In this connection we may observe that some virtuous and self-effacing souls, after the example of St. Francis of Assisi, have a dread of assuming the responsibilities of the priesthood, and there are many others who are debarred from aspiring to that dignity by insufficiency of education.
Like her husband, she finds home more congenial, and, like him, she prefers not to be written about. In her husband's career she has played a notable role, the more noble because self-effacing. She has consistently disavowed intention to participate actively in public affairs, and yet in many a crisis she, out of her strong intelligence and sagacity, has been able to offer timely, wise suggestion.
Yet this face, unlike Eglington's, expressed a perfect single-mindedness; it wore the look of a self-effacing man of luminous force, a concentrated battery of energy. Since she had last seen him every sign of the provincial had vanished.
Lionel too was persistent, in a quiet, almost self-effacing way that never set a strain upon her patience, and was therefore the more difficult to combat. In the end she gave way under the pressure of these men's wills, and did so with the best grace she could summon, resolved to drive from her heart and mind the one real obstacle of which, for very shame, she had made no mention to Sir John.
Just as the contention, excellent so far as it goes, that each is to do what is right in his own eyes leads, when ridden to death, to anarchy and chaos, so the contention that every one should be either self-effacing or truthful to the bitter end reduces life to an absurdity.
They may then be induced to make grateful offerings to his Majesty, and it will no longer be a question of trade but of tribute." Something of sinister intention seems to present itself between the lines of this document. But we have to remember that it was addressed ultimately to the Kyoto nobles, whose resentment would have been at once excited by the use of friendly or self-effacing language.
He was no less modest than the sage of Sérignan; self-effacing before others, says one of his biographers, so that they were never made to feel his superiority. In the midst of the beautiful and spacious gardens at the end of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where he finally made his home, he also contrived to create for himself a Harmas after his own heart.
In the up-boiling of his feelings he emphatically vetoed the determination of the banker. Indeed, so well and eloquently did he argue for the retention and use of his funds by the Commercial, that even the self-effacing man of "deals" could not resist the onslaught.
She could by no possibility idealize him. He was a fixed fact, stubbornly asserted. Yet he was a great-hearted gentleman, unspoiled by his millions, thoughtful always for her comfort, generous, self-effacing. Just now, for example, when he had done all, he had seemed to divine her wish to be alone and had betaken himself to the smoking-compartment.
A slow flush spread upon her face. "Now, mother," her son asked, "what have you to say?" She forced a sigh as of a self-effacing resignation, but upon her face there lurked, in spite of her, a little smirk of satisfaction of snobbery which had been gratified, at last, after many disappointments. Her manner had changed utterly.