IDEAL HOME LIFE
Last comes the "gentle reader"—the person who wants to grow, and who turns to books as a means of purifying his tastes, deepening his feelings, broadening his sympathies, and enhancing his joy in life. Literature he loves because it is the most humane of the arts. Its forms and processes interest him as expressions of the human striving toward clearness of thought, purity of emotion, and harmony of action with the ideal. The culture of a finer, fuller manhood is what this reader seeks. He is looking for the books in which the inner meanings of nature and life are translated into language of distinction and charm, touched with the human personality of the author, and embodied in forms of permanent interest and power. This is literature. And the reader who sets his affections on these things enters the world of books as one made free of a city of wonders, a garden of fair delights. He reads not from a sense of duty, not from a constraint of fashion, not from an ambition of learning, but from a thirst of pleasure, because he feels that pleasure of the highest kind —a real joy in the perception of things lucid, luminous, symmetrical, musical, sincere, passionate, and profound—such pleasure restores the heart and quickens it, makes it stronger to endure the ills of life, and more fertile in all good fruits of cheerfulness, courage, and love. This reader for vital pleasure has less need of maps and directories, rules, and instructions, than of companionship. A criticism that will go with him in his reading, and open up new meaning in familiar things, and touch the secrets of beauty and power, and reveal the hidden relations of literature to life, and help him to see the reasonableness of every true grace of style, the sincerity of every real force of passion—a criticism that penetrates, illuminates, and appreciates, making the eyes clearer and the heart more sensitive to perceive the living spirit in good books—that is the companionship which will be most helpful and most grateful to the gentle reader.
Whichever class of readers we may belong to (and I, for one, decline to commit myself), we can all find something to please and profit us. All can unite in prayers for the simple reader, that he may not spend his last dollar for the 435,999th