"The Old Man"
Oil on Canvas - Date Unknown
We grow conservative as we grow old, it is true. But we do not grow conservative because we have found so many new things spurious. We grow conservative because we have found so many old things genuine. We begin by thinking all converntions, all traditions false and meaningless. Then one convention after another, one tradition after another, beings to explain itself, begins to beat with life under out hand. We thought these things were simply stuck on to human life; we find that they are rooted. We thought it was only a tiresome regulation that we should take off our hats to a lady; we find it is the pulse of chivalry and the splendour of the West. We thought it was artificial to dress for dinner. We realise that the festive idea, the idea of the wedding garment, is more natural than Nature itself. As I say, the precise opposite of the cynical statement is the truth. Our ardent boyhood believes things to be dead; our graver manhood discovers them to be alive. We waken in our infancy and believe ourselves surrounded by red paper. We pluck at it and find that it is roses.
--G.K. Chesterton, Daily News October 15, 1904