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that he should be in pain. It dismay, but he held me fast, with would do you no good if he were a pressure that hurt me.
“ That's to get well. Why should you the question,” he said. " What trouble yourself one way or the have we to do with it? Your other ? Let him die-if he can fictitious consciousness makes it
That makes no difference painful to you. To me, on the to you or me.”
contrary, who take the view of I must be dull indeed," I cried, nature, it is a pleasurable feeling. “slow of understanding, as you It enhances the amount of ease, say. This is going back to the whatever that may be, which i ideas of times beyond knowledge enjoy. I am in no pain. That -before Christianity—" As brute who is”-and he flicked with soon as I had said this I felt some- a stick he carried, the uncovered how-I could not tell how—as if wound of a wretch upon the roadmy voice jarred, as if something side—“ makes me more satisfied false and unnatural was in what I with my condition.
Ah! you said. My companion gave my arm think it is I who am the brute? a twist as if with a shock of sur- You will change your mind byprise, then laughed in his inward and-by.”' way again.
"Never !" I cried, wrenching my í We don't think much of that arm from his with an effort, vif I here; nor of your modern pre- should live a hundred years." tences in general. The only thing "A hundred years—a drop in that touches you and me is what the bucket,” he said, with his silent hurts or helps ourselves. To be laugh. “You will live for ever, sure, it all comes to the same and you will come to my view; thing—for I suppose it annoys and we shall meet in the course of you to see that wretch writhing: ages, from time to time, to comit hurts your more delicate, highly pare notes. I would say good-bye cultivated consciousness."
after the old fashion, but you are “It has nothing to do with my but newly arrived, and I will not consciousness," I cried, angrily; treat you so badly as that.” With “it is a shame to let a fellow- which he parted from me, waving creature suffer if we can prevent his hand, with his everlasting horit."
rible smile. • Why shouldn't he suffer?" “Good-bye !" I said to myself, said my companion. We passed “good-bye—why should it be treatas he spoke some other squalid ing me badly to say good-byewretched creatures shuffling among I was startled by a buffet on the the crowd, whom he kicked with mouth. 6. Take that!” cried some his foot, calling forth a yell of one, “to teach you how to wish pain and curses. This he regarded the worst of tortures to people who with a supreme contemptuous calm have done you no harm." which stupefied me. Nor did any 6. What have I said? I meant of the passers-by show the slightest no harm. I repeated only what is inclination to take the part of the the commonest civility, the merest sufferers. They laughed, or shouted good manners." out a gibe, or, what was still more “You wished,” said the man who wonderful, went on with a com- had struck me,—"I won't repeat plete unaffected indifference, as if the words: to me, for it was I only all this was natural. I tried to that heard them, the awful company disengage my arm in horror and that hurts most—that sets everything before us, both past and to it would be with me for ever. I come, and cuts like a sword and saw it all in the twinkling of an burns like fire. I'll say it to your- eye, in a moment, while I stood self, and see how it feels. God be there, and all men with me, in the with you! There! it is said, and horror of awful thought. Then we all must bear it, thanks, you it ceased as it had come, instantafool and accursed, to you."
neously, and the noise and the And then there came a pause laughter, and the quarrels and over all the place—an awful still- cries, and all the commotion of ness hundreds of men and women this new bewildering place, in a standing clutching with desperate moment began again. " I had seen movements at their hearts as if no one while this strange paroxysm to tear them out, moving their lasted. When it disappeared, I heads as if to dash them against came to myself emerging as from the wall, wringing their hands, a dream, and looked into the face with a look upon all their convulsed of the man whose words, not carefaces which I can never forget. less like mine, had brought it They all turned to me, cursing me, upon us. Our eyes met, and his with those horrible eyes of anguish. were surrounded by curves and And everything was still—the lines of anguish which were ternoise all stopped for a moment, rible to see. the air all silent, with a silence “Well," he said, with a short that could be felt. And then sud- laugh, which was forced and harsh, denly out of the crowd there came “ how do you like it? that is what a great piercing cry; and every- happens when— If it came thing began again exactly as before. often, who could endure it?"
