Y.M. Oh, now--

O.M. Wait. Reserve your remark till we get to that part of our discussion--tomorrow or next day, say. Now, then, have you been considering the proposition that no act is ever born of any but a self-contenting impulse--(primarily). You have sought. What have you found?

Y.M. I have not been very fortunate. I have examined many fine and apparently self-sacrificing deeds in romances and biographies, but--

O.M. Under searching analysis the ostensible self-sacrifice disappeared? It naturally would.

Y.M. But here in this novel is one which seems to promise. In the Adirondack woods is a wage-earner and lay preacher in the lumber-camps who is of noble character and deeply religious. An earnest and practical laborer in the New York slums comes up there on vacation--he is leader of a section of the University Settlement. Holme, the lumberman, is fired with a desire to throw away his excellent worldly prospects and go down and save souls on the East Side. He counts it happiness to make this sacrifice for the glory of God and for the cause of Christ. He resigns his place, makes the sacrifice cheerfully, and goes to the East Side and preaches Christ and Him crucified every day and every night to little groups of half-civilized foreign paupers who scoff at him. But he rejoices in the scoffings, since he is suffering them in the great cause of Christ. You have so filled my mind with suspicions that I was constantly expecting to find a hidden questionable impulse back of all this, but I am thankful to say I have failed. This man saw his duty, and for DUTY'S SAKE he sacrificed self and assumed the burden it imposed.

O.M. Is that as far as you have read?

Y.M. Yes.

O.M. Let us read further, presently. Meantime, in sacrificing himself--NOT for the glory of God, PRIMARILY, as HE imagined, but FIRST to content that exacting and inflexible master within him--DID HE SACRIFICE ANYBODY ELSE?

Y.M. How do you mean?

O.M. He relinquished a lucrative post and got mere food and lodging in place of it. Had he dependents?

Y.M. Well--yes.

O.M. In what way and to what extend did his self-sacrifice affect THEM?

Y.M. He was the support of a superannuated father. He had a young sister with a remarkable voice--he was giving her a musical education, so that her longing to be self-supporting might be gratified. He was furnishing the money to put a young brother through a polytechnic school and satisfy his desire to become a civil engineer.

O.M. The old father's comforts were now curtailed?

Y.M. Quite seriously. Yes.

O.M. The sister's music-lessens had to stop?

Y.M. Yes.

O.M. The young brother's education--well, an extinguishing blight fell upon that happy dream, and he had to go to sawing wood to support the old father, or something like that?

Y.M. It is about what happened. Yes.

O.M. What a handsome job of self-sacrificing he did do! It seems to me that he sacrificed everybody EXCEPT himself. Haven't I told you that no man EVER sacrifices himself; that there is no instance of it upon record anywhere; and that when a man's Interior Monarch requires a thing of its slave for either its MOMENTARY or its PERMANENT contentment, that thing must and will be furnished and that command obeyed, no matter who may stand in the way and suffer disaster by it? That man RUINED HIS FAMILY to please and content his Interior Monarch--

Y.M. And help Christ's cause.

O.M. Yes--SECONDLY. Not firstly. HE thought it was firstly.

Y.M. Very well, have it so, if you will. But it could be that he argued that if he saved a hundred souls in New York--

O.M. The sacrifice of the FAMILY would be justified by that great profit upon the--the--what shall we call it?

Y.M. Investment?

O.M. Hardly. How would SPECULATION do? How would GAMBLE do? Not a solitary soul-capture was sure. He played for a possible thirty-three-hundred-per-cent profit. It was GAMBLING-- with his family for "chips." However let us see how the game came out.

What is Man? and Other Essays of Mark Twain Page 12

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