OF CADS AND PHARISEES
“There are only two sorts of people with whom it is impossible to live,” said Father Payne one day, in a loud, mournful tone.
“Elderly women and young women, I suppose he means,” said Rose softly.
“No,” said Father Payne, “I protest! I adore sensible women, simple women, clever women, all non-predatory women—it is they who will not live with me. I forget they are not men, and they do not like that. And then they are so much more unselfish than men, that they have generally axes to grind, and I don’t like that.”
“Whom do you mean, then?” said I.
“Cads and Pharisees,” said Father Payne, “and they are not two sorts really, but one. They are the people without imagination. It is that which destroys social life, the lack of imagination. The Pharisee is the cad with a tincture of Puritanism.”
“What is the cad, then?” said I.
“Well,” said Father Payne, “he is very easy to detect, and not very easy to define. He is the man who has got a perfectly definite idea of what he wants, and he suffers from isolation. He can’t put himself into anyone’s place, or get inside other people’s minds. He is stupid, and he is unperceptive. He does not detect the little looks, gestures, tones of voice, which show when people are uncomfortable or disgusted. He is not uncomfortable or easily disgusted himself, and he does not much mind other people being so. He says what he thinks, and you have got to lump it. Sometimes he is good-natured enough, and even brave. There is an admirable sketch of a good-natured cad in one of Mrs. Walford’s novels, who is the acme of kind indelicacy. The cad is dreadful to live with, because he is always making one ashamed, and ashamed of being ashamed, because many of the things he does do not really matter very much. Then, when he is out of sight and hearing, you cannot trust him. He makes mischief; he throws mud. If he is vexed with you, he injures you with other people. We are all criticised behind our backs, of course, and we have all faults which amuse and interest our friends; and it is not caddish to criticise friends if one is only interested in them. But the cad is not interested, except in clearing other people out of his way. He is treacherous and spiteful. He drops in upon you uninvited, and then he tells people he could not get enough to eat. He repeats things you have said about your friends to the people of whom you have spoken, leaving out all the justifications, and says that he thinks they ought to know how you abuse them. He borrows money of you, and if you ask him for repayment, he says he is not accustomed to be dunned. He never can bring himself to apologise for anything, and if you lose your temper with him, he says you are getting testy in your old age. His one idea is to be formidable, and he says that he does not let people take liberties with him.