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Aug 2 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, August 2, 1902

The Consolation of Conceit

It is wonderful how a little unflaunted but firmly rooted conceit of oneself from the pangs of humiliation, and, supported by a little of the saving grace of humor, may render him immune to the misjudgments of the ignorant, and turn the insulting treatment of the ill-bred into an amusing incident. The other Saturday a friend and I wheeled out along the shore of Lake St. Louis to a popular summer resort some twenty-five miles from town. When, shortly after six o'clock, we presented ourselves at the nearest and apparently the largest hotel in the historic village and inquired for supper, we were undoubtedly somewhat dusty about our lower legs. We were informed that the dining room would be full until half-past six, and were asked to register, which we did. We returned at the hour indicated, and upon emerging from the washroom, requested the proprietor to show us to the dining hall. He intimated that our supper would cost us 50 cents each, and, from repeating his announcement, we gathered that he expected to be paid then. So, to avoid discussion, we cashed up; although we were somewhat at a loss to know what there was about us to excite his suspicions. He then expressed his regret that he would not be able to give us seats together in the large dining hall and asked if we would mind being served in a smaller room. I, after a twenty-five mile spin, was so much more occupied with the thought of what I should eat than where I should eat it, that I perceived nothing sinister in the suggestion, and readily consented.

As we passed the door of the dining hall I thought I saw some empty places at the tables, but was not sure. There were two good-sized tables in the room into which we were shown, and although I noticed that the linen was not quite as fresh as it might have been, I supposed that one could not expect much better at a second-class house. In a few minutes a nurse came in with a child and sat down at the other table, several others following. Then, and not till then, I awoke with a jolt to the realization that we had been relegated to the servants' hall.

I ought, I suppose, to have been mortified and to have felt that I had been made a fool of. Instead of that, my self-conceit came to my rescue and I thought "What a fool that landlord is! What did he take us for anyway?

As I looked at my friend, he remarked with forced placidity: "This kind of thing never pays," and there was a wicked glitter in his eye as he said it.

Just then one of the youngsters escaped from its nurse and toddled over to make our acquaintance. Then the humorous side of the situation struck, he and I burst out laughing. One of the nurses was instructing her charge in the dual languages, "Regardez les mouches dans le lait," she was saying. "Look at de flies in de milk." Personally I was inclined to doubt the wisdom of attempting bilingual instruction with an infant under three years old. But perhaps it was her method, which grated on me. There were flies in our milk jug also. My friend did not laugh; he swore, not loudly, but with extreme fervor. He was an Englishman with somewhat rigid ideas of caste, and the indignity put upon us cut him to the quick. It was in vain that I urged upon him my refusal to recognize an ignorant habitant hotelkeeper as a competent judge of our social standing. The fact that he had been snubbed in a second class hotel seemed to make him feel all the worse. He said he wouldn't have minded if the men in the other room had been in evening dress. But when the only difference between us was that they wore white dock trousers and we wore knickerbockers, and owing to the failure of the establishment to provide a bootblack, carried the accumulations of the highway on our boots, he felt the insult keenly.

Finally we recalled a certain circumstance which put us in a position to reward him according to his deserts; and made happy by this thought, we spoke to him after we had finished our meal, as if nothing had happened, and asked to be directed to the house of an acquaintance of ours, a permanent resident, and a man of some standing in the community. Even the mention of this gentleman's name, however, did not seem to have the effect of altering the manner of this churlish St. Boniface. I verily believe that persisting in his notion of our social status, he thought that our interest was in the domestics of the gentleman's household, and I can only suppose that his grudging answer was due to the fact that he himself was in love with the cook. This theory was strengthened when an hour or two later we returned with our friend to have a social gathering and were received with a most obsequious greeting.

However, my conceit would have sustained me even without this amend.

