« AnkstesnisTęsti »
tified ourselves with him. What are we to say of a personality which represents no'mere movement of a day, but the gradual and progressive transformation of the world, of the individual and society? Some deeper identifica
tion of critic and criticised seems needful in such a case. It was from an intimacy that it began; in an intimacy it has gone on, and goes on; and only in an intimacy can it be judged aright.
In the handicap of life social fearlessness is an immense advantage. It is almost the equivalent of birth. The strange thing is that it should be so uncommon. A small amount of reflection should encourage even the most arrant social coward. Society is the only place in which courage is actually a protection. Roughly speaking, no harm can happen to us if only we are not afraid. Intrepidity implies almost no risk. Yet how few of us can say to ourselves that our hearts have never sunk in a new social atmosphere, or that we have never lost our heads in the presence of those persons who cultivate the repute of social greatness and dread. But there are a few men and women to whom social fear is unknown. We can all call to mind some such. They belong to many types and to all ranks of life.
Some of the socially fearless are among the most lovable characters in the world. There are a few childlike natures who retain for ever an instinct. ive trust in humanity. They seem always to be in sympathy with their company. They know how to disarm the world. As a rule, there is something in their attitude towards strangers which we can only describe as deference; but their deference, like that of children, lies very close to dignity. They pay it instinctively to every one, to rich and poor alike, as the best-mannered children pay it. They never, as we say, let themselves down; yet they seem always to be look
There is something in them of the very spirit of youth, and they have always the supreme charm of happiness. Men say that they are lucky; it would be truer to say that they are gifted.
But it is not only the good who are fearless, though the world, with its instinctive desire to give admiration, would like to think so. Even socially the notion is a fallacy. There are plenty of bullies who love to strike terror and plenty of thick-skinned persons into whom one only wishes that terror could be struck; plenty also of men and women to whom social life, though fate obliges them to take part in it, is a matter of such small importance as to be impotent to rouse any emotion whatever.
Of course there are a great variety of thick skins. Some insensitive people are attractive and very restful. They do not need to be considered; they take things as they come. They do not notice this person's airs, or that person's ungraciousness. Differences of atmosphere are not recognized by them. Their notion of social intercourse is to answer when you are spoken to, speak when you have something to say, and ask what you want to know. On this principle they get through their social lives very comfortably, and on the whole they find society very pleasant and interesting. Any snub they may get they innocently put down to the ill manners of the snubber, and, for themselves, they never hurt any
one except by accident. Other thick- in the world so ephemeral and despi. skinned persons are, however, nothing cable. Yet to how many social strug. but a nuisance. No one can abate glers is it the crown and seal of their them. They always come where they triumph. No doubt there are a few are not wanted. They push into every people who, born where social knowlenclosure, no matter the reason of its edge seems to come by instinct, overreservation. They pay to all above rate their birthright, and enjoy it most them the sometimes unpalatable and when it is made conspicuous by conalways unwholesome complimeut of trast; but they are rare. There are constantly seeking them. There is a some socially fearless people, who, beform of social brute-courage which cause they startle the timid, are ocgenerally belongs to the most complete casionally confused with the unkind, snobs and the most expert brain-pick- who simply go on the principle of say
They try to share in joys with ing and doing as they like. If they which the stranger should not inter- are men and women of goodwill, they meddle, and offer sympathy for sor- are among the most wholesome of sorows of which the afflicted persons cial elements. They accord the liberty were hoping that they did not know. they demand. The higher up in the They are a ceaseless source of annoy- world they are, the more good they ance to strangers, and of shame to do. They destroy the game of the stutheir intimates. “The worst of her is dent of fashion, make straight the path that you can't offend her," said a poor of the able ignorant, and keep the sowoman not long ago to the present cial waters sweet with movement. writer, as she described a socially Inevitably the greater number of the fearless neighbor who left her neither socially fearless are to be found among peace nor privacy.
