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SAYING DISAGREEABLE is ill-chosen both for the neighborhood and not to profit the hearer. The same utterthe exercises of the men. Hyde Park is now ance may be an impertinence, an unpalatable the largest square in London, and the firing truth, or a disagreeable thing, according to of the troops is a nuisance to the inhabitants time and circumstance. For example, in a of the surrounding houses, and dangerous to fit of absence, we perpetrate some solecism the riders and drivers of horses passing along in dress or behavior. It is an unwelcome the much frequented Bayswater road imme- truth to be told it, while there is yet oppordiately adjoining. How much better that tunity for remedy, or partial remedy. It is the troops should at the same time both learn an impertinence to be informed of it by a to use their limbs in something like a march, stranger, who has no right to concern himand to fire in volleys, or to pop away in skir- self with our affairs. It is a disagreeable mishing order, by removing their exercising thing when—the occasion past–our friend ground to a moderate distance of six or seven enlightens us about it, simply as a piece of miles. But they would lose flesh, and not information. We all of us, no doubt, bave look so fine, and there is no answer to that friends, relations, and acquaintances who think objection. With the French the case is quite it quite a sufficient reason for saying a thing different, for their troops are for use, like that it is true. Probably we have ourselves our sailors, not for show.
known the state of mind in which we find a certain fact or opinion a burden, a load to be got rid of; and, under the gross mistake
that all truth must be spoken, that it is unFrom The Saturday Review.
candid and dangerous not to deliver a testimony
convinced that truth, like murder, SAYING DISAGREEABLE THINGS.
will out, and that our friend, sooner or later, Some people, not otherwise ill-natured, must learn the unacceptable fact-we come are apt to season their conversation with dis- to the conclusion that it is best for all paragreeable sayings, unpleasant comments, un- ties to get the thing over by being one's self comfortable insinuations. Such a person, the executioner. We have most of us acted we sometimes hear, is a good sort of fellow, the enfant terrible at some time or other. but he has a way of saying disagreeable But this crude simplicity of candor, where it things. Such a woman can be very charm- is the result of the mere blind intrusive asing when she pleases, but In fact, sertion of truth, is a real weight; and the these people are never spoken of for three primary law of politeness, never to give unconsecutive sentences without a qualification. necessary pain, as soon as it is apprehended, A disagreeable thing is distinguished from is welcomed as a deliverer. Children and an impertinence, which it often closely re- the very young have not experience enough sembles, by certain marks. In the first place, for any but the most limited sympathy, and an impertinence we need not stand, but the can only partially comparē the feelings of other we often must, aware that it is the re-others with their own. Indeed, the idea of sult of certain conditions of our friend's the comparison does not occur to them. But mind, which, as we cannot hope to alter, we there are people, who, in this respect, remust resign ourselves to. An impertinence main children all their days, and very awkmay or may not be true. - its main design, ward children, too—who burst with a fact as independent of truth, is, more or less, to in the fool with his secret, and, like the hairsult. It is of the essence of a disagreeable dresser in Leech's caricature, are impelled thing that it should be true true in itself, to tell us that our hair is thin at the top, or true as representing the speaker's state though nothing whatever is to come of the of feeling. And yet an unpalatable truth is communication. These, as Sidney Smith not technically a disagreeable thing any more says, turn friendship into a system of lawful than an impertinence, though, of course, the and unpunishable impertinence, from, so far being told it is an unpleasant operation. It as we can see, no worse cause than incontiis necessary for us, now and then, to hear nence of fact and opinion—feeling it to be unpalatable and unwelcome truths; but a a sufficient and triumphant defence of every disagreeable thing is never a moral necessity perpetration of the sort, that it is true, it is spoken to relieve the speaker's mind, “Why did you tell Mr. So and So that his
sermon was fifty minutes long?" “Because ; ognized. The memory becomes loaded with
Nobody acknowledges himself to be an thing to say, and instinctively ferret out sore habitual offender in this line. No man will subjects. They are not the class we have in own himself careless of giving pain. When our thoughts. Indeed, they incapacitate we do become conscious of having thought
