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From the Saturday Review. | eral principle of avoiding evil-speaking, or

from a generous impulse of good-will toTRIANGULAR FRIENDSHIPS.

wards C, say nothing but good of him? The

dangers in that case are that B may be disTo carry on year after year, in anything appointed, may consequently like C the less, like a successful and satisfactory manner, and may forever after have a lower opinion even a single friendship, is a work requiring of A’s discrimination. On the other hand, a good deal of care and patience. The it is possible that B may take A’s cue, and difficulty increases in a rapid proportion things may be made pleasant all round by with every additional friendship. Merely to this little preliminary oiling of the wheels of hold the balance even in one's own mind friendship: Some of the learned are of to be just in one's judgments of a num- opinion that the risk of producing disapber of people to whom one is bound by the pointment and consequent reaction is so most various ties of affection and natural great that A should make it a rule to abstain affinity, to be constant without prejudice, from any praise of C, and should even, if be and accessible without insincerity — is no be anxious to do C a good turn, speak a liteasy task. But when two or more of one's tle against him to B. The dangers, howfriends are also each other's friends or ac- ever of this course are so great that A ought quaintance, a whole new set of difficulties to have the skill of an artist and the selfarises. Triangular friendships have their devotion of a hero before he ventures on it. own special charms, not to be enjoyed with. We will not deny that under those condiout encountering special dangers. Some- tions good results may be achieved; but to body has remarked that, when any one of a choose the exact kind and degree of dispar. circle of friends dies, the survivors lose not agement which will produce a favourable only the one who is gone, but his share in reaction in B's mind in favour of C, is a task all the others. Each individual may be con- to which very few are equal. And there is sidered as an instrument from which no two this great objection to such homeopathic performers bring out quite the same tone. treatment, that, unless the dose administered Those whose perceptions are sufficiently be really infinitesimal, it may succeed so cultivated to recognize the various harmo- well as to cost A some of B’s regard for nies of which the same human instrument is him, possibly even C's also. On the whole, capable under different kinds of handling will we think that in nineteen cases out of twenbe familiar with this corollary to the principal ty A's wisdom will lie in speaking nothing loss in such cases. They will know what it but good of C. The twentieth case will is to miss in some surviving friend the moods, generally be that in which C's faults are the looks, and tones of voice which they either so obvious and so much on the surface themselves have never had the power to that to prepare B for them can but save him elicit, but which have perhaps become dou- a shock, and prevent his taking a discoverbly dear to them for the sake of the one er's pleasure in magnifying them, or else of whose presence used to call them forth. In- a kind of which, being forewarned, he may deed, the delights of common friendships are steer clear altogether. Such, for instance, too obvious to need description. Every one are an exacting disposition with regard to who cares much about friendships at all small attentions, a want of discretion in must enter into the happiness of seeing two repeating things, or irritability on some parof his triends appreciating and being help- ticular sore point. ful to each other. But the special dangers But, however carefully and successfully attending these triangular or polygonal one may have guarded against these danfriendships are less generally recognised; and gers, there always remains the risk of disapit is not always easy to decide how they pointment to oneself. It is scarcely posshould be met.

