Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 611 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.

Love in a very young person is rarely interesting, unless it is attended by heroic or tragic circumstances.  Human life is very like the game of chess, of which the openings are so limited in number that a practised player knows them all by heart, whereas the subsequent moves are susceptible of infinite variation.  Almost all young people pass through the early stages of existence by some known gambit, which, has always a definite influence upon their later lives, but never determines the latter entirely.  The game is played between humanity on the one side and the unforeseen on the other; but that which can really not be foretold in some measure rarely presents itself until the first effects of love have been felt, a period which, to continue the simile, may be compared in chess to the operation of castling.  Then comes the first crisis, and the merest tyro knows how much may depend upon whether he castles on the king’s side or on the queen’s.

Now the nature of Faustina’s first love was such as to make it probable that it would end in some uncommon way.  There was something fatal in the suddenness with which her affection had grown and had upset the balance of her judgment.  It is safe to say that not one young girl in a million would have behaved as she had done on the night of the insurrection in Rome; not one in a hundred thousand would, in her position, have fallen in love with Gouache.

The position of the professional artist and of the professional man of letters in modern European society is ill defined.  As a man who has been brought up in a palace would undoubtedly betray his breeding sooner or later if transported to live amongst a gang of thieves, so a man who has grown to years of discretion in the atmosphere of studios or in the queer company from which most literary men have sprung, will inevitably, at one time or another, offend the susceptibilities of that portion of humanity which calls itself society.  It is impossible that it should be otherwise.  Among a set of people whose profession it is to do always, and in all things, precisely what their neighbours do, the man who makes his living by doing what other people cannot do, must always be a marked figure.  Look at modern society.  It cannot toil nor spin; it can hardly put together ten words in a grammatical sequence.  But it can clothe itself.  The man of letters can both toil and write good English, but his taste in tailoring frequently leaves much to be desired.  If he would put himself in the hands of Poole, and hold his tongue, he might almost pass for a member of society.  But he must needs talk, and his speech bewrayeth him for a Galilean.  There are wits in society, both many and keen, who can say something original, cutting and neatly turned, upon almost any subject, with an easy superiority which makes the hair of the learned man stand erect upon his head.  The chief characteristic of him who lives by his brains is, that he is not only able to

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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