A Great Chinaman

The appointment of Chang-Chi-Tung, Viceroy of Hankow, to be director of commerce cannot be looked upon as other than a notable triumph for the cause of reform in China. As one of the most southern viceroys, he perhaps more than any other man, was responsible for the failure of the recent Boxer disturbances to spread to the southern provinces. His faith in Western methods is only equalled by his confidence in the possibilities of Chinese character and his buoyant optimism in regard to the ultimate destiny of his country, when its people shall awake to a realization of the greatness of their potentialities and the folly of their antiquated ideas. In the light of the popular Western opinion of the honesty of Chinese officials, perhaps the most remarkable feature of Chang-Chi-Tung's character is his unimpeachable integrity. Dr. Griffiths John, one of the greatest of Chinese missionaries, says of the former viceroy of Hupeh and Hunan: "The love of money does not seem to be in him." Hitherto the only satisfaction which he has appeared to get from his great revenues was in spending them for patriotic purposes. His advocacy of Western methods has been open, emphatic and without reserve. Moreover, his views are listened to with marked attention by his fellow countrymen.

When his little book, "China's Only Hope," was published in Chinese, some few years ago one million copies of it were in circulation before it was translated into English and it created a profound sensation throughout the whole Celestial Empire. China's only hope, as this patriotic Chinaman saw it, lay in the adoption of Western material civilization, its railways, its manufactories, its organization, its education. In regard to all these things, he urged immediate and thorough reform. There is not space here to even indicate how he thought this should be brought about, save that his partially foreign ways did not seem to extend in any measure to the foreigners themselves, and he urged that, instead of importing instructors, the Chinese should send their brightest young men abroad that they might learn the secrets of Western success and return to impart them to their fellow-countrymen. But while Chang-Chi-Tung rated his countrymen mercilessly and told them they were "stupid pigs" for allowing themselves to lag so far behind in the world's great race, he was equally frank in expressing his conviction of the innate superiority of Chinese character, and seemed to have no doubts as to its ultimate triumph. Chang-Chi-Tung is a firm believer in the material civilization of Christendom, yet its religion does not appear to appeal to him. He does not seem in fact, to grasp what religion, as we understand it, means, but considers that the philosophy of Confucius is an adequate moral code for any people.

Opposed to the Lash

Dear Tatler--Your advocacy of the lash as a penalty seems to me to be just a little too sweeping. For although it may be no more than a just recompense in the case of certain revolting crimes, its effect is undoubtedly brutalizing, for the simple reason that nothing rouses the devil of hatred in man like the lash, and even death by the noose is not so degrading. I doubt whether the life of a prison official upon whom the duty of inflicting the penalty fell would be safe after the prisoner regained his liberty. The latter would be sure to look upon it as a personal injury. For these reasons I think that the use of corporal punishment cannot be too carefully restricted.

Yours truly,


I quite agree with opinion expressed above that the penalty of the lash should only be inflicted in cases which have received the most careful consideration, but I believe that much more latitude might well be allowed than is now customary. This is particularly true in cases of violence or outrage towards a weaker party, a woman or a child. As to its "arousing the devil in a man," it seems to me that long months of brooding in a cell is much more calculated to develop the malevolent side of a man's nature than a speedy and painful punishment.

An Academic Secret

In connection with the reception of M. de Vogne by the French Academy, it is noted that the new Academician made his opening address facing toward the southwest pillar of the hall. So has every new Academician since 1819--since, in fact, the admission of the Abbe Maury, who, feeble in voice and fearing a fiasco for his reception speech, went to the hall some days in advance to test his voice. Turning slowly round as he spoke he noticed a clear echo as he faced the southwest pillar. Several tests confirmed the result, and Maury went away happy. His reception was a brilliant success. He afterward gave his secret away, and no Academician has ever been known to ignore it.

Wonders of Electroid

Remarkable properties are claimed for the new gas called electroid by its discoverer, Professor Rychnowski, or Lemberg, who declares that it is a cure for consumption. When condensed the gas assumed the form of tiny greenish-blue balls, which are elastic like Indian rubber and emit rays under the influence of which the growth of plants and flowers is greatly accelerated and organic matter is prevented from decomposing.

Some tuberoses on being exposed to the electroid rays in a dark room immediately burst into flowers, while specimens of meat which had been treated with rays for two years previously were found to be perfectly fresh, but had lost 70 percent of their weight.

