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"Strangers," said he kindly, "you are welcome to my halls. It is not often that men visit me in my mountain home, and old age has bound me here in my chair so that I can no longer walk abroad among my fellows. Besides this, there are those who of late speak many unkind words of me; and good men care not to be the guests of him who is called the King of Cattle Thieves." Then seeing that his visitors still lingered at the door, he added, "I pray you, whoever you may be, fear not, but enter, and be assured of a kind welcome."
There was one person, and the one whom Hugh was most interested to please, who seemed perfectly satisfied of the verity of his reformation. This was the landlady of the inn, whom, at his departure, he had left a gay, and, even at thirty-five, a rather pretty wife, and whom, on his return, he found a widow of fifty, fat, yellow, wrinkled, and a zealous member of the church. She, like others, had, at first, cast a cold eye on the wanderer; but it shortly became evident to close observers, that a change was at work in the pious matron’s sentiments respecting her old acquaintance. She was now careful to give him his morning dram from her own peculiar bottle, to fill his pipe from her private box of Virginia, and to mix for him the sleeping-cup in which her late husband had delighted. Of all these courtesies Hugh Crombie did partake with a wise and cautious moderation, that, while it proved them to be welcome, expressed his fear of trespassing on her kindness. For the sake of brevity, it shall suffice to say, that, about six weeks after Hugh’s return, a writing appeared on one of the elm-trees in front of the tavern (where, as the place of greatest resort, such notices were usually displayed) setting forth that marriage was intended between Hugh Crombie and the Widow Sarah Hutchins. And the ceremony, which made Hugh a landholder, a householder, and a substantial man, in due time took place.
Behold Sabouroff, whom the age
“What nonsense is this?” said Pougatcheff.
“I have been told that—that your father—is alive.” He looked down upon her and could see that her face was red up to her very hair. “Your mother once told me that she had never been certain of his death.”
No opinion has been expressed, you may say, upon the comparative merits of the sexes even as writers. That was done purposely, because, even if the time had come for such a valuation — and it is far more important at the moment to know how much money women had and how many rooms than to theorize about their capacities — even if the time had come I do not believe that gifts, whether of mind or character, can be weighed like sugar and butter, not even in Cambridge, where they are so adept at putting people into classes and fixing caps on their heads and letters after their names. I do not believe that even the Table of Precedency which you will find in Whitaker’s Almanac represents a final order of values, or that there is any sound reason to suppose that a Commander of the Bath will ultimately walk in to dinner behind a Master in Lunacy. All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority. belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are ‘sides’, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot. As people mature they cease to believe in sides or in Headmasters or in highly ornamental pots. At any rate, where books are concerned, it is notoriously difficult to fix labels of merit in such a way that they do not come off. Are not reviews of current literature a perpetual illustration of the difficulty of judgement? ‘This great book’, ‘this worthless book’, the same book is called by both names. Praise and blame alike mean nothing. No, delightful as the pastime of measuring may be, it is the most futile of all occupations, and to submit to the decrees of the measurers the most servile of attitudes. So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.
We shook hands and parted. As I passed along the road I watched her making her way along the avenue towards the church. There was need for me to shake my head.
The "old Lord Byron," however, in whose eyes nothing was sacred, when he laid his desolating hand on the groves and forests of Newstead, doomed likewise this traditional tree to the axe. Fortunately the good people of Nottingham heard of the danger of their favorite oak, and hastened to ransom it from destruction. They afterward made a present of it to the poet, when he came to the estate, and the Pilgrim Oak is likely to continue a rural gathering place for many coming generations.
1.I little knew at the time what important changes in my existence this new departure would bring me, though had I possessed that knowledge it could hardly have increased my gratitude for the "good turn" my chum had done me.
