English

|公益无限元宝手游平台|江杰锋|The News

THE PARLOUR.

Print E-mail

 

II CHOICE OF WEAPONS

Irma Bunt broke in sharply. 'Now then, Ruby. No discussion of treatments, you remember? Not even with our good friend Sair Hilary.' She waved a hand towards the crowded tables around them. 'A most interesting crowd, do you not find, Sair Hilary? Everybody who is anybody. We have quite taken the international set away from Gstaad and St Moritz. That is your Duke of Marlborough over there with such a gay party of young things. And near by that is Mr Whitney and Lady Daphne Straight. Is she not chic? They are both wonderful skiers. And that beautiful girl with the long fair hair at the big table, that is Ursula Andress, the film star. What a wonderful tan she has! And Sir George Dunbar, he always has the most enchanting companions.' The box-like smile. 'Why, we only need the Aga Khan and perhaps your Duke of Kent and we would have everybody, but everybody. Is it not sensational for the first season?' For a considerable time after this, I published no work of magnitude; though I still occasionally wrote in periodicals, and my correspondence (much of it with persons quite unknown to me), on subjects of public interest, swelled to a considerable bulk. During these years I wrote or commenced various Essays, for eventual publication, on some of the fundamental questions of human and social life, with regard to several of which I have already much exceeded the severity of the Horatian precept. I continued to watch with keen interest the progress of public events. But it was not, on the whole, very encouraging to me. The European reaction after 1848, and the success of an unprincipled usurper in December, 1851, put an end, as it seemed, to all present hope for freedom or social improvement in France and the Continent. In England, I had seen and continued to see many of the opinions of my youth obtain general recognition, and many of the reforms in institutions, for which I had through life contended, either effected or in course of being so. But these changes had been attended with much less benefit to human well-being than I should formerly have anticipated, because they had produced very little improvement in that which all real amelioration in the lot of mankind depends on, their intellectual and moral state: and it might even be questioned if the various causes of deterioration which had been at work in the meanwhile, had not more than counterbalanced the tendencies to improvement. I had learnt from experience that many false opinions may be exchanged for true ones, without in the least altering the habits of mind of which false opinions are the result. The English public, for example, are quite as raw and undiscerning on subjects of political economy since the nation has been converted to free-trade, as they were before; and are still further from having acquired better habits of thought and feeling, or being in any way better fortified against error, on subjects of a more elevated character. For, though they have thrown off certain errors, the general discipline of their minds, intellectually and morally, is not altered. I am now convinced, that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought. The old opinions in religion, morals, and politics, are so much discredited in the more intellectual minds as to have lost the greater part of their efficacy for good, while they have still life enough in them to be a powerful obstacle to the growing up of any better opinions on those subjects. When the philosophic minds of the world can no longer believe its religion, or can only believe it with modifications amounting to an essential change of its character, a transitional period commences, of weak convictions, paralysed intellects, and growing laxity of principle, which cannot terminate until a renovation has been effected in the basis of their belief leading to the elevation of some faith, whether religious or merely human, which they can really believe: and when things are in this state, all thinking or writing which does not tend to promote such a renovation, is of very little value beyond the moment. Since there was little in the apparent condition of the public mind, indicative of any tendency in this direction, my view of the immediate prospects of human improvement was not sanguine. More recently a spirit of free speculation has sprung up, giving a more encouraging prospect of the gradual mental emancipation of England; and concurring with the renewal under better auspices, of the movement for political freedom in the rest of Europe, has given to the present condition of human affairs a more hopeful aspect. Bond awoke, sweating. God Almighty! What had he done? But no! It wouldn't be like that! Definitely not. He would still have his tough, exciting life, but now there would be Tracy to come home to. Would there be room in his flat in Chelsea? Perhaps he could rent the floor above. And what about May, his Scottish treasure? That would be tricky. He must somehow persuade her to stay.

"Is it indeed?" said Major Smythe.

Bashevis Singer, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Rex Reed, Halston,

'Yes. I understand that. But she is a fine girl. She still has nearly all her life to live. Have you thought of psychoanalysis? Of her church? Is she a Catholic?'

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.'