The Project Gutenberg EBook of Post-Prandial Philosophy, by Grant Allen

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Title: Post-Prandial Philosophy

Author: Grant Allen

Release Date: July 8, 2006 [EBook #18788]

Language: English

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These Essays appeared originally in The Westminster Gazette, and have only been so far modified here as is necessary for purposes of volume publication. They aim at being suggestive rather than exhaustive: I shall be satisfied if I have provoked thought without following out each train to a logical conclusion. Most of the Essays are just what they pretend to be—crystallisations into writing of ideas suggested in familiar conversation.

G. A.

  Hind Head, March 1894.































EYE versus EAR

























A distinguished Positivist friend of mine, who is in most matters a practical man of the world, astonished me greatly the other day at Venice, by the grave remark that Italian was destined to be the language of the future. I found on inquiry he had inherited the notion direct from Auguste Comte, who justified it on the purely sentimental and unpractical ground that the tongue of Dante had never yet been associated with any great national defeat or disgrace. The idea surprised me not a little; because it displays such a profound misconception of what language is, and why people use it. The speech of the world will not be decided on mere grounds of sentiment: the tongue that survives will not survive because it is so admirably adapted for the manufacture of rhymes or epigrams. Stern need compels. Frenchmen and Germans, in congress assembled, and looking about them for a means of intercommunication, might indeed agree to accept Italian then and there as an international compromise. But congresses don't make or unmake the habits of everyday life; and the growth or spread of a language is a thing as much beyond our deliberate human control as the rise or fall of the barometer.

My friend's remark, however, set me thinking and watching what are really the languages now gaining and spreading over the civilised world; it set me speculating what will be the outcome of this gain and spread in another half century. And the results are these: Vastly the most growing and absorbing of all languages at the present moment is the English, which is almost everywhere swallowing up the overflow of German, Scandinavian, Dutch, and Russian. Next to it, probably, in point of vitality, comes Spanish, which is swallowing up the overflow of French, Italian, and the other Latin races. Third, perhaps, ranks Russian, destined to become in time the spoken tongue of a vast tract in Northern and Central Asia. Among non-European languages, three seem to be gaining fast: Chinese, Malay, Arabic. Of the doomed tongues, on the other hand, the most hopeless is French, which is losing all round; while Italian, German, and Dutch are either quite at a standstill or slightly retrograding. The world is now round. By the middle of the twentieth century, in all probability, English will be its dominant speech; and the English-speaking peoples, a heterogeneous conglomerate of all nationalities, will control between them the destinies of mankind. Spanish will be the language of half the populous southern hemisphere. Russian will spread over a moiety of Asia. Chinese, Malay, Arabic, will divide among themselves the less civilised parts of Africa and the East. But French, German, and Italian will be insignificant and dwindling European dialects, as numerically unimportant as Flemish or Danish in our own day.

And why? Not because Shakespeare wrote in English, but because the English language has already got a firm hold of all those portions of the earth's surface which are most absorbing the overflow of European populations. Germans and Scandinavians and Russians emigrate by the thousand now to all parts of the United States and the north-west of Canada. In the first generation they may still retain their ancestral speech; but their children have all to learn English. In Australia and New Zealand the same thing is happening. In South Africa Dutch had got a footing, it is true; but it is fast losing it. The newcomers learn English, and though the elder Boers stick with Boer conservatism to their native tongue, young Piet and young Paul find it pays them better to know and speak the language of commerce—the language of Cape Town, of Kimberley, of the future. The reason is the same throughout. Whenever two tongues come to be spoken in the same area one of them is sure to be more useful in business than the other. Every French-Canadian who wishes to do things on a large scale is obliged to speak English. So is the Creole in Louisiana; so earlier were the Knickerbocker Dutch in New York. Once let English get in, and it beats all competing languages fairly out of the field in a couple of generations.

Like influences favour Spanish in South America and elsewhere. English has annexed most of North America, Australia, South Africa, the Pacific; Spanish has annexed South America, Central America, the Philippines, Cuba, and a few other places. For the most part these areas are less suited than the English-speaking districts for colonisation by North Europeans; but they absorb a large number of Italians and other Mediterranean races, who all learn Spanish in the second generation. As to the other dominant languages, the points in their favour are different. Conquest and administrative needs are spreading Russian over the steppes of Asia; the Arab merchant and the growth of Mahommedanism are importing Arabic far into the heart of Africa; the Chinaman is carrying his own monosyllables with him to California, Australia, Singapore. These tongues in future will divide the world between them.

The German who leaves Germany becomes an Anglo-American. The Italian who leaves Italy becomes a Spanish-American.

There is another and still more striking way of looking at the rapid increase of English. No other language will carry you through so many ports in the world. It suffices for London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Southampton, Cardiff; for New York, Boston, Montreal, Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco; for Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Honolulu; for Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Kurrachi, Singapore, Colombo, Cape Town, Mauritius. Spanish with Cadiz, Barcelona, Havana, Callao, Valparaiso, cannot touch that record; nor can French with Marseilles, Bordeaux, Havre, Algiers, Antwerp, Tahiti. The most commercially useful language in the world, thus widely diffused in so many great mercantile and shipping centres, is certain to win in the struggle for existence among the tongues of the future.

The old Mediterranean civilisation teaches us a useful lesson in this respect. Two languages dominated the Mediterranean basin. The East spoke Greek, not because Plato and Æschylus spoke Greek, but because Greek was the tongue of the great commercial centres—of Athens, Syracuse, Alexandria, Antioch, Byzantium. The West spoke Latin, not because Catullus and Virgil spoke Latin, but because Latin was the administrative tongue, the tongue of Rome, of Italy, and later of Gaul, of Spain, of the great towns in Dacia, Pannonia, Britain. Whoever wanted to do anything on the big scale then, had to speak Greek or Latin; so much so that the native languages of Gaul and Spain died utterly out, and Latin dialects are now the spoken tongue in all southern Europe. In our own time, again, educated Hindoos from different parts of India have to use English as a means of intercommunication; and native merchants must write their business correspondence with distant houses in English. To put an extreme contrast: in the last century French was spoken by far more people than English; at the present day French is only just keeping up its numbers in France, is losing in Canada and the United States, is not advancing to any extent in Africa. English is spoken by a hundred million people in Europe and America; is over-running Africa; has annexed Australasia and the Pacific Isles; has ousted, or is ousting, Dutch at the Cape, French in Louisiana, even Spanish itself in Florida, California, New Mexico. In Egyptian mud villages, the aspiring Copt, who once learnt French, now learns English. In Scandinavia, our tongue gains ground daily. Everywhere in the world it takes the lead among the European languages, and by the middle of the next century will no doubt be spoken over half the globe by a cosmopolitan mass of five hundred million people.

And all on purely Darwinian principles! It is the best adapted tongue, and therefore it survives in the struggle for existence. It is the easiest to learn, at least orally. It has got rid of the effete rubbish of genders; simplified immensely its declensions and conjugations; thrown overboard most of the nonsensical ballast we know as grammar. It is only weighted now by its grotesque and ridiculous spelling—one of the absurdest among all the absurd English attempts at compromise. The pressure of the newer speakers will compel it to make jetsam of that lumber also; and then the tongue of Shelley and Newton will march onward unopposed to the conquest of humanity.

I pen these remarks, I hope, "without prejudice." Patriotism is a vulgar vice of which I have never been guilty.



Aristocracies, as a rule, all the world over, consist, and have always consisted, of barbaric conquerors or their descendants, who remain to the last, on the average of instances, at a lower grade of civilisation and morals than the democracy they live among.

I know this view is to some extent opposed to the common ideas of people at large (and especially of that particular European people which "dearly loves a lord") as to the relative position of aristocracies and democracies in the sliding scale of human development. There is a common though wholly unfounded belief knocking about the world, that the aristocrat is better in intelligence, in culture, in arts, in manners, than the ordinary plebeian. The fact is, being, like all barbarians, a boastful creature, he has gone on so long asserting his own profound superiority by birth to the world around him—a superiority as of fine porcelain to common clay—that the world around him has at last actually begun to accept him at his own valuation. Most English people in particular think that a lord is born a better judge of pictures and wines and books and deportment than the human average of us. But history shows us the exact opposite. It is a plain historical fact, provable by simple enumeration, that almost all the aristocracies the world has ever known have taken their rise in the conquest of civilised and cultivated races by barbaric invaders; and that the barbaric invaders have seldom or never learned the practical arts and handicrafts which are the civilising element in the life of the conquered people around them.

To begin with the aristocracies best known to most of us, the noble families of modern and mediæval Europe sprang, as a whole, from the Teutonic invasion of the Roman Empire. In Italy, it was the Lombards and the Goths who formed the bulk of the great ruling families; all the well-known aristocratic names of mediæval Italy are without exception Teutonic. In Gaul it was the rude Frank who gave the aristocratic element to the mixed nationality, while it was the civilised and cultivated Romano-Celtic provincial who became, by fate, the mere roturier. The great revolution, it has been well said, was, ethnically speaking, nothing more than the revolt of the Celtic against the Teutonic fraction; and, one might add also, the revolt of the civilised Romanised serf against the barbaric seigneur. In Spain, the hidalgo is just the hi d'al Go, the son of the Goth, the descendant of those rude Visigothic conquerors who broke down the old civilisation of Iberian and Romanised Hispania. And so on throughout. All over Europe, if you care to look close, you will find the aristocrat was the son of the intrusive barbarian; the democrat was the son of the old civilised and educated autochthonous people.

It is just the same elsewhere, wherever we turn. Take Greece, for example. Its most aristocratic state was undoubtedly Sparta, where a handful of essentially barbaric Dorians held in check a much larger and Helotised population of higher original civilisation. Take the East: the Persian was a wild mountain adventurer who imposed himself as an aristocrat upon the far more cultivated Babylonian, Assyrian, and Egyptian. The same sort of thing had happened earlier in time in Babylonia and Assyria themselves, where barbaric conquerors had similarly imposed themselves upon the first known historical civilisations. Take India under the Moguls, once more; the aristocracy of the time consisted of the rude Mahommedan Tartar, who lorded it over the ancient enchorial culture of Rajpoot and Brahmin. Take China: the same thing over again—a Tartar horde imposing its savage rule over the most ancient civilised people of Asia. Take England: its aristocracy at different times has consisted of the various barbaric invaders, first the Anglo-Saxon (if I must use that hateful and misleading word)—a pirate from Sleswick; then the Dane, another pirate from Denmark direct; then the Norman, a yet younger Danish pirate, with a thin veneer of early French culture, who came over from Normandy to better himself after just two generations of Christian apprenticeship. Go where you will, it matters not where you look; from the Aztec in Mexico to the Turk at Constantinople or the Arab in North Africa, the aristocrat belongs invariably to a lower race than the civilised people whom he has conquered and subjugated.

"That may be true, perhaps," you object, "as to the remote historical origin of aristocracies; but surely the aristocrat of later generations has acquired all the science, all the art, all the polish of the people he lives amongst. He is the flower of their civilisation." Don't you believe it! There isn't a word of truth in it. From first to last the aristocrat remains, what Matthew Arnold so justly called him, a barbarian. I often wonder, indeed, whether Arnold himself really recognised the literal and actual truth of his own brilliant generalisation. For the aristocratic ideas and the aristocratic pursuits remain to the very end essentially barbaric. The "gentleman" never soils his high-born hands with dirty work; in other words, he holds himself severely aloof from the trades and handicrafts which constitute civilisation. The arts that train and educate hand, eye, and brain he ignorantly despises. In the early middle ages he did not even condescend to read and write, those inferior accomplishments being badges of serfdom. If you look close at the "occupations of a gentleman" in the present day, you will find they are all of purely barbaric character. They descend to us direct from the semi-savage invaders who overthrew the structure of the Roman empire, and replaced its civilised organisation by the military and barbaric system of feudalism. The "gentleman" is above all things a fighter, a hunter, a fisher—he preserves the three simplest and commonest barbaric functions. He is not a practiser of any civilised or civilising art—a craftsman, a maker, a worker in metal, in stone, in textile fabrics, in pottery. These are the things that constitute civilisation; but the aristocrat does none of them; in the famous words of one who now loves to mix with English gentlemen, "he toils not, neither does he spin." The things he may do are, to fight by sea and land, like his ancestor the Goth and his ancestor the Viking; to slay pheasant and partridge, like his predatory forefathers; to fish for salmon in the Highlands; to hunt the fox, to sail the yacht, to scour the earth in search of great game—lions, elephants, buffalo. His one task is to kill—either his kind or his quarry.

Observe, too, the essentially barbaric nature of the gentleman's home—his trappings, his distinctive marks, his surroundings, his titles. He lives by choice in the wildest country, like his skin-clad ancestors, demanding only that there be game and foxes and fish for his delectation. He loves the moors, the wolds, the fens, the braes, the Highlands, not as the painter, the naturalist, or the searcher after beauty of scenery loves them—for the sake of their wild life, their heather and bracken, their fresh keen air, their boundless horizon—but for the sake of the thoroughly barbarous existence he and his dogs and his gillies can lead in them. The fact is, neither he nor his ancestors have ever been really civilised. Barbarians in the midst of an industrial community, they have lived their own life of slaying and playing, untouched by the culture of the world below them. Knights in the middle ages, squires in the eighteenth century, they have never received a tincture of the civilising arts and crafts and industries; they have fought and fished and hunted in uninterrupted succession since the days when wild in woods the noble savage ran, to the days when they pay extravagant rents for Scottish grouse moors. Their very titles are barbaric and military—knight and earl and marquis and duke, early crystallised names for leaders in war or protectors of the frontier. Their crests and coats of arms are but the totems of their savage predecessors, afterwards utilised by mediæval blacksmiths as distinguishing marks for the summit of a helmet. They decorate their halls with savage trophies of the chase, like the Zulu or the Red Indian; they hang up captured arms and looted Chinese jars from the Summer Palace in their semi-civilised drawing-rooms. They love to be surrounded by grooms and gamekeepers and other barbaric retainers; they pass their lives in the midst of serfs; their views about the position and rights of women—especially the women of the "lower orders"—are frankly African. They share the sentiments of Achilles as to the individuality of Chryseis and Briseis.

Such is the actual aristocrat, as we now behold him. Thus, living his own barbarous life in the midst of a civilised community of workers and artists and thinkers and craftsmen, with whom he seldom mingles, and with whom he has nothing in common, this chartered relic of worse days preserves from first to last many painful traits of the low moral and social ideas of his ancestors, from which he has never varied. He represents most of all, in the modern world, the surviving savage. His love of gewgaws, of titles, of uniform, of dress, of feathers, of decorations, of Highland kilts, and stars and garters, is but one external symbol of his lower grade of mental and moral status. All over Europe, the truly civilised classes have gone on progressing by the practice of peaceful arts from generation to generation; but the aristocrat has stood still at the same half-savage level, a hunter and fighter, an orgiastic roysterer, a killer of wild boars and wearer of absurd mediæval costumes, too childish for the civilised and cultivated commoner.

Government by aristocrats is thus government by the mentally and morally inferior. And yet—a Bill for giving at last some scant measure of self-government to persecuted Ireland has to run the gauntlet, in our nineteenth-century England, of an irresponsible House of hereditary barbarians!



I mean what I say: science in education, not education in science.

It is the last of these that all the scientific men of England have so long been fighting for. And a very good thing it is in its way, and I hope they may get as much as they want of it. But compared to the importance of science in education, education in science is a matter of very small national moment.

The difference between the two is by no means a case of tweedledum and tweedledee. Education in science means the systematic teaching of science so as to train up boys to be scientific men. Now scientific men are exceedingly useful members of a community; and so are engineers, and bakers, and blacksmiths, and artists, and chimney-sweeps. But we can't all be bakers, and we can't all be painters in water-colours. There is a dim West Country legend to the effect that the inhabitants of the Scilly Isles eke out a precarious livelihood by taking in one another's washing. As a matter of practical political economy, such a source of income is worse than precarious—it's frankly impossible. "It takes all sorts to make a world." A community entirely composed of scientific men would fail to feed itself, clothe itself, house itself, and keep itself supplied with amusing light literature. In one word, education in science produces specialists; and specialists, though most useful and valuable persons in their proper place, are no more the staple of a civilised community than engine-drivers or ballet-dancers.

What the world at large really needs, and will one day get, is not this, but due recognition of the true value of science in education. We don't all want to be made into first-class anatomists like Owen, still less into first-class practical surgeons, like Sir Henry Thompson. But what we do all want is a competent general knowledge (amongst other things) of anatomy at large, and especially of human anatomy; of physiology at large, and especially of human physiology. We don't all want to be analytical chemists: but what we do all want is to know as much about oxygen and carbon as will enable us to understand the commonest phenomena of combustion, of chemical combination, of animal or vegetable life. We don't all want to be zoologists, and botanists of the type who put their names after "critical species:" but what we do all want to know is as much about plants and animals as will enable us to walk through life intelligently, and to understand the meaning of the things that surround us. We want, in one word, a general acquaintance with the results rather than with the methods of science.

"In short," says the specialist, with his familiar sneer, "you want a smattering."

Well, yes, dear Sir Smelfungus, if it gives you pleasure to put it so—just that; a smattering, an all-round smattering. But remember that in this matter the man of science is always influenced by ideas derived from his own pursuits as specialist. He is for ever thinking what sort of education will produce more specialists in future; and as a rule he is thinking what sort of education will produce men capable in future of advancing science. Now to advance science, to discover new snails, or invent new ethyl compounds, is not and cannot be the main object of the mass of humanity. What the mass wants is just unspecialised knowledge—the kind of knowledge that enables men to get comfortably and creditably and profitably through life, to meet emergencies as they rise, to know their way through the world, to use their faculties in all circumstances to the best advantage. And for this purpose what is wanted is, not the methods, but the results of science.

One science, and one only, is rationally taught in our schools at present. I mean geography. And the example of geography is so eminently useful for illustrating the difference I am trying to point out, that I will venture to dwell upon it for a moment in passing. It is good for us all to know that the world is round, without its being necessary for every one of us to follow in detail the intricate reasoning by which that result has been arrived at. It is good for us all to know the position of New York and Rio and Calcutta on the map, without its being necessary for us to understand, far less to work out for ourselves, the observations and calculations which fixed their latitude and longitude. Knowledge of the map is a good thing in itself, though it is a very different thing indeed from the technical knowledge which enables a man to make a chart of an unknown region, or to explore and survey it. Furthermore, it is a form of knowledge far more generally useful. A fair acquaintance with the results embodied in the atlas, in the gazetteer, in Baedeker, and in Bradshaw, is much oftener useful to us on our way through the world than a special acquaintance with the methods of map-making. It would be absurd to say that because a man is not going to be a Stanley or a Nansen, therefore it is no good for him to learn geography. It would be absurd to say that unless he learned geography in accordance with its methods instead of its results, he could have but a smattering, and that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A little knowledge of the position of New York is indeed a dangerous thing, if a man uses it to navigate a Cunard vessel across the Atlantic. But the absence of the smattering is a much more dangerous and fatal thing if the man wishes to do business with the Argentine and the Transvaal, or to enter into practical relations of any sort with anybody outside his own parish. The results of geography are useful and valuable in themselves, quite apart from the methods employed in obtaining them.

It is just the same with all the other sciences. There is nothing occult or mysterious about them. No just cause or impediment exists why we should insist on being ignorant of the orbits of the planets because we cannot ourselves make the calculations for determining them; no reason why we should insist on being ignorant of the classification of plants and animals because we don't feel able ourselves to embark on anatomical researches which would justify us in coming to original conclusions about them. I know the mass of scientific opinion has always gone the other way; but then scientific opinion means only the opinion of men of science, who are themselves specialists, and who think most of the education needed to make men specialists, not of the education needed to fit them for the general exigencies and emergencies of life. We don't want authorities on the Cucurbitaceæ, but well-informed citizens. Professor Huxley is not our best guide in these matters, but Mr. Herbert Spencer, who long ago, in his book on Education, sketched out a radical programme of instruction in that knowledge which is of most worth, such as no country, no college, no school in Europe has ever yet been bold enough to put into practice.

What common sense really demands, then, is education in the main results of all the sciences—a knowledge of what is known, not necessarily a knowledge of each successive step by which men came to know it. At present, of course, in all our schools in England there is no systematic teaching of knowledge at all; what replaces it is a teaching of the facts of language, and for the most part of useless facts, or even of exploded fictions. Our public schools, especially (by which phrase we never mean real public schools like the board schools at all, but merely schools for the upper and the middle classes) are in their existing stage primarily great gymnasiums—very good things, too, in their way, against which I have not a word of blame; and, secondarily, places for imparting a sham and imperfect knowledge of some few philological facts about two extinct languages. Pupils get a smattering of Homer and Cicero. That is literally all the equipment for life that the cleverest and most industrious boys can ever take away from them. The sillier or idler don't take away even that. As to the "mental training" argument, so often trotted out, it is childish enough not to be worth answering. Which is most practically useful to us in life—knowledge of Latin grammar or knowledge of ourselves and the world we live in, physical, social, moral? That is the question.

The truth is, schoolmastering in Britain has become a vast vested interest in the hands of men who have nothing to teach us. They try to bolster up their vicious system by such artificial arguments as the "mental training" fallacy. Forced to admit the utter uselessness of the pretended knowledge they impart, they fall back upon the plea of its supposed occult value as intellectual discipline. They say in effect:—"This sawdust we offer you contains no food, we know: but then see how it strengthens the jaws to chew it!" Besides, look at our results! The typical John Bull! pig-headed, ignorant, brutal. Are we really such immense successes ourselves that we must needs perpetuate the mould that warped us?

The one fatal charge brought against the public school system is that "after all, it turns out English gentlemen!"



