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that he should be in pain. It would do you no good if he were to get well. Why should you trouble yourself one way or the other? Let him die-if he can That makes no difference

to you or me."


"I must be dull indeed," I cried, -"slow of understanding, as you This is going back to the ideas of times beyond knowledge -before Christianity__” As soon as I had said this I felt somehow I could not tell how-as if my voice jarred, as if something false and unnatural was in what I said. My companion gave my arm a twist as if with a shock of surprise, then laughed in his inward way again.

"We don't think much of that here; nor of your modern pretences in general. The only thing that touches you and me is what hurts or helps ourselves. To be sure, it all comes to the same thing for I suppose it annoys you to see that wretch writhing: it hurts your more delicate, highly cultivated consciousness."

"It has nothing to do with my consciousness," I cried, angrily; "it is a shame to let a fellowcreature suffer if we can prevent it."


Why shouldn't he suffer?" said my companion. We passed as he spoke some other squalid wretched creatures shuffling among the crowd, whom he kicked with his foot, calling forth a yell of pain and curses. This he regarded with a supreme contemptuous calm which stupefied me. Nor did any of the passers-by show the slightest inclination to take the part of the sufferers. They laughed, or shouted out a gibe, or, what was still more wonderful, went on with a complete unaffected indifference, as if all this was natural. I tried to disengage my arm in horror and

dismay, but he held me fast, with a pressure that hurt me. "That's the question," he said. "What have we to do with it? Your fictitious consciousness makes it painful to you. To me, on the contrary, who take the view of nature, it is a pleasurable feeling. It enhances the amount of ease, whatever that may be, which I enjoy. I am in no pain. That brute who is "-and he flicked with a stick he carried, the uncovered wound of a wretch upon the roadside-"makes me more satisfied with my condition. Ah! you think it is I who am the brute? You will change your mind byand-by."

"Never!" I cried, wrenching my arm from his with an effort, "if I should live a hundred years."

"A hundred years-a drop in the bucket," he said, with his silent laugh. "You will live for ever, and you will come to my view; and we shall meet in the course of ages, from time to time, to compare notes. I would say good-bye after the old fashion, but you are but newly arrived, and I will not treat you so badly as that." With which he parted from me, waving his hand, with his everlasting horrible smile.

"Good-bye!" I said to myself, "good-bye-why should it be treating me badly to say good-bye"

I was startled by a buffet on the mouth. "Take that!" cried some one, "to teach you how to wish the worst of tortures to people who have done you no harm."

"What have I said? I meant no harm. I repeated only what is the commonest civility, the merest good manners."

"You wished," said the man who had struck me,-"I won't repeat the words: to me, for it was I only that heard them, the awful company that hurts most-that sets every

thing before us, both past and to come, and cuts like a sword and burns like fire. I'll say it to your self, and see how it feels. God be with you! There! it is said, and we all must bear it, thanks, you fool and accursed, to you."

And then there came a pause over all the place-an awful stillness-hundreds of men and women standing clutching with desperate movements at their hearts as if to tear them out, moving their heads as if to dash them against the wall, wringing their hands, with a look upon all their convulsed faces which I can never forget. They all turned to me, cursing me, with those horrible eyes of anguish. And everything was still the noise all stopped for a momentthe air all silent, with a silence that could be felt. And then suddenly out of the crowd there came a great piercing cry; and everything began again exactly as before. While this pause occurred, and while I stood wondering, bewildered, understanding nothing, there came over me a darkness, a blackness, a sense of misery such as never in all my life, though I have known troubles enough, I had felt before. All that had happened to me throughout my existence seemed to rise pale and terrible in a hundred scenes before me, all momentary, intense, as if each was the present moment. And in each of these scenes I saw what I had never seen before. I saw where I had taken the wrong instead of the right step-in what wantonness, with what self-will it had been done; how God (I shuddered at the name) had spoken and called me, and even entreated, and I had withstood and refused. All the evil I had done came back, and spread itself out before my eyes; and I loathed it, yet knew that I had chosen it, and that

