Some People We Differ With

It is given to few men to pass through life without occasional differences with their fellows. We are not alluding to differences of opinion. It is in the order of things that different people should hold different opinions on different subjects.

The differences we have in our mind are better described, perhaps, as quarrels, and at times are of a serious character.

It is by no means necessary we should be either cantankerous or litigious, morose, or ill-natured.

We may be among the most genial people in the world, and yet there are those who, if we will not quarrel with them, will find, some way of quarrelling with us.

Of course, Masons are bound, by the tenour of their obligation, to avoid giving and taking offence, and where two brethren are at issue, a ready means is provided for securing a reconciliation between them.

But Masons are merely mortals, and as liable, therefore, to error as the rest of mankind. The most elaborate, the most comprehensive code of laws will not prevent Masons from occasionally yielding to human weaknesses.

Thus it comes about that the relations between brethren of the mystic tie cannot always be described as fraternal.

It being, then, impossible to wholly avoid disputes with certain brethren, let us devote a little space to noting some of those whom it may be our misfortune to differ with, glancing briefly at their various points aud temperaments, so that we may at least be on our guard, against saying or doing any thing to cause them any annoyance.

So shall we be acting according to our vows, both in the letter and the spirit.

Foremost among the number of disputatious brethren, comes Bro. Cantanker. He makes a point of saying unpleasant things. It is, in fact, in his nature that he should make himself very disagreeable to all whom he comes in contact with. When he became a Mason he omitted, not unnaturally, perhaps, to leave outside the Lodge doors the very un-Masonic feature which chiefly characterised him then, as it still does now.

We have before referred to Bro. Cantanker, as one of those who object, on principle, to any aucl every proposition.

A good many people are not a little disconcerted at first on finding themselves in his company.
If they are foolish, unseeming squabbles often follow. If they are wise, they take his objections in good part, making the best they can of a very angular-minded brother.

They very soon learn that his disagreeable utterances are not intended to be offensive, and must always be taken with a qualification, ‘exceptis excipiendisis’, that is, present company always excepted.

He is at heart a very good fellow. Ho acts up to the spirit, if not to the letter, of his obligation.

He is Bro. Cantanker by name, as well as by nature, but he is not ill-natured. He gives of his substance to worthy objects. He knows well enough the uses of a chisel, but he never applies it to smooth away the roughness’s of his own nature.

Those who know him thoroughly, respect him, but they cannot be said to love him.
It is inevitable that differences should arise with such a brother, for he has a mortal antipathy to anything like agreement.

But this induces no feeling of enmity, or even of anger. We come to look upon his invariable objections as a part of the price we pay for the privilege of knowing him.

We forget and forgive but too readily the roughness and acidity of the temper, out of respect for the sterling worth of his character.

Not so with Bro. Litigant, who likewise objects on principle, but the principle which animates him in his display of cantankerousness is far less respectable.

He is not overparticular in the conduct of his relations with others. It does not follow, of course, that a litigious should also be a grasping man, but we always fancy somehow he is under the influence of mercenary motives.

He seems as though he were always on the look out to gain some advantage over us, and we are far from sure that he is scrupulous in the means he employs in order to gain his ends.

The man who wars with us on principle, though the principle involved exceeds not in value one halfpenny, may be worthy of all respect as a thoroughly honest and honourable man, yet, rightly or wrongly, we have always a presentiment, not only that he would like to triumph over us in the particular point at issue, but that he will strive to do so at all hazards, and be glad to acquire some further and unfair advantage as well.

Bro. Litigant, in our estimation, is a great nuisance, with his perverse determination to have it out with everybody.

We feel considerable satisfaction if we beat him; we are unusually nettled if we are beaten.

We may be momentarily angered by Bro. Cantanker, but we soon recover equanimity, and are ready to meet him again and again in any company and at any time.

But somehow, when we have once had a taste of Bro. Litigant’s quality, we fight shy of him afterwards.

We may not be in a position to explain the reason; we may even laugh at ourselves for being so silly, but the fact remains; there is a certain sense of dislike for him rankling in our breast ever afterwards.

Bro. Peevish we endure with as much philosophy as we can command. He is usually fretful about trifles, but he is very often a good fellow, and if he could only be brought to see it, a greater source of annoyance to himself than to others.

Of course, the battles we engage in with Bro. Pepper are very terrible, while they last; he hits out incontinently at whoever offends him.

He is not particular in his argument: he is whirled along too rapidly in his outbursts of passion, and one would not unnaturally conclude that anything like reconciliation with Bro. Pepper was utterly out of the question.

