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CHAPTER III. A TIME TO LAUGH AND A TIME TO WEEB. DID any one ever
yet arrive at anything like a right and just appreciation of his or
her own importance ? Nay, more, is it possible for any one to do
so. To see ourselves as others see us is a point to which we may at
times attain, but though by so doing the value we set on our own
opinions and powers may be greatly lessened, and we may grow
smaller and more insignificant in our own eyes, it is by no means
certain that our view of ourselves, our circumstances, or talents
may be any the more just on that account. For friends may be
partial, mere acquaintances know little of our circumstances,
strangers have no real knowledge of our character. What, therefore,
many who do not know us would be likely to consider a crushing
calamity may, in reality, be to us an indescribable relief, and
what one friend, through an exaggerated view of our powers, may
urge us to attempt, an- other, or we ourselves, may be perfectly
well aware we can never accomplish. So mistakes arise, and
doubtless it often proves fortunate for us that when sorrows come
upon us which we would fain hide, but which we despair of
concealing from the cold scandal-loving eye of the world, they pass
by unnoticed because tears drawn by some like trouble have dimmed
the eyes that at any other moment would have been keenest to spy
out our shame. Mrs. Hornby had spent a miserable evening, and still
more miserable night after that conversation with her husband,
brooding over the great sorrow that had driven away all smaller
ones, and made her anxiety for her eldest son and her sickly
daughter appear trifles indeed. Herbert must come home; to leave
him where he was was clearly impossible, but dearly as she loved
having the boy at home, in this emergency Mrs. Hornby now ...
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