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100 Years Ago

December 7th, 1906.

MR BERNARD SHAW is a very clever person; perhaps not quite so clever as he imagines himself to be, but unquestionably clever. Yet we are inclined to think that even he is conscious of falling short of the highest standard of genius, as he is not content to say his smart things and leave them to his contemporaries and, possibly, posterity to appraise them, but must needs advertise himself by methods savouring at times of the buffoon. It is no concern of ours to interfere with Mr Shaw’s indulgence in the habit of self-advertisement, but we must express our regret that the Guild of St Matthew, an association, it is understood, of Catholic Socialists, should have given him a chance of pushing himself. If his address at the Guild’s meeting is reported fairly, it was a blend of smartness, bad taste, and profanity. The ingredients seem to have been in equal proportions, and the whole combination was one which, we should have thought, would have filled a Christian audience with absolute loathing. We forbear to quote the offensive passages which occurred in the address. The curious in such literature can read them in the Times of the 1st inst. We content ourselves with saying that, if the Guild of St Matthew offers its platform to any and every assailant of the Faith, provided he is smart enough to amuse the members, the sooner it puts itself under other patronage than that of an Apostle of Jesus Christ, the more it will be entitled to respect for its consistency.

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