orations, and to let others know it also.
This habit, which developed when he took the platform in Boston
, remained with him to the end. There was always in it, as well in middle life as in youth.
something spontaneous, artless, childlike, the natural expression of a frank nature, with no purpose to exalt himself or depreciate others.
Tact would have imposed greater reserve, for the habit repelled many, particularly those who had the ambition without the power to do what he could do. People who are clever, without breadth or strength, are disposed to harp upon such a limitation, overlooking altogether the talents and service which may accompany it.
Vanity, egotism, self-consciousness, self-esteem, self-poise, are terms synonymous in common use, expressing what in some degrees is a frailty or defect, and in others a source of power.
They designate a quality or habit which is often associated with greatness, indeed is rarely absent from it, and which has often distinguished or disfigured men who have done immortal work in letters or served mankind in eminent statesmanship; and even warriors, exclusively men of action, have not been exempt from it.1
This is known to schoolboys who lave translated the Exegi monumentum
, and the orations against Catiline.
, in his single interview with Wellington
, whom he did not at the time know, talked of himself in so vain a style, even like a charlatan, as almost to disgust the latter, but a few moments later seemed a different man, when learning who his companion was he talked like an officer and statesman;2
and yet Nelson
had fought at Santa Cruz
and Aboukir, and was to die at Trafalgar
's vanity was proverbial.
To him praise was always sweet incense; and yet so sterling was his patriotism that no flattery in a foreign court or at home could swerve him a hair's-breadth from devotion to his country.3
When power exists in a man, he will rarely fail to know it. Merit and modesty, it has been wittily said, have nothing in common but the initial letter;4
and a German thinker has written that no one can be blind to his own merit any more than to his height.5
A reviewer of