Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/358

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

higher education that he himself may lack. Greater than generals leading armies in battle, nobler than the founder of a family based upon wealth, grander than peer or even less self-abnegating royalty, his example is more inspiring than that of any so-called successful man, in any vocation, in any profession, in any station in life, if the exemplar lacks this splendid impulse to production of higher results in expenditure of wealth than in its accumulation. Name and fame and dignity and station all find eclipse in the greater name and fame and dignity and station of him who thus practically illustrates the workings of the soul of Abou ben Adhem. At the last, indeed, that man shall have all these and more; he shall add to them all that better reward, conviction of having earned the approval of conscience and of all good men, of all honest citizens and every patriot, of all men whose esteem is worth having in this world, and the pronouncement in the next: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant!'

And what more splendid example, eliciting the finest ambitions of the young men coming after him, can there be than that of a man conquering success by overcoming every obstacle that fate can place in the way of the earnest man, gaining all the rewards of this world, and then—giving all back to the world in ways promoting its highest welfare!

I doubt if there can be one; yet I think I can see a modest rival. Not all men can become generals, colonels, captains in the army of industry; but a small fraction can even secure the sergeantcies. Many a man, starting out with high hopes and splendid promise, confident, brave and efficient, loses his hold upon the essentials of success and must settle back into a life comparatively unfruitful, if not absolutely unsuccessful as judged by our usual standard. Yet such a man may be the grander character, the greater hero. His world may be restricted to his little sphere of minor duty or even to his home; but even there opportunities will come to him, and his character may ripen, his influence broaden, his work ennoble him and all those about him. It is the spirit of the man that makes success and makes all opportunities fruitful, whether leading an army or serving as private in the world of finance, of business of whatever sort, or within the walls of a humble home.

The spirit of the Man with the Muck-rake, happily, is not that which inspires the young man of to-day. He is too intelligent and his thoughts rise to too high a level to be misled by the impulses of the miser; for he who pursues wealth alone, and for itself alone, is simply a miser. However brilliant and however fortunate and whatever the altitude of his position in the world of business, struggling simply for fortune and mere wealth for its own sake means a mean and miserly life. He is the man with the muck-rake. However large his pile of glittering dirt, it rises simply as a memorial to his folly and his vulgar