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“What about Edmund?”

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The writer of stories must please, or he will be nothing. And he must teach whether he wish to teach or no. How shall he teach lessons of virtue and at the same time make himself a delight to his readers? That sermons are not in themselves often thought to be agreeable we all know. Nor are disquisitions on moral philosophy supposed to be pleasant reading for our idle hours. But the novelist, if he have a conscience, must preach his sermons with the same purpose as the clergyman, and must have his own system of ethics. If he can do this efficiently, if he can make virtue alluring and vice ugly, while he charms his readers instead of wearying them, then I think Mr. Carlyle need not call him distressed, nor talk of that long ear of fiction, nor question whether he be or not the most foolish of existing mortals.

In one letter written to a niece from Firlands, in 1870, she describes ‘the rural seclusion of this lovely place. I am charmed with Firlands, and the groves of fragrant pine in which I wander every morning.’ In another letter, dated February 1871, she says: ‘I hasten to give you the good news that Uncle St. George has taken “Woodlands” for seven years. I am so glad, and I am sure that you will be so also.’ This was to her Godchild. Thus she entered upon the final stage of her English life. Before the close of those seven years Charlotte Tucker was in India.19Read on, and you'll discover that it's possible tospeed up the process of feeling comfortable with astranger by quantum-leaping the usual familiarizationrituals and going straight into the routines that peoplewho like each other do naturally. In virtually no time atall, you will be getting along as if you've known eachother for ages. Many of my students report that whenachieving rapport becomes second nature, they findpeople asking, "Are you sure we haven't met before?"I know the feeling; it happens to me all the time. Andit's not just people asking me the question. 1 am convincedthat half the people I meet, I've met before—that's the way it goes when you move easily into anotherperson's map of the world. It's a wonderful feeling. "Come in. Come in. Take a pew. Cigarette? Not the ones I seem to remember you favour. Just the good old Senior Service." I came up to town, as I said before, purporting to live a jolly life upon £90 per annum. I remained seven years in the General Post Office, and when I left it my income was £140. During the whole of this time I was hopelessly in debt. There were two intervals, amounting together to nearly two years, in which I lived with my mother, and therefore lived in comfort — but even then I was overwhelmed with debt. She paid much for me — paid all that I asked her to pay, and all that she could find out that I owed. But who in such a condition ever tells all and makes a clean breast of it? The debts, of course, were not large, but I cannot think now how I could have lived, and sometimes have enjoyed life, with such a burden of duns as I endured. Sheriff’s officers with uncanny documents, of which I never understood anything, were common attendants on me. And yet I do not remember that I was ever locked up, though I think I was twice a prisoner. In such emergencies some one paid for me. And now, looking back at it, I have to ask myself whether my youth was very wicked. I did no good in it; but was there fair ground for expecting good from me? When I reached London no mode of life was prepared for me — no advice even given to me. I went into lodgings, and then had to dispose of my time. I belonged to no club, and knew very few friends who would receive me into their houses. In such a condition of life a young man should no doubt go home after his work, and spend the long hours of the evening in reading good books and drinking tea. A lad brought up by strict parents, and without having had even a view of gayer things, might perhaps do so. I had passed all my life at public schools, where I had seen gay things, but had never enjoyed them. Towards the good books and tea no training had been given me. There was no house in which I could habitually see a lady’s face and hear a lady’s voice. No allurement to decent respectability came in my way. It seems to me that in such circumstances the temptations of loose life will almost certainly prevail with a young man. Of course if the mind be strong enough, and the general stuff knitted together of sufficiently stern material, the temptations will not prevail. But such minds and such material are, I think, uncommon. The temptation at any rate prevailed with me.

Later, in London, James Bond, privately assuming "suicide," wrote the same verdict of "found drowned," together with the date, on the last page and closed the bulky file.

'Well?' said Miss Betsey, coming back to her chair, as if she had only been taking a casual look at the prospect; 'and when do you expect -'

The book I wrote was very much longer than that on the West Indies, but was also written almost without a note. It contained much information, and, with many inaccuracies, was a true book. But it was not well done. It is tedious and confused, and will hardly, I think, be of future value to those who wish to make themselves acquainted with the United States. It was published about the middle of the war — just at the time in which the hopes of those who loved the South were I most buoyant, and the fears of those who stood by the North were the strongest. But it expressed an assured confidence — which never quavered in a page or in a line — that the North would win. This assurance was based on the merits of the Northern cause, on the superior strength of the Northern party, and on a conviction that England would never recognise the South, and that France would be guided in her policy by England. I was right in my prophecies, and right, I think, on the grounds on which they were made. The Southern cause was bad. The South had provoked the quarrel because its political supremacy was checked by the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency. It had to fight as a little man against a big man, and fought gallantly. That gallantry — and a feeling based on a misconception as to American character that the Southerners are better gentlemen than their Northern brethren — did create great sympathy here; but I believe that the country was too just to be led into political action by a spirit of romance, and I was warranted in that belief. There was a moment in which the Northern cause was in danger, and the danger lay certainly in the prospect of British interference. Messrs. Slidell and Mason — two men insignificant in themselves — had been sent to Europe by the Southern party, and had managed to get on board the British mail steamer called “The Trent,” at the Havannah. A most undue importance was attached to this mission by Mr. Lincoln’s government, and efforts were made to stop them. A certain Commodore Wilkes, doing duty as policeman on the seas, did stop the “Trent,” and took the men out. They were carried, one to Boston and one to New York, and were incarcerated, amidst the triumph of the nation. Commodore Wilkes, who had done nothing in which a brave man could take glory, was made a hero and received a prize sword. England of course demanded her passengers back, and the States for a while refused to surrender them. But Mr. Seward was at that time the Secretary of State, and Mr. Seward, with many political faults, was a wise man. I was at Washington at the time, and it was known there that the contest among the leading Northerners was very sharp on the matter. Mr. Sumner and Mr. Seward were, under Mr. Lincoln, the two chiefs of the party. It was understood that Mr. Sumner was opposed to the rendition of the men, and Mr. Seward in favour of it. Mr. Seward’s counsels at last prevailed with the President, and England’s declaration of war was prevented. I dined with Mr. Seward on the day of the decision, meeting Mr. Sumner at his house, and was told as I left the dining-room what the decision had been. During the afternoon I and others had received intimation through the embassy that we might probably have to leave Washington at an hour’s notice. This, I think, was the severest danger that the Northern cause encountered during the war.