"Alas, how easily things go wrong!" says Dr. George MacDonald. And all the world over, when things do go wrong, the natural and instinctive desire of the human animal is—to find a scapegoat. When the great French nation in the lump embarks its capital in a hopeless scheme for cutting a canal through the Isthmus of Panama, and then finds out too late that Nature has imposed insuperable barriers to its completion on the projected scale—what does the great French nation do, in its collective wisdom, but turn round at once to rend the directors? It cries, "A Mazas!" just as in '71 it cried "Bazaine à la lanterne!" I don't mean to say the directors don't deserve all they have got or ever will get, and perhaps more also; I don't mean to deny corruption extraordinary in many high places; as a rule the worst that anybody alleges about anything is only a part of what might easily be alleged if we were all in the secret. Which of us, indeed, would 'scape whipping? But what I do mean is, that we should never have heard of Reinach or Herz, of the corruption and peculation, at all if things had gone well. It is the crash that brought them out. The nation wants a scapegoat. "Ain't nobody to be whopped for this 'ere?" asked Mr. Sam Weller on a critical occasion. The question embodies the universal impulse of humanity.

Tracing the feeling back to its origin, it seems due to this: minds of the lower order can never see anything go wrong without experiencing a certain sense of resentment; and resentment, by its very nature, desires to vent itself upon some living and sentient creature, by preference a fellow human being. When the child, running too fast, falls and hurts itself, it gets instantly angry. "Naughty ground to hurt baby!" says the nurse: "Baby hit it and hurt it." And baby promptly hits it back, with vicious little fist, feeling every desire to revenge itself. By-and-by, when baby grows older and learns that the ground can't feel to speak of, he wants to put the blame upon somebody else, in order to have an object to expend his rage upon. "You pushed me down!" he says to his playmate, and straightway proceeds to punch his playmate's head for it—not because he really believes the playmate did it, but because he feels he must have some outlet for his resentment. When once resentment is roused, it will expend its force on anything that turns up handy, as the man who has quarrelled with his wife about a question of a bonnet, will kick his dog for trying to follow him to the club as he leaves her.

The mob, enraged at the death of Cæsar, meets Cinna the poet in the streets of Rome. "Your name, sir?" inquires the Third Citizen. "Truly, my name is Cinna," says the unsuspecting author. "Tear him to pieces!" cries the mob; "he's a conspirator!" "I am Cinna the poet," pleads the unhappy man; "I am not Cinna the conspirator!" But the mob does not heed such delicate distinctions at such a moment. "Tear him for his bad verses!" it cries impartially. "Tear him for his bad verses!"

Whatever sort of misfortune falls upon persons of the lower order of intelligence is always met in the same spirit. Especially is this the case with the deaths of relatives. Fools who have lost a friend invariably blame somebody for his fatal illness. To hear many people talk, you would suppose they were unaware of the familiar proposition that all men are mortal (including women); you might imagine they thought an ordinary human constitution was calculated to survive nine hundred and ninety-nine years unless some evil-disposed person or persons took the trouble beforehand to waylay and destroy it. "My poor father was eighty-seven when he died; and he would have been alive still if it weren't for that nasty Mrs. Jones: she put him into a pair of damp sheets." Or, "My husband would never have caught the cold that killed him, if that horrid man Brown hadn't kept him waiting so long in the carriage at the street corner." The doctor has to bear the brunt of most such complaints; indeed, it is calculated by an eminent statistician (who desires his name to remain unpublished) that eighty-three per cent. of the deaths in Great Britain might easily have been averted if the patient had only been treated in various distinct ways by all the members of his family, and if that foolish Dr. Squills hadn't so grossly mistaken and mistreated his malady.

The fact is, the death is regarded as a misfortune, and somebody must be blamed for it. Heaven has provided scapegoats. The doctor and the hostile female members of the family are always there—laid on, as it were, for the express purpose.

With us in modern Europe, resentment in such cases seldom goes further than vague verbal outbursts of temper. We accuse Mrs. Jones of misdemeanours with damp sheets; but we don't get so far as to accuse her of tricks with strychnine. In the Middle Ages, however, the pursuit of the scapegoat ran a vast deal further. When any great one died—a Black Prince or a Dauphin—it was always assumed on all hands that he must have been poisoned. True, poisoning may then have been a trifle more frequent; certainly the means of detecting it were far less advanced than in the days of Tidy and Lauder Brunton. Still, people must often have died natural deaths even in the Middle Ages—though nobody believed it. All the world began to speculate what Jane Shore could have poisoned them. A little earlier, again, it was not the poisoner that was looked for, but his predecessor, the sorcerer. Whoever fell ill, somebody had bewitched him. Were the cattle diseased? Then search for the evil eye. Did the cows yield no milk? Some neighbour, doubtless, knew the reason only too well, and could be forced to confess it by liberal use of the thumb-screw and the ducking-stool. No misfortune was regarded as due to natural causes; for in their philosophy there were no such things as natural causes at all; whatever ill-luck came, somebody had contrived it; so you had always your scapegoat ready to hand to punish. The Athenians, indeed, kept a small collection of public scapegoats always in stock, waiting to be sacrificed at a moment's notice.

More even than that. Go one step further back, and you will find that man in his early stages has no conception of such a thing as natural death in any form. He doesn't really know that the human organism is wound up like a clock to run at best for so many years, or months, or hours, and that even if nothing unexpected happens to cut short its course prematurely, it can only run out its allotted period. Within his own experience, almost all the deaths that occur are violent deaths, and have been brought about by human agency or by the attacks of wild beasts. There you have a cause with whose action and operation the savage is personally familiar; and it is the only one he believes in. Even old age is in his eyes no direct cause of death; for when his relations grow old, he considerately clubs them, to put them out of their misery. When, therefore, he sees his neighbour struck down before his face by some invisible power, and writhing with pain as though unseen snakes and tigers were rending him, what should he naturally conclude save that demon or witch or wizard is at work? and if he cares about the matter at all, what should he do save endeavour to find the culprit out and inflict condign punishment? In savage states, whenever anything untoward happens to the king or chief, it is the business of the witch-finder to disclose the wrong-doer; and sooner or later, you may be sure, "somebody gets whopped for it." Whopping in Dahomey means wholesale decapitation.

Now, is it not a direct survival from this primitive state of mind that entails upon us all the desire to find a scapegoat? Our ancestors really believed there was always somebody to blame—man, witch, or spirit—if only you could find him; and though we ourselves have mostly got beyond that stage, yet the habit it engendered in our race remains ingrained in the nervous system, so that none but a few of the naturally highest and most civilised dispositions have really outgrown it. Most people still think there is somebody to blame for every human misfortune. "Who fills the butcher's shops with large blue flies?" asked the poet of the Regency. He set it down to "the Corsican ogre." For the Tory Englishmen of the present day it is Mr. Gladstone who is most often and most popularly envisaged as the author of all evil. For the Pope, it is the Freemasons. There are just a few men here and there in the world who can see that when misfortunes come, circumstances, or nature, or (hardest of all) we ourselves have brought them. The common human instinct is still to get into a rage, and look round to discover whether there's any other fellow standing about unobserved, whose head we can safely undertake to punch for it.

"It's all the fault of those confounded paid agitators."



Every American woman is by birth a duchess.

There, you see, I have taken you in. When you saw the heading, "American Duchesses," you thought I was going to purvey some piquant scandal about high-placed ladies; and you straightway began to read my essay. That shows I rightly interpreted your human nature. There's a deal of human nature flying about unrecognised. Yet when I said duchesses, I actually meant it. For the American woman is the only real aristocrat now living in America.

These remarks are forced upon me by a brilliant afternoon on the Promenade des Anglais. All Nice is there, in its cosmopolitan butterfly variety, flaunting itself in the sun in the very ugly dresses now in fashion. I don't know why, but the mode of the moment consists in making everything as exaggerated as possible, and sedulously hiding the natural contours of the human figure. But let that pass; the day is too fine for a man to be critical. The band is playing Mascagni's last in the Jardin Public; the carriages are drawn up beside the palms and judas-trees that fringe the Paillon; the sous-officiers are strolling along the wall with their red caps stuck jauntily just a trifle on one side, as though to mow down nursemaids were the one legitimate occupation of the brav' militaire. And among them all, proud, tall, disdainful, glide the American duchesses, cold, critical, high-toned, yet ready to strike up, should opportunity serve, appropriate acquaintance with their natural equals, the dukes of Europe.

"And the American dukes?"—There aren't any. "But these ladies' husbands and fathers and brothers?"—Oh, they're business men, working hard for the duchesses in Wall Street, or on 'Change in Chicago. And that's why I say quite seriously the American woman is the only real aristocrat now living in America. Everybody who has seen much of Americans must have noticed for himself how really superior American women are, on the average, to the men of their kind. I don't mean merely that they are better dressed, and better groomed, and better got up, and better mannered than their brothers. I mean that they have a real superiority in the things worth having—the things that are more excellent—in education, culture, knowledge, taste, good feeling. And the reason is not far to seek. They represent the only leisured class in America. They are the one set of people from Maine to California who have time to read, to think, to travel, to look at good pictures, to hear good music, to mix with society that can improve and elevate them. They have read Daudet; they have seen the Vatican. The women thus form a natural aristocracy—the only aristocracy the country possesses.

I am aware that in saying this I take my life in my hands. I shall be prepared to defend myself from the infuriated Westerner with the usual argument, which I shall carry about loaded in all its chambers in my right-hand pocket. I am also aware that less infuriated Easterners, choosing their own more familiar weapon, will inundate my leisure with sardonic inquiries whether I don't consider Oliver Wendell Holmes or Charles Eliot Norton (thus named in full) the equal in culture of the average American woman. Well, I frankly admit these cases and thousands like them; indeed I have had the good fortune to number among my personal acquaintances many American gentlemen whose chivalrous breeding would have been conspicuous (if you will believe it) even at Marlborough House. I will also allow that in New York, in Boston, and less abundantly in other big towns of America, men of leisure, men of culture, and men of thought are to be found, as wide-minded and as gentle-natured as this race of ours makes them. But that doesn't alter the general fact that, taking them in the lump, American men stand a step or two lower in the scale of humanity than American women. One need hardly ask why. It is because the men are almost all immersed and absorbed in business, while the women are fine ladies who stop at home, and read, and see, and interest themselves widely in numberless directions.

The consequence is that nowhere, as a rule, does the gulf between the sexes yawn so wide as in America. One can often observe it in the brothers and sisters of the same family. And it runs in the opposite direction from the gulf in Europe. With us, as a rule, the men are better educated, and more likely to have read and seen and thought widely, than the women. In America, the men are generally so steeped in affairs as to be materialised and encysted; they take for the most part a hard-headed, solid-silver view of everything, and are but little influenced by abstract conceptions. Their horizon is bounded by the rim of the dollar. Nay, owing to the eager desire to get a good start by beginning life early, their education itself is generally cut short at a younger age than their sisters'; so that, even at the outset, the girls have often a decided superiority in knowledge and culture. Amanda reads Paul Bourget and John Oliver Hobbes; she has some slight tincture of Latin, Greek, and German; while Cyrus knows nothing but English and arithmetic, the quotations for prime pork and the state of the market for Futures. Add to this that the women are more sensitive, more delicate, more naturally refined, as well as unspoilt by the trading spirit, and you get the real reasons for the marked and, in some ways, unusual superiority of the American woman.

That, I think, in large part explains the fascination which American women undoubtedly exercise over a considerable class of European men. In the European man the American woman often recognises for the first time the male of her species. Unaccustomed at home to as general a level of culture and feeling as she finds among the educated gentlemen of Europe, she likes their society and makes her preference felt by them. Now man is a vain animal. You are a man yourself, and must recognise at once the truth of the proposition. As soon as he sees a woman likes him, he instantly returns the compliment with interest. In point of fact, he usually falls in love with her. Of course I admit the large number of concomitant circumstances which disturb the problem; I admit on the one hand the tempting shekels of the Californian heiress, and on the other hand the glamour and halo that still surround the British coronet. Nevertheless, after making all deductions for these disturbing factors, I submit there remains a residual phenomenon thus best interpreted. If anybody denies it, I would ask him one question—how does it come that so many Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Italians marry American women, while so few Englishwomen, French women, or Italian women marry American men? Surely the American men have also the shekels; surely it is something even in Oregon or Montana to have inspired an honourable passion in a Lady Elizabeth or a dowager countess. I think the true explanation is that our men are attracted by American women, but our women are not equally attracted by American men, and that the quality of the articles has something to do with it.

The American duchess, I take it, comes over to Europe, and desires incontinently to drag the European duke at the wheels of her chariot. And the European duke is fascinated in turn, partly by this very fact, partly by the undeniable freshness, brightness, and delicate culture of the American woman. For there is no burking the truth that in many respects the American woman carries about her a peculiar charm ungranted as yet to her European sisters. It is the charm of freedom, of ease, of a certain external and skin-deep emancipation—an emancipation which goes but a little way down, yet adds a quaint and piquant grace of manner. What she conspicuously lacks, on the other hand, is essential femininity; by which I don't mean womanliness—of that she has enough and to spare—but the wholesome physical and instinctive qualities which go to make up a sound and well-equipped wife and mother. The lack of these underlying muliebral qualities more than counterbalances to not a few Europeans the undoubted vivacity, originality, and freshness of the American woman. She is a dainty bit of porcelain, unsuited for use; a delicate exotic blossom, for drawing-room decoration, where many would prefer robust fruit-bearing faculties.

I dropped into the Opera House here at Nice the other night, and found they were playing "Carmen"—which is always interesting. Well, you may perhaps remember that when that creature of passion, the gipsy heroine, wishes to gain or retain a man's affections, she throws a rose at him, and then he cannot resist her. That is Mérimée's symbolism. Art is full of these sacrifices of realism to reticence. Outside the opera, it is not with roses that women enslave us. But the American duchess relies entirely upon the use of the rose; and that is just where she fails to interest so many of us in Europe.

And now I think it's almost time for me to go and hunt up the material arguments for that rusty six-shooter.



Britain is now the centre of civilisation. Will it always be so? Is our commercial supremacy decaying or not? Have we begun to reach the period of inevitable decline? Or is decline indeed inevitable at all? Might a nation go on being great for ever? If so, are we that nation? If not, have we yet arrived at the moment when retrogression becomes a foregone conclusion? These are momentous questions. Dare I try, under the mimosas on the terrace, to resolve them?

Most people have talked of late as though the palmy days of England were fairly over. The down grade lies now before us. But, then, so far as I can judge, most people have talked so ever since the morning when Hengist and Horsa, Limited, landed from their three keels in the Isle of Thanet. Gildas is the oldest historian of these islands, and his work consists entirely of a good old Tory lament in the Ashmead-Bartlett strain upon the degeneracy of the times and the proximate ruin of the British people. Gildas wrote some fourteen hundred years ago or thereabouts—and the country is not yet quite visibly ruined. On the contrary, it seems to the impartial eye a more eligible place of residence to-day than in the stirring times of the Saxon invasion. Hence, for the last two or three centuries, I have learned to discount these recurrent Jeremiads of Toryism, and to judge the question of our decadence or progress by a more rational standard.

There is only one such rational standard; and that is, to discover the causes and conditions of our commercial prosperity, and then to inquire whether those causes and conditions are being largely altered or modified by the evolution of new phases. If they are, England must begin to decline; if they are not, her day is not yet come. Home Rule she will survive; even the Eight Hours bogey, we may presume, will not finally dispose of her.

Now, the centre of civilisation is not a fixed point. It has varied from time to time, and may yet vary. In the very earliest historical period, there was hardly such a thing as a centre of civilisation at all. There were civilisations in Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Etruria; discrete civilisations of the river valleys, mostly, which scarcely came into contact with one another in their first beginnings; any more than our own came into contact once with the civilisations of China, of Japan, of Peru, of Mexico. As yet there was no world-commerce, no mutual communication of empire with empire. It was in the Ægean and the eastern basin of the Mediterranean that navigation first reached the point where great commercial ports and free intercourse became possible. The Phoenicians, and later the Greeks, were the pioneers of the new era. Tyre, Athens, Miletus, Rhodes, occupied the centre of the nascent world, and bound together Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, Sicily, and Italy in one mercantile system. A little later, Hellas itself enlarged, so as to include Syracuse, Byzantium, Alexandria, Cyrene, Cumae, Neapolis, Massilia. The inland sea became "a Greek lake." But as navigation thus slowly widened to the western Mediterranean basin, the centre of commerce had to shift perforce from Hellas to the mid-point of the new area. Two powerful trading towns occupied such a mid-point in the Mediterranean—Rome and Carthage; and they were driven to fight out the supremacy of the world (the world as it then existed) between them. With the Roman Empire, the circle extended so as to take in the Atlantic coasts, Gaul, Spain, and Britain, which then, however, lay not at the centre but on the circumference of civilisation. During the Middle Ages, when navigation began to embrace the great open sea as well as the Mediterranean, a double centre sprang up: the Italian Republics, Venice, Florence, Genoa, Pisa, were still the chief carriers; but the towns of Flanders, Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp began to compete with them, and the Atlantic states, France, England, the Low Countries, rose into importance. By and by, as time goes on, the discoveries of Columbus and of Vasco di Gama open out new tracks. Suddenly commerce is revolutionised. France, England, Spain, become nearer to America and India than Italy; so Italy declines; while the Atlantic states usurp the first place as the centres of civilisation.

Our own age brings fresh seas into the circle once more. It is no longer the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, or the Indian Ocean that alone count; the Pacific also begins to be considered. China, Japan, the Cape; Chili, Peru, the Argentine; California, British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand; all of them are parts of the system of to-day; civilisation is world-wide.

Has this change of area altered the central position of England? Not at all, save to strengthen it. If you look at the hemisphere of greatest land, you will see that England occupies its exact middle. Insular herself, and therefore all made up of ports, she is nearer all ports in the world than any other country is or ever can be. I don't say that this insures for her perpetual dominion, such as Virgil prophesied for the Roman Empire; but I do say it makes her a hard country to beat in commercial competition. It accounts for Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Newcastle; it even accounts in a way for Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield. England now stands at the mathematical centre of the practical world, and unless some Big Thing occurs to displace her, she must continue to stand there. It takes a great deal to upset the balance of an entire planet.

Is anything now displacing her? Well, there is the fact that railways are making land-carriage to-day more important relatively to water-carriage than at any previous period. That may, perhaps, in time shift the centre of the world from an island like England to the middle of a great land area, like Chicago or Moscow. And, no doubt, if ever the centre shifts at all, it will shift towards Western America, or rather the prairie region. But, just at present, what are the greatest commercial towns of the world? All ports to a man. And the day when it will be otherwise, if ever, seems still far distant. Look at the newest countries. What are their great focal points? Every one of them ports. Melbourne and Sydney; Rio, Buenos Ayres, and Valparaiso; Cape Town, San Francisco, Bombay, Calcutta, Yokohama. Chicago itself, the most vital and the quickest grower among modern towns, owes half its importance to the fact that there water-carriage down the Great Lakes begins; though it owes the other half, I admit, to the converse fact that all the great trans-continental railways have to bend south at that point to avoid Lake Michigan. Still, on the whole, I think, as long as conditions remain what they are, the commercial supremacy of England is in no immediate danger. It is these great permanent geographical factors that make or mar a country, not Eight Hours Bills or petty social reconstructions. Said the Lord Mayor of London to petulant King James, when he proposed to remove the Court to Oxford, "May it please your Majesty not to take away the Thames also."

"But our competitors? We are being driven out of our markets." Oh, yes, if that's all you mean, I don't suppose we shall always be able in everything to keep up our exclusive position. Our neighbours, who (bar the advantage of insularity, which means a coast and a port always close at hand) seem nearly as well situated as we are for access to the world-markets, are beginning to wake up and take a slice of the cake from us. Germany is manufacturing; Belgium is smelting; Antwerp is exporting; America is occupying her own markets. But that's a very different thing indeed from national decadence. We may have to compete a little harder with our rivals, that's all. The Boom may be over; but the Thames remains: the geographical facts are still unaltered. And notice that all the time while there's been this vague talk about "bad times"—income-tax has been steadily increasing, London has been steadily growing, every outer and visible sign of commercial prosperity has been steadily spreading. Have our watering-places shrunk? Have our buildings been getting smaller and less luxurious? If Antwerp has grown, how about Hull and Cardiff? "Well, perhaps the past is all right; but consider the future! Eight hours are going to drive capital out of the country!" Rubbish! I'm not a political economist, thank God; I never sank quite so low as that. And I'm not speaking for or against Eight Hours: I'm only discounting some verbose nonsense. But I know enough to see that the capital of a country can no more be exported than the land or the houses. Can you drive away the London and North-Western Railway? Can you drive away the factories of Manchester, the mines of the Black Country, the canals, the buildings, the machinery, the docks, the plant, the apparatus? Impossible, on the very face of it! Most of the capital of a country is fixed in its soil, and can't be uprooted. People fall into this error about driving away capital because they know you can sell particular railway shares or a particular factory and leave the country with the proceeds, provided somebody else is willing to buy; but you can't sell all the railways and all the factories in a lump, and clear out with the capital. No, no; England stands where she does, because God put her there; and until He invents a new order of things (which may, of course, happen any day—as, for example, if aerial navigation came in) she must continue, in spite of minor changes, to maintain in the main her present position.

But a truce to these frivolities! The little Italian boy next door calls me to play ball with him, with a green lemon from the garden. Vengo, Luigi, vengo! I return at once to the realities of life, and dismiss such shadows.



A sportive friend of mine, a mighty golfer, is fond of saying, "You Radicals want to play the game without the rules." To which I am accustomed mildly to retort, "Not at all; but we think the rules unfair, and so we want to see them altered."

