of a Homo Unius Libri 165
fondness. Once well started, an opinion had better be left
to shift for itself.
Insist as far as possible on the insignificance of the points
of difference as compared with the resemblances to opinions
Gladstone as a Financier
I said to my tobacconist that Gladstone was not a financier
because he bought a lot of china at high prices and it fetched
very little when it was sold at Christie's.
" Did he give high prices ? " said the tobacconist.
" Enormous prices/' said I emphatically.
Now, to tell the truth, I did not know whether Mr. Glad-
stone had ever bought the china at all, much less what he
gave for it, if he did; he may have had it all left him for
aught I knew. But I was going to appeal to my tobacconist
by arguments that he could understand, and I could see he
was much impressed.
Argument is generally waste of time and trouble. It is
better to present one's opinion and leave it to stick or no
as it may happen. If sound, it will probably in the end
stick, and the sticking is the main thing.
What a frightful thing it would be if true humour were
more common or, rather, more easy to see, for it is more
common than those are who can see it. It would block the
way of everything. Perhaps this'is what people rather feel.
It would be like Music in the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, it
would " untune the sky."
I do not know quite what is meant by untuning the sky
and, if I did, I cannot think that there is anything to be
particularly gained by having the sky untuned; still, if it
has got to be untuned at all, I am sure music is the only
thing that can untune it. Rapson, however, whom I used
to see in the coin room at the British Museum, told me it