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"I ought to have asked him the name of the family to whom he was going to take the baby," she mused; "then I could have written to them to be very careful, and to bring her up to be a good and true woman. I shall certainly ask him all about it the very next time I see him—that is, if I ever do see him."
The urgent problems of activity are thus more concrete. They are all problems of the true relation of longer-span to shorter-span activities. When, for example, a number of ‘ideas’ (to use the name traditional in psychology) grow confluent in a larger field of consciousness, do the smaller activities still co-exist with the wider activities then experienced by the conscious subject? And, if so, do the wide activities accompany the narrow ones inertly, or do they exert control? Or do they perhaps utterly supplant and replace them and short-circuit their effects? Again, when a mental activity-process and a brain-cell series of activities both terminate in the same muscular movement, does the mental process steer the neural processes or not? Or, on the other hand, does it independently short-circuit their effects? Such are the questions that we must begin with. But so far am I from suggesting any definitive answer to such questions, that I hardly yet can put them clearly. They lead, however, into that region of pan-psychic and ontologic speculation of which Professors Bergson and Strong have lately enlarged the literature in so able and interesting a way.82 The result of these authors seem in many respects dissimilar, and I understand them as yet but imperfectly; but I cannot help suspecting that the direction of their work is very promising, and that they have the hunter’s instinct for the fruitful trails.
"Mama says Wednesday." He held them together by their tongues. "She says you got to have thesefixed by Wednesday." Baby Suggs looked at him, and then at the woman holding a twitching leadhorse to the road.
Six months previous to the commencement of the last chapter, Mr. Harvey Snarle lay dying, slowly, in a front room of the little house in Marion-street. It was Sunday morning. The church bells were ringing--speaking with musical lips to "ye goode folk," and chiming a sermon to the pomp and pride of the city. As Mortimer sat by the window, the houses opposite melted before his vision; and again he saw the old homestead buried in a world of leaves--heard the lapping of the sea, and a pleasant chime of bells from the humble church at Ivytown. And more beautiful than all, was a child with clouds of golden hair, wandering up and down the sea-shore. "Mortimer?" said the sick man. Then the dream melted, and the common-looking brick buildings came back again. "The doctor thought I could not live?" said the man, inquiringly. "He thought there was little hope," replied Mortimer. "But doctors are not fortune-tellers," he added, cheerfully. "I feel that he is right--little hope. Where is Daisy?" "She has lain down for a moment. Shall I call her?" "Wearied! Poor angel; she watched me last night. I did not sleep much. I closed my eyes, and she smiled to think that I was slumbering quietly. No; do not call her." After a pause, the sick man said: "Wet my lips, I have something to tell you." Mortimer moistened his feverish lips, and sat on the bed-side. "It comes over me," said the consumptive. "What? That pain?" "No; my life. There is something drearier than death in the world." "Sometimes life," thought Mortimer, half aloud. The sick man looked at him. "Why did you say that?" "I thought it. Life is a bitter gift sometimes. An ambition or a passion possess us, flatters and mocks us. Death is not so dreary a thing as life then." "He felt that." "Who?" "The devil." "His mind is wandering," murmured Mortimer--"wandering." "It isn't," said Snarle, slowly. "A passion, a love, made Flint's life bitter." "Flint! Did he ever love anything but gold?" "Yes; but it was long ago! We are cousins. We were schoolmates and friends, sharing our boyish sports and troubles with that confiding friendship which leaves us in our teens. We lived together. I can see the old white frame house at Hampton Falls!" and the man passed his emaciated hand over his eyes, as if to wipe out some unpleasant picture. "A niece of my father's came to spend a winter with us. Young men's thoughts run to love. I could but love her, she was so beautiful and good; and while she did a thousand kind things to win my affection, she took a strange aversion to my cousin Flint, who grew rude and impetuous. We were married. But long before that, Flint packed up his little trunk, and, without a word of farewell, left us one night for a neighboring city. Years went by, and from time to time tidings reached us of his prosperity and growing wealth. We were proud of his industry, and thought of him kindly. We, too, were prospering. But the tide of our fortune changed. My father's affairs and mine became complicated. He died, and the farm was sold. One day I stood at Flint's office door, and asked for employment. Evil day! better for me if I had toiled in the fields from morning till night, wringing a reluctant livelihood from the earth, which is even more human than Flint. Wet my lips, boy, and come near to me, that I may tell you how I became his slave; softly, so the air may not hear me." Mortimer drew nearer to him. "It was a hard winter for the poor. My darling wife was suffering from the mere want of proper medicines and food. I asked Flint for a little more than the pitiable salary which he allowed me. He smiled, and said that I was extravagant. We had not clothes enough to shield us from the cold! I told him that my wife was sick; and he replied, bitterly, 'poor men should not have wives.' Wet my lips again. Can you love me, boy, after what I shall tell you? I