She arrives at the conclusion that personal modesty is founded on misgiving; that were any one confident that he or she were flawless and ef perfect mould there would be no sense of shrinking from the eyes of others. Perhaps this explanation will not bear scrutiny ; but that & young girl, not devoid of natural modesty, should have propounded it, shows that she was at least able to dissociate her mind from preconceived ideas and the instinct of habit.

It is not difficult to select from the gallery of the eighteenth century another character of genius not less commanding than that of Burns, which, though reared in much more promising surroundings, suffered not a little from lack of detachment. Two incidents, one early the other late, in the career of Edmund Burke, will serve to illustrate this. Shortly after Burke had published his Vindication of Natural Society, Horace Walpole met him at dinner at the house of Single-speech' Hamilton.

There were Garrick (he says) and a young Mr. Burke, who wrote a book in the style of Lord Bolingbroke, that is much admired. He is a sensible man, but has not worn off his authorism yet, and thinks there is nothing su charming as authors, and to be one. He will know better one of these days.

The prophecy never was fulfilled. Burke failed to the last to throw himself free from the thraldom of the dominant pressure of the moment. The finest minds resemble some plants in being constituted so as to draw potent properties for good or ill from almost any soil, and at the same time afford fragrance and beauty to all within their influence. Burke's genius was not such as these. The intensity with which his purpose blazed before him blinded him to the respectability of any views except his own, and paralysed his capacity for intercourse with those who differed with him. Thus, at the beginning of the session of 1791, Fox made some reference to the French Revolutionary Government in tenor extremely distasteful to Burke, who failed in his attempt to reply at the moment. No opportunity occurred until some months later, when, on May 6, the debate came to be resumed. All this time Burke had been nursing his wrath, and now poured it forth seething hot upon his ancient friend. He brought a speech of tremendous vehemence to conclusion in these lamentable words:

It is indiscreet at any period, but especially at my time of life, to provoke enemies, or give my friends occasion to desert me. Yet if my firm and steady adherence to the British Constitution place me in such a dilemma, I am ready to risk it, and with my last words to exclaim, ' Fly from the French Constitution !' Here Fox broke in with a remonstrance, saying there was no injury to friendship.

Yes, yes (Burke vociferated), there is a loss of friends. I know the price of my conduct. Our friendship is at an end.

When the House rose that same night it was raining, and Mr.


Curwen, a member who sat on the same benches as Burke, offered him a seat in his carriage to go home. Burke immediately began referring with bitterness to some of the passages in the debate so bitterly, that Mr. Curwen hazarded something in a contrary sense. • What!' exclaimed Burke, seizing the checkstring, are you one of these people? Let me down !'

It is said that Curwen kept his companion in the carriage by main force, and that when they reached his house, Burke alighted and left him without a word of acknowledgment.

It would be easy to multiply instances of similar infirmity in powerful characters; it is a more grateful task to refer to proofs of blander traits in men whose achievements we have witnessed or read of. Among the letters of one who recently and effectively led the House of Commons there remains one little missive, wherein is sounded a note so melodious amid the harsh clangour of party politics as to remind one of a lark's song in the lull between blasts of a tempest.

It was written by W. H. Smith, only a few months before his death, to his lieutenant in the House, Mr. Akers Douglas, the Conservative Whip, and runs in this wise :

Harcourt asks me to dinner on the 15th of April to meet Gladstone, and I am very much inclined to go. Would it frighten our friends ?

In effect, this dinner never took place; it seems to have been thought that 'our friends' might have viewed it with displeasure. Significant this of the nature of relations existing at the time between political parties.

