fidelity with which my old friend Professor Norton
holds up everything among us to an ideal standard, and censures what he thinks the vanity of our nation.
But those who think with me that behind that apparent vanity there is a real self-distrust, which is a greater evil,—those who think that timidity, not conceit, is our real national foible,—can easily see how these very criticisms foster that timidity; so that ‘meek young men grow up in libraries,’ in Emerson
's phrase, who feel that what they can say can claim no weight in either continent, so long as they do not say it in the Saturday Review
. So some rather impulsive remarks in a New York newspaper as to the large number of persons in this country, as in all countries, who assume a clean shirt but once a week, probably did little or no good to the offending individuals, while it has winged a fatal arrow for Matthew Arnold
's bow, as for many others.
Comparisons are often misleading.
, the English
traveller, was always denouncing his fellow-countrymen as exceedingly dirty when compared with the Mohammedan races, and used to wish that