Granted that, from the critic’s standpoint, every word said may be true, wise, and just. This does not, by any means, make it wise to say it. The mental and spiritual condition of the recipient must be considered as of far more importance than the condition of the giver of the wise exhortations. The latter is all right, he doesn’t need such admonitions; the other does. The important question, therefore, should be: “Is he ready to receive them?” If not, if the time is unpropitious, the mental condition inauspicious, better do, say, nothing, than make matters worse. But, unfortunately, it generally happens that at such times the critic is far more concerned at unbosoming himself of his just and wise admonitions than he is as to whether the time is ripe, the conditions the best possible, for the word to be spoken. The sacred writer has something very wise and illuminating to say upon this subject. Solomon says: “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Note, however, that it must be spoken “in due season,” to be good. The same word spoken out of season may be, and often is, exceedingly bad. Again he says: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” But it must be fitly spoken to be worthy to rank with apples of gold.
THE WORRY OF THE SQUIRREL CAGE
Reference has already been made to The Squirrel Cage, by Dorothy Canfield. Better than any book I have read for a long time, it reveals the causes of much of the worry that curses our modern so-called civilized life. These causes are complex and various. They include vanity, undue attention to what our neighbors think of us, a false appreciation of the values of things, and they may all be summed up into what I propose to call—with due acknowledgement to Mrs. Canfield—the Worry of the Squirrel Cage.
I will let the author express her own meaning of this latter term. If the story leading up seems to be long please seek to read it in the light of this expression:[A]
[Footnote A: Reprinted from “The Squirrel-Cage” by Dorothy Canfield ($1.35 net); published by Henry Holt and Company, New York City.]
When Mr. and Mrs. Emery, directly after their wedding in a small Central New York village, had gone West to Ohio, they had spent their tiny capital in building a small story-and-a-half cottage, ornamented with the jig-saw work and fancy turning popular in 1872, and this had been the nucleus of their present rambling, picturesque, many-roomed home. Every step in the long series of changes which had led from its first state to its last had a profound and gratifying significance for the Emerys and its final condition, prosperous, modern, sophisticated, with the right kind of wood work in every room that showed, with the latest, most unobtrusively artistic effects in decoration, represented their