Books are pleasant, but if by being over-studious we impair our health and spoil our good humor, two of the best things we have, let us give it over. I, for my part, am one of those who think no fruit derived from them can recompense so great a loss.
A sense of humor can be a great help–particularly a sense of humor about (oneself). William Howard Taft joked about his own corpulence and people loved it; took nothing from his inherent dignity. Lincoln eased tense moments with bawdy stories, and often poked fun at himself–and history honors him for this human quality. A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.
“Oh! It is only a novel!…” in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic, and interesting at the same time. In my diary I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.