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Preface

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鈥楳arch 8, 1883.鈥擨 had an extraordinary conversation with a Muhammadan boy to-day. His name is Y. He lives in what I consider a nest of bigotry. I am more likely to have to dispute there than in any other place in Batala. I had with me, besides my Bible, the 鈥淢irror of the Heart,鈥 which contains beautifully coloured pictures of the human heart, with allegorical vices represented by various animals, the serpent, rat, etc. It is a valuable help to a Missionary. The first heart is that of the natural man, before repentance; the second, that of a man repenting. The fourth is a horrid heart, of a dingy colour, with a black cross in it, and seven devils, mounted on the bad emblems, wanting to get in. It is the heart of a hypocrite. Well, dear one, I was showing this picture in a Zenana, and a grave-looking boy, to whom before I had given a portion of Scripture, and who I think once studied in our Mission-School, Y., was close beside me. When I had gone over the various pictures, I said to Y., 鈥淲hich of these hearts,鈥濃€攕howing the first and second,鈥斺

'Ah!' he rejoined, shaking his head, and looking very much dejected. 'No good. A sad story, sir, however you come to know it. I never thought there was harm in the girl. I wouldn't wish to mention it before my daughter Minnie - for she'd take me up directly - but I never did. None of us ever did.'"I didn't say any name. But in fact it's. . . ." The third unsalaried class was made up of the born idlers and tramps. These, a small minority, either supplemented their maintenance allowance with an occasional day’s labour, or frankly depended wholly on the ‘dole’. Although the great majority of these people were socially quite useless, the world society could easily afford to keep them in idleness for the sake of the few outstandingly creative or critical minds that now and then emerged from among them. Many of these inveterate tramps were people with strong anti-social impulses. They regarded all social organization as a nuisance and as ‘fair game’ for the predatory wanderer. The fact that they were nevertheless tolerated and even fostered is a measure of the stability and the wisdom of the leaders of the new world. These ne’er-do-wells were very few, for improved education had greatly reduced the number of merely warped minds. These were apparently not warped but innately individualistic. Some were individualistic to such an extent that they refused to avail themselves of the dole, and lived almost entirely by pilfering, sometimes by audacious highway robbery. To me it seemed at first incredible that this sort of thing should be permitted in this almost Utopian society. But these ‘outlaws’ were a minute section of the individualist class, and anyone who suffered from their attentions could claim compensation from the state. There was therefore no attempt to eradicate them. When they were caught they were very leniently punished, except when they had done bodily hurt to their victims. Another great dispute was also coming to the fore, namely between the classical humanists and the eugenists, who urged that the time had come for man to ‘take charge of his own evolution’ and create a new and more highly developed human type. They believed that by genetic control the range of intelligence and sensibility could be immensely increased. To this the classicists replied that any such rash adventure might undermine the constitution of the race and bring chaos into the well-tried order of the world. By all means let minor eugenical researches be carried out for increased health, longevity, and the prolongation of mental maturity, but the hope of transforming human nature into something superhuman must not be entertained. 'Did SHE make 'em, now?' said Mr. Barkis, always leaning forward, in his slouching way, on the footboard of the cart with an arm on each knee.

"Well, I don't know. I was told not to let anyone in. But as it's from Mr. Sanguinetti..." I nervously undid the chain and opened the door.

There was a small noise as the gun fell to the carpet.