Whose noblest monument shall be
The princess hurriedly pulled out her snuff-box and took snuff so loudly that I positively jumped. ‘Do you say so,’ she repeated, blinking tearfully and sneezing.
After my irreparable loss, one of my earliest cares was to print and publish the treatise, so much of which was the work of her whom I had lost, and consecrate it to her memory. I have made no alteration or addition to it, nor shall I ever. Though it wants the last touch of her hand, no substitute for that touch shall ever be attempted by mine.
The first Russian revolution, under Lenin, had been mainly a groping but sincere expression of the will for true community, and also an act of vengeance against a cruel and inefficient master class. When the leaders of the Revolution had established their power, they proceeded to remake the whole economy of Russia for the benefit of the workers. Foreign hostility, however, forced them to sacrifice much to military necessity. Not only the physical but also the mental prosperity of the population suffered. What should have become a population of freely inquiring, critical, and responsible minds became instead a mentally-regimented population, prone to mob enthusiasm and contempt for unorthodoxy. Danger favoured the dictatorship of one man and the dominance of a disciplined and militarized party. The will for true community tended more and more to degenerate into the passion for conformity within the herd and for triumph over the herd’s enemies.
Traces of deep-seated anguish appeared in my countenance. That she should hope I would go, that she should think it possible I could go, was insupportable. I depreciated Paris; I depreciated France. I said I wouldn't leave England, under existing circumstances, for any earthly consideration. Nothing should induce me. In short, she was shaking the curls again, when the little dog came running along the walk to our relief.
But here Peggotty, who had been going about from one to another in a hurried way, kissing everybody, called out from the cart, in which we all were by this time (Em'ly and I on two little chairs, side by side), that Mrs. Gummidge must do it. So Mrs. Gummidge did it; and, I am sorry to relate, cast a damp upon the festive character of our departure, by immediately bursting into tears, and sinking subdued into the arms of Ham, with the declaration that she knowed she was a burden, and had better be carried to the House at once. Which I really thought was a sensible idea, that Ham might have acted on.
A collateral subject on which also I derived great benefit from the study of Tocqueville, was the fundamental question of Centralization. The powerful philosophic analysis which he applied to American and to French experience, led him to attach the utmost importance to the performance of as much of the collective business of society, as can safely be so performed, by the people themselves, without any intervention of the executive government, either to supersede their agency, or to dictate the manner of its exercise. He viewed this practical political activity of the individual citizen, not only as one of the most effectual means of training the social feelings and practical intelligence of the people, so important in themselves and so indispensable to good government, but also as the specific counteractive to some of the characteristic infirmities of democracy, and a necessary protection against its degenerating into the only despotism of which, in the modern world, there is real danger — the absolute rule of the head of the executive over a congregation of isolated individuals, all equals but all slaves. There was, indeed, no immediate peril from this source on the British side of the channel, where nine-tenths of the internal business which elsewhere devolves on the government, was transacted by agencies independent of it; where Centralization was, and is, the subject not only of rational disapprobation, but of unreasoning prejudice; where jealousy of Government interference was a blind feeling preventing or resisting even the most beneficial exertion of legislative authority to correct the abuses of what pretends to be local self-government, but is, too often, selfish mismanagement of local interests, by a jobbing and borné local oligarchy. But the more certain the public were to go wrong on the side opposed to Centralization, the greater danger was there lest philosophic reformers should fall into the contrary error, and overlook the mischiefs of which they had been spared the painful experience. I was myself, at this very time, actively engaged in defending important measures, such as the great Poor Law Reform of 1834, against an irrational clamour grounded on the Anti-Centralization prejudice: and had it not been for the lessons of Tocqueville, I do not know that I might not, like many reformers before me, have been hurried into the excess opposite to that, which, being the one prevalent in my own country, it was generally my business to combat. As it is, I have steered carefully between the two errors, and whether I have or have not drawn the line between them exactly in the right place, I have at least insisted with equal emphasis upon the evils on both sides, and have made the means of reconciling the advantages of both, a subject of serious study.
I CANNOT BE sure how long the Celestial World Empire endured. Its life must certainly be counted in centuries, and possibly it lasted for a couple of thousand years. Though the world empire was at heart a diseased society and bound to disintegrate, it inherited from earlier societies a certain toughness of fibre, and its structure was such that it could carry on in a sort of living death so long as conditions remained unchanged. While its material resources were unimpaired it functioned automatically and without change.
At the last moment there was need to hurry. Bond stood behind the man's back, smelling him. He had time to raise his knife hand almost to the roof of the cabin, time to summon every ounce of strength, before he swept the blade down and into the square inch of smooth, brownish-yellow skin.
On the second of April, the Stars and Stripes are borne into Richmond by the advance brigade of the right wing of Grant's army under the command of General Weitzel. There was a certain poetic justice in the decision that the responsibility for making first occupation of the city should be entrusted to the coloured troops. The city had been left by the rear-guard of the Confederate army in a state of serious confusion. The Confederate general in charge (Lee had gone out in the advance hoping to be able to break his way through to North Carolina) had felt justified, for the purpose of destroying such army stores (chiefly ammunition) as remained, in setting fire to the storehouses, and in so doing he had left whole quarters of the city exposed to flame. White stragglers and negroes who had been slaves had, as would always be the case where all authority is removed, yielded to the temptation to plunder, and the city was full of drunken and irresponsible men. The coloured troops restored order and appear to have behaved with perfect discipline and consideration. The marauders were arrested, imprisoned, and, when necessary, shot. The fires were put out as promptly as practicable, but not until a large amount of very unnecessary damage and loss had been brought upon the stricken city. The women who had locked themselves into their houses, more in dread of the Yankee invader than of their own street marauders, were agreeably surprised to find that their immediate safety and the peace of the town depended upon the invaders and that the first battalions of these were the despised and much hated blacks.
Bond knew that there was something alien and un-English about himself. He knew that he was a difficult man to cover up. Particularly in England. He shrugged his shoulders. Abroad was what mattered. He would never have a job to do in England. Outside the jurisdiction of the Service. Anyway, he didn't need a cover this evening. This was recreation.