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ESSAYS AT ODD TIMES.

I. "OF MAGNANIMITY." I Was lately travelling in a railway carriage, in which there happened to be a party of city men, who were going into the country to shoot. Wealthy, portly, middle-aged men of business—they were evidently good specimens of a class which is every day becoming larger among us, the class of men who make their money in town, and like to spend it in the country, upon Norfolk stubbles and Scotch moors, and upon all the paraphernalia of dogs, guns, keepers, and beaters which such tastes necessitate. They had come out for a week's pleasure, and a very happy and jovial party they were. Happy, with the exception of one of their number, who had left in his cab a fine turbot, which was to have made its appearance at the dinner-table after the morrow's battue; and this poor gentleman, out for his brief holiday, was miserable on account of the loss of his fish. His enjoyment, for that day at any rate, was quite marred. The memory of the turbot, like Banquo's ghost, rose up to destroy every present pleasure. We talked of the cotton famine, and, after agreeing with us that the crisis of difficulty was over, he turned to one of his friends and remarked, "It's a thousand pities I forgot that fish, Jones, isn't it? I gave three shillings a pound for it—I did, upon my word—at Grove's, just before I started." We sat in silence, and smoked our cigars in bold defiance of bye-laws and regulations, for every compartment of the carriage was occupied, and every occupant had lit up, when the silence was broken by a plaintive voice exclaiming a propos to nothing, "I say, Smith, it is a confounded bore about that turbot, isn't it?" And so on, and so on, till at last the conversation turned upon a topic in which even Miserrimus—for so we will

field sports. And here the nien of Mincing Lane and the Stock Exchange were in their element. They all hunted, they all fished, they all shot, and they could all talk of sport and the money it cost them. Smith had with nim a favourite setter, for which ho had lately given a hundred and twenty guineas; Jones was going to try a new breechloader, for which he had paid the fancy price of fifty pounds. "You know," he remarked, "you can get a gun to do anything a gun should do for half the money; but then," he continued naively, "I like to have everything of the best, tip-top—keepers, dogs, horses; or else the swells are sure to laugh at you." A sentiment which even Miserrimus endorsed, with the remark that he did not mind giving a fancy price for the best of everything,—not even if it was three shillings a pound for such a fish as that —that turbot which he had left in the confounded cab.

Listening to the harmless tattle of these city gentlemen, I lit another cigar, and gave myself up to the various phases of littlemindedness which crop out so plentifully upon tho surface of modern society. I asked myself, Do long seasons of national and individual prosperity tend to foster this littlemindedness? Was the Laureate right in welcoming a European war as a moral flood to rebaptize the nations 1 And so I fell upon considering the virtue of Magnanimity, —whether we know even the shadow thereof in these our days; whether amongst all our friends and acquaintances we know—any one of us—of one who might stand for the truly magnanimous man. The word, indeed, has somewhat narrowed its horizon in the course of time. We all know that it means greatmindedness. But> as a general rule, we limit it to that single phase of greatmindedness which is shown in the calm interchange of ideas between scientific men themselves can afford a chance of the elicitation of the truth on some of the more difficult questions involved in forensic inquiries—I mean the truth, not in the abstract, but so far as science already knows it

Before concluding, I must answer one objection which is certain to be raised — namely, that no man could grasp effectively the great range of science involved in the multifarious duties indicated. This objection might readily be met by separating from the general duties of tho office, which would be homogeneous in character, certain specialties which are at once very difficult and of a different nature from the ordinary duties. Chemistry is a good instance of this. It would be not only possible, but highly desirable, that elaborate chemical inquiries, such as those concerned in cases of suspected poisoning, should be taken out of the hands of toxicologists, and always decided, apart from any theoretical considerations in physiology, by officials like those, let us say, of the College of Chemistry. On the other hand, such comparatively

simple duties as those of food inspection and analysis might easily be performed by an official so qualified as we have supposed our distAt health-officers to be. This great relief being given, tho remaining subjects which would occupy the attention of our district officer would be confined to a circle of science certainly not larger, one would say greatly less, than that which the ordinary practitioner of medicine is supposed to grasp. And wo should be delivered from the uncomfortable spectacle, now so frequently thrust upon us, of worthy men, perfectly well qualified for the latter branch of work, assuming at a moment's notice the functions of advisers of the state on the highly special and peculiar subjects which have been enumerated in this paper.

I am well aware that the ideas now put forward are difficult of realization. I am content, however, to wait the course of events. These ideas, which two years ago had not attracted much attention, have since that period received the notice of influential persons, and are already making distinct and perceptible progress.

LIFE—A SONNET.

BY THE LATE ALEXANDER GILCHRIST.

On eager feet, his heritage to seize,

A traveller speeds toward the promised land.

Afar gloom purple slopes on either hand;

Glad earth is fragrant with the flowering leas;

The green corn stirs in noon's hot slumberous breeze,

And whispering woodlands nigh make answer grand.

