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The men and women who have thus curtailed their belongings are, however, quite contented with themselves. No doubts ever harass them as to the commodity or appropriateness of their lodgements and look with pity and contempt on friends who remain faithful to old habitations. The drawback to a migratory existence, however, is the fact that, as a French saying has put it, Ceux qui se refusent les pensees serieuses tombent dans les idees noires. These people are surprised to find as the years go by that the futile amusements to which they have devoted themselves do not fill to their satisfaction all the hours of a lifetime. Having provided no books nor learned to practise any art, the time hangs heavily on their hands. They dare not look forward into the future, so blank and cheerless does it appear. The past is even more distasteful to them. So, to fill the void in their hearts, they hurry out into the crowd as a refuge from their own thoughts.

Happy those who care to revisit old abodes, childhood’s remote wing, and the moonlit porches where they knew the rapture of a first-love whisper. Who can enter the chapel where their dead lie, and feel no blush of self- reproach, nor burning consciousness of broken faith nor wasted opportunities? The new year will bring to them as near an approach to perfect happiness as can be attained in life’s journey. The fortunate mortals are rare who can, without a heartache or regret, pass through their disused and abandoned dwellings; who dare to open every door and enter all the silent rooms; who do not hurry shudderingly by some obscure corners, and return with a sigh of relief to the cheerful sunlight and murmurs of the present.

Sleepless midnight hours come inevitably to each of us, when the creaking gates of subterranean passages far down in our consciousness open of themselves, and ghostly inhabitants steal out of awful vaults and force us to look again into their faces and touch their unhealed wounds.

An old lady whose cheerfulness under a hundred griefs and tribulations was a marvel and an example, once told a man who had come to her for counsel in a moment of bitter trouble, that she had derived comfort when difficulties loomed big around her by writing down all her cares and worries, making a list of the subjects that harassed her, and had always found that, when reduced to material written words, the dimensions of her troubles were astonishingly diminished. She recommended her procedure to the troubled youth, and prophesied that his anxieties would dwindle away in the clear atmosphere of pen and paper.

Introspection, the deliberate unlatching of closed wickets, has the same effect of stealing away the bitterness from thoughts that, if left in the gloom of semi-oblivion, will grow until they overshadow a whole life. It is better to follow the example of England’s pure Queen, visiting on certain anniversaries our secret places and holding communion with the past, for it is by such scrutiny only

That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.

Those who have courage to perform thoroughly this task will come out from the silent chambers purified and chastened, more lenient to the faults and shortcomings of others, and better fitted to take up cheerfully the burdens of a new year.