While this pause occurred, and He was not like the rest. There while I stood wondering, bewil- was no sneer upon his face, no dered, understanding nothing, gibe at my simplicity. Even there came over me a darkness, now, when all had recovered, he a blackness, a sense of misery such was still quivering with someas never in all my life, though I thing that looked like a nobler have known troubles enough, I pain. His face was very grave, had felt before. All that had the lines deeply drawn in it, and happened to me throughout my he seemed to be seeking no amuseexistence seemed to rise pale and ment or distraction, nor to take terrible in a hundred scenes before any part in the noise and tumult me, all momentary, intense, as if which was going on around. each was the present moment. And • Do you know what that cry in each of these scenes I saw what meant ?” he said. “Did you hear I had never seen before. I saw that cry? It was some
one who where I had taken the wrong in- saw
in stead of the right step—in what long time, they say, it can be wantonness, with what self-will it seenhad been done ; how God (I shud- "What can be seen ?" dered at the name) had spoken He shook his head, looking at and called me, and even entreated, me with a meaning which I could and I had withstood and refused. not interpret. It was beyond the All the evil I had done came back, range of my thoughts. I came to and spread itself out before my know after, or I never could have eyes; and I loathed it, yet knew made this record. But on that that I had chosen it, and that subject he said no more.
turned the way I was going, “ What could he see?” I asked. though it matters nothing what But there rose in my mind someway I went, for all were the same thing like contempt. A visionary ! to me. “ You are one of the new- who could not speak plainly, who comers ?” he said;
you have not broke off into mysterious inferbeen long here
ences, and appeared to know more - Tell me," I cried, " what you than he would say. It seemed mean by here. Where are we? foolish to waste time when eviHow can one tell who has fallen— dently there was still so much to he knows not whence or where ? see, in the company of such a man. What is this place? I have never And I began already to feel more seen anything like it. It seems at home. There was something to me that I hate it already, though in that moment of anguish which I know not what it is."
had wrought a strange familiarity He shook his head once more. in me with my surroundings. It “ You will hate it more and more, was so great a relief to return he said ; “ but of these dreadful out of the misery of that sharp streets you will never be free, and horrible self-realisation, to unless- And here he stopped what had come to be, in compariagain.
son, easy and well known. I had “ Unless—what? If it is pos- no desire to go back and grope sible, I will be free of them, and among the mysteries and anguish that before long."
so suddenly revealed. I was glad He smiled at me faintly, as we to be free from them, to be left smile at children, but not with to myself, to get a little pleasure derision.
perhaps like the others. While “How shall you do that? Be these thoughts passed through my tween this miserable world and mind, I had gone on without any all others there is a great gulf active impulse of my own, fixed. It is full of all the bitter- everybody else did; and my latest ness and tears that come from all companion had disappeared. He the universe. These drop from saw, no doubt, without any need them, but stagnate here. We, for words, what my feelings were. you perceive, have no tears, not And I proceeded on my way. I even at moments-- Then, felt better as I got more accus" You will soon be accustomed tomed to the place, or perhaps it to all this,” he said. " You was the sensation of relief after will fall into the way. Perhaps
Perhaps that moment of indescribable pain. you will be able to amuse yourself, As for the sights in the streets, to make it passable. Many do. I began to grow used to them. There are a number of fine things The wretched creatures who to be seen here.
are strolled or sat about with signs curious, come with me and I of sickness or wounds upon them will show you. Or work—there disgusted me only, they no longer is even work. There is only one called forth my pity. I began to thing that is impossible—or if not feel ashamed of my silly questions impossible" And here he about the hospital.
All the same, paused again, and raised his eyes it would have been a good thing to the dark clouds and lurid sky to have had some receptacle for overhead. “The man who gave them, into which they might have that cry! if I could but find him been driven out of the way. I - he must have seen
felt an inclination to push them
aside as I saw other people do, seemed a cluster of giant trees but was a little ashamed of that scathed as if by lightning, their impulse too; and so I went on. bare boughs standing up as high There seemed no quiet streets, so as the distant towers, their trunks far as I could make out, in the like black columns without foilage; place. Some were smaller, meaner, openings here and there, with glimwith a different kind of passengers, mering lights, looked like the but the same hubbub and unresting mouths of mines; but of passenmovement everywhere. I saw no gers there were scarcely any. A signs of melancholy or seriousness; figure here and there flew along active pain, violence, brutality, the as if pursued, imperfectly seen, a continued shock of quarrels and shadow only a little darker than blows; but no pensive faces about, the space about. And in contrast no sorrowfulness, nor the kind of with the sound of the city, here trouble which brings thought was no sound at all, except the Everybody was fully occupied, low roar on either side, and a vague pushing on as if in a race, pausing cry or two from the openings of for nothing.