it would be with me for ever. I saw it all in the twinkling of an eye, in a moment, while I stood there, and all men with me, in the horror of awful thought. Then it ceased as it had come, instantaneously, and the noise and the laughter, and the quarrels and cries, and all the commotion of this new bewildering place, in a moment began again. I had seen no one while this strange paroxysm lasted. When it disappeared, I came to myself emerging as from a dream, and looked into the face of the man whose words, not careless like mine, had brought it upon us. Our eyes met, and his were surrounded by curves and lines of anguish which were terrible to see.

"Well," he said, with a short laugh, which was forced and harsh, "how do you like it? that is what happens when If it came often, who could endure it?" He was not like the rest. There was no sneer upon his face, no gibe at my simplicity. Even now, when all had recovered, he was still quivering with something that looked like a nobler pain. His face was very grave, the lines deeply drawn in it, and he seemed to be seeking no amusement or distraction, nor to take any part in the noise and tumult which was going on around.

"Do you know what that cry meant ? he said. "Did you hear that cry? It was some one who saw even here once in long time, they say, it can be seen

"What can be seen?"


He shook his head, looking at me with a meaning which I could not interpret. It was beyond the range of my thoughts. I came to know after, or I never could have made this record. But on that subject he said no more. He

turned the way I was going, though it matters nothing what way I went, for all were the same to me. "You are one of the newcomers?" he said; "you have not been long here"

"Tell me," I cried, "what you mean by here. Where are we? How can one tell who has fallenhe knows not whence or where? What is this place? I have never seen anything like it.

to me that I hate it already, though I know not what it is."

He shook his head once more. "You will hate it more and more," he said; "but of these dreadful streets you will never be free, unlessAnd here he stopped again. "Unless what? If it is possible, I will be free of them, and that before long."

He smiled at me faintly, as we smile at children, but not with derision.

even at moments

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"What could he see ?" I asked. But there rose in my mind something like contempt. A visionary ! who could not speak plainly, who broke off into mysterious inferences, and appeared to know more than he would say. It seemed foolish to waste time when evidently there was still so much to see, in the company of such a man. And I began already to feel more It seems at home. There was something in that moment of anguish which had wrought a strange familiarity in me with my surroundings. It was so great a relief to return out of the misery of that sharp and horrible self-realisation, to what had come to be, in comparison, easy and well known. I had no desire to go back and grope among the mysteries and anguish so suddenly revealed. I was glad to be free from them, to be left to myself, to get a little pleasure perhaps like the others. While these thoughts passed through my mind, I had gone on without any active impulse of my own, as everybody else did; and my latest companion had disappeared. He saw, no doubt, without any need for words, what my feelings were. And I proceeded on my way. felt better as I got more accustomed to the place, or perhaps it was the sensation of relief after that moment of indescribable pain. As for the sights in the streets, I began to grow used to them. The wretched creatures who strolled or sat about with signs of sickness or wounds upon them disgusted me only, they no longer called forth my pity. I began to feel ashamed of my silly questions about the hospital. All the same, it would have been a good thing to have had some receptacle for them, into which they might have been driven out of the way. felt an inclination to push them

"How shall you do that? Between this miserable world and all others there is a great gulf fixed. It is full of all the bitterness and tears that come from all the universe. These drop from them, but stagnate here. We, you perceive, have no tears, not Then, "You will soon be accustomed to all this," he said. "You will fall into the way. Perhaps you will be able to amuse yourself, to make it passable. Many do. There are a number of fine things to be seen here. If you are curious, come with me and I will show you. Or work-there is even work. There is only one thing that is impossible-or if not impossibleAnd here he paused again, and raised his eyes to the dark clouds and lurid sky overhead. "The man who gave that cry if I could but find him -he must have seen

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aside as I saw other people do, but was a little ashamed of that impulse too; and so I went on. There seemed no quiet streets, so far as I could make out, in the place. Some were smaller, meaner, with a different kind of passengers, but the same hubbub and unresting movement everywhere. I saw no signs of melancholy or seriousness; active pain, violence, brutality, the continued shock of quarrels and blows; but no pensive faces about, no sorrowfulness, nor the kind of trouble which brings thought. Everybody was fully occupied, pushing on as if in a race, pausing for nothing.

