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had an ugly trick of borrowing shirts; money with this remark: "You see what and yet they were better people to fall sometimes comes of looking pleased.” If among than Mr. Barnes. And though he had looked pleased before, he had now Falstaff was neither sober nor very hon- to look both pleased and mystified. For est, I think I could name one or two my part, I justify this encouragement of long-faced Barabbases whom the world smiling rather than tearful children; I do could better have done without. Hazlitt not wish to pay for tears anywhere but mentions that he was more sensible of ob- upon the stage; but I am prepared to deal ligation to Northcote, who had never largely in the opposite commodity. A done him anything he could call a ser- happy man or woman is a better thing vice, than to his whole circle of ostenta- to find than a five-pound note. He or tious friends; for he thought a good com- she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and panion emphatically the greatest bene- their entrance into a room is as though factor. I know there are people in the another candle had been lighted. We world who cannot feel grateful unless the need not care whether they could prove favor has been done them at the cost of the forty-seventh proposition; they do a pain and difficulty. But this is a churl- better thing than that, they practically ish disposition. A man may send you demonstrate the great Theorem of the six sheets of letter-paper covered with the Liveableness of Life. Consequently, if a most entertaining gossip, or you may pass person cannot be happy without remainhalf an hour pleasantly, perhaps profita- ing idle, idle he should remain. It is a bly, over an article of his; do you think revolutionary precept; but thanks to hunthe service would be greater, if he had ger and the workhouse, one not easily to made the manuscript in his heart's blood, be abused; and within practical limits, like a compact with the devil? Do you it is one of the most incontestable truths really fancy you should be more beholden in the whole Body of Morality. Look to your correspondent, if he had been
at one of your industrious fellows for a damning you all the while for your im- moment, I beseech you. He sows hurry portunity? Pleasures are
more benefi- and reaps indigestion; he puts a vast deal cial than duties because, like the quality of activity out to interest; and receives of mercy, they are not strained, and they a large measure of nervous derangement are twice blest. There must always be in return. Either he absents himself entwo to a kiss, and there may be a score tirely from all fellowship, and lives a rein a jest; but wherever there is an element cluse in a garret, with carpet slippers and of sacrifice, the favor is conferred with a leaden inkpot; or he comes among peopain, and, among generous people, re- ple swiftly and bitterly, in a contraction ceived with confusion. There is no duty of his whole nervous system, to discharge we so much underrate as the duty of be- some temper before he returns to work. ing happy. By being happy, we sow I do not care how much or how well he anonymous benefits upon the world, works, this fellow is an evil feature in which remain unknown even to ourselves, other people's lives. They would be hapor when they are disclosed, surprise no- pier if he were dead. They could easier body so much as the benefactor. The do without his services in the Circumloother day, a ragged, barefoot boy ran cution Office, than they can tolerate down the street after a marble, with so his fractious spirits. He poisons life jolly an air that he set every one he at the well-head. It is better to be passed into a good humor; one of these beggared out of hand by a scapegrace neppersons, who had been delivered from hew, than daily hag-ridden by a peevish more than usually black thoughts, stopped uncle. the little fellow and gave him some And what, in God's name, is all this
Three characters in Thackeray's The pother about? For what cause do they Newcomes.
