However he heard Sabre’s stumbling periods tolerantly out and tolerantly dealt with him.
“Excuse me, Sabre, but that sort of stuff’s absolutely fatal—fatal. It’s simply compromise. Compromise. The most fatal defect in the English character.”
Sabre happened to be stout enough on this particular point. “That’s just what it isn’t. Precisely what it isn’t. I loathe compromise. More than anything. Compromise is accepting a little of what you know to be wrong in order to get a little of what you imagine to be right.”
Pike made a swift note in shorthand on his blotting pad. “Exactly. Well?”
“Well, that’s just the opposite to what I mean. I mean accepting, admitting, what you know to be right.”
Pike smote his hand upon the blotting pad. “But, damn it, those dogs and swine never are right.”
“There you are!” said Sabre.
And there they were, shouting, smashing; and Sabre could not do either and retired dismayed from the arenas of both.
It much affected his relations with those nearest to him,—with Mabel, with Mr. Fortune, and with Twyning. In those months, and in the months following, the year changing and advancing in equal excitements and strong opinions through winter into spring, he found himself increasingly out of favour at The Precincts and increasingly estranged in his home. And it was his own fault. Detached and reflective in the fond detachment of the daily bicycle ride, awake at night mentally pacing about the assembled parts of his puzzles, he told himself with complete impartiality that the cause of these effects was entirely of his own making. “I can’t stick shouting and smashing”—“I can’t help seeing the bits of right in the other point of view”: those were the causes. He was so difficult to get on with: that was the effect of the complaint.
“Really, Sabre, I find it most difficult to get on with you nowadays,” Mr. Fortune used to say. “We seem never to agree. We are perpetually at loggerheads. Loggerheads. I do most strongly resent being perpetually bumped and bruised by unwilling participation in a grinding congestion of loggerheads.”
And Twyning, “Well, I simply can’t hit it off with you. That’s all there is to it. I try to be friendly; but if you can’t hear Lloyd George’s name without taking up that kind of attitude, well, all I can say is you’re trying to put up social barriers in a place where there’s no room for social barriers, and that’s in business.”
And Mabel: “Well, if you want to know what I think, I think you’re getting simply impossible to get on with. You simply never think the same as other people think. I should have thought it was only common decency at a time like this to stand up for your own class; but, no. It’s always your own class that’s in the wrong and the common people who are in the right.”