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'I was looking at the pictures in the fire,' he returned.Of unbelievers (so called) as well as of believers, there are many species, including almost every variety of moral type. But the best among them, as no one who has had opportunities of really knowing them will hesitate to affirm (believers rarely have that opportunity), are more genuinely religious, in the best sense of the word religion, than those who exclusively arrogate to themselves the title. The liberality of the age, or in other words the weakening of the obstinate prejudice which makes men unable to see what is before their eyes because it is contrary to their expectations, has caused it to be very commonly admitted that a Deist may be truly religious: but if religion stands for any graces of character and not for mere dogma, the assertion may equally be made of many whose belief is far short of Deism. Though they may think the proof incomplete that the universe is a work of design, and though they assuredly disbelieve that it can have an Author and Governor who is absolute in power as well as perfect in goodness, they have that which constitutes the principal worth of all religions whatever, an ideal conception of a Perfect Being, to which they habitually refer as the guide of their conscience; and this ideal of Good is usually far nearer to perfection than the objective Deity of those, who think themselves obliged to find absolute goodness in the author of a world so crowded with suffering and so deformed by injustice as ours. In fact, I found out afterwards that Mr. Dick had been for upwards of ten years endeavouring to keep King Charles the First out of the Memorial; but he had been constantly getting into it, and was there now. Like Doctor No, like Miss Annabel Chung, the demure, efficient-looking little secretary in the horn-rimmed glasses was a Chinese.

`What you are suggesting is not kulturny.'

A few months before, someone who called himself “Barefoot Ted” began blitzing Caballo with atorrent of messages. He seemed to be the Bruce Wayne of barefoot running, the wealthy heir of aCalifornia amusement-park fortune who devoted himself to battling the worst crime evercommitted against the human foot: the invention of the running shoe. Barefoot Ted believed wecould abolish foot injuries by throwing away our Nikes, and he was willing to prove it on himself:

Owing to the prevailing lethargy, village life in most countries gravely deteriorated. Sub-atomic agriculture and handicrafts were still carried on, but in a slipshod manner. The life of the poobs degenerated into something like the life of the pubs in our own day, often into something far less wholesome. Many persons who had been cured by alcohol had contracted an addiction to this habit-forming drug, and made no effort to restrain themselves. Fornication of a lazy, unenterprising sort, was general, but procreation was prevented by birth-control. The surviving forwards indolently carried on the outward forms of their old life, but its spirit was lost. Sluggishness inevitably produced a rapid deterioration in all social behaviour and institutions. The old vices of self-seeking and mob mentality reappeared, but without the old vigour and passion. Population steadily declined, for very few children were born; save in Tibet and New Zealand, where every woman of child-bearing age was devotedly producing a child every year. Presently research discovered a method of securing triplets, and the birth-rate was promptly trebled. Under the strain, and in spite of all the care and skill and honour that was lavished on them, the mothers were heavily overstrained. They clung to their task, however, and though maternal mortality was high, population increased rapidly. The children were of course given every possible advantage, under state supervision. The whole social organization of the two peoples was arranged for their benefit.

When the clerk had left the room Kerim said, `He is one of my sons-the eldest one. The others in there are all my children. The chauffeur and the watchman are uncles of mine. Common blood is the best security. And this spice business is good cover for us all. M set me up in it. He spoke to friends of his in the City of London. I am now the leading spice merchant in Turkey. I have long ago repaid M the money that was lent me. My children are shareholders in the business. They have a good life. When there is secret work to be done and I need help, I choose the child who will be most suitable. They all have training in different secret things. They are clever and brave. Some have already killed for me. They would all die for me-and for M. I have taught them he is just below God.' Kerim made a deprecating wave. `But that is just to tell you that you are in good hands.' `I hadn't imagined anything different.'