sible not to look forward with some pleasure The earliest and not the least perplexing to the admiration and interest one's friends is that which arises when, two of A's friends are to feel for each other, or to be quite inbeing about to make acquaintance, B ques- different when they fail to excite it. Nobody tions about C. Occasionally A may also quite likes that even a favourite picture or be called upon to satisfy C's curiosity about landscape should fall flat upon beholders •B; but this double inquisition is a rare piece who were expected to be delighted with it; of ill-luck, and as, even in that case, the how much worse it is to be met with faint principle is the same, we need not entertain praise or unfavourable criticisin when one so painful an hypothesis. Suppose, then, has contrived a meeting which ought to simply that A has to prepare B's mind for his have made two people happy. And yet this introduction to C. Should A, on the gen- happens continually, for it seems really impossible to predict who will like whom. It doing so by entire sincerity and singlemindshould always be remembered that every edness. human being is an unknown quantity, so Sincerity, however, is only in the nature that the result of each fresh combination of defensive armour, and not enough even would be incalculable even were it a case of that. To steer successfully through all of simple addition. But the fact is that the intricacies of the situation, much judgcharacters combine in a manner which is ment and delicacy are needed; and there is much more like chemical than mechanical room for many good offices of a positive combination. Nobody really knows another kind. One of the most important instruwell enough to predict exactly the way in ments for rendering such services in skilful which he would be affected by any given hands, is the repetition in the proper quar. character; and when it is taken into account ter, and at the right time, of things which that, from the moment of meeting, that should be conveyed, but which cannot be other character begins to be modified by his, directly said by the first speaker, to those the problem becomes too intricate for the whom they concern. When one considers human understanding. Shrewd guesses may how much may be cleared up, how many of course be made, but they should never be useful hints suggested, and how much pleastaken for anything more than guesses. This ure may be given in this way, one scarcely would at least tend to prevent disappoint- feels that any one who does not make a ment. But there are some other curious practice of forwarding these waifs and strays consequences of this chemical action of to their destination can be acquitted of culcharacters upon each other. People of very pable negligence. But it must be done very quick sympathies often vary so much in com- prudently; it is emphatically one of the bination with different natures, that to be cases in which “ fools rush in where angels in the presence at the same time of two who fear to tread.” influence them in opposite ways will give Some persons have a great power, which them a painful sense of constraint. And may easily become a snare to them, of seethis may be the case where there is no in- ing people through the eyes of others. This sincerity (though insincere persons are, of power is valuable very much in proportion course, especially liable to be tempted to it), to the degree in which it is voluntary, and simply from the difficulty of bringing the consciously exercised. If through sympathy mind into tune with two very different na- with a friend I am able, in addition to my tures at once; and one of the advantages of own observation of some one else, to see that triangular friendships is that they afford a third person from my friend's point of view, subtle test of sincerity. It needs consider- I manifestly gain a fuller apprehension of able singleness of mind and purpose to live his character than I could by myself

. It is in intimate relations with several people, a sort of binocular arrangement, the result who are also intimate with each other, so as of which is to my unassisted judgment what to be entirely secure from any inharmonious the stereoscope is to the ordinary photorevelations. For it is not only impossible to graph, and it is only fair to my friend to calculate how people will affect each other, note and remember the different appearbut it is equally so to foretell what will tran- ance of the character in question as seen spire amongst friends. Things repeated to from his point of view. But the moment I an intimate friend of the person quoted may begin to be unconsciously influenced by my convey much more than is even understood, friend's judgment, I confound instead of much less intended, by the person quoting combining the two images, and am liable to them. Secrets may even be revealed by be carried away blindfold to a height of those who do not know them, by the acci- admiration from which, when left to my own dental mention of some saying or circum- resources, I may drop into a dismal swamp stance to others who have the clue to its of disgust; or, on the other hand, I may be meaning. And it is curious how impossible cheated out of what would have been meat it is for two persons, being in possession of to me merely because it happens to be the same secret, to conceal that fact from poison to my friend. In this second case, each other. A look, a tone of voice, even however, it must be owned that to be quite silence, may destroy the isolation in a independent may cost one something. It is moment. In short, if it is “ a tangled web probably not pleasant to eat pork among we weave, when first we practice to de- Jews, nor is it altogether agreeable to assoceive," it may be said that the web with ciate in a friendly manner with the most which we have to do in belonging to a circle estimable persons, in presence of those who of intimate friends is so intricate that we can- contemn and dislike them. not afford to tangle it, and can only avoid Few things are more trying than to be

mixed up in a quarrel, or even a misunder

From the Saturday Review. standing, between two people for whom one bas much regard. If one side is clearly

