It was inevitable that Captain Troop's duties would bring him into conflict with most of the organization, but it was particularly unfortunate that M could think of no one but Troop to spare as Chairman for this particular Committee.
Zina?da avoided me; my presence — I could not help noticing it — affected her disagreeably. She involuntarily turned away from me . . . involuntarily; that was what was so bitter, that was what crushed me! But there was no help for it, and I tried not to cross her path, and only to watch her from a distance, in which I was not always successful. As before, something incomprehensible was happening to her; her face was different, she was different altogether. I was specially struck by the change that had taken place in her one warm still evening. I was sitting on a low garden bench under a spreading elderbush; I was fond of that nook; I could see from there the window of Zina?da’s room. I sat there; over my head a little bird was busily hopping about in the darkness of the leaves; a grey cat, stretching herself at full length, crept warily about the garden, and the first beetles were heavily droning in the air, which was still clear, though it was not light. I sat and gazed at the window, and waited to see if it would open; it did open, and Zina?da appeared at it. She had on a white dress, and she herself, her face, shoulders, and arms, were pale to whiteness. She stayed a long while without moving, and looked out straight before her from under her knitted brows. I had never known such a look on her. Then she clasped her hands tightly, raised them to her lips, to her forehead, and suddenly pulling her fingers apart, she pushed back her hair behind her ears, tossed it, and with a sort of determination nodded her head, and slammed-to the window.
The letter (Mr. Micawber never missed any possible opportunity of writing a letter) was addressed to me, 'By the kindness of T. Traddles, Esquire, of the Inner Temple.' It ran thus: -
He pulled out a small black suitcase, rested it on the ground, and snapped it open. He took something from under the clothes and slipped it into an inside pocket. He fiddled with one side of the case, took some thin black objects out that I took to be cartridge magazines, and stowed them away. Then he snapped the case shut, said, "Better have plenty of artillery," banged the door ostentatiously, and stood up. We then both went to the back of the car and knelt down to examine the flat tire. He said, "How about the telephone?"
The culture of the new China was often regarded as ‘Eighteenth Century’ in spirit, but at its best it included also a tacit intuitive reverence for the mystery which encloses human existence. Even after the bitter struggle against the Japanese there remained something eighteenth century about the educated Chinese, something of the old urbanity and liking for decency and order. The old respect for learning, too, remained, though the kind of learning which was now necessary to the aspiring government official was very different from that which was required in an earlier age. Then, all that was demanded was familiarity with classical texts; now, the candidate had to show an equally minute acquaintance with the lore of physics, biology, psychology, economics, and social science. In the new China as in old, the supreme interest of the intellectuals was not theoretical, as it had been with the Greeks, nor religious, as with the Jews, nor mystical, as with the Indians, nor scientific and industrial, as with the Europeans, but social. For them, as for their still-revered ancestors, the all absorbing problem was to discover and practise the right way of living together.
She was an unselfish, affectionate, and most industrious woman, with great capacity for enjoyment and high physical gifts. She was endowed too, with much creative power, with considerable humour, and a genuine feeling for romance. But she was neither clear-sighted nor accurate; and in her attempts to describe morals, manners, and even facts, was unable to avoid the pitfalls of exaggeration.
MY aunt dismissed the matter with a heavy sigh, and smoothed her dress.
A date was appointed, towards the end of the twenty-fifth year, after which no more food was to be eaten. Meanwhile feeding was to be progressively reduced throughout the world so as to leave the spirit unhampered by bodily vigour. When the time came for the complete cessation of feeding, all private houses were to be deserted. The population was to gather into the poobs and temples, to fast and contemplate, and create in themselves that extreme spiritual lucidity which, it was now confidently believed, would destroy the ‘titans’ and attain a clearer, brighter, truer view of all existence. Under the stress of this adventure the exhausted race would die. The earth would be given over once more to sub-human nature. Visitors from some other world might some day discover the ruins of the great temples, not suspecting, perhaps, that those who had built them and died in them had conquered the ‘titans’, and had thereby secured the salvation of all beings in all the snowflake universes; the salvation, it was surmised, not of external life for individuals, but of escape from premature racial extinction before the potentiality of the race was fulfilled by the attainment of spiritual maturity and the supreme beatific vision.