페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

to take a great personal interest in those with whom he was speaking. He also took a joke against himself in good part. At Florence both he and I lived on intimate terms with Charles Lever. The latter could not refrain from noticing the weaknesses of his friends, and in one of his novels he ascribed to a diplomatist, by name, I think, Sir Horace Upton, one of Sir Henry Bulwer's characteristics, viz., always thinking himself ill and taking medicine. A long time after we had separated officially I called on Sir Henry Bulwer in London. While talking he rang for his valet to give him a dosc, saying to me, “I can never take a pill without thinking of that confounded novel of Lever's and Sir Horace Upton.' I did not know he had read the work.

The great peculiarity of his conversation was that he had evidently codified his life in fixed axioms and proverbial sayings. Two or three of these now occur to me. He used to say, “Whenever you speak with a man older than yourself, always recollect that, however stupid he may be, he thinks himself wiser than you because he is older.' He would quote a saying of Talleyrand, which was, “Acknowledge the receipt of a book from the author at once : this relieves you of the necessity of saying whether you have read it.' He laid down as a rule, quoting it from somebody else, I believe Lord de Ros, that you should never cut anyone, as your so doing deprives you of an opportunity of saying disagreeable things to him. He would also say,

Never discuss, because neither you nor your adversary will give in to the other, and he will ever consider you a stupid fellow for not agreeing with him.' He defined the advantage of matrimony as this:

That a wife will tell her husband truths which nobody else would venture to tell, and thus correct many of his defects.' He once said to me, and I think his observation is correct, that intimate friends are always about the same height. This he had found in his own case, and it is difficult for a tall man to be intimate with a short man, as they cannot talk confidentially when walking together.

In 1864 a little social paper was started called the Oul. The contributors were men of considerable importance in politics, society, and literature. It was devised by Lord Glenesk, Mr. Evelyn Ashley, and Mr. Cameron of Lochiel, assisted later by Mr. Laurence Oliphant, and administered by the first with his well-known tact and discrimination during the seven years of its existence. I do not know how far it is advisable or legitimate to enter into any details of this interesting publication, but suffice it to say that its pages occasionally contained papers by Lord Dalling. Amongst other contributions, he sent in a paper of proverbs; these were not considered adapted to the columns of the Owl, inasmuch as they did not relate to any passing circumstances of the day, but were of an abstract and general character. Shortly before Lord Dalling's death I paid him a visit, first at Hyères, later at Trieste. Here we stayed with Charles Lever, who, as has been mentioned, had been a friend of both of us from

Florence days. He was on his way to Egypt, from which journey he never returned home, as he died on the 23rd of May, 1872, if I recollect right, at Naples on his way home. Lord Dalling gave to me his rejected proverbs, begging me some day, when I found an opportunity, to publish them. This I now do, in the hope that they may be admired by others as much as I have admired them.

H. DRUMMOND WOLFF.

MAXIMS.

The maxims of wisdom are the pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope : they remain for ever unchanged and in the same case; but every age shakes them into a new combination of colours.

In nine cases out of ten, a man who cannot explain his ideas is the dupe of his imagination in thinking he has any.

To say to a man when you ask him a favour, "Don't do it if it inconveniences you,' is a mean way of saving yourself from an obligation, and depriving another of the merit of conferring one.

The flattery of one's friends is required as a dram to keep up one's spirits against the injustice of one's enemies.

Do not trust to your railroads, nor your telegraphs, nor your schools, as a test of civilisation; the real refinement of a nation is to be found in the justice of its ideas and the courtesy of its manners.

The knowledge of the most value to us is that which we gain so insensibly and gradually as not to perceive we have acquired it until its effect becomes visible in our conduct.

The quiet of a city is the quiet that one most appreciates, for the sense of quiet in the country is lost by want of contrast.

You will never be trusted if you do more to gain an enemy than to serve a friend.

You are not obliged to give your hand to anyone ; but never give your finger.

The way to be always respected is to be always in earnest.

When you notice a vague accusation you give it a reality and turn a shadow into a substance.

You cannot show a greater want of tact than in attempting to console a person by making light of his grief,

One of the charms of an intimacy between two persons of different sexes is that the man loves the woman for qualities he does not envy, and the woman appreciates the man for qualities she does not pretend to possess.

The best way of effacing a failure is to obtain a success.

Friendship and familiarity are twin sisters, very much alike, but rarely agreeing.

Whilst a second-rate man is considering how he should take the lead, a firstrate man takes it.

There are a great many idle men constantly busy about something which they know is not the thing that ought to occupy them.

When you go into mixed company, the air you should carry with you there is that of fearing no one and wishing to offend no one.

Religious persecution is the effe ct of an exaggerated vanity rendered ferocious by the best intentions.

If you expect a disagreeable thing, meet it and get rid of it as soon as you can; if you expect anything agreeable, you need not be in such a hurry, for the anticipation of pain is pain-the anticipation of pleasure, pleasure.

The practical man is he who turns life to the best account for himself; the good man, he who teaches others how to do so.

Only let those know you intimately who speak well of you; and only know intimately those of whom you can speak well.

An obstinate man dies in maintaining a post which is utterly defenceless. A resolute man does not abandon his fortress as long as he can bring a gun to bear on the enemy.

