I have already said of the work that it failed altogether in the purport for which it was intended. But it has a merit of its own — a merit by my own perception of which I was enabled to see wherein lay whatever strength I did possess. The characters of the bishop, of the archdeacon, of the archdeacon’s wife, and especially of the warden, are all well and clearly drawn. I had realised to myself a series of portraits, and had been able so to put them on the canvas that my readers should see that which I meant them to see. There is no gift which an author can have more useful to him than this. And the style of the English was good, though from most unpardonable carelessness the grammar was not unfrequently faulty. With such results I had no doubt but that I would at once begin another novel.
"One of the few places in the world where my strips don't run is in New York City," says Falk, leaning gently forward in his chair. "They ran in the New York Journal American for 25 years. That was the biggest afternoon paper in America until the newspaper strike, about 10 years ago. Then it folded, as did most of New York's papers; we were left with the Times, the Post, and the Daily News. But my strips do run in El Diario, the Spanish-language newspaper, and in the New York News World."
It was not possible to me, a creature of an earlier age and a less developed culture, to understand save in the most superficial way the immense expansion of experience which the forwards had achieved, and the terrible choice which was now to be forced upon the human race. But the effect on the life of the race was far-reaching. Although the statement of the forwards was at first treated as merely remote sensationalism, their presence in every village, bearing witness to its truth and constantly directing men’s attention to its dreadful significance for the human race, gradually turned incredulity into heavy-hearted acceptance.
"Very," commented M. A small frown had gathered between his eyes. "And you told them everything you could? Wasn't that rather, er, generous of you?"
'Is she, though?' said Mr. Barkis.
He rang off.
I think, as Mrs. Micawber sat at the back of the coach, with the children, and I stood in the road looking wistfully at them, a mist cleared from her eyes, and she saw what a little creature I really was. I think so, because she beckoned to me to climb up, with quite a new and motherly expression in her face, and put her arm round my neck, and gave me just such a kiss as she might have given to her own boy. I had barely time to get down again before the coach started, and I could hardly see the family for the handkerchiefs they waved. It was gone in a minute. The Orfling and I stood looking vacantly at each other in the middle of the road, and then shook hands and said good-bye; she going back, I suppose, to St. Luke's workhouse, as I went to begin my weary day at Murdstone and Grinby's.
"Now!" called out Captain Sender. "Now! He's run for the wall! He's up it! Just going to jump!"
Some of these symptoms were permanent, some passed off in a few weeks. But in every case the final emotional state was identical and permanent. The patient emerged into profound apathy. In extreme cases he cared for nothing but the satisfaction of bodily needs of nutrition and excretion. Even these might cease to interest him, so that, if left to himself, he might lie inert from morning till night. Such extreme cases were uncommon, but on the average the damage caused by the disease, though less obvious, was scarcely less disastrous. Most people recovered so far as to behave in a normal manner in respect of all simple animal impulses, but they no longer found any satisfaction whatever in the activities which are distinctively human. Thus an impulsive animal affection might be within their reach, but persistent and genuinely other-conscious human love was beyond them. Impossible also were all the other, less intimate forms of true community. Old habits of community-behaviour would persist and might at first carry the sufferers through the familiar social situations without any manifest change; but the fire was quenched. Little by little even the forms of decent social behaviour were abandoned. Abstract thought, even when their intelligence was still capable of it, they found unutterably boring. Art had no longer any meaning for them. Or rather, though intellectually they might still understand its technique, it could no longer stir them. The life of the spirit was wholly fatuous to them. The great common discipline and adventure, which they formerly accepted with enthusiasm, now stimulated them only to yawn and shrug their shoulders. Intellectually they understood it, but they had no feeling for it.
The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
"Never seen him speak to any of them except Walter and the household;" said Drax. "Daresay he considers himself a cut above the others. Personally, I don't believe there's much harm in the chap or I wouldn't have kept him. He's left alone in that house all day long and I expect he's one of those people who like playing the detective and prying into other people's affairs. What do you say? Perhaps we could leave it like that?"
It appeared to be made of black volcanic rock, but there was much green vegetation right up to the summit of a small peak on which there was some kind of a stone beacon. When they rounded the headland that formed one arm of the bay, a crowded little village and a jetty appeared. Out to sea, thirty or more rowing boats were scattered and there was the occasional glint of pink flesh in the sunlight. Naked children were playing among the big smooth black boulders that tumbled like bathing hippos along the shoreline, and there were green nets hung up to dry. It was a pretty scene, with the delicate remoteness, the fairyland quality, of small fishing communities all the world over. Bond took an immediate liking to the place, as if he was arriving at a destination that had been waiting for him and that would be friendly and welcoming.
With the beginning of the work of the administration, came trouble with the members of the Cabinet. The several secretaries were, in form at least, the choice of the President, but as must always be the case in the shaping of a Cabinet, and as was particularly necessary at a time when it was of first importance to bring into harmonious relations all of the political groups of the North which were prepared to be loyal to the government, the men who took office in the first Cabinet of Lincoln represented not any personal preference of the President, but political or national requirements. The Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, had, as we know, been Lincoln's leading opponent for the Presidential nomination and had expressed with some freedom of criticism his disappointment that he, the natural leader of the party, should be put to one side for an uncultivated, inexperienced Westerner. Mr. Seward possessed both experience and culture; more than this, he was a scholar, and came of a long line of gentlefolk. He had public spirit, courage, legitimate political ambition, and some of the qualities of leadership. His nature was, however, not quite large enough to stand the pressure of political disappointment nor quite elastic enough to develop rapidly under the tremendous urgency of absolutely new requirements. It is in evidence that more than once in the management of the complex and serious difficulties of the State Department during the years of war, Seward lost his head. It is also on record that the wise-minded and fair-minded President was able to supply certain serious gaps and deficiencies in the direction of the work of the Department, and further that his service was so rendered as to save the dignity and the repute of the Secretary. Seward's subjectivity, not to say vanity, was great, and it took some little time before he was able to realise that his was not the first mind or the strongest will-power in the new administration. On the first of April, 1861, less than thirty days after the organisation of the Cabinet, Seward writes to Lincoln complaining that the "government had as yet no policy; that its action seemed to be simply drifting"; that there was a lack of any clear-minded control in the direction of affairs within the Cabinet, in the presentation to the people of the purposes of the government, and in the shaping of the all-important relations with foreign states. "Who," said Seward, "is to control the national policy?" The letter goes on to suggest that Mr. Seward is willing to take the responsibility, leaving, if needs be, the credit to the nominal chief. The letter was a curious example of the weakness and of the bumptiousness of the man, while it gave evidence also, it is fair to say, of a real public-spirited desire that things should go right and that the nation should be saved. It was evident that he had as yet no adequate faith in the capacity of the President.