. themselves for serious mischief, as their ac- lessly wounded our neighbor's feelings or quaintance give them a wide berth, and take self-love, it may commonly be traced to the care not to expose their more cherished in- blinding sway of some conviction held in a terests to their tender mercies. It requires one-sided, selfish spirit. All strong prepossome refinement of perception to say the sessions destroy sympathy, and, like absence more pungent and penetrating disagreeable of mind, induce an exclusive attention to our things. We must care for the opinion or own objects or wishes. To judge from their the regard of a person whose sayings of this biographies, religious professors are exceedsort can keenly annoy us. A man must have ingly apt to err in this direction — unless, made friends before he can wound them. A perhaps, it be that they say disagreeable real expert in this art is never rude, and can things more deliberately, and more on princonvey a disregard approaching to contempt ciple, than the laity. The young lady who for another's opinion, hit him in his most answered her friend's announcement of her vulnerable points, and send him off generally approaching marriage by the inquiry, if she depressed and uncomfortable, without say- had ever remembered that her future husing a word that can be fairly taken hold of. band might die, thought she was preaching a
Of course the people most distinguished sermon, but was simply saying a disagreeable in this way are disappointed people. In the thing. The occasion called for sympathy, examples that occur to us, we perceive that and preaching was an obtrusion of self and life has not satisfied them—they do not oc- its speciality-an unconscious expedient for cupy the place in men's minds which they bringing down her friend from a high pesifeel they deserve. But this is no explana- tion of interest to a level something below tion, for the tendency is just as likely to her own. The habit of saying disagreeable have caused the disappointment as the dis- things belongs impartially to both sexes, but appointment the tendency. People who start the manner and the motive differ. Our exin life with high, though not wholly un- ample illustrates the feminine form. There grounded notions of their own deserts, defi- is commonly a touch of jealousy to be traced nite claims, and elaborate self-appreciation, in a woman's trying or irritating sayings, are certain to be in constant collision with however remote and far-fetched. However their friends, and with society. Their sense abstract and general the remark may be, an of their own rights and merits is perpetually insight into circumstances will probably furinfringed. Their friendship or service en-nish the clue-will bring some personal and tails an obligation which is never duly rec- particular cause to light which has held sym,
pathy in abeyance. Men can say disagree-fined feeling, or in unshaken fidelity. What able things without the suggestions of this chilling doubts, what cruel disparagement, prompter. They enjoy the pleasure of self- what ingenuity of misapprehension attend assertion, the gratification of putting a friend this temper! What reflections on the conin possession of their exact impressions. stancy of her friends, what pity and contempt There is a relish for taking down for its own for their taste, what pathetic regrets, what sake, a vein of hardness and cold-blooded- resignation to the inevitable fate of a virtue, ness, which belongs to some very respecta- a spirit, a perception, which there is not ble sort of people, impelling them to give a steadiness, or wit, or heart to value at their stone instead of bread — to utter flinty “I true price! The worst of this strain the told you so's,” cold moralities, inopportune reason why this tone is so disagreeable-is counsels, and harsh reminders, when the con- that it hits a blot. It is of the essence of fiding spirit has laid bare its needs, or its disagreeable things that in some sense or penitence, and asked for sympathy. Often degree they are true. This is why they irthe mere knowledge of doing the thing well ritate. For instance, our constancy is never is motive enough. It is an irresistible temp- so weak to our own consciousness as when tation to express one's self with point; and our friends suspect it. We never see their in fact, half of all the current good stories social drawbacks clearer than when we are are of neatly turned disagreeable things charged with being influenced by them. not sneer or satire, but some cold, shivering New friends are never in higher favor than half-truth, for which nobody is the better. when old friends upbraid us with them. Not that dull men are debarred from the in- The main nursery for the science of disadulgence, but they are clumsy, and slip at greeable things is the domestic hearth. Here every turn into mere insolence or blunder. we do not note those distinctions of sex This is their secret of heavy banter-which which strike us in society. Men and women, is nothing else than harping with stupid per- husbands and wives, brothers and sisters are sistence on something unpleasant, with no apt to say very much the same class of disa. other view than to make their object con- greeable things to one another, unless good scious of exposure, and for the moment breeding or good temper interpose to presmaller than themselves — in contrast with vent familiarity becoming contempt. It is the well-mannered jest which, under what- wonderful what moral and refined writers ever disguise of depreciation, puts its sub- assume to be family habits in this particular, ject in better humor with himself than he from which we may suppose the practice to was before.
