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France by his unrivalled capacity for of character over cleverness. His last sitting tight. As he impressed civil- Report, published not a fortnight ago, ized adversaries by quiet doggedness. explains his scheme for modifying the so he puzzled tricky Orientals by his worst features of the Capitulations absence of guile. He was a man, they system. We may hope that his sucfound, who could not be deceived cessor, Sir Eldon Gorst, an able son of subtler than the subtlest amongst an able father, and trained for sixteen them-yet he never employed the arts years under Lord Cromer's eye, may in which he was their master.
be able to complete the work of his His coolness of judgment and te- great Chief. He has had experience nacity of purpose were shown first in that country second only to that of when he gave young Abbas Pasha the the retiring diplomat himself, and he schooling which he required, and firmly may doubtless be trusted to continue made him understand the conditions his policy. But whether he is the best on which he was retained on the man that could have been chosen to throne. His courage and adroitness cope with the rising tide of Nationalwere displayed, to those who stood be- ism remains to be seen. It cannot be hind the scenes, first in the Fashoda ignored that beneath the calm which crisis, when the very life-blood of appears upon the Egyptian surface Egypt was threatened at its source by there lurks a danger against which an adventurous French captain, and Lord Cromer, in his valedictory deagain last year, when Turkey at spatch, has warned the Government to tempted to establish itself in the Si- be prepared. naitic peninsula and threaten the lost N or is it fair to ignore the acknowlprovince on its flank. Once again we edgment paid by the retiring adminisstood on the verge of war with a great trator to the present Government. It military Power, but the crisis was is clear that the only reason for his repassed almost before the peril had been tirement is the one assigned. We all realized. Whether he was dealing hope that his health may soon be rewith Lord Rosebery, Lord Salisbury, stored, and that he will spend many or Sir Edward Grey, he always in- happy years in the literary studies to spired absolute confidence in his Chief, which he has devoted some of the leiand thus the Foreign Secretary was sure snatched from labors enormous in enabled to bear down the opposition the sheer amount of work accomof hesitating or recalcitrant members plished and exhausting because the of the Cabinet. “This is Lord Cro- sense of responsibility could never be mer's advice"—the Minister who could shaken off. True, that he was well use these words had carried his point. served, because he had the gift of And the singular influence which he choosing good men and training them wielded over his countrymen, without to their task. But in the troublous distinction of Party, was acknowl. and uncertain crises through which he edged by foreign statesmen. Step by guided his chosen people, success and step he induced the Powers who claim safety often depended on his personal some interest, near or remote, in Egypt prestige. It has been said that Egypt to stand aside and let him carry out is the Nile and the Nile is Egypt. For his plans for the reorganization of or nearly a quarter of a century Lord der and industry in Lower Egypt and Cromer has been Egypt and Egypt has for the recovery of the Soudan. It been Lord Cromer. There are no honwas a remarkable and continuous feators or rewards, if he cares for either, in unpretentious diplomacy-a triumph which would be excessive for the benevolent despot who has now with. General in a land over which we have drawn into private life. It is one of not even asserted a Protectorate. the interesting anomalies of our time True Englishman as he was, a typithat the man who has exercised for so cal maker of Empire, Lord Cromer many years an authority more absolute cared nothing for the name so long than Tsar, Kaiser, or Mikado, held no as he had firm hold of the subhigher function than that of Consul stance.
THE CHANGELESSNESS OF CHARACTER.
We hear a good deal nowadays about civilized restraints; neither are they changes in character, about dual per made sinners, though their natural sonality, the mental results of accident tendencies sometimes find fuller scope and illness, and of moral metamor in a freer world. A man may grow phoses of all kinds. No doubt many stronger or feebler in health as the of these phenomena cannot be denied. years go by, he must grow older, be On the other hand, they are of such may grow wiser, but in character he is rare occurrence that the discussion of most unlikely to change. We do not them is more or less academic. The deny that the experience of life has most permanent element in life is, ať some effect upon the proportions of ter all, the element of character. In- character. Circumstances may dedeed, it is the only thing upon which, velop a man's will at the expense of among the changes and chances of his judgment, or his power of discrimilife, we can count at all:
nation to the detriment of his power of
decision. Trouble may sharpen bis The earth (great mother of us all), syinpathies or luck increase a natural That only seems unmoved and perma
buoyancy. But these changes are, so nent,
to speak, functional; they are not orAnd unto Mutability not thrall, Yet is she changed in part and eke in
ganic. There are always possibilities generall.
