Sant' Ilario eBook

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

It was before all things his intention to establish himself firmly in Roman society, and his natural tact told him that the best way to accomplish this was to offend no one, and to endorse without question the opinion of the majority.  Moreover, as a part of his plan for assuring his position consisted in marrying Faustina’s sister, his interest lay manifestly in protecting the good name of her family by every means in his power.  He knew that old Montevarchi passed for being one of the most rigid amongst the stiff company of the strait-laced, and that the prince was as careful of the conduct of his children, as his father had formerly been in regard to his own doings.  Ascanio Bellegra was the result of this home education, and already bid fair to follow in his parent’s footsteps.  Christian virtues are certainly not incompatible with manliness, but the practice of them as maintained by Prince Montevarchi had made his son Ascanio a colourless creature, rather non-bad than good, clothed in a garment of righteousness that fitted him only because his harmless soul had no salient bosses of goodness, any more than it was disfigured by any reprehensible depressions capable of harbouring evil.

There is a class of men in certain states of society who are manly, but not masculine.  There is nothing paradoxical in the statement, nor is it a mere play upon the meanings of words.  There are men of all ages, young, middle-aged, and old, who possess many estimable virtues, who show physical courage wherever it is necessary, who are honourable, strong, industrious, and tenacious of purpose, but who undeniably lack something which belongs to the ideal man, and which, for want of a better word, we call the masculine element.  When we shall have microscopes so large and powerful that a human being shall be as transparent under the concentrated light of the lenses as the tiniest insect when placed in one of our modern instruments, then, perhaps, the scientist of the future may discover the causes of this difference.  I believe, however, that it does not depend upon the fact of one man having a few ounces more of blood in his veins than another.  The fact lies deeper hidden than that, and may puzzle the psychologist as well as the professor of anthropology.  For us it exists, and we cannot explain it, but must content ourselves with comparing the phenomena which proceed from these differences of organisation.  At the present day the society of the English-speaking races seems to favour the growth of the creature who is only manly but not masculine, whereas outside the pale of that strange little family which calls itself “society” the masculinity of man is more striking than among other races.  Not long ago a French journalist said that many of the peculiarities of the English-speaking peoples proceeded from the omnipresence of the young girl, who reads every novel that appears, goes to every theatre, and regulates the tone of conversation and literature by her never-absent

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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