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The Green Bag

hearing of tale-bearers. Discarding much that nowadays must inspire horror or contempt, you may find in the more moderate precepts of both authors as to winning people, holding people and using people, a corrective of your own aggra vated individualism. You must not feel hurt. I say individualism; I do not mean ordinary egoism. The distinction is the wide one between over-conscien tiousness and vanity. You do not lack worldliness, through other-worldliness, or idealism in the visionary sense. I am speaking of the defects of your qualities which themselves I admire. (Would that your cousin Horace had defects of his defects! I fear he is a sycophant without a flaw of honesty.) You make a fetich of self-reliance; you cherish the dream of running this world on pure intellect without emotional alloy; you have a puritanical dread of appearing to seek popularity from mercenary motives; you are too "offish" to ask a favor from one to whom it would be only a pleasure to comply; you are congenitally a dissenter, — a prevailing sentiment among your own class, or any strong expression of opinion tending to drive you into opposition. You cannot afford to let the eremitical mental and moral spirit deepen and possess you. The merely prudential motive is one not to be ignored by anybody. I know it is irritating to a man of self-respect and dignity of character to see a rival of slender intellectual equipment but abundant ad hominem facility make his career a continuous succhs d'estime with out ever achieving solid success. But, on the other hand, pleasing manners and address, the patience of a good lis tener and a spirit of tactful helpfulness are legitimate adjuncts of positive abil ity. Nothing is more forlorn than the spectacle of a man of sterling parts handicapped at every point and re

stricted to half results because he cannot "get along" with people. But I warn you against aggravated individualism for a still deeper reason. You can never know yourself except through realizing others' opinion of you. You can never find yourself save by finding an audience. It would be the height of folly to retire still deeper into your study and prepare for success by reading the biographies of men who have succeeded. I had a friend once who started out to achieve fame on strictly a priori principles. He had a more than ordinarily large head, containing, alas, not its fair proportion of gray matter, and reasoned that cranial bulk was necessarily potential of greatness and all that was required of him to come into his own was to familiarize himself with the lives of former great men and do as they had done in similar circum stances. He never has arrived and when last I heard of him he was still encincturing his skull not with a laurel but a tape-measure and still devouring biog raphy. In a broad and vague sense his tory repeats itself but never so identi cally as to make the actors of past scenes anything more than approximate guides for those now on the stage. While contemporary reputations, speedily achieved, are usually ephemeral it would be impracticable to write, or paint, or compose directly for posterity. Lowell has somewhere remarked that he had long ago satisfied himself by a good deal of dogged reading that every generation is sure of its own share of bores. Antiquarian research never un earths new minds of magnitude; the commanding figures of each age were men who received some appreciation from their contemporaries and, if they lived long enough, died famous. The apothegm that the judgment of a for eign nation is equivalent to that of