the highly placed. There is, of course, Neither of these types means any a purely physical terror of a crowd to harm. Anong the socially fearless, which we believe certain people in however, there are some really ill- every rank of life are equally subject. natured and cruel people. For them, To them a sense of hostility comes as a rule, social life is the whole of with numbers, and if chance places the life. Not to know its minutest rules, crowd-shy person in a conspicuous poor to ignore them by reason of other sition among a number of eyes, he has cares, is a crime, and the punishment a sense of almost unbearable discomof such crime is sport. Nearly always fort. A man or woman may be socially they get on in the world, or one might fearless-that is, may be able to face say they have got on. Their arro- any social dilemma or any change of gance is usually the outcome of suc- social circumstance with absolute calm cess. Just now and then, when they —and yet be quite unnerved by a sudhave rendered a shy person desperate den sense of conspicuousness among a with fright, they get a blow back concourse of people. Social courage is which lookers-on hope they may really susceptible of no such test, any more feel, but anyhow they have too much than physical courage can be judged courage to show it. Outside crimin- of by tolerance intolerance of ality, there is perhaps no study in the heights. Putting aside this constituworld so destructive of sympathy and tional form of shyness, it is difficult to judgment as the minute study of social see why the very highly placed should custom, with all its ramifications and ever feel any social fear. Can one its bearing on social grade; and when imagine a shy King? Is it possible it is attained there is no knowledge that Royalty may sometimes feel sly
in their desire to put other people at pleasure is in the drama of life, and their ease? Do the very great some- whole delight is to express his imprestimes turn cold and stiff as they real- sions. Oddly enough, this is not the case. ize that they have failed to charm The man or woman who ought to acaway hauteur which may have a hum- cept even disagreeable social experible origin, or an awkwardness which ence gladly, as so much grist to his hides first-rate ability, or when they or her mill, is often very fearful. Even have failed-for once —to render trans- that rarest of all things, the consciousparent that opaque sociad. barrier ness of genius, has power to through which, if they love human na- strengthen the shaking social knees, ture, they would often like to examine though, like Henry IV., their owners the real man? A baffled desire to may not give in, but pursue their end please is a fruitful source of shyness, in gallant terror. Take the Brontës as and that desire may spring, and in a case in point. gracious natures does spring, from ben- More of those flood-tides which lead evolence and intelligence as well as on to fortune are missed through social from self-seeking and folly. We some- fear, we should imagine, than through times wonder whether a new shyness any other single cause. Let their powmay not have attacked the socially ers be what they may, few men, be great of late years. They do not live they laborers or princes, and any longer exclusively among them- women can afford to do without favor. selves. Are they ever rendered shy by How many people with courage to the atmosphere of criticism which the analyze their own failure must trace newcomer must bring with him? If it to social fear? Can social courage we may believe their own account- be cultivated? About as much, we their social biographies and published imagine, as courage in any other form. letters–they have changed consider- Some men are born timid and some ably in manners and customs. In def- fierce, some fearful and some friendly. erence, one wonders, to what emotion? We cannot alter nature; but,
Of all the people who ought by all roughly speaking, the majority of those the rules of logic to be socially fearless, who have undergone drill and disciwe should put the social artist first. pline not only do best at the moment We mean
the person whose whole of danger, but suffer least. The Spectator.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS
The man who remains indifferent to religion at this moment when the very novelists are calling him towards it, must be deaf indeed, but the call of the Rev. Dr. T. Calvin McClelland's "The Mind of Christ" should penetrate the consciousness of almost any reader. The author's effort is to show, by carefully grouped and expounded citations, exactly what Our Lord believed of his father, of Himself, of man, sin, salva
tion, prayer and immortality. The proof of Our Lord's idea of God, how a man may come to know God, and the seriousness of believing in the fatherhood of God are the subjects of the eleven discourses composing the volume. The author's endeavor, as stated in the preface, is so to exhibit Christianity that it will be acceptable to those who desire a belief that will take possession of them, holding them not only by the heart but also by the
mind, and cannot find it in any of the creeds as formally stated. It is not to make converts for record, but truly to present his Master that he has written. T. Y. Crowell & Co.
