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Even his character is of value chiefly in so far as it affects these qualities. Nobody would willingly employ a drunken chauffeur, because drunkenness would interfere with his steadiness of hand and quickness of judgment; but the man might be an atheist, a free-lover, or a gambler, and still a reasonably good chauffeur. On the other hand, he might be a saint or a philosopher, and a particularly bad Take the case of great military and naval leaders. Collingwood, with his lofty and intelligent devotional zeal was assuredly not a better sailor than Nelson, who was dominated by a rather confused amalgam of sentiment, caprice, sheer personal vanity, and idealistic patriotism. Was he, all things considered, a better man? Wellington's narrow Anglicanism certainly does not seem to have done much for a character in many respects unpleasant-harsh, illiberal, grasping, and coldly self-indulgent. But the Duke had the temperament and the intellect of the soldier, developed by much practice, and he became a very good general: not, however, so good a general as Napoleon, who believed in nothing except his own strength and the weakness of others. If we carry the survey from these special pursuits to the general art of living, the result is really the same. A man may have a very bad creed and be a very good father, husband, friend, or citizen; he may be lamentably defective in each of these capacities, in spite of a high ethical and religious ideal. This is because our social activities are very little dependent on theory, but are, in fact, controlled and conditioned by character and habit. The main principles of morality, though their application varies infinitely according to custom and convention, are common to most schools of thought. I am prepared to assert that the first man who passes me as I walk down the street
will be theoretically aware that he ought not to beat his wife, though he be a Calvinist, a Roman Catholic, a Swedenborgian, a Socialist, or a Tariff Reformer. Whether he does or will beat his wife I have not the slightest idea; nor would precise information upon his religious or political views help me to form an opinion. I should be better able to judge if you told me that he was addicted to alcohol, or that he had been brought up by a maiden aunt. Most of our difficulties in conduct are concerned with the choice between motives of nearly equal force or with the subordination of one set of emotions to another. And here an instinctive grasp of realities, rapidity of decision, the control of the lower appetites by the higher impulses, tact, temper, and firmness are of more avail than any synthesis of thought. After all, the chariot of life is driven, much as the motor car is driven, by knowledge of the machinery and adeptness in handling it. If you go into the bathroom and turn on the hot-water tap instead of the cold douche you will scald yourself, though you are as wise as Solomon and as virtuous as St. Francis.
What, then, is the true value of ethics and religion? Can man go through life without any synthesis at all? Surely not. Faith is needed not to make a man live better, but to make him feel better. And a theory of the universe is required not to direct his conduct, but to sanctify him in the successes and fortify him in the failures of action.
That is what one feels in reading Mr. Rockefeller's confessions. His remarkably successful and entirely absurd career has just missed being used as a text for sermons. If his mediocre talents and his exceptional luck had happened to have been displayed on a less conspicuous stage, we should have been freely invited to admire him. We
should have him exhibited as a shining example of that old-fashioned Biblical Christianity which has made America and Great Britain what they are. We might have books written about him by excellent persons like Mr. Samuel Smiles, holding him up for the instruction of the young, to show what can be done by industry, perseverance, and intense application, fortified by sound religion and austere morality. It would have been explained that he would not have become so great unless he had been so good. We have heard too much about Mr. Rockefeller to be able to say that about him. The millionaire-manufacturing process has been laid open too plainly to the world in his case; the Mammoth Trust is too big; we know too well what it has cost to make the fortunes of its "magnates." I do not think that even one of Mr. Rockefeller's own professors, in one of his own universities, would care to lecture on his patron from this standpoint.
I suppose many thousands or millions of people envy "John D."; I do not imagine that even in the United States there are many who venture to admire him openly. With the best will in the world it is difficult to attribute his success to high abilities and hard work based on Christian ethics. We cannot say that, because he is clearly not very able, and he tells us himself that he was not particularly industrious or persevering. He went through the greater part of his active life comfortably and easily, taking plenty of holidays, enjoying himself blamelessly, and occupying himself in his business hours in scheming, financing, borrowing, intriguing, and organizing. He did very little work himself; he was clever and lucky enough to make other people work for him. He can seldom have put in as sound a day of steady labor as most of his own clerks. His
puritanical New England upbringing can neither be credited with his success in money-making nor with the means by which he made it. His real achievements as an organizer of distribution and economizer of production had no relation to the teaching he received in the chapel and the schoolroom; those other exploits which have made him famous stand equally apart from the religion in which he believes. The New Testament does not suggest that it is desirable to pile up riches by the methods and devices which the Oil Trust sometimes employed. There is no relation, so far as one can see, between Mr. Rockefeller's creed and his conduct in commercial life; and the fact that out of business hours he is affectionate, moral, and lavish in giving away his plunder makes the contradiction all the more striking.
