and destined to exile. They forgot that through all the really thrilling and creative part of his career he was not the man of destiny, but the man who defied destiny. Shaw’s sketch is extraordinarily clever; but it is tinged with this unmilitary oakley sunglasses for women notion of an inevitable conquest; and this we must remember when we come to those larger canvases on which he painted his more serious heroes. As for the play, it is packed with good things, of which the last is perhaps the best. The long duologue between Bonaparte and the Irish lady ends with the General declaring that he will only be beaten when he meets an English army under an Irish general. It has always been one of Shaw’s paradoxes that the English mind has the force to fulfil orders, while the Irish mind has the intelligence to give them, and it is among those of his paradoxes which contain a certain truth. A far more important play is The Philanderer, an ironic comedy which is full of fine strokes and real satire; it is more especially the vehicle of some of Shaw’s best satire upon physical science. Nothing could be cleverer than the picture of the young, strenuous doctor, in the utter innocence of his professional ambition, who has discovered a new disease, and is delighted when he finds people suffering from it and cast down to despair when he finds that it does not exist. The point is worth a pause, because it is a good, short way of stating Shaw’s attitude, right or wrong, upon the whole of formal morality. What he dislikes in young Doctor Paramore is that he has interposed a secondary and false conscience between himself and the facts. When his disease is disproved, instead of seeing the escape of a oakley mframe sunglasses human being who thought he was going to die of it, Paramore sees the downfall of a kind of flag or cause. This is the whole contention of The Quintessence of Ibsenism, put better than the book puts it; it is a really sharp exposition of the dangers of “idealism,” the sacrifice of people to principles, and Shaw is even wiser in his suggestion that this excessive idealism exists nowhere so strongly as in the world of physical science. He shows that the scientist tends to be more concerned about the sickness than about the sick man; but it was certainly in his mind to suggest here also that the idealist is more concerned about the sin than about the sinner. This business of Dr. Paramore’s disease while it is the most farcical thing in the play is also the most philosophic and important. The rest of the figures, including the Philanderer himself, are in the full sense of those blasting and obliterating words “funny without being vulgar,” that is, funny without being of any importance to the masses of men. It is a play about a dashing and advanced “Ibsen Club,” and the squabble between the young Ibsenites and the old people who are not yet up to Ibsen. It would be hard to find a stronger example of Shaw’s only essential error, modernity—which means the seeking for truth in terms of time. Only a few years have passed and already almost half the wit of that wonderful play is wasted, because it all turns on the newness of a fashion that is no longer new. Doubtless many people still think the Ibsen drama a great thing, like the French classical drama. But going to “The Philanderer” is like going among periwigs and rapiers and hearing that the young men are now all for Racine. What makes such work sound unreal is not the praise of Ibsen, but the praise of the novelty of Ibsen. Any advantage that Bernard Shaw had over Colonel Craven I have over Bernard Shaw; we who happen to be born last have the meaningless and paltry triumph in that meaningless and paltry war. We are the superiors by that silliest and most snobbish of all superiorities, the mere aristocracy of time. All works must become thus old and insipid which have ever tried to be “modern,” which have consented to smell of time rather than of eternity. Only those who have stooped to be in advance of their time will ever find themselves behind it. But it is irritating to think what diamonds, what dazzling silver of Shavian wit has been sunk in such an out-of-date warship. In The Philanderer there are five hundred excellent and about five magnificent things. The rattle of repartees between the doctor and the soldier about the humanity of their two trades is admirable. Or again, when the colonel tells Chartaris that “in his young days” he would have no more behaved like oakley sunglasses outlet uk Chartaris than he would have cheated at cards. After a pause Chartaris says, “You’re getting old, Craven, and you make a virtue of it as usual.” And there is an altitude of aerial tragedy in the words of Grace, who has refused the man she loves, to Julia, who is marrying the man she doesn’t, “This is what they call a happy ending—these men. There is an acrid taste in The Philanderer; and certainly he might be considered a super-sensitive person who should find anything acrid in You Never Can Tell. This play is the nearest approach to frank and objectless exuberance in the whole of Shaw’s work. Punch, with wisdom as well as wit, said that it might well be called not “You Never Can Tell” but “You Never Can be Shaw.” And yet if anyone will read this blazing farce and then after it any of the romantic farces, such as Pickwick or even The Wrong Box, I do not think he will be disposed to erase or even to modify what I said at the beginning about the ingrained grimness and even inhumanity of Shaw’s art. To take but one test: love, in an “extravaganza,” may be light love or love in idleness, but it should be hearty and happy love if it is to add to the general hilarity. Such are the ludicrous but lucky love affairs of the sportsman Winkle and the Maestro Jimson. In Gloria’s collapse before her bullying lover there is something at once cold and unclean; it calls up all the modern supermen with their cruel and fishy eyes. Such farces should begin in a friendly air, in a tavern. There is something very symbolic of Shaw in the fact that his farce begins in a dentist’s. The only one out of this brilliant batch of plays in which I think that the method adopted really fails, is the one called Widower’s Houses. The best touch of Shaw is simply in the title. The simple substitution of widowers for widows contains almost the whole bitter and yet boisterous protest of Shaw; all his preference for undignified fact over dignified phrase; all his dislike of those subtle trends of sex or mystery which swing the logician off the straight line. We can imagine him crying, “Why in the name of death and conscience should it be tragic to be a widow but comic to be a widower?” But the rationalistic method is here applied quite wrong as regards the production of a drama. The most dramatic point in the affair is when the open and indece
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