Complete Short Works of George Meredith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 640 pages of information about Complete Short Works of George Meredith.
brightness as much as we can ask for? 
     No flattery for me at the expense of my sisters
     Nothing desirable will you have which is not coveted
     Primitive appetite for noise
     She might turn out good, if well guarded for a time
     The alternative is, a garter and the bedpost
     They miss their pleasure in pursuing it
     This mania of young people for pleasure, eternal pleasure
     Wits, which are ordinarily less productive than land

THE HOUSE ON THE BEACH

By George Meredith
A realistic tale

CHAPTER I

The experience of great officials who have laid down their dignities before death, or have had the philosophic mind to review themselves while still wielding the deputy sceptre, teaches them that in the exercise of authority over men an eccentric behaviour in trifles has most exposed them to hostile criticism and gone farthest to jeopardize their popularity.  It is their Achilles’ heel; the place where their mother Nature holds them as she dips them in our waters.  The eccentricity of common persons is the entertainment of the multitude, and the maternal hand is perceived for a cherishing and endearing sign upon them; but rarely can this be found suitable for the august in station; only, indeed, when their sceptre is no more fearful than a grandmother’s birch; and these must learn from it sooner or later that they are uncomfortably mortal.

When herrings are at auction on a beach, for example, the man of chief distinction in the town should not step in among a poor fraternity to take advantage of an occasion of cheapness, though it be done, as he may protest, to relieve the fishermen of a burden; nor should such a dignitary as the bailiff of a Cinque Port carry home the spoil of victorious bargaining on his arm in a basket.  It is not that his conduct is in itself objectionable, so much as that it causes him to be popularly weighed; and during life, until the best of all advocates can plead before our fellow Englishmen that we are out of their way, it is prudent to avoid the process.

Mr. Tinman, however, this high-stepping person in question, happened to have come of a marketing mother.  She had started him from a small shop to a big one.  He, by the practice of her virtues, had been enabled to start himself as a gentleman.  He was a man of this ambition, and prouder behind it.  But having started himself precipitately, he took rank among independent incomes, as they are called, only to take fright at the perils of starvation besetting one who has been tempted to abandon the source of fifty per cent.  So, if noble imagery were allowable in our time in prose, might alarms and partial regrets be assumed to animate the splendid pumpkin cut loose from the suckers.  Deprived of that prodigious nourishment of the shop in the fashionable seaport

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Complete Short Works of George Meredith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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