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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 instinctive 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
ing up. 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 thickskinned persons are, however, nothing but a nuisance. No one can abate them. They always come where they are not wanted. They push into every enclosure, no matter the reason of its reservation. They pay to all above them the sometimes unpalatable and always unwholesome compliment of constantly seeking them. There is a form of social brute-courage which generally belongs to the most complete snobs and the most expert brain-pickers. They try to share in joys with which the stranger should not intermeddle, and offer sympathy for sorrows of which the afflicted persons were hoping that they did not know. They are a ceaseless source of annoyance to strangers, and of shame to their intimates. "The worst of her is that you can't offend her," said a poor woman not long ago to the present writer, as she described a socially fearless neighbor who left her neither peace nor privacy.
Neither of these types means any harm. Among the socially fearless, however, there are some really illnatured and cruel people. For them, as a rule, social life is the whole of life. Not to know its minutest rules, or to ignore them by reason of other cares, is a crime, and the punishment of such crime is sport. Nearly always they get on in the world, or one might say they have got on. Their arrogance is usually the outcome of success. Just now and then, when they have rendered a shy person desperate with fright, they get a blow back which lookers-on hope they may really feel, but anyhow they have too much courage to show it. Outside criminality, there is perhaps no study in the world so destructive of sympathy and judgment as the minute study of social custom, with all its ramifications and its bearing on social grade; and when it is attained there is no knowledge
in the world so ephemeral and despicable. Yet to how many social strugglers is it the crown and seal of their triumph. No doubt there are a few people who, born where social knowledge seems to come by instinct, overrate their birthright, and enjoy it most when it is made conspicuous by contrast; but they are rare. There are some socially fearless people, who, because they startle the timid, are occasionally confused with the unkind, who simply go on the principle of saying and doing as they like. If they are men and women of goodwill, they are among the most wholesome of social elements. They accord the liberty they demand. The higher up in the world they are, the more good they do. They destroy the game of the student of fashion, make straight the path of the able ignorant, and keep the social waters sweet with movement.
Inevitably the greater number of the socially fearless are to be found among the highly placed. There is, of course, a purely physical terror of a crowd to which we believe certain people in every rank of life are equally subject. To them a sense of hostility comes with numbers, and if chance places the crowd-shy person in a conspicuous position among a number of eyes, he has a sense of almost unbearable discomfort. A man or woman may be socially fearless-that is, may be able to face any social dilemma or any change of social circumstance with absolute calm -and yet be quite unnerved by a sudden sense of conspicuousness among a concourse of people. Social courage is susceptible of no such test, any more than physical courage can be judged of by tolerance or intolerance of heights. Putting aside this constitutional form of shyness, it is difficult to see why the very highly placed should ever feel any social fear. Can one imagine a shy King? Is it possible that Royalty may sometimes feel shy
in their desire to put other people at their ease? Do the very great sometimes turn cold and stiff as they realize that they have failed to charm away hauteur which may have a humble origin, or an awkwardness which hides first-rate ability, or when they have failed-for once to render transparent that opaque social, barrier
through which, if they love human nature, they would often like to examine the real man? A baffled desire to please is a fruitful source of shyness, and that desire may spring, and in gracious natures does spring, from benevolence and intelligence as well as from self-seeking and folly. We sometimes wonder whether a new shyness may not have attacked the socially great of late years. They do not live any longer exclusively among themselves. Are they ever rendered shy by the atmosphere of criticism which the newcomer must bring with him? If we may believe their own accounttheir social biographies and published letters-they have changed considerably in manners and customs. In deference, one wonders, to what emotion?
Of all the people who ought by all the rules of logic to be socially fearless, we should put the social artist first. We mean the person whose whole The Spectator.
pleasure is in the drama of life, and whole delight is to express his impressions. Oddly enough, this is not the case. The man or woman who ought to accept even disagreeable social experience gladly, as so much grist to his or her mill, is often very fearful. Even that rarest of all things, the consciousness of genius, has no power to strengthen the shaking social knees, though, like Henry IV., their owners may not give in, but pursue their end in gallant terror. Take the Brontës as a case in point.
More of those flood-tides which lead on to fortune are missed through social fear, we should imagine, than through any other single cause. Let their powers be what they may, few men, be they laborers or princes, and no women can afford to do without favor. How many people with courage to analyze their own failure must trace it to social fear? Can social courage be cultivated? About as much, we imagine, as courage in any other form. Some men are born timid and some fierce, some fearful and some friendly. We cannot alter our nature; but, roughly speaking, the majority of those who have undergone drill and discipline not only do best at the moment of danger, but suffer least.
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.
Mr. James R. Thursfield occasionally reminds the readers of his "Nelson and
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.
No. 3403 September 25, 1909
International and National Christian Literature. An Address by
The Diseases of the House of Commons. By Lord Hugh Cecil.
DUBLIN REVIEW 777
Hardy-on-the-Hill. Book II. Chapters XI and XII. By M. E. Francis
Wendell Phillips Garrison.
BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE 789
What the Public Wants. A Play in Four Acts. Act I. By Arnold
ENGLISH REVIEW 801
The Gastronomic Year.
A PAGE OF
SATURDAY REVIEW 820
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