Gratitude

The philosopher who defined gratitude to be "expectation of future favors" must have had experiences which suggested the witty saying. Perhaps he smiled as he said it, but no doubt the experiences were pathetic—like those of a kind-hearted gentleman who found at his door a wretched, shivering, half-starved little mongrel. He carried the trembling creature into his house where it was warmed and fed. It was made clean and had the tangles smoothed out from its yellow coat of hair, and soon grew sleek and self-important. There were some of the family who did not become enthusiastic over the fawning little creature, but for his patron's sake he had kindness from all, and was believed by him to be a grateful little dog. Now there are dogs more noble than some men. They will repay a passing kindness by a lifetime of fidelity, or will lose life even in the endeavor to show good-will to the one they serve. The patron of the little mongrel believed in him, and was even flattered by his fawnings; so he was not pleased with those who warned him in regard to his pet. One day there came a chance to test this devotion It was after dusk one evening on a night of rain like the one when the dog was found, and near his home the gentleman was set upon by roughs. He cried out, and in response to his call he saw the yellow dog come running. Even in the struggle with his foes, his heart was gladdened by this unmistakable fidelity, and he thought how wrong those had been who had not trusted the dog. But when the little beast bit and lacerated his hand, and afterwards, when a policeman frightened the roughs away, followed them joyfully, as if he had found his own people, he was indignant. In the dog's after life the kicks were so frequent and the favors-so few, that in expectation of the good which so infrequently came the yellow cur was kept in a very fervor of gratitude.

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How Evil can be Bound
December 7, 1899
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