forged a check for a trivial amount!" and Snarle's voice sunk to a hoarse whisper. "Can you love me?" "Can I love you?" cried Mortimer. He could not see the sick man for his tears. "Can I forget all your kindness. Years ago, when I was a mere child, toiling early and late in Flint's office, did you not take me to your home, a poor hope-broken boy? Have I not grown up with Daisy, like your own child? Not love you?" Mortimer laid his face on the same pillow with the sick man's. "I was not sent to prison," continued Snarle, with a shudder; "only my own mind, and soul, and actions were prisoners. I was Flint's! Flint owned me! That little paper which he guards so carefully is the title-deed. O, Mortimer, as you hold my memory dear, destroy that paper--tear it, burn it, trample it out of the world!" With these words Snarle sank back upon the pillow, from which he had half risen. He went on speaking in a lower tone: "I have suffered so much that I am sure God will forgive me. Never let the world know--never let my wife and Daisy know that I was a----" "O, I will promise you, dear father," cried Mortimer, before he could finish the dreadful word. "I will destroy the paper, though twenty Flints guarded it. The man who steals a loaf of bread for famishing lips, is not such a criminal in God's sight as he who steals a million times its value by law to feed his avarice. Think no more of it. The angel who records in his book, has written a hundred good deeds over that unfortunate one. The world's frown is not God's frown, and His heart is open when man's is barred with unforgiveness." "Thank you, thank you," said Snarle, brightening up a little. "Your words give me comfort. I have not much more to tell. Flint took me into the firm, but I was the same slave. I worked, and worked, and the reapings were his. You have seen it--you know it. And this was his revenge. His wounded love and pride have wrecked themselves on me. He has never crossed the threshold of our door--never laid his eyes on my wife since the time when we were thoughtless boys together. O, how cruel he has been to me! Evening after evening, in midwinter, he has made me bring the last editions of the Express to his house, and never asked me in!" This was said with such a ludicrous expression, that Mortimer would have laughed if it had been anybody but poor Snarle. Exhausted with talking, the sick man sank into a quiet slumber. Mortimer sat by his bed-side for an hour, watching the change of expressions in the sleeper's face--the shadow of his dreams coming and going! Then his head drooped upon his bosom, and he slept so soundly that he did not know that Daisy came in the room, and stood beside him, looking in his face with her fond, quiet eyes. When he awoke, one long dark shadow from the houses opposite slanted into the apartment. Snarle was looking at him. "I have been asleep," said Snarle, "and have had such pleasant thoughts that it is painful to find myself in this poor little world again. Ah, me, what will wife and Daisy do in it all alone?" "Not alone," said Mortimer. "I will watch over them--love them." Then, after a pause: "Father, I love Daisy--I would make her my wife." "Ah, I wished that; but I did not think it:" and Snarle paused a moment. "Have you told Daisy so?" "Yes--but----" "Well," said Snarle, waiting. "But she does not love me; and that is why I said love would make life bitter." "Perhaps she does." "No." "What did Daisy say?" "She said there were clouds in the morning of her life--(these were her own words)--which had no sunshine in them. Then she called me brother and kissed me, and told me that I must never think of her as my wife. She would be my sister always. And when I speak to her of this, she turns away or hums a pleasant air to mock me." "She is not our child, Mortimer." "What?" "No, I am not wandering," said Snarle, in reply to Mortimer's look. "She is not our child. We adopted her under strange circumstances. I have not told you this before. Daisy did not wish me to; but it is right that you should know it now. Sit nearer to me." Mortimer obeyed mechanically. "One stormy night we were sitting, my wife and I, in the room below. I remember as if it were yesterday, how the wind slammed the window-blinds, and blew out the street-lamps. It was just a year ago that night we lost our little Maye, and we were very sad. We sat in silence, while without the storm increased. The hail and snow dashed against the window-panes, and down the chimney. Every now and then the wind lulled, and everything was still." Heaven knows why Mr. Snarle ceased speaking just then; but he did, and seemed lost in reverie. "What was I saying?" "You were speaking of the storm." "Yes, yes. It was in one of those pauses of the wind that we heard a low sob under our windows. We did not heed it at first, for sometimes a storm moans like a human voice. It came again so distinctly as to leave no doubt. I opened the hall-door, and groped about in the snow. When I returned to the sitting-room, I held little Daisy in my arms. She was no larger than our Maye who died--our little three-year-old. The child was half frozen, and nothing but a coarse cloak thrown over her night-dress, had saved her from perishing. I reported the circumstance at the police-station, but such things were of too common occurrence to excite much interest. Weeks passed, and then months, and no one answered the advertisements. At last we had learned to love the child so dearly, that we dreaded the thought of parting with it. I asked and obtained permission to adopt the pet, and so Daisy became ours. She is very proud, and the mystery of her birth troubles her; and this----" Before Snarle could finish the sentence, Daisy herself opened the room door, and came tripping up to the bed-side. Mortimer took her hand very quietly. "Daisy," he said, "I love you." Daisy hid her face in the pillow. "He has told me everything, and I love you, Daisy!" Daisy looked up with the tears and sunshine of April in her eyes. "Do you love me?" he asked. The girl was silent for a moment, then a sweet little "yes" budded on her lips. Then Mortimer kissed Daisy, and poor Snarle died happy; for that evening his life-stream ebbed with the tide, and mingled with that ocean which is forever and forever. REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
