Consecrated Lives, 1916 (excerpt)

Elbert Hubbard


Subjects: Teaching thrift, Thrift Collection, Curricula, What is thrift?

More by: Elbert Hubbard

Here’s a thought, Dearie, that I give to you because I haven’t a very firm grasp upon it myself. In order to clarify my mind I explain it to you. And thus, probably, do I give you something which is already yours. Grateful? Of course you are—there!

The thought is this—but before I explain it let me tell of what a man saw in a certain cottage in Denmark. And it was such a little whitewashed cottage, too, with a single, solitary rosebush clambering over the door! An Artist, his Wife and their Little Girl lived there. There were four rooms, only, in this cottage—a kitchen, a bedroom, a workroom and the Other Room.

The kitchen was for cooking, the bedroom for sleeping, the workroom for work, and the Other Room was where the occupants of the cottage received their few visitors. When the visitors remained for tea or lunch, the table was spread in the Other Room, but usually the Artist, his Wife and their Little Girl ate their meals in the kitchen, or in Summer on the porch at the back of the house. Now the Artist painted pictures, and his Wife carved beautiful shapes in wood; but they didn’t make much money—in fact, no one seemed to know them at all. They didn’t have funds to accumulate a library, and perhaps would not if they had. But still they owned all the books written by Georg Brandes. These books were kept in a curious little case, which the Artist and his Wife, themselves, had made.

And before the case of books was an ancient Roman lamp, suspended from the ceiling by a chain. And the lamp was kept always lighted, night and day. Each morning before they tasted food, the man and his Wife read from Georg Brandes, and then they silently refilled, trimmed and made the lamp all clean and tidy.

Oho! why, your eyes are filling with tears—how absurd!—and you want to hear more about the Artist and his Wife and the Little Girl! But, bless me! that is all I know about them.

However, I do know that Georg Brandes is one of the Apostles of the Better Day. His message is a plea for beauty—that is to say, harmony. He would have us live lives of simplicity, trust, honesty and gentleness.

He would have us work for harmony and love, instead of for place and power. Georg Brandes is an individualist and a symbolist. He thinks all of our belongings should mean much to us, and that great care should be exercised in selection. We need only a few things, but each of these things should suggest utility,
strength, harmony and truth. All of our actions must be suggestive of peace and right.

Available online at: Source: Hubbard, Elbert. The Philosophy of Elbert Hubbard. (East Aurora, NY: The Roycrofters, 1916): 57–64.


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