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 Table of Contents
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Title: Titcomb's letters to young people, single and married
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Title: Titcomb's letters to young people, single and married
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
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        Page ix
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    Table of Contents
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Letters to young men
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    Letters to young women
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Full Text





TITCOMB'S LETTERS


TO



YOUNG 0PLE


SINGLE AND MARRIED.





TIMOTHY TITCOMB, ESQUIRE





TWENTY-SIXTH EDITION.




NEW YORK:
CHARLES SCRIBNER.
No. 124 GRAND STREET.
1862.


- -~I ----~-.,a




























































TITCOMB S LETTERS.


~ ---- ~-- e II I I I


r


-- --,..,l-~-~.l~,l-U.~-~-111-----~


M ".'. -" -






































S Ii



Entered according to Act of Crng-re',,, in the yeai 188, by
CHIIARLES SCRIDNEIR,
I! the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Sttes for the
Southern District of New York.


~- --~--~~-II--"---~ ~II

























TO THE


REV. HENRY WARD BEECHER





You have very kindly permitted me to dedi-
cate this book to you. I do it with hearty plea-
sure, and with cordial thanks for your courtesy,
because it will do me good in several ways. First,
"t will give me an opportunity to manifest the re-
Bpect and admiration which I entertain towards
one who, in the best way, is doing more than any
other American for the elevation of the standard
of Christian manhood and womanhood. Second,
it will save to me the awkward labor of writing a

-,.


_ __~C____ ~_


- I --- -









vi PREACOE.

general preface. One can say to a friend, you
know, in a familiar way, what he would hesitate
to say directly to the public of his own perform-
ances. Third, it will show the public that yo
know the author of these letters, and that you
have confidence in his good intentions.
The Great Master taught you how to teach,
and, if we heed the lesson of His life, He will
teach us all. He assumed a sympathetic level
with humanity, that He might secure the eye and
ear 6f the world. Through these He obtained
the heart-a conquest preliminary to that of the
world's understanding and life. It was the divine
policy-rather, perhaps, I should say, the eternal
necessity-that He should be made in all points
like as we are, in order to a fitlu. for and the
filfilment of his mission. It was the brother
that was in Him which touched humanity, and
became the medium of heavenly impulses and
inspirations; and it is the brother in us, rather
than the preceptor, which will enable us to reach
the hearts and minds that call for our ministra-
tions.
With this idea in mind, I cannot but think that
a general mistake has been made in the instruc.
ki









PREFACE.


breadth, and its contents may occupy an inferior
level, yet it may brim a goblet with pure water,
without other elevation than that which is neces-
sary for the service.
You will notice that I address my letters to the
young men, young women, and young married
people, as classes, with distinctness of aim and ap-
plication, while I inclose all in a single volume.
I have intended the whole book for each class. I
believe that each should know what I have to say
to the other. I have written nothing to one class
which it would not be well for the other to know.
The effort to maintain a divided interest and a
divided sympathy between the sexes, to deny to
them partnership in a, common knowledge of their
relationship, to hide them from each other as if
they were necessarily enemies or dangerous asso-
ciates, and to obliterate the idea that they are
sharers in the same nature, and companions in a
common destiny, may spring fronmthe purest mo-
tives, but it produces inhuman results.
I look around me, and I see the young of both
sexes with hearts bounding high with hope, forms
elastic with health, and eyes bright with the
enjoyment of life; and the thought of the stem


_ I __ __ ___ _____~_


viii








PREFACE. IX

discipline which awaits them, touches me to tears.
Their dawning sun gilds only the mountain-tops
of life, and leaves the blind defiles and dismal
gorges for their weary feet to find, through years
of patient or fretful travel. To tell them how to
perform this journey worthily, and to do it hand
in hand, in harmonious companionship, I have
written these letters. It has been with me an
honest and earnest work, in the object of which I
am sure that you will sympathize. I only hope
that you will find little to criticise and nothing to
condemn, in the nature and style of the means by
which I have sought to accomplish it.

Yours,
With respectful affection,

THE AUTHOR.
REPUBLICAN OFFICE,
Sprigfiekl, Judy 1, 1858.


1*




















CONTENTS.









LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.
LrUTrR. PARE.
I. Getting the Right Start, . 13
II. Female Society-The Woman for a Wife, 22
IIL Manners and Dress, 31
IV. Bad Habits, 38
V. The Blessings of Poverty-Office and Effect of a
Profession, . 45
VI. Food and Physical Culture, 54
VII Social Duties and Privileges, . 62
III. The Reasonableness and Desirableness of Religion. 71




LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.

L Dress-Its Proprieties and Abuses, . 85
II. The Transition from Girlhood to Womanhood,. 94
II. Acquisitions and Accomplishments, 103
IV. Unreasonable and Injurious Restraints, 114


~ I --- .


I










XIi CONTENTS.

LETTER. PA&L
V. The Claims of Love, and Lucre, 124
VI. The Prudent and Proper Use of Language, 134
VII. Housewifery and Industry, 144
VIII. The Beauty and Blessedness of Female Piety, 155




LETTERS TO YOUNG MARRIED PEOPLE.

I. The First Essential Duties of the Connubial Relaticn, 167
IL Special Duties of the Husband, . 177
III. Special Duties of the Wife, . 188
IV. The Rearing of Children,. 198
V. Separation-Family Relatives-Servants,. 208
VI. The Institution of Home,. 219
VII. Social Homes, and Blessings for Daily Use, 229
VIII. A Vision of Life and its Meaning.. 239


iL __ __ __~___ __
















LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

-0-

LETTER I.

GETTING THE RIGHT START.

In idle wishes fools supinely stay,
Be there a will, then wisdom finds a way.

I SUPPOSE that the first great lesson a young
man should learn is that he knows nothing; and
that the earlier and more thoroughly this lesson is
learned, the better it will be for his peace of mind and
his success in life. A young man, bred at home, and
growing up in the light of parental admiration and
fraternal pride, cannot readily understand how it is
that every one else can be his equal in talent and
acquisition. If. bred in the country, he seeks the life of
the town, he will very early obtain an idea of his
insignificance. After putting on airs and getting severely
laughed at, going into a bright and facile society and
finding himself awkward and tongue-tied, undertaking








14 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


to speak in some public place and breaking down, and
paying his addresses to some gentle charmer and
receiving for his amiable condescension a mitten of
inconvenient dimensions, he will be apt to sit down in
a state bordering on distraction," to reason about it.
This is a critical period in his history. The result of
his reasoning will decide his fate. If, at this time, he
thoroughly comprehend, and in his soul admit and accept
the fact, that he knows nothing and is nothing; if he
bow to the conviction that his mind and his person are
but ciphers among the significant and cleanly cut
figures about him, and that whatever he is to be, and is
to win, must be achieved by hard work, there is abun-
dant hope of him. If, on the contrary, a huge self-
conceit still hold possession of him, and he straighten
stiffly up to the assertion of his old and valueless self; or
if he sink discouraged upon the threshold of a life of
fierce competitions and more manly emulations, he
might as well be a dead man. The world has no use
for such a man, and he has only to retire or be trod-
den upon.
When a young man has thoroughly comprehended
the fact that he knows nothing, and that, intrinsically,
he is of but little value, the next thing for him to learn
is that the world cares nothing for him ;-that he is tho
subject of no man's overwhelming admiration and es-


_I __ _~_ __~___ ___ I___ I_








GETTING THE RIGHT START. 15

teem; that he must take care of himself. A letter of
introduction may possibly procure him an invitation to
tea. If he wear a good hat, and tie his cravat with
propriety, the sexton will show him to a pleasant seat in
church, and expect him to contribute liberally. where
the plate goes round. If he be a stranger, he will find
every man busy with his own affairs, and none to look
after him. He will not be noticed until he becomes
noticeable, and he will not become noticeable until he
does something to prove that he has an absolute value
in society. No letter of recommendation will give him
this, or ought to give him this. No family connexion
will give him this, except among those few who think
more of blood than brains.
Society demands that a young man shall be some-
body, not only, but that he shall prove his right to the
title; and it has a right to demand this. Society will
not take this matter upon trust-at least, not for a long
time, for it has been cheated too frequently. Society is
not very particular what a man does, so that it prove
him to be a man: then it will bow to him, and make
room for him. I know a young man who made a place
for himself by writing an article for the North Ameri-
can Review: nobody read the article, so far as I know
but the fact that he wrote such an article, that it was
very long, and that it was published, did the business








16 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


for him. Everybody, however, cannot write articles for
the North American Review-at least, I hope every-
body will not, for it is a publication which makes me
a quarterly visit; but everybody, who is somebody, can
do something. There is a wide range of effort between
holding a skein of silk for a lady and saving her from
drowning-between collecting voters on election day
and teaching a Sunday School class. A man must enter
society ef his own free will, as an active element or
a valuable component, before he can receive the recog-
nition that every true man longs for. I take it that
this is right. A man who is willing to enter society as
a beneficiary is mean, and does not deserve recognition.
There is no surer sign of an unmanly and cowardly
spirit than a vague desire for help; a wish to depend,
to lean upon somebody, and enjoy the fruits of the in-
dustry of others. There are multitudes of young men,
I suppose, who indulge in dreams of help from some
quarter, coming in at a convenient moment, to enable
them to secure the success in life which they covet
The vision haunts them of some benevolent old gentle
-nan with a pocket full of money, a trunk full of mort-
gages and stocks, and a mind remarkably appreciative
f merit and genius, who will, perhaps, give or lend
tiem anywhere from ten to twenty thousand dollars,
with which they will commence and go on swimmingly.









GETTING THE RIGHT START. 17

Perhaps he will take a different turn, and educate them.
Or, perhaps, with an eye to the sacred profession, they
desire to become the beneficiaries of some benevolent
society, or some gentle circle of female devotees.
To me, one of the most disgusting sights in the world
is that of a young man with healthy blood, broad shoul-
ders, presentable calves, and a hundred and fifty pounds,
more or less, of good bone and muscle, standing with
his hands in his pockets, longing for help. I admit that
there are positions in which the most independent spirit
may accept of assistance-may, in fact, as a choice
of evils, desire it; but for a man who is able to help
himself, to desire the help of others in the accomplish-
ment of his plans of life, is positive proof that he has
received a most unfortunate training, or that there is a
leaven of meanness in his composition that should make
him shudder. Do not misunderstand me: I would not
inculcate that pride of personal independence which
repels in its sensitiveness the well-meant good offices
nd benefactions of friends, or that resorts to desperate
hifts rather than incur an obligation. What I con
demn in a young man is the love of dependence; the
willingness to be under obligation for that which his
own efforts may win.
I have often thought that the Education Society, and
kindred organizations, do much more harm than good










18 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


by inviting into the Christian ministry a class of young
men who are willing to be helped. A man who wil-
lingly receives assistance, especially if he has applied
for it, invariably sells himself to his *benefactor, unless
that benefactor happen to be a man of sense who is giv
ing absolutely necessary assistance to one whom he
knows to be sensitive and honorable. Any young man
who will part with freedom and the self-respect that
grows out of self-reliance and self-support, is unmanly,
neither deserving of assistance, nor capable of making
good use of it. Assistance will invariably be received
by a young man of spirit as a dire necessity-as the
chief evil of his poverty.
When, therefore, a young man has ascertained and
fully received the fact that he does not know anything,
that the world does not care anything about him, that
what he wins must be won by his own brain and brawn,
and that while he holds in his own hands the means of
gaining his own livelihood and the objects of his life,
he cannot receive assistance without compromising his
self-respect and selling his freedom, he is in a fair posi-
tion for beginning life. When a young man becomes
aware that only by his own efforts can he rise into cor
panionship and competition with the sharp, strong, and
well-drilled minds around him, he is ready for work,
and not before.


