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quaintance. Such a man, if he steers clear of the contempt for indefinite views which is often the curse of men with clear and definite minds, makes the best kind of talker, stimulating and suggestive; his talk seems to open doors into gardens and corridors of the house of thought; and others, whose knowledge is fragmentary, would like to be at home, too, in that pleasant palace. But it is of the essence of such talk that it should be natural and attractive, not professional or didactic. People who are not used to Universities tend to believe that academical persons are invariably formidable. They think of them as possessed of vast stores of precise knowledge, and actuated by a merciless desire to detect and ridicule deficiencies of attainment among unprofessional people. Of course, there are people of this type to be found at a University, just as in all other professions it is possible to find uncharitable specialists who despise persons of hazy and leisurely views. But my own impression is that it is a rare type among University Dons; I think that it is far commoner at the University to meet men of great attainments combined with sincere humility and charity, for the simple reason that the most erudite specialist at a University becomes aware both of the wide diversity of knowledge and of his own limitations as well. Personally, direct bookish talk is my abomination. ,

. A knowledge of books ought to give a man a delicate allusiveness, an aptitude for pointed quotation. A book ought to be only incidentally, not anatomically, discussed; and I am pleased to be able to think that there is a good deal of this allusive talk at the University, and that the only reason there is not more is that professional demands are so insistent, and

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work so thorough, that academical persons cannot keep up their general reading as they would like to do.

And when we come to what I have called, for want of a better word, the ethical motive for reading; it might sound at first as if I meant that people ought to read improving books, but that is exactly what I do not mean. I have very strong opinions on this point, and hold that what I call the ethical motive for reading is the best of all — indeed the only true

one. And yet I find a great difficulty in putting into words what is a very elusive and delicate thought. But my belief is this. As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. I see that many people find the world dreary — and, indeed, there must be spaces of dreariness in it for us all, find it interesting; some surprising; some find it entirely satisfactory. But those who find it satisfactory seem to me, as a rule, to be tough, coarse, healthy natures, who find success attractive and food digestible; who do not trouble their heads very much about other people, but go cheerfully and optimistically on their way, closing their eyes as far as possible to things painful and sorrowful, and getting all the pleasure they can out of material enjoyments.

Well, to speak very sincerely and humbly, such a • life seems to me the worst kind of failure. It is the life that men were living in the days of Noah, and out of such lives comes nothing that is wise or useful or good. Such men leave the world as they found it, except for the fact that they have eaten a little way into it, like a mite into a cheese, and leave a track of decomposition behind them.

I do not know why so much that is hard and painful and sad is interwoven with our life here; but I see, or seem to see, that it is meant to be so interwoven. All the best and most beautiful flowers of character and thought seem to me to spring up in the track of suffering; and what is the most sorrowful of all mysteries, the mystery of death, the ceasing to be, the relinquishing of our hopes and dreams, the breaking of our dearest ties, becomes more solemn and aweinspiring the nearer we advance to it.

I do not mean that we are to go and search for unhappiness; but, on the other hand, the only happiness worth seeking for is a happiness which takes all these dark things into account, looks them in the face, reads the secret of their dim eyes and set lips, dwells with them, and learns to be tranquil in their presence.

In this mood — and it is a mood which no thoughtful man can hope or ought to wish to escape reading becomes less and less a searching for instructive and impressive facts, and more and more a quest after wisdom and truth and emotion. More and more I feel the impenetrability of the mystery that surFounds us; the phenomena of nature, the discoveries of science, instead of raising the veil, seem only to make the problem more complex, more bizzarre, more insoluble; the investigation of the laws of light, of electricity, of chemical action, of the causes of disease, the influence of heredity — all these things may minister to our convenience and our health, but they make the mind of God, the nature of the First Cause, an infinitely more mysterious and inconceivable problem.

But there still remains, inside, so to speak, of these astonishing facts, a whole range of intimate personal

every side.

phenomena, of emotion, of relationship, or mental or spiritual conceptions, such as beauty, affection, righteousness, which seem to be an even nearer concern, even more vital to our happiness than the vast laws of which it is possible for men to be so unconscious, that centuries have rolled past without their being investigated.

And thus in such a mood reading becomes a patient tracing out of human emotion, human feeling, when confronted with the sorrows, the hopes, the motives, the sufferings which beckon us and threaten us on

One desires to know what pure and wise and high-hearted natures have made of the problem; one desires to let the sense of beauty that most spiritual of all pleasures — sink deeper into the heart; one desires to share the thoughts and hopes, the dreams and visions, in the strength of which the human spirit has risen superior to suffering and death.

And thus, as I say, the reading that is done in such a mood has little of precise acquisition or definite attainment about it; it is a desire rather to feed and console the spirit -- to enter the region in which it seems better to wonder than to know, to aspire rather than to define, to hope rather than to be satisfied. A spirit which walks expectantly along this path grows to learn that the secret of such happiness as we can attain lies in simplicity and courage, in sincerity and loving-kindness; it grows more and more averse to material ambitions and mean aims; it more and more desires silence and recollection and contemplation. In this mood the words of the wise fall like the tolling of sweet, grave bells upon the soul, the dreams of poets come like music heard at evening from the depth of some enchanted forest, wafted


over a wide water; we know not what instrument it is whence the music wells, by what fingers swept, by what lips blown; but we know that there is some presence there that is sorrowful or glad, who has power to translate his dream into the concord of sweet sounds. Such a mood need not withdraw us from life, from toil, from kindly relationships, from deep affections; but it will rather send us back to life with a renewed and joyful zest, with a desire to discern the true quality of beautiful things, of fair thoughts, of courageous hopes, of wise designs. It will make us tolerant and forgiving, patient with stubbornness and prejudice, simple in conduct, sincere in word, gentle in deed; with pity for weakness, with affection for the lonely and the desolate, with admiration for all that is noble and serene and strong.

Those who read in such a spirit will tend to resort more and more to large and wise and beautiful books, to press the sweetness out of old familiar thoughts, to look more for warmth and loftiness of feeling than for elaborate and artful expression. They will value more and more books that speak to the soul, rather than books that appeal to the ear and to the mind. They will realize that it is through wisdom and force and nobility that books retain their hold upon the hearts of men, and not by briskness and colour and epigram. A mind thus stored may have little grasp of facts, little garniture of paradox and jest; but it will be full of compassion and hope, of gentleness and joy. . :

Well, this thought has taken me a long way from the College library, where the old books look somewhat pathetically from the shelves, like aged dogs wondering why no one takes them for a walk. Monuments

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