Now life is a very peculiar game, which differs in many important respects even from compulsory football. The Rugby scrimmage is mere child's play by the side of it. There's no possibility of shirking it. A medical certificate won't get you off; whether you like it or not, play you must in your appointed order. We are all unwilling competitors. Nobody asks our naked little souls beforehand whether they would prefer to be born into the game or to remain, unfleshed, in the limbo of non-existence. Willy nilly, every one of us is thrust into the world by an irresponsible act of two previous players; and once there, we must play out the set as best we may to the bitter end, however little we like it or the rules that order it.

That, it must be admitted, makes a grave distinction from the very outset between the game of human life and any other game with which we are commonly acquainted. It also makes it imperative upon the framers of the rules so to frame them that no one player shall have an unfair or unjust advantage over any of the others. And since the penalty of bad play, or bad success in the match, is death, misery, starvation, it behoves the rule-makers to be more scrupulously particular as to fairness and equity than in any other game like cricket or tennis. It behoves them to see that all start fair, and that no hapless beginner is unduly handicapped. To compel men to take part in a match for dear life, whether they wish it or not, and then to insist that some of them shall wield bats and some mere broom-sticks, irrespective of height, weight, age, or bodily infirmity, is surely not fair. It justifies the committee in calling for a revision.

But things are far worse than even that in the game as actually played in Europe. What shall we say of rules which decide dogmatically that one set of players are hereditarily entitled to be always batting, while another set, less lucky, have to field for ever, and to be fined or imprisoned for not catching? What shall we say of rules which give one group a perpetual right to free lunch in the tent, while the remainder have to pick up what they can for themselves by gleaning among the stubble? How justify the principle in accordance with which the captain on one side has an exclusive claim to the common ground of the club, and may charge every player exactly what he likes for the right to play upon it?—especially when the choice lies between playing on such terms, or being cast into the void, yourself and your family. And then to think that the ground thus tabooed by one particular member may be all Sutherlandshire, or, still worse, all Westminster! Decidedly, these rules call for instant revision; and the unprivileged players must be submissive indeed who consent to put up with them.

Friends and fellow-members, let us cry with one voice, "The links for the players!"

Once more, just look at the singular rule in our own All England club, by which certain assorted members possess a hereditary right to veto all decisions of the elective committee, merely because they happen to be their fathers' sons, and the club long ago very foolishly permitted the like privilege to their ancestors! That is an irrational interference with the liberty of the players which hardly anybody nowadays ventures to defend in principle, and which is only upheld in some half-hearted way (save in the case of that fossil anachronism, the Duke of Argyll) by supposed arguments of convenience. It won't last long now; there is talk in the committee of "mending or ending it." It shows the long-suffering nature of the poor blind players at this compulsory game of national football that they should ever for one moment permit so monstrous an assumption—permit the idea that one single player may wield a substantive voice and vote to outweigh tens of thousands of his fellow-members!

These questions of procedure, however, are after all small matters. It is the real hardships of the game that most need to be tackled. Why should one player be born into the sport with a prescriptive right to fill some easy place in the field, while another has to fag on from morning to night in the most uninteresting and fatiguing position? Why should pâté de foie gras and champagne-cup in the tent be so unequally distributed? Why should those who have made fewest runs and done no fielding be admitted to partake of these luxuries, free of charge, while those who have borne the brunt of the fight, those who have suffered from the heat of the day, those who have contributed most to the honour of the victory, are turned loose, unfed, to do as they can for themselves by hook or by crook somehow? These are the questions some of us players are now beginning to ask ourselves; and we don't find them efficiently answered by the bald statement that we "want to play the game without the rules," and that we ought to be precious glad the legislators of the club haven't made them a hundred times harder against us.

No, no; the rules themselves must be altered. Time was, indeed, when people used to think they were made and ordained by divine authority. "Cum privilegio" was the motto of the captains. But we know very well now that every club settles its own standing orders, and that it can alter and modify them as fundamentally as it pleases. Lots of funny old saws are still uttered upon this subject—"There must always be rich and poor;" "You can't interfere with economical laws;" "If you were to divide up everything to-morrow, at the end of a fortnight you'd find the same differences and inequalities as ever." The last-named argument (I believe it considers itself by courtesy an argument) is one which no self-respecting Radical should so much as deign to answer. Nobody that I ever heard of for one moment proposed to "divide up everything," or, for that matter, anything: and the imputation that somebody did or does is a proof either of intentional malevolence or of crass stupidity. Neither should be encouraged; and you encourage them by pretending to take them seriously. It is the initial injustices of the game that we Radicals object to—the injustices which prevent us from all starting fair and having our even chance of picking up a livelihood. We don't want to "divide up everything"—a most futile proceeding; but we do want to untie the legs and release the arms of the handicapped players. To drop metaphor at last, it is the conditions we complain about. Alter the conditions, and there would be no need for division, summary or gradual. The game would work itself out spontaneously without your intervention.

The injustice of the existing set of rules simply appals the Radical. Yet oddly enough, this injustice itself appeals rather to the comparative looker-on than to the heavily-handicapped players in person. They, poor creatures, dragging their log in patience, have grown so accustomed to regarding the world as another man's oyster, that they put up uncomplainingly for the most part with the most patent inequalities. Perhaps 'tis their want of imagination that makes them unable to conceive any other state of things as even possible—like the dog who accepts kicking as the natural fate of doghood. At any rate, you will find, if you look about you, that the chief reformers are not, as a rule, the ill-used classes themselves, but the sensitive and thinking souls who hate and loathe the injustice with which others are treated. Most of the best Radicals I have known were men of gentle birth and breeding. Not all: others, just as earnest, just as eager, just as chivalrous, sprang from the masses. Yet the gently-reared preponderate. It is a common Tory taunt to say that the battle is one between the Haves and the Have-nots. That is by no means true. It is between the selfish Haves, on one side, and the unselfish Haves, who wish to see something done for the Have-nots, on the other. As for the poor Have-nots themselves, they are mostly inarticulate. Indeed, the Tory almost admits as much when he alters his tone and describes the sympathising and active few as "paid agitators."

For myself, however, I am a born Conservative. I hate to see any old custom or practice changed; unless, indeed, it is either foolish or wicked—like most existing ones.



One great English thinker and artist once tried the rash experiment of being true to himself—of saying out boldly, without fear or reserve, the highest and noblest and best that was in him. He gave us the most exquisite lyrics in the English language; he moulded the thought of our first youth as no other poet has ever yet moulded it; he became the spiritual father of the richest souls in two succeeding generations of Englishmen. And what reward did he get for it? He was expelled from his university. He was hounded out of his country. He was deprived of his own children. He was denied the common appeal to the law and courts of justice. He was drowned, an exile, in a distant sea, and burned in solitude on a foreign shore. And after his death he was vilified and calumniated by wretched penny-a-liners, or (worse insult still) apologised for, with half-hearted shrugs, by lukewarm advocates. The purest in life and the most unselfish in purpose of all mankind, he was persecuted alive with the utmost rancour of hate, and pursued when dead with the vilest shafts of malignity. He never even knew in his scattered grave the good he was to do to later groups of thinkers.

It was a noble example, of course; but not, you will admit, an alluring one for others to follow.

"Be true to yourself," say the copy-book moralists, "and you may be sure the result will at last be justified." No doubt; but in how many centuries? And what sort of life will you lead yourself, meanwhile, for your allotted space of threescore years and ten, unless haply hanged, or burned, or imprisoned before it? What the copy-book moralists mean is merely this—that sooner or later your principles will triumph, which may or may not be the case according to the nature of the principles. But even suppose they do, are you to ignore yourself in the interim—you, a human being with emotions, sensations, domestic affections, and, in the majority of instances, wife and children on whom to expend them? Why should it be calmly taken for granted by the world that if you have some new and true thing to tell humanity (which humanity, of course, will toss back in your face with contumely and violence) you are bound to blurt it out, with childish unreserve, regardless of consequences to yourself and to those who depend upon you? Why demand of genius or exceptional ability a gratuitous sacrifice which you would deprecate as wrong and unjust to others in the ordinary citizen? For the genius, too, is a man, and has his feelings.

The fact is, society considers that in certain instances it has a right to expect the thinker will martyrise himself on its account, while it stands serenely by and heaps faggots on the pile, with every mark of contempt and loathing. But society is mistaken. No man is bound to martyrise himself; in a great many cases a man is bound to do the exact opposite. He has given hostages to Fortune, and his first duty is to the hostages. "We ask you for bread," his children may well say, "and you give us a noble moral lesson. We ask you for clothing, and you supply us with a beautiful poetical fancy." This is not according to bargain. Wife and children have a first mortgage on a man's activities; society has only a right to contingent remainders.

A great many sensible men who had truths of deep import to deliver to the world must have recognised these facts in all times and places, and must have held their tongues accordingly. Instead of speaking out the truths that were in them, they must have kept their peace, or have confined themselves severely to the ordinary platitudes of their age and nation. Why ruin yourself by announcing what you feel and believe, when all the reward you will get for it in the end will be social ostracism, if not even the rack, the stake, or the pillory? The Shelleys and Rousseaus there's no holding, of course; they will run right into it; but the Goethes—oh, no, they keep their secret. Indeed, I hold it as probable that the vast majority of men far in advance of their times have always held their tongues consistently, save for mere common babble, on Lord Chesterfield's principle that "Wise men never say."

The rôle of prophet is thus a thankless and difficult one. Nor is it quite certainly of real use to the community. For the prophet is generally too much ahead of his times. He discounts the future at a ruinous rate, and he takes the consequences. If you happen ever to have read the Old Testament you must have noticed that the prophets had generally a hard time of it.

The leader is a very different stamp of person. He stands well abreast of his contemporaries, and just half a pace in front of them; and he has power to persuade even the inertia of humanity into taking that one half-step in advance he himself has already made bold to adventure. His post is honoured, respected, remunerated. But the prophet gets no thanks, and perhaps does mankind no benefit. He sees too quick. And there can be very little good indeed in so seeing. If one of us had been an astronomer, and had discovered the laws of Kepler, Newton, and Laplace in the thirteenth century, I think he would have been wise to keep the discovery to himself for a few hundred years or so. Otherwise, he would have been burned for his trouble. Galileo, long after, tried part of the experiment a decade or so too soon, and got no good by it. But in moral and social matters the danger is far graver. I would say to every aspiring youth who sees some political or economical or ethical truth quite clearly: "Keep it dark! Don't mention it! Nobody will listen to you; and you, who are probably a person of superior insight and higher moral aims than the mass, will only destroy your own influence for good by premature declarations. The world will very likely come round of itself to your views in the end; but if you tell them too soon, you will suffer for it in person, and will very likely do nothing to help on the revolution in thought that you contemplate. For thought that is too abruptly ahead of the mass never influences humanity."

"But sometimes the truth will out in spite of one!" Ah, yes, that's the worst of it. Do as I say, not as I do. If possible, repress it.

It is a noble and beautiful thing to be a martyr, especially if you are a martyr in the cause of truth, and not, as is often the case, of some debasing and degrading superstition. But nobody has a right to demand of you that you should be a martyr. And some people have often a right to demand that you should resolutely refuse the martyr's crown on the ground that you have contracted prior obligations, inconsistent with the purely personal luxury of martyrdom. 'Tis a luxury for a few. It befits only the bachelor, the unattached, and the economically spareworthy.

"These be pessimistic pronouncements," you say. Well, no, not exactly. For, after all, we must never shut our eyes to the actual; and in the world as it is, meliorism, not optimism, is the true opposite of pessimism. Optimist and pessimist are both alike in a sense, seeing they are both conservative; they sit down contented—the first with the smug contentment that says "All's well; I have enough; why this fuss about others?" the second with the contentment of blank despair that says, "All's hopeless; all's wrong; why try uselessly to mend it?" The meliorist attitude, on the contrary, is rather to say, "Much is wrong; much painful; what can we do to improve it?" And from this point of view there is something we can all do to make martyrdom less inevitable in the end, for the man who has a thought, a discovery, an idea, to tell us. Such men are rare, and their thought, when they produce it, is sure to be unpalatable. For, if it were otherwise, it would be thought of our own type—familiar, banal, commonplace, unoriginal. It would encounter no resistance, as it thrilled on its way through our brain, from established errors. What the genius and the prophet are there for is just that—to make us listen to unwelcome truths, to compel us to hear, to drive awkward facts straight home with sledge-hammer force to the unwilling hearts and brains of us. Not what you want to hear, or what I want to hear, is good and useful for us; but what we don't want to hear, what we can't bear to think, what we hate to believe, what we fight tooth and nail against. The man who makes us listen to that is the seer and the prophet; he comes upon us like Shelley, or Whitman, or Ibsen, and plumps down horrid truths that half surprise, half disgust us. He shakes us out of our lethargy. To such give ear, though they say what shocks you. Weigh well their hateful ideas. Avoid the vulgar vice of sneering and carping at them. Learn to examine their nude thought without shrinking, and examine it all the more carefully when it most repels you. Naked verity is an acquired taste; it is never beautiful at first sight to the unaccustomed vision. Remember that no question is finally settled; that no question is wholly above consideration; that what you cherish as holiest is most probably wrong; and that in social and moral matters especially (where men have been longest ruled by pure superstitions) new and startling forms of thought have the highest a priori probability in their favour. Dismiss your idols. Give every opinion its fair chance of success—especially when it seems to you both wicked and ridiculous, recollecting that it is better to let five hundred crude guesses run loose about the world unclad, than to crush one fledgling truth in its callow condition. To the Greeks, foolishness: to the Jews, a stumbling-block. If you can't be one of the prophets yourself, you can at least abstain from helping to stone them.

Dear me! These reflections to-day are anything but post-prandial. The gnocchi and the olives must certainly have disagreed with me. But perhaps it may some of it be "wrote sarcastic." I have heard tell there is a thing called irony.



The world has expanded faster in the last thirty years than in any previous age since "the spacious days of great Elizabeth." And with its expansion, of course, our ideas have widened. I believe Europe is now in the midst of just such an outburst of thought and invention as that which followed the discovery of America, and of the new route to India by the Cape of Good Hope. But I don't want to insist too strongly upon that point, because I know a great many of my contemporaries are deeply hurt by the base and spiteful suggestion that they and their fellows are really quite as good as any fish that ever came out of the sea before them. I only desire now to call attention for a moment to one curious result entailed by this widening of the world upon our literary productivity—a result which, though obvious enough when one comes to look at it, seems to me hitherto to have strangely escaped deliberate notice.

In one word, the point of which I speak is the comparative cosmopolitanisation of letters, and especially the introduction into literary art of the phenomena due to the Clash of Races.

This Clash itself is the one picturesque and novel feature of our otherwise somewhat prosaic and machine-made epoch; and, therefore, it has been eagerly seized upon, with one accord, by all the chief purveyors of recent literature, and especially of fiction. They have espied in it, with technical instinct, the best chance for obtaining that fresh interest which is essential to the success of a work of art. We were all getting somewhat tired, it must be confessed, of the old places and the old themes. The insipid loves of Anthony Trollope's blameless young people were beginning to pall upon us. The jaded palate of the Anglo-Celtic race pined for something hot, with a touch of fresh spice in it. It demanded curried fowl and Jamaica peppers. Hence, on the one hand, the sudden vogue of the novelists of the younger countries—Tolstoi and Tourgenieff, Ibsen and Bjornson, Mary Wilkins and Howells —who transplanted us at once into fresh scenes, new people: hence, on the other hand, the tendency on the part of our own latest writers—the Stevensons, the Hall Caines, the Marion Crawfords, the Rider Haggards—to go far afield among the lower races or the later civilisations for the themes of their romances.

Alas, alas, I see breakers before me! Must I pause for a moment in the flowing current of a paragraph to explain, as in an aside, that I include Marion Crawford of set purpose among "our own" late writers, while I count Mary Wilkins and Howells as Transatlantic aliens? Experience teaches me that I must; else shall I have that annoying animalcule, the microscopic critic, coming down upon me in print with his petty objection that "Mr. Crawford is an American." Go to, oh, blind one! And Whistler also, I suppose, and Sargent, and, perhaps, Ashmead Bartlett! What! have you read "Sarracinesca" and not learnt that its author is European to the core? 'Twas for such as you that the Irishman invented his brilliant retort: "And if I was born in a stable would I be a horse?"

Not merely, however, do our younger writers go into strange and novel places for the scenes of their stories; the important point to notice in the present connection is that, consciously or unconsciously to themselves, they have perceived the mighty influence of this Clash of Races, and have chosen the relations of the civilised people with their savage allies, or enemies, or subjects, as the chief theme of their handicraft. 'Tis a momentous theme, for it encloses in itself half the problems of the future. The old battles are now well-nigh fought out; but new ones are looming ahead for us. The cosmopolitanisation of the world is introducing into our midst strange elements of discord. A conglomerate of unwelded ethnical elements usurps the stage of history. America and South Africa have already their negro question; California and Australia have already their Chinese question; Russia is fast getting her Asiatic, her Mahommedan question. Even France, the most narrowly European in interest of European countries, has yet her Algeria, her Tunis, her Tonquin. Spain has Cuba and the Philippines. Holland has Java. Germany is burdening herself with the unborn troubles of a Hinterland. And as for England, she staggers on still under the increasing load of India, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, the West Indies, Fiji, New Guinea, North Borneo—all of them rife with endless race-questions, all pregnant with difficulties.

Who can be surprised that amid this seething turmoil of colours, instincts, creeds, and languages, art should have fastened upon the race-problems as her great theme for the moment? And she has fastened upon them everywhere. France herself has not been able to avoid the contagion. Pierre Loti is the most typical French representative of this vagabond spirit; and the question of the peoples naturally envisages itself to his mind in true Gallic fashion in the "Mariage de Loti" and in "Madame Chrysanthème." He sees it through a halo of vague sexual sentimentalism. In England, it was Rider Haggard from the Cape who first set the mode visibly; and nothing is more noteworthy in all his work than the fact that the interest mainly centres in the picturesque juxtaposition and contrast of civilisation and savagery. Once the cue was given, what more natural than that young Rudyard Kipling, fresh home from India, brimming over with genius and with knowledge of two concurrent streams of life that flow on side by side yet never mingle, should take up his parable in due course, and storm us all by assault with his light field artillery? Then Robert Louis Stevenson, born a wandering Scot, with roving Scandinavian and fiery Celtic blood in his veins, must needs settle down, like a Viking that he is, in far Samoa, there to charm and thrill us by turns with the romance of Polynesia. The example was catching. Almost without knowing it, other writers have turned for subjects to similar fields. "Dr. Isaacs," "Paul Patoff," "By Proxy," were upon us. Even Hall Caine himself, in some ways a most insular type of genius, was forced in "The Scapegoat" to carry us off from Cumberland and Man to Morocco. Sir Edwin Arnold inflicts upon us the tragedies of Japan. I have been watching this tendency long myself with the interested eye of a dealer engaged in the trade, and therefore anxious to keep pace with every changing breath of popular favour: and I notice a constant increase from year to year in the number of short stories in magazines and newspapers dealing with the romance of the inferior races. I notice, also, that such stories are increasingly successful with the public. This shows that, whether the public knows it or not itself, the question of race is interesting it more and more. It is gradually growing to understand the magnitude of the change that has come over civilisation by the inclusion of Asia, Africa, and Australasia within its circle. Even the Queen is learning Hindustani.

There is a famous passage in Green's "Short History of the English People" which describes in part that strange outburst of national expansion under Elizabeth, when Raleigh, Drake, and Frobisher scoured the distant seas, and when at home "England became a nest of singing birds," with Shakespeare, Spenser, Fletcher, and Marlow. "The old sober notions of thrift," says the picturesque historian, "melted before the strange revolutions of fortune wrought by the New World. Gallants gambled away a fortune at a sitting, and sailed off to make a fresh one in the Indies." (Read rather to-day at Kimberley, Johannesburg, Vancouver.) "Visions of galleons loaded to the brim with pearls and diamonds and ingots of silver, dreams of El Dorados where all was of gold, threw a haze of prodigality and profusion over the imagination of the meanest seaman. The wonders, too, of the New World kindled a burst of extravagant fancy in the Old. The strange medley of past and present which distinguishes its masques and feastings only reflected the medley of men's thoughts.... A 'wild man' from the Indies chanted the Queen's praises at Kenilworth, and Echo answered him. Elizabeth turned from the greetings of sibyls and giants to deliver the enchanted lady from her tyrant, 'Sans Pitie.' Shepherdesses welcomed her with carols of the spring, while Ceres and Bacchus poured their corn and grapes at her feet." Oh, gilded youth of the Gaiety, mutato nomine de te Fabula narratur. Yours, yours is this glory!

For our own age, too, is a second Elizabethan. It blossoms out daily into such flowers of fancy as never bloomed before, save then, on British soil. When men tell you nowadays we have "no great writers left," believe not the silly parrot cry. Nay, rather, laugh it down for them. We move in the midst of one of the mightiest epochs earth has ever seen, an epoch which will live in history hereafter side by side with the Athens of Pericles, the Rome of Augustus, the Florence of Lorenzo, the England of Elizabeth. Don't throw away your birthright by ignoring the fact. Live up to your privileges. Gaze around you and know. Be a conscious partaker in one of the great ages of humanity.



In the first of these after-dinner causeries I ventured humbly to remark that Patriotism was a vulgar vice of which I had never been guilty. That innocent indiscretion of mine aroused at the moment some unfavourable comment. I confess I was sorry for it. But I passed it by at the time, lest I should speak too hastily and lose my temper. I recur to the subject now, at the hour of the cigarette, when man can discourse most genially of his bitterest enemy. And Monopoly is mine. Its very name is hateful.

I don't often say what I think. At least, not much of it. I don't often get the chance. And, besides, being a timid and a modest man, I'm afraid to. But just this once, I'm going to "try it on." Object to my opinions as you will. But still, let me express them. Strike—but hear me!

