not accomplished without much labour—is the man behind the style. For the man and the style are one in this perfect naturalness and ease. Any one who has watched at all carefully the Cardinal’s career, whether in old days or later, must have been struck with this feature of his character, his naturalness, the freshness and freedom with which he addressed a friend or expressed an opinion, the absence of all mannerism and formality; and, where he had to keep his dignity, both his loyal obedience to the authority which enjoined it and the half-amused, half-bored impatience that he should be the person round whom all these grand doings centred. It made the greatest difference in his friendships whether his friends met him on equal terms, or whether they brought with them too great conventional deference or solemnity of manner. “So and so is a very good fellow, but he is not a man to talk to in your shirt sleeves,” was his phrase about an over-logical and over-literal friend. Quite aware of what he was to his friends and to the things with which he was connected, and ready with a certain quickness of temper which marked him in old days to resent anything unbecoming done to his cause or those connected with it, he would not allow any homage to be paid to himself. He was by no means disposed to allow liberties to be taken or to put up with impertinence; for all that bordered on the unreal, for all that was pompous, conceited, affected, he had little patience; but almost beyond all these was his disgust at being made the object of foolish admiration. He protested with whimsical fierceness against being made a hero or a sage; he was what he was, he said, and nothing more; and he was inclined to be rude when people tried to force him into an eminence which he refused. With his profound sense of the incomplete and the ridiculous in this world, and with a humour in which the grotesque and the pathetic sides of life were together recognised at every moment, he never hesitated to admit his own mistakes—his “floors” as he called them. All this ease and frankness with those whom he trusted, which was one of the lessons which he learnt from Hurrell Froude, an intercourse which implied a good deal of give and take—all this satisfied his love of freedom, his sense of the real. It was his delight to give himself free play with those whom he could trust; to feel that he could talk with “open heart,” understood without explaining, appealing for a response which would not fail, though it was not heard. He could be stiff enough with those who he thought were acting a part, or pretending to more than they could perform. But he believed—what was not very easy to believe beforehand—that he could win the sympathy of his countrymen, though not their agreement with him; and so, with characteristic naturalness and freshness, he wrote the Apologia.
Guardian, 27th Nov. 1889.