"Are we not all now friends and companions?" he said. "So companions and friends let us be. I unbend my bow; do ye likewise." "But are we not to be dignified?" asked Babbalanja. "If dignity be free and natural, be as dignified as you please; but away with rigidities."
They were as her still living voice in his ears, and as the words sank into memory they pierced through all the rigidities of a noble nature, rending and kneading as they went. He recalled his own solitary hour of bitterness after her letter reached him. The story it contained had gone very hard with him, though never for one moment had he even in thought forsaken her.
From that I think there arises naturally a newer etiquette that would set aside many of the rigidities of procedure that keep people apart to-day. There is a fading prejudice against asking personal questions, against talking about oneself or one's immediate personal interests, against discussing religion and politics and any such keenly felt matter.
I feel better than I can say how necessarily they were the emanations of a New England mind, and how to the subtler sense they must impart the pathos of revolt from the colorless rigidities which are the long result of puritanism in the physiognomy of New England life.
You know the room; I took you into it with Duff Lindsay, who did not come there from rigidities and rituals, and who had a qualified pleasure in it. But there were lines in the folds of the flowered window curtains dragging half a yard upon the floor which seemed to disband Arnold's spirit, and a twinkle in the blue bead of a bamboo screen where the light came through that released it altogether.
In view of the rigidities and injustices of the law, many couples nowadays dispense with legal marriage, and form their own private contract; that method has sometimes proved more favourable to the fidelity and permanence of love than external compulsion; it assists the husband to remain the lover, and it is often the lover more than the husband that the modern woman needs; but it has always to be remembered that in the present condition of law and social opinion a slur is cast on the children of such unions.
Doubtless it was important to teach boys something more than the bleak rigidities of the ancient tongues; but how much more important to instil into them the elements of character and the principles of conduct!
The Choates were among the best of local lineage, men and women distinguished by clear rigidities of conduct. Their friendship was a promissory note, bound to be honoured to the full. Lydia was for some reason abashed, and Jeff, both she and Anne thought, not adequately welcoming. But how could he be, Anne considered. He was in a position of unique loneliness. He lacked fellowship.
She appeared in the doorway, and her face, her bearing, were no longer Milly's. This was a paper semblance of a woman, drawn on her lines, but made to express grief and terror. Quiet as she was, the shock had thrown her out of her studied calm. She was elemental woman, despising the rigidities of training, scourged into revolt.
Is not that a greater difference, think you, than one of mere decadence? This 'maniera goffa e sproporzionata' of Vasari is not, then, merely the wasting away of former leonine strength into thin rigidities of death? There is another change going on at the same time, body perhaps subjecting itself to spirit. I will not teaze you with farther questions. The facts are simple enough.