The glitter of the lights, the shouts, and sounds of continual going, the endless whirl of passersby, confused and tired me after a while. I went as far out as I could go to what seemed the outskirts of the place, where I could by glimpses perceive a low horizon all lurid and glowing, which seemed to sweep round and round. Against it in the distance stood up the outline, black against that red glow, of other towers and housetops, so many and great that there was evidently another town between us and the sunset, if sunset

seemed a cluster of giant trees scathed as if by lightning, their bare boughs standing up as high as the distant towers, their trunks like black columns without foilage; openings here and there, with glimmering lights, looked like the mouths of mines; but of passengers there were scarcely any. A figure here and there flew along as if pursued, imperfectly seen, a shadow only a little darker than the space about. And in contrast with the sound of the city, here was no sound at all, except the low roar on either side, and a vague cry or two from the openings of the mine-a scene all drawn in darkness, in variations of gloom, deriving scarcely any light at all from the red and gloomy burning of that distant evening sky.

A faint curiosity to go forward, to see what the mines were, perhaps to get a share in what was brought up from them, crossed my mind. But I was afraid of the dark, of the wild uninhabited savage look of the landscape;, though when I thought of it, there seemed no reason why a narrow stretch of country between two great towns should be alarming. But the impression was strong and above

it was. I have seen a western reason. I turned back to the

sky like it when there were storms about, and all the colours of the sky were brightened and darkened by angry influences. The distant town rose against it, cutting the firmament so that it might have been tongues of flame flickering between the dark solid outlines; and across the waste open country which lay between the two cities, there came a distant hum like the sound of the sea, which was in reality the roar of that other multitude. The country between showed no greenness or beauty; it lay dark under the dark overhanging sky. Here and there

street in which I had first alighted, and which seemed to end in á great square full of people. In the middle there was a stage erected, from which some one was delivering an oration or address of some sort. He stood beside a long table, upon which lay something which I could not clearly distinguish, except that it seemed alive and moved, or rather writhed with convulsive twitchings, as if trying to get free of the bonds which confined it. Round the stage in front were a number of seats occupied by listeners, many of whom were women, whose interest

"The arrangement of these

seemed to be very great, some of them being furnished with note- threads of being," said the lec

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books; 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 our 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 condition I asserted somewhat strongly that this was the case. But experience has enlightened us on that point. Our circumstances are now understood by us all, in a manner impossible while we were still in a condition of incompleteness. We are all convinced that there is no compensation. The pride of the position, of bearing everything rather than give in, or making a submission we do not feel, of preserving our own will and individuality to all eternity, is the only compensation. I am satisfied with it, for my part."

"Well, both," said the first speaker; "the theme is nerves: and as a lesson in construction and the calculation of possibilities, it's fine. He's very clever at that. He shows how they are all strung to give as much pain and do as much harm as can be; and yet how well it is all managed, don't you know, to look the reverse. As for the example, he's a capital one-all nerves together, lying, if you like, just on the surface, ready for the knife."

"If they're on the surface I can't see where the fun is," said the other.

"Metaphorically speaking of course they are just where other people's nerves are; but he's what you call a highly organised nervous specimen. There will be plenty of fun. Hush! he is just going to begin."

The orator made a pause, holding his head high, and there was a certain amount of applause. The two men before me cheered vociferously. "That is the right way to look at it," one of them said. My eyes were upon them, with no particular motive, and I could not

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