That pilgrim's heart as by a magic wand

Is swayed: nor, as he gains each height, and sees

A gleaming landscape still and still afar,

Doth Hope abate, nor less a glowing breath

Wake subtle tones from viewless strings within.

But lo! upon his path new aspects win;

Dun sky above, brown wastes around him are;

From yon horizon dim stalks spectral Death 1

ESSAYS AT ODD TIMES.

I. "OF MAGNANIMITY." I Was lately travelling in a railway carriage, in which there happened to be a party of city men, who were going into the country to shoot. Wealthy, portly, middle-aged men of business—they were evidently good specimens of a classwhich is every day hecoming larger among us, the class of men who make their money in town, and like to spend it in the country, upon Norfolk stubbles and Scotch moors, and upon all the paraphernalia of dogs, guns, keepers, and beaters which such tastes necessitate. They had come out for a week's pleasure, and a very happy and jovial party they were. Happy, with the exception of one of their number, who had left in his cab a fine turbot, which was to have made its appearance at the dinner-table after the morrow's battue; and this poor gentleman, out for his brief holiday, was miserable on account of the loss of his fish. His enjoyment, for that day at any rate, was quite marred. The memory of the turbot, like Banquo's ghost, rose up to destroy every present pleasure. We talked of the cotton famine, and, after agreeing with us that the crisis of difficulty was over, he turned to one of his friends and remarked, "It's a thousand pities I forgot that fish, Jones, isn't it? I gave three shillings a pound for it—I did, upon my word—at Grove's, just before I started." We sat in silence, and smoked our cigars in bold defiance of bye-laws and regulations, for every compartment of the carriage was occupied, and every occupant had lit tip, when the silence was broken by a plaintive voice exclaiming a propos to nothing, "I say, Smith, it is a confounded bore about that turbot, isn't it1" And so on, and so on, till at last the conversation turned upon a topic in which even Miserrimus—for so we will

field sports. And here the 'men of Mincing Lane and the Stock Exchange were in their element. They all hunted, they all fished, they all shot, and they could all talk of sport and tho money it cost them. Smith had with nim a favourite setter, for which he had lately given a hundred and twenty guineas; Jones was going to try a new breechloader, for which he had paid the fancy price of fifty pounds. "You know," he remarked, "you can get a gun to do anything a gun should do for half the money; but then," he continued naively, "I like to have everything of the best, tip-top—keepers, dogs, horses; or else the swells are sure to laugh at you." A sentiment which even Miserrimus endorsed, with the remark that he did not mind giving a fancy price for the best of everything,—not even if it was three shillings a pound for such a fish as that —that turbot which he had left in the confounded cab.

Listening to the harmless tattle of these city gentlemen, I fit another cigar, and gave myself up to the various phases of littlemindedness which crop out so plentifully upon the surface of modern society. I asked myself, Do long seasons of national and individual prosperity tend to foster this littlemindedness 1 Was the Laureate right in welcoming a European war as a moral flood to rebaptize the nations? And so I fell upon considering the virtue of Magnanimity, —whether we know even the shallow thereof in these our days; whether amongst all our friends and acquaintances we know—any one of us—of one who might stand for the truly magnanimous man. The word, indeed, has somewhat narrowed its horizon in the course of time. We all know that it means greatmindedness. But, as a general rule, we limit it to that single phase of greatmindedness which is shown in the is but one of many ways in which greatness of soul can manifest itself; and perhaps it is not even tho highest manifestation of the virtue. For I am not sure but that some men, in whom ambition and vanity are strong, may not find it easier to forgive the injuries of a foe than to pardon the successes of a friend. Dean Trench has shown us how words have dropped out of the world's vocabulary, as being no longer needed, or have altogether lo«t their primary meaning. And it will be worth while to inquire whether the virtue which was magnanimity in heathen days has found no place for itself under the Christian dispensation, and so has narrowed itself down to the Christian virtue of forgiveness, or whether it has undergone a rebaptism, and is known in the modern world under some other name. At any rate, it is evident that even in Christian England, in the nineteenth century, there is room for a word which shall express the contrary to that fidgety, prying, invidious, mean and despicable condition of mind which men fall into who deal with things rather than with persons, who are chiefly conversant with the petty concerns of life, with moneygetting, with buying and selling, and so forth, and so insensibly lapse into a low and stunted condition of soul.