Why He Was A Monarchist

King Oscar of Sweden was sitting in the smoking room of a hotel at Wiesbaden recently when two or three persons were discussing the best forms of government. An enthusiastic American defended his faith in democracy. A tall, gray-bearded man, sitting near by, followed the conversation and occasionally indulged in a smile. The American, noticing this, turned to him in an off-hand fashion and said:

"My arguments do not seem to convince you, sir; I suppose you are a monarchist. Perhaps you will be good enough to favor us with your reasons for preferring that form of government." "Oh, I have most excellent reasons," was the reply. "The first and foremost is that I am the King of Sweden."

Hugliest Chap In England

Of a certain bishop, famous as about the plainest man in England, the Liverpool Post tells this pleasing tale: One day, as this homely parson sat in an omnibus, he was amazed by the persistent staring of a fellow passenger, who presently unburdened himself as follows:

"You're a parson, ain't you?"

"Well, yes; that is so."

"Look 'ere, parson, would you mind comin 'ome with me to see my wife?"

Imagining the wife was sick and needing assistance, the clergyman, at great inconvenience to himself, went with the man. On arriving at the house the man shouted to his wife to come downstairs, and, pointing to the astonished parson, said, with a grin of delight:

"Look 'e 'ere, Sairry. Yer said this morning as I wur the hugliest chap in England. Now, just yer look at this bloke!"

A Mysterious Poem

About fifty years ago the London Morning Chronicle published a poem entitled "Lines to a Skeleton," which excited much attention. Every effort, even to the offering of a reward of fifty guineas, was vainly made to discover the author. All that ever transpired was that the poem, in a fair clerk's hand, was found near a skeleton of remarkable beauty of form and color in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn, London, and that the curator of the museum had it sent to Mr. Perry, editor and proprietor of the Morning Chronicle:

Behold this ruin; 'twas a skull

One of ethereal spirit full.

This narrow cell was life's retreat.

This space was thought's mysterious seat.

What beauteous visions this spot,

What dreams of pleasures long forgot,

No hope, nor love, nor joy, nor fear,

Have left one trace of record here.

Beneath this mouldering canopy

Once shone the bright and busy eye,

But start not at the dismal void

If social love that eye employed,

If with no lawless fire it gleamed,

But through the dews of kindness beamed.

That eye shall be forever bright

When stars and suns are sunk in night.

Within this hollow cavern hung

The ready swift and tuneful tongue.

If falsehood's honey it disdained,

And when it could not praise was chained;

If bold in virtue's cause it spoke,

Yet gentle concord never broke,

This silent tongue shall plead for thee

When time unveils eternity.

Say! did these fingers delve the mine?

Or with its envied rubies shine?

To hew the rock or wear the gem

Can little now avail to them;

But if the page of truth they sought,

Of comfort to the mourner brought,

These hands a richer meed shall claim

Than all that wait on wealth or fame.

Avails it, whether bare or shod,

These feet the paths of duty trod?

If from the bowers of ease they fled

To seek affliction's humble shed;

If grandeur's gully bribe was spurned

And home to virtue's cot returned

These feet with angel wings shall vie,

And thread the palace of the sky.

Fads of the Famous

Confucius, it is said, was passionately fond of watermelon seeds.

Samuel Richardson wrote his novels while attired in a full-dress suit.

Handel used, when travelling, to order dinner for three, or, if hungry, for five, and then eat the whole himself.

Cardinal Richelieu hated children and loved cats. When he died his favorite Angora cat refused to eat and soon perished.

Phillip, the Duke of Burgundy, spent much time in contriving trapdoors to his house and grounds to souse unwary strangers in water beneath.

Next to money, Rembrandt loved nothing so well as his monkey. He shed tears when his ape died, and painted a portrait of his pet from memory.

Cowper loved pets, and had at one time five rabbits, three hares, two guinea pigs, a magpie, a jay, a starling, two canary birds, two dogs, a "retired" cat, and a squirrel.



Toothache Cured in One Minute

Saturate some batting with Poison's Nerviline and place in the cavity of the tooth. Rub the painful part of the face with Nerviline, bind in a hot flannel, and the toothache will disappear immediately. Nerviline is a splendid household remedy for Cramps, Indigestion, Summer Complaint, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, and Toothache. Powerful, penetrating, safe and pleasant for internal and external use. Price 25c. Try Nervilline. Use Dr. Hamilton's Pills for Biliousness.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.