All Our Lives: Alice Duer Miller

By Henry Wise Miller | Go to book overview

V

IF Alice had never put pen to paper her achievement in this world would have been a distinguished one. For when your final account comes to be cast up, you will be appraised more for what you are than for what you have done. The only real success, and it is much the more difficult, is success in living, for that alone withstands the scrutiny of the years.

To ascribe the sources of a developed character is a wellnigh impossible task. The early associations, the accidents and opportunities, the things that tried and tempered Alice, many of those I know, but the main current no one can fathom. She was, for instance, fortunate in knowing during her lifetime a few singularly generous people. Was her own extraordinary generosity the result, or the cause of such influence? The tide in our affairs may be controlled by impulses within us. Is fate an inner rather than external force? Which is cause and which effect? We know practically nothing of this dynamic side of life. Its existence, though recognized, has not had much light thrown upon it. That recognition is clear in the reply of one of the English Rothschilds to the question, "To what do you ascribe your success?""To the fact I always employ successful people."

I give, as far as it is possible to do so, an account of the success Alice made of living.

She was born with two great assets, good looks and social position.

She did not have to contend with the handicaps that stand so continually and painfully in the way of most people.

She was born to the purple. The test of such advantages is that they should remain intact despite the ravages of time and of life's trials; or the temptation to their possessor to exploit them. It becomes all too easy for one so favored to accept such

-172-

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