embitter their own and other people's lives? That a man should publish three the qualities necessary for retailing it are or thirty articles a year, that he should neither rare nor precious in themselves. finish or not finish his great allegorical Alas and alas! you may take it how you picture, are questions of little interest to will, but the services of no single indithe world. The ranks of life are full; vidual are indispensable. Atlas was just and although a thousand fall, there are a gentleman with a protracted nightmare! always some to go into the breach. And yet you see merchants who go and When they told Joan of Arc she should labor themselves into a great fortune and be at home minding women's work, she thence into the bankruptcy court; scribanswered there were plenty to spin and blers who keep scribbling at little articles wash. And so, even with your own rare until their temper is a cross to all who gifts! When nature is “so careless of come about them, as though Pharaoh the single life," why should we coddle should set the Israelites to make a pin inourselves into the fancy that our own is stead of a pyramid; and fine young men of exceptional importance? Suppose who work themselves into a decline, and Shakespeare had been knocked on the are driven off in a hearse with white head some dark night in Sir Thomas plumes upon it. Would you not supLucy's preserves, the world would have
pose these persons had been whispered, wagged on better or worse, the pitcher by the Master of the Ceremonies, the gone to the well, the scythe to the corn, promise of some momentous destiny? and and the student to his book; and no one that this lukewarm bullet on which they been any the wiser of the loss. There play their farces was the bull's-eye and are not many works extant, if you look centrepoint of all the universe ? And the alternative all over, which are worth yet it is not so. The ends for which they the price of a pound of tobacco to a man give away their priceless youth, for all of limited means. This is a sobering re- they know, may be chimerical or hurtful; flection for the proudest of our earthly the glory and riches they expect may vanities. Even a tobacconist may, upon never come, or may find them indiffer consideration, find no great cause for ent; and they and the world they inhabit personal vainglory in the phrase; for al- are so inconsiderable that the mind though tobacco is an admirable sedative, I freezes at the thought.
ON SANDALS AND SIMPLICITY 1
GILBERT K. CHESTERTON
Gilbert K. Chesterton, (1874- ) an orthodox Roman Catholic, is the defender of medieval Europe in the England of to-day. Whereas Ruskin looked back at the Middle Ages chiefly as a period of interest to the student, Chesterton regards them as furnishing the best ideals of art, of society, and of religion for the present generation. His ironical style is brilliant through the use of paradox, exaggeration, and surprise. A reader of Heretics (1905), from which “On Sandals and Simplicity" has been chosen, must not allow Chesterton's brilliant pyrotechnics to blind his eyes to the serious criticism of our modern life.
The great misfortune of the modern of without losing them. A Frenchman English is not at all that they are more can be proud of being bold and logical, boastful than other people (they are not); and still remain bold and logical. A it is that they are boastful about those German can be proud of being reflective particular things which nobody can boast and orderly, and still remain reflective 1 From Heretics by Gilbert K. Chesterton.
and orderly. But an Englishman canPublished by Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc.
not be proud of being simple and direct Reprinted by permission.
and still remain simple and direct. In
the matter of these strange virtues, to in need of the contrary. They would know them is to kill them. A man may be improved by high living and plain be conscious of being heroic or conscious thinking. A little high living (I say, of being divine, but he cannot (in spite having a full sense of responsibility, a of all the Anglo-Saxon poets) be con- little high living) would teach them the scious of being unconscious.
force and meaning of the human festiviNow, I do not think that it can be hon- ties, of the banquet that has gone on estly denied that some portion of this from the beginning of the world. It impossibility attaches to a class very dif- would teach them the historic fact that ferent in their own opinion, at least, to the artificial is, if anything, older than the school of Anglo-Saxonism. I mean the natural. It would teach them that that school of the simple life, commonly the loving-cup is as old as any hunger. associated with Tolstoy. If a perpetual It would teach them that ritualism is talk about one's own robustness leads older than any religion. And a little to being less robust, it is
plain thinking would teach them how more true that a perpetual talking about harsh and fanciful are the mass of their one's own simplicity leads to being less own ethics, how very civilized and very simple. One great complaint, I think, complicated must be the brain of the must stand against the modern upholders Tolstoyan who really believes it to be of the simple life-the simple life in all evil to love one's country and wicked to its varied forms, from vegetarianism to strike a blow. the honorable consistency of the Douk
A man approaches, wearing sandals hobors. This complaint against them and simple raiment, a raw tomato held stands, that they would make us simple firmly in his right hand, and says, “The in the unimportant things, but complex affections of family and country alike in the important things. They would are hindrances to the fuller development make us simple in the things that do not of human love"; but the plain thinker matter-that is, in diet, in costume, in will only answer him, with a wonder not etiquette, in economic system. But they untinged with admiration, "What a great would make us complex in the things that deal of trouble you must have taken in do matter-in philosophy, in loyalty, in order to feel like that.” High living spiritual acceptance, and spiritual rejec- will reject the tomato. Plain thinking tion. It does not so very much matter will equally decisively reject the idea of whether a man eats a grilled tomato or a the invariable sinfulness of war. High plain tomato; it does very much matter living will convince us that nothing is whether he eats a plain tomato with a more materialistic than to despise a grilled mind. The only kind of simplic-pleasure as purely material. And plain ity worth preserving is the simplicity thinking will convince us that nothing is of the heart, the simplicity which accepts more materialistic than to reserve
doubt as to what system preserves this; | 10 The only simplicity that matters is the
there can surely be no doubt that a sys- simplicity of the heart. If that be gone, tem of simplicity destroys it. There is it can be brought back by no turnips or more simplicity in the man who eats cellular clothing; but only by tears and caviar on impulse than in the man who terror and the fires that are not quenched. eats grape-nuts on principle.
