Such a deed is possible to you, to me, to everybody. It is frequently performed without forethought or definite intention. It is the spontaneous manifestation of nobility, somewhere, of mind or heart. It may consist merely in the doing of some kind and helpful service at home or at school. It may be an unexpected test of heroism a warning of danger, a saving of somebody's life. It may be an act of benevolence, or a series of such acts, world-wide in application and results.
This little volume is only a book of samples. Here are specimens of golden deeds of various kinds and of different degrees of merit, ranging from the unpremeditated saving of a railroad train to the great humanitarian movement which carries blessings to all mankind. To attempt to tell of every such deed, or of every one that is eminently worthy, would fill a multitude of books.
The, examples which I have chosen are such only as have occurred on American soil, or have been performed by Americans, thus distinguishing the volume from Miss Charlotte Yonge's "Book of Golden Deeds," published for English readers fifty years ago. While some of these narratives may have the appearance of romance, yet they are all believed to be true, and in most cases the real name of the hero, or of the lover of humanity, is given.
Instances of doing and daring have always a fascination for young people, and when to these is added the idea of a noble underlying motive the lessons taught by them cannot fail to be beneficial.