He who has found the way to enter into the delights of literature is rich, whether he pos sess much or little money. To be rich in the power of appreciation of beautiful things is a greater and a truer fortune than merely to have money to buy them.
It is not only art and literature that are free to all who have the power to understand, and possess without price in money; there are countless other things in life that are equally free to rich and poor. They are the things that build us up mentally and spiritually. Rich or poor, a man may be industrious, ambitious, and persevering. He may cultivate kindness, sym pathy, and tolerance. With, or without, money, he may be to others helpful, lending a hand in the house of trouble, speaking words of com fort in times of grief and sorrow. Rich or poor, a man's mind and soul may go out to nature and be enlarged by it. Elihu Burritt never had the money to buy books in costly bindings or in rare editions, but he could read books in upwards of fifty different languages and dialects, and grasp the thoughts expressed in them.
Rembrandt, the painter, could not possibly have afforded at any time in his career to buy his own pictures at the prices they bring to day; but he could paint them. Hugh Miller worked all his life in another man's granite quarry, shaping the stones that the owner might be enriched; but Hugh Miller, as a day laborer, learned to read the startling geological story of the earth as it is written in stones and fossils. Robert Burns received a few pounds profit on the first edition of his poems. To-day, a single copy of that edition costs a book col lector two thousand dollars, or more. But Burns had the heart and soul to write the poems, and the poorest boy and girl in the world to-day may read them, if they have the heart and soul.
That great fortune which lies in the true ap preciation of the best things of life must be built by rich and poor alike if the joy of it is to be a solace. It is a poor man, a poverty
stricken man, who can pay thousands of dol lars for the first edition of Milton's poems, but who cannot read Milton with delight.
This true wealth of life is free to all who want it. With it, the poor are rich ; without it, the rich are in want. When the scholar earning two thousand dollars a year was offered an opportunity to earn fifteen thousand, his first question was : What will it cost me ? His first impulse was to be sure what joys of life he would have to surrender for the ad ditional twelve thousand dollars. And hav ing determined that his time for study and investigation would have to be surrendered, that the greater amount of money meant fewer Ay' hours at home, he declined the offer. He was too rich in the essentials of his life to sell them out for money. Leisure, study, the at tainment of culture, the joys of home and companionship are too often sold to the high est bidder, and, like Esau with his mess of pottage in his hand, we find that the eternal, spiritual birthright has gone in exchange for something we cannot take out of life with us.
In learning how truly to build a fortune, we must think upon the comparative values of permanent and transitory things. All the rarer pleasures of life may be had by rich and poor. They belong exclusively to neither class. But in making our fortune, we must never for get that there is much we cannot buy with money. For what we want we must not only pay the price in kind, but we must take the reward in kind. What we purchase through life, ultimately comes back to us, and once it comes, it is not to be shaken off. No man can work for money exclusively until the later years of life, and then find mind and spirit as rich as the pocket of his coat where the money is. All fortune, spiritual, mental, and material must be built daily from the be ginning.