"In the early forties and fifties almost everybody "had about enough to live on," and young ladies dressed well on a hundred dollars a year. The daughters of the richest man in Boston were dressed with scrupulous plainness, and the wife and mother owned one brocade, which did service for several years. Display was considered vulgar. Now, alas! only Queen Victoria dares to go shabby."
"I should say tact was worth much more than wealth as a road to leadership.... I mean that subtle apprehension which teaches a person how to do and say the right thing at the right time. It coexists with very ordinary qualities, and yet many great geniuses are without it. Of all human qualities I consider it the most convenient--not always the highest; yet I would rather have it than many more shining qualities."
"It is better to pay court to a queen ... than to worship, as we too often do, some unworthy person whose wealth is his sole passport into society. I believe that a habit of respect is good for the human race."
"That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages."
"The honest Man has, I know, that modest Desire of Gain which is peculiar to those who understand better Things than Riches; and I dare say he would be contented with much less than what is called Wealth in that Quarter of the Town which he inhabits, and will oblige all his Customers with Demands agreeable to the Moderation of his Desires."
"The goods of fortune ... were never intended to be talked out of the world.--But as virtue and true wisdom lie in the middle of extremes,--on one hand, not to neglect and despise riches, so as to forget ourselves,--and on the other, not to pursue and love them so, as to forget God;Mto have them sometimes in our heads,--but always something more important in our hearts."
"But how do the poor minority fare? Perhaps it will be found that just in proportion as some have been placed in outward circumstances above the savage, others have been degraded below him. The luxury of one class is counterbalanced by the indigence of another. On the one side is the palace, on the other are the almshouse and "silent poor."
"The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace."