmetical sum, look at the result: you send one person, only one, happily through the day; that is, three hundred and sixty-five in the course of the year; and supposing you live forty years only after you commence that course of medicine, you have made 14,600 human beings happy, at all events for a time." Now, ■worthy reader, is not this simple? It is too short for a sermon, too homely for ethics, too easily accomplished for you to say "I would if I could."
It is a curious fact that selfish people, however disagreeable they may make themselves by their selfishness, are always the first to bemoan the existence of this fault in others, and perhaps you are each quite ready to remember how selfish Dick and Harry and Mary and Susan are; but ah! my dear young friends, look at home—look into your own hearts, with their curious depths, which you scarcely understand, or perhaps never tri'ed to understand, and there you will find an ugly black spot, perhaps a small one. It will not long be very small, however, if you go on " seeking your own ;" it will grow and grow, till at last the heart is one mass of black, hideous selfishness! Try to conquer this besetting sin. When you have a little time, think what you can do with it to please or to help others; when you have a little money, ihink whom you can comfort and assist with it; when you have not much of the one and none of the other, still think whose heart you can gladden with kind words and kind looks. Teach your hearts to think first of others, and last of yourselves. Learn to give up your own pleasure, your own way, your own possessions, that you may know how much "more blessed it is _to give than to receive." Remember that the Lord of heaven and earth "pleased not Himself," and that His command is, "Look not every one on his own things, but every one also on the things of others."
Listen to this beautiful little story or fable, called "The Selfish Pool," and what befell it :—
"See that little fountain away yonder in the distant mountain, shining like a thread of silver through the thick copse, and sparkling like a diamond in its healthful activity. It is hurrying on with tinkling feet to bear its tribute to the river. See, it passes a stagnant pool, and the pool hails it. 'Whither away, master streamlet?' 'I am going to the river to bear this cup of water God has given me.' 'Ah ! you are very foolish for that; you'll need it before the summer is over. It has been a backward spring, and we shall have a hot summer to pay for it; you will dry up then.' 'Well,' scys the streamlet,'if I am to die so soon, I had better work while the day lasts. If I am likely to lose this treasure from the heat, I had better do good with it while I have it.' So on it went, blessing and rejoicing in its course. The pool smiled complacently at its own superior foresight, and husbanded all its resources, letting not a drop steal away. Soon the midsummer heat came down, and it fell upon the little stream; but the trees crowded to its brink, and threw out their sheltering branches over it in the day of adversity, for it brought refreshment and life to them; and the sun peeped through their branches, and smiled complacently upon its dimpled face, and seemed to say, 'It is not in my heart to harm you;' and the birds sipped its silver tide and sang its praises, the flowers breathed their perfume upon its bosom, the beasts of the field loved to linger by its banks, the husbandman's eye always sparkled with joy as he looked upon the line of verdant beauty that marked its course through his fields and meadows, and so on it went, blessing and blessed of all. And where was the prudent pool? Alas! in its inglorious inactivity it grew sickly and pestilential; the beasts of the field put their lips to it, but turned away without drinking; the breezes stooped and kissed it by mistake, but caught the malaria in the contact and carried the ague through the region, and the inhabitants caught it and had to move away; and at last Heaven, in mercy to man, smote it with a hotter breatR and dried it up. But did not the little stream exhaust itself? Oh! no; God saw to that. It emptied its full cup into the river, and the river bore it to the sea, and the sea welcomed it, and the sun smiled upon the sea, and the sea sent up its incense to greet the sun, and the clouds caught in their capacious bosoms the incense from the sea, and the winds, like waiting steeds, caught the chariots of the clouds and bore them away, away to the very mountain that gave the little fountain birth, and there they tipped the brimming cup, and poured the grateful baptism down; and so God saw to it that the little fountain, though it gave so fully and so freely, never ran dry.