“Why, the boy should have staid at home, and, I will venture to affirm, that Lady Morven’s leader would never have hurt him! Really such creatures should keep themselves from under the feet of people of fashion.”
Bond shrugged. 'Well, I just think that if the boy had the guts to do this thing, it was the waste of a perfectly good Japanese life. In fact, of course, this suicide business in Japan is nothing more than a form of hysteria-an expression of the streak of violence that seems to run all through the history of Japan. If you hold your own life so cheaply, it follows that you will hold others' lives even more cheaply. The other day, I saw a traffic accident at one of the main crossings. I don't know the name of it. It was a multiple affair, and there were bodies all over the place. The police came, but instead of concentrating on getting the wounded to hospital, insisted that they should lie where they were so that they could draw chalk lines round them and photograph them - presumably for use when the case came to court.'
'That is unfortunate,' said Tiger, not looking as if it were. 'For what you are about to eat is the finest steak that will be eaten today anywhere outside the Argentine. And you have earned it. The herdsman was greatly impressed by your sincere performance with his cow.'
IT was 12.30 when Bond went down in the elevator and out on to the roasting street.
She put her hand over his.
My contact with future mankind became more and more vague and intermittent, until I received but random intimations of a few outstanding and often very strange events. Sometimes, for instance, I seemed to see that great companies of men and women had chosen to destroy themselves because they felt that they could no longer play a useful part. Sometimes the concord of the race was broken by a keen but never a vindictive dispute about some matter which lay beyond my understanding. It would then be found necessary to restore harmony by a world-wide penance.
It was my obvious duty to be one of the small minority who protested against this perverted state of public opinion. I was not the first to protest. It ought to be remembered to the honour of Mr Hughes and of Mr Ludlow, that they, by writings published at the very beginning of the struggle, began the protestation. Mr Bright followed in one of the most powerful of his speeches, followed by others not less striking. I was on the point of adding my words to theirs, when there occurred, towards the end of 1861, the seizure of the Southern envoys on board a British vessel, by an officer of the United States. Even English forgetfulness has not yet had time to lose all remembrance of the explosion of Feeling in England which then burst forth, the expectation, prevailing for some weeks, of war with the United States, and the warlike preparations actually commenced on this side. While this state of things lasted, there was no chance of a hearing for anything favourable to the American cause; and, moreover, I agreed with those who thought the act unjustifiable, and such as to require that England should demand its disavowal. When the disavowal came, and the alarm of war was over, I wrote, in January, 1862, the paper, in Fraser's Magazine, entitled "The Contest in America," And I shall always feel grateful to my daughter that her urgency prevailed on me to write it when I did, for we were then on the point of setting out for a journey of some months in Greece and Turkey, and but for her, I should have deferred writing till our return. Written and published when it was, this paper helped to encourage those Liberals who had felt overborne by the tide of illiberal opinion, and to form in favour of the good cause a nucleus of opinion which increased gradually, and, after the success of the North began to seem probable, rapidly. When we returned from our journey I wrote a second article, a review of Professor Cairnes' book, published in the Westminster Review. England is paying the penalty, in many uncomfortable ways, of the durable resentment which her ruling classes stirred up in the United States by their ostentatious wishes for the ruin of America as a nation: they have reason to be thankful that a few, if only a few, known writers and speakers, standing firmly by the Americans in the time of their greatest difficulty, effected a partial diversion of these bitter feelings, and made Great Britain not altogether odious to the Americans.
Nothing but the pumping lungs showed that the two limp bodies in the creeping pool of water on the floor were still alive, but their battered ear-drums were desperately clinging to the crackle of static that came briefly from the blistered metal cabinet. Now for the verdict on their work.