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Page 292


Do you know what the people of Cape Ann do when
it rains?” one asked of another. Upon confessing his
ignorance, he was informed that they let it rain. This
is the true philosophy. It is best not to fret at evils
that we cannot help, or even for those that we might
help; for fretting does not better a thing any. We
always admired the example of the venerable negro in
the song, “whose name was Uncle Ned.” Of him it is
narrated that when his teeth failed him, because of his
declining years, and he could no longer eat the corn-bread,
he “let the corn-bread be,” with charming resignation.
There is an old saying, that has come down to
us from very remote antiquity, that “it is of no use to
cry for spilled milk.” Fretting shortens life, and makes
it miserable while it lasts, tiring sympathy and wearing
out surrounding patience. Fretting wrinkles the skin
like a baked apple, turns the aspect to a glum sourness,
makes the finest eyes look wicked, and places personal
beauty at a risk. The Sage of Thorndike was one hundred
and ten years old when he died, and at that age
his face was as fair as an infant's. When asked the
secret of this, his reply was, “I never allowed my face
to pucker with the wrinkles of fretfulness and ill-temper.”
The saying of this herbaceous and venerable
sage should be remembered. Paterfamilias, in the midst
of his family of discordant elements, — his antagonistic
children quarrelling and making a particular hurricane
about his house, — never frets. He looks upon them
complacently, counsels the noisiest, — that will hear him,
— and makes up his mind that if they don't heed him
they can let it alone. Some people spend much breath
in fretting about the weather. They go about blowing


Page 293
and blurting like porpoises. They see danger to the
corn in the cold weather, and fret in anticipation of
short crops before the bloom comes. We had better
take things as they come, and not fret about them, whatever
they may prove, always remembering Mr. Tenny,
who ne'er fretted any, who expressed himself so indifferent
as to his fate when sick, — not caring whether he
lived or got well.