Colorado College Tutt Library

Century Chest transcription 31

To The Young Lady

Who stood highest in the Class graduated from Colorado College in the Year 2000.

Colorado Springs, August 22, 1901

Dear child-

When you read this I shall have attained the venerable age of one hundred and twenty. So do no think me familiar when I address you in this way. For you this letter is the shadow of a bygone age, and the writer must seem aged enough to make you feel a child. But let me tell you - if a fountain of youth could preserve me for a century (and life seems so full to me when I write this that I could willingly wish it prolonged a hundred years) you and I would be young people together, and good friends, I am sure. You are ambitious, so am I; and ambition is a thing to bridge a hundred years, while Beauty which I love and which, I hope, is loved by you, can bridge a million.

If you would be friendly I should like to stroll with you to some quiet place out of doors and talk of Real Things, to see if ideals have changed since the time I cherished them. Could it be your ambition, as it is mine, to get the most from life which life has to offer and to return to it the best that is within you? Do people care more for Beauty now, or must they still work so many hours that their senses are too dulled for enjoyment when the hours of leisure come? I cannot believe that of your century. I am sure you are so much further advanced than we, and happier. Would that I could live to talk to you.

Yet I feel no resentment that I must die before your parents are born. I shall live as long as I deserve; - and longer, according to what my elders tell me, than I shall want to - for when I have reached middle age, they say, the things which seem now so full of interest and of beauty to me will begin to pale. I hope to make my life a refutation of that doctrine. They smile and say "So hoped we at your age." But don't you feel with me, and scorn the cynic, resolving that your interest in life will become neither tired of work, satiated with beauty or discouraged by sorrow?

How much there is in my world - how much more there will be in yours! What can be greater than the full satisfaction of knowing that you have done good work, and having your heart in your daily tasks? And what rewards await all faithfulness, how many things can man educate himself to enjoy, if he cannot enjoy them at the first: - in Nature he will find delight - in the sea and mountains and the deep woods; in the reading of beautiful prose and poetry; studying great thoughts and throbbing with the Master Hearts of Life; in listening to great music, and in looking upon the work of architects in buildings quaint, lovely and majestic down the avenues of Time; in feasting one's eyes on the beautiful contours of Greek and Italian statuary, the decorations of dim cathedrals, the colors of the famous pictures, the tapestry, the rugs, the vases and mosaics and everything beautiful wrought in love by man; and running through life as the thread on which these beads are strung, supreme at times, but which brings the depth of misery if depended on alone - the human relations, the every-day association with people, the deep friendships with their priceless interchange of thoughts and sympathies, the heavenly beauty of love with its passion and quiet confidence. Can one weary of this life - which lies at every young person's door? May my life disprove it, and may yours.

I am ambitious. I hope that I may do work worthy of surviving me; and if I am successful you will have heard my name before you read it here. But it may be that you will be the only posterity which will ever hear of me! But why do I say "successful": success is not an achievement, but is something which runs parallel with one's life, apparent or invisible, and my life will be a success if I do my best and am happy.

I take your hand across a hundred years, and wish you that success.

Sincerely yours,

George D. Gallaway

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