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gives scant benefit to the reader. Of course any reader ought to cultivate his or her taste so that good books will appeal to it, and that trash won't. But after this point has once been reached, the needs of each reader must be met in a fashion that will appeal to those needs. Personally 5 the books by which I have profited infinitely more than by any others have been those in which profit was a byproduct of the pleasure; that is, I read them because I enjoyed them, because I liked reading them, and the profit came in as part of the enjoyment.
Of course each individual is apt to have some special tastes in which he cannot expect that any but a few friends will share. Now, I am very proud of my big-game library. I
suppose there must be many big-game libraries in Continental Europe, and possibly in England more extensive 15 than mine, but I have not happened to come across any such library in this country. Some of the originals go back to the sixteenth century, and there are copies or reproductions of the two or three most famous hunting books of the Middle Ages, such as the Duke of York's 29 translation of Gaston Phæbus,o and the queer book of the Emperor Maximilian.° It is only very occasionally that I meet any one who cares for any of these books. On the other hand, I expect to find many friends who will turn naturally to some of the old or the new books of poetry or 23 romance or history to which we of 'the household habitually turn. Let me add that ours is in no sense a collector's library. Each book was procured because some one of the family wished to read it. We could never afford to take overmuch thought for the outsides of books; we were 3) too much interested in their insides.
Now and then I am asked as to "what books a statesman should read,” and my answer is, poetry and novels including short stories under the head of novels. I don't mean that he should read only novels and modern poetry. 5 If he cannot also enjoy the Hebrew prophets and the Greek dramatists, he should be sorry. He ought to read interesting books on history and government, and books of science and philosophy; and really good books on these
subjects are as enthralling as any fiction ever written in 10 prose or verse. Gibbono and Macaulay, Herodotus,
Thucyaides and Tacitus, the Heimskringla,' Froissart, Joinville and Villehardouin,o Parkmano and Mahan, Mommseno and Rankeo—why! there are scores and scores
of solid histories, the best in the world, which are as ab15 sorbing as the best of all the novels, and of as permanant
value. The same thing is true of Darwino and Huxleyo and Carlyle and Emerson, and parts of Kant, and of volumes like Sutherland'so Growth of the Moral Instinct," or
Acton's Essays and Lounsbury's studies-here again I 20 am not trying to class books together, or measure one by
another, or enumerate one in a thousand of those worth reading, but just to indicate that any man or woman of some intelligence and some cultivation can in some
line or other of serious thought, scientific or historical or 25 philosophical or economic or governmental, find any num
ber of books which are charming to read, and which in addition give that for which his or her soul hungers. I do not for a minute mean that the statesman ought not to
read a great many different books of this character, just 30 as every one else should read them. But, in the final
event, the statesman, and the publicist, and the reformer, and the agitator for new things, and the upholder of what
is good in old things, all need more than anything else to know human nature, to know the needs of the human soul; and they will find this nature and these needs set forth as nowhere else by the great imaginative writers, whether of pròse or of poetry.
The room for choice is so limitless that to my mind it seems absurd to try to make catalogues which shall be supposed to appeal to all the best thinkers. This is why I have no sympathy whatever with writing lists of the One Hundred Best Books, or the Five-Foot Library. It 10 is all right for a man to amuse himself by composing a list of a hundred very good books; and if he is to go off for a year or so where he cannot get many books, it is an excellent thing to choose a five-foot library of particular books which in that particular year and on that particular 15 trip he would like to read. But there is no such thing as a hundred books that are best for all men, or for the majority of men, or for one man at all times; and there is no such thing as a five-foot library which will satisfy the needs of even one particular man on different occasions extending 20 over a number of years. Miltono is best for one mood and Popeo for another. Because a man likes Whitmanoor Browningo or Lowello he should not feel himself debarred from Tennysono or Kiplingo or Körnero or Heine° or the Bard of the Dimbovitza.° Tolstoy’so novels are good at one 25 time and those of Sienkiewiczo at another; and he is fortunate who can relish Salammbo" and Tom Brown "o and the “ Two Admirals ” o and Quentin Durward” and “ Artemus Ward” ° and the “ Ingoldsby Legends and Pickwick and “Vanity Fair.' Why, there 30 are hundreds of books like these, each one of which, if really read, really assimilated, by the person to whom it
happens to appeal, will enable that person quite unconsciously to furnish himself with much ammunition which he will find of use in the battle of life.
A book must be interesting to the particular reader at 5 that particular time. But there are tens of thousands of interesting books, and some of them are sealed to some men and some are sealed to others; and some stir the soul at some given point of a man's life and yet convey no mes
sage at other times. The reader, the book-lover, must meet 10 his own needs without paying too much attention to what
his neighbors say those needs should be. He must not hypocritically pretend to like what he does not like. Yet at the same time he must avoid that most unpleasant of all
the indications of puffed-up vanity which consists in treat15 ing mere individual, and perhaps unfortunate, idiosyn
crasy as a matter of pride. I happen to be devoted to Macbeth, whereas I very seldom read Hamleto (though I like parts of it). Now I am humbly and sincerely con
scious that this is a demerit in me and not in Hamlet; and 20 yet it would not do me any good to pretend that I like
Hamlet as much as Macbeth when, as a matter of fact, I don't.
Aside from the masters of literature, there are all kinds of books which one person will find delightful, and which 25 he certainly ought not to surrender just because nobody else
is able to find as much in the beloved volume. There is on our book-shelves a little pre-Victorian novel or tale called "The Semi-Attached Couple." It is told with much
humor; it is a story of gentlefolk who are really gentlefolk; 30 and to me it is altogether delightful. But outside the
members of my own family I have never met a human
being who had even heard of it, and I don't suppose I shall meet one. I often enjoy a story by some living author so much that I write to tell him so- or to tell her so; and at least half the time I regret my action, because it encourages the writer to believe that the public shares my 5 views, and he then finds that the public doesn't.
Books are all very well in their way, and we love them at Sagamore Hill; but children are better than books. Sagamore Hill is one of three neighboring houses in which small cousins spent very happy years of childhood. In the 10 three houses there were at one time sixteen of these small cousins, all told, and once we ranged them in order of size and took their photograph. There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railway 15 man, or farmer, or a successful lawyer or doctor; or a writer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fighting regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all 20 other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.
It may be true that he travels farthest who travels alone; but the goal thus reached is not worth reaching. And as for a life deliberately devoted to pleasure as an end-why, 25 the greatest happiness is the happiness that comes as a by-product of striving to do what must be done, even though sorrow is met in the doing. There is a bit of homely philosophy, quoted by Squire Bill Widener, of Widener's Valley, Virginia, which sums up one's duty in life: “Do 30 what you can, with what you've got, where you are.”