the mine-a scene all drawn in The glitter of the lights, the darkness, in variations of gloom, shouts, and sounds of continual deriving scarcely any light at all going, the endless whirl of passers- from the red and gloomy burning of by, confused and tired me after a that distant evening sky. while. I went as far out as I could A faint curiosity to go forward, go to what seemed the outskirts of to see what the mines were, perthe place, where I could by glimpses haps to get a share in what was perceive a low horizon all lurid brought up from them, crossed my and glowing, which seemed to mind. But I was afraid of the sweep round and round. Against dark, of the wild uninhabited savit in the distance stood up the age look of the landscape;, though outline, black against that red when I thought of it, there seemed glow, of other towers and house- no reason why a narrow stretch of tops, so many and great that there country between two great towns was evidently another town be- should be alarming. But the imtween us and the sunset, if sunset pression was strong and above
I have seen a western reason. I turned back to the sky like it when there were storms street in which I had first alighted, about, and all the colours of the and which seemed to end in a sky were brightened and darkened great square full of people. In by angry influences. The distant the middle there was a stage town rose against it, cutting the erected, from which some one was firmament so that it might have delivering an oration or address of been tongues of flame Rickering some sort. He stood beside a long between the dark solid outlines; table, upon which lay something and across the waste open country which I could not clearly distinwhich lay between the two cities, guish, except that it seemed alive there came a distant hum like the and moved, or rather writhed with sound of the sea, which was in convulsive twitchings, as if tryreality the roar of that other mul- ing to get free of the bonds which titude. The country
between confined it. Round the stage showed no greenness or beauty; in front were a number of seats it lay dark under the dark over- occupied by listeners, many of hanging sky. Here and there whom were women, whose interest
seemed to be very great, some of • The arrangement of these them being furnished with note- threads of being," said the lecbooks; while a great unsettled turer, evidently resuming after a crowd coming and going, drifted pause, “so as to convey to the round—many, arrested for a time brain the most instantaneous mesas they passed, proceeding on their sages of pain or pleasure, is wonway when the interest flagged, as derfully skillful and clever. I need is usual to such open-air assemblies. not say to the audience before me, I followed two of those who pushed enlightened as it is by experiences their way to within a short dis- of the most striking kind, that the tance of the stage, and who were messages are less of pleasure than strong, big men, more fitted to of pain. They report to the brain elbow the crowd aside than I, the stroke of injury far more often after my rough treatment in the than the thrill of pleasure: though first place, and the agitation I sometimes that too, no doubt, or life had passed through, could be. I could scarcely be maintained. The was glad, besides, to take advantage powers that be have found it necesof the explanation which one was sary to mingle a little sweet of giving to the other. " It's always pleasurable sensation, else fun to see this fellow demonstrate," miserable race would certainly he said, “and the subject to-day's have found some means of proa capital one. Let's get well for- curing annihilation. I do not for ward, and see all that's going on.” a moment pretend to say that
" Which subject do you mean?” the pleasure is sufficient to offer said the other; “ the theme or the a just counterbalance to the other. example?" And they both laughed, None of my hearers will, I hope, though I did not seize the point of accuse me of inconsistency. I am the wit.
ready to allow that in a previous “ Well, both,” said the first condition I asserted somewhat speaker; “the theme is nerves: strongly that this was
the case, and as lesson in construction But experience has enlightened and the calculation of possibilities, us on that point. Our circumit's fine. He's very clever at that. stances are now understood by us He shows how they are all strung all, in a manner impossible while to give as much pain and do as we were still in a condition of inmuch harm as can be; and yet completeness. We are all conhow well it is all managed, don't vinced that there is no compensayou know, to look the reverse. tion. The pride of the position, As for the example, he's a capital of bearing everything rather than one—all nerves together, lying, if give in, or making a submission we you like, just on the surface, ready do not feel, of preserving our own for the knife.”
will and individuality to all eter“If they're on the surface I nity, is the only compensation. I can't see where the fun is," said am satisfied with it, for my part." the other.
The orator made a pause, holding “Metaphorically speaking : of his head high, and there was a course they are just where other certain amount of applause. The people's nerves are ; but he's what two men before me cheered vociferyou call a highly organised nervous ously. “That is the right way to specimen. There will be plenty of look at it,” one of them said. My fun. Hush ! he is just going to eyes were upon them, with no parbegin."
ticular motive, and I could not