By Ray Stannard Baker
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Extra info for Adventures in Contentment
Often and often have I known this strange rekindling of dead ﬁres. And I have thought how, if our senses were really perfect, we might lose nothing, out of our lives: neither sights, nor sounds, nor emotions: a sort of mortal immortality. Was not Shakespeare great because he lost less of the savings of his senses than other men? What a wonderful seer, hearer, smeller, taster, feeler, he must have been—and how, all the time, his mind must have played upon the gatherings of his senses! All scenes, all men, the very 32 DAVID GRAYSON ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT turn of a head, the exact sound of a voice, the taste of food, the feel of the world—all the emotions of his life must he have had there before him as he wrote, his great mind playing upon them, reconstructing, re-creating and putting them down hot upon his pages.
Is there a twisted and hardened heart in the community he beams upon it from his cheerful eye, he speaks out of his great charity, he gives the friendly pressure of his large hand, and that hardened heart dissolves and its frozen hopelessness loses itself in tears. So he goes through life, seeming always to understand. He is not surprised by wickedness nor discouraged by weakness: he is so sure of a greater Strength! But I must come to my experience, which I am almost tempted to call a resurrection—the resurrection of a boy, long since gone away, and of a tall lank preacher who, in his humility, looked upon himself as a failure.
35 DAVID GRAYSON ADVENTURES IN CONTENTMENT On ﬁne mornings John Starkweather sometimes comes out in his slippers, bare-headed, his white vest gleaming in the sunshine, and walks slowly around his garden. Charles Baxter says that on these occasions he is asking his gardener the names of the vegetables. However that may be, he has seemed to our community the very incarnation of contentment and prosperity—his position the acme of desirability. What was my astonishment, then, the other morning to see John Starkweather coming down the pasture lane through my farm.
Adventures in Contentment by Ray Stannard Baker