be more common than our state of civiliza. In a woman, this practice is not so much tion would lead us to hope. Certainly we an exercise of the intellect as of the heart, all know or have known, families where the speaking under some souring, embittering strong tyrannize over the weak, and, in cold influence. Some are habitually ungracious blood and in apparent good-nature inflict from the working of vulgar rivalries, or mere perpetual minute wounds on the self-love of grim acidity of nature. These are simply those about them. By this means-like the odious ; but it is astonishing what things a Antiquary with his womankind - a caustic woman sweet as summer will say, under cer- temper keeps itself civil towards the outer tain conditions of the affections, to those world. A man can sustain bis politeness to most important to her, and for whom she ladies in general by always calling his sister cares most; and how seemingly unconscious an old woman, or by constantly reminding she is of the tendency of her words, led on by her of events she would willingly forget. A jealous self-assertion and fancied ill-usage. woman can be gracious to her acquaintance There is a process of comparison peculiar to and over-indulgent to her children by making this mood, and which can express itself only her husband the vent of her ill-humors, and, by disagreeable things—by a series of paral- like Mrs. Glegg, installing herself the conlels and contrasts in all of which she comes stituted check on his pleasures; while some out the ascendant and superior. Perhaps people are agreeable to the whole world, exnew friends, in all their garish attractions, cept just those with whom they are connected are contrasted with herself, the old faithful by ties of blood, to whom they show a wholly original friend, great in solid worth and re-different phase of character.
Sensitiveness to disagreeable things im- on principle, support this degree of preten. plies self-mistrust. Only absolutely self-re- sion. There is a tacit agreement in society liant people are impervious to them. We that every individual in it fills his proper are dependent on others, more than we think, place, and that he and his belongings are for even our own good opinion. We think what they go for-that all our externals fulbest of ourselves when others share our fa- fil their professions. There is no hypocrisy vorable impressions, and no strength of con- in assuming this of every one we meet. It stancy can prevent our estimate of our friends is simply not obtruding our private judgment suffering some faint fluctuations according to where its expression would be an impertithe view which others take of them. All nence. The disagreeable thing jars on this people have an idea of their own position nice adjustment. The speaker has the untowards the world—though “idea" per- justifiable aim of lowering this fancied elevahaps, too definite a term at any rate, a tion, whether moral or social; and he disdim assumption of a certain standing of pels illusions, not as he supposes, in the which they are scarcely aware till it is in- interest of truth on any social or moral view, fringed, and which it is the part of the sayer but really for selfish ends. He obeys an unof disagreeable things to infringe. We are amiable impulse to prove that he is knoweach the centre of our own world, and thus ing where we are ignorant, wise where we have a place in our own eyes which no one are foolish, strong where we are weak—that can give us. Something of this half-delu- he sees into us and through us, and that it sion is indispensable to carry us through our is, before all things, important that this parts creditably, and the laws of politeness, should be declared and made evident.
A GLADSTONIAN DISTINCTION.
Of thinking you now and then meant what you
said, To form opinions upon questions of policy,
And that conscience, not interest, prompted to announce them to the world, and to take or
your policy. be a party to taking any of the steps necessary
-Press, 25 Oct. for giving them effect, are matters which, though connected together, are in themselves distinct, and which may be separated by intervals of time
The REVOLUTIONARY DEBT.-Dear Tranlonger or shorter, according to the particular script, ever fresh, vigorous, and true : Hearing circumstances of the case. Mr. Gladstone's some doubt expressed of the correctness of the Apology to Manchester.
President's statement: that if our Revolutionary
debt at 6 per cent. simple interest, had remained Yes, “the South is a nation.” This truth you unpaid to this time, it would be less to each per: announce;
son now living than it was to cach person then And yet, though the inference perhaps may be living, I have worked out the calculation as bitter,
follows, taking eighty years as the time : You are forced to admit that the statement was
80 years' interest at 6 per cent., 480 580 The mere trick of an orator eager to glitter.