- -- -~-----~311PU----~ ---- ~----------- --- i










GETTING THE RIIGT START. 19

The next lesson is that of patience, thoroughness of
preparation, and contentment with the regular channels
of business effort and enterprise. This is, perhaps, one
of the most difficult to learn, of all the lessons of life.
It is natural for the mind to reach out eagerly for im-
mediate results. As manhood dawns, and the young
man catches in its first light the pinnacles of realized
dreams, the golden domes of high possibilities, and the
purpling hills of great delights, and then looks down
upon the narrow, sinuous, long, and dusty path by
which others have reached them, he is apt to be dis-
gusted with the passage, and to seek for success through
broader channels, by quicker means. Beginning at the
very foot of the hill, and working slowly to the top,
seems a very discouraging process; and precisely at this
point have thousands of young men made shipwreck of
their lives.
Let this be understood, then, at starting; that the
.patient conquest of difficulties which rise in the regular
and legitimate channels of business and enterprise, is
not cnly essential in securing the successes which you
seek, but it is essential to that preparation of your mind
requisite for the enjoyment of your successes, and for
retaining them when gained. It is the general rule of
Providence, the world over, and in all time, that un.
earned success is a curse. It is the rule of Providence,
that the process of earning success shall be the prepara-










20 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

tion for its conservation and enjoyment. So, day by
day, and week by week; so, month after month, and
year after year, work on, and in that process gain
strength and symmetry, and nerve and knowledge, that
when success, patiently and bravely worked for, shall
come, it may find you prepared to receive it and keep
it. The development which you will get in this bravo
and patient labor, will prove itself, in the end, the most
valuable of your successes. It will help to make aman
of you. It will give you power and self-reliance. It
will give you not only self-respect, but the respect of
your fellows and the public.
Never allow yourself to be seduced from this course.
You will hear of young men who have made fortunes
in some wild speculations. Pity them; for they will
almost certainly lose their easily won success. Do not
be in a hurry for anything. Are you in love with some
dear girl, whom you would make your wife? Give
Angelina Matilda to understand that she must wait;
and if Angelina Matilda is really the good girl you take
er to be, she will be sensible enough to tell you to choose
vour time. You cannot build well without first laying
a good foundation; and for you to enter upon a busi-
ness which you have not patiently and thoroughly
learned, and to marry before you have won a character,
or even the reasonable prospect of a competence, is
u:ltinately to bring your house down about the ears of









GETTING THE RIGHT START.


Angelina Matilda, and such pretty children as she may
give you. If, at the age of thirty years, you find your-
self established in a business which pays you with cer-
tainty a living income, you are to remember that God
has blessed you beyond the majority of men.
In saying what I have said to you in this letter, I
nave had no wish to make of you pattern young men;
but of this I will speak more fully hereafter. The fash-
ion plates of the magazines bear no striking resem-
blance to the humanity which we meet in the streets.
I only seek to give you the principles and the spirit
which should animate you, without any attempt or de-
aire to set before you the outlines of the life I would
have you lead. In fact, if there are detestable things
which I despise above all other things detestable, they
are the patterns made for young men, and the young
men made after them. I would have you carry all your
individuality with you, all your blood well purified, all
your passions well controlled and made tributary to
the motive forces of your nature; all your manhood.
enlarged, ennobled, and uncorrupted; all your piety, ren
during your whole being sensitively alive to your rela-
tions to God and man; all your honor, your affections,
and your faculties-all these, and still hold yourselves
strictly amenable to those laws which confine a true
success to the strong and constant hand of patient
achievement.


21


























LETTER II.

FEMALE SOCIETY-THE WOMAN FOR A WIFE.

0 woman I lovely woman! Nature made thee
To temper man; we had been brutes without you.
Angels are painted fair to look like you.
OTWAY.

When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think that I should live
till I were married. SHAKsPER.

N many of the books addressed to young men, a
Great deal is said about the purifying and elevating
influences of female society. Sentimental young men
affect this kind of reading, and if anywhere in it they
can find countenance for the policy of early marriage,
they are delighted. Now, while I will be the last to
deny the purifying and elevating influence of pure and
elevated women, I do deny that there is anything in
indiscriminate devotion to female society, which makes









FEMALE SOCIETY-TIIE WOMAN FOR A WIFE. 23

a man better or purer. Suppose a man cast away on the
Cannibal Islands, and not in sufficiently good flesh to
excite the appetites of the gentle epicureans among
whom he has fallen. Suppose him, in fact, to be "re-
ceived into society," and made the private secretary of a
king without a liberal education. Suppose, after awhile,
he feels himself subsiding into a state of barbarism, and
casts around for some redeeming or conservative influ-
ence. At this moment it occurs to him that in the
trunk on which he sailed ashore were a number of books.
He flies to the trunk, and, in an ecstasy of delight, dis-
covers that among them is a volume addressed to young
lien. He opens it eagerly, and finds the writer to de-
zlare that next to the Christian religion, there is nothing
that will tend so strongly to the elevation and purifica-
tion of young men, as female society. He accordingly
seeks the society of women, and drinks in the marvellous
influences of their presence. He finds them unacquaint-
ed with some of the most grateful uses of water, and in
evident ignorance of the existence of ivory combs.
bout what year of the popular era is it to be supposed
.hat he will arrive at a desirable state of purification
and perfection?
Now, perhaps you do not perceive the force of this
illustration. Let us get at it, then. When you find
yourself shut out from all female society except that









24 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

which is beneath you, that society will do you just as
much and no more good than that of the fair cannibals,
especially if it be young. If, in all this society, you can
find one old woman of sixty, who has common sense
genial good-nature, experience, some reading, and
sympathetic heart, cherish her as you would her weigh.
in gold, but let the young trash go. You will hear no-
thing from them but gossip and nonsense, and you will
only get disgusted with the world and yourself. Inspi-
ration to higher and purer life always comes from above
a man; and female society can only elevate and purify a
man when it is higher and purer than he is. In the
element of purity, I doubt not that women generally
are superior to men, but it is very largely a negative or
unconscious element, and has not the power and influ-
ence of a positive virtue.
Therefore, whenever you seek for female society, as
an agency in the elevation of your tastes, the preserva-
tion of your morals, and the improvement of your mind,
seek for that which is above you. I do not counsel you
o treat with rudeness or studied neglect such inferio
female society as you are obliged to come in contact
with. On the contrary, you owe such society a duty.
You should stimulate it, infuse new life into it, if possi-
ble, and do for it what you would have female'society
do for yourself.









FEMALE SOCIETY--T'I:] VW'OL.EX:: 'FO'- A 1V,':. 1 .')

Tins matter of see:i:g female society above yourself
you should carry still fi::';::. l ever c ntnct yoursLlf
with the idea of having a comon-c e. You
want one who will Etimulate you, stir you up, keep y(c:
movingg, show you your weak points, and make soe.mn
thing of you. Don'. fear that you cannot get such a
wife. I very well remember the reply which a gentle-
man who happened to combine te q:alities of wit and
common sense, made to a your g man vwho expressed
fear that a certain young laldy cif geat beauty and
attainments v'ouild dismiss ]:in, if he should become
serious. "'ly friend," said the .wit, infinitely more
beautiful and accomplished women than she is, have
married infinitely uglier land meaner men than you are."
And such is the fact. If you are honest and honorable,
if your character is spot ;e, if you are enterprising and
industrious, if you have some grace and a fair degree of
sense, and if you love appreating and truly, you can
marry anlfost anybody worth your having. So, to en-
n~ a''r:- 0l.' a'ybody
courage yoursejn, carry in your memory the above
aphorism reduced to a fibrm sometlin like this: "In-
finitely finer women than I ever expect to marry, have
loved and married men infnitely meaner than I am."
Tlhe apprehensions of women are finer and quicker
',han those of men. "With equal early advantages, the
woman is more of a woman at eighteen than a man is
>">






F1


26 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

a man at twenty-oneA After marriage, as a genera
thing, the woman ceases to acquire. Now, I do not say
that this is necessary, or that it should be the case,
but I simply state a general fact. The woman is ab-
sorbed in family cares, or perhaps devotes from ten to
twenty years to the bearing and rearing of children-
the most dignified, delightful, and honorable office of
her life. This consumes her time, and, in a great multi-
tuide of instances, deprives her of intellectual culture.
In the meantime, the man is out, engaged in busi-
ness. He comes in daily contact with minds stronger
and sharper than his own. He grows and matures, and
in ten years from the date of his marriage, becomes, in
reality, a new man. Now, if he was so foolish as to
marry a woman because she had a pretty form and face,
or sweet eyes, or an amiable disposition, or a pleasant
temper, or wealth, he will find that he has passed en-
tirely by his wife, and that she is really no more of a
companion for him than a child would be. I know of
S but few sadder sights in this world than that of mates
S whom the passage of years has mis-mated. A woman
ought to have a long start of a man, and then, ten to
one, the man will come out ahead in the race of a long
S life.
I suppose that in every young man's mind there exist
the hope and the expectation of marriage. When a
i__________










FEMALE SOCIETY-rE WOMAN FOR A WIFE. 27


young man pretends to me that he has no wish to marry,
and that he never expects to marry, I always infer one
of two things: that he lies, and is really very anxious
for marriage, or that his heart has been polluted by asso-
ciation with unworthy women. In a thousand cases wo
shall not find three exceptions to this rule. A young
man who, with any degree of earnestness, declares that
he intends never to marry, confesses to a brutal nature
or perverted morals.
But how shall a good wife be won ? I know that
men naturally shrink from the attempt to obtain com-
panions who are their superiors; but they will find that
really intelligent women, who possess the most desirable
qualities, are uniformly modest, and hold their charms
in modest estimation. What such women most admire
Sin men is gallantry; not the gallantry of courts and
fops, but boldness, courage, devotion, decision, and re-
fined civility. A man's bearing wins ten superior wo-
men where his boots and brains win one. If a man
stand before a woman with respect for himself and fear-
essness of her, his suit is half won. The rest may safely
be left to the parties most interested. Therefore, never
be afraid of a woman. Women are the most harmless
and agreeable creatures in the world, to a man who
shows that he has got a man's soul in him. If you
have not got the spirit in you to come up to a test liko
i !


.o .~------- .