Has it ever occurred to you that one object of reading is to learn things you never thought of before, and would never think of now, unless you were told them?

Patriotism is one of the Monopolist Instincts. And the Monopolist Instincts are the greatest enemies of the social life in humanity. They are what we have got in the end to outlive. The test of a man's place in the scale of being is how far he has outlived them. They are surviving relics of the ape and tiger. But we must let the ape and tiger die. We must begin to be human.

I will take Patriotism first, because it is the most specious of them all, and has still a self-satisfied way of masquerading as a virtue. But after all what is Patriotism? "My country, right or wrong; and just because it is my country." It is nothing more than a wider form of selfishness. Often enough, indeed, it is even a narrow one. It means, "My business interests against the business interests of other people; and let the taxes of my fellow-citizens pay to support them." At other times it is pure Jingoism. It means, "My country against other countries! My army and navy against other fighters! My right to annex unoccupied territory over the equal right of all other people! My power to oppress all weaker nationalities, all inferior races!" It never means anything good. For if a cause is just, like Ireland's, or once Italy's, then 'tis the good man's duty to espouse it with warmth, be it his own or another's. And if a cause be bad, then 'tis the good man's duty to oppose it tooth and nail, irrespective of your "Patriotism." True, a good man will feel more sensitively anxious that justice should be done by the particular State of which he happens himself to be a member than by any other, because he is partly responsible for the corporate action; but then, people who feel deeply this joint moral responsibility of all the citizens are not praised as patriots but reviled as unpatriotic. To urge that our own country should strive with all its might to be better, higher, purer, nobler, juster than other countries around it—the only kind of Patriotism worth a brass farthing in a righteous man's eyes—is accounted by most men both wicked and foolish.

Patriotism, then, is the collective or national form of the Monopolist Instincts. And like all those Instincts, it is a relic of savagery, which the Man of the Future is now engaged in out-living.

Property is the next form. That, on the very face of it, is a viler and more sordid one. For Patriotism at least can lay claim to some expansiveness beyond mere individual interest; whereas property stops dead short at the narrowest limits. It is not "Us against the world!" but "Me against my fellow-citizens!" It is the final result of the industrial war in its most hideous avatar. Look how it scars the fair face of our England with its anti-social notice-boards, "Trespassers will be prosecuted!" It says, in effect, "This is my land. God made it; but I have acquired it and tabooed it. The grass on it grows green; but only for me. The mountains rise beautiful; no foot of man, save mine and my gamekeepers', shall tread them. The waterfalls gleam fresh and cool in the glen: avaunt there, you non-possessors; you shall never see them! All this is my own. And I choose to monopolise it."

Or is it the capitalist? "I will add field to field," he says, in despite of his own scripture; "I will join railway to railway. I will juggle into my own hands all the instruments for the production of wealth that I can lay hold of; and I will use them for myself against the producer and the consumer. I will enrich myself by 'corners' on the necessaries of life; I will make food dear for the poor, that I myself may roll in needless luxury. I will monopolise whatever I can seize, and the people may eat straw." That temper, too, humanity must outlive. And those who can't outlive it of themselves, or be warned in time, must be taught by stern lessons that their race has outstripped them.

As for slavery, 'tis now gone. That was the vilest of them all. It was the naked assertion of the Monopolist platform: "You live, not for yourself, but wholly and solely for me. I disregard your life entirely, and use you as my chattel." It died at last of the moral indignation of humanity. It died when a Southern court of so-called justice formulated in plain words the underlying principle of its hateful creed: "A black man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect." That finally finished it. We no longer allow every man to "wallop his own nigger." And though the last relics of it die hard in Queensland, South Africa, Demerara, we have at least the satisfaction of knowing that one Monopolist Instinct out of the group is pretty well bred out of us.

Except as regards women! There, it lingers still. The Man says even now to himself:—"This woman is mine. If she ventures to have a heart or a will of her own, woe betide her! I have tabooed her for life; let any other man touch her, let her look at any other man—and—knife, revolver, or law court, they shall both of them answer for it!" There you have in all its natural ugliness another Monopolist Instinct—the deepest-seated of all, the vilest, the most barbaric. She is not yours: she is her own: unhand her! The Turk takes his offending slave, sews her up in a sack, and flings her into the Bosphorus. The Christian Englishman drags her shame before an open court, and divorces her with contumely. Her shame, I say, in the common phrase, because though to me it is no shame that any human being should follow the dictates of his or her own heart, it is a shame to the woman in the eyes of the world, and a life of disgrace she must live thenceforward. All this is Monopoly and essentially slavery. As man lives down the Ape and Tiger stage, he will learn to say, rather: "Be mine while you can; but the day you cease to feel you can be mine willingly, don't disgrace your own body by yielding it up where your soul feels loathing; don't consent to be the mother of children by a father you despise or dislike or are tired of. Let us kiss and part. Go where you will; and my good will go with you!" Till the man can say that with a sincere heart, why, to borrow a phrase from George Meredith, he may have passed Seraglio Point, but he hasn't rounded Cape Turk yet.

You find that a hard saying, do you? You kick against freedom for wife or daughter? Well, yes, no doubt; you are still a Monopolist. But, believe me, the earnest and solemn expression of a profound belief never yet did harm to any one. I look forward to the time when women shall be as free in every way as men, not by levelling down, but by levelling up; not, as some would have us think, by enslaving the men, but by elevating, emancipating, unshackling the women.

There is a charming little ditty in Louis Stevenson's "Child's Garden of Verse," which always seems to me to sum up admirably the Monopolist attitude. Here it is. Look well at it:—

"When I am grown to man's estate I shall be very proud and great, And tell the other girls and boys, Not to meddle with my toys."

That is the way of the Monopolist. It catches him in the very act. He says to all the world: "Hands off! My property! Don't walk on my grass! Don't trespass in my park! Beware of my gunboats! No trifling with my women! I am the king of the castle. You meddle with me at your peril."

"Ours!" not "Mine!" is the watchword of the future.



"He was a mere amateur; but still, he did some good work in science."

Increasingly of late years I have heard these condescending words uttered, in the fatherland of Bacon, of Newton, of Darwin, when some Bates or Spottiswoode has been gathered to his fathers. It was not so once. Time was when all English science was the work of amateurs—and very well indeed the amateurs did it. I don't think anybody who does me the honour to cognise my humble individuality at all will ever be likely to mistake me for a laudator temporis acti. On the contrary, so far as I can see, the past seems generally to have been such a distinct failure all along the line that the one lesson we have to learn from it is, to go and do otherwise. I am one on that point with Shelley and Rousseau. But it does not follow, because most old things are bad, that all new things and rising things are necessarily and indisputably in their own nature excellent. Novelties, too, may be retrograde. And even our great-grandfathers occasionally blundered upon something good in which we should do well to imitate them. The amateurishness of old English science was one of these good things now in course of abolition by the fashionable process of Germanisation.

Don't imagine it was only for France that 1870 was fatal. The sad successes of that deadly year sent a wave of triumphant Teutonism over the face of Europe.

I suppose it is natural to man to worship success; but ever since 1870 it is certainly the fact that if you wish to gain respect and consideration for any proposed change of system you must say, "They do it so in Germany." In education and science this is especially the case. Pedants always admire pedants. And Germany having shown herself to be easily first of European States in her pedant-manufacturing machinery, all the assembled dominies of all the rest of the world exclaimed with one voice, "Go to! Let us Germanise our educational system!"

Now, the German is an excellent workman in his way. Patient, laborious, conscientious, he has all the highest qualities of the ideal brick-maker. He produces the best bricks, and you can generally depend upon him to turn out both honest and workmanlike articles. But he is not an architect. For the architectonic faculty in its highest developments you must come to England. And he is not a teacher or expounder. For the expository faculty in its purest form, the faculty that enables men to flash forth clearly and distinctly before the eyes of others the facts and principles they know and perceive themselves, you must go to France. Oh, dear, yes; we may well be proud of England. Remember, I have already disclaimed more than once in these papers the vulgar error of patriotism. But freedom from that narrow vice does not imply inability to recognise the good qualities of one's own race as well as the bad ones. And the Englishman, left to himself and his own native methods, used to cut a very respectable figure indeed in the domain of science. No other nation has produced a Newton or a Darwin. The Englishman's way was to get up an interest in a subject first; and then, working back from the part of it that specially appealed to his own tastes, to make himself master of the entire field of inquiry. This natural and thoroughly individualistic English method enabled him to arrive at new results in a way impossible to the pedantically educated German—nay, even to the lucidly and systematically educated Frenchman. It was the plan to develop "mere amateurs," I admit; but it was also the plan to develop discoverers and revolutionisers of science. For the man most likely to advance knowledge is not the man who knows in an encyclopædic rote-work fashion the whole circle of the sciences, but the man who takes a fresh interest for its own sake in some particular branch of inquiry.

Darwin was a "mere amateur." He worked at things for the love of them. So were Murchison, Lyell, Benjamin Franklin, Herschel. So were or are Bates, Herbert Spencer, Alfred Russel Wallace. "Mere amateurs!" every man of them.

In an evil hour, however, our pastors and masters in conclave assembled said to one another, "Come now, let us Teutonise English scientific education." And straightway they Teutonised it. And there began to arise in England a new brood of patent machine-made scientists—excellent men in their way, authorities on the Arachnida, knowing all about everything that could be taught in the schools, but lacking somehow the supreme grace of the old English originality. They are first-rate specialists, I allow; and I don't deny that a civilised country has all need of specialists. Nay, I even admit that the day of the specialist has only just begun. He will yet go far; he will impose himself and his yoke upon us. But don't let us therefore make the grand mistake of concluding that our fine old English birthright in science—the birthright that gave us our Newtons, our Cavendishes, our Darwins, our Lyells—was all folly and error. Don't let us spoil ourselves in order to become mere second-hand Germans. Let us recognise the fact that each nation has a work of its own to do in the world; and that as star from star, so one nation differeth from another in glory. Let each of us thank the goodness and the grace that on his birth have smiled, that he was born of English breed, and not a German child.

"Don't you think," a military gentleman once said to me, "the Germans are wonderful organisers?" "No," I answered, "I don't; but I think they're excellent drill-sergeants."

There are people who drop German authorities upon you as if a Teutonic name were guarantee enough for anything. They say, "Hausberger asserts," or "According to Schimmelpenninck." This is pure fetichism. Believe me, your man of science isn't necessarily any the better because he comes to you with the label, "Made in Germany." The German instinct is the instinct of Frederick William of Prussia—the instinct of drilling. Very thorough and efficient men in their way it turns out; men versed in all the lore of their chosen subject. If they are also men of transcendent ability (as often happens), they can give us a comprehensive view of their own chosen field such as few Englishmen (except Sir Archibald Geikie, and he's a Scot) can equal. If I wanted to select a learned man for a special Government post—British Museum, and so forth—I dare say I should often be compelled to admit, as Government often admits, that the best man then and there obtainable is the German. But if I wanted to train Herbert Spencers and Faradays, I would certainly not send them to Bonn or to Berlin. John Stuart Mill was an English Scotchman, educated and stuffed by his able father on the German system; and how much of spontaneity, of vividness, of verve, we all of us feel John Stuart Mill lost by it! One often wonders to what great, to what still greater, things that lofty brain might not have attained, if only James Mill would have given it a chance to develop itself naturally!

Our English gift is originality. Our English keynote is individuality. Let us cling to those precious heirlooms of our Celtic ancestry, and refuse to be Teutonised. Let us discard the lessons of the Potsdam grenadiers. Let us write on the pediment of our educational temple, "No German need apply." Let us disclaim that silly phrase "A mere amateur." Let us return to the simple faith in direct observation that made English science supreme in Europe.

And may the Lord gi'e us Britons a guid conceit o' oorsel's!



Strange that the wealthiest class in the wealthiest country in the world should so long have been content to inhabit a squalid village!

I'm not going to compare London, as Englishmen often do, with Paris or Vienna. I won't do two great towns that gross injustice. And, indeed, comparison here is quite out of the question. You don't compare Oxford with Little Peddlington, or Edinburgh with Thrums, and then ask which is the handsomest. Things must be alike in kind before you can begin to compare them. And London and Paris are not alike in kind. One is a city, and a noble city; the other is a village, and a squalid village.

No; I will not even take a humbler standard of comparison, and look at London side by side with Brussels, Antwerp, Munich, Turin. Each of those is a city, and a fine city in its way; but each of them is small. Still, even by their side, London is again but a squalid village. I insist upon that point, because, misled by their ancient familiarity with London, most Englishmen have had their senses and understandings so blunted on this issue, that they really don't know what is meant by a town, or a fine town, when they see one. And don't suppose it's because London is in Britain and these other towns out of it that I make these remarks: for Bath is a fine town, Edinburgh is a fine town, even Glasgow and Newcastle are towns, while London is still a straggling, sprawling, invertebrate, inchoate, overgrown village. I am as free, I hope, from anti-patriotic as from patriotic prejudice. The High Street in Oxford, Milsom Street in Bath, Princes Street in Edinburgh, those are all fine streets that would attract attention even in France or Germany. But the Strand, Piccadilly, Regent Street, Oxford Street—good Lord, deliver us!

One more caveat as to my meaning. When I cite among real towns Brussels, Antwerp, and Munich, I am not thinking of the treasures of art those beautiful places contain; that is another and altogether higher question. Towns supreme in this respect often lag far behind others of less importance—lag behind in those external features and that general architectural effectiveness which rightly entitle us to say in a broad sense, "This is a fine city." Florence, for example, contains more treasures of art in a small space than any other town of Europe; yet Florence, though undoubtedly a town, and even a fine town, is not to be compared in this respect, I do not say with Venice or Brussels, but even with Munich or Milan. On the other hand, London contains far more treasures of art in its way than Boston, Massachusetts; but Boston is a handsome, well-built, regular town, while London—well, I will spare you the further repetition of the trite truism that London is a squalid village. In one word, the point I am seeking to bring out here is that a town, as a town, is handsome or otherwise, not in virtue of the works of art or antiquity it contains, but in virtue of its ground-plan, its architecture, its external and visible decorations and places—the Louvre, the Boulevards, the Champs Elysées, the Place de l'Opéra.

Now London has no ground-plan. It has no street architecture. It has no decorations, though it has many uglifications. It is frankly and simply and ostentatiously hideous. And being wholly wanting in a system of any sort—in organic parts, in idea, in views, in vistas—it is only a village, and a painfully uninteresting one.

Most Englishmen see London before they see any other great town. They become so familiarised with it that their sense of comparison is dulled and blunted. I had the good fortune to have seen many other great towns before I ever saw London: and I shall never forget my first sense of surprise at its unmitigated ugliness.

Get on top of an omnibus—I don't say in Paris, from the Palais Royal to the Arc de Triomphe, but in Brussels, from the Gare du Nord to the Palais de Justice—and what do you see? From end to end one unbroken succession of noble and open prospects. I'm not thinking now of the Grande Place in the old town, with its magnificent collection of mediæval buildings; the Great Fire effectively deprived us of our one sole chance of such an element of beauty in modern London. I confine myself on purpose to the parts of Brussels which are purely recent, and might have been imitated at a distance in London, if there had been any public spirit or any public body in England to imitate them. (But unhappily there was neither.) Recall to mind as you read the strikingly handsome street view that greets you as you emerge from the Northern Station down the great central Boulevards to the Gare du Midi—all built within our own memory. Then think of the prospects that gradually unfold themselves as you rise on the hill; the fine vista north towards Sainte Marie de Schaarbeck; the beautiful Rue Royale, bounded by that charming Parc; the unequalled stretch of the Rue de la Régence, starting from the Place Royale with Godfrey of Bouillon, and ending with the imposing mass of the Palais de Justice. It is to me a matter for mingled surprise and humiliation that so many Englishmen can look year after year at that glorious street—perhaps the finest in the world—and yet never think to themselves, "Mightn't we faintly imitate some small part of this in our wealthy, ugly, uncompromising London?"

I always say to Americans who come to Europe: "When you go to England, don't see our towns, but see our country. Our country is something unequalled in the world: while our towns!—well, anyway, keep away from London!"

With the solitary and not very brilliant exception of the Embankment, there isn't a street in London where one could take a stranger to admire the architecture. Compare that record with the new Boulevards in Antwerp, where almost every house is worth serious study: or with the Ring at Cologne (to keep close home all the time), where one can see whole rows of German Renaissance houses of extraordinary interest. What street in London can be mentioned in this respect side by side with Commonwealth Avenue or Beacon Street in Boston; with Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio; with the upper end of Fifth Avenue, New York; nay, even with the new Via Roma at Genoa? Why is it that we English can't get on the King's Road at Brighton anything faintly approaching that splendid sea front on the Digue at Ostend, or those coquettish white villas that line the Promenade des Anglais at Nice? The blight of London seems to lie over all Southern England.

Paris looks like the capital of a world-wide empire. London, looks like a shapeless neglected suburb, allowed to grow up by accident anyhow. And that's just the plain truth of it. 'Tis a fortuitous concourse of hap-hazard houses.

"But we are improving somewhat. The County Council is opening out a few new thoroughfares piecemeal." Oh yes, in an illogical, unsystematic, English patchwork fashion, we are driving a badly-designed, unimpressive new street or two, with no expansive sense of imperial greatness, through the hopelessly congested and most squalid quarters. But that is all. No grand, systematic, reconstructive plan, no rising to the height of the occasion and the Empire! You tinker away at a Shaftesbury Avenue. Parochial, all of it. And there you get the real secret of our futile attempts at making a town out of our squalid village. The fault lies all at the door of the old Corporation, and of the people who made and still make the old Corporation possible. For centuries, indeed, there was really no London, not even a village; there was only a scratch collection of contiguous villages. The consequence was that here, at the centre of national life, the English people grew wholly unaccustomed to the bare idea of a town, and managed everything piecemeal, on the petty scale of a country vestry. The vestryman intelligence has now overrun the land; and if the London County Council ever succeeds at last in making the congeries of villages into—I do not say a city, for that is almost past praying for, but something analogous to a second-rate Continental town, it will only be after long lapse of time and violent struggles with the vestryman level of intellect and feeling.

London had many great disadvantages to start with. She lay in a dull and marshy bottom, with no building stone at hand, and therefore she was forecondemned by her very position to the curse of brick and stucco, when Bath, Oxford, Edinburgh, were all built out of their own quarries. Then fire destroyed all her mediæval architecture, leaving her only Westminster Abbey to suggest the greatness of her losses. But brick-earth and fire have been as nothing in their way by the side of the evil wrought by Gog and Magog. When five hundred trembling ghosts of naked Lord Mayors have to answer for their follies and their sins hereafter, I confidently expect the first question in the appalling indictment will be, "Why did you allow the richest nation on earth to house its metropolis in a squalid village?"

We have a Moloch in England to whom we sacrifice much. And his hateful name is Vested Interest.



A certain story is told about Mr. Ruskin, no doubt apocryphal, but at any rate characteristic. A young lady, fresh from the Abyss of Bayswater, met the sage one evening at dinner—a gushing young lady, as many such there be—who, aglow with joy, boarded the Professor at once with her private art-experiences. "Oh, Mr. Ruskin," she cried, clasping her hands, "do you know, I hadn't been two days in Florence before I discovered what you meant when you spoke about the supreme unapproachableness of Botticelli." "Indeed?" Ruskin answered. "Well, that's very remarkable; for it took me, myself, half a lifetime to discover it."

The answer, of course, was meant to be crushing. How should she, a brand plucked from the burning of Bayswater, be able all at once, on the very first blush, to appreciate Botticelli? And it took the greatest critic of his age half a lifetime! Yet I venture to maintain, for all that, that the young lady was right, and that the critic was wrong—if such a thing be conceivable. I know, of course, that when we speak of Ruskin we must walk delicately, like Agag. But still, I repeat it, the young lady was right; and it was largely the unconscious, pervasive action of Mr. Ruskin's own personality that enabled her to be so.

It's all the Zeitgeist: that's where it is. The slow irresistible Zeitgeist. Fifty years ago, men's taste had been so warped and distorted by current art and current criticism that they couldn't see Botticelli, however hard they tried at it. He was a sealed book to our fathers. In those days it required a brave, a vigorous, and an original thinker to discover any merit in any painter before Raffael, except perhaps, as Goldsmith wisely remarked, Perugino. The man who went then to the Uffizi or the Pitti, after admiring as in duty bound his High Renaissance masters, found himself suddenly confronted with the Judith or the Calumny, and straightway wondered what manner of strange wild beasts these were that some insane early Tuscan had once painted to amuse himself in a lucid interval. They were not in the least like the Correggios and the Guidos, the Lawrences and the Opies, that the men of that time had formed their taste upon, and accepted as their sole artistic standards. To people brought up upon pure David and Thorvaldsen, the Primavera at the Belle Arti must naturally have seemed like a wild freak of madness. The Zeitgeist then went all in the direction of cold lifeless correctness; the idea that the painter's soul counted for something in art was an undreamt of heresy.

On your way back from Paris some day, stop a night at Amiens and take the Cathedral seriously. Half the stately interior of that glorious thirteenth century pile is encrusted and overlaid by hideous gewgaw monstrosities of the flashiest Bernini and baroque period. There they sprawl their obtrusive legs and wave their flaunting theatrical wings to the utter destruction of all repose and consistency in one of the noblest and most perfect buildings of Europe. Nowadays, any child, any workman can see at a glance how ugly and how disfiguring those floppy creatures are; it is impossible to look at them without saying to oneself: "Why don't they clear away all this high-faluting rubbish, and let us see the real columns and arches and piers as their makers designed them?" Yet who was it that put them there, those unspeakable angels in muslin drapery, those fly-away nymphs and graces and seraphim? Why, the best and most skilled artists of their day in Europe. And whence comes it that the merest child can now see instinctively how out of place they are, how disfiguring, how incongruous? Why, because the Gothic revival has taught us all by degrees to appreciate the beauty and delicacy of a style which to our eighteenth century ancestors was mere barbaric mediævalism; has taught us to admire its exquisite purity, and to dislike the obstrusive introduction into its midst of incongruous and meretricious Bernini-like flimsiness.

