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[64] an easy success, without allowance for time or place or circumstances. Quite otherwise; the path of self-support is never very easy under any circumstances. It is failure that is easy. You may find no employment as a governess, no pupils for a school, no encouragement as a copyist. These occupations are always crowded; but if you have a special gift it is likely to lie in some line where, if the demand be less, there is also less competition. As civilization advances, arts and accomplishments develop. I can remember the time when there was hardly a teacher of gymnastics in America who was not an ignorant and vulgar pugilist, whereas such instruction now is an occupation for educated men and women. What I mean to urge is that the very gifts which are considered ornamental may often be utilized if combined with energy and ingenuity; and that for this purpose those who “have known better days” possess a real advantage in a circle of acquaintance ready-made and willing to aid them, and also in the acquired manners which make their work attractive. It always seemed to me that the impoverished heroine of Mr. Howells's “A woman's reason” would not have had quite so hard a struggle in real life as that with which his ingenuity has provided her.

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Howells (1)
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