It is clear that Mr. Rockefeller's practice of what he calls "the difficult art of getting," was not determined by his religion. He would have acted much the same as he did, and probably with much the same results, if he had not been a devoted member of his church. But he would not have felt nearly so comfortable; he would have lacked that inner glow which makes him a happy man in spite of his wealth, his weariness, his narrowness, his crudity. He would not have found consolation in the thought that the world which has made John D. Rockefeller its richest inhabitant, is divinely ordered. He would not have been so sure of his own righteousness, or so callous to the sufferings of his victims. He would not have been able to decree the massacre of his enemies in much the same spirit as that which inspired Godfrey of Bouillon, or a sergeant of Cromwell's Ironsides, or Gustavus Adolphus, or any other entirely devout destroyer. Like them he had faith, which not only casts out fear, but gives its possessor power to sus
tain all kinds of shocks and buffets, including those of his own conscience. The Protestant religion (New England version) did not make Mr. Rockefeller a successful man, it did not make him, in any true sense of the word, a good man; but it seems to have given him that peace which the world cannot bring, and fortified him, not merely against the obloquy of his fellow-men, but also against dissatisfaction with himself. He is calm, contented,
kindly, tranquil in mind and soul, at ease in his relation towards the Universe and the general scheme of things. But his success as a man of action does not spring from this source. It is due to his expertness in a difficult art-the art of financial adventure-in which he would probably have failed if he had not kept it sternly apart from his religious ideas and ideals.
To meet again with our friends after an interval of years may well be the greatest of all joys, but to meet again with our friendly acquaintance from whom we have been long divided by circumstances is by no means always a great pleasure. The thought of the reunion is fraught, no doubt, with a certain sensation of excitement. We cannot bring ourselves to refuse the opportunity, yet how seldom we entirely enjoy it. There are, of course, a few men and women in whose personality time makes no change. They alter in nothing but appearance. They have from youth to age the same manners, the same interests, the same sympathies, the same friends. Their environment may change to any extent. They may go from Piccadilly to the desert, or from Clapham to the backwoods; they come back "just the same." They may begin behind a shop and end in the front of the world. They may marry, they may grow rich, they may prosper or fail. The first thing to be said of them by every fellow-creature who sits in judgment upon them is that they are "just the same." They are as they were born, and they take it for granted that every one else is also. They are strong people never carried away by their experience, and they
have a strange power of annihilating time for others, and bringing them back, as we say, "to their old selves." They may or may not have very quick sympathies; they have always very strong affections. Nevertheless it is sometimes a qualified pleasure to see them again. Some of us do not want to be reminded of our old selves, and come away with an uncomfortable feeling that we have renewed acquaintance with one person more than we bargained for.
But such people are exceptional, and belong to a strongly marked type. The majority change with the years inwardly as well as outwardly, perhaps inwardly even more than outwardly. We may have no difficulty in recognizing them at first sight, and yet after a quarter of an hour's talk we may feel quite unable to realize their identity. They may even give us a strange sensation, as if we could doubt our own. They have developed in an opposite direction to that which we expected; or is it we who have changed? The years between youth and middle age are the most eventful years of life, and those in which long separations most commonly occur. During the time that elapses between a parting and a meeting again we very often follow, as it
were subconsciously, the career of our acquaintance. Every time we are reminded of them we instinctively form a mental picture of what they have become,- -a picture by no means always corrected by what we hear casually of the actual facts. John Smith was a conceited fellow, we say to ourselves. Though we liked him, he has probably made a good many enemies by now; his self-confidence must have stood in his way. He was ambitious too; probably he has become rather embittered. Then chance throws us across his path. He is a grave man, with self-confident, successful, and troops of friends. No doubt the boy we knew is still there somewhere, but we cannot find him, and we feel confused. Then perhaps there was a man we lost sight of for a time on whom we looked down a little. He also was one whom we liked; we had a pleasing little feeling that he looked up to us. It was natural, we felt; our chances were better than his. No doubt he envied them. We perhaps often thought of him during the interval, always with feelings of kindness. Possibly heard vaguely that he had "got on" but the news made no permanent difference to the development of our mental picture. We still looked downwards to see him with our mind's eye. At last chance throws us across his path again. We did not understand that he had passed us on the world's stairs, and we are inwardly astonished to find him a man of far more account than ourselves, and we realize with a smile that is not altogether without bitterness that he must remember our old relations with something of amusement. Was it really we to whom he used to defer? We cannot take up the old rôle. Yet we cannot take up any other. On the whole, we wish we had never seen him again. Or the positions are reversed. We realize our success with a sudden sharp thrill of pleasure which
comes unbidden and comes of contrast, followed most likely by a horrid sense of remorse. What brutes we are, we say to ourselves, and how vulgarminded! We wish we had not met and indulged in such an unworthy sensation. It will bring us ill-luck; we feel sure it will.