The Zeitgeist has changed, and we have changed with it.

It is just the same with our friend Botticelli. Scarce a dozen years ago, it was almost an affectation to pretend you admired him. It is no affectation now. Hundreds of assorted young women from the Abyss of Bayswater may rise any morning here in sacred Florence and stand genuinely enchanted before the Adoration of the Kings, or the Venus who floats on her floating shell in a Botticellian ocean. And why? Because Leighton, Holman Hunt, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Madox Brown, Strudwick, have led them slowly up to it by golden steps innumerable. Thirty years ago the art of the early Tuscan painters was something to us Northerners exotic, strange, unconnected, archæological. Gradually, it has been brought nearer and nearer to us on the walls of the Grosvenor and the New Gallery, till now he that runs may read; the ingenuous maiden, fished from the Abyss of Bayswater, can drink in at a glance what it took a Ruskin many years of his life and much slow development to attain to piecemeal.

That is just what all great men are for—to make the world accept as a truism in the generation after them what it rejected as a paradox in the generation before them.

Not, of course, that there isn't a little of affectation, and still more of fashion, to the very end in all of it. An immense number of people, incapable of genuinely admiring anything for its own sake at all, are anxious only to be told what they "ought to admire, don't you know," and will straightway proceed as conscientiously as they can to get up an admiration for it. A friend of mine told me a beautiful example. Two aspiring young women, of the limp-limbed, short-haired, æsthetic species, were standing rapt before the circular Madonna at the Uffizi. They had gazed at it long and lovingly, seeing it bore on its frame the magic name of Botticelli. Of a sudden one of the pair happened to look a little nearer at the accusing label. "Why, this is not Sandro," she cried, with a revulsion of disgust; "this is only Aless." And straightway they went off from the spot in high dudgeon at having been misled as they supposed into examining the work of "another person of the same name."

Need I point the moral of my apologue, in this age of enlightenment, by explaining, for the benefit of the junior members, that the gentleman's full name was really Alessandro, and that both abbreviations are impartially intended to cover his one and indivisible personality? The first half is official, like Alex.; the second affectionate and familiar, like Sandy.

Still, even after making due allowance for such humbugs as these, a vast residuum remains of people who, if born sixty years ago, could never by any possibility have been made to see there was anything admirable in Lippi, Botticelli, Giotto; but who, having been born thirty years ago, see it without an effort. Hundreds who read these lines must themselves remember the unmistakable thrill of genuine pleasure with which they first gazed upon the Fra Angelicos at San Marco, the Memlings at Bruges, the Giottos in the Madonna dell' Arena at Padua. To many of us, those are real epochs in our inner life. To the men of fifty years ago, the bare avowal itself would have seemed little short of affected silliness.

Is the change all due to the teaching of the teachers and the preaching of the preachers? I think not entirely. For, after all, the teachers and the preachers are but a little ahead of the age they live in. They see things earlier; they help to lead us up to them; but they do not wholly produce the revolutions they inaugurate. Humanity as a whole develops consistently along certain pre-established and predestined lines. Sooner or later, a certain point must inevitably be reached; but some of us reach it sooner, and most of us later. That's all the difference. Every great change is mainly due to the fact that we have all already attained a certain point in development. A step in advance becomes inevitable after that, and one after another we are sure to take it. In one word, what it needed a man of genius to see dimly thirty years ago, it needs a singular fool not to see clearly nowadays.



Men don't marry nowadays. So everybody tells us. And I suppose we may therefore conclude, by a simple act of inference, that women in turn don't marry either. It takes two, of course, to make a quarrel—or a marriage.

Why is this? "Young people nowadays want to begin where their fathers left off." "Men are made so comfortable at present in their clubs." "College-bred girls have no taste for housekeeping." "Rents are so high and manners so luxurious." Good heavens, what silly trash, what puerile nonsense! Are we all little boys and girls, I ask you, that we are to put one another off with such transparent humbug? Here we have to deal with a primitive instinct—the profoundest and deepest-seated instinct of humanity, save only the instincts of food and drink and of self-preservation. Man, like all other animals, has two main functions: to feed his own organism, and to reproduce his species. Ancestral habit leads him, when mature, to choose himself a mate—because he loves her. It drives him, it urges him, it goads him irresistibly. If this profound impulse is really lacking to-day in any large part of our race, there must be some correspondingly profound and adequate reason for it. Don't let us deceive ourselves with shallow platitudes which may do for drawing-rooms. This is philosophy, even though post-prandial. Let us try to take a philosophic view of the question at issue, from the point of vantage of a biological outlook.

Before you begin to investigate the causes of a phenomenon quelconque, 'tis well to decide whether the phenomenon itself is there to investigate.

Taking society throughout—not in the sense of those "forty families" to which the term is restricted by Lady Charles Beresford—I doubt whether marriage is much out of fashion. Statistics show a certain decrease, it is true, but not an alarming one. Among the labouring classes, I imagine men, and also women, still wed pretty frequently. When people say, "Young men won't marry nowadays," they mean young men in a particular stratum of society, roughly bounded by a silk hat on Sundays. Now, when you and I were young (I take it for granted that you and I are approaching the fifties) young men did marry; even within this restricted area, 'twas their wholesome way in life to form an attachment early with some nice girl in their own set, and to start at least with the idea of marrying her. Toward that goal they worked; for that end they endured and sacrificed many things. True, even then, the long engagement was the rule; but the long engagement itself meant some persistent impulse, some strong impetus marriage-wards. The desire of the man to make this woman his own, the longing to make this woman happy—normal and healthy endowments of our race—had still much driving-power. Nowadays, I seriously think I observe in most young men of the middle class around me a distinct and disastrous weakening of the impulse. They don't fall in love as frankly, as honestly, as irretrievably as they used to do. They shilly-shally, they pick and choose, they discuss, they criticise. They say themselves these futile foolish things about the club, and the flat, and the cost of living. They believe in Malthus. Fancy a young man who believes in Malthus! They seem in no hurry at all to get married. But thirty or forty years ago, young men used to rush by blind instinct into the toils of matrimony—because they couldn't help themselves. Such Laodicean luke-warmness betokens in the class which exhibits it a weakening of impulse. That weakening of impulse is really the thing we have to account for.

Young men of a certain type don't marry, because—they are less of young men than formerly.

Wild animals in confinement seldom propagate their kind. Only a few caged birds will continue their species. Whatever upsets the balance of the organism, in an individual or a race tends first of all to affect the rate of reproduction. Civilise the red man, and he begins to decrease at once in numbers. Turn the Sandwich Islands into a trading community, and the native Hawaiian refuses forthwith to give hostages to fortune. Tahiti is dwindling. From the moment the Tasmanians were taken to Norfolk Island, not a single Tasmanian baby was born. The Jesuits made a model community of Paraguay; but they altered the habits of the Paraguayans so fast that the reverend fathers, who were, of course, themselves celibates, were compelled to take strenuous and even grotesque measures to prevent the complete and immediate extinction of their converts. Other cases in abundance I might quote an I would; but I limit myself to these. They suffice to exhibit the general principle involved; any grave upset in the conditions of life affects first and at once the fertility of a species.

"But colonists often increase with rapidity." Ay, marry, do they, where the conditions of life are easy. At the present day most colonists go to fairly civilised regions; they are transported to their new home by steamboat and railway; they find for the most part more abundant provender and more wholesome surroundings than in their native country. There is no real upset. Better food and easier life, as Herbert Spencer has shown, result (other things equal) in increased fertility. His chapters on this subject in the "Principles of Biology" should be read by everybody who pretends to talk on questions of population. But in new and difficult colonies the increase is slight. Whatever compels greater wear and tear of the nervous system proves inimical to the reproductive function. The strain and stress of co-ordination with novel circumstances and novel relations affect most injuriously the organic balance. The African negro has long been accustomed to agricultural toil and to certain simple arts in his own country. Transported to the West Indies and the United States, he found life no harder than of old, if not, indeed, easier. He had abundant food, protection, security, a kind of labour for which he was well adapted. Instead of dying out, therefore, he was fruitful, and multiplied, and replenished the earth amazingly. But the Red Indian, caught blatant in the hunting stage, refused to be tamed, and could not swallow civilisation. He pined and dwined and decreased in his "reservations." The change was too great, too abrupt, too brusque for him. The papoose before long became an extinct animal.

Is not the same thing true of the middle class of England? Civilisation and its works have come too quickly upon us. The strain and stress of correlating and co-ordinating the world we live in are getting too much for us. Railways, telegraphs, the penny post, the special edition, have played havoc at last with our nervous systems. We are always on the stretch, rushing and tearing perpetually. We bolt our breakfasts; we catch the train or 'bus by the skin of our teeth, to rattle us into the City; we run down to Scotland or over to Paris on business; we lunch in London and dine in Glasgow, Belfast, or Calcutta. (Excuse imagination.) The tape clicks perpetually in our ears the last quotation in Eries; the telephone rings us up at inconvenient moments. Something is always happening somewhere to disturb our equanimity; we tear open the Times with feverish haste, to learn that Kimberleys or Jabez Balfour have fallen, that Matabeleland has been painted red, that shares have gone up, or gone down, or evaporated. Life is one turmoil of excitement and bustle. Financially, 'tis a series of dissolving views; personally 'tis a rush; socially, 'tis a mosaic of deftly-fitted engagements. Drop out one piece, and you can never replace it. You are full next week from Monday to Saturday—business all day, what calls itself pleasure (save the mark!) all evening. Poor old Leisure is dead. We hurry and scurry and flurry eternally. One whirl of work from morning till night: then dress and dine: one whirl of excitement from night till morning. A snap of troubled sleep, and again da capo. Not an hour, not a minute, we can call our own. A wire from a patient ill abed in Warwickshire! A wire from a client hard hit in Hansards! Endless editors asking for more copy! more copy! Alter to suit your own particular trade, and 'tis the life of all of us.

The first generation after Stephenson and the Rocket pulled through with it somehow. They inherited the sound constitutions of the men who sat on rustic seats in the gardens of the twenties. The second generation—that's you and me—felt the strain of it more severely: new machines had come in to make life still more complicated: sixpenny telegrams, Bell and Edison, submarine cables, evening papers, perturbations pouring in from all sides incessantly; the suburbs growing, the hubbub increasing, Metropolitan railways, trams, bicycles, innumerable: but natheless we still endured, and presented the world all the same with a third generation. That third generation—ah me! there comes the pity of it! One fancies the impulse to marry and rear a family has wholly died out of it. It seems to have died out most in the class where the strain and stress are greatest. I don't think young men of that class to-day have the same feelings towards women of their sort as formerly. Nobody, I trust, will mistake me for a reactionary: in most ways, the modern young man is a vast improvement on you and me at twenty-five. But I believe there is really among young men in towns less chivalry, less devotion, less romance than there used to be. That, I take it, is the true reason why young men don't marry. With certain classes and in certain places a primitive instinct of our race has weakened. They say this weakening is accompanied in towns by an increase in sundry hateful and degrading vices. I don't know if that is so; but at least one would expect it. Any enfeeblement of the normal and natural instinct of virility would show itself first in morbid aberrations. On that I say nothing. I only say this—that I think the present crisis in the English marriage market is due, not to clubs or the comfort of bachelor quarters, but to the cumulative effect of nervous over-excitement.



It is admitted on all hands by this time, I suppose, that the best way of learning is by eye, not by ear. Therefore the authorities that prescribe for us our education among all classes have decided that we shall learn by ear, not by eye. Which is just what one might expect from a vested interest.

Of course this superiority of sight over hearing is pre-eminently true of natural science—that is to say, of nine-tenths among the subjects worth learning by humanity. The only real way to learn geology, for example, is not to mug it up in a printed text-book, but to go into the field with a geologist's hammer. The only real way to learn zoology and botany is not by reading a volume of natural history, but by collecting, dissecting, observing, preserving, and comparing specimens. Therefore, of course, natural science has never been a favourite study in the eyes of school-masters, who prefer those subjects which can be taught in a room to a row of boys on a bench, and who care a great deal less than nothing for any subject which isn't "good to examine in." Educational value and importance in after life have been sacrificed to the teacher's ease and convenience, or to the readiness with which the pupil's progress can be tested on paper. Not what is best to learn, but what is least trouble to teach in great squads to boys, forms the staple of our modern English education. They call it "education," I observe in the papers, and I suppose we must fall in with that whim of the profession.

But even the subjects which belong by rights to the ear can nevertheless be taught by the eye more readily. Everybody knows how much easier it is to get up the history and geography of a country when you are actually in it than when you are merely reading about it. It lives and moves before you. The places, the persons, the monuments, the events, all become real to you. Each illustrates each, and each tends to impress the other on the memory. Sight burns them into the brain without conscious effort. You can learn more of Egypt and of Egyptian history, culture, hieroglyphics, and language in a few short weeks at Luxor or Sakkarah than in a year at the Louvre and the British Museum. The Tombs of the Kings are worth many papyri. The mere sight of the temples and obelisks and monuments and inscriptions, in the places where their makers originally erected them, gives a sense of reality and interest to them all that no amount of study under alien conditions can possibly equal. We have all of us felt that the only place to observe Flemish art to the greatest advantage is at Ghent and Bruges and Brussels and Antwerp; just as the only place to learn Florentine art as it really was is at the Uffizi and the Bargello.

These things being so, the authorities who have charge of our public education, primary, secondary, and tertiary, have decided in their wisdom—to do and compel the exact contrary. Object-lessons and the visible being admittedly preferable to rote-lessons and the audible, they have prescribed that our education, so called, shall be mainly an education not in things and properties, but in books and reading. They have settled that it shall deal almost entirely and exclusively with language and with languages; that words, not objects, shall be the facts it impresses on the minds of the pupils. In our primary schools they have insisted upon nothing but reading and writing, with just a smattering of arithmetic by way of science. In our secondary schools they have insisted upon nothing but Greek and Latin, with about an equal leaven of algebra and geometry. This mediæval fare (I am delighted that I can thus agree for once with Professor Ray Lankester) they have thrust down the throats of all the world indiscriminately; so much so that nowadays people seem hardly able at last to conceive of any other than a linguistic education as possible. You will hear many good folk who talk with contempt of Greek and Latin; but when you come to inquire what new mental pabulum they would substitute for those quaint and grotesque survivals of the Dark Ages, you find what they want instead is—modern languages. The idea that language of any sort forms no necessary element in a liberal education has never even occurred to them. They take it for granted that when you leave off feeding boys on straw and oats you must supply them instead with hay and sawdust.

Not that I rage against Greek and Latin as such. It is well we should have many specialists among us who understand them, just as it is well we should have specialists in Anglo-Saxon and Sanskrit. I merely mean that they are not the sum and substance of educational method. They are at best but two languages of considerable importance to the student of purely human evolution.

Furthermore, even these comparatively useless linguistic subjects could themselves be taught far better by sight than by hearing. A week at Rome would give your average boy a much clearer idea of the relations of the Capitol with the Palatine than all the pretty maps in Dr. William Smith's Smaller Classical Dictionary. It would give him also a sense of the reality of the Latin language and the Latin literature, which he could never pick up out of a dog-eared Livy or a thumb-marked Æneid. You have only to look across from the top of the Janiculum, towards the white houses of Frascati, to learn a vast deal more about the Alban hills and the site of Tusculum than ever you could mug up from all the geography books in the British Museum. The way to learn every subject on earth, even book-lore included, is not out of books alone, but by actual observation.

And yet it is impossible for any one among us to do otherwise than acquiesce in this vicious circle. Why? Just because no man can dissociate himself outright from the social organism of which he forms a component member. He can no more do so than the eye can dissociate itself from the heart and lungs, or than the legs can shake themselves free from the head and stomach. We have all to learn, and to let our boys learn, what authority decides for us. We can't give them a better education than the average, even if we know what it is and desire to impart it, because the better education, though abstractly more valuable, is now and here the inlet to nothing. Every door is barred with examinations, and opens but to the golden key of the crammer. Not what is of most real use and importance in life, but what "pays best" in examination, is the test of desirability. We are the victims of a system; and our only hope of redress is not by sporadic individual action but by concerted rebellion. We must cry out against the abuse till at last we are heard by dint of our much speaking. In a world so complex and so highly organised as ours, the individual can only do anything in the long run by influencing the mass—by securing the co-operation of many among his fellows.

Meanwhile, I believe it is gradually becoming the fact that our girls, who till lately were so very ill-taught, are beginning to know more of what is really worth knowing than their public-school-bred brothers. For the public school still goes on with the system of teaching it has derived direct from the thirteenth century; while the girls' schools, having started fair and fresh, are beginning to assimilate certain newer ideas belonging to the seventeenth and even the eighteenth. In time they may conceivably come down to the more elementary notions of the present generation. Less hampered by professions and examinations than the boys, the girls are beginning to know something now, not indeed of the universe in which they live, its laws and its properties, but of literature and history, and the principal facts about human development. Yet all the time, the boys go on as ever with Musa, Musæ, like so many parrots, and are turned out at last, in nine cases out of ten, with just enough smattering of Greek and Latin grammar to have acquired a life-long distaste for Horace and an inconquerable incapacity for understanding Æschylus. One year in Italy with their eyes open would be worth more than three at Oxford; and six months in the fields with a platyscopic lens would teach them strange things about the world around them that all the long terms at Harrow and Winchester have failed to discover to them. But that would involve some trouble to the teacher.

What a misfortune it is that we should thus be compelled to let our boys' schooling interfere with their education!



I have picked up on the moor the chrysalis of a common English butterfly. As I sit on the heather and turn it over attentively, while it wriggles in my hands, I can't help thinking how closely it resembles the present condition of our British commonwealth. It is a platitude, indeed, to say that "this is an age of transition." But it would be truer and more graphic perhaps to put it that this is an age in which England, and for the matter of that every other European country as well, is passing through something like the chrysalis stage in its evolution.

But, first of all, do you clearly understand what a chrysalis is driving at? It means more than it seems; the change that goes on within that impassive case is a great deal more profound than most people imagine. When the caterpillar is just ready to turn into a butterfly it lies by for a while, full of internal commotion, and feels all its organs slowly melting one by one into a sort of indistinguishable protoplasmic pulp; chaos precedes the definite re-establishment of a fresh form of order. Limbs and parts and nervous system all disappear for a time, and then gradually grow up again in new and altered types. The caterpillar, if it philosophised on its own state at all (which seems to be very little the habit of well-conducted caterpillars, as of well-conducted young ladies), might easily be excused for forming just at first the melancholy impression that a general dissolution was coming over it piecemeal. It must begin by feeling legs and eyes and nervous centres melt away by degrees into a common indistinguishable organic pulp, out of which the new organs only slowly form themselves in obedience to the law of some internal impulse. But when the process is all over, and—hi, presto!—the butterfly emerges at last from the chrysalis condition, what does it find but that instead of having lost everything it has new and stronger legs in place of the old and feeble ones; it has nerves and brain more developed than before; it has wings for flight instead of mere creeping little feet to crawl with? What seemed like chaos was really nothing more than the necessary kneading up of all component parts into a plastic condition which precedes every fresh departure in evolution. The old must fade before the new can replace it.

Now I am not going to work this perhaps somewhat fanciful analogy to death, or pretend it is anything more than a convenient metaphor. Still, taken as such, it is not without its luminosity. For a metaphor, by supplying us with a picturable representation, often enables us really to get at the hang of the thing a vast deal better than the most solemn argument. And I fancy communities sometimes pass through just such a chrysalis stage, when it seems to the timid and pessimistic in their midst as if every component element of the State (but especially the one in which they themselves and their friends are particularly interested) were rushing violently down a steep place to eternal perdition. Chaos appears to be swallowing up everything. "The natural relations of classes" disappear. Faiths melt; churches dissolve; morals fade; bonds fail; a universal magma of emancipated opinion seems to take the place of old-established dogma. The squires and the parsons of the period—call them scribes or augurs—wring their hands in despair, and cry aloud that they don't know what the world is coming to. But, after all, it is only the chrysalis stage of a new system. The old social order must grow disjointed and chaotic before the new social order can begin to evolve from it. The establishment of a plastic consistency in the mass is the condition precedent of the higher development.

Not, of course, that this consideration will ever afford one grain of comfort to the squires and the parsons of each successive epoch; for what they want is not the reasonable betterment of the whole social organism, but the continuance of just this particular type of squiredom and parsonry. That is what they mean by "national welfare;" and any interference with it they criticise in all ages with the current equivalent for the familiar Tory formula that "the country is going to the devil."

Sometimes these great social reconstructions of which I speak are forced upon communities by external factors interfering with their fixed internal order, as happened when the influx of northern barbarians broke up the decaying and rotten organism of the Roman Empire. Sometimes, again, they occur from internal causes, in an acute, and so to speak, inflammatory condition, as at the French Revolution. But sometimes, as in our own time and country, they are slowly brought about by organic development, so as really to resemble in all essential points the chrysalis type of evolution. Politically, socially, theologically, ethically, the old fixed beliefs seem at such periods to grow fluid or plastic. New feelings and habits and aspirations take their place. For a while a general chaos of conflicting opinions and nascent ideas is produced. The mass for the moment seems formless and lawless. Then new order supervenes, as the magma settles down and begins to crystallise; till at last, I'm afraid, the resulting social organism becomes for the most part just as rigid, just as definite, just as dogmatic, just as exacting, as the one it has superseded. The caterpillar has grown into a particular butterfly.