Smith's life was one of extraordinary activity. He was wholly engaged till well into middle age in the conduct of a commercial concern of great complexity and rapid expansion. More wealth than he ever expected or desired flowed in upon him. This in itself has many times proved a fatal frost to the finer attributes of character. When the business had approached its height, Smith was drawn into the vortex of parliamentary life, and many a wife, many a friend, might testify to the potency of that influence to suck away sympathy from domestic or social intercourse. Mr. Gladstone has been

was, at that time—the most powerful statesman since the death of Lord Palmerston in 1865; more powerful for ill to his country, as Conservatives believed, and dreaded as more dangerous than any leader since the days of Fox. They feared Mr. Gladstone, and in how few minds is there any perceptible frontier between fear and hate! Smith was in genius so greatly inferior to Burke that it may appear almost grotesque to name the two men in the same sentence, yet Smith bore himself in a loftier attitude to his adversary than it was possible for Burke to maintain towards Fox. In virtue of his faculty of detachment, Smith was able to maintain relations with two

Gladstones—Gladstone the accomplished scholar, the repository of halfa century of parliamentary lore, the facile, versatile, genial acquaintance, and Gladstone the reckless opportunist, the unstable demagogue, the torch of political war. That Smith possessed a large share of this faculty of mind goes to prove that it is to a great extent inherent in certain natures, although to some extent it may be imparted or acquired. That which he had coveted so earnestly in youth, a classical education, had been denied to him, and whatever may be urged against that particular scheme of education, it has always been recognised as quickening the sense of historic proportion and conferring a large and lofty view of human affairs. I would have you learn Latin,' wrote Hazlitt to his son, because I learned it myself, and I would not have you without any of the advantages or sources of knowledge that I possessed ; it would be a bar of separation between us, and, secondly, because there is an atmosphere round this kind of classical ground to which that of actual life is gross and vulgar. ... We feel the presence of that power which gives immortality to human thoughts and actions, and catch the flame of enthusiasm from all nations and ages.'

I have dwelt, as some may think, at undue length on the lesson of this letter, because it affords evidence contrary to very common experience. Energy concentrated on one pursuit or profession, association maintained too exclusively with one set or class of acquaintance, often hinders the development of this delicate essence. Nor is it commonly recognised in young people ; for, as the acid of strong, new wine mellows into fragrant ethers, contributing the exquisite bouquet of old liquor, so this virtue is silently engendered by the lapse of years. Youth enjoys such innumerable, immeasurable advantages over middle and old age that it must not grudge maturity of days being claimed as almost essential to detachment.

And here, at last, we arrive at something likely to serve as a distinguishing token between sympathy and detachment-separate qualities often regarded as one.

Youth abounds in sympathy; mordant jealousy, sour suspicion, chill disapproval are the parasitic growth of after years. The heir of the many-acred earl will go bird's-nesting or trout fishing with a gardener's apprentice without a thought of the gulf interposed by social system; warmly emulous, absorbed in common interest, each contributes to, understands, and shares the other's pleasure; they are like two voices singing in unison, in perfect tune and time, each contributing to the volume of sound though without enhancing its quality. But as the lads grow to manhood, the music must cease unless a more complex power can be developed. The strain too often ends in a dying fall; a way must be found for harmony to take the place of unison; the two lives lie on different levels with widely different aims, and if the peer is to have accord with the peasant it must be by means of a

sense even subtler than sympathy. Sympathy-not compassion such as the strong may feel for the weak, the rich for the poor, the man who succeeds for him who goes under, but sympathy of thought, of desire, or of sentiment-depends for nourishment on community of habits, association, education, age, and a variety of other conditions which enable minds to act in unison ; but detachment renders a man superior to all these accidents. The well-fed man of business, stepping down from his front door of a morning on the way to the city, may, let us hope he does, feel compassion for the crossingsweeper at the corner of the square, but there is hardly foothold for sympathy between men so differently situated. Compassion may move the banker to feel some interest in the amount of the sweeper's earnings, and self-interest will spur the squire of the broom to make the crossing pleasant for the soles of his patron; but it is the far rarer and loftier gift of detachment that can alone give either of them insight into the other's mode of life, and dispose him to be interested in his success or patient of his shortcomings.

