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creatures whom the giant (had he been dis-
posed) could have eaten before breakfast and
thought nothing of it, came crowing about
him, he put on a pair of velvet gloves, and
instantly it seemed as if all the wrinkles were
smoothed out of his face, and he looked as
bright and sunny as if he owned all the good
things he had made. When the work the
giant had to do seemed hard, he put on an-
other pair of velvet gloves; for sometimes his
way and his work lay.very much among thorns
and nettles and rough rocks. ' But,' said he,
' never mind : we must keep at it : nettles to-
day and velvet to-morrow.' And when people
spoke to him, as they often did, rather roughly,
he always drew on the velvet gloves before he
replied. ' It gives one time to cool and to think.'
And then, when the gloves were on, why,


although he was a rough giant, you would
scarcely believe it, but his words and his
actions became so soft and gentlemanly that
you would think, instead of the tools of labour,
he had been all his life studying how to be-
have himself; and it was beautiful to see this
great, good giant smiling as a child, indus-
trious as a bee, and polite as a gentleman,
when he drew on his velvet gloves.

"I want you to tell me the name of the
good giant ; and, if you cannot tell me soon, I
shall tell you his name.

" What ! do you not know his name, when
you have lived near him so long ? Why, his
name is GIANT INDUSTRY. And let me tell
you that an acquaintance with that fine, bene-
volent old uncle quite brightens, softens and
sweetens life. Industry honest, patient, truth-
ful, powerful Industry often wears a suit of,
velvet over his hard limbs, while Laziness
wears a suit of horsehair. To industry the
hours and the moments spin along so lightly
that there is always something to do, and
that which comes to us every day is so sweet
and easy at last. Many a man has thought
how happy he would be if he were only able
to retire from business ; then he would take


his pleasure. Alas ! he has found it the very
reverse : retiring from business was retiring
from pleasure, as the candle-merchant found,
who took a great house in the country and
sold his business, and then had to come to his
successor and beg him to allow him to go into
the candle-works to do a day's work, just to
keep his mind happy, from time to time. Yes,
an acquaintance with the good Giant Industry
greatly smooths life.

" Once, a great many years ago, TWO PLOUGH-
SHARES were made by the same blacksmith, in
the same smithy, from the same kind of iron,
and they were bought by the same farmer.
He took one into instant employment, but he
left the other unemployed for twelve months
in a barn, till the poor thing got covered with
rust. At last the farmer had occasion for an-
other ploughshare : so he drew it forth from
its laziness and obscurity, and sent it into the
field where it met its old fellow-ploughshare.
'Why,' said the lazy one, 'what has kept you
so bright? I declare, I am quite ashamed to
be seen.' 'Ah!' said the bright ploughshare,
'it's labour and exercise that has kept me
bright: your rest and idleness have been inju-
rious to you. But when you have been driven



a few times through the hard earth, you'll
lose your rust and become bright and beauti-
ful too like me/ It is exercise, in any way,
which preserves the beauty, the grace and
polish of life, and we are very silly when we
fancy that we are better or greater than other
people because we have not so much to do.
Some of the most beautiful things derive
their beauty from labour. The good giant
comes and breathes on them and makes them

"Once upon a time, a SILKWORM was crawl-
ing over a rich VELVET CUSHION. The cushion
heaved with indignation.

"'How dare you, you unsightly creature,
come where I am ?' said the cushion, blushing
crimson : ' you forget yourself very strangely.
Get off with you !'

" 'No, 1 said the silkworm, 'I do not intend
to stay here long, and when you spoke I was
crawling away as fast as I could ; but I was
wondering that all your brightness and soft-
ness should come out of a little insect like me.
Oh, Mr. Cushion, it is you who forget your-
self. Do you not know that if there were no
silkworms there would be no velvet cushions ?


% ~ j

You ought not to grudge me a look at the
beauty which you owe to me.'


GLOVES; and if you can get them and will
wear them, why, in the long run, you will
conquer the world. THE FIRST PAIR is CHEER-
FULNESS. Sad would be the lot of the labourer
without a cheerful heart and a cheerful face ;
cheerfulness conquers what nothing else
will. Who can stand against the happy, open
face of a cheerful-hearted man ? While Sad-
ness and Melancholy go glowering over the
world, Cheerfulness takes trouble by the horns,
mounts on the back of it very often, and
makes it bear him instead of allowing it to
trample him in the dust. You 'must be indus-
trious to keep yourself alive : you cannot live
and do nothing. Be cheerful as well ; if the
way is long, sing, and it will lighten the way;
if the showers are heavy, sing, and banish
care. Cheerfulness is much more a matter of
the will and determination than people seem
to think. All cannot be equally cheerful, but
none need be cheerless. A merry heart does
good like a medicine. You must go to. the
despairing, then, and say, ' Draw on your vel-
vet gloves.'