"The magnanimous man," said Aristotle, "is he who, being really worthy, "estimates his own worth highly. If a "man puts too high a value upon him"self, he is vain. And if a man, being "worthy, does not rate himself at his "proper worth, why he is little better "than a fool. But the magnanimous' "man will be only moderately gratified "by the honours which the world heaps "upon him, under the impression that "he has simply got what is his due. He "will behave with moderation under "both bad fortune and good. He will "know how to be exalted and how to be "abased. He will neither be delighted "with success, nor grieved by failure. "He will neither shun danger, nor seek "it; for there are few things which he "cares for. He is reticent and some

"mind openly and boldly when occasion "calls for it. He is not apt to admire, "for nothing is great to him. He over"looks injuries. He is not given to talk "about himself or about others; for he "does not care that he himself should "be praised, or that other people should "be blamed. He does r. t cry out about "trifles, and craves help from none. "The step of the magnanimous man is "slow, his voice deep, and his language "stately: for he who cares about few "things has no need to hurry, and he "who thinks highly of nothing needs "not to be vehement about anything." Such is the character of the magnanimous man, as drawn by an old heathen writer more than 2,000 years ago. Doubtless this was a standard of perfection at which Aristotle himself aimed, and which many a Greek attained to,—in outward seeming at least; though the Athenian magnanimity must have sadly degenerated when Paul of Tarsus preached on Mars Hill to a crowd 01 gossips and triflers four hundred years later. And certainly tho portrait as drawn by Aristotle has something grand, we may almost say noble, in its lineaments. Indeed, it would be noble but for the lazy scorn which flashes from the eye and curls the lip. Self-contained and self-reliant, the magnanimous man towers above his fellows, like an oak amongst reeds,—his motto nee /ranges nee Jlectes. And, if there be somewhat too much of self-sufficiency about him, we must remember that, to be great and strong, a heathen must necessarily lean upon himself. The settler in foreign and sparsely inhabited countries'needs and acquires a degree of self-reliance and self-assertion which would be offensive in the person of a member of civilised society. And the Greek became selfsufficient even in his ethics, as having no definite promise of help out of himself, or beyond his own resources.

But it is curious to notice how in the main the ethics of 2,000 years ago repeat themselves in the fashionable ethics of to-day. Much of what Aristotle has said of the magnanimous man have been published only last year as a fashionable treatise by the Hon. Mr.

A or Lady B on good breeding

and the manners of a gentleman. Alter a word or two here and there; blot out the rather offensive self-sufficiency; lay a very thin wash of colour over the superciliousness of manner which is somewhat too manifest in Aristotle's magnanimous man, and you might be reading a description of "the swell," as poor Jones calls the man who lives and moves and has his being in society. There is no doubt, in fact, that the laws of good breeding, the leges inscriptce of society, do tend, more or less, to produce an appearance of what the old Greeks named magnanimity. These laws are simply the barriers which the common sense of most has erected, to protect people who are thrown much together from each other's impertinences. They are lines of defence, and therefore their tendency is to isolate the individual from the crowd; to make him self-contained, reticent, and independent of opinions; alike careless of censure and indifferent to applause. It may be said that much of this is only manner. But, as in poetry the matter often grows out of the manner, so the character is often insensibly influenced by the outward bearing; a man becomes to some extent what he wishes to appear.

For the question must needs present itself,—Is this a mere matter of fashion and good breeding. The calm and stately bearing, the polished, urbane address, the unruffled surface of a stream which seems to have no slimy depths,—are these things the mere accidents of a position, the mere outward husk and shell of a man; or are they the indices of certain qualities inherent in a certain class, and in which other classes are not equally privileged to share? Aristotle associates magnanimity with good fortune. He declares boldly that wealth and power tend to make men magnanimous. And a philosopher of a later age, the clever and witty Becky Sharpe, if we mistake not, held a similar opinion. "Ah! how good and great-minded I

thousand a year." And really there is something more in her assertion than appears upon the surface. She saw that she was living a life of petty shifts and little meannesses, cajoling one friend, flattering another, and cringing to a third; and all for the sake of a maintenance, for a few paltry pounds more or less. Give her the money, and what need would there be any longer for flattery, or meanness? Another moder n philosopher, however, is of quite a different opinion from our friend Becky. Mr. Ruskin, in one of his amusing pamphlets, —which, under the name of Art, treats of all things and a few things besides, whether in heaven or earth, or in the waters under the earth,—Mr. Ruskin suggests that some benevolent gentleman shall set up shop, in order to show the world that honesty, and gravity, and truth, and piety, may be found behind a counter as well as anywhere else. But has Mr. Ruskin forgotten the old adage about contact with pitch? I will state his case and illustrate his idea. His model tradesman, let us suppose, a gentleman by birth and education, dons the aprou and commences trade in—we will say the small grocery line of business in a little country town. Of course he finds that there is an opposition shop —there always is an opposition shop in little country towns—quite ready to compete with him, and to undersell him by any and every means, legitimate or otherwise. All goods must be sold at the lowest price compatible with any profit at all; and, if his rival has capital enough to carry on the game, at a lower price still . Then come the sanding of the sugar, the dusting of the pepper, the watering of the tobacco at the opposition shop; and what is ourmagnanimous man to do I Shall he preserve his integrity and vacate the field, or shall he throw his honesty to the dogs, and strangle his truth 1 It is clear that one or other of these things he must do. Do I then mean to assert that magnanimity is incompatible with trade, that greatness of soul is not to be found in the man whose daily business is weighing out

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