28 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MENL.


this, you have not got that in you which most pleases
a high-souled woman, and you will be obliged to con-
tent yourself with the simple girl who, in a quiet way,
is endeavoring to attract and fasten you.
But don't be in a hurry about.the matter. Don't ge
into a feverish longing.for marriage. It isn't creditable
to you. Especially don't imagine that any disappoint-
ment in love which takes place before you are twenty-
one years old will be of any material damage to you.
The truth is, that before a man is twenty-five years old
he does not know what he wants himself. So don't
be in a hurry. The more of a man you become, and
the more of manliness you become capable of exhibit-
ing in your association with women, the better wife you
will be able to obtain; and one year's possession of the
heart and hand of a really noble specimen of her sex, .
is worth nine hundred and ninety-nine years' possession
of a sweet creature with two ideas in her head, and no-
thing new to say about either of them. "Better fifty
years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay." So don't be
in a hurry, I say again. You don't want a wife now
and you have not the slightest idea of the kind of wife
you will want by-and-by. Go into female society if you
can find that which will improve you, but not other-
wise. You can spend your time better. Seek the
society of good men. That is often more accessible to


__~1~1 ~LI ---~~I~ ~C










FEMALE SOCIETY-TIE WOMAN FOR A WIFE. 29

you than the other, and it is through that mostly that
you will find your way to good female society.
If any are disposed to complain of the injustice to
woman of advice like this, and believe that it involves a
wrong to her, I reply that not the slightest wrong is in-
tended. Thorough appreciation of a good woman, on 'he
part of a young man, is one of his strongest reconmmel-
dations to her favor. The desire of such a man to pos-
sess and associate his life with such a woman, gives cvi-
dence of qualities, aptitudes, and capacities which enti-
tle him to any woman's consideration and respect.
There is something good in him; and however uncul-
tivated he may be-however rude in manner, and rough
in person-he only needs development to become wor-
thy of her, in some respects, at least. I shall not quar-
rel with a woman who desires a husband superior to
herself, for I know it will Lc well for her to obtain such
an one, if she will be stimulated by contact with a higher
mind to a brighter and broader development. At the
same time, I must believe that for a man to marry his
inferior, is to call upon himself a great misfortune; to
deprive himself of one of the most elevating and refin-
ing influences which can possibly affect him. I there-
fore believe it to be the true policy of every young man
to aim high in his choice of a companion. I have prc-
viously given a reason for this policy, and both that and


__ __









80 TITOOMBS LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


this conspire to establish the soundness of my coun-
sel.
One thing more: not the least important, but the
last in this letter. No woman without piety in he
heart is fit to be the companion of any man. You may
get, in your wife, beauty, amiability, sprightliness, wit,
accomplishments, wealth, and learning, but if that wife
have no higher love than herself and yourself, she is a
poor creature. She cannot elevate you above mean
aims and objects, she cannot educate her children pro-
perly, she cannot in hours of adversity sustain and com-
fort you, she cannot bear with patience your petulance
induced by the toils and vexations of business, and she
will never be safe against the seductive temptations of
gaiety and dress.
Then, again, a man who has the prayers of a pious
wife, and knows that he has them-upheld by heaven,
or by a refined sense of obligation and gratitude-can
rarely become a very bad man. A daily prayer from
the heart of a pure and pious wife, for a husband en-
grossed in the pursuits of wealth or fame, is a chain d
golden words that links his name every day with the
name of God. He may snap it three hundred and sixty-
five times in a year, for many years, but the chances are
that in time he will gather the sundered filaments, and
seek to re-unite them in an everlasting bond.
































LETTER m.'


MANNERS AND DRESS.


So over violent, or over civil,.
That every man with him was God or deviL
DarBun
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
SIIAKSPEEE.

T is well for young men to obtain, at the very start

of their career, some idea of the value of politeness.

Some cannot be otherwise than urbane. They are born

so. One can kick them roundly and soundly, and they

will not refuse to smile, if it be done good-naturedly.

They dodge all corners by a necessity of their nature.

If their souls had only corporeal volume, we could see

them making their way through a crowd, like nice

little spaniels, scaring nobody, running between nobody's


;
;i
:i*
1..'
F' "
I










32 TITCOMn'iS LETTERS TO YOUNG 2EX.


legs, Lut winding along slhrinki -vgly and gracefnily, see-
ing a master in every man, ard thus fiattericg every
man's vanity into good-nature, but really spoiling their
reputation as reliable dogs, by tlleir undiscriminating and
'1 .
iDniversal complaisance. There is a self-fbrgctfunea:
which is so deep as to be Clow sie'lf-r'espt, and suct h
instances as we occasoallv meet with should L treated
compassionately, cases o idiocy or insanity, except
..1 1 1 except
S when found in connexion wvh the lpost-ofice depart-
inent or among hotel water.
But puppyi.an is rot really politeness. The genuine
article is as n ec..'ary to success, and particularly to an
e enjoyable suces, as intelgrit, or i ndstrv, or any other

indispensable ti .g. All mua:incry ruins i elf by fric-
tion, without e o a lubicat -'g fuid. Pollte-
oss, or civility, or ur'cauihy, or ;whate-vr we :nav choose
to call it isi thie oil which srves the I:acLinerv of
society from destruction. We are cLigcd to Lknd to
c:ne another--to stc.p ade and let another rass, to ignore
thi's and thatf personal leculiarity, to .:peakl pasantiv

vhen irritated, and to do a great many things to avoid
abrasion and collision. In other words, in a world ol
' lcnis ilntrests and pursuits, where every man is pursuing
his own special good, we must mask our real designs in
studied politeness, or mingle them with real kindness, in
order to elevate the society of men above the society of









MANNERS AND DRESS. 33

wolves. Young men generally would doubtless be
thoroughly astonished if they could comprehend at a
single glance how greatly their personal happiness,
popularity, prosperity, and usefulness depend on their
Imanners.
I know young men who, in the discharge of theii
duties, imagine tlat if they go through them with a
literal performance, they are doing all that they under
take to do. You will never see a smile upon their faces,
nor hear a genial word of good fellowship from theii
lips; and from the manner in which their labor is per.
formed you would never learn that they were engaged
in intercourse with human beings. They carry the
same manner and the same spirit into the counting-room
that they do into the dog-kennel or the stable. Every-
body hates such young men as these, and recoils from
all contact with them. If they have business with
them, they close it as soon as possible, and get out of
their presence. A man who, having got his vessel under
headway on the voyage of life, takes a straight course,
minding nothing for the man-of-war that lies in his path,
or the sloop that crosses his bow, or the fishing smacks
that find game where lie seeks nothing but a passage,
or interposing rocks or islands, will be very sure to get
terribly rubbed before he gets through-and he ought
to be.
2*









34 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


I despise servility, but true and uniform politeness is
the glory of any young man. It should be a politeness
fall of frankness and good-nature, unobtrusive and con-
stant, and uniform in its exhibition to every class o
men. The young man who is overwhelmingly polite t
a celebrity or a nabob, and rude to a poor Irishman be-
cause he is a poor Irishman, deserves to be despised.
That style of manners which combines self-respect with
respect for the rights and feelings of others, especially
if it be warmed up by the fires of a genial heart, is a
thing to be coveted and cultivated, and it is a thing
that pays, alike in cash and comfort.
The talk of manners introduces us naturally to dress
and personal appearance. Believe in dress. I believe
that it is the duty of all men-young and old-to make
their persons, so far as practicable or possible, agreeable
toothose with whom they are thrown into association.
I mean by this that they shall not offend by singularity,
nor by slovenliness; that they shall "make a conscience"
of clean boots and finger-nails, change their linen twice
a week, and not show themselves in shirt-sleeves if they
can help it. Let no man know by your dress what
your business is. You dress your person, not your
trade. You are, if you know enough, to mould the
fashion of the time to your own personal peculiarities
-to make it your servant, and not allow it to be your








MAX'N EXRS AND DRESS. 35

master. Never dress in extremes. Let there always bo
a hint in your dress that you know the style, but, for
the best of reasons, disregard its more extreme demands.
The best possible impression that you can make by your
dress is to make no separate impression at all; but sL
to harmonize its material and shape with your persona-
lity, that it becomes tributary in the general effect, and
so exclusively tributary that people cannot tell after
seeing you what kind of clothes you wear. They will
only remember that you look well, and somehow dress
becomingly.
I suppose that I shall be met here with a protest
from employers, and a kind of protest from the employ-
ed. Counsel to dress well is dangerous, is it ? But every-
body now dresses extravagantly ; and, as extravagant
dressing is usually very far from good dressing, I think
that the danger of exciting greater extravagance is very
small. It may be descending into pretty small particu-
lars, but it is proper to say that some men can dress
better on fifty dollars a year than others can on one hun-
dred, and for reasons which it is my duty to disclose
There was something in the doctrine of the loafer who
maintained that "extremes justify the means," illus-
trating his proposition by wearing faultless hat and
boots and leaving the rest of his person in rags; but
he had not touched the real philosophy of the matter.









TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


There is on every man what may be called a dress-
centre-a nucleus from which the rest of the dress
should be developed, and unfolded. This dress-centre,
or primary dress idea, is different in different persons
but it is always above the waist. The cravat, the vest,
the hat, the bosom, the coat-collar, may either of them
be this idea. It" is always safe to locate it about the
neck and chest. A beautiful cravat, sustaining a fault-
less dicky, is about all a man can stand without damage,
in the way of elegant dress. This should form the cen-
tre. The vest should harmonize, but be modest, and
all the other robing should be shaded off, until there is
not an obtrusive feature. Extremities will then only
be noticed. These should be faultlessly dressed, but in
a manner rather to satisfy than attract attention. Every-
thing should be subordinated to this idea; the whole
dress should bow to the cravat. Any man who has
made dress a study knows very well that ten dollars a
year, spent about the neck, will go further than fifty
dollars spread upon the person. Coarsest clothes, deve-
loped from an elegant neck-tie, or an elegant contra'
idea of any kind, become elegant themselves, and re-
ceive and evolve a glory which costs absolutely nothing
at all, except a few brains, some consideration, and the
reading of this letter.
One sees the demonstration of this in travelling. We


_____


36








MANNERS AND DRE1u:. 37

meet inui'ituds 1'rom auli tionalities. One, and lie is u'ua'ly a Yankee, wears the
best of broadcloth, and the costliest of coats, and looks
vulgar; while another with a single stamp of good taste
upon him, at some central point, is a gentleman at half
price. Rich clothes are really a sign of mental poverty.
Let the secret of good dressing be thoroughly learned,
and we shall h:iar comparatively little of the cost of
dress. Let each young man choose his central idea,
plant it and develop it; and if he has good common
sense ns e will find that he can dress better than he
ever could before, with the expenditure of half the
money it haa usually cost MiM:.

























LETTER IV


BAD HABITS.

There's vtamrng ill can dwell in such a ;ewpkm .
If the ill sp:rit nave so fair a house
Good things will strive to dwell with't.
SIAKSPERI.
He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the centre and enjoy bright day;
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun.
MILTON.