Between women the sudden resumption of intimacy with a person who has been long away is even more embarrassing than among men. A familiarity which has ceased to be habitual is irksome, and the gradations of intimacy are more marked. Also a woman's career is—or she always thinks it is-more a matter of chance than that of a man, and she is still more the creature of environment. She must be a very good woman if she never rebels against fate when she suddenly sees again some one who has realized so many more than she has done of the hopes once common to both, and she must be very just minded if she never vents a disappointment, which should rightly be an abstract feeling, upon some particular person. On the other hand, if the prosperous person is not sorry for her less prosperous friend, she is far more hard-hearted than the average woman; but feelings of pity and of envy, however soon dismissed, are bad omens for the renewal of frindship.
But suppose all these petty factors to be out of the question, and that two people meet again who are by nature really good and generous, or who still stand about equal so far as luck and the world are concerned, who have run the race apart, no doubt, but abreast. It is still very difficult to knit up a friendship severed by time. For one thing, the first meeting, which should relay the foundation, often leaves a gloomy impression upon the minds of the people concerned. There is no disguising the fact that it is sad to look back. We are apt to come away from
such a meeting possessed by the recol- science, to take a fairly accurate view lection of
of what goes on around them. They control their sentimentality, or their melancholy, or their excessive egoism and sense of their own importance while it is called to-day. But once take them into the region of memory and they give full rein to their inclinations. The past becomes a fancy world known to none but themselves.
The eyes that shone now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken.
Even merry memories sometimes assume a false air of pathos.
Again, we have to consider the fact that in no perception do people differ more completely than in the perception of time. Long and short sight forms but a poor analogy for long and short memory. The sense of proportion where the past is concerned seems sometimes not to be the same in any given pair of people. One man may be hardly able to recall an incident which seems to his past friend to be the key to his character. Some men and women live to be old, as it were, in possession of a perfect picture of their whole lives. For many others nothing but the foreground is clear, and out of the haze stand certain events in wholly undue prominence. These persons who cannot see behind them seldom know their own defects. They talk of what is there with misplaced confidence, and confuse the interlocutor who sees a different scene. In real truth they have have no past in common, and that though they spent it to gether. Again, there are a few naturally uncandid persons who are not otherwise bad. They have been forced by circumstances, or even by conThe Spectator.
Of course we do not mean any of the above reflections to apply to love. Love in all its many forms is not subject to
destruction by time. Indian parents
Henry Eighth in his youth is scarcely more agreeable than in that doubtfully married era of his life most familiar to the reader of history made to sell, and Mr. Joseph Hocking bestows no added gifts and graces upon him in his latest novel, "The Sword of the Lord." Henry, from a mixture of motives all
and children after years of separation not seldom renew the tenderest relations. The tie of blood is independent of common recollections, and the spirit of criticism engendered by absence may make for as well as against a good understanding. A long engagement generally turns out better if the pair are parted; but here again love has nothing to do with a common past. As to those few and true friendships upon which absence has no effect, they depend for the most part upon common interests, interests which are impersonal, and very often abstract. But it may be said: You are limiting true friendship to persons of intellectual interests. To say that would be, no doubt, to make too sweeping a statement. Absence-proof friendships do exist which are founded on nothing but an indefinable affinity of soul, but they are rare.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
having root in his overruling selfishness, desires that a certain English heiress shall be brought from Germany to England, and sends the hero to escort her thither, leaving the means to his discretion, giving him no credentials, and forbidding him to mention the royal name. Having little to lose,