Not even Gosford, however, was blind to the seriousness of the situation. He wrote to the colonial secretary on September 2, 1837, that all hope of conciliation had passed. Papineau's aims were now the separation of Canada from England and the establishment of a republican form of government.
Pius IX. made one last effort to help his fellow-countrymen which people hardly noticed, so futile did it appear, but which was probably made in profound seriousness. He wrote a letter to the Emperor of Austria begging him to make all things right and pleasant by voluntarily withdrawing from his Italian dominions. Popes had dictated to sovereigns before now; was there not Canossa?
He glanced instinctively at his letter to Bob Hendricks, and as if to shield what he was going to say, put a paper over the page, and then the seriousness of the situation came over him. "You know women; cheer up, man try again. Stick to it you'll win," cried Barclay. The fool might go for so small a reason. It was no time for ribaldry. "Let me tell you something," he went on.
Virtue, as the very word imports, should have an appearance of seriousness, if not austerity; and to endeavour to trick her out in the garb of pleasure, because the epithet has been used as another name for beauty, is to exalt her on a quicksand; a most insidious attempt to hasten her fall by apparent respect.
"But the symptoms first, please, my dear Svenska," he interrupted, with a strangely compelling seriousness of manner, "and your deductions afterwards." She turned round sharply on the edge of her chair and looked him in the face, lowering her voice to prevent her emotion betraying itself too obviously.
Now Proudhon has made an end once for all of this unconsciousness. He took seriously the human semblance given to economic conditions and sharply confronted it with their inhuman reality. In all seriousness he accepted the human gloss which the political economists had put upon economic conditions, and sharply compared it with their inhuman reality.
Perhaps the strangeness of the language, perhaps the unwonted seriousness of the master, perhaps also the impassibility of the young stranger herself, all contributed to arrest the expanding smiles on little faces, to check their wandering eyes, and hush their eager whispers.
"D'ye know, Hump," he said, with a slow seriousness which had in it an indefinable strain of sadness, "that this is the first time I have heard the word 'ethics' in the mouth of a man. You and I are the only men on this ship who know its meaning."
This would be the way to Fanny's heart. She was not to be won by all that gallantry and wit and good-nature together could do; or, at least, she would not be won by them nearly so soon, without the assistance of sentiment and feeling, and seriousness on serious subjects.
Middle age may fear death quite as little as youth fears it; but it has learned seriousness, and it has no heart to poke fun at the lean ribs, or to call it fond names like a lover, or to stick a primrose in its grinning chaps, and draw a strange pleasure from the irrelevancy. The man who has reached thirty, feels at times as if he had come out of a great battle.