You may be gentle in your dealings with men just as you can be firm. Never say 'no' from pride, nor 'yes' from weakness.

The great art of speaking and writing is that of knowing what to leave out.

It is very difficult to get stupid people to change their opinions, for they find it so hard to get an idea that they don't like to lose one.

To despair is to bury one's self alive.

We have never won a complete victory when we have not gained the good will of those we have subdued.

If you can associate your career with the ideas of your epoch, you will be sympathised with if you fail, and forgiven if you succeed.

A dwarf, a hunchback, and a natural son are never at their ease in the world, for they entered it with a sore which some vanity is always rubbing.

The best trait in a man's character is an anxiety to serve those who have obliged him once and can do so no more.

Always go out of your way to serve a friend; never to avoid a foe.

Some men ride a steeplechase after fortune ; some seek it leisurely on the beaten track; and some hope to attain it by a new path which they think they have discovered. The first arrive rapidly or not at all; the second arrive surely, but generally too late; the last usually lose their way, but are so charmed with their road that they forget the object of their journey.

Friendships are founded on character; intimacy, on habits.

You are no better for being well thought of by those you live with if the world thinks ill of them, and you gain nothing by living with those of whom the world thinks well if they think ill of you.

Nothing is so common as to make a great blunder in order to remedy a small one.

A Spanish proverb says that .He who makes himself all sugar, the flies will eat him up;' but another observes, “He who makes himself all vinegar will never catch any flies.'

Striking actions make reputations; useful ones, a career.

A lady at Court assured the Prince de Conti in his later days that he was as young as ever. No,' he said, 'Madame, and I will tell you how I discovered it. Formerly, when I paid your sex compliments, they were taken for declara. tions; now, when I make a lady a declaration, she takes it for a compliment.' We can always ascertain what we really are if we do not blind ourselves as to the effect we produce.

Superior men rarely underrate the talents of those who are inferior to them. Inferior men nearly always underrate the talents of those whose abilities are above their own; for the tendency of genius is to raise to its own height, that of mediocrity to depress to its own level.

You cannot do anyone more good than by trying unsuccessfully to do him an injury.

Man is by nature a hunter, who cares more for the sport of the chase than the prey he is in quest of. This is why the objects we seek after are not to be esti. mated by the pains we take to procure them. People say, "Why give yourself so much trouble for so small a pleasure ?' They forget that the trouble is the main part of the pleasure.

Bad temper and bad manners are equally bad habits, which we indulge in because they rather affect others than ourselves. Few find it difficult to govern the first when they are in the presence of those whom it is their interest not to offend, and almost everyone can correct the last when he is in the presence of those he is desirous to please.

A man's expressions of gratitude are according to the service he receives; his feelings of gratitude according to the manner in which the service was rendered.

Vanity shows itself in a person in two ways: by the endeavour to please, and by the confidence that he does please. The first makes an agreeable impression, the latter quite the reverse.

The worst thing that you can do, if you wish to be well with the world, is to let it see that you are afraid of losing its good opinion.

If you begin by thinking that nothing can be done without difficulty, you will end by doing everything with facility.

Many peɔple who seem clever are merely plated with the cleverness of others.

Nothing is so foolish as to be wise out of season.

Make anyone think he has been clever or agreeable, and he will think you have been so.

PEPYS AND MERCER

PEPYS as the statesman, the connoisseur, the musician, or the man of letters, is full of interest for the student; but it is Pepys the man who chiefly charms the fancy of ordinary folk. Not that his character was either powerful or without blemish. On the contrary, in the strange medley of qualities which his Diary reveals, we find resolution and cowardice, integrity and meanness, selfishness and benevolence, cultivated tastes and vulgar aspirations, religious earnestness and moral laxity, linked in a bewildering companionship. But so far as it extends, the Diary tells the story of a life which was lived to the utmost, and the intense humanity which throbs through it makes even its smallest details tingle. And many of the details are small enough. A greater man would have passed them over in silence; a smaller man would have presented them as lifeless trivialities. But everything connected with himself was full of importance to Pepys, and thus the minutiæ of the Diary seem to have caught fire at the flame of his personality. This has given to the minor characters an interest which they would not otherwise have acquired. Though we know them only imperfectly, they are real men and women to us, not mere descriptions. The central figure does not throw the others into shade, but kindles them into brightness. Yet the illumination is partial only. So far as they enter into his life of the moment, they are caught up and carried along by its story; but let them once drop out of it, and they pass straightway into oblivion. They shine, but not with their own light; and, though not devoid of individual interest, their value lies rather in what they reveal to us of the life and surroundings of Pepys himself.

Among these lesser figures Mary Mercer stands conspicuous. She became Mrs. Pepys' maid in the autumn of 1664, and her intimacy with the family for the next four years covered the brightest and most interesting part of the period with which the Diary deals. The previous experience of the Pepyses in their domestic servants had been chequered. Jane Wayneman, their servant when the Diary opens (January 1, 1659), was a single-handed “general, and it was not till some months later, in November 1660, that Mrs. Pepys could indulge in the luxury of a maid of her own. Pepys' own sister, Paulina, Vol. LVI–No. 330.

269

« 이전계속 »