of improvement and deterioration, but
these take place almost always along In nine hundred and ninety-nine cases strictly prescribed lines, and tend to out of a thousand, men and women do accentuate rather than to obliterato not change, except outwardly. The the natural characteristics. The imman we knew ten years ago and know pulsive man will not become cautious, now is the man we shall know ten or the cautious man rash, though eduyears hence if we are both alive. He cation may do something to make both may make a fortune or he may lose of them more reasonable. It looks one. He may succeed or he may fail. sometimes as though there were not His wealth or his poverty may take tears enough in the world to quench him into a new society or into new sur. the hopes of the naturally hopeful, or roundings, it may give him a new man- happiness enough to inspirit those who ner, but it will not make him a new are naturally depressed. After each man. We may send him away be separate satisfaction the discontented cause he is a scamp to somewhere man "falls back," as Dr. Johnson said, where scampishness does not obtru- "into the habit of wishing,” and after sively show. But men are not made each rebuff of fortune the cheerful felsaints by climate or by the absence of low resumes his habit of thankfulness. The only thing which seems really to lations and sudden disillusionments do modify character is a serious change of occur, and then, as it were, the conconviction, and even that change, un- tinuity of character is broken, and less assisted by religious emotion, has we do not know for good or evil what seldom any very marked effect. will happen next; but those common While they are still young, men often joys and sorrows to which flesh is heir entirely alter their political opinions, have no such revolutionary effect. but as a rule they turn to those views Sometimes when our friends have had which best befit their character, hav. some great blow or some great stroke ing received the discarded set at sec. of fortune we feel almost afraid to see ond hand and without serious consid- them. We have a vague fear that eration from their parents. The man they will be different; but almost alwho was early taught that the world ways we say to ourselves, as we think exists to supply a certain section of over the dreaded moment, that they society with comfort, amusement, and were "just like themselves." an outlet for their energies, and to con- If we discuss women as apart from sider the good of the many only so far men, it is almost more true of them as is expedient in the interests of the than of their husbands and brothers few, and who attained to years of dis- that they are as they were made. How cretion before he questioned his creed, often does a frivolous woman become may become-in accordance with his serious, or a hard one kind, or vice character-a philanthropist and a dem. versa? Did any one ever know a canocrat. On the other hand, a man who did woman who became deceitful, or a at twenty, or even at twenty-five, be- schemer who became simple? If we lieved that all questions, both moral know her only slightly, we may misand social, could be settled by counting take the light heart of youth for frivolheads, may become-again in accord- ity, or a discontented spirit for a ance with his character--a firm believer thoughtful disposition, or take tact for in the government of the wise. The subtlety or subtlety for tact; and so we effects of upbringing last longer with may think as the years go on that a some than with others. We can radical change has taken place in her well imagine that the experience of character. But ask her family or her a war might turn a youth at the intimate friends. They have fallen University from a peace-at-any-price into no such error. Again, among Little Englander into a Jingo Im women opinions may be said to be alperialist. The same war upon ap- most invariably the outcome of charother under-graduate might have an acter, always admitting that those who exactly opposite effect. Their char. have, as Pope said, “no character at acters would not be changed, but all” are yet as a rule well supplied a great event would have brought each with ready-made opinions. The woman man to himself, and forced him to who thinks will always think the shake off his inherited prejudices, or same. Not that women are less charishould we say pre-judgments? Never- table than men. The best women are theless, the exception exists. A man far more so. Perhaps no man is as who at the height of his powers delib- well able as some women to hold aberately changes his mind goes through solutely to a given view while apprea terrible mental ordeal, one which ciating fully the mind and the motives leaves its mark upon every part of his of some one who holds the direct opbeing; but, as a rule, the change owes posite. There are cases where a little to circumstances. Sudden reve. woman's want of logic assists her judgment in a marked degree. The will not repeat our careless words. If exceptional woman may force herself it were not so, if changes in character to it; but she has not as a rule any were really common, civilized life great desire to look into the evidence would be impossible. To look at the on the opposite side. Who has? Cer- lighter side of the picture, what amusetain men belonging to the intellectual ment could life afford to quiet, reclass to whom continuous and ordered spectable people who desire smiles and thinking has given the courage to risk not excitement if it were common for a conviction, and in whom mental gal all the actors whom they from their lantry is the splendid flower of mental corner can see upon the stage of life discipline. No one else. It is said to play out of their rôles? Life would that it is always a woman who makes not be a drama at all. It would be a a home, and we think it is partly be- horrible medley of half-seen acts and cause women supply at every turn the broken dialogue. It is the strict limitaelement of permanence we all long for. tion which the changelessness of charThey may not be open-minded, but, in acter puts upon the mutability of spite of the poets, they are con- things which makes life both dear and stant,
entertaining, which mitigates the terriAfter all, what amount of evidence ble sense of chance and instability that can produce the certainty which is often occasionally makes the heart of the produced by knowledge of character? strongest man stand still with terror, How often do we stake our all upon and supplies to men and women that the fact that So-and-so is "safe" and never-ending source of recreation and will keep our secret, or honest and will enjoyment which we call "human innot take our money, or honorable and terest."
