little light, so it be your own. Explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatize, nor accept another's dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board. Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not take away your property in all men's affections, in art, in nature, and in hope."
The truth of it shocked me: "then perish the buds of art and poetry and science in you as they have perished already in a thousand, thousand men!" That explained why it was that there was no Shakespeare, no Bacon, no Swinburne in America where, according to population and wealth there should be dozens.
There flashed on me the realization of the truth, that just because wealth was easy to get here, it exercised an incomparable attraction and in its pursuit "perished a thousand, thousand" gifted spirits who might have steered humanity to new and nobler accomplishment.
The question imposed itself: "Was I too to sink to fatness! wallow in sensuality, degrade myself for a nerve-thrill?"
"No!" I cried to myself, "ten thousand times, no! No! I'll go and seek the star-lit deserts of Truth or die on the way!"
I closed the book and with it and the second volume of it in my hand went to Mrs. Trask.
"I want to buy this book", I said, "it has a message for me that I must never forget!"
"I'm glad", said the little lady smiling, "what is it?"