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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/617

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HYPOCRISY AS A SOCIAL ELEVATOR.

ing at Fredonia, N. Y. But now gas wells increase and multiply in the land, and lines of pipe radiate from them in all directions, conveying silently as the lapse of time, to city and mill, forge and furnace, their heat-giving product that has lain dormant in the earth for untold centuries, but which now, at the summons of modern Science, comes forth from its abiding-place to do no small share of the work of the world. Many of these lines of pipe are of great length,[1] and suggest the possibility of converting coal into gas at the mines and conveying it to consumers in distant cities by pipes; and this proposal in our day is not nearly as uncertain of realization as was the original idea of lighting cities and buildings by gas at the time of its invention, one hundred years ago.

[To be continued.]

 

HYPOCRISY AS A SOCIAL ELEVATOR.
By JOHN McELROY.

WHEN atrabilarious Hamlet, in his choleric interview with his mother in the cabinet, impudently advised her to

"Assume a virtue if you have it not,"

he unwittingly laid down a general-conduct rule of high value to individuals and the community.

Simulation of virtue, though far inferior to the real article, is still the next best thing to it, just as whitewash, though much inferior to marble, is yet greatly superior to dirty nakedness.

It is very desirable that all men and all women should stand together on the very highest plane of goodness; but the largest proportion of them do not—probably never will. It is unreasonable to expect that the mass of humanity will be steadily aligned on the most advanced standards of morality, especially when those standards are pushed forward as rapidly as they have been in the more recent centuries. Ethics is a constantly developing science. What was a high grade of morality in the eighteenth century would be a very ordinary one to-day; just as the man who, in our colonial times, would have been regarded as neat and cleanly in his person, would seem a good deal of a sloven to-day. Then, as now, men and women assumed to be much cleaner, morally and physically, than they really were, and by sheer force of persistence and habit became really cleaner than they at first pretended to be. Persons with the bump of approbativeness highly developed constantly forge to the front on lines which they think will win


  1. One large mill has three lines of pipe, each over forty miles long.