The real treasure I keep in my wallet

I purchased my wallet in Venice. In the upper right-hand corner appears a gold imprint of the winged Lion of St. Mark, protector of the city. Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus. (Peace to you, Mark, my Evangelist.)

My wallet resides in the inside pocket of my jacket. It contains the usual things: cash, credit cards, business cards, a laundry ticket.

Also, the home telephone numbers of office colleagues and a number next to the name of the great 19th-century New York City diarist George Templeton Strong. This number is my bank personal identification number, which I have trouble remembering. Mr. Strong facilitates my making cash withdrawals.

I carry in my wallet small sheets of paper with quotations from my reading. I enjoy reading them at slow moments during the day.

In his "Education," Henry Adams wrote, "The habit of expression leads to the search for something to express." These notes help me in this quest. Here is a current sampling from my wallet.

- Tolstoy, in a letter to George Bernard Shaw: "Indeed, my dear Shaw, life is a great and serious business, and each of us must contrive, in the brief time we have been allotted, to discover what our job is and do that job as earnestly as we can."

- He strove not to "make a cleavage between his way of acting and his way of thinking." lgnazio Silone.

- Keats to his brother, George, who had emigrated to the United States: "I shall read a passage of Shakespeare every Sunday at ten o'clock - you read one at the same time and we shall be as near each other as blind bodies can be in the same room."

- Joyce responds to a playwright's letter: "I am a young Irishman, eighteen years old, and the words of Ibsen I shall keep in my heart all my life."

- " 'My dear,' said Mr. Micawber, 'Copperfield,' for so he had been accustomed to call me of late, 'has a heart to feel for the distresses of his fellow-creatures when they are behind a cloud....' "

- "Bring more kindness into your relationships and less harshness." Gorky.

- Stendhal, on the first entry in his journal, makes a grammatical mistake. He is not concerned. "There will be a lot more, because I am making it a rule not to stand on ceremony and never to erase."

For me, these notes are the treasure I carry in my wallet.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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