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[128] It would be the exceptional mean act of a consciously base man; it would not represent the very organization and structure of society. It was because Scott was personally a man of high tone that this deferential attitude is a thing alarming-and instructive. If he had done it for a particular purpose it would have represented far less. It only shows that the feudal survival is really the thing nearest the heart of those who dwell under its influence, and that the satiric pictures of Thackeray are not obsolete, but really belong to to-day. A nation is tested not by watching the class which looks down, but by the class which looks up. In England the upper classes naturally and innocently look down, and the middle and lower classes look up. In the United States the so-called upper class may or may not look down, but the rest do not look up, and this makes an ineradicable difference. The less favored may point with pride or gaze with curiosity, but they certainly do not manifest reverence for the mere social position. Something akin to that feeling may be called out by the political hero, the favorite author, even by the local “boss,” but by mere wealth never. It is better so.

1896

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