I came across the following paragraphs today on the opening pages of Father and Daughter: a Portraiture from the Life by Fredrika Bremer. Translated by Mary Howitt. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson and Brothers, [ca. 1860]. The book was recently cataloged into the Pennsylvania Imprints collection at the State Library of Pennsylvania’s Rare Collections Library.
“There is one class of room which, ever since I was quite young, has appeared to me more beautiful, more to be desired, than any other whatever; it is the silent working-room or study of the man of intellect. How quiet, and yet how full of life is this sanctuary of thought, in which noiseless combats are fought out, bloodless victories are won; victories sometimes more important in their results to the world than all the Waterloos or Sebastpols; in which a lamp burns whose quiet flame prepares light for future generations, because it lights him, the genius of the room, the silent thinker, who in the work-room of his brain measures the heavens, searches through the depths, weighs stars and grains of sand in search of the eternal ideas, the fundamental laws and truths of all things, and questions and proves, and does not stop until he perceives the scattered sounds or lights arrange themselves harmoniously, and he can exclaim, “I have found it!”
“Many who have thus sought and found have been hailed as the world’s light-bearers. More numerous are they who only open the path for these silent sincere workers, but who never enjoy the honor and the glory which fall to their lot. Nevertheless, they participate with them in the happiness of seeking and finding, in so far as they do it. The solitary thinker knows that future generations will be benefited by the results of his labor, of his lonely watching; knows that he is the herald of a better day on earth. That is his life and his reward. And even though he be poor, and of little esteem in the world, yet in his silent study he knows himself to be rich, knows himself to be monarch over a vast realm.”
I just like that description.