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to succeed in life. The very desire of change
is a symptom of mental disease; and the
sense of essential inferiority stimulates a man
to strive for social superiority. Shelley, the

poet of normal dissatisfaction, exclaims-

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not.

Absolutely essential to the classic character is a complete enjoyment of the present, which altogether shuts out vain regrets for the past and empty imaginings of the future. Felix est qui nihil expectat—though said as a joke—is very seriously true. Perpetual expectation of something which never may arrive weakens the fibre of the mind, destroying that power of dwelling upon ideas which is the main source of vital health. The man who is continually thinking of tomorrow's enjoyment (excitement, more properly, for such men cannot enjoy) is like one who thinks of to-morrow's dinner in

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the middle of to-day's. Such a proceeding injures digestion. Sit easily at the banquet of life; drink the wine of thought with tranquil enjoyment; talk pleasantly with your neighbours at the table. If a mauvais quart d'heure de Rabelais is inevitable, by no means anticipate it. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof ... and sometimes more than sufficient.

In the village life which I desire to see, the classic character might possibly be developed. Such a community would give due honour to any man who did his work well : the great ploughman would be appreciated as well as the great orator or poet. In the Odyssey, when the immortal Ithacan disguised in his own palace as a beggar is annoyed by the insolence of Eurymachus, he tells him that he would like either to fight him or to plough against him a whole summer day. . The wisest and most patient of Greek heroes did not disdain to hold the plough. But the

tendency of neoteric education is to seize the future ploughman so soon as he is old enough to wear corduroys, and to teach him decimals and historic dates and mnemonics and geology and other things dear to Mr. Lowe and Professor Huxley : wherefore, in his adolescence, instead of a classic ploughman, you get a day-labourer with a smattering of half-forgotten knowledge that serves only to disgust him with his vocation. It is the same thing all through. If a man is to be a lawyer, they teach him chymistry. People are supposed to kuow the highest departments of the art they practise, but are found singularly deficient in the elements. There are not three orators in Parliament who can articulate. There are not three writers on the London press who can punctuate. There are not three poets who can rhyme. There are not three generals who thoroughly know geography.

At the foundation of the classic character

lies this impulse—to do the thing which a man best loves, not that which will


him best. By doing the work that is natural to you, you give your powers fair play: but as it is, we find men at the Bar who were meant for the Church, men writing criticisms who were designed to sweep crossings. One could laugh at these mistakes if they had not troublous results. Folly invariably begets disaster. I have in my short life—and, on my own theory, I am yet a mere boy-seen several monarchs and ministers at whom it was impossible to help laughing, yet who did mischief by no means laughable. There are not many points in which I agree with Mr. Buckle, but he assuredly was right in his opinion that a fool is more mischievous than a scoundrel. And a fool on a Throne or in a Cabinet ! We have seen such.

I venture to think that I know three men of classic character. Two are men of high patrician blood, born near the beginning of


the century. Each lives a calm and complete life, enjoying existence perfectly, fulfiling destiny without effort. One is a lover of brilliant society, wherein he takes an easy lead : the other, like his friend herein, is also the most intimate observer of animated nature that exists. Every bird in the air is his familiar acquaintance. He writes of them with an inimitably graphic pen. He knows their flight and feather on the instant. He knows all the fish in the streams, all wild creatures that haunt the woodlands. He lives his life : and, though he has definite reason for caring about the future, it does not trouble a temper so tranquil, a mind so nobly poised.

A third whose character I deem classic is a writer of novels which every reader of these pages will have read delightedly. They shall not be named here: let his publishers advertise them. He is also a charming poet; a charming translator of Greek and Latin poetry; and a gardener worthy, when he

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