unselfish person can be truthful at the same time; they are soon ready to deny that they are ever cold or hot, or hungry or thirsty, or tired --and this unblushingly, in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Nothing is too indigestible for them to eat, in order to save the feelings of the cook ; and they will have the teething baby sleep with them for a dozen nights in succession, because dear Maria, his mother, really needs repose, and it is a peculiarity of theirs to be able to do without it. Truth is considered by the moralists to be a merit, as well as unselfishness; but these people simply lay it down, during their insatiate pursuit of their favorite virtue, as rich people lay down their carriage-occasionally --when they go into bankruptcy.
But such collateral faults are not the whole evil.
There are positive virtues to be cultivated as well as the negative virtue of self-surrender.
It is right to do one's own work in the world, to develop one's own powers, to exercise a tonic as well as a soothing influence on those around.
That was a profound remark which Charles Lamb
made about himself in regard to his close and arduous supervision, for many years, of his partially insane sister.
He said — I quote from memory — that though this way of life “had saved him from some vices, it had also prevented the formation of many virtues.”
No person can spend the greater part of his time in a