Through just such a period of reconstruction Europe in general and Britain in particular are now in all likelihood beginning to pass. And they will come out at the other end translated and transfigured. Laws and faiths and morals will all of them have altered. There will be a new heaven and a new earth for the men and women of the new epoch. Strange that people should make such a fuss about a detail like Home Rule, when the foundations of society are all becoming fluid. Don't flatter yourself for a moment that your particular little sect or your particular little dogma is going to survive the gentle cataclysm any more than my particular little sect or my particular little dogma. All alike are doomed to inevitable reconstruction. "We can't put the Constitution into the melting-pot," said Mr. John Morley, if I recollect his words aright. But at the very moment when he said it, in my humble opinion, the Constitution was already well into the melting-pot, and even beginning to simmer merrily. Federalism, or something extremely like it, may with great probability be the final outcome of that particular melting; though anything else is perhaps just as probable, and in any case the melting is general, not special. The one thing we can guess with tolerable certainty is that the melting-pot stage has begun to overtake us, socially, ethically, politically, ecclesiastically; and that what will emerge from the pot at the end of it must depend at last upon the relative strength of those unknown quantities—the various formative elements.

Being the most optimistic of pessimists, however, I will venture (after this disclaimer of prophecy) to prophesy one thing alone: 'Twill be a butterfly, not a grub, that comes out of our chrysalis.

Beyond that, I hold all prediction premature. We may guess and we may hope, but we can have no certainty. Save only the certainty that no element will outlive the revolution unchanged—not faiths, nor classes, nor domestic relations, nor any other component factor of our complex civilisation. All are becoming plastic in the organic plasm; all are losing features in the common mass of the melting-pot. For that reason, I never trouble my head for a moment when people object to me that this, that, or the other petty point of detail in Bellamy's Utopia or William Morris's Utopia, or my own little private and particular Utopia, is impossible, or unrealisable, or wicked, or hateful. For these, after all, are mere Utopias; their details are the outcome of individual wishes; what will emerge must be, not a Utopia at all, either yours or mine, but a practical reality, full of shifts and compromises most unphilosophical and illogical—a practical reality distasteful in many ways to all us Utopia-mongers. "The Millennium by return of post" is no more realisable to-day than yesterday. The greatest of revolutions can only produce that unsatisfactory result, a new human organisation.

Yet, it is something, after all, to believe at least that the grub will emerge into a full-fledged butterfly. Not, perhaps, quite as glossy in the wings as we could wish; but a butterfly all the same, not a crawling caterpillar.



I have always regarded Monte Carlo as an Influence for Good. It helps to keep so many young men off the Stock Exchange.

Let me guard against an obvious but unjust suspicion. These remarks are not uttered under the exhilarating effect of winning at the tables. Quite the contrary. It is the Bank that has broken the Man to-day at Monte Carlo. They are rather due to the chastening and thought-compelling influence of persistent loss, not altogether unbalanced by a well-cooked lunch at perhaps the best restaurant in any town of Europe. I have lost my little pile. The eight five-franc pieces which I annually devote out of my scanty store to the tutelary god of roulette have been snapped up, one after another, in breathless haste, by the sphinx-like croupiers, impassive priests of that rapacious deity, and now I am sitting, cleaned out, by the edge of the terrace, on a brilliant, cloudless, February afternoon, looking across the zoned and belted bay towards the beautiful grey hills of Rocca-bruna and the gleaming white spit of Bordighera in the distance. 'Tis a modest tribute, my poor little forty francs. Surely the veriest puritan, the oiliest Chadband of them all, will allow a humble scribbler, at so cheap a yearly rate, to purchase wisdom, not unmixed with tolerance, at the gilded shrine of Fors Fortuna!

For what a pother, after all, the unwise of this world are wont to make about one stranded gambling-house, in a remote corner of Liguria! If they were in earnest or sincere, how small a matter they would think it! Of course, when I say so, hypocrisy holds up its hands in holy horror. But that is the way with the purveyors of mint, cumin, and anise; they raise a mighty hubbub over some unimportant detail—in order to feel their consciences clear when business compels them to rob the widow and the orphan. In reality, though Monte Carlo is bad enough in its way—do I not pay it unwilling tribute myself twice a year out of the narrow resources of The Garret, Grub Street?—it is but a skin-deep surface symptom of a profound disease which attacks the heart and core in London and Paris. Compared with Panama, Argentines, British South Africans, and Liberators, Monte Carlo is a mole on the left ankle.

"The Devil's advocate!" you say. Well, well, so be it. The fact is, the supposed moral objection to gambling as such is a purely commercial objection of a commercial nation; and the reason so much importance is attached to it in certain places is because at that particular vice men are likely to lose their money. It is largely a fetish, like the sinfulness of cards, of dice, of billiards. Moreover, the objection is only to the kind of gambling. There is another kind, less open, at which you stand a better chance to win yourself, while other parties stand a better chance to lose; and that kind, which is played in great gambling-houses known as the Stock Exchange and the Bourse, is considered, morally speaking, as quite innocuous. Large fortunes are made at this other sort of gambling, which, of course, sanctifies and almost canonises it. Indeed, if you will note, you will find not only that the objection to gambling pure and simple is commonest in the most commercial countries, but also that even there it is commonest among the most commercial classes. The landed aristocracy, the military, and the labouring men have no objection to betting; nor have the Neapolitan lazzaroni, the Chinese coolies. It is the respectable English counting-house that discourages the vice, especially among the clerks, who are likely to make the till or the cheque-book rectify the little failures of their flutter on the Derby.

Observe how artificial is the whole mild out-cry: how absolutely it partakes of the nature of damning the sins you have no mind to! Here, on the terrace where I sit, and where ladies in needlessly costly robes are promenading up and down to exhibit their superfluous wealth ostentatiously to one another, my ear is continuously assailed by the constant ping, ping, ping of the pigeon-shooting, and my peace disturbed by the flapping death-agonies of those miserable victims. Yet how many times have you heard the tables at Monte Carlo denounced to once or never that you have heard a word said of the poor mangled pigeons? And why? Because nobody loses much money at pigeon-matches. That is legitimate sport, about as good and as bad as pheasant or partridge shooting—no better, no worse, in spite of artificial distinctions; and nobody (except the pigeons) has any interest in denouncing it. Legend has it at Monte Carlo, indeed, that when the proprietors of the Casino wished to take measures "pour attirer les Anglais" they held counsel with the wise men whether it was best to establish and endow an English church or a pigeon-shooting tournament. And the church was in a minority. Since then, I have heard more than one Anglican Bishop speak evil of the tables, but I have never heard one of them say a good word yet for the boxed and slaughtered pigeons.

Let me take a more striking because a less hackneyed case—one that still fewer people would think of. Everybody who visits Monte Carlo gets there, of course, by the P.L.M. If you know this coast at all you will know that P.L.M. is the curt and universal abbreviation for the Paris, Lyon, Méditerranée Railway Company—in all probability the most gigantic and wickedest monopoly on the face of this planet. Yet you never once heard a voice raised yet against the company as a company. Individual complaints get into the Times, of course, about the crowding of the train de luxe, the breach of faith as to places, and the discomforts of the journey; but never a glimmering conception seems to flit across the popular mind that here is a Colossal Wrong, compared to which Monte Carlo is but as a flea-bite to the Asiatic cholera. This chartered abuse connects the three biggest towns in France—Paris, Lyon, Marseilles—and is absolutely without competitors. It can do as it likes; and it does it, regardless—I say "regardless," without qualification, because the P.L.M. regards nobody and nothing. Yet one hears of no righteous indignation, no uprising of the people in their angry thousands, no moral recognition of the monopoly as a Wicked Thing, to be fought tooth and nail, without quarter given. It probably causes a greater aggregate of human misery in a week than Monte Carlo in a century. Besides, the one is compulsory, the other optional. You needn't risk a louis on the tables unless you choose, but, like it or lump it, if you're bound for Nice or Cannes or Mentone, you must open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what P.L.M. will send you. Our own railways, indeed, are by no means free from blame at the hands of the Democracy: the South-Eastern has not earned the eternal gratitude of its season-ticket holders; the children of the Great Western do not rise up and call it blessed. (Except, indeed, in the most uncomplimentary sense of blessing.) But the P.L.M. goes much further than these; and I have always held that the one solid argument for eternal punishment consists in the improbability that its Board of Directors will be permitted to go scot-free for ever after all their iniquities.

I am not wholly joking. I mean the best part of it. Great monopolies that abuse their trust are far more dangerous enemies of public morals than an honest gambling-house at every corner. Monte Carlo as it stands is just a concentrated embodiment of all the evils of our anti-social system, and the tables are by far the least serious among them. It is an Influence for Good, because it mirrors our own world in all its naked, all its over-draped hideousness. There it rears its meretricious head, that gaudy Palace of Sin, appropriately decked in its Haussmanesque architecture and its coquettish gardens, attracting to itself all the idle, all the vicious, all the rich, all the unworthy, from every corner of Europe and America. But Monte Carlo didn't make them; it only gathers to its bosom its own chosen children from the places where they are produced—from London, Paris, Brussels, New York, Berlin, St. Petersburg. The vices of our organisation begot these over-rich folk, begot their diamond-decked women, and their clipped French poodles with gold bangles spanning their aristocratic legs. These are the spawn of land-owning, of capitalism, of military domination, of High Finance, of all the social ills that flesh is heir to. I feel as I pace the terrace in the broad Mediterranean sunshine, that I am here in the midst of the very best society Europe affords. That is to say, the very worst. The dukes and the money-lenders, the Jay Goulds and the Reinachs. The idlest, the cruellest: the hereditary drones, the successful blood-suckers. But to find fault with them only for trying to win one another's ill-gotten gold at a fair and open game of trente-et-quarante, with the odds against them, and then to say nothing about the way they came by it, is to make a needless fuss about a trifle of detail, while overlooking the weightiest moral problems of humanity.

Whoever allows red herrings like these to be trailed across the path of his moral consciousness, to the detriment of the scent which should lead him straight on to the lairs of gigantic evils, deserves little credit either for conscience or sagacity. My son, be wise. Strike at the root of the evil. Let Monte Carlo go, but keep a stern eye on London ground-rents.



We Celts henceforth will rule the roost in Britain.

What is that you mutter? "A very inopportune moment to proclaim the fact." Well, no, I don't think so. And I'm sorry to hear you say it, for if there is a quality on which I plume myself, it's the delicate tact that makes me refrain from irritating the susceptibilities of the sensitive Saxon. See how polite I am to him! I call him sensitive. But, opportune or inopportune, Lord Salisbury says we are a Celtic fringe. I beg to retort, we are the British people.

"Conquered races," say my friends. Well, grant it for a moment. But in civilised societies, conquerors have, sooner or later, to amalgamate with the conquered. And where the vanquished are more numerous, they absorb the victors instead of being absorbed by them. That is the Nemesis of conquest. Rome annexed Etruria; and Etruscan Mæcenas, Etruscan Sejanus organised and consolidated the Roman Empire. Rome annexed Italy; and the Jus Italicum grew at last to be the full Roman franchise. Rome annexed the civilised world; and the provinces under Cæsar blotted out the Senate. Britain is passing now through the self-same stage. One inevitable result of the widening of the electorate has been the transfer of power from the Teutonic to the Celtic half of Britain. I repeat, we are no longer a Celtic fringe: at the polls, in Parliament, we are the British people. Lord Salisbury may fail to perceive that fact, or, as I hold more probable, may affect to ignore it. What will such tactics avail? The ostrich is not usually counted among men as a perfect model of political wisdom.

And are we, after all, the conquered peoples? Meseems, I doubt it. They say we Celts dearly love a paradox—which is perhaps only the sensible Saxon way of envisaging the fact that we catch at new truths somewhat quicker than other people. At any rate, 'tis a pet little paradox of my own that we have never been conquered, and that to our unconquered state we owe in the main our Radicalism, our Socialism, our ingrained love of political freedom. We are tribal not feudal; we think the folk more important than his lordship. The Saxon of the south-east is the conquered man: he has felt on his neck for generations the heel of feudalism. He is slavish; he is snobbish; he dearly loves a lord. He shouts himself hoarse for his Beaconsfield or his Salisbury. Till lately, in his rural avatar, he sang but one song—

"God bless the squire and his relations, And keep us in our proper stations."

Trite, isn't it? but so is the Saxon intelligence.

Seriously—for at times it is well to be serious—South-Eastern England, the England of the plains, has been conquered and enslaved in a dozen ages by each fresh invader. Before the dawn of history, Heaven knows what shadowy Belgæ and Iceni enslaved it. But historical time will serve our purpose. The Roman enslaved it, but left Caledonia and Hibernia free, the Cambrian, the Silurian, the Cornishman half-subjugated. The Saxon and Anglian enslaved the east, but scarcely crossed over the watershed of the western ocean. The Dane, in turn, enslaved the Saxon in East Anglia and Yorkshire. The Norman ground all down to a common servitude between the upper and nether millstones of the feudal system—the king and the nobleman. At the end of it all, Teutonic England was reduced to a patient condition of contented serfdom: it had accommodated itself to its environment: no wish was left in it for the assertion of its freedom. To this day, the south-east, save where leavened and permeated by Celtic influences, hugs its chains and loves them. It produces the strange portent of the Conservative working-man, who yearns to be led by Lord Randolph Churchill.

With the North and the West, things go wholly otherwise. Even Cornwall, the earliest Celtic kingdom to be absorbed, was rather absorbed than conquered. I won't go into the history of the West Welsh of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall at full length, because it would take ten pages to explain it; and I know that readers are too profoundly interested in the Shocking Murder in the Borough Road to devote half-an-hour to the origin and evolution of their own community. It must suffice to say that the Devonian and Cornubian Welsh coalesced with the West Saxon for resistance to their common enemy the Dane, and that the West Saxon kingdom was made supreme in Britain by the founder of the English monarchy—one Dunstan, a monk from the West Welsh Abbey of Glastonbury. Wales proper, overrun piecemeal by Norman filibusterers, was roughly annexed by the Plantagenet kings; but it was only pacified under the Welsh Tudors, and was never at any time thoroughly feudalised. Glendower's rebellion, Richmond's rebellion, the Wesleyan revolt, the Rebecca riots, the tithe war, are all continuous parts of the ceaseless reaction of gallant little Wales against Teutonic aggression. "An alien Church" still disturbs the Principality. The Lake District and Ayrshire—Celtic Cumbria and Strathclyde—only accepted by degrees the supremacy of the Kings of England and Scotland. The brother of a Scotch King was Prince of Cumbria, as the elder son of an English King was Prince of Wales. Indeed, David of Cumbria, who became David I. of Scotland, was the real consolidator of the Scotch kingdom. Cumbria was no more conquered by the Saxon Lothians than Scotland was conquered by the accession of James I. or by the Act of Union. That means absorption, conciliation, a certain degree of tribal independence. For Ireland, we know that the "mere Irish" were never subjugated at all till the days of Henry VII.; that they had to be reconquered by Cromwell and by William of Orange; that they rebelled more or less throughout the eighteenth century; and that they have been thorns in the side of Tory England through the whole of the nineteenth. As for the Highlands, they held out against the Stuarts till England had rejected that impossible dynasty; and then they rallied round the Stuarts as the enemies of the Saxon. General Wade's roads and the forts in the Great Glen, aided by a few trifles of Glencoe massacres, kept them quiet for a moment. But it was only for a moment. The North is once more in open revolt. Dr. Clark and the crofters are its mode of expressing itself.

Nor is that all. The Celtic ideas have remained unaltered. Of course, I am not silly enough to believe there is any such thing as a Celtic race. I use the word merely as a convenient label for the league of the unconquered peoples in Britain. Ireland alone contains half-a-dozen races; and none of them appear to have anything in common with the Pict of Aberdeenshire or the West-Welsh of Cornwall. All I mean when I speak of Celtic ideas and Celtic ideals is the ideas and ideals proper and common to unconquered races. As compared with the feudalised and contented serf of South-Eastern England, are not the Irish peasant, the Scotch clansman, the "statesman" of the dales, the Cornish miner, free men every soul of them? English landlordism, imposed from without upon the crofter of Skye or the rack-rented tenant of a Connemara hillside, has never crushed out the native feeling of a right to the soil, the native resistance to an alien system. The south-east, I assert, has been brutalised into acquiescent serfdom by a long course of feudalism; the west and north still retain the instincts of freemen.

As long as South-Eastern England and the Normanised or feudalised Saxon lowlands of Scotland contained all the wealth, all the power, and most of the population of Britain, the Celtic ideals had no chance of realising themselves. But the industrial revolution of the present century has turned us right-about-face, has transferred the balance of power from the secondary strata to the primary strata in Britain; from the agricultural lowlands to the uplands of coal and iron, the cotton factories, the woollen trade. Great industrial cities have grown up in the Celtic or semi-Celtic area—Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Belfast, Aberdeen, Cardiff. The Celt—that is to say, the mountaineer and the man of the untouched country—reproduces his kind much more rapidly than the Teuton. The Highlander and the Irishman swarm into Glasgow; the Irishman and the Welshman swarm into Liverpool; the west-countryman into Bristol; Celts of all types into London, Southampton, Newport, Birmingham, Sheffield. This eastward return-wave of Celts upon the Teuton has leavened the whole mass; if you look at the leaders of Radicalism in England you will find they bear, almost without exception, true Celtic surnames. Chartists and Socialists of the first generation were marshalled by men of Cymric descent, like Ernest Jones and Robert Owen, or by pure-blooded Irishmen like Fergus O'Connor. It is not a mere accident that the London Socialists of the present day should be led by Welshmen like William Morris, or by the eloquent brogue of Bernard Shaw's audacious oratory. We Celts now lurk in every corner of Britain; we have permeated it with our ideas; we have inspired it with our aspirations; we have roused the Celtic remnant in the south-east itself to a sense of their wrongs; and we are marching to-day, all abreast, to the overthrow of feudalism. If Lord Salisbury thinks we are a Celtic fringe he is vastly mistaken. But he doesn't really think so: 'tis a piece of his ponderous Saxon humour. Talk of "Batavian grace," indeed! Well, the Cecils came first from the fens of Lincolnshire.



Conservatism, I believe, is mainly due to want of imagination.

In saying this, I do not for a moment mean to deny the other and equally obvious truth that Conservatism, in the lump, is a euphemism for selfishness. But the two ideas have much in common. Selfish people are apt to be unimaginative: unimaginative people are apt to be selfish. Clearly to realise the condition of the unfortunate is the beginning of philanthropy. Clearly to realise the rights of others is the beginning of justice. "Put yourself in his place" strikes the keynote of ethics. Stupid people can only see their own side of a question: they cannot even imagine any other side possible. So, as a rule, stupid people are Conservative. They cling to what they have; they dread revision, redistribution, justice. Also, if a man has imagination he is likely to be Radical, even though selfish; while if he has no imagination he is likely to be Conservative, even though otherwise good and kind-hearted. Some men are Conservative from defects of heart, while some are Conservative from defects of head. Conversely, most imaginative people are Radical; for even a bad man may sometimes uphold the side of right because he has intelligence enough to understand that things might be better managed in the future for all than they are in the present.

But when I say that Conservatism is mainly due to want of imagination, I mean more than that. Most people are wholly unable to conceive in their own minds any state of things very different from the one they have been born and brought up in. The picturing power is lacking. They can conceive the past, it is true, more or less vaguely—because they have always heard things once were so, and because the past is generally realisable still by the light of the relics it has bequeathed to the present. But they can't at all conceive the future. Imagination fails them. Innumerable difficulties crop up for them in the way of every proposed improvement. Before there was any County Council for London, such people thought municipal government for the metropolis an insoluble problem. Now that Home Rule quivers trembling in the balance, they think it would pass the wit of man to devise in the future a federal league for the component elements of the United Kingdom; in spite of the fact that the wit of man has already devised one for the States of the Union, for the Provinces of the Dominion, for the component Cantons of the Swiss Republic. To the unimaginative mind difficulties everywhere seem almost insuperable. It shrinks before trifles. "Impossible!" said Napoleon. "There is no such word in my dictionary!" He had been trained in the school of the French Revolution—which was not carried out by unimaginative pettifoggers.

To people without imagination any change you propose seems at once impracticable. They are ready to bring up endless objections to the mode of working it. There would be this difficulty in the way, and that difficulty, and the other one. You would think, to hear them talk, the world as it stands was absolutely perfect, and moved without a hitch in all its bearings. They don't see that every existing institution just bristles with difficulties—and that the difficulties are met or got over somehow. Often enough while they swallow the camel of existing abuses they strain at some gnat which they fancy they see flying in at the window of Utopia or of the Millennium. "If your reform were carried," they say in effect, "we should, doubtless, get rid of such and such flagrant evils; but the streets in November would be just as muddy as ever, and slight inconvenience might be caused in certain improbable contingencies to the duke or the cotton-spinner, the squire or the mine-owner." They omit to note that much graver inconvenience is caused at present to the millions who are shut out from the fields and the sunshine, who are sweated all day for a miserable wage, or who are forced to pay fancy prices for fuel to gratify the rapacity of a handful of coal-grabbers.

Lack of imagination makes people fail to see the evils that are; makes them fail to realise the good that might be.

