Maybe we can get on the track of the secret original impulse, the REAL impulse, that moved him to so nobly self- sacrifice his family in the Savior's cause under the superstition that he was sacrificing himself. I will read a chapter or so. . . . Here we have it! It was bound to expose itself sooner or later. He preached to the East-Side rabble a season, then went back to his old dull, obscure life in the lumber-camps "HURT TO THE HEART, HIS PRIDE HUMBLED." Why? Were not his efforts acceptable to the Savior, for Whom alone they were made? Dear me, that detail is LOST SIGHT OF, is not even referred to, the fact that it started out as a motive is entirely forgotten! Then what is the trouble? The authoress quite innocently and unconsciously gives the whole business away. The trouble was this: this man merely PREACHED to the poor; that is not the University Settlement's way; it deals in larger and better things than that, and it did not enthuse over that crude Salvation-Army eloquence. It was courteous to Holme--but cool. It did not pet him, did not take him to its bosom. "PERISHED WERE ALL HIS DREAMS OF DISTINCTION, THE PRAISE AND GRATEFUL APPROVAL--" Of whom? The Savior? No; the Savior is not mentioned. Of whom, then? Of "His FELLOW-WORKERS." Why did he want that? Because the Master inside of him wanted it, and would not be content without it. That emphasized sentence quoted above, reveals the secret we have been seeking, the original impulse, the REAL impulse, which moved the obscure and unappreciated Adirondack lumberman to sacrifice his family and go on that crusade to the East Side--which said original impulse was this, to wit: without knowing it HE WENT THERE TO SHOW A NEGLECTED WORLD THE LARGE TALENT THAT WAS IN HIM, AND RISE TO DISTINCTION. As I have warned you before, NO act springs from any but the one law, the one motive. But I pray you, do not accept this law upon my say- so; but diligently examine for yourself. Whenever you read of a self-sacrificing act or hear of one, or of a duty done for DUTY'S SAKE, take it to pieces and look for the REAL motive. It is always there.

Y.M. I do it every day. I cannot help it, now that I have gotten started upon the degrading and exasperating quest. For it is hatefully interesting!--in fact, fascinating is the word. As soon as I come across a golden deed in a book I have to stop and take it apart and examine it, I cannot help myself.

O.M. Have you ever found one that defeated the rule?

Y.M. No--at least, not yet. But take the case of servant- tipping in Europe. You pay the HOTEL for service; you owe the servants NOTHING, yet you pay them besides. Doesn't that defeat it?

O.M. In what way?

Y.M. You are not OBLIGED to do it, therefore its source is compassion for their ill-paid condition, and--

O.M. Has that custom ever vexed you, annoyed you, irritated you?

Y.M. Well, yes.

O.M. Still you succumbed to it?

Y.M. Of course.

O.M. Why of course?

Y.M. Well, custom is law, in a way, and laws must be submitted to--everybody recognizes it as a DUTY.

O.M. Then you pay for the irritating tax for DUTY'S sake?

Y.M. I suppose it amounts to that.

O.M. Then the impulse which moves you to submit to the tax is not ALL compassion, charity, benevolence?

Y.M. Well--perhaps not.

O.M. Is ANY of it?

Y.M. I--perhaps I was too hasty in locating its source.

O.M. Perhaps so. In case you ignored the custom would you get prompt and effective service from the servants?

Y.M. Oh, hear yourself talk! Those European servants? Why, you wouldn't get any of all, to speak of.

O.M. Couldn't THAT work as an impulse to move you to pay the tax?

Y.M. I am not denying it.

O.M. Apparently, then, it is a case of for-duty's-sake with a little self-interest added?

Y.M. Yes, it has the look of it. But here is a point: we pay that tax knowing it to be unjust and an extortion; yet we go away with a pain at the heart if we think we have been stingy with the poor fellows; and we heartily wish we were back again, so that we could do the right thing, and MORE than the right thing, the GENEROUS thing.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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