nurse does, in one everlasting flood.
The wife of the nervous patient breaks down at last herself, the daughter of the insane mother becomes herself insane, simply from prolonged and exhausting care, while a hired nurse would give herself relief.
In such case the excessive unselfishness defeats itself; it does not even benefit other people; it only burdens the family at last with two invalids instead of one.
There is an impression that it is the highest imaginable type of character to merge all one's own wishes and powers and aims in the absorbing care of other persons.
Such is not, I am sorry to say, my own observation.
Self-sacrifice, like many other forms of diet, is a food or a poison according as we use it. There are those who really carry it to a morbid extent, and can no more be trusted to measure out their own share of it than an opium-eater to write his own prescription.
There are families where pastor and family physician have to bestir themselves all the time to defeat the plausible excuses under which the devotees of unselfishness veil their excesses.
They need watching with unceasing vigilance, these people who stoutly maintain that they prefer drumsticks at dinner, and sleep best on a straw bed. One evidence of their growing demoralization is the utter disintegration in their characters of the virtue of truthfulness.