In Hungary once I met a certain fellow who had been kicked by a highway thief after he had emptied his pockets. I tell you what. A man may well pawn his last doublet, if he may thereby gain a larger. He need never redeem the first, and it is given some folks to coin gold ducats out of humbler folks' sins. Ah! If I had a fox for a brother!"
Watching many of these enter and disappear, while only the humbler sort remained to swell the crowd at the gate, I began to experience the discomfort and impatience which are the lot of the man who finds himself placed in a false position.
This is a pretty fair specimen of the effort made by Frenchwomen of the humbler orders to maintain a tasteful exterior. To make themselves neat is a principle; and they seem to have an inherent perception of what constitutes taste. They may sometimes go too far in this direction, and think more of dress and ornaments than they should do. One can at least say, that they are on the safe side.
Even with these humbler hands to build up his monument, the great master of music has a perpetual possession within the hearts of men, that the poet and the painter may well envy.
It comes from many of the humbler sort who resent this kind of federal interference with their rights. We are being blamed for all this restrictive legislation because you insist upon closing down all breweries and thus making prohibition effective July first.
The same formula holds good for the new sphere. Let him do his best and leave the issue to God. If he does badly, well, if he did his best, that means that he was not fit for the job, and he must be perfectly willing to take a humbler job, and do his best at that. As for personal danger, he must not think of it. If he is killed, that is a sign that he is no longer indispensable.
"But it was a pity all the same " he thought afterwards. Then the vicar praised as the highest of all Christian virtues: humility. None of these children should feel above the others because their parents happened to be richer and more distinguished than those of their humbler brethren and sisters, because before God's throne they were all equal.
"If we could see," says a public writer, "by the help of an Asmodeus, what is going on at the dinner hour of the humbler of the middle class, what a spectacle of discomfort, waste, ill-temper, and consequent ill-conduct it would be! The man quarrels with his wife because there is nothing he can eat, and he generally makes up in drink for the deficiencies in the article of food.
What with the destroying hand of time and the still more obliterating action of the neighbouring volcano, there is little left for the fancy to build upon; certainly the three ruined shells that are called temples by courtesy, but served probably a much humbler purpose than that of worship, are not particularly striking.
Notwithstanding, therefore, the alleged splendour of its court, the polish of its inhabitants, its civilized institutions, and other symptoms of refinement, which some modern accounts or speculations, founded on native reports, have taught us to look for, we are disposed to receive the humbler descriptions of Adams, as approaching with much greater probability to the truth.