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by [?]

Every man of worth is two men–sometimes many. In fact, Doctor George Vincent, the psychologist, says, “We never treat two persons in exactly the same manner.” If this is so, and I suspect it is, the person we are with dictates our mental process and thus controls our manners–he calls out the man he wishes to see. Certain sides of our nature are revealed only to certain persons. And I can understand, too, how there can be a Holy of Holies, closed and barred forever against all except the One. And in the absence of this One, I can also understand how the person can go through life, and father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends and companions never guess the latent excellence that lies concealed. We defend and protect this Holy of Holies from the vulgar gaze.

There are two ways to guard and keep alive the sacred fires; one is to flee to convent, monastery or mountain and there live alone with God; the other is to mix and mingle with men and wear a coat of mail in way of manner.

Women whose hearts are well-nigh bursting with grief will often be the gayest of the gay; men whose souls are corroding with care– weighted down with sorrow too great for speech–are often those who set the table in a roar.

The assumed manner, continued, evolves into a pose. Pose means position, and the pose is usually a position of defense. All great people are poseurs.

Men pose so as to keep the mob back while they can do their work. Without the pose, the garden of a poet’s fancy would look like McKinley’s front yard at Canton in the fall of Ninety-six. That is to say, without the pose the poet would have no garden, no fancy, no nothing–and there would be no poet. Yet I am quite willing to admit that a man might assume a pose and yet have nothing to protect; but I stoutly maintain that pose in such a one is transparent to every one as the poles that support a scarecrow, simply because the pose never becomes habitual.

With the great man pose becomes a habit–and then it is not a pose. When a man lies and admits he lies, he tells the truth.

Whistler has been called the greatest poseur of his day; and yet he is the most sincere and truthful of men–the very antithesis of hypocrisy and sham. No man ever hated pretense more.

Whistler is an artist, and the soul of the man is revealed in his work–not in his hat, nor yet his bamboo cane, nor his long black coat, much less the language which he uses, Talleyrand-like, to conceal his thought. Art has been his wife, his children and his religion. Art has said to him, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and he has obeyed the mandate.

That picture of his mother in the Luxembourg is the most serious thing in the whole collection–so gentle, so modest, so appealing, so charged with tenderness. It is classed by the most competent critics of today along with the greatest works of the old masters. We find upon the official roster of the fine arts of France this tribute opposite the name of Whistler, “Portrait of the mother of the author, a masterpiece destined for the eternal admiration of future generations, combining in its tone-power and magnificence the qualities of a Rembrandt, a Titian, a Velasquez.” The picture does not challenge you–you have to hunt it out, and you have to bring something to it, else ‘t will not reveal itself. There is no decrepitude in the woman’s face and form, but someway you read into the picture the story of a great and tender love and a long life of useful effort. And now as the evening shadows gather, about to fade off into gloom, the old mother sits there alone, poised, serene: husband gone, children gone–her work is done. Twilight comes. She thinks of the past in gratitude, and gazes wistfully out into the future, unafraid. It is the tribute that every well-born son would like to pay to the mother who loved him into being, whose body nourished him, whose loving arms sustained him, whose unfaltering faith and appreciation encouraged him to do and to become. She was his wisest critic, his best friend–his mother!