How to Succeed, or Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune

CHAPTER XVI.

GUARD YOUR WEAK POINT.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that
ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
–BIBLE.

The first and best of victories is for a man to conquer
himself: to be conquered by himself is, of all things, the most
shameful and vile.
–PLATO.

The worst education which teaches self-denial is better than
the best which teaches everything else and not that.
–JOHN STERLING.

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.
–SENECA.

The energy which issues in growth, or assimilates knowledge,
must originate in self and be self-directed.
–THOMAS J. MORGAN.

The foes with which they waged their strife
Were passion, self and sin;
The victories that laureled life,
Were fought and won within.
–EDWARD H. DEWART.

“I’ll sign it after awhile,” a drunkard would reply, when repeatedly urged by his wife to sign the pledge; “but I don’t like to break off at once, the best way is to get used to a thing.” “Very well, old man,” said his wife, “see if you don’t fall into a hole one of these days, with no one to help you out.”

Not long after, when intoxicated, he did fall into a shallow well, but his shouts for help were fortunately heard by his wife. “Didn’t I tell you so?” she asked. “It’s lucky I was in hearing or you might have drowned.” He took hold of the bucket and she tugged at the windlass; but when he was near the top her grasp slipped and down he went into the water again. This was repeated until he screamed: “Look here, you’re doing that on purpose, I know you are.” “Well, now, I am,” admitted the wife. “Don’t you remember telling me it’s best to get used to a thing by degrees? I’m afraid if I bring you up sudden, you would not find it wholesome.” Finding that his case was becoming desperate, he promised to sign the pledge at once. His wife raised him out immediately, but warned him that if ever he became intoxicated and fell into the well again, she would leave him there.

A man captured a young tiger and resolved to make a pet of it. It grew up like a kitten, fond and gentle. There was no evidence of its savage, bloodthirsty nature, and it seemed perfectly harmless. But one day while the master was playing with his pet, the rough tongue upon his hand started the blood from a scratch. The moment the beast tasted blood, his ferocious tiger nature was roused, and he rushed upon his master to tear him to pieces. Sometimes the appetite for drink, which was thought to be buried years ago, is roused by the taste or the smell of “the devil in solution,” and the wretched victim finds himself a helpless slave to the passion which he thought dead.

When a young man, Hugh Miller once drank the two glasses of whiskey which fell to his share at the usual treat of drink of the masons with whom he worked. On reaching home he tried to read Bacon’s Essays, his favorite book, but he could not distinguish the letters or comprehend the meaning. “The condition into which I had brought myself was, I felt, one of degradation,” said he. “I had sunk, by my own act, for the time, to a lower level of intelligence than that on which it was my privilege to be placed; and though the state could have been no very favorable one for forming a resolution, I in that hour determined that I should never again sacrifice my capacity of intellectual enjoyment to a drinking usage; and with God’s help I was enabled to hold by the determination.”

In a certain manufacturing town an employer one Saturday paid to his workmen $700 in crisp new bills that had been secretly marked. On Monday $450 of those identical bills were deposited in the bank by the saloon-keepers. When the fact was made known, the workmen were so startled by it that they helped to make the place a no-license town. The times would not be so “hard” for the workmen if the saloons did not take in so much of their wages. If they would organize a strike against the saloons, they would find the result to be better than an increase of wages, and to include an increase of savings.

How often we might read the following sign over the threshold of a youthful life: “For sale, grand opportunities, for a song;” “golden chances for beer;” “magnificent opportunities exchanged for a little sensual enjoyment;” “for exchange, a beautiful home, devoted wife, lovely children, for drink;” “for sale, cheap, all the magnificent possibilities of a brilliant life, a competence, for one chance in a thousand at the gambling table;” “for exchange, bright prospects, a brilliant outlook, a cultivated intelligence, a college education, a skilled hand, an observant eye, valuable experience, great tact, all exchanged for rum, for a muddled brain, a bewildered intellect, a shattered nervous system, poisoned blood, a diseased body, for fatty degeneration of the heart, for Bright’s disease, for a drunkard’s liver.”