“I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild and manna dew.
And sure in language strange she said,
‘I love thee true,’”
He stopped a moment, as he often did when he made a quotation, overcome with feeling. Then he smiled, and added half to himself, “No; I should say, as Dr. Johnson said to the lady in Fleet Street; ’No, no; it won’t do, my girl!’”
“Well, anyhow,” said Vincent at dinner, commenting on something that had been said, “you may not get anything else out of a disagreeable affair like that, but you get a sort of discipline.”
“Come, hold on,” said Father Payne; “that won’t do, you know! Discipline, in my belief, is in itself a bad thing, unless you not only get something out of it, but, what is more, know what you get out of it. You can’t discipline anyone, unless he desires it! Discipline means the repressing of something—you must be quite sure that it is worth repressing.”
“What I mean,” said Vincent, “is that it makes you tougher and harder.”
“Yes,” said Father Payne, “but that is not a good thing in itself, unless there is something soft and weak in you. Discipline may easily knock the good things out of you. There’s a general kind of belief that, because the world is a rough place, where you may get tumbles and shocks without any fault of your own, therefore it is as well to have something rough about you. I don’t believe in that. The reason why a man gets roughly handled, in nine cases out of ten, is not because he is obnoxious or offensive, but because other people are harsh and indifferent. I want to apply discipline to the brutal, not to brutalise the sensitive. If discipline simply made people brave and patient, it would be different, but it often makes them callous and unpleasant.”
“But doesn’t everyone want discipline of some kind?” said Vincent.