If that remain, it matters very little if a The chief error of these people is to be few Early Victorian armchairs remain found in the very phrase to which they along with it. Let us put a complex are most attached -"plain living and high entrée into a simple old gentleman; let thinking.” These people do not stand us not put a simple entrée into a complex in need of, will not be improved by, plain old gentleman. So long as human sociliving and high thinking. They stand ety will leave my spiritual inside alone, I will allow it, with a comparative sub- In this matter, then, as in all the other mission, to work its wild will with my matters treated in this book, our main physical interior. I will submit to cigars. conclusion is that it is a fundamental I will meekly embrace a bottle of Bur- point of view, a philosophy or religion gundy. I will humble myself to a han- which is needed, and not any change in som cab. If only by this means I may habit or social routine. The things we preserve to myself the virginity of the need most for immediate practical purspirit, which enjoys with astonishment poses are all abstractions. We need a and fear. I do not say that these are right view of the human lot, a right view the only methods of preserving it. I in- of the human society, and if we were cline to the belief that there are others. living eagerly and angrily in the enBut I will have nothing to do with sim- thusiasm of those things, we should, ipso plicity which lacks the fear, the astonish-facto, be living simply in the genuine ment, and the joy alike. I will have and spiritual sense.
Desire and danger nothing to do with the devilish vision make every one simple. And to those of a child who is too simple to like who talk to us with interfering eloquence toys.
about Jaeger and the pores of the skin, The child is, indeed, in these, and and about Plasmon and the coats of the many other matters, the best guide. And stomach, at them shall only be hurled in nothing is the child so righteously the words that are hurled at fops and childlike, in nothing does he exhibit more gluttons, "Take no thought what ye shall accurately the sounder order of simplic- eat or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ity, than in the fact that he sees every- ye shall be clothed. For after all these thing with a simple pleasure, even the things do the Gentiles seek. But seek complex things. The false type of first the kingdom of God and His rightnaturalness harps always on the distinc- eousness, and all these things shall be tion between the natural and the artifi- added unto you.” Those amazing words cial. The higher kind of naturalness are not only extraordinarily good, pracignores that distinction. To the child tical politics; they are also superlatively the tree and the lamp-post are as natural good hygiene. The one supreme way of and as artificial as each other; or rather, making all those processes go right, the neither of them are natural but both processes of health, and strength, and supernatural. For both are splendid and grace, and beauty, the one and only way unexplained. The flower with which of making certain of their accuracy, is to God crowns the one, and the flame with think about something else. If a man which Sam the lamp-lighter crowns the is bent on climbing into the seventh other, are equally of the gold of fairy- | heaven, he may be quite easy about the tales. In the middle of the wildest fields pores of his skin. If he harnesses his the most rustic child is, ten to one, play- wagon to a star, the process will have a ing at steam-engines. And the only spir- most satisfactory effect upon the coats of itual or philosophical objection to steam- his stomach. For the thing called "takengines is not that men pay for them or ing thought,” the thing for which the best work at them, or make them very ugly, modern work is "rationalizing," is in its or even that men are killed by them; but nature, inapplicable to all plain and urmerely that men do not play at them. gent things. Men take thought and ponThe evil is that the childish poetry of der rationalistically, touching remote clockwork does not remain. The wrong things things that only
-theoretically is not that engines are too much admired, matter, such as the transit of Venus. but that they are not admired enough. But only at their peril can men rationThe sin is not that engines are mechani- alize about so practical a matter as cal, but that men are mechanical.
