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208
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
CHEERFULNESS.
Of all the virtues, cheerfulness is the most profitable. It makes the person who exercises it happy, and renders him acceptable to all he meets. While other virtues defer the day of recompense, cheerfulness pays down. It is a cosmetic, which makes homeliness graceful and winning: it promotes health, and gives clear­ness and vigor to the mind. It is the bright weather of the heart, in contrast to the clouds and gloom of melancholy. It is particularly susceptible of cultivation by exercise and repe­tition. It is infectious, and may be communi­cated to all around. I have seen a bright-faced child in the midst of a family, over whom some shadow of dulness was creeping, suddenly dis­perse the clouds and bring a clear sunshine over the whole group. Such a child in a family is worth his weight in gold.
A mother's cheerfulness is important. She is to the family the centre of the solar system, and as she smiles or frowns, the household is bright or dull. But in proportion as cheerful­ness is beneficial, its opposite is hurtful. There is a species of melancholy which has a pleasant flavor to the heart, but pensiveness is the proper name for this. There is a constitutional me-
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