Essays Gardiner, A. G.: Leaves in the Wind. v1. 08 Mar 2019
#1  GrannyGrump 03-08-2019, 05:28 AM
By “Alpha of the Plough”
Pseudonym of A. G. Gardiner (1865–1946)

Leaves in the Wind was first published in 1919. Text was obtained from the Internet Archive. The text of this book is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is “Life+70” or less, and in the USA.

Alfred George Gardiner (2 June 1865 – 3 March 1946) was an English journalist, editor and author.

From 1915 he contributed to the London Star under the pseudonym Alpha of the Plough. At the time The Star had several anonymous essayists whose pseudonyms were the names of stars. Invited to choose a nom de plume, he elected “to hitch my little waggon” to the brightest (alpha) star in the constellation the Plough (Ursa Major/Big Dipper).

His essays are highly regarded. They are uniformly elegant, graceful and humorous. His uniqueness lay in his ability to teach the basic truths of life in an easy and amusing manner. Pillars of Society, Pebbles on the Shore, Leaves in the Wind, and Many Furrows are some of his best known writings.

Join Mr. Gardiner now, as he comments on his personal doings and beliefs, on society’s public morals and private practices, and shares social commentaries, literary critiques, and views on life in general.
An excerpt from “On Early Rising”:
Spoiler Warning below

[…] though I am spiritually a son of the morning, I am physically a sluggard. There are some people who are born with a gift for early rising. I was born with a genius for lying in bed. I can go to bed as late as anybody, and have no joy in a company that begins to yawn and grow drowsy about ten o’clock. But in the early rising handicap I am not a starter. A merciful providence has given me a task that keeps me working far into the night and makes breakfast and the newspaper in bed a matter of duty. No words can express the sense of secret satisfaction with which I wake and realise that I haven’t to get up, that stern duty bids me lie a little longer, listening to the comfortable household noises down below and the cheerful songs outside, studying anew the pattern of the wall-paper and taking the problems of life “lying-down” in no craven sense.

I know there are many people who have to catch early morning buses and trams who would envy me if they knew my luck. For the ignoble family of sluggards is numerous. It includes many distinguished men. It includes saints as well as sages. That moral paragon, Dr. Arnold, was one of them; Thomson, the author of “The City of Dreadful Night,” was another. Bishop Selwyn even put the duty of lying in bed on a moral plane. “I did once rise early,” he said, “but I felt so vain all the morning and so sleepy all the afternoon that I determined not to do it again.” He stayed in bed to mortify his pride, to make himself humble. And is not humility one of the cardinal virtues of a good Christian? I have fancied myself that people who rise early are slightly self-righteous. They can’t help feeling a little scornful of us sluggards. And we know it. Humility is the badge of all our tribe. We are not proud of lying in bed. We are ashamed—and happy. The noblest sluggard of us all has stated our case for us. “No man practises so well as he writes,” said Dr. Johnson. “I have all my life been lying till noon; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good.”
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