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A few days later, having heard that the Bishop purposed paying her a little visit at Batala, she wrote to him direct:鈥擖/p>

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'It's far from right that I should do it,' said Mrs. Gummidge. 'It an't a fit return. I had better go into the house and die. I am a lone lorn creetur', and had much better not make myself contrary here. If thinks must go contrary with me, and I must go contrary myself, let me go contrary in my parish. Dan'l, I'd better go into the house, and die and be a riddance!'

'Well, Ma.' The whole secret lay in the reverse of the two pink backs where the pair of queens kissed the green cloth. Oh, but he鈥檚 been long awa鈥?

Bond looked into the round blue eyes that now held a spark of animation. 'Frankly no. And I feel like one of those comic film stars who get snarled up in a girls' school. You know. Sort of St Trinian's.'

I strolled into the country for an hour or so, and then returned by the main street, which in the interval had shaken off its last night's sleep. Among those who were stirring in the shops, I saw my ancient enemy the butcher, now advanced to top-boots and a baby, and in business for himself. He was nursing the baby, and appeared to be a benignant member of society.

One of the causes of this admiration of cruelty in the world-culture of this period was the widespread respect for ‘the unconscious’. The distinction between the conscious and unconscious motives, which had played such a beneficial part in an earlier psychology, had by now led to absurdities. The unconscious was now said to be the divine will working in us. The unconscious sources of action were therefore sacred. In a race in which, through unwholesome conditioning, the ‘unconscious’ was a tissue of perverted cravings, this meant that the perverse was deified.

Little by little, however, it became clear even to members of the Aristocratic Party that the world was once more falling sick, and that the source of trouble was the caste system. Sharp conflicts arose between the castes, and particularly between the more privileged and the less privileged. Official secretiveness and official meddlesomeness began to return. Fundamental human liberties were imperceptibly but ceaselessly curtailed, save for the élite. The sacred scriptures of the race began to echo reproachfully in men’s ears. In spite of the improved intelligence and goodwill of the race, the bulk of the privileged class found reason for clinging to their privileges. It seemed that the world must sooner or later be torn once more by a bitter class conflict and a civil war. But once more the improvement in mentality, slight though it was, made the difference between disaster and precarious triumph. Many even of the supporters of the incipient caste system could not shut their eyes to the fact that their party was drawn almost entirely from the élite alone, that the rest of the race was violently opposed to their policy, and that oppression, though tempered with decency, was once more appearing.