HINTS FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT READ
By LYMAN ABBOTT
Y OUR time is limited; your books are few. There is work in the kitchen, in the parlor, in the office demanding your attention; clients to be pacified or provoked; patients to be cured or killed, goods to be bought and sold, children to be tended, furniture to be dusted; table to be set and table to be cleared away again; and for a library the family Bible, Webster's Dictionary, the well-thumbed and oft-read books in the sitting-room, and the genteel and gilt-edged poetry in the parlor, with a limited purse from which to replenish the exhausted library, and limited time with which to use it if it were replenished. This is no fancy sketch, but a photograph of many an American life. How find time, how find means for study in such circumstances, is the problem of many a would-be student who lays down his intellectual life in despair; who in the first twenty years of his life gets an appetite for learning and in the other forty starves to death. Especially is this true of wives and mothers. How shall a would-be student so situated pursue systematic reading and study?
America gives a library to almost every home, in the periodical publications—the daily journal, the weekly paper, and the monthly magazine. Study the newspaper; if possible, study it with encyclopedia, with atlas, with gazetteer; but study it. Waste no time on the shameful scandals, the bitter political controversies, the ecclesiastical broadsword exercises, and the idle paragraph gossip. A war of words is no more dignified in a journal than on the street; gossip is no worthier your attention because printed by the daily tattler than when whispered by a daily tattler. There is no more fascinating intellectual occupation than watching the course of contemporaneous history. The denouements of Wilkie Collins and