But this were an error. Bro. Pepper is choleric enough when his blood is up. but no one is more ready to withdraw anything he may have said in the moment of anger.

No one is more ready to apologize for any unintentional wrong he may have committed. No one is more ready to meet his op-ponent again on friendly terms.

While ever exercising a proper degree of self-respect, he is always ready to admit himself in the wrong, if wrong he has committed.

He will even take blame to himself, where none is due, if he see a chance of reconciliation. He acts on the spur of the moment, but he is generous, and never allows any ill feeling to exist in his mind.

Bro. Whiteblood, however, is another sort of personage. He is more placid in his bearing, and seemingly more manageable. The idea that he could ever take part in a squabble is most unlikely.

But, in spite of an apparently easy going temperament, he is a far more objectionable man to differ with than any of those we have already named.

He works on very silently, very cunningly. He assumes towards those persons he will quarrel with a geniality he is very far from feeling.

He never allows you to know whether anything you have said or done in all innocence has given offence, but he never forgets that you have offended.

Unlike Bro. Pepper, who speaks his mind freely and at once, Bro. Whiteblood cherishes in his memory every fancied slight, but out-wardly he is as much your friend as ever.

At length the time comes for him to pay off old scores, and then, in a cold and passionless manner, he sets himself dead against you.

You find that from the very day you unwittingly gave him slight offence till the day he opposes you actively, he has been silently working to your disadvantage, to over throw your plans.

Had you felt yourself aggrieved by any word or action of his, you would have told him so, after the manner of Bro. Pepper, and there would have been an end of the matter, as regards yourself.

But he has been all the time brooding over his wrongs, and planning schemes of vengeance.

Nor is he content with a fair retaliation assuming that you have really been guilty of offence, and merit retribution he does not rest till he has done all in his power to harm you.

It may be you have done him service in former times; this, in his opinion, is a strong reason why he should carry his feeling of enmity towards you as far as may be.

Very possibly, in utter ignorance of this growing hostility, you have made some false step. It is on the cards you have been guilty of some shortcoming of a trifling character.

It even becomes patent to you that you have thus acted, but you take no heed, you anticipate no disturbance of friendly relations, or, better still, you at once admit the error you have un-intentionally committed.

It never occurs to you, who have done him a service in former days, that he will descend to such depths of meanness, and, when a favourable time comes, will turn and do you all the injury he can.

This class of person, of which we have made Bro. Whiteblood the type, is a most objectionable one.

It is most unfortunate to be involved in any dispute with such as he is. He never rests till he has punished you out of all proportion to the nature of the injury you may have caused.

If you meet him afterwards, he meets you with studied politeness, but, at the same time, with studied coldness. He resolutely avoids all opportunities for explanation.

He is a stranger to passion in the ordinary sense, and hence we have named him Whiteblood.
It is only the sangninous man who plays the part of Bro. Pepper. Hence, with these whiteblooded, or, as they are more commonly called, white livered people, it is impossible to have any feeling of sympathy whatever.

Indeed, of all the people it may be our fate to differ with, we sincerely hope to be spared any contention with these.

We can stand Cantanker, we feel pity for poor Peevish, we fight and the very next moment are friends again with Pepper, Litigant we hold aloof from, but Whiteblood we regard as essentially malicious, and cut him accordingly.

The Freemasons Chronicle, a weekly record of masonic intelligence, was first published 2nd January 1875 London, England as an independent weekly journal of masonic interest and continued for 27 years.


It should be the business of a journal devoted to the interests of the Order to attempt the removal of prejudices such as these, which, though they may have little perceptible influence upon the prosperity of the Fraternity, yet have the effect of preventing timid or ill-informed persons from enlisting under its banner.

It will not only attempt to keep pace with the growing literary requirements of the day, but it will seek to exhibit the Order to the non-Masonic world divested of its technical details, and clothed in the garb of Charity and Brotherly Love.

The questions of the hour, which exercise the minds of thoughtful men, will be handled freely and broadly, without any tinge of political or sectarian bias.

The memoranda of Masonic gatherings which will appear from week to week, will be full and accurate; and as free interchange of opinion is one of the best signs of life and vigour in any society, ample scope will be given for Correspondence on topics of interest to the Order.

If we may venture upon a new rendering of words which recent events have made memorable, we will say here, once and for all, that we will be keen men of business, and will spare no effort, consistent with honour, to achieve commercial success; but first, and before all things, we will prove to our brethren and the world that we are FREEMASONS.

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