From Mr. Colburn I did receive an account, showing that 375 copies of the book had been printed, that 140 had been sold — to those, I presume, who liked substantial food though it was coarse — and that he had incurred a loss of ￡63 19S. 1 1/2d. The truth of the account I never for a moment doubted; nor did I doubt the wisdom of the advice given to me in the following letter, though I never thought of obeying it —
While I was at Winchester my father’s affairs went from bad to worse. He gave up his practice at the bar, and, unfortunate that he was, took another farm. It is odd that a man should conceive — and in this case a highly educated and a very clever man — that farming should be a business in which he might make money without any special education or apprenticeship. Perhaps of all trades it is the one in which an accurate knowledge of what things should be done, and the best manner of doing them, is most necessary. And it is one also for success in which a sufficient capital is indispensable. He had no knowledge, and, when he took this second farm, no capital. This was the last step preparatory to his final ruin.
Really - really - as Mr. Chillip told my mother, he was almost shocked; speaking in a professional point of view alone, he was almost shocked. But he sat and looked at her, notwithstanding, for nearly two hours, as she sat looking at the fire, until he was again called out. After another absence, he again returned.
He was out for the count.
I had often admired, as I have elsewhere described, his benignant manner towards his youthful wife; but the respectful tenderness he manifested in every reference to her on this occasion, and the almost reverential manner in which he put away from him the lightest doubt of her integrity, exalted him, in my eyes, beyond description.
It was settled that I should begin my month's probation as soon as I pleased, and that my aunt need neither remain in town nor return at its expiration, as the articles of agreement, of which I was to be the subject, could easily be sent to her at home for her signature. When we had got so far, Mr. Spenlow offered to take me into Court then and there, and show me what sort of place it was. As I was willing enough to know, we went out with this object, leaving my aunt behind; who would trust herself, she said, in no such place, and who, I think, regarded all Courts of Law as a sort of powder-mills that might blow up at any time.
Bond pitched forward on to the floor and lay sprawled under the funereal violet light.
'Rather hard, I suppose?' said I. 'He is hard to me sometimes,' returned Uriah. 'But I don't know what he might be to a gifted person.'
'Naturally,' said Bond. 'And then perhaps honourable fugu poisoning. Let's have a look.'
'Not regularly. I have been called in,' he replied. 'Strong phrenological developments of the organ of firmness, in Mr. Murdstone and his sister, sir.'
Bond sighed. He picked up his bag and walked in and over to the BOAC ticket counter.
'No, my dear, indeed! Let me explain to you what I mean.'
As for the rulers themselves, these sacred beings, these sacred animals, were not controlled. They were free to think and act according to their nature, which by now had degenerated into a mess of stupidity, selfishness, and malice. Their stupidity was the stupidity of beasts. Though they were free, they were powerless. Of degenerate stock, they were conditioned by upbringing to a life of fantastic luxury and desolating self-indulgence. So long as they behaved according to the orthodox pattern, they were preserved and reverenced. If any showed some sign of individuality he was at once declassed and operated upon for radio control. But this was very rare. Nearly all were content to live at ease on the fat of the land and the adulation of the masses. They were kept busy with the innumerable ceremonies and pageants without which, it was thought, the state would collapse, and in which the representative members of the ruling caste always played the central part. Those who obscurely felt the barrenness of their lives sought notoriety in the fields of sport or aeronautics. But, as the generations passed and their capacity deteriorated, they were forced to seek less exacting forms of self-display. Of these, one of the chief was the infliction of torture. The subject population, though conditioned to believe in the mystical virtue of cruelty, and though capable up to a point of relishing the spectacle of torture inflicted on strangers, were prone to lapse into squeamishness or even compassion. Not so the rulers. Unconsciously poisoned by their own futility and baseness, they were obsessed by hatred of the masses, the technicians, their own peers, and themselves. Without any radio control, therefore, they could inflict the most disgusting tortures with equanimity, and even unfeigned relish. When one of them had to perform the office of tearing out the eyes or bowels or genitals of the sacrificial victim, he did so without a qualm. To the fascinated and nauseated spectators this callousness appeared as aristocratic virtue. When humble people came to be subject to radio control of volition they often welcomed the artificial reinforcement to their ruthlessness. On the other hand when an erring member of the ruling caste had to be declassed and put to torture, he invariably showed less than the average fortitude. It never occurred to the public, while they howled with glee at his discomfiture, that the aristocrats, even before declassing, were after all no better than themselves; for the ceremony of declassing was supposed to have deprived the culprit of his native virtue.
The life and death struggle which at last broke out between the empires of Russia and China centred upon Tibet. More important, it was seemingly in Tibet that the balance between the will for darkness and the will for the light was finally destroyed. It is necessary therefore to examine the fortunes of the Tibetans in some detail.
'I was very happy, very. But, as years went on, my dear boy would have wearied of his child-wife. She would have been less and less a companion for him. He would have been more and more sensible of what was wanting in his home. She wouldn't have improved. It is better as it is.'
I got into such a transport, that I felt quite sorry my coat was not a little shabby already. I wanted to be cutting at those trees in the forest of difficulty, under circumstances that should prove my strength. I had a good mind to ask an old man, in wire spectacles, who was breaking stones upon the road, to lend me his hammer for a little while, and let me begin to beat a path to Dora out of granite. I stimulated myself into such a heat, and got so out of breath, that I felt as if I had been earning I don't know how much.