We were in full flight before three notes or syllables had been uttered, though we knew that the swiftness of the Old Ones would enable any scream-roused and pursuing survivor of the slaughter to overtake us in a moment if it really wished to do so. We had a vague hope, however, that nonaggressive conduct and a display of kindred reason might cause such a being to spare us in case of capture, if only from scientific curiosity. After all, if such an one had nothing to fear for itself, it would have no motive in harming us. Concealment being futile at this juncture, we used our torch for a running glance behind, and perceived that the mist was thinning. Would we see, at last, a complete and living specimen of those others? Again came that insidious musical piping —“Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!” Then, noting that we were actually gaining on our pursuer, it occurred to us that the entity might be wounded. We could take no chances, however, since it was very obviously approaching in answer to Danforth’s scream, rather than in flight from any other entity. The timing was too close to admit of doubt. Of the whereabouts of that less conceivable and less mentionable nightmare — that fetid, unglimpsed mountain of slime-spewing protoplasm whose race had conquered the abyss and sent land pioneers to recarve and squirm through the burrows of the hills — we could form no guess; and it cost us a genuine pang to leave this probably crippled Old One — perhaps a lone survivor — to the peril of recapture and a nameless fate.
With the manuscript was a note signed "Vivienne Michel," assuring me that what she had written was purest truth and from the depths of her heart.
How could we hope to detect a black hole, as by its verydefinition it does not emit any light? It might seem a bit likelooking for a black cat in a coal cellar. Fortunately, there is away. As John Michell pointed out in his pioneering paper in1783, a black hole still exerts a gravitational fierce on nearbyobjects. Astronomers have observed many systems in whichtwo stars orbit around each other, attracted toward each otherby gravity. They also observe systems in which there is onlyone visible star that is orbiting around some unseencompanion. One cannot, of course, immediately conclude thatthe companion is a black hole: it might merely be a star thatis too faint to be seen. However, some of these systems, likethe one called Cygnus X-1 (Fig. 6.2), are also strong sources ofX-rays. The best explanation for this phenomenon is thatmatter has been blown off the surface of the visible star. As itfalls toward the unseen companion, it develops a spiral motion(rather like water running out of a bath), and it gets very hot,emitting X-rays (Fig. 63). For this mechanism to work, theunseen object has to be very small, like a white dwarf, neutronstar, or black hole. From the observed orbit of the visible star,one can determine the lowest possible mass of the unseenobject. In the case of Cygnus X-l, this is about six times themass of the sun, which, according to Chandrasekhar’r result, istoo great for the unseen object to be a white dwarf. It is alsotoo large a mass to be a neutron star. It seems, therefore, thatit must be a black hole.
The things once rearing and dwelling in this frightful masonry in the age of dinosaurs were not indeed dinosaurs, but far worse. Mere dinosaurs were new and almost brainless objects — but the builders of the city were wise and old, and had left certain traces in rocks even then laid down well nigh a thousand million years — rocks laid down before the true life of earth had advanced beyond plastic groups of cells — rocks laid down before the true life of earth had existed at all. They were the makers and enslavers of that life, and above all doubt the originals of the fiendish elder myths which things like the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon affrightedly hint about. They were the great “Old Ones” that had filtered down from the stars when earth was young — the beings whose substance an alien evolution had shaped, and whose powers were such as this planet had never bred. And to think that only the day before, Danforth and I had actually looked upon fragments of their millennially fossilized substance, and that poor Lake and his party had seen their complete outlines. It is of course impossible for me to relate in proper order the stages by which we picked up what we know of that monstrous chapter of prehuman life. After the first shock of the certain revelation, we had to pause a while to recuperate, and it was fully three o’clock before we got started on our actual tour of systematic research. The sculptures in the building we entered were of relatively late date — perhaps two million years ago — as checked up by geological, biological, and astronomical features — and embodied an art which would be called decadent in comparison with that of specimens we found in older buildings after crossing bridges under the glacial sheet. One edifice hewn from the solid rock seemed to go back forty or possibly even fifty million years — to the lower Eocene or upper Cretaceous — and contained bas-reliefs of an artistry surpassing anything else, with one tremendous exception, that we encountered. That was, we have since agreed, the oldest domestic structure we traversed.