I often fancy to myself what such people would say if land had always been communal property, and some one now proposed to hand it over absolutely to the dukes, the squires, the game-preservers, and the coal-owners. "'Tis impossible," they would exclaim; "the thing wouldn't be workable. Why, a single landlord might own half Westminster! A single landlord might own all Sutherlandshire! The hypothetical Duke of Westminster might put bars to the streets; he might impede locomotion; he might refuse to let certain people to whom he objected take up their residence in any part of his territory; he might prevent them from following their own trades or professions; he might even descend to such petty tyranny as tabooing brass plates on the doors of houses. And what would you do then? The thing isn't possible. The Duke of Sutherland, again, might shut up all Sutherlandshire; might turn whole vast tracts into grouse-moor or deer-forest; might prevent harmless tourists from walking up the mountains. And surely free Britons would never submit to that. The bare idea is ridiculous. The squire of a rural parish might turn out the Dissenters; might refuse to let land for the erection of chapels; might behave like a petty King Augustus of Scilly. Indeed, there would be nothing to prevent an American alien from buying up square miles of purple heather in Scotland, and shutting the inhabitants of these British Isles out of their own inheritance. Sites might be refused for needful public purposes; fancy prices might be asked for pure cupidity. Speculators would job land for the sake of unearned increment; towns would have to grow as landlords willed, irrespective of the wants or convenience of the community. Theoretically, I don't even see that Lord Rothschild mightn't buy up the whole area of Middlesex, and turn London into a Golden House of Nero. Your scheme can't be worked. The anomalies are too obvious."

They are indeed. Yet I doubt whether the unimaginative would quite have foreseen them: the things they foresee are less real and possible. But they urge against every reform such objections as I have parodied; and they urge them about matters of far less vital importance. The existing system exists; they know its abuses, its checks and its counter-checks. The system of the future does not yet exist; and they can't imagine how its far slighter difficulties could ever be smoothed over. They are not the least staggered by the appalling reality of the Duke of Westminster or the Duke of Sutherland; not the least staggered by the sinister power of a conspiracy of coal-owners to paralyse a great nation with the horrors of a fuel famine. But they are staggered by their bogey that State ownership of land might give rise to a certain amount of jobbery and corruption on the part of officials. They think it better that the dukes and the squires should get all the rent than that the State should get most of it, with the possibility of a percentage being corruptly embezzled by the functionaries who manage it. This shows want of imagination. It is as though one should say to one's clerk, "All your income shall be paid in future to the Duke of Westminster, and not to yourself, for his sole use and benefit; because we, your employers, are afraid that if we give you your salary in person, you may let some of it be stolen from you or badly invested." How transparently absurd! We want our income ourselves, to spend as we please. We would rather risk losing one per cent. of it in bad investments than let all be swallowed up by the dukes and the landlords.

It is the same throughout. Want of imagination makes people exaggerate the difficulties and dangers of every new scheme, because they can't picture constructively to themselves the details of its working. Men with great picturing power, like Shelley or Robespierre, are always very advanced Radicals, and potentially revolutionists. The difficulty they see is not the difficulty of making the thing work, but the difficulty of convincing less clear-headed people of its desirability and practicability. A great many Conservatives, who are Conservative from selfishness, would be Radicals if only they could feel for themselves that even their own petty interests and pleasures are not really menaced. The squires and the dukes can't realise how much happier even they would be in a free, a beautiful, and a well-organised community. Imaginative minds can picture a world where everything is so ordered that life comes as a constant æsthetic delight to everybody. They know that that world could be realised to-morrow—if only all others could picture it to themselves as vividly as they do. But they also know that it can only be attained in the end by long ages of struggle, and by slow evolution of the essentially imaginative ethical faculty. For right action depends most of all, in the last resort, upon a graphic conception of the feelings of others.



The place known as Abroad is not nearly so nice a country to live in as England. The people who inhabit Abroad are called Foreigners. They are in every way and at all times inferior to Englishmen.

These Post-Prandials used once to be provided with a sting in their tail, like the common scorpion. By way of change, I turn them out now with a sting in their head, like the common mosquito. Mosquitoes are much less dangerous than scorpions, but they're a deal more irritating.

Not that I am sanguine enough to expect I shall irritate Englishmen. Your Englishman is far too cock-sure of the natural superiority of Britons to Foreigners, the natural superiority of England to Abroad, ever to be irritated by even the gentlest criticism. He accepts it all with lordly indifference. He brushes it aside as the elephant might brush aside the ineffective gadfly. No proboscis can pierce that pachydermatous hide of his. If you praise him to his face, he accepts your praise as his obvious due, with perfect composure and without the slightest elation. If you blame him in aught, he sets it down to your ignorance and mental inferiority. You say to him, "Oh, Englishman, you are great; you are wise; you are rich beyond comparison. You are noble; you are generous; you are the prince among nations." He smiles a calm smile, and thinks you a very sensible fellow. But you add, "Oh, my lord, if I may venture to say so, there is a smudge on your nose, which I make bold to attribute to the settlement of a black on your intelligent countenance." He is not angry. He is not even contemptuously amused. He responds, "My friend, you are wrong. There is never a smudge on my immaculate face. No blacks fly in London. The sky is as clear there in November as in August. All is pure and serene and beautiful." You answer, "Oh, my lord, I admit the force of your profound reasoning. You light the gas at ten in the morning only to show all the world you can afford to burn it." At that, he gropes his way along Pall Mall to his club, and tells the men he meets there how completely he silenced you.

And yet, My Lord Elephant, there is use in mosquitoes. Mr. Mattieu Williams once discovered the final cause of fleas. Certain people, said he, cannot be induced to employ the harmless necessary tub. For them, Providence designed the lively flea. He compels them to scratch themselves. By so doing they rouse the skin to action and get rid of impurities. Now, this British use of the word Abroad is a smudge on the face of the otherwise perfect Englishman. Perchance a mosquito-bite may induce him to remove it with a little warm water and a cambric pocket-handkerchief.

To most Englishmen, the world divides itself naturally into two unequal and non-equivalent portions—Abroad and England. Of these two, Abroad is much the larger country; but England, though smaller, is vastly more important. Abroad is inhabited by Frenchmen and Germans, who speak their own foolish and chattering languages. Part of it is likewise pervaded by Chinamen, who wear pigtails; and the outlying districts belong to the poor heathen, chiefly interesting as a field of missionary enterprise, and a possible market for Manchester piece-goods. We sometimes invest our money abroad, but then we are likely to get it swallowed up in Mexicans or Egyptian Unified. If you ask most people what has become of Tom, they will answer at once with the specific information, "Oh, Tom has gone Abroad." I have one stereotyped rejoinder to an answer like that. "What part of Abroad, please?" That usually stumps them. Abroad is Abroad; and like the gentleman who was asked in examination to "name the minor prophets," they decline to make invidious distinctions. It is nothing to them whether he is tea-planting in the Himalayas, or sheep-farming in Australia, or orange-growing in Florida, or ranching in Colorado. If he is not in England, why then he is elsewhere; and elsewhere is Abroad, one and indivisible.

In short, Abroad answers in space to that well-known and definite date, the Olden Time, in chronology.

People will tell you, "Foreigners do this"; "Foreigners do that"; "Foreigners smoke so much"; "Foreigners always take coffee for breakfast." "Indeed," I love to answer; "I've never observed it myself in Central Asia." 'Tis Parson Adams and the Christian religion. Nine English people out of ten, when they talk of Abroad, mean what they call the Continent; and when they talk of the Continent, they mean France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy; in short, the places most visited by Englishmen when they consent now and again to go Abroad for a holiday. "I don't like Abroad," a lady once said to me on her return from Calais. Foreigners, in like manner, means Frenchmen, Germans, Swiss, Italians. In the country called Abroad, the most important parts are the parts nearest England; of the people called Foreigners, the most important are those who dress like Englishmen. The dim black lands that lie below the horizon are hardly worth noticing.

Would it surprise you to learn that most people live in Asia? Would it surprise you to learn that most people are poor benighted heathen, and that, of the remainder, most people are Mahommedans, and that of the Christians, who come next, most people are Roman Catholics, and that, of the other Christian sects, most people belong to the Greek Church, and that, last of all, we get Protestants, more particularly Anglicans, Wesleyans, Baptists? Have you ever really realised the startling fact that England is an island off the coast of Europe? that Europe is a peninsula at the end of Asia? that France, Germany, Italy, are the fringe of Russia? Have you ever really realised that the English-speaking race lives mostly in America? that the country is vastly more populous than London? that our class is the froth and the scum of society? Think these things out, and try to measure them on the globe. And when you speak of Abroad, do please specify what part of it.

Abroad is not all alike. There are differences between Poland, Peru, and Palestine. What is true of France is not true of Fiji. Distinguish carefully between Timbuctoo, Tobolsk, and Toledo.

It is not our insularity that makes us so insular. 'Tis a gift of the gods, peculiar to Englishmen. The other inhabitants of these Isles of Britain are comparatively cosmopolitan. The Scotchman goes everywhere; the world is his oyster. Ireland is an island still more remote than Great Britain; but the Irishman has never been so insular as the English. I put that down in part to his Catholicism: his priests have been wheels in a world-wide system; his relations have been with Douai, St. Omer, and Rome; his bishops have gone pilgrimages and sat on Vatican Councils; his kinsmen are the MacMahons in France, the O'Donnels in Spain, the Taafes in Austria. Even in the days of the Regency this was so: look at Lever and his heroes! When England drank port, County Clare drank claret. But ever since the famine, Ireland has expanded. Every Irishman has cousins in Canada, in Australia, in New York, in San Francisco. The Empire is Irish, with the exception of India; and India, of course, is a Scotch dependency. Irishmen and Scotchmen have no such feelings about Abroad and its Foreigners as Londoners entertain. But Englishmen never quite get over the sense that everybody must needs divide the world into England and Elsewhere. To the end no Englishman really grasps the fact that to Frenchmen and Germans he himself is a foreigner. I have met John Bulls who had passed years in Italy, but who spoke of the countrymen of Cæsar and Dante and Leonardo and Garibaldi with the contemptuous toleration one might feel towards a child or an Andaman Islander. These Italians could build Giotto's campanile; could paint the Transfiguration; could carve the living marble on the tombs of the Medici; could produce the Vita Nuova; could beget Galileo, Galvani, Beccaria; but still—they were Foreigners. Providence in its wisdom has decreed that they must live Abroad—just as it has decreed that a comprehension of the decimal system and its own place in the world should be limitations eternally imposed upon the English intellect.



As I strolled across the moor this afternoon towards Waverley, I saw Jones was planting out that bare hillside of his with Douglas pines and Scotch firs and new strains of silver birches. They will improve the landscape. And I thought as I scanned them, "How curious that most people entirely overlook this constant betterment and beautifying of England! You hear them talk much of the way bricks and mortar are invading the country; you never hear anything of this slow and silent process of planting and developing which has made England into the prettiest and one of the most beautiful countries in Europe."

What's that you say? "Astonished to find I have a good word of any sort to put in for England!" Why, dear me, how irrational you are! I just love England. Can any man with eyes in his head and a soul for beauty do otherwise? England and Italy—there you have the two great glories of Europe. Italy for towns, for art, for man's handicraft; England for country, for nature, for green lanes and lush copses. Was it not one that loved Italy well who sighed in Italy—

"Oh, to be in England now that April's there?"

And who that loves Italy, and knows England, too, does not echo Browning's wish when April comes round again on dusty Tuscan hilltops? At Perugia, last spring, through weeks of tramontana, how one yearned for the sight of yellow English primroses! Not love England, indeed! Milton's England, Shelley's England; the England of the skylark, the dog-rose, the honeysuckle! Not love England, forsooth! Why, I love every flower, every blade of grass in it. Devonshire lane, close-cropped down, rich water-meadow, bickering brooklet: ah me, how they tug at one's heartstrings in Africa! No son of the soil can love England as those love her very stones who have come from newer lands over sea to her ivy-clad church-towers, her mouldering castles, her immemorial elms, the berries on her holly, the may in her hedgerows. Are not all these bound up in our souls with each cherished line of Shakespeare and Wordsworth? do they not rouse faint echoes of Gray and Goldsmith? Even before I ever set foot in England, how I longed to behold my first cowslip, my first foxglove! And now, I have wandered through the footpaths that run obliquely across English pastures, picking meadowsweet and fritillaries, for half a lifetime, till I have learned by heart every leaf and every petal. You think because I dislike one squalid village—"The Wen," stout English William Cobbett delighted to call it—I don't love England. You think because I see some spots on the sun of the English character, I don't love Englishmen. Why, how can any man who speaks the English tongue, and boasts one drop of English blood in his veins, not be proud of England? England, the mother of poets and thinkers; England, that gave us Newton, Darwin, Spencer; England, that holds in her lap Oxford, Salisbury, Durham; England of daisy and heather and pine-wood! Are we hewn out of granite, to be cold before England?

Upon my soul, your unseasonable interruption has almost made me forget what I was going to say; it has made me grow warm, and drop into poetry.

England, I take it, is certainly the prettiest country in Europe. It is almost the most beautiful. I say "almost," because I bethink me of Norway and Switzerland. I say "country," because I bethink me of Rome, Venice, Florence. But, taking it as country, and as country alone, nothing else approaches it. Have you ever thought why? Man made the town, says the proverb, and God made the country. Not so in England. There, man made the country, and beautified it exceedingly. In itself, the land of south-eastern England is absolutely the same as the land of Northern France—that hideous tract about Boulogne and Amiens which we traverse in silence every time we run across by Calais to Paris. Chalk and clay and sandstone stretch continuously under sea from Kent and Sussex to Flanders and Picardy. The Channel burst through, and made the Straits of Dover; but the land on either side was and still is geologically and physically identical. What has made the difference? Man, the planter and gardener. England is beautiful by copse and hedgerow, by pine-clad ridge and willow-covered hollow, by meadows interspersed with great spreading oaks, by pastures where drowsy sheep, deep-fleeced and ruddy-stained, huddle under the shade of ancestral beech-trees. Its loveliness is human. In itself, I believe, the actual contour of England cannot once have been much better than the contour of northern France—though nowadays it is hard indeed to realise it. Judicious planting, and a constant eye to picturesque effect in scenery, have made England what she is—the garden of Europe.

Of course there are parts of the country which owed, and still owe, their beauty to their wildness—Dartmoor, Exmoor, the West Riding of Yorkshire, the Surrey hills, the Peak in Derbyshire. Yet even these depend more than you would believe, when you take them in detail, on the art of the forester. The view from Leith Hill embraces John Evelyn's woods at Wotton: the larches that cover one Jura-like gorge were set there well within your and my memory. But elsewhere in England the hand of man has done absolutely everything. The American, when he first visits England, is charmed on his way up from Liverpool to London by the exquisite air of antique cultivation and soft rural beauty. The very sward is moss-like. Thoroughly wild country, indeed, unless bold and mountainous, does not often please one. It is apt to be bare, unattractive, and desolate. Witness the Veldt, the Steppes, the prairies. You may go through miles and miles of the States and Canada, where the wildness for the most part rather repels than delights you. I do not say everywhere; in places the wilderness will blossom like a rose; boggy margins of lakes, fallen trunks in the forest overgrown with wild flowers, make scenes unattainable in our civilised England. Even our roughest scenery is comparatively man-made: our heaths are game preserves; our woodlands are thinned of superfluous underbrush; our moors are relieved by deliberate plantations. But England in her own way is unique and unrivalled. Such parks, such greensward, such grassy lawns, such wooded tilth, are wholly unknown elsewhere. Compare the blank fields and long poplar-fringed high roads of central France with our Devon or our Warwickshire, and you get at once a just measure of the vast, the unspeakable difference.

And man has done it all. Alone he did it. Often as I take my walks abroad—and when I say abroad I mean in England—I see men at work dotting about exotics of variegated foliage on some barren hillside, and I say to myself, "There, before my eyes, goes on the beautifying of England." Thirty years ago, the North Downs near Dorking were one bare stretch of white chalky sheep-walk; half of them still remain so; the other half has been planted irregularly with copses and spinneys, which serve to throw up and enhance the beauty of the unaltered intervals. Beech and larch in autumn tints set off smooth patches of grass and juniper. Within the last few years, the downs about Leatherhead have been similarly diversified. Much of the loveliness of rural England is due, one must frankly confess, to the big landlords. Though the great houses love us not, we must allow at least that the great houses have cared for the trees in the hedge-rows, and for the timber in the meadows, as well as for the covert that sheltered their pheasants, their foxes, and their gamekeepers. But almost as much of England's charm is due to individual small owners or occupiers. 'Tis they who have planted the grounds about villa or cottage; they who have stocked the sweet old gardens of yew and box, of hollyhock and peony; they who have given us the careless rustic grace of the English village. Still, one way or another, man has done it all, whether in grange or in manor-house, in palatial estate or in labourer's holding. Look at the French or Belgian hamlet by the side of the English one; look at the French or Belgian farm by the side of our English wealth in wooded glen or sheltered homestead. Bricks and mortar are not covering the whole of England. That is only true of the squalid purlieus and outliers of London, whither Londoners gravitate by mutual attraction. If you will go and live in a dingy suburb, you can't reasonably complain that all the world's suburban. Being the most cheerful of pessimists, a dweller in the country all the days of my life, I have no hesitation in expressing my profound conviction that within my memory more has been done to beautify than to uglify England. Only, the beautification has been quiet and unobtrusive, while the uglification has been obvious and concentrated. It takes half a year to jerry-build a dingy street, but it takes a decade for newly-planted trees to give the woodland air by imperceptible stages to a stretch of country.



Yesterday, at Bordighera, I strolled up the hills behind the town to Sasso. It is a queer little cluster of gleaming white-washed houses that top the crest of a steep ridge; and, like many other Italian villages, it makes a brave show from a distance, though within it is full of evil smells and all uncleanness. But I found it had a church—a picturesquely ugly and dilapidated church; and without and within, this church was decorated by inglorious hands with very naïve and rudimentary frescoes. The Four Evangelists were there, in flowing blue robes; and the Four Greater Prophets, with long white beards; and the Madonna, appearing in most wooden clouds; and the Patron Saint tricked out for his Festa in gorgeous holiday episcopal vestments. That was all—just the common everyday Italian country church that everybody has seen turned out to pattern with manufacturing regularity a hundred times over! Yet, as I sat among the olive-terraces looking down the steep slope into the Borghetto valley, and across the gorge to the green pines on the Cima, it set me thinking. 'Tis a bad habit one falls into when one has nothing better to turn one's mind to.

We English, coming to Italy with our ideas fully formed about everything on heaven and earth, naturally say to ourselves, "Great heart alive, what sadly degraded frescoes! To think the art of Raphael and Andrea del Sarto should degenerate even here, in their own land, to such a childish level!" But we are wrong, for all that. It is Raphael and Andrea who rose, not my poor nameless Sasso artists who sank and degenerated. Italy was capable of producing her great painters in her own great day, just because in thousands of such Italian villages there were work-a-day artisans in form and colour capable of turning out such ridiculous daubs as those that decorate this tawdry church on the Ligurian hilltop.

We English, in short, think of it all the wrong way uppermost. We think of it topsy-turvy, beginning at the end, while evolution invariably begins at the beginning. The Raphaels and Andreas, to put it in brief, were the final flower and fullest outcome of whole races of church decorators in infantile fresco.

Everywhere you go in Italy, this truth is forced upon your attention even to the present day. Art here is no exotic. It smacks of the soil; it springs spontaneous, like a weed; it burgeons of itself out of the heart of the people. Not high art, understand well; not the art of Burne-Jones and Whistler and Puvis de Chavannes and Sar Peladan. Commonplace everyday art, that is a trade and a handicraft, like the joiner's or the shoemaker's. Look up at your ceiling; it's overrun with festoons of crude red and blue flowers, or it's covered with cupids and graces, or it bristles with arabesques and unmeaning phantasies. Every wall is painted; every grotto decorated. Sham landscapes, sham loggias, sham parapets are everywhere. The sham windows themselves are provided, not only with sham blinds and sham curtains, but even with sham coquettes making sham eyes or waving sham handkerchiefs at passers-by below them. Open-air fresco painting is still a living art, an art practised by hundreds and thousands of craftsmen, an art as alive as cookery or weaving. The Italian decorates everything; his pottery, his house, his church, his walls, his palaces. And the only difference he feels between the various cases is, that in some of them a higher type of art is demanded by wealth and skill than in the others. No wonder, therefore, he blossomed out at last into Michael Angelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel!

To us English, on the contrary, high art is something exotic, separate, alone, sui generis. We never think of the plaster star in the middle of our ceiling as belonging even to the same range of ideas as, say, the frescoes in the Houses of Parliament.

A nation in such a condition as that is never truly artistic. The artist with us, even now, is an exceptional product. Art for a long time in England had nothing at all to do with the life of the people. It was a luxury for the rich, a curious thing for ladies' and gentlemen's consumption, as purely artificial as the stuccoed Italian villa in which they insisted on shivering in our chilly climate. And the pictures it produced were wholly alien to the popular wants and the popular feelings; they were part of an imported French, Italian, and Flemish tradition. English art has only slowly outgrown this stage, just in proportion as truly artistic handicrafts have sprung up here and there, and developed themselves among us. Go into the Cantagalli or the Ginori potteries at Florence, and you will see mere boys and girls, untrained children of the people, positively disporting themselves, with childish glee, in painting plates and vases. You will see them, not slavishly copying a given design of the master's, but letting their fancy run riot in lithe curves and lines, in griffons and dragons and floral twists-and-twirls of playful extravagance. They revel in ornament. Now, it is out of the loins of people like these that great artists spring by nature—not State-taught, artificial, made-up artists, but the real spontaneous product, the Lippi and Botticelli, the hereditary craftsmen, the born painters. And in England nowadays it is a significant fact that a large proportion of the truest artists—the innovators, the men who are working out a new style of English art for themselves, in accordance with the underlying genius of the British temperament, have sprung from the great industrial towns—Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester—where artistic handicrafts are now once more renascent. I won't expose myself to further ridicule by repeating here (what I nevertheless would firmly believe, were it not for the scoffers) that a large proportion of them are of Celtic descent—belong, in other words, to that section of the complex British nationality in which the noble traditions of decorative art never wholly died out—that section which was never altogether enslaved and degraded by the levelling and cramping and soul-destroying influences of manufacturing industrialism.

