Wisdom and Innocence: A Biography of G. K. Chesterton

Pearce, Joseph

Ignatius, 1996

p. 8

When GK was five his brother Cecil Edward was born. GK said: “’Now I shall always have an audience.’” But what he got was a heckler. “’We argued throughout our boyhood and youth until we became the pest of our whole social circle. We shouted at each other across the table, on the subject of Parnell or Puritanism or Charles the First’s head until our nearest and dearest fled at our approach, and we had a desert around us.’” [This from his autobiography, (Ignatius, 2006, p. 196] “The most important thing to remember about this juvenile jousting is the good-natured way in which it was conducted. As Gilbert explained: ‘I am glad to think that through all those years we never stopped arguing; and we never once quarreled.’ Modern idiom has blurred and cheapened the words ‘quarrel’ and ‘argue’, treating them synonymously. Chesterton is an incarnation of the difference between the two, since his whole life was an argument, but he rarely, if ever, quarreled. He put the matter whimsically when he said that ‘the principal objection to a quarrel is that it interrupts an argument.’”