HERO-WORSHIP. right, one must either give up the other friend, or at least lose some of one's good All children, almost all young women, opinion of him. If they are, as the landlord and a great many young men, are heroof the public-house in Silas Marner habitu- worshippers ; but there are few hero-worally considered his customers, “ both right shippers who are old men, while the exact and both wrong," one is in a cleft stick age at which hero-worship disappears out between them, ard has to suffer for both. of the category of human toibles cannot be To be in such a cleft stick is certainly a laid down with precision. Probably herovery instructive, though very unpleasant, worship must rank among the other victims experience. It teaches one, perhaps more of the great iconoclast, Middle Age. About effectually than anything else can, the natu- the same time that the digestion gives way, ral history of misunderstandings, how differ many romantic tendencies take wing, and ent the two sides of the shield look, and this possibly among the number. A few how impossible it is to explain in words a Colonel Newcomes remain idolators to the difference of aspect which has shifted the very end; here and there is to be seen an meaning of the words themselves. The occasional Uncle Toby; one or two greybetter one understands the point of view of haired old gentlemen still adore the name each party, the more clearly one sees the of some living Duke of Wellington; and, in impossibility of their understanding each the same way, even old ladies sometimes other. Indeed a few such lessons are enough preserve a hero embalmed in recollection, to make a very cautious or sensitive person without being interrupted in their devotion with

many friends (and such a combination to his memory by a sharp sense of his deis not impossible) long for some such charm fects. But heroes, as a rule, belong to the as that which Vivien coaxed Merlin into age of delightful irreflection. Mr. Thackgiving her:

eray used to portray with wonderful subtlety

the glow and vitality of hero-worship in hot The which, if any wrought on any one

unthinking youth, its decline in the cynic With woven paces and with waving arms,

or the epicurean of middle life, and its exThe man so wrought on ever seemed to lie

tinction in the lean and slippered pantaClosed in the four walls of a hollow tower loon. The moral he taught was usually this, From which was no escape for evermore, that we ought to worship heroes betimes, And none could find that man for evermore, or we shall never worship them at all. And Nor could he see but him who wrought the this is true enough. All castles in the air

charm Coming and going; and he lay as dead,

are pretty sure to be blown up at last, and And lost to life and use and name and fame.

Bayards, Galahads, and Launcelots in profusion will one day be buried hopelessly un

der the ruins. But if no one cares to promote one's friends' Two opposite processes seem' always in happiness, one would not willingly, even for operation with respect to heroes. The hu

quiet life, throw away the many opportu- man imagination is continually creating nities which, as the apex of a triangle, one them, and, as fast as imagination turns them possesses of bringing them into closer and out, experience works away upon the counmore harmonious relations with each other. ter-occupation of destroying them. By far It is wonderful how much may be done in the greater part of the literature of any this way by an affectior.ate and clearsighted particular time is devoted almost exclusivefriend who has the will and the leisure to ly to the manufacture. Each votary worwatch for opportunities of interpreting peo- ships in his own peculiar way, but the cultus ple to each other, of removing accidental is common to all

. Every now and then we causes of misunderstanding, and of infusing praise a poet for the nobility of conception fresh life and warmth into their relations he has displayed in the painting of some by the contagion of a hearty appreciation. one or other of his characters

. This only Those who are duly qualified for such offices means that he has been at work making are not likely to think the risk of appearing heroes upon paper, just as a boy makes his to meddle, or the certainty of a good deal of paper boats, only that paper heroes have a annoyance and disappointment, too great a real influence upon the world, and that we price to pay for a reasonable degree of happen to approve of the specimen of hero