T is entirely natural for people to form habits, so tha
if bad habits be avoided, the good ones -will gene
rally take care of themselves. I had no intention when
I commenced these letters of saying anything upon
dogmatic theology, but I take the liberty of suggesting
to those who are interested in this kind of thing that if
there be anything that demonstrates total depravity, it


_________~__I~__ ~L _~ _I__








BAD HABITS.


is the readiness with which young men imbibe bad
habits. I have seen original sin in the shape of a short
six" sticking out of the mouth of a lad of ten years. It
is strange what particular pains boys and young men
will take to learn to do that which will make thl
miserable, ruin their health, render them disgusting to
their friends, and damage their reputation.
Some of the fashionable bad habits of the day are
connected with the use of tobacco. Here is a drug
that a young man is obliged to become accustomed to
before he can tolerate either the taste or the effect of
it. It is a rank vegetable poison; and in the unaccus-
tomed animal produces vertigo, faintness, and horrible
sickness. Yet young men persevere in the use of it
until they can endure it, and then until they love it.
They go about the streets with cigars in their mouths,
or into society with breath sufficiently offensive to drive
all unperverted nostrils before them. They chew to-
bacco-roll up huge wads of the vile drug and stuff
their cheeks with them. They ejaculate their saliva
:ipon the sidewalk, in the store, in spittoons which
become incorporate stenches, in dark corners of rail-
road cars to stain the white skirts of unsuspecting
women, in lecture-rooms and churches, upon fences,
and into stoves that hiss with anger at the insult. And
the quids after they are ejected They are to be found


I -








TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YT.UNG MEN.


in odd corners, in out-of-the-way places-great bol]
ders, boluses, bulbs! Itorses stumble over them, dogs
bark at them; they poison young shade-trees, and break
down the constitutions of* sweepers. This may be an
exaggeration of the facts, but not of the disgust with
Vwhich one writes of them.
Novw, young men, just think of this thing! You are
born into the world with a sweet breath. At a proper
age, you acquire a good set of teeth. Why will you
make of one a putrescent exhalation, and of the other a
set of yellow pegs? A proper description of the habit
of chewing tobacco would exhaust the filthy adjectives
of the language, and spoil the adjectives themselves for
further use; and. yet, you will acquire the habit, and
persist in it after it is acquired! It is very singular
that young men will adopt a habit of which every man
who is its victim is ashamed. There is, probably, no
tobacco-chewer in the world who would advise a young
man to commence this habit. I have never seen
a slave of tobacco who did not regret his bondage,
yet, against all advice, against nausea and disgust
against cleanliness, against every consideration of
health and comfort, thousands every year bow tht
neck to this drug, and consent to wear its repulsive
yoke. They will chew it; they will smoke it in cigars
and pipes until their bed-rooms and shops cannot be


_ ____


40










BAD II ABITS.


breathed in, and until their breath is as rank as the
breath of a foul beast, and their clothes have the odor
of the sewer. Some of them take snuff; cram the
fiery weed up their nostrils to irritate that sultte sense
which rarest flowers were made to feed--in all this
working against God, abusing nature, peirveting sense,
injuring health, planting the seeds of disease, and insult-
ing the decencies of life and the noses of the world.
So much for the nature of the habit; and I would
stop here, but for Ite tact that I am in earnest, and
wish to present every motive in my power to prevent
young men from forming the habit, or persuade them tc
abandon it. The habit of using tobacco is expensive,
A clerk on a modest salary has no right to be seen
with a cigar in his mouth. Three cigars a day, at five
cents apiece, amount to more than fifty dollars a year.
Can you alTord it? You know you cannot. You know
that to do this you have either got to run in debt or
steal. Therefore I say that you have no business to be
seen with a cigar in your amo th. It is presumptive
evidence against your moral character.
Did it ever occur to you what you are, what you aro
j made for, whither you are going ? That beautiful b dy
of yours, in whose construction infinite wisdom ex
hausted the resources of its ingenuity, is the temple ot
a soul tlat shall live for ever, a companion of angels, a


I__~~ ___ __ C ___ __ _1


41









42 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


searcher into the deep things of God, a being allied in
essence to the divine. I say the body is the temple, or
the tabernacle, of such a being as this; and what do you
hink of stuffing the front door of such a building full
of the most disgusting weeds that you can find, or set-
ting a slow match to it, or filling the chimneys with
snuff? It looks to me much like an endeavor to smoke
out the tenant, or to insult him in such a manner as to
.nduce himn to quit the premises. You really ought to
S be ashamed of such behavior. A clean mouth, a sweet
breath, unstained teeth, and inoffensive clothing-are
rot these treasures worth preserving? Then throw
I way tobacco, and all thoughts of it, at once and for ever.
Be a man. Be decent, and be thankful to me for talk-
ng so plainly to you.
But there are other bad habits besides the use of
tobacco. There is the habit of using strong drink,-
not the habit of getting drunk, with most young men,
but the habit of taking drink occasionally in its milder
S forms-of playing with a small appetite that only needs
sufficient playing with to make you a demon or a dolt
You think you are safe. I know you are not safe, if
you drink at all ; and when you get offended with the
good friends who warn you of your danger, I know you
are a fool. I know that the grave swallows daily, by
cores, drunkards, every one of. whom thought he was


__ ___ __ ____1____1___ _









BAD HABITS.


safe while he was forming his appetite. But this is old
talk. A young man in this age who forms the habit of
drinking, or puts himself in danger of forming the habit,
is usually so weak that it doesn't pay to save him.
I pass by profanity. That is too offensive and vulgar
a habit for any man who reads a respectable book to
S indulge in. I pass by this, I say; to come to a habit
more destructive than any I have contemplated.
Young man! you who are so modest in the presence
of women,-so polite and amiable ; you who are invited
S into families where there are pure and virtuous girls;
you who go to church, and seem to be such a pattern
young man; you who very possibly neither smoke, nor
chew, nor snuff, nor swear, nor drink-you have one
habit ten times worse than all these put together,-a
habit that makes you a white sepulchre, fair without,
but within full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
You have a habit of impure thought, that poisons the
very springs of your life. It may lead you into lawless
indulgences, or it may not. So far as your character is
concerned, it makes little dii'crence. A young man wh
cherishes impure images, and indulges in impure con-
versations with his associates, is poisoned. There is
rottenness in him., Ie is not to be trusted. Hundreds
of thousands of men are living in unhappiness and
degradation to-day who owe their unhappy lives to an


__ _


43









44 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

caily habit of impure thought. To a young man who
lias become poisoned in this way, women all appear to
be vicious or weaknl and when a young man loses his
respect for the sex made sacred by the relations of
another and sister, he stands upon the crumbling edge
of ruin. His sensibilities are killed, and his moral na-
ture almost beyond tlh reach of regeneration. I believe
it to be true that a man who has lost his belief in wo-
man ]has, as a general thing, lost his faith in God.
The only proper way to treat such a habit as this is
to fly from it-discard it-expel it-fight it to the death.
Impure thought is a moral drug quite as seductive and
poisonous to the soul as tobacco is to the body. It
perverts the tond of every fibre of the soul. One should
have more respect for his boly than to make it the
abode of toads and lizards and unclean reptiles of all
sorts. The whole matter resolves itself into this: A
young man is not fit for life until he is clean-clean and
_healthy, body and soul, with no tobacco in his mouth, no
liquor in his stomach, no oath on his tongue, no snuff in
is nose, and no thought in his heart which if exposed
would send him sneaking into darkness from the presence
ot good women. I know a man who believes that the
regeneration of the world is to be brought about by a
change of diet. If he will add the policy of utter clean-
.iness to his scheme, I will agree not to quarrel with him.



























LETTER V.


THE BLE, sGGJ OF POVERTY-OFFICE AND EFFECT OF A
PROFESSION.

Th3 labor we delight in physics pain.
SITAKSPEEB.

Worth makes the man, and want of it the follow;
The rest is all but le.-thir and pruncllo.
PoPr.

IF there is anything in the w world that a young man
S should be more grateful for than another, it is the
poverty which necessitates starting lire under very great
disadvantages. Poverty is one of the best tests of hr
mian quality in existence. A triumph over it is like
graduating with honor from West Point. It demon-
S states stuff and stamina. It is a certificate of worthy
labor, faithfully performed. A young man who cannot
stand this test is not Lrood for anything. He can never
i









46 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

rise above a drudge or a pauper. A young man who
cannot feel his will harden as the yoke of poverty
presses upon him, and his pluck rise with every difficulty
that poverty throws in his way, may as well retire into
ome corner, and hide himself. Poverty saves a thou-
sand times more men than it ruins, for it only ruins
those who are not particularly worth saving, while it
saves multitudes of those whom wealth would have
ruined. If any young man who reads this letter is so
unfortunate as to be rich, I give him my pity. I pity
you, my rich young friend, because you are in danger.
You lack one great stimulus to effort and excellence
which your poor companion possesses. You will be
very apt, if you have a soft spot in your head, to think
yourself above him, and that sort of thing makes you
mean, and injures you. With full pockets and full
stomach, and good linen and broadcloth on your back,
your heart and soul will get plethoric, and in the race
of life you will find yourself surpassed by all the poor
boys around you, before you know it.
No, my boy, if you are poor, thank God and take
courage; for he intends to give you a chance to make
something of yourself. If you had plenty of money,
ten chances to one it would spoil you for all useful pur-
poses. Do you lack education ? Have you been cut
short in the text books Remember that education,









THE BLESSINGS OF POVERTY, ETC. 47

like some other things, does not consist in the multitude
of things a man possesses. What can you do ? That is
the question that settles the business for you. Do you
know your business ? Do you know men, and how to
deal with them ? Has your mind, by any means what-
soever, received that discipline which gives to its action
power and facility ? If so, then you are more of a man,
and a thousand times better educated, than the fellow
who graduates from a college with his brains full of
stuff that he cannot apply to the practical business of
life-stuff the acquisition of which has been in no sense
a disciplinary process, so far as he is concerned. There
are very few men in this world less than thirty years of
age, and unmarried, who can afford to be rich. One of
the greatest benefits to be reaped from great financial
disasters, is the saving of a large crop of young men.
In regard to the choice of a profession, that is your
business, and not mine, nor that of any of your friends.
If you take to a trade or profession, don't be persuaded
out of it, until you are perfectly satisfied that you are
not adapted to it. You will receive all sorts of the
most excellent advice, but you must remember that if
you follow it, and it leads you into a profession that
starves you, those who gave the advice never feel bound
to give you any money. You have got to take care of
yourself in this world, and you may as well choose









TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


your own way of doing it, always remembering that it
is not your trade nor your profession which makes you
respectable. This leads me to a matter that I may as
well dispose of here as anywhere.
I propose to explain 'what I meant in a previous letter
by the counsel to "let no man know by your dress
what your business is. You dress your person, not
your trade." As the proper explanation of this involves
a very important principle, I will devote the rest of this
letter to its development and illustration. The fault
found with this counsel is that it has always been con-
sidered best to dress according to one's business and
position.
Manhood, and profession or handicraft, are entirely
different things; and I wish particularly that every
young man engaged inr reading these letters should
understand the reason why. God makes men, and men
make blacksmiths, tailors, farmers, horse jockeys, trades-
men of all sorts, governors, judges, &:e. The offices of
men may be more or less important, and of higher or
lowel quality, but manhood is a higher possession than
office. An occupation is never an end of life. It is an
instrument put into our hands, or taken into our hands,
by which to gain for the body the means of living until
sickness or old age robs it of life, and we pass on to
the wcr!d for which this is a preparation. However


1__ _~~ ~ _~ ~I~ r_~~_~ ~~ _ _3 ~ _ _II_


48









NGS OF POVERTY, ETC. 49


thoroughly acquired and assiduously followed, a trade
is something to be held at arm's length. I can illustrate
what I mean by placing, side by side, two horses,-one,
fresh from the stall, with every hair in its right place
his head up and mane flying, and another that has been
worked in the same harness every day for three years,
until the skin is bare on each hip and thigh, an inflamed
abrasion glows on each side of the back-bone where the
hard saddle-pad rests, a severe gall-mark spreads its
brown patch under the breast collar, and all the other
marks of an abused horse abound. Now a trade, or a
profession, will wear into a man as a harness wears into
a horse. One can see the "trade mark on almost
every soul and body met in the street.. A trade has
taken some men by the shoulders and shaken their
humanity out of them. It has so warped the natures
of others that they might be wet down and set in the
sun to dry a thousand times without being warped back.
Thus, I say, a man's trade or profession should be
kept at arm's length. It should not be allowed to
tyrannize over him, to mould him, to crush him. I
should not occupy the whole of his attention. So far
from this, it should be regarded, in its material aspect,
at least, only as a means for the development of man-
hood. The great object of living is the attainment of
true manhood---the cultivation of every power of the


