Open main menu

Page:Chesterton - Alarms and Discursions (Methuen, 1910).djvu/162

This page needs to be proofread.

Regard for age should not influence the intellect. A mother-in-law is merely Another Mind. We should free ourselves from these tribal hierarchies and degrees." Now, when the Professor says this (as he always does), I say to him, "Sir, you are coarser than Comic Cuts. You are more vulgar and blundering than the most elephantine music-hall artiste. You are blinder and grosser than the mob. These vulgar knockabouts have, at least, got hold of a social shade and real mental distinction, though they can only express it clumsily. You are so clumsy that you cannot get hold of it at all. If you really cannot see that the bridegroom's mother and the bride have any reason for constraint or diffidence, then you are neither polite nor humane: you have no sympathy in you for the deep and doubtful hearts of human folk." It is better even to put the difficulty as the vulgar put it than to be pertly unconscious of the difficulty altogether.

The same question might be considered well enough in the old proverb that two is company and three is none. This proverb is the truth put popularly: that is, it is the truth put wrong. Certainly it is untrue that three is no company. Three is splendid company: three is the ideal number for pure comradeship: as in the Three Musketeers. But if you reject the proverb altogether; if you say that two and three are the same