which the writer puts up for our approba


tion. Novelists, again, are only hero-makers once painted. The vast advantage which
who compose in prose, instead of metre and history has in this respect is that historical
rhyme, and most fictions that are destined heroes seldom aggravate us. Whether or
to be permanent contain some pattern not Mr. Cobden dropped his aspirates is a
of humanity upon whose delineation the matter which posterity will consider per-
author has expended all his energy and fectly unimportant. Nobody now dislikes
power. And if we did not know what the great Napoleon any more for taking
history contributes to the gallery of manu- snuff. Wordsworth went about dressed like
factured heroes, Mr. Carlyle would have a farmer of the Westmoreland lakes, and
written in vain. History is, in her very Dr. Johnson ate voraciously and never tied
essence, as persistent and designing a manu- his shoes; but Dr. Johnson's præterhuman
facturer as either poetry or romance. One greediness and Mr. Wordsworth's dress vex
purpose that history serves may be perhaps none of their respective admirers. When
to furnish us with a sort of broken and un- one is too close to men and women, and is
trustworthy mirror of the future, which living constantly with them, it is difficult, if
never represents or repeats the past, but not impossible, not to fix one's attention
which often bears just enough resemblance from day to day on peccadilloes or peculiar-
to the past to make the records of the past ities which bear no genuine proportion to
practically useful for our guidance. But the great outline or sum total, or clear
this is by no means all that history does, purpose of their lives. The proverb that
or is made to do by ingenious and able no man is a hero to his valet is merely a
moralists. They make, and intentionally rough and vulgar way of expressing this
make, heroes out of real men and women indisputable truth; for it is not merely a
by throwing out the characters they write valet who is incapable of summing up and
of into bold relief. What often prevents grasping as a whole the qualities of his
people from being heroes to us in actual master: Characters, like mountains, only
life is some little personal foible or habit become intelligible, or indeed visible, when
which irritates us when they are with us, they recede a little into the distance; and
and causes us to dislike their company, and the daily life of all heroes must of necessity
eventually to look on their virtues or at- be overlaid with trivialities that prevent
tainments with a disparaging eye. For a near spectators from understanding the
long time we have been, perhaps, in the vigorous completeness of the heroes as a
habit of thinking with profound admiration whole. History, literature, and fiction are
of some famous man. At last the time thus for ever doing one thing, while the
arrives when we are introduced to him, and sensitive experience of every day inclines
we observe with borror and dissatisfaction to do the contrary. The latter brings us
that he snuflles while he talks, or that he into awkward proximity to the crust and
takes snuff, or that his temper is deplorable, the flaws of the statue, which, when placed
or that he makes a sad hash over his aspir- a little further off, will attract admiration
ates. We grow tired of sitting in the room up to the full of its deserts.
with him, and whenever we call up his The use of imagination, in constructing
imaye again in our minds, the act of memory heroes for us to worship while we are young
is attended with disagreeable associations. and inexperienced, is on a par with many
Young ladies of an impressible and senti- similar benefits conferred upon us by the
mental turn are subject to a good many same mental faculty or power. The pro-
such terrible calamities. They discover cess of idealizing is a common one even as
that the poet of whom they have always far back as childhood, and very early in
been so full does not brush his hair, or is life we begin to idealize both men and things.
overbearing and snappish to his wife; and Nature seems, to speak popularly, to have
though they are too chivalrous in their her own object in bestowing this capacity
friendships to allow the outer world to see upon the young. The things that are most
their disappointment, and resolutely main- advantageous both for our physical and mor-
tain in public to the last that it can be of al growth would never be done at all if we
no real consequence whether a hero brushes were not in a sort of way deceived and
his hair or not, and that it must be the cheated into doing them. If boys did not
hero's wife who is in the wrong, the sad ex- regard hoops and balls and marbles as so
perience does nevertheless leave a secret many splendid and invaluable treasures,
bitterness behind it in their hearts. A fat they would never gain health in the chase
and unkempt hero cannot ever again be the of them; and if a prize at school or college
same as that grand and stately and intel- were seen in the light in which such distinc-
lectual-looking creature which their fancy tions appear to people of maturer age,



