Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Thou shalt not kill ; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat :
Bear not false witness ; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet, but tradition

Approves all forms of competition.'
It is an absurd world, is it not? But thank
Heaven there is one wise man left in it:
la sagesse c'est moi!

I am rejoiced to have them back. They are all three full of their experiences. Cynthia has sat in our social House of Lords, surrounded by tiaraed celebrities, and finds that they do not bite, that they do not eat ambrosia and drink nectar all the time, and that their life is not all one long lolling upon the slopes of Olympus. That's good for her imagination, at any rate. The unknown is always a billion times too big.

And in the case of the young, to satisfy the demands of the imagination is often to draw the sting of evil.

As for old Bob, he has had a “bully time." He finds the young fellows of this generation bigger and better than his own contemporaries—there's optimism for you! He tells of a dinner of twenty he gave for Cynthia, where, out of the nine young men present, seven drank nothing, and five did not smoke. He is loud in his praises of the

flannelled fools at the wicket, and the muddied oafs at the goals.” Bob's no fool on the subject of horses, and dogs, and young men, and no doubt he is right. He was greatly surprised to find that many of his own generation had grown old. He found a deplorable lack of hair, a curious prominence of abdomen, a shortness of breath, an overnicety about eating and

He was

drinking, and a tendency to cantankerous criticism of one's neighbours. thoroughly taken aback by the growth of New York, by the evidences of prosperity, by the shoals of people who now live upon a scale of expenditure for houses, horses, and servants unknown, except to a limited number, even twenty years ago. He tells me that, in 1798, New York had less than forty thousand inhabitants. Now there are three millions and a half. Bob rubs his hands over this, as though it were in some sort his doing, as though he were in some way bigger, too. Nice fellow, Bob! A fine, quinine-like stimulant in a weary world. He hated to go to New York, and

you please, he thinks Cynthia ought to go again. She ought not to miss this, that, and the other function, he says. What a great thing it is to be at home in the

now, if

world! Drop Bob anywhere, and he has a “bully time." He converts me at times, and I wonder if Bob isn't made after the pattern in the Mount, after all, and the rest of us just fretful mistakes of the Almighty. He would not make a Napoleon, but he would have made a splendid Ney. And I am not sure that genius does not always do harm in the world, even when it is successful. Do you recall a really first-rate genius who was thoroughly good and thoroughly sane?

They have been trying to get a parson for my old parish, and have about made up their minds to ask a certain young man. When I told Bob about it, he listened with his usual cheerfulness, and then — what do you suppose?-asked if I thought he would make a good secretary for the golf club. That has kept me in good spirits for two days. I suggested to Bob that the parish clerk write and inform him that he could not use the Haskell ball in our parish. He didn't seem to think that much of a joke. I believe it was Buckle, he of the “ History of Civilisation,” who claimed that men and women were divided into three classes mentally. The first and lowest class talk of persons; the second talk about things; the third and highest about ideas. Now Bob is devoted to the discussion of persons and things, but, by any standards of life that I thread the maze by, I cannot rate him as inferior. He is trustworthy, brave, and truthful, but so far as my rather intimate brother-in-lawerly acquaintance with him goes, he has never discussed an idea in his life. Just between you and me, Buckle be blowed! It is the zest for life that counts. Yesterday did not suffice; to-day is not

« AnteriorContinuar »