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each other's character, and a common interest in the science of entomology. In the long run, if I remember rightly, the friendship was dissolved by causes arising out of this very fact of B-'s thorough scepticism.
Pelican suffered a little from injustice which took the same form, though only from a few very silly people ; for those of his acquaintances who used their minds, even to the slightest extent, could not fail to see that the man who had at one time four associates, one of whom was a Churchman, another a Quaker, a third a Comtist, and a fourth a Roman Catholic, could hardly with fairness be accused in any one case of making opinion the basis of preference.
I can only think of one word which can properly be used to characterise Pelican's friends as a body; but it is a word which implies much. They were all tolerably moral and tolerably intelligent; but so are the majority of persons in decent society. Some of them were not remarkable for either piety, intellect, amiability, manners, or wealth. What then was the subtle attraction which drew Pelican to them. It was this. Whatever they lacked, whatever positive faults you might be able justly to charge them with, however objectionable they might seem in various ways, you nevertheless could not, if you were candid, refrain from admitting that they were interesting
This is, perhaps, a vague word, but I cannot find a more definite one which will answer my purpose equally well. And it is not so vague after all. What is it that is really interesting to us? Is it not the new, the unexplored, the half-comprehended, which strikes and fascinates, while the known, the old, the understood, are contemplated with an indifference which threatens ere long to take them into the region of the unknown again? And so by an interesting man we mean one in whom the familiar elements of human nature are mingled in such unfamiliar proportions that we hardly know them as the same, and are able, in virtue of their combinations, to discover in them altogether unsuspected properties and powers.
Individuality was one of Pelican's idols; and the man who startled his neighbours by some outrageous nonconformity of nature, which drove him like a leper from their doors, was always sure of welcome and sanctuary at Pelican's lodge in the wilderness. It must, however, be a real nonconformity of nature ; any other nonconformity than that he scouted and despised. “When God makes a nonconformist,” he would say, “he makes at once a missionary and a martyr; but these impostors, who pretend to be different from other people, want the palm of the mission without the fire of the martyrdom, and ought, in my opinion, to have the fire without the palm." He always maintained that an individuality which God had made angular had some message for the world which the regulation curves could never express, but which only angles could reveal; and that the duty of society towards
such an individual, no less than its duty to itself, was to preserve the points and ridges smooth and straight. In the first verse of a poem, the remainder of which I have forgotten, he wrote,
“ To thine own self be true, because
Thou canst not be as other men;
And useth not the same again.”
The people who bore the most obvious marks of having come from the broken mould were by Pelican drawn to his heart, and treasured as, in some sort, the mediums of new revelations.
Some of those who knew him best could never be brought to understand his conduct in this respect. Pelican was himself a gentleman, but the idea of confining his friendships to men of his own caste never once occurred to him; and when presented to him, as it some
he cast it behind his back as an incomprehensible absurdity.
“What does Mrs. So-and-so mean?” he would inquire, wonderingly, " by asking how I can make a friend of Robinson, who is not a gentleman. She might as well ask me how I can associate so intimately with Morris, who has such a terrible squint. One is almost as purely physical a matter as the other. I can think of no better illustration of the man who is a gentleman and the man who is not, than the difference between a race-horse and a cart-horse. The race-horse is pleasanter to look at; but the cart-horse may be the more
estimable animal, and is certainly the more useful one. I put the matter in this way to the good lady, only the other day, and she would have it that it was one of my absurd individual crotchets, until I produced a passage from Ruskin—whom she professes to admire immensely—in which he says exactly the same thing. She could reply nothing to this, except that there was no making me out, which is probably a very true statement of the case from her point of view.” And yet, in spite of this, Pelican prized beyond all
a quality which is almost inseparable from gentle breeding-a quality which he himself possessed to the full—the quick and broad sympathy which comes of a nature tremblingly alive at every point of its surface. Much as he loved to see a strong, clearly outlined individuality, he was always repelled by the spectacle of such a nature drawing hard and fast lines of thought and feeling, beyond which its sympathies refused to stray; and it was a favourite thought of his, that the main advantage of being lifted in any way out of the crowd of ordinary men, is the capacity thus conferred to understand such men better even than they can understand themselves, and thus to interpret them to themselves by the power of a penetrative sympathy.
I have already said that Pelican, when we first met, had no one whom he could really call a friend; but during the few years of our acquaintance he gathered around him a small but very pleasant circle. Two of his in their way.
most intimate associates were medical men. He used to say that he thought doctors knew less about people's bodies and more about their minds than the members of any other profession or calling; and that if a doctor was worth anything at all, one good dose of his talk was worth a hundred doses of his medicine. Perhaps his belief in this heresy accounted for the fact that both his medical friends were homoeopathists, and were therefore not likely to offer him anything more formidable than a pilule of sugar of milk, which had once in its history been brought into temporary contact with a weak solution of some polysyllabic drug. Mr. Brownlow and Dr. Wade were both remarkable men
Brownlow was a man who might be thirty or might be forty years of age, the precise number being an unsolved problem; while Dr. Wade had manifestly left his sixtieth birthday behind him. They were wonderfully different, but they had two or three characteristics in common. They were both thinkers, both copious and very slow talkers, and both ardent lovers of poetry. Brownlow had the horizontal, and Wade the perpendicular, mind. , The former was a short man, nearly bald, with a face of Napoleonic type, though not of the Napoleonic complexion, and two small keen eyes, which peered from behind the ambush of a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles, and looked as if they saw everything and revealed nothing. Altogether, he was a man from whom you would expect to receive a good deal of the dry light of science, but