Now our population has always increased three
And hurry two nations to utter perdition, and a fraction for cach ten years. If you com-
be struck with its wonderful regularity : Though he thinks it quite right, wont advise
134 The plan, though ingenious, is certainly old
170 'Tis one thing to act and another to chatter: 1813
228 Æsop tells of the man who blew hot and blew 1823
407 And thereby extremely astonished a Satyr. 1843
729 Let us hope that from henceforth delusions are 1863
If the calculation were increased ten years And that all your admirers the absolute folly further, it would show the debt to be 640, and
the people 1296-more than double. L. THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 963
From The Examiner, 25 Oct. and Peru, the yield is unlimited, and the THE GOLD DISCOVERIES.
quantity of metal annually supplied by the THE early predictions of this journal re- mines is well known to depend on the high specting the results of the moderu gold dis- or low price of the chief instrument of reduccoveries have been fully verified during the tion, quicksilver. The old mines of this last fourteen years, for it is fourteen years metal were confined to two narrow localities, since we first discussed the subject. Observ- and there they were monopolies under which ing that an influx of some fifty or sixty mil- the average price was about fire shillings a lions' worth of gold, poured suddenly, and pound. New and far more productive mines within a period of three or four years into a have been discovered in California'; the worknarrow and unprepared market, had produced ing of these has brought the price of mercury no sensible effect on prices, we came to the down to one shilling and tenpence a pound, conclusion that no future addition in a nec- and hence the new silver to balance the essarily wider market was likely to do so. new gold. Our view has been justified by at least ten The enormous influx of the precious metyears' experience.
als which has taken place has produced no But let us attempt now to compute the depreciation of their own value, nor increased value of the new gold which from first to last the price of the commodities they represent. has been poured into the market of the world. There has been no increase in the cost of any It can be but an approximation, for the na- commodity where the supply was equal to ture of the subject forbids all hope of cor- the demand. There has, for example, been rectness. The mines of California continue no rise of price in any kind of corn or in any at their highest produce. But those of Vic- metal. There has been no rise in the prices toria have fallen off; the decline being, we of wool, hemp, flax, or jute. There has been conceive, fully made up by greater produc- none in sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa. There has tiveness in those of New South Wales, and been even a reduction in the price of some by the discovery of the gold fields of New commodities, the result of new discoveries or Zealand and British Columbia. We may more economical processes of manufacture, compute the annual produce of all the new as in the example of quicksilver already menmines at the moderate sum of £20,000,000 tioned, and of some descriptions of iron. a-year, which, multiplied by fourteen years, Wherever a rise of price has taken place, the will make the whole influx amount to £280,- special grounds for it are transparent. There 000,000. Meanwhile the supply from the old has been a great rise in the price of the posources has not diminished; nor is there tato, from a notorious disease in the plant ; any good reason why it should, seeing that but that rise preceded by several years
the there has been no fall in the price of the ar- gold discoveries. There has been a great ticle.
rise in the price of wine and silk, from a disBut this is not all of the precious metals ease in the vine and a murrain in the silk-that has been thrown into the world's mar- worm ; but these rises did not take place ket. The relative values of gold and silver until several years after the gold mines had are at present substantially the same that been at their highest production. For twelve they were before the appearance of the new out of the fourteen years since the first gold ; that is, gold has sustained no depre- gold discoveries, there had been no permaciation, nor silver increase of value. It fol- nent rise in the price of cotton. A furious lows therefore that there must have taken and most pernicious civil strife in the chief place a production of new silver equal in producing country, far worse than the oideon value to that of the new gold ; so that, in in the vine, or the murrain in the silk caterfact, within the brief period of fourteen years, pillar, has cut off eight-tenths of the whole the precious metals have been poured into supply, and the normal price of past years the markets of the world to the extent of the has been multiplied four and even five fold. prodigious sum of £560,000,000, over and Since, then, there has been no depreciation above the old normal supply.
of the precious metals or increase in the price How this silent production of new silver of the commodities they represent, what has has come about deserves explanation. In been the actual effect produced by the vast the principal producing countries, Mexico influx of them which has taken place within