I - -- -


THE BLESS









50 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


soul and of every high spiritual quality, naturally in.
herent or graciously superadded. The trade is beneath
the man, and should be kept there. With this idea in
your minds-and you may be very sure that it is the
correct idea-just look around you, and see how almost
everybody has missed it. You and I both know physi-
cians whose mental possessions, beyond their knowledge
of drugs and diseases, are not worth anything. We are
S acquainted with lawyers who are never seen out of their
offices, who live among pigeon-holes and red tape, and
busy their minds with quirks and quarrels so unremit-
tingly, that they have not a thought for other subjects.
They are not men at all; they are nothing but lawyers
Often we find not more than five whole men in a town
of five thousand inhabitants. Those who pass for men,
and who really do get married and have families, are a
hundred to one fractional men, or exclusively machines.
Elihu Burritt cultivated the man that was in him
until his trade and his blacksmith's shop would not stay
with him. They ceased to be useful to him. He could
get a living in a way that was better for him. Benja
min Franklin was an excellent printer, but he used his
trade only as a means. The development of his mind
and his manhood went on above it. Printing with
him was not an end of life. If it had been, we should
have missed his words of wisdom;. some one else would










THE BLESSINGS OF POVERTY, ETC. 51

have built the kite that exchanged the first kiss with
electricity, and less able men would have been set to do
the %york which he did so creditably in the manage-
ment of his country's affairs. It is not necessary that
you be learned blacksmiths or philosophical and diplc-
matic printers, but it is necessary that you be a man
before your calling, behind your calling, above your call-
S ing, outside of your calling, and inside of it; and that
that calling modify your character no more than it
would were it your neighbor's.
If I have made my point plain to you, you can
readily see that I attach very little value to the distinc-
tions in society based on callings, and still less to those
based on office. If a man be a man, let him thank his
stars that he is not a justice of the peace. Of all the
appetites that curse young men, the appetite for office
seems to me to be the silliest and the meanest. There
is nothing which fills me with greater disgust than to
see a young man eager for the poor distinction which
office confers. An office seeker, for the sake of honor,
s constitutionally, necessarily, mean. I have seen men
S egin at twenty-one as prudential committees in small
school districts, and stick to office until everybody was
sick of them. Whether it rained porridge or potatoes,
paving stones or pearls, their dish was always out. They
and their families always had to be cared for,

.i









52 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

Office always brings obligation and a certain kind of
slavery. It brings something more than this-it brings
insanity. A young man who allows himself to get a
taste of it very rarely recovers. It is like tobacco, o
opium, or brandy, producing a morbid appetite; anc
we need all through the nation, a new society of re
form. There should be a pledge circulated, and every-
where signed, promising total abstinence from office-
seeking. To this every young man should put his
name. There are chronic cases that may be considered
hopeless, but the young can be saved.
Do not let me be misunderstood; I have spoken of
the thirst for office for the sake of office. IMy belief is
that office should neither be sought for nor lightly re-
fused. The curse of our country is that office-seekers
have made place so contemptible that good men will
not accept it, but so far keep themselves removed from
politics that all the affairs of government fall into un-
worthy hands. When a young man is sought for to
fill a responsible place in public affairs-sought for and
elected on the ground of fitness-he should decid
whether lie owes that duty to the public, and perform
it well if he does. Office was properly regarded in the
"good old colony times." Then it was considered a
hindrance to business, and almost or quite a hardship;
so much so that laws were passed, in some instances,

(










THI P.LEcSSIGS OF POVERTY, ETC. 53

compelling- men to accept office, or pay a fine. So I
would have you to do your duty to the public at all
times, and especially in seeing that office-seekers, by
profession or constant practice, are crowded from the
track, and worthy men put on.


'--- --~iLI ~C --

























LETTER VI.


FOOD AND PHYSICAL CULTURE.

Man is the noblest growth our realms supply,
And souls are ripened in our northern sky.
MRS. BAEBAUD.

I IIAVE noticed that most writers of books for young
men have a good deal to say about diet and regimen,
and physical culture, and all that sort of thing, those
knowing the least of these important subjects invariably
being the most elaborate and specific in their treatment
of them. There have been some awful sins committed
in this business. All the spare curses I accumulate I
dedicate to those white-livered, hatchet-faced, thin-
blooded, scrawny reformers, who prescribe sawdust
puddings and plank beds, and brief sleep, and early
walks, and short commons for the rising generation. I


-- -- -- *j








FOOD AND PHYSICAL CULTURE.


despise them ; and if there is a being who always
touches the profoundest depths of my sympathy, it is a
young man who has become a victim to their notions.
It is a hard sight to see a young man with the pluck all
taken out of him by a meagre diet-his whole nature
starved, degenerated, emasculated.
I propose to apply a little common sense to this busi-
ness. If I have a likely Durham steer, which I wish to
have grow into the full development of his breed, I
keep him on something more than a limited quantity
of bog hay. I do not stir him up with a pitchfork
before he has his nap out, and insist on his being driven
ten miles before he has anything to eat. I do not take
pains to give him the meanest bed I can find for him.
I know perfectly well that that animal will not grow up
strong and sound, fat and full, the pride of the farm and
the gem of the stall, unless I give him an abundance of
the best food, a clean and comfortable place to sleep in,
and just as long naps as he sees fit to take. The horse,
which in its organization more nearly approaches man
than the steer, iS still more sensitive to the influence of
generous living. How much pluck and spirit will a
horse get out of a ton of rye straw ? The truth is, that
a good a-d abundant diet is not only essential to the
highest physical health and development of man, but it
modifies very importantly the development and manifes-


____ __._ ____









TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MENG


II

ii






i.









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i.



:


station of the soul. A man cannot acquire courage by
feeding on theories and milk. An Englishman cannot
fight without beef in his belly; and no more can any
of us.
It may be objected to this that we do not wish for a
great animal development in man. I say we do. I
declare that the more perfect a man can make his ani-
mal nature the better. That animal nature is the asso-
ciate-home-servant-of the soul. If it be not well de-
veloped, in all its organs and in all its functions, it will
neither give a generous entertainment to the spiritual
thing that dwells in it, nor serve it with vigor and effi-
ciency. If strong meat nurses your passions, let it; it
does not nurse your passions any more than it nurses
all the rest of you, and if you grow symmetrically where
is the harm ? Besides, what would you be without
passions They are the impelling forces of life. A
man with no passion is as useless in the world as if ho
were without brains. Ie cannot even acquire the pos-
session of virtue, but is obliged to content himself with
innocence. If God gave passions to a man, he gave
them to him for a natural, full development; and the
grandest type of man we see is that in which we find
fully developed and thoroughly trained passions; and a
soul which has not these among its motive forces is like
a sailor out at sea, in a skiff without oars. This idea


~~ L----CII~----------


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56


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FOOD AND PHYSICAL CULTURE. 5'

that the body is something to be contemned, that its
growth and development must necessarily antagonize
with the best growth and development of the soul, is
essentially impious. No matter where it started--it is
all wrong. A perverted and perverting passion is a
fearful thing, but a passion in its place is like everything
that God makes, "very good."
I would have you properly understand this kind of
tclk. I counsel the use of no food that tends to the
stimulation of one portion of your system more than
another, but I ask you to remember that the best food
is not too good for you, and that, unless you have a
perverted appetite, there is very little danger of your
eating too much of it. If I were to be charged with
the special mission of degrading a nation, in mind and
body-stunting the form, and weakening in the same
proportion the mental and moral nature-there is no
way in which I could so readily accomplish my object
as through food. No nation can preserve its vitality,
and its tendency to progress, with a diet of pork and
potatoes. Nothing but the cerealia and the ruminantia
will do for this-nothing but bread and muscle.
I wish I could take you to one of those institutions
which will be found in nearly every State, where the
outcast and pauper children are gathered for shelter,
care. and culture. They come from the gutters, whero
3*








58 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

they have lived on garbage and cold potatoes. Theit
eyes are red around the edges and very weak, their
muscles are flabby, their skin is lifeless in color and in
fact. Their minds are as dull as the minds of brutes,
and their faces give the impression almost of idiotic
stupidity. In six months, wheat and corn bread give
them a new body, and a new soul; and it would be
difficult to find a brighter set of faces than fill those
crowded halls and illuminate the noisy playgrounds.
Therefore, I say to you, young men, however falsely
you may deal with your back, be honest with your
stomach. Feed well-as well as you can afford to feed.
Sleep well. If Benjamin Franklin ever originated the
maxim, six hours of sleep for a man, seven for a wo-
man, and eight for a fool," he ought uniformly to have
practised by the rule of the last number. Young man,
if you are a student, or engaged in any severe mental
occupation, sleep just as long as you can sleep soundly.
Lying in bed from laziness is another thing entirely.
Sleep is a thing that bells have no more business to
S interfere with, than with prayers and sermons. God is
re-creating us. We are as unconscious as we were be-
fore we were born; and while he holds us there, feeding
anew the springs of life, ani infusing fresh fire into our
brains, and preparing us for the work of another day,
the pillow is as sacred as a sanctuary. If any fanatic


-li--- ~---. -~--I-- - -- --~----~----~i-








FOOD AN-D PHYSICAL CULTURE. 59

has made you believe that it is good for you to be vio-
lently wakened from your sleep at an early hour, and to
go out into the damp, raw air, morning after morning,
with your fast unbroken, and your body unfortified by
the stimulus of food, forget him and his counsels, and
take the full measure of your rest. When you get your
breakfast down, take your exercise if you have time, or
wait until a later hour in the day. Just as much labor
can be accomplished in ten hours as in fourteen, with
more efficiency and less fatigue, when rest and bodily
exercise are properly taken.
S But physical culture-what is that? A very impor-
S tant thing, I assure you. Some of you get this in your
employment, and are growing up with manly frames
and strong arms. But there are others who are coming
up delicately, with spindling shanks, and narrow shoul-
ders, and flat chests, and weak arms-great babies, with
soft hands and soft muscles, and not enough of physical
prowess to undertake to carry a disputed point with the
cook in the kitchen. How woman ever makes up her
mind to love such a man as this is a mystery to me. A
feminine man is a masculine monster, and no woman
with unperverted instincts can love and marry him. A
true woman loves a pair of good strong arms, fastened
to a pair of broad shoulders, for they can defend her,
provide for her, and-but I wander from my subject.








60 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG BEN.