knowledge would scarcely of itself have suf- sex to whose necessities it is more peculiarficient charms to entice the volatile young ly suited. When we cease to believe in the philosopher into the pursuit of it. And, in reality of Homeric heroes and heroines, the same manner, it may be said that, but History steps in with a dish accommodated for hero-worship, the world would be a poor to the exact stage of our credulity, and place, and few great actions would be at- gives us Cromwells and Charlemagnes to tempted, and few noble characters would be live and thrive upon. And lest dull and gradually formed. It has been remarked prosaic experience should make us increduwith truth how many illustrious actors on lous of historic virtue, Fiction is always at the world's stage have been fond of Plu- hand with an endless bill of fare suited to tarch's Lives, nor can it be doubted for a the most fanciful and fastidious appetite. moment that the narrative of one great man Thanks to its wise frauds, young women has a tendency to make another. Anybody believe in the unalterable constancy of the who has had anything to say to education passions till long after they have arrived at must be aware of the magical influence, in a marriageable age; and men who are all training and discipline, of such histories. never honest or unselfish themselves, and A hero, as drawn in literature, is generally who are sceptical as to the honesty or una picture of one or two considerable virtues, selfishness of their friends and acquaintances, such as bravery, generosity, or patience, and do not hesitate to act upon their scepunderneath which the name of some real ticism whenever action is necessary, are human being is written. Each of the gods gently induced by Mr. Dickens, or Mr. of ancient Rome and Greece may be taken Thackeray, or Mr. Trollope, to continue in to stand as a representative and type of the vague belief that honesty and unselfishsome particular quality; and the heroes and ness must exist somewhere, when they read heroines of ancient and modern history are about them so constantly upon paper. only the ancient gods and goddesses over The full proof of the value of this idealagain, dressed in later fashions to suit the izing, or hero-worship, while it lasts, is to be exigencies of the time, and to make it found in the unquestionable fact that when easier for us to believe in their existence. the p .wer of worshipping heroes leaves us, Aristides is fully as much justice as Diana the character soon ceases to improve. Unwith her crescent moon was purity. Mary happily this is a tolerably palpable phenomQueen of Scots and Marie-Antoinette are enon, and no extensive familiarity with hubeauty in distress, as Venus wounded by man nature is required to bring it to our the spear of Diomede was two thousand notice. Some men, perhaps, have a power years before. Julius Cæsar and Mars are of going on from better to better till they only different ways of embodying the ideas die, and of developing fresh good points of victory and audacity of war; and whether every year, as a tree every autumn produces we call'amorous Majesty Henry VIII. with its annual growth of fresh fruit. The good Mr. Froude, or Jupiter with Homer and points so developed are commonly those with Lemprière's Dictionary, the effect pro- which result from an enlarged acquaintance (uced upon the juvenile imagination is with life. Perhaps they have seen many identical. The jealous and powerful and men and many men's opinions, or, as Burke acrimonious Juno fulfils the same part as said of himself

, they have read the book of Queen Elizabeth for purposes of education, lite a great deal and other books a little. and Minerva with her owl does not stand This helps them to be tolerant of the more completely for wisdom than Sir Walter thoughts, or even of the vanities and vices, Raleigh does for magnanimity, and Christo- of others into collision or contact with whom pher Columbus for adventure. No boy who they are thrown. They do not feel so anis worth his salt fails to class Robinson Cru- gry as they once did with Mr. Bright, or so soe, landing in the middle of the surf' upon fierce against M. Comte, or so incapable of his desert island, with Ulysses placed by admitting the bright side of the theologians Homeric tempests in a similar condition, or or politicians or philosophers with whom to think of the Cyropædia in connection or they disagree. Their temper and disposition contrast with the veracious history of Tom has mellowed as their intellectual store has Brown. The task which history, fiction, increased. But this kind of improvement and poetry accomplish is accordingly similar is an offshoot of their general mental growth, in each case, and this task or mission is a not so much the resnlt of their morality. meritorious one. They all place the various It is far more rare to find an increase in the virtues that are within the reach of human virtues which produce great deeds — virtues attainment in a personal and interesting which for the most part are the consequence light. Each of them has its special age or of the cultivation of generous and disinter

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