" There is another pair: PRUDENCE, in-
cluding foresight and thrift. Draw on your
velvet gloves. The eye that looks at to-mor-
row wins to-day. That renouncing of the
present indulgence for the future gratification
is the great difficulty of life. It seems hard
to do it : in reality it is easy. The giant lived
as happily in his poor cottage as those whom
he had enabled to live in their palaces at ease.
One of the sad sights of Vanity Fair is to
behold the old man in the workhouse who
flaunted through the city in his youth in im-
provident silks and broadcloths. Poor fellow,
he did not draw on his velvet gloves !

"No, there are few who are able to bear
a present hardship for a future good. If they
would walk through a few nettles to-day, they
might lie on a couch of velvet to-morrow, and
for their whole life ; but they prefer to enjoy
the velvet couch to-day, and wake up to-mor-
row and walk all their life through the nettles.
A little while since, the relatives of poor old
Mr. Harley came in a train of black car-
riages to commit his poor body to the dust. He
was a fool all his life, that poor old Harley.
With him it was always velvet to-day and
nettles to-morrow. Some remember very well


when his rich brother was dying, he knew
poor Harley to be in debt and to be a great
fool, and he sent for him to his bedside and
told him so. He told him that he wished to
leave him several thousand dollars, but he
would not leave it to pay his debts. He said,
' Here are five hundred dollars : go and see
the lawyer ; this will carry you safely through
all your expenses of law, and when I die
which will be, I know, in a day or two you
will be independent.' The poor silly man took
the money, but, instead of going to a lawyer
and having his expected inheritance protected
from his creditors, he squandered the money
his brother had given him, and when, in a few
days, he found his brother was dead, and he
the heir to all his property, he found, too, that
his creditors came, as his brother had prophe-
sied, and seized the whole. They benefited by
his brother's will, but the purpose of the will
was frustrated, and he has been ever since a
beggar in his family. Thus, he had velvet for
a day, and nettles for a lifetime.

"Ah! my sands are running out; my words

re almost gone ! I have little more to say,

but I must see you try on the giant's third

pair of gloves, GOOD MANNERS. Some people


will say, 'What! industry polite? industry
well-behaved?' Of course. Why not? Polite-
ness should not belong to anybody in parti-
cular, but to everybody in general ; and it is
a beautiful sight to see a working-man a polite
and well-behaved man. There are people
who pride themselves on a coarse kind of be-
haviour: 'You know me, sir: it's my way.'
Yes, I know it's your way, but I don't like it
any the more for that. No man has a right
to behave badly ; no man has a right to violate
good manners by inattention to the little de-
cencies of life. He should observe them for
the comfort and convenience of others. Good
manners are like velvet gloves. They are very
agreeable. Then why not use them ? Good
manners are as cheap as bad. How much
would it cost anybody to be polite, kind, affa-
ble and amiable? There is an old proverb
which says, ' You have good manners, but you
never carry them about you; 1 and another
says, ' You have good manners, but you have
no use for them.' 'Good words cost no more
than bad.' Some people think that politeness
is not in the roll of Christian duties ; but it is.
'Be courteous' is as much a divine command
as 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it


holy.' And I know that discourteous persons
are always uncomfortable themselves :

' They lie like a hedgehog turn'd up the wrong way,
Tormenting themselves with the prickles.'

And, in one word, what is all politeness ? And
the truest and highest politeness? It is only
this : thinking less of ourselves and more of
others. If we could only keep that constantly
in our memory and our wish, we should always
be acting on some one or other of the beautiful
velvet principles, of love, and kindness, and

" 'There is a very pretty old fable which says
that the sheep was doomed to suffer so much
from other animals that she went to the gods
and besought them to help her in her misery
and to grant some defence.

"What shall I do to thee?' said one of the
gods. ' I will give to thee the tooth of the
tiger and the claw of the vulture/

" ' Oh, no/ said the sheep : ' I do not wish to
be thought to be like those cruel beasts of

" ' Well, then, I will infuse poison into thy
tongue, and thou shalt communicate it to all
that thou dost touch with thy spittle.'

"'Alas! let it not be so,' said the gentle


sheep. ' I would not be like one of the terrible
serpent race, everywhere hated.'

" 'Then/ said the god, 'I will give horns to
thy forehead, and strength to thy neck/

" ' Oh, not so, not so : I might be disposed
to butt like the he-goat.'

"'And yet/ said the god, 'you must be
able to injure others if others are to be fearful
of injuring you.'

" 'Must I?' sighed the sheep. 'Then let me
be as I am: the power to do injury might
create the desire, and it is better to suffer
wrong than to do wrong.' So the god blessed
the loving sheep, and the sheep forgot to

"But we have no need of a fable to instruct
us while we have the pure,' clear light of
divine truth. The precepts of the holy gospel,
sublimely illustrated in the life, sufferings
and death of the Son of God, the Saviour
of sinners, teach us all our social duties.
He that is influenced by the good Spirit
of God is sure to produce the fruits of the
Spirit, among which are love, peace, gentle-
ness, meekness, and temperance."


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Online LibraryAmerican Sunday-School UnionBlind Amos and his velvet principles → online text (page 7 of 7)