THE TORYISM OF TRAVELERS 1
SAMUEL McCHORD CROTHERS
It is rather strange that the literary traditions of old Boston-the earnest culture, the whimsical imagination, the pleasant aloofness from the mad rush of the Gilded Age, which the names Emerson, Holmes, Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Lowell conjure up-should be maintained not by a scion of the old stock, not even by an offshoot of provincial Massachusetts (which is all Commonwealth territory eighteen miles or more from Boston!), but by an adopted son from Illinois. Samuel McChord Crothers (1857- ) since his call in 1894 to the pastorate of the First Unitarian Church of Cambridge has kept alive that alluring literature in which is a restrained joy in beauty, humor, even sadness and all the unevenness of earth. The delightful whimsicality of Elia and the genial optimism of the Autocrat invest Mr. Crothers' essays with a charm that defies analysis.
Now that the familiar essay is again coming into its own, such a volume as Humanly Speaking (1912), from which “The Toryism of Travelers" is taken, is hailed as the champion of a tradition whose termination would mean an inestimable loss to American literature.
When we think of a thorough-going traveler who sets out to see historic lands. conservative we are likely to picture him His natural love of change is satiated by as a stay-at-home person, a barnacle fas- rapid change of locality.
rapid change of locality. But his natural tened to one spot. We take for granted conservatism asserts itself in his insistthat aversion to locomotion and aversion ence that the places which he visits shall to change are the same thing. But in be true to their own reputations. Havthinking thus we leave out of account the ing journeyed, at considerable expense, to inherent instability of human nature. a celebrated spot, he wants to see the Everybody likes a little change now and thing it was celebrated for, and he will then. If a person cannot get it in one accept no substitute. From his point of way, he gets it in another. The stay-at- view the present inhabitants are merely home gratifies his wandering fancy by caretakers who should not be allowed to making little alterations in his too-famil- disturb the remains intrusted to their iar surroundings. Even the Vicar of custody. Everything must be kept as it Wakefield in the days of his placid pros- used to be. perity would occasionally migrate from The moment any one packs his trunk the blue bed to the brown. A life that and puts money in his purse to visit lands had such vicissitudes could not be called old in story he becomes a hopeless reacuneventful.
tionary. He is sallying forth to see When you read the weekly newspaper things not as they are, but as they were published in the quietest hill town in "once upon a time.” He is attracted to Vermont, you become aware that a great certain localities by something which hapdeal is going on. Deacon Pratt shingled pened long ago. A great many things his barn last week. Miss Maria Jones may have happened since, but these must had new shutters put on her house, and it be put out of the way. One period of is a great improvement. These revolu- time must be preserved to satisfy his rotions in Goshenville are matters of keen mantic imagination. He loves the good interest to those concerned. They fur- | old ways, and he has a curiosity to see nish inexhaustible material for conversa- the bad old ways that may still be pretion.
served. It is only the modern that ofThe true enemy to innovation is the fends him.
The American who, in his own coun1 From Humanly Speaking by Samuel Mc- try, is in feverish haste to improve conChord Crothers. Reprinted by permission of,
ditions, when he sets foot in Europe beand by special arrangement with, Houghton Mifflin Company, publishers, and Samuel Mc
comes the fanatical foe to progress. The Chord Crothers, author.
Old World, in his judgment, ought to