Physical culture perfects a very important portion of
the work which good feeding begins. The best mate-
rial supplied to the mouth, assimilated by the process
of digestion, and carried by the blood to the muscles
and all the other structures of the body, is essential;
but these organs, when constructed and supplied, need
not only thorough training for the development ol
power and the acquisition of facility, but for the preser-
vation of their harmony and health. God sets all the
little children playing for this. He lays the necessity
of play upon them, and those restless little fellows that
are always sliding, or skating, or wrestling, or running,
are all inspired by a divine impulse. Those little bro-
thers of yours who drive you half insane by their noise,
who will not sit upon your knee a minute without some
fresh twist of their bodies, are discharging their primary
Christian duties.
A new world, tossed into space by the Creative Hand,
informed with its laws of motion, and set spinning on
its axis and careering around its orbit, never stops. It
is only the boy who gets lazy as he grows older. God
puts him in motion at first, and teaches him to use every
physical power he possesses, and he does it faithfully at
first. Children who sit still do not live. The mission
of play does not cease with childhood. When labor is
not capable of doing for you what play has done. and








FOOD AND PHYSICAL CULTURE,.


when you have no regular task for your bodily powers,
you are to play still. Walking and riding, boxing and
fencing, playing ball, pitching quoits, rowing and bowl-
ing-all these are as legitimate to the man as the simr
pier sports are to the boy, and are in a degree essential
to his happiness and usefulness.
I should be unjust to the age were I to omit the
mention of a special point of "physical culture" which
has been long neglected. You find as you come into
man's estate, that hair has a tendency to grow upon
your face. It is the mark by which God meant that men
and women should be distinguished from each other
in the crowd. That hair was placed there in infinite
wisdom, but your fathers have been cutting it off from
their chins in small crops for thirty to fifty years, thus
impugning Nature's policy, wasting precious time, draw-
ing a great deal of good blood, creating a great deal of
bad, and trying to erase from their faces the difference
which was intended to be maintained between them and
those of women. If you are a man, and have abeard,
i ear it. You know it was made to wear. It is enough
o make a man with a decent complement of inform
tion and a common degree of sensibility (and a hand
some beard) deny his kind, to see these smooth-faced
men around the streets, and actually showing them-
selves in female society! Let us have one generation
of beards.


~~CII~~~I-~~lll~l~~~~~-~111111111111111~


61


























LETTER VII.


SOCIAL DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES.


Say, shall my little hark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph and partake the gale ?
Pora.
The primal duties shine aloft like stars;
The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers.
"WORDSWORTH

I PROPOSE in this letter to talk to you concerning

I Wur relations to society. Many, and I may say
most young men fail for many years to get hold of the
idea that they are members of society. They seem to
suppose that the social machinery of the world is self-ope-
rating. They cast their first ballot with an emotion of
pride, perhaps, but are sure to pay their first tax with a
groan. They see political organizations in active exist,.


L_~ __ I ___ _~~ __ ~_ ~__ _II








SOCIAL DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES.


ence; the parish, and the church, and other important
bodies that embrace in some form of society all men,
arc successfully operated; and yet these young men
have no part nor lot in the matter. They do not think
of giving a day's time to society. They do not think
of giving anything to society. They have an idea that
the business of society is to look after them; that they
are to be provided for, that seats are to be furnished to
them in the churches gratis, that the Lyceum is to be
kept up for their amusement-that all social movements
whatsoever are to be organized and operated without
their aid, and that they exist as legitimate objects of
their criticism. This is the very stupidity of selfishness.
Some of you haven't known the fact until now, and are
not very much to blame. It is one of the incidents of
what Fanny Kemble once called your age of detesta-
bility."
One of the first things a young man should do is to
see that he is acting his part in society. The earlier
this is begun the better. I think that the opponents of
secret societies in colleges have failed to estimate tho
benefit which it must be to every member to be obliged
to contribute to the support of his particular organiza-
tion, and to assume personal care and responsibility as a
member. If these societies have a tendency to teach
the lesson of which I speak, they are a blessed thing.


I C __ II~_ ~I ___~~L_1I _


63


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TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN,


Half the ills of society originate in the fact that itc bur
dens are unequally borne, and that the duties of indivi
duals to it are not discharged. Therefore I say to every
young man, begin early to do for the social institutional
in which you have your life. If you have intellect and
accomplishments, give them to the elevation and delight
of the circle in which you move. If you have none of
these, show an accommodating disposition by attending
the sewing circle and holding yarn for the girls. DG
your part, and be a man among men. Assume your
portion of social responsibility, and see that you dis
charge it well. If you do not do this, then you are
mean, and society has the right to despise you just a.
much as it chooses. You are, to use a word more em-
phatic than agreeable, a sneak, and have not a claim
upon your neighbors for a single polite word.
Young men have all noticed how easily some of theii
number get into society, and how others remain out of
a good social circle always. They are very apt to think
that society has not discharged its duties to them. Now
all social duties are reciprocal. Society, as it is called
is far more apt to pay its dues to the individual than
the individual to society. Have you, young man, who
are at home whining over the fact that you cannot get
into society, done anything to give you a claim to social
recognition? Are you able to make any return for


__0 -___ --


--V


64











SOCIAL L DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES.


social recognition and social privileges ? Do you know
anything ? What kind of coin do you propose to pay,
in the discharge of the obligation which comes upon

you with social recognition ? In other words, as a re-
turn for what you wish to have society do for you, what

can you do for society ? This is a very important ques-
tion-more important to you than to society. The
question is, whether you will be a member of society
by right, or by courtesy. If you have so mean a spirit
as to be content to be a beneficiary of society-to re-
ceive favors and confer none-you have no business in

the society to which you aspire. You are an exacting,
conceited fellow.
You ask me what society would have of you. Any-
thing that you possess which has value in society. So-
ciety is not particular on this point. Can you act in a

charade ? Can you dance ? Can you tell a story well?
Have you travelled, and have you a pleasant faculty of

telling your adventures ? Are you educated, and able

to impart valuable ideas and general information ? Have
ou vivacity in conversation? Can you sing? Can
you play whist, and are you willing to assist those to a

pleasant evening who are not able to stand through a

party ? Do you wear a good coat, and can you bring
good dress into the ornamental department of society ?

Are you up to anything in the way of private theatri-


65


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66 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

cals? If you do not possess a decent degree of sense,
can you talk decent nonsense ? Are you a good beau,
and are you willing to make yourself useful in wait
ing on the ladies on all occasions? Have you a good
set of teeth, which you are willing to show whenever
the wit of the company gets off a good thing ? Are
you a true, straight-forward, manly fellow, with whoso
healthful and uncorrupted nature it is good for society
to come in contact ? In short, do you possess anything
of any social value ? If you do, and are willing to im-
part it, society will yield itself to your touch. If you
have nothing, then society, as such, owes you nothing.
Christian philanthropy may put its arm round you, as
a lonely young man, about to spoil for want of some-
thing, but it is very sad and humiliating for a young
man to be brought to that. There are people who
devote themselves to nursing young men, and doing
them good. If they invite you to tea, go by all means,
S and try your hand. If, in the course of the evening,
you can prove to them that your society is desirable,
you have won a point. Don't be patronized.
Young men are very apt to get into a morbid state
of mind, which disinclines them to social intercourse.
They become devoted to business with such exclusive-
ness, that all social intercourse is irksome. They go
out to tea as if they were going to jail, and drag them-








SOCIAL DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES. 67

selves to a party as to an execution. This disposition
is thoroughly morbid, and to be overcome by going
where you are invited, always, and at any sacrifice
of feeling. Don't shrink from contact with anythin.r
but bad morals. Men who affect your unhealthy mind
with antipathy, will prove themselves very frequently
to be your best friends and most delightful companions.
Because a man seems uncongenial to you, who are
squeamish and foolish, you have no right to shun him.
We become charitable by knowing men. We learn to
love those whom we have despised by rubbing against
them. Do you not remember some instance of meeting
a man or woman at a watering-place whom you have
never previously known nor cared to know-an indivi-
vidual, perhaps, against whom you have entertained
the strongest prejudices-but to whom you became
bound by a life-long friendship through the influence
of a three days' intercourse ? Yet if you had not thus
met, you would have carried through life the idea that
it would be impossible for you to give your fellowship
to such an individual.
God has introduced into human character infinite
variety, and for you to say that you do not love and
will not associate with a man because he is unlike you,
is not only foolish but wrong. You are to remember
that in the precise manner and degree in which a man




:1


68 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

differs fiom you, do you differ from him; and that from
his standpoint you are naturally as repulsive to him as
lie, from your standpoint, is to you. So, leave all this
talk of congeniality to silly girls and transcendental
dreamers. Do your business in your own way, and
concede to every man the privilege which you claim
for yourself. The more you mix with men, the less
you will be disposed to quarrel, and the more chari-
table and liberal will you become. The fact that you
do not understand a man, is quite as likely to be your
fault as his. There are a good many chances in favor
of the conclusion that, if you fail to love an individual
whose acquaintance you make, it is through your own
ignorance and illiberality. So I say, meet every man
honestly; seek to know himi; and you will find that
in those points in which he differs from you rests his
power to instruct you, enlarge you, and do you good.
Keep your heart open for everybody, and be sure that
you shall have your reward. You shall find a jewel
under the most uncouth exterior; and associated with
omeliest manners and the oddest ways and the ugliest
hces, you will find rare virtues, fi'agrant little lhumani-


ties, and inspire
Again: you
social. A stri
ence as an ice


ing her
caln h
ctly cxc
-peak i


oisms.
ave no influence unless you are
elusive man is as devoid of influ-
s of verdure. If you will take a


i


~I ______ ___~









SOCIAL AND MORAL PRIVILEGES. 69

peep at the Hudson river some bright morning, you will
see, ploughing grandly along towards the great metro
polis, a magnificent steamer, the silver wave peeling off
from her cutwater, and a million jewels sparkling in
her wake, passing all inferior barks in sublime indiffer
ence, and sending yacht and skiff dancing from her
heel. Right behind her, you shall see a smaller steamer,
the central motive power of a plateau of barges, loaded
to their edges with the produce of thousands of well
tilled acres. She has fastened herself to these barges
by lines invisible to you. They may be homely things,
but they contain the food of the nation. Her own
speed may be retarded by this association, but the work
she does for commerce is ten fold greater than that
accomplished by the grand craft that shuns abrasion as
misfortune, and seeks to secure nothing but individual
dignity and fast time. It is through social contact and
absolute social value alone that you can accomplish any
great social good. It is through the invisible lines
which you are able to attach to the minds with which
you are brought into association alone that you can tow
society, with its deeply freighted interests, to the great
haven of your hope.
The revenge which society takes upon the man wh o
isolates himself, is as terrible as it is inevitable. The
pride which sits alone, and will do nothing for society,




i


70 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

because society disgusts it, or because its possessor does
not at once have accorded to him his position, will have
the privilege of sitting alone in its sublime disgust till it
drops into the grave. The world sweeps by the isolat-
ed man, carelessly, remorsely, contemptuously. He
has no hold upon society, because he is not a part of it.
The boat that refuses to pause in its passage, and throw
a line to smaller craft, will bring no tow into port. So
let me tell you, that if you have an honorable desire in
your heart for influence, you must be a thoroughly
social man. You cannot move men until you are one
of them. They will not follow you until they have
heard your voice, shaken your hand, and fully learned
your principles and your sympathies. It makes no dif-
ference how much you know, or how much you are
capable of doing. You may pile accomplishment upon
acquisition mountain high; but if you fail to be a social
S man, demonstrating to society that your lot is with the
rest, a little child with a song in its mouth, and a kiss
for all, and a pair of innocent hands to lay upon the
knees, shall lead more hearts and change the direction
of more lives than you.




''i




























LETTER VIII.


THE REASONABLENESS AND DESIRABLENESS OF RELIGION.


Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends I
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The great good man ? Three treasures, love and light,
And calm thoughts, regular as infants' breath;
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night-
Himself, his maker, and the angel death ?
COLERIDGE.


