I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul’s good to do each day two things they disliked : it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously ; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.
Mrs. Strickland used her advantage with tact. You felt that you obliged her by accepting her sympathy. When, in the enthusiasm of my youth, I remarked on this to Rose Waterford, she said:
‘Milk is very nice, especially with a drop of brandy in it, but the domestic cow is only too glad to be rid of it. A swollen udder is very uncomfortable.’
It was obvious that he had no social gifts, but these a man can do without ; he had no eccentricity even, to take him out of the common run ; he was just a good, dull, honest, plain man. One would admire his excellent qualities, but avoid his company.
‘Tell him that our home cries out for him. Everything is just the same, and yet everything is different.’
I had not yet learnt how contradictory is human nature ; I did not know how much pose there is in the sincere, how much baseness in the noble, or how much goodness in the reprobate.
Only the poet or the saint can water an asphalt pavement in the confident anticipation that lilies will reward his labour.