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The sum he had spent was not remarkably large and he had cut his loss by selling the flock to a farmer at their market price, but this was about half what he had given and he had some urgent debts. Although he had hoped to hold out until term-day, when the payment of rents would ease the strain on his finances, he must have money and did not know where it could be got by prudent means.
Whereas, when we come to estimate human beings, we ordinarily regard it as a kind of indignity to assess primarily their extrinsic goodness, i. e., to ask chiefly how serviceable they may be and to ignore their inner worth. To sum up a man in terms of his labor value is the moral error of the slaveholder.
Some Shakespearian quotations—unknown to me then, for Shakespeare was little quoted in purely evangelical circles, either in Church or Dissent—a reference to Sir Walter Scott’s earlier German translations, formed about the sum and substance of the conversation which took place between the poet and my host; all the rest was principally social gossip and an exchange of pleasantries between the poet and his friend, whom he addressed familiarly as ‘mine ancient.’ It was a great treat to me, of course, to dine with Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet.
Also, with a noble vulgarity, life imitates the serial and leaves off at the exciting moment. For death is distinctly an exciting moment. But the point is that a story is exciting because it has in it so strong an element of will, of what theology calls free-will. You cannot finish a sum how you like. But you can finish a story how you like.
The greatest possible sum of life in order that the greatest possible happiness might result: that was the act of faith in life, the act of hope in the justice and goodness of life's work. Victorious fruitfulness remained the one true force, the sovereign power which alone moulded the future.
"You understand, I hope," she continued, "that you have nothing whatever to look for from me in return for this sum which you propose to expend for my entertainment?" "I understand that," he replied. "Not even gratitude," she persisted. "I really do not feel grateful to you. You are probably doing this to gratify some selfish interest or curiosity.
Those who own a collection of art, those who have paid a great sum for pictures, will not allow it, naturally. As a rule, indeed, a man looks at his fine things no more than at his chairs and tables. But he who is best able to appreciate good work, and loves it best when he sees it, is the one who grows restless when it stands constantly before him.
In spite of what I had seen of the facilities possessed by this establishment for producing cheap work, I must confess that I was surprised at the smallness of the sum asked for an oil-painting of that size; I had expected to give forty or fifty dollars. But, although I am not a judge of paintings, I am a business man, and accustomed to make bargains.
"About three hundred thousand dollars," he heard himself say; and it seemed to him that his voice was speaking the words without his volition. "I'm going to buy you out for twice that sum. Furthermore, I'm going to take care of your future going to see that you have a chance to rise." The waverer's will was in flux, but the loyalty in him still protested. "I can't desert my chief, Mr. Harley."
From father to son, the nobleman had served bravely, the parliamentarian had judged equitably, as a point of honor, with a salary inferior to the interest of the sum paid by him to acquire his rank or post.