OUR HOME LIBRARY 279
event which you do not comprehend. In invading a new territory never leave an unconquered garrison behind you.
Theme and tools selected, it still remains to secure time. For the best advantage this should be regular, systematic, uninterrupted. The early hours are the best; when the brain is fresh and the mind alert. To the mind and body trained for it, half an hour before breakfast is worth an hour and a half after supper. But this requires an opportunity to shut out intrusion which perhaps the housekeeper cannot secure; facility to shut out the more subtle intrusion' of a thick oncoming crowd of cares, which only a stalwart power of concentration can secure. Some cannot lock the door of the library; others cannot lock the door of the mind. But if time cannot be taken at one hour seize it from another; if it cannot be taken with regularity take it when chance offers. The blacksmith's forge is not a convenient desk; but it was at the blacksmith's forge, blowing the bellows with one hand and holding a book with the other, that Elihu Burritt learned his first languages. The nursery is not the place one would choose tor astronomical calculations; but it was in the nursery, beset by her children, whom she never neglected, and interrupted by callers, whom she rarely refused, that Mary Somerville wrought out her "Mechanism of the Heavens," which elected her an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and put her in the first rank of the scientists of her day. * Where there is a will there is a way. He or she that can find no time for study has little real heart for it.
Start a Library
The home ought no more to be without a library than without a dining-room and kitchen. If you have but one room, and it is lighted by the great wood fire in the flaming fireplace, as Abraham Lincoln's was, do as Abraham Lincoln did; pick out one corner of your fireplace for a' library, and use it. Every man ought to provide for the brain as well as for the stomach. This does not require capital; there are cheap editions of the best books; it only requires time and forecast.