The writings which I have now mentioned, together with a small number of papers in periodicals which I have not deemed worth preserving, were the whole of the products of my activity as a writer during the years from 1859 to 1865. In the early part of the last-mentioned year, in compliance with a wish frequently expressed to me by working men, I published cheap People's Editions of those of my writings which seemed the most likely to find readers among the working classes; viz, Principles of Political Economy, Liberty, and Representative Government. This was a considerable sacrifice of my pecuniary interest, especially as I resigned all idea of deriving profit from the cheap editions, and after ascertaining from my publishers the lowest price which they thought would remunerate them on the usual terms of an equal division of profits, I gave up my half share to enable the price to be fixed still lower. To the credit of Messrs. Longman they fixed, unasked, a certain number of years after which the copyright and stereotype plates were to revert to me, and a certain number of copies after the sale of which I should receive half of any further profit. This number of copies (which in the case of the Political Economy was 10,000) has for some time been exceeded, and the People's Editions have begun to yield me a small but unexpected pecuniary return, though very far from an equivalent for the diminution of profit from the Library Editions.
"It's all right. You've only lost those glad rags-if you left them in the bathroom. I got the gun when I got you, and I slung the saddlebags out. I've just been salvaging the Vespa. It looks in good shape. I've made a cache of everything in the trees. Those carports will be the last things to go. They've got masonry on both sides. They've used thermite bombs in each of the cabins. Better than petrol. Less bulky, and they leave no traces for the insurance sleuths."
The centre finger of Mary Trueblood's right hand stabbed softly, elegantly, at the key. She lifted her left wrist. Six twenty-eight. He was a minute late. Mary Trueblood smiled at the thought of the little open Sunbeam tearing up the road towards her. Now, in a second, she would hear the quick step, then the key in the lock and he would be sitting beside her. There would be the apologetic smile as he reached for the earphones. "Sorry, Mary. Damned car wouldn't start." Or, "You'd think the blasted police knew my number by now. Stopped me at Halfway Tree." Mary Trueblood took the second pair of earphones off their hook and put them on his chair to save him half a second.
The country was large, and the population small. Agriculture, which had been so carefully fostered by the new régime, now ceased to be possible, for the homesteads were bombed and machine-gunned, and the dams of the great reservoirs were destroyed. But the yak remained; the population reverted to a nomad pastoral life. Wandering in small groups, pitching their camouflaged tents in fresh places every night, they offered a poor target to the enemy. Fortunately the imperialists at first made no attempt to land troops by plane, for they believed that the whole country was infected with the strange disease that had frustrated the first land attacks. The Tibetans, meanwhile, were hastily spreading the precious virus throughout their territory. Its effect was to eliminate all who did not attain the necessary standard of lucidity to resist infection. Only a small minority were thus put out of action. These were cared for in special homes. A much larger number, but still only a minority, suffered from temporary mild attacks of the disease. The virus was now also spreading itself beyond the frontiers. There, of course, its effects were incomparably worse. Organization in the infected areas completely vanished.
Bond looked once and then turned away towards the open porthole.
There are those who would be ashamed to subject themselves to such a taskmaster, and who think that the man who works with his imagination should allow himself to wait till — inspiration moves him. When I have heard such doctrine preached, I have hardly been able to repress my scorn. To me it would not be more absurd if the shoemaker were to wait for inspiration, or the tallow-chandler for the divine moment of melting. If the man whose business it is to write has eaten too many good things, or has drunk too much, or smoked too many cigars — as men who write sometimes will do — then his condition may be unfavourable for work; but so will be the condition of a shoemaker who has been similarly imprudent. I have sometimes thought that the inspiration wanted has been the remedy which time will give to the evil results of such imprudence. — Mens sana in corpore sano. The author wants that as does every other workman — that and a habit of industry. I was once told that the surest aid to the writing of a book was a piece of cobbler’s wax on my chair. I certainly believe in the cobbler’s wax much more than the inspiration.
I replied that I should like it very much, as it was so near her.
'All of a sudden, one evening - as it might be tonight - comes little Em'ly from her work, and him with her! There ain't so much in that, you'll say. No, because he takes care on her, like a brother, arter dark, and indeed afore dark, and at all times. But this tarpaulin chap, he takes hold of her hand, and he cries out to me, joyful, "Look here! This is to be my little wife!" And she says, half bold and half shy, and half a laughing and half a crying, "Yes, Uncle! If you please." - If I please!' cried Mr. Peggotty, rolling his head in an ecstasy at the idea; 'Lord, as if I should do anythink else! - "If you please, I am steadier now, and I have thought better of it, and I'll be as good a little wife as I can to him, for he's a dear, good fellow!" Then Missis Gummidge, she claps her hands like a play, and you come in. Theer! the murder's out!' said Mr. Peggotty - 'You come in! It took place this here present hour; and here's the man that'll marry her, the minute she's out of her time.'
“That letter,” said Julia, and she smiled archly, though blushingly, “we all thought was written, in consequence of your disappointment, (as we believed) about Lady Susan. Her marriage, you know, took place just at that time. And that unfortunate being, Henry too,” she added, “confirmed this opinion, by declaring that he was in your confidence; and saying, that you had also written to him on the subject, quite in despair!”
But who can tell how near to breaking-point this man is? Who has penetrated behind that bluster, behind all that red hair on his face, who has read the signs as more than the effect of his humble origins or of sensitivity about his war wounds?
Mr. Peggotty, with a smile, put his hand in his breast-pocket, and produced a flat-folded, paper parcel, from which he took out, with much care, a little odd-looking newspaper.
For several decades the world remained divided between the Empire and the Federation. More than once in this period the Empire made ready to crush the Federation; but, as zero hour approached, unrest within the Empire itself strangely increased to such a pitch that at the critical moment serious rebellions, generally in Britain or America or China itself, made attack impossible. Throughout these decades the government of the Federation concentrated on defence and social development. For defence it relied partly on its mountains, but mainly on a great air force, built at heavy cost of luxury and comfort. Economic resources were meagre. A modest supply of oil was still produced in the western territory of the Federation. Water-power was developed to the utmost. Gold was assiduously sifted from the river-beds and mined in the mountains for the purchase of urgently needed foreign goods. Agriculture and pasture were the main occupations throughout the territory, apart from the manufacture of munitions and planes. The manner of life of the Free Peoples had perforce to be very simple, but it was adequate to health and fullness of mentality, and the standard was the same for all.
'You did well,' said Tiger. 'One of the priests barely glanced at you. The public paid no attention. You should perhaps have clapped your hands more loudly. It is to draw the attention of the goddess and your ancestors to your presence at the shrine. Then they will pay more attention to your prayer. What prayer did you in fact make?'