Quotation by Lydia M. Child

All who strive to live for something beyond mere selfish aims find their capacities for doing good very inadequate to their aspirations. They do so much less than they want to do, and so much less than they, at the outset, expected to do, that their lives, viewed retrospectively, inevitably look like failure.
Lydia M. Child (1802–1880), U.S. author, abolitionist, and suffragist. Selected Letters, 1817-1880, ch. 9 (1982).

Written in 1868 to John Fraser, who was married to a niece of David Child, her husband. Lydia Maria Child had just turned sixty-six.
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