There is no new thing under the sun.
It is always the unexpected that happens.
Nature, as we know, abhors a vacuum.
The late Lord Coleridge once electrified his court by inquiring `Who
is Connie Gilchrist?’
And here are some favourite methods of conclusion:–
A mad world, my masters!
‘Tis true ’tis pity, and pity ’tis ’tis true.
There is much virtue in that `if.’
But that, as Mr. Kipling would say, is another story.
Si non e` vero, etc.
or (lighter style)
We fancy we recognise here the hand of Mr. Benjamin Trovato.
Not less inevitable are such parallelisms as:–
Like Topsy, perhaps it `growed.’
Like the late Lord Beaconsfield on a famous occasion, `on the side of
Like Brer Rabbit, `To lie low and say nuffin.’
Like Oliver Twist, `To ask for more.’
Like Sam Weller’s knowledge of London, `extensive and peculiar.’
Like Napoleon, a believer in `the big battalions.’
Nor let us forget Pyrrhic victory, Parthian dart, and Homeric laughter; quos deus vult and nil de mortuis; Sturm und Drang; masterly inactivity, unctuous rectitude, mute inglorious Miltons, and damned good-natured friends; the sword of Damocles, the thin edge of the wedge, the long arm of coincidence, and the soul of goodness in things evil; Hobson’s choice, Frankenstein’s monster, Macaulay’s schoolboy, Lord Burleigh’s nod, Sir Boyle Roche’s bird, Mahomed’s coffin, and Davy Jones’s locker.
A melancholy catalogue, is it not? But it is less melancholy for you who read it here, than for them whose existence depends on it, who draw from it a desperate means of seeming to accomplish what is impossible. And yet these are the men who shrank in horror from Lord Rosebery’s merciful idea. They ought to be saved despite themselves. Might not a short Act of Parliament be passed, making all comment in daily newspapers illegal? In a way, of course, it would be hard on the commentators. Having lost the power of independent thought, having sunk into a state of chronic dulness, apathy and insincerity, they could hardly, be expected to succeed in any of the ordinary ways of life. They could not compete with their fellow-creatures; no door but would be bolted if they knocked on it. What would become of them? Probably they would have to perish in what they would call `what the late Lord Goschen would have called “splendid isolation.”‘ But such an end were sweeter, I suggest to them, than the life they are leading.