YJOUNG men, I hate cant, and I do not know exactly
Show to say what I wish to say in this letter; but
I desire to talk to you ratioally upon the subject of
religion. Now don't stop reading at the mention of
this word, but read this letter through. The fact is, it
is the most important letter I have undertaken to write

to you. I knIw you, I think, very thoroughly. Life
looks so good to you, and you are anticipating so mucl
1I ---








72 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

from it, that religion comes to you, and comes over you
like a shadow. You associate it with long faces, and
prayer meetings, and psalm-singing, and dull sermons
and grave reproofs and stupidtlity. Your companions are
gay, and so are you. Perhaps you make a jest of reli
gion; but deep down in your heart of hearts you know
that you are not treating religion fairly. You know
perfectly well that there is something in it for you, and
that you must have it. You know that the hour will
come when you will specially need it. But you wish to
put it off, and "enjoy life" first. This results very
much from the kind of preaching you have always lis-
tened to. You have been taught that human life is a
humbug, that these things which so greatly delight you
are vain and sinful, that your great business in this
world is to be saved, and that you are only to be saved
by learning to despise things that you love, and to love
things which you despise. You feel that this is unnatu-
ral and irrational. I think it is, myself. Now let me
talk to you.
Go with me, if you please, to the next station-house,
and look off upon that line of railroad. It is as straight
as an arrow. Out run the iron lines, glittering in the
sun,-out, as far as we can see, until, converging almost
to a single thread, they pierce the sky. What were
those rails laid in that way for ? It is a road, is it I

-j









THE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION. 73

Try your cart or your coach there. The axletrecs are
too narrow, and you go bumping along upon the sleep-
ers. Try a wheelbarrow. You cannot keep it on the
rail. But that road was made for something. Now go
with me to the locomotive shop. What is this? We are
told it is a locomotive. What is a locomotive? Why,
it is a carriage moved by steam. But it is very heavy.
The wheels would sink into a common road to the axle.
That locomotive can never run on a common road, and
the man is a fool who built it. Strange that men will
waste time and money in that way! But stop a mo-
ment. Why wouldn't those wheels just fit those rails ?
We measure them, and then we go to the track and
measure its gauge. That solves the difficulty. Those
rails were intended for the locomotive, and the locomo-
tive for the rails. They are good for nothing apart.
The locomotive is not even safe anywhere else. If it
should get off, after it is once on, it would run into rocks
and stumps, and bury itself in sands or swamps beyond
recovery.
Young man, you are a locomotive. You are a thing
that goes by a power planted inside of you. You are
made to go. In fact, considered as a machine, you are
very far superior to a locomotive. The maker of the
locomotive is man; your maker is man's maker. You
are as different from a horse, or an ox, or a camel, as a
4









74 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.


locomotive is different from a wheelbarrow, a cart, or a
roach. Now do you suppose that the lbing who made
you-manufactured your machine, and put into it the
motive power-did not make a special road for you to
run upo n? My idea of religion is that it is a railroad
for a human locomotive, and that just so sure as it
undertakes to run upon a road adapted only to animal
power, will it bury its wheels in the sand, dash itself
among rocks, and come to inevitable wreck. If you
don't believe this, try the other thing. Here are forty
roads: suppose you choose one of them, and see where
you come out. Here is the dram-shop road. Try it.
Follow it, and see how long it will be before you come
to a stump and a smash-up. Here is the road of sen-
sual pleasure. You are just as sure to bury your
wheels in the dirt as you try it. Your machine is too
heavy for that track altogether. Here is the winding,
uncertain path of frivolity. There are morasses on each
side of it, and, with the headway that you are under,
you will be sure, sooner or later, to pitch into one of
them. HeIcre is the road of philosophy, but it runs
through a country fi-om which the light of Heaven is
shut out; and while you may be able to keep your ma-
chine right side up, it will only be by feeling yol I way
along in a clumsy, comfortless kind of style, and with
no certainty of ever arriving at the heavenly station-

--i


--









THE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION. '76

house. Iere is the road of scepticism. That is cover-
ed with fog, and a fence runs across it within ten rods
Don't you see that your machine was never intended tc
run on those roads ? Don't you know tlhat it never was,
and don't you know that the only track under heaven
upon which it can run safely is the religious track ?
Don't you know that just as long as you keep your
wheels on that track, wreck is impossible ? Don't you
know that it is the only track on which wreck is not
certain ? I know it, if you don't; and I tell you that
on that track which God has laid down expressly for
your soul to run upon, your soul will find free play for
all its wheels, and an unobstructed and happy progress.
It is straight and narrow, but it is safe and solid, and
furnishes the only direct route to the heavenly city.
S Now, if God made your soul, and made religion for it,
you are a fool if you refuse to place yourself on the
track. You cannot prosper anywhere else, and your
machine will not run anywhere else.
I suppose that a nice casuist would say that I had
hus far talked only of morality-only of obedience to law
But I was only dealing with the subject in the rough,
and trying to show you how rational a thing religion is,
and to bring to your comprehension your natural rela-
tion to it. I know that the rule of your life is selfis4h-
ness. I know that you are sinful, polluted, wilful, andl









76 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MEN.

that you act from low motives. I know that the race
to which you belong have all fallen from innocence, and
that they have so thoroughly put out the light that God
meant should light every man who comes into the
world, that, supplementary to the natural moral system,
lie has, in great benevolence, devised a scheme of reli-
gion, embracing salvation. This is Christianity, and its
purpose is to get you back upon the track where the
race first started. It is a divine contrivance, or plan, for
accomplishing this purpose.
Jesus Christ saw the whole mass of human machinery
off the track, and going to irremediable ruin just so
truly as he did not interfere to prevent it. He came
and told us all how to get back, through repentance,
faith, reformation, the surrender of will, the abnegation
of self and the devotion of the heart in love to God
and good will to men. He placed himself upon the
track and ran over it, not only showing us how to get
there ourselves, but showing us how to run when there.
In other words, he exhibited to us a true human life.
Th3n, when he had cleared away all the rubbish from
the track, shown us how to get upon it again, how to run
when we get there, how to avoid and repair accidents by
the way,-when he had done all this, and set his agents
at work in carrying out his plans, he went back to Hea-
ven, and now looks down to see how the work goes on.









THE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION.


Young men, I believe this. I know it is true, and I
know, and God knows that this plan which he has
devised to save you and make it possible for you to
lead a true human life, which shall ultimate in life's
highest issues, is the only one which can save you. I
know that you can never be happy until you have
heartily and practically accepted this religion; and for
you to go on, year after year, carelessly, thoughtlessly,
spoiling yourself, growing harder, meaner, more polluted,
with no love to God and outgushing benevolence to men,
is an insult to Jesus Christ and a brutal wrong to that
which he came to save. The fact is that sin is the most
unmanly thing in God's world. You never were made
for sin and selfishness. You were made for love and
obedience. If you think it is manly to reject religion,
and the noble obligations it imposes upon you, it only
shows how strong a hold the devil has upon you. It
shows how degraded you are; how the beast that is in
vou domineers over the soul that is in you.
Young man, your personal value depends entirely
upon your possession of religion. You are worth to
yourself what you are capable of enjoying; you are
worth to society the happiness you are capable of
imparting. To yourself, without religion, you are worth
very little. A man whose aims are low, whose motives
are selfish, who has in his heart no adoration for the


__


_ __ ___









78 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG


great God, and no love of his Christ, whose will is not
subordinate to the Supreme will-gladly and gratefully
-who has no faith, no tenable hope of a happy immor-
tality, no strong-armed trust that with his soul it shall
be well in all the future, cannot be worth very much to
himself. Neither can such a man be worth very much
to society, because he has not that to bestow which
society most needs for its prosperity and its happiness.
A locomotive off the track is worth nothing to its
owner or the public so long as it is off the track. The
conditions of its legitimate and highest value are not
complied with. It cannot be operated satisfactorily to
the owner, or usefully to the public, because it is not
where it was intended to run by the man who made it.
Just look at the real object of religion, and see how
rational it is. It is the placing of your souls in har-
mony with God and his laws. God is the perfect,
supreme soul, and your souls are the natural offspring
of that soul. Your souls are made in the image of his,
and, like all created things, are subject to certain
immutable laws. The transgression of these laws
damages your souls, warps them, stunts their growth,
outrages them. Do you not see that you can only be
S manly and attain a manly growth by preserving your
true relations and likeness to the father soul, and a
strict obedience to the laws of your being ? God has


__


MIIEN.


i









THE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION. 79

given you appetites, and lie meant you should indulge
them, and that they should be sources of happiness to
you; but always in a way which shall not interfere
with your spiritual growth and development. He gave
you passions, and they are just as sacred as any part of
you, but they are to be under the strict control of your
reason and your conscience. IIe gave you desires for
earthly happiness. IHe planted in you the love of
human praise, delight in society, the faculty to enjoy all
his works. IHe gave you his works to enjoy, but you
can only enjoy them truly when you regard them as
.Icssings from the great Giver, to feed and not starve
your higher natures. There is not a true joy in life
which you are required to deprive yourself of, in being
faithful to him and his laws. Without obedience to
law, your souls cannot be healthful, and it is only to a
healthful soul that pleasure comes with its natural-its
divine aroma. Is a nose stuffed with drugs capable of
perceiving the delicate fragrance of the rose ? Is the
soul that intensifies its pleasures as an object of life
capable of a healthful appreciation of even purely sen-
sual pleasures? The idea of a man's enjoying life
without religion is absurd.
I have been thus particular upon this point, because
I love you, and because I know that without it, or
independent of it, all my previous talk has very litti









80 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG MiEN.


significance. I have reasoned the thing to you on its
merits, and I urge it upon your immediate attention, as
a matter of duty and policy. The matter of duty you
understand. I do not need to talk to you about that.
Now about the policy. It will not be five years, proba-
bly, before every one of you will be involved, head andj
ears, in business. Some of you are thus involved
already. You grow hard as you grow older. You get
.abits of thought and life which incrust you. You
comee surrounded with associations which hold you,
o that the longer you hve without religion the worse
will be for you, and the less probable will be your
adoption of a religious life. If you expect to be a man,
7ou must begin now. It is so easy, comparatively, to
1o it now!
With this paragraph I cease to direct my words par-
ticularly to you. What I have said to you, I have said
heartily and conscientiously. I shall see you some
time. We are none of us to live very long, but if we
all act the manly part we were sent here to act, and are
true to God and ourselves, we shall be gathered into a
great kingdom, whose throne will be occupied by the
founder of our religion. During some golden hour of
that cloudless day, sitting or straying upon some
heavenly hill, watching upon the far-stretching plains
the tented hosts of God's redeemed, or marking the







I
TUE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION. 81
shadow of an angel's flight across the bright mirror of
the river of life, I shall say something about these let-
S ers to you. I shall look you in the face as I say it, to
vwe if you are moved to an emotion of gratitude or
of gratification; and if you should happen to tell me
S that they made you better, that they led you to a
higher development, that they directed you to a manly
and a godly life, I should press your hand, and if I
S should keep from weeping it would be more than I cav
do now.
4*



































LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.


i



















LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN


----


LETTER I.

DRESS-ITS PROPRIETIES AND ABUSES

A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

A perfect woman, nobly planned
To warn, to comfort, and command.
WOrDSWORTI.

I have observed, among all nations, that the women ornament them
selves more than the men.
JoHN LEDYARD.