WORDS TO CONJURE WITH.
Thought transference, or clairvoy ter when a man, for example, reads ance, or second sight is a mode of mo. poetry to himself than when he reads tion very easy to believe in. It might it aloud, but whether this be true or be argued that it owes its revived pop- no it is quite certain that intense thinkularity in some measure to wireless ing is accompanied by internal vibratelegraphy. If a sound-wave that can tion and it is logically possible, one only be detected by an intensely delimay almost say likely, that the mescate instrument may traverse immense sage of this vibration should be dedistances along the roadway of the tectable if any instrument were sensimysterious ether, why should not the tive enough. So it happens that the vibrations involved in the process of world lends a ready ear to the marvels thought pass from one brain to an- of clairvoyance. In a little book · just other attuned by some accident to published, clairvoyance is said to have these particular notes ?
been invented by Robert Houdin, the
conjurer in the forties of the last cenStar to star vibrates light. May soul
tury, but though he may have been to soul Strike through some finer element of
the first to use the phrase "seconde its own?
rue," similar tricks, if they are tricks,
have been practised from very early Men of science pretend to have discov- 16 Thought Reading." By Frederick Wicks ered that the brain is distinctly hot. London: Simpkin, Marshall. 1s.
time. Belief in the occult, which has hiding-place, he brought off the feat by often included thought reading in one help of a delicacy of sensation which form or another, has come over the almost amounted to another sense. As world in more or less regular cycles; he moved about with Huxley's hand and it was exploited by Cagliostro with on his wrist he could always detect a not less success, though of course change of pressure when, as children more hypocrisy, than by Houdin. say, he was "getting hot.” It was a
Probably the emergence of each of case of what Huxley himself called these cycles has been due rather to "unconscious cerebration": the brain, human nature than to the conscious ef- whether its owner would or not, perforts of spiritual quacks. But the ceptibly affected the nerves of the finsubject has given such splendid oppor- gers. tunities to conjurers, whether of the But the feats of clairvoyance which honest skill of Mr. Maskelyne or the have most astounded the wide-eyed adventurous greed of Mr. Sludge, that public have been accomplished by little the enthusiasm for the occult has simple dodges that have nothing wonfinally exploded in mockery. The derful in them at all. Of these dodges writer of this book worked with one of no one perhaps has a more extensive the most famous of conjurers, manu- and peculiar knowledge than Mr. factured some of his instruments, and Wicks. A certain number of revelawas behind the scenes of the séance. tions on the working of codes has been Twenty-five years ago he published a published in the newspapers, but here rational explanation of what we may we are given in detail, in a variety of call the mechanics of the mystery, and concrete instances, the exact working the extraordinary curiosity evoked by of the codes and the precise maniputhe performance of the Zancigs gives lations of the silent tricks. The thing a peculiar interest to this recapitula is simple enough. By making letters tion and expansion of the old explana- stand for figures, any one, so long as tions. Any two people who practised he is allowed to speak, can convey to the codes that he outlines could un- a student of the code any figures he questionably, if they were as quick wishes, and the principle may be exand industrious, perform most of the tended in all sorts of directions. For feats of Heller, Houdin, and the Zan- example, you promise to convey to the cigs. It is worth notice that Mr. Zan clairvoyante, who is blindfolded, an accig has himself told us of his capacity curate knowledge of the different obfor laborious industry.
jects that you will successively touch. Now and again the explanation Your first step is to utter some comshows up a marvel hardly less great mon word which in your code conveys than the alleged mystery. Washington the class of thing-for instance, "good" May Bishop, for instance, was able to may stand for clothing; then the initial perform his astonishing trick, known letters of the brief sentences you utter as the ring-threading trick, by means will inform her of the first few letters of a capacity to put his shoulder out of the word, and the whole thing is of joint by sheer force of will. Even done. Feats that filled you with astonthis would have been no good if he ishment are seen to be ludicrously simhad not possessed an almost incredible ple, and the conjurer proper appears power of grasp with the top joints of to be a person infinitely cleverer and his fingers. Again, when he aston- more wonderful than the most acished Huxley by discovering the shil. complished thought-reader. ling of which only Huxley knew the Mr. Wicks begins his little book with