It was suggested recently that a certain New York official's troubles were mostly due
to his preference for seining over being—that is. when people referred to him as a new
Henry Clay, he preferred to foster that impression rather than possess himself of the Clay
qualities. Like many another man, famed or obscure, he eared more for what people were
thinking him to be than for what he actually was.
It is, of course, a tribute to the power of the good, as well as a testimony to a man's
own respect for the good, when he wants to appear better than he really is—when he would
possess a reputation far in advance of his character: hut it is no credit to his judgment.
It is hard to say whether it is unconscious vanity or pure deceit, when a man prefers
to live entirely in the figure he cuts in the eyes of others; but it is perfectly obvious that.
honest or not. he is a fool.
Public opinion never yel gave us a character, and public opinion has never yet been
strong enough to take a character away.
As for reputation, it is only the one that is formed on character that will last, that
will outlive all assaults.
The reason a desire In seem in preference to In is downright foolishness, is found in
the fact that life's a fire—a refining fire. You may carve the wood and paint it to so sim¬
ulate stone that all beholders exclaim, " See Unit massive stone wall!" lint tire will tell
whether it is stone or wood.
By trickery, a man may gel his diploma in Medicine, Law, or Dentist ry ; but life, with
its demands and emergencies, will presently step in and conduct an examination of its own
from which all the sheepskins in creation cannot save the unprepared.
Life isn't a bluff; it's the real thing; it's a show down. It takes no account of what
we say we an-, or of what other people think we are; all it's accounts are based on what
we actually an. If we arc a brown-stone front with a ramshackle rear, life is bound to
approach us from the alley; if we are a bench-warmer ami not a hitter, life is going to find
it out; if we are a front and not a fact, life is going to know it. and show it.
"All bark and no bite never yet won a fight." It is not tin- whistling that makes the
locomotive go; it's the silent steam.
Men who prefer si lining to being Thereby acknowledge the superiority of the qual¬
ities they seem to possess. It is always tin- genuine that is counterfeited. No one ever
counterfeited a bogus dollar, or a bogus quality, or a bogus talent. And yet. recognizing
the superiority and desirability of the genuine, men try to content themselves with the
bogus. This is the height of self delusion. Knowing that they have not the thing they
want others to believe they have, how can they rest in the barren seeming? As well might
a man seem to be fed when he is famishing. What substantial good does seeming do him .'
Foolishness to the utmost depth of folly is this play acting with character. Foolish.
first, because it is bound to be exposed. Second, because it shows an appreciation of the
genuine, though no attempt to attain it; and third, because the same amount of time and
effort expended on attaining the genuine as is spent in maintaining the pretense, would
put any one in possession of the genuine. The little politician arranges his hair and his
coat, modulates his voice, as he has seen some great man do. and thereby imagines he is