2.A far more important play is The Philanderer, an ironic comedy which is full of fine strokes and real satire; it is more especially the vehicle of some of Shaw’s best satire upon physical science. Nothing could be cleverer than the picture of the young, strenuous doctor, in the utter innocence of his professional ambition, who has discovered a new disease, and is delighted when he finds people suffering from it and cast down to despair when he finds that it does not exist. The point is worth a pause, because it is a good, short way of stating Shaw’s attitude, right or wrong, upon the whole of formal morality. What he dislikes in young Doctor Paramore is that he has interposed a secondary and false conscience between himself and the facts. When his disease is disproved, instead of seeing the escape of a human being who thought he was going to die of it, Paramore sees the downfall of a kind of flag or cause. This is the whole contention of The Quintessence of Ibsenism, put better than the book puts it; it is a really sharp exposition of the dangers of “idealism,” the sacrifice of people to principles, and Shaw is even wiser in his suggestion that this excessive idealism exists nowhere so strongly as in the world of physical science. He shows that the scientist tends to be more concerned about the sickness than about the sick man; but it was certainly in his mind to suggest here also that the idealist is more concerned about the sin than about the sinner.>
Flying inland from the mountains, we discovered that the city was not of infinite width, even though its length along the foothills seemed endless. After about thirty miles the grotesque stone buildings began to thin out, and in ten more miles we came to an unbroken waste virtually without signs of sentient artifice. The course of the river beyond the city seemed marked by a broad, depressed line, while the land assumed a somewhat greater ruggedness, seeming to slope slightly upward as it receded in the mist-hazed west.
Penellan resumed his staff, and took down the pipe, after throwing snow on the embers to extinguish them, which produced such a smoke that the light of the lamp could scarcely be seen; then he tried with his staff to clear out the orifice, but he only encountered a rock of ice! A frightful end, preceded by a terrible agony, seemed to be their doom! The smoke, penetrating the throats of the unfortunate party, caused an insufferable pain, and air would soon fail them altogether!
One Day my Male (for I was taken for the Female) told me, That the true reason which had obliged him to travel all over the Earth, and at length to abandon it for the Moon, was that he could not find so much as one Country where even Imagination was at liberty. “Look ye,” said he, “how the Wittiest thing you can say, unless you wear a Cornered Cap, if it thwart the Principles of the Doctors of the Robe, you are an Ideot, a Fool, and something worse perhaps. I was about to have been put into the Inquisition at home, for maintaining to the Pedants Teeth, That there was a Vacuum, and that I knew no one matter in the World more Ponderous than another.” I asked him, what probable Arguments he had, to confirm so new an Opinion? “To evince that,” answered he, “you must suppose that there is but one Element; for though we see Water, Earth, Air and Fire distinct, yet are they never found to be so perfectly pure but that there still remains some Mixture. For example, When you behold Fire, it is not Fire but Air much extended; the Air is but Water much dilated; Water is but liquified Earth, and the Earth it self but condensed Water; and thus if you weigh Matter seriously, you’ll find it is but one, which like an excellent Comedian here below acts all Parts, in all sorts of Dresses: Otherwise we must admit as many Elements as there are kinds of Bodies: And if you ask me why Fire burns, and Water cools, since it is but one and the same matter, I answer, That that matter acts by Sympathy, according to the Disposition it is in at the time when it acts. Fire, which is nothing but Earth also, more dilated than is fit for the constitution of Air, strives to change into it self, by Sympathy, what ever it meets with: Thus the heat of Coals, being the most subtile Fire, and most proper to penetrate a Body, at first slides through the pores of our Skin; and because it is a new matter that fills us, it makes us exhale in Sweat; that Sweat dilated by the Fire is converted to a Steam, and becomes Air; that Air being farther ratified by the heat of the Antiperistasis, or of the Neighbouring Stars, is called Fire, and the Earth abandoned by the Cold and Humidity which were Ligaments to the whole, falls to the ground: Water, on the other hand, though it no ways differ from the matter of Fire, but in that it is closer, burns us not; because that being dense by Sympathy, it closes up the Bodies it meets with, and the Cold we feel is no more but the effect of our Flesh contracting it self, because of the Vicinity of Earth or Water, which constrains it to a Resemblance. Hence it is, that those who are troubled with a Dropsie convert all their nourishment into Water; and the Cholerick convert all the Blood that is formed in their Liver into Choler.