I ACCOUNT a pure, beautiful, intelligent, and well-
bred woman, the most attractive object of vision
and contemplation in the world. As mother, sister, and
wife, such a woman is an angel of grace and goodness
and makes a heaven of the home which is sanctified
and glorified by her presence. As an element of society
she invites into finest demonstrations all that is good iy


1








86 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.

the heart, and shames into secresy and silence all that
is unbecoming and despicable. There may be more of
greatness and of glory in the higher developments of
nianhood, but, surely, in womanhood God most delights
to show the beauty of the holiness and the sweetness
of the love of which he is the infinite source. It is for
this reason that a girl or a young woman is a very
sacred thing to me. It is for this reason that a silly
young woman or a vicious one makes me sigh or shud-
der. It is for this reason that I pray that I may write
worthily to young women.
In getting at a piece of work, it is often necessary, as
i preliminary, to clear away rubbish; and I say at first
that I do not write to masculine young women. I
deem masculine women abnormal women, and I there-
fore refer all those women who wish to vote, who
delight in the public exhibition of themselves, who
bemoan the fate which drapes them in petticoats, who
quarrel with St. Paul and their lot, who own more
rights than they possess; and fail to fulfil the duties
ot their sphere while seeking for its enlargement-I
refer all these to the eight letters recently addressed to
young men. They will find some practical remarks in
those letters upon masculine development and a manly
discharge of life's duties. My theory may be very un-
sound, but it is my belief, that the first natural division








DRESS-ITS PROPRIETIES AND ABUSES.


of the human race is marked by the line that distin-
guishes the sexes. I believe that a true woman is just
as different from a true man as a true man is different
from a true woman. The nature and the constitution
of the masculine are one, and the nature and constitu-
tion of the feminine are another. So of the glory
attached to each ; so of the functions; so of the sphere
Therefore, if there be "strong-minded women" who
read these letters, I bid them, with all kindness, to turn
to the other series for that which will most benefit
them.
I shall talk first of that thing which, worthily or
most unworthily, engages the minds of all young wo-
men, viz.-DRESS. I speak of this first, because it is
part of the rubbish which I wish to get out of the way
before commencing more serious work; and yet this is
not altogether trivial. I believe in dress. I believe
that God delights in beautiful things, and as he has
never made anything more beautiful than woman, I
believe that that mode of dressing the form and face
which best harmonizes with their beauty, is that which
pleases him best. I believe the mode of female
dress prevalent among the Shaker women is absolute
desecration. To take anything which infinite ingenu-
ity and power have made beautiful, and capable by the
gracefulness of its form and the harmony of its parts







88 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN~


of producing the purest pleasure to the observer, and
clothe it with a meal bag and crown it with a sugar-
scoop, is an irreverent trifling with sacred things which
should be punished by mulct and imprisonment.
It is a shame to any woman who has the means to
dress well, to dress meanly, and it is a particular shame
for any womanto do this in the name of religion. I have
seen women who, believing the fashionable devotion to
dress to be sinful, as it doubtless is, go to that extreme in
plainness of attire which, if it prove anything touching
the power that governs them, proves that it is a power
which is at war with man's purest instincts, and most
elevated tastes. I say it is a shame for a woman to
dress unattractively who has it in her power to dress
well. It is every woman's duty to make herself
pleasant and attractive by such raiment and ornament
as shall best accord with the style of beauty witl
which she is endowed. The beauty of woman's per-
son was intended to be a source of pleasure-the
fitting accompaniment of that which in humanity is tht
most nearly allied to the angelic. Surely, if God plants
flowers upon a clod they may rest upon a woman's
bosom, or glorify a woman's hair!
But dress is a subordinate thing, because beauty is
not the essential thing. Beauty is very desirable; it is
a very great blessing; it is a misfortune to possess an








DRESS-ITS PROPRIETIES AND ABUSES. 89


unattractive person; but there are multitudes of women
with priceless excellences of neart and mind who are
not beautiful. Beauty, so far as it is dependent upon
form and color, is a material thing, and belongs to the
grosser nature. Therefore, dress is a subject which
S should occupy comparatively few of the thoughts of a
S true woman, whether beautiful or not. To dress well,
becomingly, even richly, if it can be afforded, is a wo-
man's duty. To make the dress of the person the ex-
ponent of personal taste, is a woman's privilege. But
to make dress the grand object of life; to think of
nothing and talk of nothing but that which pertains to
the drapery and artificial ornament of the person, is
but to transform the trick of a courtesan into amuse-
ment for a fool. There are multitudes of women with
whom dress is the all-prevalent thought. They think
of it, dream of it, live for it. It is enough to disgust
one to hear them talk about it. It goes with them
from the gaiety of the ball-room into the weeds of the
house of death. They use it as a means for splitting
grief into vulgar fractions, and are led out from great
bereavements into the consolations of vanity, by the
hands of numerators and denominators. They flat-
ter one another, envy one another, hate one another-
all on the score of dress. They go upon the street to
show their dresses. They enter the house of God to


I -*









90 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.

display their bonnets. They actually prize themselves
S more highly for what they wear than for any charm of
Person or mind which they may possess!
One of the most vulgar and unbecoming things ii:
the world is this devotion to dress, which, in many
minds, grows into a form of insanity, and leads to the
worship of dry goods and dress-makers. Now it will be
impossible for me to give you special directions upon
this subject of dress. Your dress-maker and your
books, and, better than all, your own taste and expe-
rience, will tell you what colors become your complex-
ion, what style of make best accords with your form
and style of movement. I shall only speak generally;
and I say, first, dress modestly. It is all well enough
for little girls to show their necks, but for a woman to
make her appearance in the society of young men with
such displays of person as are made in what is so mis-
takenly called full dress," is a shame to her. I know
what fashion allows in this matter, and fashion has
many sins to answer for. Thousands of girls dress in a
manner that they would discard with horror and dis
gust, if they knew the trains of thought which are sug-
gested by their presence. I know young men, and I
know there is not one in one hundred who attends a
"full dress party," and comes out as pure and worthy a
man as he went in. There is not one in one hundred








DRESS-


-ITS PROPRIETIES AND ABUSES.


who does not hold the secret of a base thought
suggested by the style of dress which he sees around
him. This may tell very badly for young men. Doubt-
less it does; but we are obliged to take things as we
find them. The millennium has not dawned yet, and we
have receded to a considerable distance from the era of
human innocence. I tell you a fact; and, if you are
modest young women, you will heed its suggestions.
If you choose to become the objects of foul fancies
among young men, whose respect you are desirous of
securing, you know the way.
Again, shun peculiarities of dress which attract the
attention of the vulgar. Just now the red petticoat is
the talk of the newspaper world. It is the inspiring
theme of many a sportive pen, and when one of these is
seen upon the street, it attracts the attention of the pru-
rient crowd. A modest woman will shun a notoriety
like this, until it ceases to be such. I should deprecate
the appearance upon the street of a sister of mine with
such a garment, ostentatiously displayed, as a calamity
to her; and yet I do not believe I am a squeamish man
I know that a young woman can dress in such a way as
to excite a chaste and worthy admiration among her
own sex as well as mine, and my judgment tells me
that that is the proper dress for her to wear. I feel that
it is right and well for her to dress like this, and


I


91


i ~______~~ I









92 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.


that it is not right and well for her to dress other
wise.
Again, dress in such a manner that your attire will
not occupy your thoughts after it is upon you. Let
every garment be well fitted and well put on-ugly in
no point, fussy in no point, nor made of such noticeable
material that you necessarily carry with you the con-
sciousness that people around you are examining it.
Make it always subordinate to yourself-tributary to
your charms, rather than constituent of them. Then
the society in which you move will see you, and not
your housings and trappings. "Jane was dressed very
becomingly," or "how well Jane looked," are very
much more complimentary comments than "that was a
splendid dress that Jane wore;" and a tolerably acute
mind may gather from these expressions the philosophy
of the whole thing.
There is, as a general thing, no excuse for attire
which is not neat and orderly, at any time "n the day.
A thoroughly neat and orderly young woman is pre-
Lentable at any hour, whether she be in the kitchen or
parlor; and I have seen specimens of womanhood that
were as attractive at the wash-tub, with their tidy hail
and their nine-penny calico, as in their parlors at a later
hour, robed in silk and busy at their embroidery. Ma-
terials may be humble, but they may always be taste-









DRESS-ITS PROPPIETIES AND ABUSES. 93

fully made and neatly kept. There are few habits that
a young woman may acquire which, in the long run,
will tend more to the preservation of her own self-
respect than that of thorough tastefulness, appropriate-
ness, and tidiness of dress, and certainly very few which
will make her more agreeable to others.
So, I say, dress well if you can afford it, always
neatly, never obtrusively, and always with a modest
regard to rational ideas of propriety. Scorn the idea of
making dress in any way the great object of life. It is
beneath yon. A woman was made for something
higher than a convenient figure for displaying umy-
goods and the possibilities of millinery and mantua-
making.


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LETTER II.


WRB TRANSITION FROM GIRLHOOD TC VrO fAW HO OO


O mlitn and innocence i Omilk arnd water
Ye happy mixtures of more happy days!


We figure to ourselves the thing we like, and then we build it up a.
chance will have it, on the rock or sand.
IIB9RY TAYLOR.


E VERY young woman who has arrived at twenty
years of age has passed through three dispensa-
tions-the chaotic, the transitional, and the crystalline.
The chaotic usually terminates with the adoption of the
long skirt. Then commences the transitional dispen-
sation, involving the process of crystallization. This
process may go on feebly for years, or it may proceed
so rapidly that two years will complete it. In some


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TRANSITION FROM GIRLIIOOI) TO WOMANHOOD. 95

women, it is never completed, in consequence of a lack
of inherent vital force, or a criminal disregard of the
requisite conditions. This transitional dispensation,
which is better characterized by calling it the silly
dispensation, is so full of dangers that it calls for a
separate letter; and this I propose to write now.
The silly dispensation or stage of a young woman't
life is marked by many curious symptoms, some of
them indicative of disease. As the cutting of the
natural teeth is usually accompanied by various dis-
orders, so the cutting of the spiritual teeth in women is
very apt to exhibit its results in abnormal manifest
tions. They sometimes eat slate pencils and chalk, and
some have been known to take kindly to broken bits
of plastering. Others take a literary turn, and, not
content with any number of epistles to female acquain-
tances, send in contributions to the press, which the
friendly and appreciative editor kindly and carefully
returns, or as kindly and carefully loses, or fails to
receive. Others still take to shopping and dawdling
with clerks who have dawning beards, red cheeks, and
fiock coats with outside pockets, from which protrude
white handkerchief-tips. Still others yoke themselves
in pairs, drawn together by sympathetic attraction, and
hv community of mental exercise on the subject of
beaux. You shall see them walking through the









96 TITCOMB'S LETTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN.


streets, locked arm in arm, plunging into the most
charming confidences, or, if you happen to sleep in the
house with them, you shall hear them talking in
their chamber until, at midnight, the monotonous hum
of their voices has soothed you into sleep; and the
same voices, with the same unbroken hum, shall greet
your ears in the morning. Others take to solitude and
long curls. They walk with their eyes down, murmur-
ing to themselves, with the impression that everybody
is looking at them.
If a young woman can be safely carried through this
dispensation, the great step of life will nave been gained.
This is the era of hasty marriages, deathless attach-
ments which last until they are superseded, and deli-
berately formed determinations to live a maiden life,
which endure until the reception of an offer of marriage.
If during this period, a young woman be at home, en-
gaged more or less in the duties of the household, or,
if she be engaged in study, with the healthful restraints
and stimulus of general society about her, it is very well
for her. But if she be among her mates constantly, with
nothing to do, or if she be shut up in a boarding-school
conducted on the high pressure principle, where imagina-
tion is stimulated by restraint, and disobedience to law
is provoked by its unreasonableness, it is indeed very
bad for her.


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