To return to the problem referred to at the outset of this paper —whether this property is a native gift, the product of culture, or a combination of the two—there can be little doubt that it is susceptible of development by cultivation. In the whole art of intercourse there is no more fascinating trait than that whereby man or woman has the habit of giving, or appearing to give, the whole attention to the other partner in conversation. Let physicists dogmatise as they will, eyes are more than mere lenses delicately connected with the sensorium. There is far more foundation for the lover's food faith that they are the windows of the soul. What difference does it make to you whether, when you enter your elderly friend's house, he greets you with his spectacles on the top of his head, in his pocket, or on the bridge of his nose? But if his eyes wander, if they look beyond you through the open door when he takes your hand, or if he stares out in the street while you are telling him something of interest to yourself, you have a chilling sense that you have not possessed yourself of his attention. How your heart goes out to one whose earnest, kindly gaze assures you that for the moment, at least, his thoughts are concentrated on your concerns, and your presence is the most important fact to his intelligence! Granted that perhaps it is only or partly the outcome of good breeding, even so it fails not of effect, for at worst it is a graceful form of that most potent of all lubricants—flattery. Your whole nature expands to one who presents to you such a gracious aspect, and your thoughts find the most felicitous expression which your vocabulary is capable of affording. Masters of intercourse, men who obtain sway over many minds, have the gift thus to detach themselves not only from their own individuality in tête-à-tête, but from hundreds of others who may happen to be assembled in crowded rooms, and, in doing so, throw away their own selves, but gain the whole world.

There is a well-known and nefarious device sometimes resorted to by the disturbers of public meetings which never fails in its disastrous effect upon oratory, and owes its efficacy entirely to the chilling effect of distracted attention. Live sparrows are secretly brought into the room, and when the chief speaker is well on his legs the wretched birds are released. Immediately the attention of the audience is distracted from the business in hand; the speaker may be at the most impressive point in his argument, or addressing the most heart-stirring appeal to a thoroughly sympathetic audience. In a moment all is confusion; the fiercest and most disorderly interruption could not so thoroughly discomfit the speaker; his hearers' eyes follow the birds flitting from side to side of the room, and the most practised orator will find it impossible to proceed until the counterattraction is withdrawn.

As in public, so in private: we cannot be at our best—we cannot even spread out our middling wares—unless the person we are conversing with lets us feel that, for the moment at least, he is so far detached from other distractions as to place his attention willingly at our disposal.

Women, be it said with all the tenderness such cold criticism will brook, are perhaps more frequent offenders against their own sex in this respect than men are towards either men or women. It is such a poor thing to find fault, that one is almost ashamed to point the finger to one flaw among many graces; nevertheless it is such a common one, and, one would say, so easily avoided—one, moreover, of which the absence insures such a notable charm-that absolution may be hoped for by the male creature who has the hardihood to comment on it. Two women pass each other in the street of a provincial town; they are not acquainted, yet it is long odds that one of them turns round to look after the other—very short odds against both doing so. It is not the gait, or the figure, or the hair of the stranger that has attracted attention, it is the dress, and not the person within it. The gentle anarchists who are busy organising the debrutalisation of man will, of course, attribute this little failing to the vacuity of the feminine mind by reason of man's tyranny in excluding women from boards of directors and other intellectual arenas. It may be conceded that psychology and betterment are more recondite fields than millinery; but this would be but a dull world, and far uglier than it is, if every woman had a soul above chiffons. Odds grenadine and tarlatan! that were a consummation by no means desirable. No, let all men who have eyes to see withal, or hearts to lose, set great store by the pains bestowed on pretty dressing; but if one may speak and live, the art should be studied with subtler tact than is sometimes seen. It should be better concealed; it is distressing to see a young woman's eyes wandering over the dress of her with whom she is talking, for if the mind be engaged in taking note of external detail,

Vol. XXXVIII-No. 221


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