Those who learned to love Poe in the days before it became a branch of trade to be familiar with him, do not greatly care to know all the details exhumed or manufactured since that time, and Mr. Eugene L. Didier's “The Poe Cult," contains much which will be new to them. Happily, Mr. Didier, himself nurtured on the prose and poetry of Poe, assimilated his work long before he began to disturb himself about the author's life. When he attacked the question in earnest, his natural anger as he uncovered the various strata of slander, false witness and stupidity, transformed his warm but tranquil admiration into advocacy and Poe has had no better friend among his biographers. It would be too much to say that he is always judicious. Nevertheless Mr. Didier's book is valuable because it names and ranges those who have written on Poe during the last thirty-five years, thus giving a key to the shifting of the popular estimate of him.
The papers have been published as occasion arose and occasional slight repetitions are visible, but any attempt to shape the papers into a single study would probably have caused the loss of much that is interesting, and not elsewhere accessible. The book is the proper pendant to every set of Poe, and to all the worthy biographies. The touching dedication to the memory of the author's only son gives the book a touch of tender grace sure to linger in the memory and to attract sympathy. Broadway Publishing Company.
other Naval Studies" that he is a civilian, but that accident is by no means inconsistent with a species of criticism acting both as a restraint upon ill judged enthusiasm in martial matters and as an incentive to vigilant seizure upon every detail of character or of conduct. His volume is composed of four Nelson and Trafalgar essays, one putting a new face upon the battle; one upon Duncan, the man of one great action; and one upon Paul Jones, who is treated with rare generosity. The rest of the book is devoted to contemporary matters, “The Dogger Bank and its Lessons," "The Strategy of Position," "The Attack and Defence of Commerce," "The Higher Policy of Defence," and a preface discussing the question of possible invasion and proper defence. The essay on Jones appears in this book for the first time, and brings forward a biography written by the younger Disraeli and published by Murray in 1825. Jones, as a doer of the apparently impossible, an adventurer mingling with the great on equal terms, a masterly manager of men, his tools, naturally attracted the future Prime Minister. Mr. Thursfield grants him the wisdom to anticipate Clerk of Eldin, and Captain Mahan in his theories, and the ability to baffle the diplomacy of England, and protests that he needs no more defence for serving the colonies than was necessary for Franklin and Washington. The airship is not considered at all, having come into prominence since the book went to the printer. Even without the paper on Jones, the book could not be an object of indifference to an American convinced of the importance of a navy to his own country. It is written with spirit yet with grave steadiness and is a reassuring volume to those vexed by the outcry of the English, “Dishonor without peace." E. P. Dutton & Co.
Mr. James R. Thursfield occasionally reminds the readers of his “Nelson and
THE LIVING AGE. Τ
No. 3403 September 25, 1909
FROM BEGINNING VOL. CCLXII.
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW 771
DUBLIN REVIEW 777 Hardy-on-the-Hill, Book II. Chapters XI and XII. By M. E. Francis (Mrs. Francis Blundell). (Conclusion.)
TIMES 784 Wheels within Wheels. By Thomas Seccombe .
BLACKWOOD's MAGAZINE 789 Wendell Phillips Garrison.
ATHENÆUM 798 What the Public Wants. A Play in Four Acts. Act I. By Arnold Bennett
ENGLISH REVIEW 801 Gardens Without Flowers. By Sir William Eden, Bart .
SATURDAY REVIEW 820
CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL 770
Pale Mail MAGAZINE 270 My Thoughts Like Bees. By Alfred Douglas
770 BOOKS AND AUTHORS
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY
THE LIVING AGE COMPANY,
6 BEACON STREET, BOSTON.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. FOR Six DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, THE LIVING Age will be punctually for. warded for a year, free of postage, to any part of the United States. To Canada the postage is 50 cents per annum. •
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office or express money order if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, express and money orders should be made payable to the order of THE LIVING AGE CO.
Single Copies of THE LIVING AGE, 15 cents.