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CORNELIUS O'DOWD UPON MEN AND WOMEN, AND OTHER THINGS
I WONDER is the world as pleasant as it used to be? Not to myself, of course-I neither ask nor expect it; but I mean to those who are in the same position to enjoy it as I years ago. I am delicate about the figures, for Mrs O'D. occasionally reads these sketches, and might feel a wifelike antipathy to a record of this nature. I repeat I wonder is life as good fun as it was when I made my first acquaintance with it? My impression is that it is not. I do not presume to say that all the same elements are not as abundant as heretofore. There are young people, and witty people, and, better, there are beautiful people, in abundance. There are great houses as of yore, maintained, perhaps, with even more than bygone splendour: the horses are as good-the dogs as good-the trout-streams as well stocked-the grouse as abundant-foreign travel is more easy-all travel is more facile there are more books, and more illustrated newspapers; and yet with all these advantages
VOL. XCVI.-NO. DLXXXV.
very tangible advantages too—I do not think the present occupants make the house as pleasant as their fathers did, and for the very simple reason, that they never try.
Indifferentism is the tone of the day. No one must be eager, pleased, displeased, interested, or anxious about anything. Life is to be treated as a tiresome sort of thing, but which is far too much beneath one to be thought of seriously-a wearisome performance, which good manners require you should sit out, though nothing obliges you to applaud or even approve of it. This is the theory, and we have been most successful in reducing it to practice. We are immensely bored, and we take good care so shall be our neighbour. Just as we have voted that there is nothing new, nothing strange, nothing amusing, we defy any one to differ with us, on pain of pronouncing him vulgar. North American Indians are not more case-hardened against any show of suffering under torture, than are our well-bred people