1.Instantly along the red-lit deck came soldiers running—three of them. The mate had grabbed a belaying-pin, but stood fingering it, uncertain of his status in relation to the soldiers.
In the meantime I kept studying the subject of Buddhism from various sources; and in 1878 began to lecture, here in Oxford, on the Travels with my Davis Chinese scholar, who was at the same time Boden Sanskrit scholar. As we went on, I wrote out a translation in English for my own satisfaction of nearly half the narrative. In the beginning of last year I made Fa-hien again the subject of lecture, wrote out a second translation, independent of the former, and pushed on till I had completed the whole.
These are the main features of the scene roughly sketched. How they are all tilted by the inclination of the ground, how each stands out in delicate relief against the rest, what manifold detail, and play of sun and shadow, animate and accentuate the picture, is a matter for a person on the spot, and turning swiftly on his heels, to grasp and bind together in one comprehensive look. It is the character of such a prospect, to be full of change and of things moving. The multiplicity embarrasses the eye; and the mind, among so much, suffers itself to grow absorbed with single points. You remark a tree in a hedgerow, or follow a cart along a country road. You turn to the city, and see children, dwarfed by distance into pigmies, at play about suburban doorsteps; you have a glimpse upon a thoroughfare where people are densely moving; you note ridge after ridge of chimney-stacks running downhill one behind another, and church spires rising bravely from the sea of roofs. At one of the innumerable windows, you watch a figure moving; on one of the multitude of roofs, you watch clambering chimney-sweeps. The wind takes a run and scatters the smoke; bells are heard, far and near, faint and loud, to tell the hour; or perhaps a bird goes dipping evenly over the housetops, like a gull across the waves. And here you are in the meantime, on this pastoral hillside, among nibbling sheep and looked upon by monumental buildings.
‘Chloe liked Olivia,’ I read. And then it struck me how immense a change was there. Chloe liked Olivia perhaps for the first time in literature. Cleopatra did not like Octavia. And how completely Antony and Cleopatra would have been altered had she done so! As it is, I thought, letting my mind, I am afraid, wander a little from Life’s Adventure, the whole thing is simplified, conventionalized, if one dared say it, absurdly. Cleopatra’s only feeling about Octavia is one of jealousy. Is she taller than I am? How does she do her hair? The play, perhaps, required no more. But how interesting it would have been if the relationship between the two women had been more complicated. All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted. And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends. There is an attempt at it in Diana of the Crossways. They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies. They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men. It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen’s day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex. And how small a part of a woman’s life is that; and how little can a man know even of that when he observes it through the black or rosy spectacles which sex puts upon his nose. Hence, perhaps, the peculiar nature of woman in fiction; the astonishing extremes of her beauty and horror; her alternations between heavenly goodness and hellish depravity — for so a lover would see her as his love rose or sank, was prosperous or unhappy. This is not so true of the nineteenth-century novelists, of course. Woman becomes much more various and complicated there. Indeed it was the desire to write about women perhaps that led men by degrees to abandon the poetic drama which, with its violence, could make so little use of them, and to devise the novel as a more fitting receptacle. Even so it remains obvious, even in the writing of Proust, that a man is terribly hampered and partial in his knowledge of women, as a woman in her knowledge of men.
With a choked yell, the Aga Kaga dived for Retief, missed as he leaped aside. The two went to the mat together and rolled, sending a stool skittering. Grunts and curses echoed as the two big men strained, muscles popping. Retief groped for a scissors hold; the Aga Kaga seized his foot, bit hard. Retief bent nearly double, braced himself and slammed the potentate against the rug. Dust flew. Then the two were on their feet, circling.
There are difficulties in the way of one who would describe an event after an immortal poet has given it a setting in lines that a worshipping world will not willingly let die. A tree, it is said, is never struck by lightning more than once, and it is safe to suppose that a subject is never illumined by the rays of heaven-descended genius without being as thoroughly exhausted. Nevertheless, with our tame domestic lantern, let us endeavour to throw a little prosaic light over the details of a scene that has been irradiated by the imagination of a Byron.