having, followed as a matter of course. “Of
course he’s not my sort,” was the way in
which he dismissed almost the only person we discussed
whom I thoroughly admired. So we went on; and
I can only say that the relief I felt when I saw him
drive away on Monday morning was so great as almost
to make it worth while having endured his visit.
I think he rather enjoyed himself—at least
he threatened to pay me another visit; and I am sure
he had the benevolent consciousness of having brought
a breath of the big world into a paltry life.
The big world! what a terrible place it would be if
it was peopled by Welbores! My only consolation
is that men of his type don’t achieve the great
successes. They are very successful up to a certain
point; they get what they want. Welbore will be
a judge before long, and he has already made a large
fortune. But there is a demand for more wisdom
and generosity in the great places—at least
I hope so. Welbore’s idea of the world is
a pleasant place where such men as he can make money
and have a good time. He thinks art, religion,
beauty, poetry, music, all stuff. I would not
mind that if only he did not know
it was stuff.
God forbid that we should pretend to enjoy such things
if we do not—and, after all, the man is
not a hypocrite. But his view is that any one
who is cut in a different mould is necessarily inferior;
and what put the crowning touch to my disgust was
that on Sunday afternoon we met a Cabinet Minister,
who is a great student of literature. He talked
about books to Mr. Welbore, and Mr. Welbore heard
him with respect, because the Minister was in the
swim. He said afterwards to me that people’s
foibles were very odd; but he so far respected the
Minister’s success as to think that he had a
right to a foible. He would have crushed one
of my colleagues who had battled in the same way,
with a laugh and a few ugly words.
Well, let me dismiss Mr. Welbore from my mind.
The worst of it is that, though I don’t agree
with him, he has cast a sort of blight on my mind.
It is as though I had seen him spit on the face of
a statue that I loved. I don’t like vice
in any shape; but I equally dislike a person who has
a preference for manly vices over sentimental ones;
and the root of Mr. Welbore’s dislike of vice
is simply that it tends to interfere with the hard
sort of training which is necessary for success.
Mr. Welbore, as a matter of fact, seems to me really
to augur worse for the introduction of the kingdom
of heaven upon earth than any number of drunkards
and publicans. One feels that the world is so
terribly strong, stronger even than sin; and what is
worse, there seems to be so little in the scheme of
things that could ever give Mr. Welbore the lie.—Ever
July 16, 1904.