Love of Country
On Great and Base Men
Finding a friend for life
Dreams and Daydreams
As you grow older...
...So what is it that emerges from this rather long history? – First, if daddy’s own experience is any guide (and you must compare it with your own, as well as those of many interesting people about whom you read in the world’s great books), you can’t avoid the unexpected in your life, nor should you want to. Second, facing the unexpected needs both an openness of mind to appreciate all the joyful surprises that life is sure to bring you by and by (it keeps you forever young, this openness!) and a toughness of character, to deal adequately with the nasty twists and turns, and the depressing troughs. It is not how often you stumble and fall and lose your way but how often and how quickly you bounce back that decides how well you will do in life. Third, never forget that every threatening challenge is also likely to be a great opportunity of self-discovery and self-improvement, as the lives of all great men and women will testify (READ BIOGRAPHIES!) – hence ‘sweet are the uses of adversity’. Fourth, you have found out that daddy is neither some sort of always-perfect superman nor a complete washout: he has had more than his fair share of the ‘downs' of life maybe, but he’s also had some sublime highs (one of the most blissful being watching you grow up!), and he has struggled, and fallen down very often, and sometimes become full of despair and self-pity, but he’s picked himself up again and again and soldiered on, consoling himself with the poet’s words:
My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on
Judge not the play until the play is done:
Her plot hath many changes – each day speaks a new scene;
The last act crowns the play.
At the half-way mark of his life, he wishes you greater luck than he had, and also greater cheerful fortitude, while he himself will be happy if he can say, before closing his eyes forever, I warmed my hands before the fire of life / It sinks / and I am ready to depart, looking forward to quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over, bearing no man in this world any grudge, though I hope to see my Pilot face to face / when I have crossed the bar.