In Italy, art is endemic. In England, in spite of all we have done to stimulate it of late years with guano and other artificial manures, it is still sporadic.

The case of music affords us an apt parallel. Till very lately, I believe, our musical talent in Britain came almost entirely from the cathedral towns. And why? Because there, and there alone, till quite a recent date, there existed a hereditary school of music, a training of musicians from generation to generation among the mass of the people. Not only were the cathedral services themselves a constant school of taste in music, but successive generations of choristers and organists gave rise to something like a musical caste in our episcopal centres. It is true, our vocalists have always come mainly from Wales, from the Scotch Highlands, from Yorkshire, from Ireland. But for that there is, I believe, a sufficient physical reason. For these are clearly the most mountainous parts of the United Kingdom; and the clear mountain air seems to produce on the average a better type of human larynx than the mists of the level. The men of the lowland, say the Tyrolese, croak like frogs in their marshes; but the men of the upland sing like nightingales on their tree-tops. And indeed, it would seem as if the mountain people were always calling to one another across intervening valleys, always singing and whistling and shouting over their work in a way that gives tone to the whole vocal mechanism. Witness Welsh penillion singing. And wherever this fine physical endowment goes hand in hand with a delicate ear and a poetic temperament, you get your great vocalist, your Sims Reeves or your Patti. But in England proper it was only in the cathedral towns that music was a living reality to the people; and it was in the cathedral towns, accordingly, during the dark ages of art, that exceptional musical ability was most likely to show itself. More particularly was this so on the Welsh border, where the two favouring influences of race and practice coincided—at Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, long known for the most musical towns in England.

Cause and effect act and react. Art is a product of the artistic temperament. The artistic temperament is a product of the long hereditary cultivation of art. And where a broad basis of this temperament exists among the people, owing to intermixture of artistically-minded stocks, one is liable to get from time to time that peculiar combination of characteristics—sensuous, intellectual, spiritual—which results in the highest and truest artist.



You ask me what would be the position of women in an ideal community. Well, after dinner, imagination may take free flight. Suppose, till the coffee comes, we discuss that question.

Woman, I take it, differs from man in being the sex sacrificed to reproductive necessities.

Whenever I say this, I notice my good friends, the women's-rights women, with whom I am generally in pretty close accord, look annoyed and hurt. I can never imagine why. I regard this point as an original inequality of nature, which it should be the duty of human society to redress as far as possible, like all other inequalities. Women are not on the average as tall as men; nor can they lift as heavy weights, or undergo, as a rule, so much physical labour. Yet civilised society recognises their equal right to the protection of our policemen, and endeavours to neutralise their physical inequality by the collective guarantee of all the citizens. In the same way I hold that women in the lump have a certain disadvantage laid upon them by nature, in the necessity that some or most among them should bear children; and this disadvantage I think the men in a well-ordered State would do their best to compensate by corresponding privileges. If women endure on our behalf the great public burden of providing future citizens for the community, the least we can do for them in return is to render that burden as honourable and as little onerous as possible. I can never see that there is anything unchivalrous in frankly admitting these facts of nature; on the contrary, it seems to me the highest possible chivalry to recognise in woman, as woman, high or low, rich or poor, the potential mother, who has infinite claims on that ground alone to our respect and sympathy.

Nor do I mean to deny, either, that the right to be a mother is a sacred and peculiar privilege of women. In a well-ordered community, I believe, that privilege will be valued high, and will be denied to no fitting mother by any man. While maternity is from one point of view a painful duty, a burden imposed upon a single sex for the good of the whole, it is from another point of view a privilege and a joy, and from a third point of view the natural fulfilment of a woman's own instincts, the complement of her personality, the healthy exercise of her normal functions. Just as in turn the man's part in providing physically for the support of the woman and the children is from one point of view a burden imposed upon him, but from another point of view a precious privilege of fatherhood, and from a third point of view the proper outlet for his own energy and his own faculties.

In an ideal State, then, I take it, almost every woman would be a mother, and almost every woman a mother of not more than about four children. An average of something like four is necessary, we know, to keep up population, and to allow for infant mortality, inevitable celibates, and so forth. Few women in such a State would abstain from maternity, save those who felt themselves physically or morally unfitted for the task; for in proportion as they abstained, either the State must lack citizens to carry on its life, or an extra and undue burden would have to be cast upon some other woman. And it may well be doubted whether in a well-ordered and civilised State any one woman could adequately bear, bring up, and superintend the education of more than four young citizens. Hence we may conclude that while no woman save the unfit would voluntarily shirk the duties and privileges of maternity, few (if any) women would make themselves mothers of more than four children. Four would doubtless grow to be regarded in such a community as the moral maximum; while it is even possible that improved sanitation, by diminishing infant mortality and adult ineffectiveness, might make a maximum of three sufficient to keep up the normal strength of the population.

In an ideal community, again, the woman who looked forward to this great task on behalf of the race would strenuously prepare herself for it beforehand from childhood upward. She would not be ashamed of such preparation; on the contrary, she would be proud of it. Her duty would be no longer "to suckle fools and chronicle small beer," but to produce and bring up strong, vigorous, free, able, and intelligent citizens. Therefore, she must be nobly educated for her great and important function—educated physically, intellectually, morally. Let us forecast her future. She will be well clad in clothes that allow of lithe and even development of the body; she will be taught to run, to play games, to dance, to swim; she will be supple and healthy, finely moulded and knit in limb and organ, beautiful in face and features, splendid and graceful in the native curves of her lissom figure. No cramping conventions will be allowed to cage her; no worn-out moralities will be tied round her neck like a mill-stone to hamper her. Intellectually she will be developed to the highest pitch of which in each individual case she proves herself capable—educated, not in the futile linguistic studies which have already been tried and found wanting for men, but in realities and existences, in the truths of life, in recognition of her own and our place among immensities. She will know something worth knowing of the world she lives in, its past and its present, the material of which it is made, the forces that inform it, the energies that thrill through it. Something, too, of the orbs that surround it, of the sun that lights it, of the stars that gleam upon it, of the seasons that govern it. Something of the plants and herbs that clothe it, of the infinite tribes of beast and bird that dwell upon it. Something of the human body, its structure and functions, the human soul, its origin and meaning. Something of human societies in the past, of institutions and laws, of creeds and ideas, of the birth of civilisation, of progress and evolution. Something, too, of the triumphs of art, of sculpture and painting, of the literature and the poetry of all races and ages. Her mind will be stored with the best thoughts of the thinkers. Morally, she will be free; her emotional development, instead of being narrowly checked and curbed, will have been fostered and directed. She will have a heart to love, and be neither ashamed nor afraid of it. Thus nurtured and trained, she will be a fit mate for a free man, a fit mother for free children, a fit citizen for a free and equal community.

Her life, too, will be her own. She will know no law but her higher instincts. No man will be able to buy or to cajole her. And in order that she may possess this freedom to perfection, that she may be no husband's slave, no father's obedient and trembling daughter, I can see but one way: the whole body of men in common must support in perfect liberty the whole body of women. The collective guarantee must protect them against individual tyranny. Thus only can women be safe from the bribery of the rich husband, from the dictation of the father from whom there are "expectations." In the ideal State, I take it, every woman will be absolutely at liberty to dispose of herself as she will, and no man will be able to command or to purchase her, to influence her in any way, save by pure inclination.

In such a State, most women would naturally desire to be mothers. Being healthy, strong, and free, they would wish to realise the utmost potentialities of their own organisms. And when they had done their duty as mothers, they would not care much, I imagine, for any further outlets for their superfluous energy. I don't doubt they would gratify to the full their artistic sensibilities and their thirst for knowledge. They would also perform their duties to the State as citizens, no less than the men. But having done these things I fancy they would have done enough; the margin of their life would be devoted to dignified and cultivated leisure. They would leave to men the tilling of the soil, the building and navigation of marine or aerial ships, the working of mines and metals, the erection of houses, the construction of roads, railways, and communications, perhaps even the entire manufacturing work of the community. Medicine and the care of the sick might still be a charge to some; education to most; art, in one form or another, to almost all. But the hard work of the world might well be left to men, upon whom it more naturally and fitly devolves. No hateful drudgery of "earning a livelihood." Women might rest content with being free and beautiful, cultivated and artistic, good citizens to the State, the mothers and guardians of the coming generations. If any woman asks more than this, she is really asking less—for she is asking that a heavier burden should be cast on some or most of her sex, in order to relieve the minority of a duty which to well-organised women ought to be a privilege.

"But all this has no practical bearing!" I beg your pardon. An ideal has often two practical uses. In the first place, it gives us a pattern towards which we may approximate. In the second place, it gives us a standard by which we may judge whether any step we propose to take is a step forward or a step backward.



A Second Chamber acts as a drag. Progress is always uphill work. So we are at pains to provide a drag beforehand—for an uphill journey.

There, in one word, you have the whole philosophy of Second Chambers.

How, then, did the nations of Europe come to hamper their legislative systems with such a useless, such an illogical adjunct? In sackcloth and ashes, let us confess the truth—we English led them astray: on us the shame; to us the dishonour. Theorists, indeed (wise after the fact, as is the wont of theorists), have discovered or invented an imaginary function for Second Chambers. They are to preserve the people, it seems, from the fatal consequences of their own precipitancy. As though the people—you and I—the vast body of citizens, were a sort of foolish children, to be classed with infants, women, criminals, and imbeciles (I adopt the chivalrous phraseology of an Act of Parliament), incapable of knowing their own minds for two minutes together, and requiring to be kept straight by the fatherly intervention of Dukes of Marlborough or Marquises of Ailesbury. The ideal picture of the level-headed peers restraining the youthful impetuosity of the representatives of the people from committing to-day some rash act which they would gladly repent and repeal to-morrow, is both touching and edifying. But it exists only in the minds of the philosophers, who find a reason for everything just because it is there. Members of Parliament, I have observed, seem to know their own minds every inch as well as earls—nay, even as marquises.

The plain fact of the matter is, all the Second Chambers in the world are directly modelled upon the House of Lords, that Old Man of the Sea whom England, the weary Titan, is now striving so hard to shake off her shoulders. The mother of Parliaments is responsible for every one of them. Senates and Upper Houses are just the result of irrational Anglomania. When constitutional government began to exist, men turned unanimously to the English Constitution as their model and pattern. That was perfectly natural. Evolutionists know that evolution never proceeds on any other plan than by reproduction, with modification, of existing structures. America led the way. She said, "England has a House of Commons; therefore we must have a House of Representatives. England has also a House of Lords; nature has not dowered us with those exalted products, but we will do what we can; we will imitate it by a Senate." Monarchical France followed her lead; so did Belgium, Italy, civilisation in general. I believe even Japan rejoices to-day in the august dignity of a Second Chamber. But mark now the irony of it. They all of them did this thing to be entirely English. And just about the time when they had completed the installation of their peers or their senators, England, who set the fashion, began to discover in turn she could manage a great deal better herself without them.

And then what do the philosophers do? Why, they prove to you the necessity of a Second Chamber by pointing to the fact that all civilised nations have got one—in imitation of England. Furthermore, it being their way to hunt up abstruse and recondite reasons for what is on the face of it ridiculous, they argue that a Second Chamber is a necessary wheel in the mechanism of popular representative government. A foolish phrase, which has come down to us from antiquity, represents the populace as inevitably "fickle," a changeable mob, to be restrained by the wisdom of the seniors and optimates. As a matter of fact, the populace is never anything of the sort. It is dogged, slow, conservative, hard to move; it advances step by step, a patient, sure-footed beast of burden; and when once it has done a thing, it never goes back upon it. I believe this silly fiction of the "fickleness" of the mob is mainly due to the equally silly fictions of prejudiced Greek oligarchs about the Athenian assembly—which was an assembly of well-to-do and cultivated slave-owners. I do not swallow all that Thucydides chooses to tell us in his one-sided caricature about Cleon's appointment to the command at Sphacteria, or about the affair of Mitylene; and even if I did, I think it has nothing to do with the question. But on such utterly exploded old-world ideas is the whole modern argument of the Second Chamber founded.

Does anybody really believe great nations are so incapable of managing their own affairs for themselves through their duly-elected representatives that they are compelled to check their own boyish ardour by means of the acts of an irresponsible and non-elective body? Does anybody believe that the House of Commons works too fast, and gets through its public business too hurriedly? Does anybody believe we improve things in England at such a break-neck pace that we require the assistance of Lord Salisbury and Lord St. Leonards to prevent us from rushing straight down a steep place into the sea, like the swine of Gadara? If they do, I congratulate them on their psychological acumen and their political wisdom.

What the Commons want is not a drag, but a goad—nay, rather, a snow-plough.

No; the plain truth of the matter is this: all the Second Chambers in the world owe their existence, not to any deliberate plan or reason, but to the mere accident that the British nobles, not having a room big enough to sit in with the Commons, took to sitting separately, and transacted their own business as a distinct assembly. With so much wisdom are the kingdoms of the earth governed! How else could any one in his senses have devised the idea of creating one deliberative body on purpose to mutilate or destroy the work of another? to produce from time to time a periodical crisis or a periodical deadlock? There is not a country in the world with a Second Chamber that doesn't twice a year kick and plunge to get rid of it.

The House of Lords was once a reality. It consisted of the ecclesiastical hierarchy—the bishops and mitred abbots; with the official hierarchy—the great nobles, who were also great satraps of provinces, and great military commanders. It was thus mainly made up of practical life-members, appointed by merit. The peers, lay and spiritual, were the men who commended themselves to the sovereign as able administrators. Gradually, with prolonged peace, the hereditary element choked and swamped the nominated element. The abbots disappeared, the lords multiplied. The peer ceased to be the leader of a shire, and sank into a mere idle landowner. Wealth alone grew at last to be a title to the peerage. The House of Lords became a House of Landlords. And the English people submitted to the claim of irresponsible wealth or irresponsible acres to exercise a veto upon national legislation. The anomaly, utterly indefensible in itself, had grown up so slowly that the public accepted it—nay, even defended it. And other countries, accustomed to regard England—the Pecksniff among nations—as a perfect model of political wisdom, swallowed half the anomaly, and all the casuistical reasoning that was supposed to justify it, without a murmur. But if we strip the facts bare from the glamour that surrounds them, the plain truth is this—England allows an assembly of hereditary nobodies to retard or veto its legislation nowadays, simply because it never noticed the moment when a practical House of administrative officers lapsed into a nest of plutocrats.

Mend or end? As it stands, the thing is a not-even-picturesque mediæval relic. If we English were logical, we would arrange that any man who owned so many thousand acres of land, or brewed so many million bottles of beer per annum, should ipso facto be elevated to the peerage. Why should not gallons of gin confer an earldom direct, and Brighton A's be equivalent to a marquisate? Why not allow the equal claim of screws and pills with coal and iron? Why disregard the native worth of annatto and nitrates? Baron Beecham or Lord Sunlight is a first-rate name. As it is, we make petty and puerile distinctions. Beer is in, but whiskey is out; and even in beer itself, if I recollect aright, Dublin stout wore a coronet for some months or years before English pale ale attained the dignity of a barony. No Minister has yet made chocolate a viscount. At present, banks and minerals go in as of right, while soap is left out in the cold, and even cotton languishes. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer put up titles to auction, while abolishing the legislative function of the Lords, there would be millions in it. But as we English are not logical, our mending would probably resolve itself into fatuous tinkering. We might get rid of the sons, but leave the fathers. We might flood the Lords with life peers, but leave the veto. Such tactics are too Britannic. "Stone dead hath no fellow!"



A few pages back, I ventured to remark that in Utopia or the Millennium the women of the community would probably be supported in common by the labour of the men, and so be secured complete independence of choice and action. When these essays first appeared in a daily newspaper, a Leader among Women wrote to me in reply, "What a paradise you open up to us! Alas for the reality! The question is—could women ever be really independent if men supplied the means of existence? They would always feel they had the right to control us. The difference of the position of a woman in marriage when she has got a little fortune of her own is something miraculous. Men adore money, and the possession of it inspires them with an involuntary respect for the happy possessor."

Now I got a great many letters in answer to these Post-Prandials as they originally came out—some of them, strange to say, not wholly complimentary. As a rule, I am too busy a man to answer letters: and I take this opportunity of apologising to correspondents who write to tell me I am a knave or a fool, for not having acknowledged direct their courteous communications. But this friendly criticism seems to call for a reply, because it involves a question of principle which I have often noted in all discussions of Utopias and Millennia.

For my generous critic seems to take it for granted that women are not now dependent on the labour of men for their support—that some, or even most of them, are in a position of freedom. The plain truth of it is—almost all women depend for everything upon one man, who is or may be an absolute despot. A very small number of women have "money of their own," as we quaintly phrase it—that is to say, are supported by the labour of many among us, either in the form of rent or in the form of interest on capital bequeathed to them. A woman with five thousand a year from Consols, for example, is in the strictest sense supported by the united labour of all of us—she has a first mortgage to that amount upon the earnings of the community. You and I are taxed to pay her. But is she therefore more dependent than the woman who lives upon what she can get out of the scanty earnings of a drunken husband? Does the community therefore think it has a right to control her? Not a bit of it. She is in point of fact the only free woman among us. My dream was to see all women equally free—inheritors from the community of so much of its earnings; holders, as it were, of sufficient world-consols to secure their independence.

That, however, is not the main point to which I desire just now to direct attention. I want rather to suggest an underlying fallacy of all so-called individualists in dealing with schemes of so-called Socialism—for to me your Socialist is the true and only individualist. My correspondent's argument is written from the standpoint of the class in which women have or may have money. But most women have none; and schemes of reconstruction must be for the benefit of the many. So-called individualists seem to think that under a more organised social state they would not be so able to buy pictures as at present, not so free to run across to California or Kamschatka. I doubt their premiss, for I believe we should all of us be better off than we are to-day; but let that pass; 'tis a detail. The main thing is this: they forget that most of us are narrowly tied and circumscribed at present by endless monopolies and endless restrictions of land or capital. I should like to buy pictures; but I can't afford them. I long to see Japan; but I shall never get there. The man in the street may desire to till the ground: every acre is appropriated. He may wish to dig coal: Lord Masham prevents him. He may have a pretty taste in Venetian glass: the flints on the shore are private property; the furnace and the implements belong to a capitalist. Under the existing régime, the vast mass of us are hampered at every step in order that a few may enjoy huge monopolies. Most men have no land, so that one man may own a county. And they call this Individualism!

In considering any proposed change, whether imminent or distant, in practice or in day-dream, it is not fair to take as your standard of reference the most highly-favoured individuals under existing conditions. Nor is it fair to take the most unfortunate only. You should look at the average.

Now the average man, in the world as it wags, is a farm-labourer, an artisan, a mill-hand, a navvy. He has untrammelled freedom of contract to follow the plough on another man's land, or to work twelve hours a day in another man's factory, for that other man's benefit—provided always he can only induce the other man to employ him. If he can't, he is at perfect liberty to tramp the high road till he drops with fatigue, or to starve, unhindered, on the Thames Embankment. He may live where he likes, as far as his means permit; for example, in a convenient court off Seven Dials. He may make his own free bargain with grasping landlord or exacting sweater. He may walk over every inch of English soil, with the trifling exception of the millions of acres where trespassers will be prosecuted. Even travel is not denied him: Florence and Venice are out of his beat, it is true; but if he saves up his loose cash for a couple of months, he may revel in the Oriental luxury of a third-class excursion train to Brighton and back for three shillings. Such advantages does the régime of landlord-made individualism afford to the average run of British citizen. If he fails in the race, he may retire at seventy to the ease and comfort of the Union workhouse, and be buried inexpensively at the cost of his parish.

The average woman in turn is the wife of such a man, dependent upon him for what fraction of his earnings she can save from the public-house. Or she is a shop-girl, free to stand all day from eight in the morning till ten at night behind a counter, and to throw up her situation if it doesn't suit her. Or she is a domestic servant, enjoying the glorious liberty of a Sunday out every second week, and a walk with her young man every alternate Wednesday after eight in the evening. She has full leave to do her love-making in the open street, and to get as wet as she chooses in Regent's Park on rainy nights in November. Look the question in the face, and you will see for yourself that the mass of mothers in every community are dependent for support, not upon men in general, but upon a single man, their husband, against whose caprices and despotism they have no sort of protection. Even the few women who are, as we say, "independent," how are they supported, save by the labour of many men who work to keep them in comfort or luxury? They are landowners, let us put it; and then they are supported by the labour of their farmers and ploughmen. Or they hold North-Western shares; and then they are supported by the labour of colliers, and stokers, and guards, and engine-drivers. And so on throughout. The plain fact is, either a woman must earn her own livelihood by work, which, in the case of the mothers in a community, is bad public policy; or else she must be supported by a man or men, her husband, or her labourers.

My day-dream was, then, to make every woman independent, in precisely the same sense that women of property are independent at present. Would it give them a consciousness of being unduly controlled if they derived their support from the general funds of the body politic, of which they would be free and equal members and voters? Well, look at similar cases in our own England. The Dukes of Marlborough derive a heavy pension from the taxes of the country; but I have never observed that any Duke of Marlborough of my time felt himself a slave to the imperious taxpayer. Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace is justly the recipient of a Civil List annuity; but that hasn't prevented his active and essentially individualist brain from inventing Land Nationalisation. Mr. Robert Buchanan very rightly draws another such annuity for good work done; but Mr. Buchanan's name is not quite the first that rises naturally to my lips as an example of cowed and cringing sycophancy to the ideas and ideals of his fellow-citizens. No, no; be sure of it, this terror is a phantom. One master is real, realisable, instant; but to be dependent upon ten million is just what we always describe as independence.



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